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Back from an Odyssey

Are you reading Homeric Greek? Whether you are a total beginner or an advanced Homerist, here you can meet kindred spirits. Beside Homer, use this board for all things early Greek poetry.

Back from an Odyssey

Postby alauda » Wed May 24, 2006 12:04 pm


I am pleased to see my login still works!

It's been half an age since last I posted here, er, that is to
say, more than a year. A lot of time was spent traveling
throughout the mountains of northern California and southern
Oregon, and during that time I took with me my little Iliad
Loebs, you know those nifty books with the original to one side
and the translation to the other? Though I started out with the
best of intentions, I must say, I came to a screeching halt in my
studies of Homer.

The problem, I daresay, was not with the translation, but rather
my own insistence to understand the root forms of the
words. Problem was, I could not often figure out just WHAT the
heck WAS the root form from the word that appeared in the
text. And though I have a couple of other fine references:
Liddell and Scott's Dictionary and Smythe's Grammar, I was yet
left befuddled on many occasion. Traveling as I was I had little
access to Perseus, and so, again and again, I was left hanging. I
just could NOT figure out some words, often little words. I like
to understand those little words, you know? I mean REALLY

I needed, I could see, a good Homer specific book.

Well, I was visiting yet again a page on
Harris's website[/url]. I know he and his ideas are occasionally
brought up in these forums, and not everyone agrees with him, but
I do fundamentally agree with his opinions about learning the
classics. Being all grown up now, I have little sympathy for
texts in the Wheelock style, noticing, as does Harris, that the
diminishment of classical language curricula and enrollments is
date coincident with the introduction of the teaching methods
demonstrated in that style of text. I am all done with college,
never to return, and much glad to be shucked of all traces of
academia in spite of half a life in the hallowed halls of

For someone like that, self teaching is the only way to go. I
have a career. I am self employed. I need no officially
sanctioned approval from any school. I know my own style. I am
DONE with the politics of the university scene -- a scene right
now, I am sad to say, that a sort of anti-classicism prevails. We
are taught that the Greeks were war mongering patriarchs who did
not in fact invent much of anything and who had many bad habits
-- except the archaeology shows a level of comfort and splendor
among the common people unknown to any culture in the world at
that time...

But I digress. I meant to simply make emphatic my own self
discovery: Further learning must occur on my own. The world is
going one way, and I am holding true to ancient and eternal
ideals, so it is no wonder that I should love Homer.

There are probably many here who are of the same ilk, and so I
suspect I express such thoughts not in vain.

Learning to learn all over again, I learned again the virtue of a
child-like approach in which all things are taken in directly in
accordance with actual use rather than theoretical ideals, and
so, when recommended Clyde Pharr's book, by the aforementioned
Prof. Harris, I eagerly sought it out, and LO! A search takes me
right back here where I once visited while still studying Latin.

So I downloaded the book, and THANK YOU.

What a jewel.

Here is a teacher after my own heart, and here is a book that has
already advanced me more in one day than in a month prior.

Now, I am very glad to have these forums to both share passions
and get answers to questions. I hardly think I am qualified to
answer others questions of any technical nature. I am very much a
beginner. Heck, I am still trying to figure out how to properly
display Greek fonts on my Linux box. I remember I was able to
just type things in beta code before and it would automagically
work, but I forgot where I stashed that reference...

Never mind, I found it the beta code ref. What the heck is the
bbcode to turn it on?

Test: a)/nqrwpos politiko\n zw|=on

So, see, I struggle still with the little things. Anyhow, I just
wanted to say, "Hello. I too am using Pharr's book and much
enjoying this new beginning, and thanks, thanks to all of you who
contribute, and thanks to whoever the angels are that make this
web resource available."


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Postby William » Wed May 24, 2006 12:09 pm

Nice post, Alauda. I agree with a lot of what you say and wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of Greek.

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Postby Brendan » Thu May 25, 2006 10:36 am

Hi Alauda,

Welcome (back)! I hope your wanderings were as interesting as our friend Ulysses', if not quite so long.

I also recently began my journey through Pharr and am really loving it. I'm on lesson XX now and would be happy to swap notes with a fellow traveler. I'm sure we'll run into each other on the Homeric board. Good luck and have fun!
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Postby alauda » Thu May 25, 2006 2:29 pm

Thanks for the greetings both. I have only just begun Pharr. It is nice to backtrack and go through the lessons in a thorough way though. I really missed out on all the word forms.
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sat May 27, 2006 3:35 pm

Cunliffe's Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect is a must. It it much better for looking up words from Homer than the Liddell-Scott lexicons, IMHO. It is well worth the 30 US dollars it costs new on Amazon.

I remember making my own family trip with my parents and grandmother through Northern California and Southern Oregon when I was approximately six or seven years old. I remember some kind of volcano, Mt Shasta (was that the volcano?), Mt. Whitney, the Sierras in general, Mono lake, Crater lake, and a farm owned by my mom's friend in Oregon.
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Postby alauda » Sat May 27, 2006 4:50 pm

Hey thanks for the ref. I'll have a look. L&S IS a real pain. In my version, the fonts are so tiny I can barely see 'em. It does have good references to the usage of the words in various texts though. I do like that.

That's cool you know the Sierras from when you were a kid. The volcano you saw was most probably Shasta. It's very memorable, rising ten thousand feet from a four thousand foot area. There are all kinds of legends and mystical stories about it. And Whitney? I tried to climb it last summer. There was so much snow, even in July, I could not do it. There is something satisfying about just attempting a tall peak though. The game is in the trying, not the consumation...

Wasn't their some philosopher who said that? Maybe I'm thinking of Phaeton and his ill fated attempt to fly his dad's sun chariot with those wild horses. Same idea. :D
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Postby GlottalGreekGeek » Sat May 27, 2006 10:21 pm

alauda wrote:the fonts are so tiny I can barely see 'em.

Cunliffe is not exactly an improvement in that department, though it is smaller so there is less flipping. Actually, you'll probably have to spend about a week adjusting yourself to the format since it's different from the intermediate LSJ (I presume that is the edition you are referring to, the interemediate LSJ) or more standard dictionaries, but it's well worth that initial hump. And for each definition it cites examples from the Iliad and Odyssey, often listing every single time a word is used with a specific defintion in the Iliad/Odyssey, which is a real blessing when it comes to some of the weirder uses.
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