Traditional Second Year Greek Text

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Re: Traditional Second Year Greek Text

Post by Qimmik » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:03 pm

So did you use Chase and Phillips as a textbook then? how did you find it?
No, our first-year Greek teacher, Dr. Gillespie, wisely used Crosby and Schaefer, which to me seems much richer and more engaging than the dry and uninviting Chase & Phillips. Just like Dr. Phillips himself, who seemed to have no real interest in the subject-matter and even less in communicating it to teenage boys. (And we weren't forced to take Greek--we were taking it because we really wanted to learn it.)

At the end of the first year, we read Odyssey 9, which was available in the old Cambridge Pitt Press series. The edition, still in print then, dated back to the 1890s, and, as I recall, had an appendix consisting of Fick's efforts to "translate" the text from Ionic into Aeolic. (These days, Fick, in a somewhat more sophisticated form, is back in vogue among a segment of scholarly opinion--at least the idea that the oral tradition went through an "Aeolic phase," even if the "original" texts of the Homeric poems were basically Ionic while preserving Aeolicisms in formulas that couldn't be Ionicized on account of the meter.)

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Re: Traditional Second Year Greek Text

Post by Markos » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:01 am

Qimmik wrote:...they can start reading Homer in the second year (Homer occupied most of the second-year curriculum in my day...
Clyde Pharr argues that Homer is easier than the Anabasis. He points to Homer's short sentences and relatively simple syntax, and the fact the formulas provide lots of repetition that makes the texts easier for beginners. But many of Xenophon's sentences are also short and simple, and he also provides many repetitive formulaic phrases. I think Homer is harder than the Anabasis because of the massive vocab and the volume of forms and the fact that the lack of the article makes it harder to quickly identify the cases.

But, of course, Homer is also massively better literature than the Anabasis, so he is in the running for a good second year text.
Plato's Apology is relatively easy--easier than the dialogues--...
Well, I think the Apology is significantly harder than the Anabasis, but, again, it is significantly better writing, so I have no problems with it as a second year text.
I think Lysias isn't as hard as he's made out to be...
Agreed, the Murder of E. is probably only a little harder than the Anabasis and a little better written, so it is also a good choice.
I picked up a copy of Xenophon's Hellenica the other day and found it's written in a very straightforward Greek and reads easily.
This one goes in the other direction. The Hellenica is a little easier than the Anabasis, but not as well written. I also think the unified, simple story of the Anabasis is easier to follow. But other Xenophon is certainly in the running for a good second year text. The Banquet is harder than the Anabasis but maybe a little better written.

But again, is there a text that is easier than the Anabasis AND better written?
I think that students ought to be engaging with more difficult material in the second year, and getting used to the ways Greeks expressed themselves, even if it means something of a struggle--because ancient Greek will always be something of a struggle.
I won't necessarily disagree, but I think that the Anabasis is sufficiently difficult. It is in no way "dumbed down" Greek, and it produces enough challenging syntax and forms, but I also think that simplicity in style can be the mark of a good writer. All of this is to say that I maybe the Anabasis, having once been over-rated, maybe is now being under-rated. It may deserve its spot in the second year cannon after all.

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Re: Traditional Second Year Greek Text

Post by Calgacus » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:51 pm

After two years of Greek at school (in Australia) we dived into the Anabasis, which I enjoyed and didn't find too daunting. As Qimmik says above, it's told vividly, a bit like a Boys' Own Adventure, and appeals to boys of that age. Not to girls so much, perhaps.

When I started teaching Greek (back when my Greek wasn't as dreadfully rusty as now), I actually started with some of Lucian's Dialogues - the sentences are short, the Greek is relatively straightforward (only small departures from "high" Attic), and there are plenty of in-jokes, not to mention tidbits about Greek mythology. We actually did a bit of the New Testament as well, even though Koine is somewhat different, just because it was a Catholic school and it was something they knew.

Some of the Greek Anthology is good as well (about as close as Greek gets to Martial in Latin).

Personally I'd never dream of starting with Homer, simply because just about every Greek course (rightly) introduces students to Attic; why make their very first sample of literature a completely different dialect?

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Re: Traditional Second Year Greek Text

Post by daivid » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:34 pm

By Second Year Greek Text do people have in mind a text for people who have completed one years study of Greek or does this mean a second year of university with the assumption that the students will have studied a few years at school?

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Re: Traditional Second Year Greek Text

Post by Qimmik » Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:17 pm

In my case, one year of secondary-school (high-school) Greek, i.e., pre-university.

I think we read some excerpts from the Anabasis, maybe just the first book, in the second semester of the first year. This was by the time the Anabasis was no longer read very much. Our teacher used to make fun of the endlesss repetition of ἐξελαύνει. But, as I've written earlier, I think the Anabasis is more interesting and vividly told than it's made out to be. Second year, if I'm remembering correctly, was mostly the Iliad and, I think, Plato's Apology with perhaps some other readings. We read Od. 9 in the first year, too. Caesar, incidentally, accounted for most of second-year Latin, with some Ovid thrown in at the end to teach the hexameter.

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Re: Traditional Second Year Greek Text

Post by Aurelia11 » Sun Jun 15, 2014 6:12 am

I just finished second year at university and I'd like to share what we read.
For Latin we did do Caesar but we read his Civil Wars against Pompey. Much more interesting than the Gallic Wars and a bit more history there too.
After reading Lysias 1, we then read selections from Tales from Herodotus. Next we read selections from mainly Alexander and Antony and Cleopatra. We finished the course with Alcestis. A good variety to prepare us for the more specialized courses of third year.

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