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Ancient Greek for Everyone: A New Digital Resource for Beginning Greek as taught at Louisiana State University Fall 2012 Wilfred E. Major Unit 4: Classical readings Ancient Greek for Everyone • This class (Monday, October 8, 2012) – Unit 4 Classical reading. – Be able to: • read the sentences aloud • parse each verb and noun (with article where it appears) • translate the sentences into English. Ancient Greek for Everyone • These readings introduce you briefly to three of the most influential prose writers from Classical Athens: Xenophon, Plato and Aristotle. Ancient Greek for Everyone • Xenophon (c. 430-354 BC) is one of the most remarkable figures from Classical Athens, both for his life and his writing. • He was a hero for his military adventures, an historian, an associate of the philosopher Socrates, a friend of the Spartans, and an inventive author. • His most popular work is the Ἀνάβασις (Anabasis, variously translated as The March Up Country, The Persian Expedition, etc). In 399 BC, a group of Greek mercenaries (known as the Ten Thousand) were trapped deep in the enemy territory of the Persian Empire. Under Xenophon’s leadership, they managed to escape and find their way back to Greece. The Anabasis is Xenophon’s own account of their adventures. Ancient Greek for Everyone • Having just made an uneasy alliance with Seuthes II, King of Thrace, the Greeks prepare for the night: ὥρα νυκτοφύλακας καθιστάναι καὶ σύνθημα παραδιδόναι. Xenophon Anabasis 7.3.34 σύνθημα –ατος τό password νυκτοφύλαξ -ακος ὁ night watchman ὥρα (ἐστίν) (fem. nom. sg.) hour Ancient Greek for Everyone • Xenophon’s Ἑλληνικά (which means little more than “Greek things”) chronicles Greek history from 411 to 362 BC, a turbulent period of struggles among the city-states of Athens, Sparta, Thebes and others. • A native Athenian, Xenophon spent much of his life in exile from the city and wrote prolifically in his retirement. His Hellenica is the most important historical source for these fifty years, including Athens’ darkest hour, when it was conquered by the Spartans and ruled by a group known as Thirty Tyrants, whose rule was so harsh that even the Spartans shortly withdrew their support and allowed Athens to regain its democracy. Ancient Greek for Everyone Robert B. Strassler, ed. The Landmark Xenophon’s Hellenika. John Marincola, trans. New York: Pantheon, 2009. Ancient Greek for Everyone • Critias, leader of the Thirty Tyrants, renders verdict, to his fellow tyrants, on a controversial figure named Theramenes: Παραδίδομεν ὑμῖν, ἔφη, Θηραμένην... Xenophon Hellenica 7.3.2 ἔφη “he said” Θηραμένην (masc. acc. sg.) Theramenes ὑμῖν (dat. pl.) y’all Ancient Greek for Everyone • Euphron, tyrant of the city of Sicyon, who suddenly wanted the Spartans on his side: παραδίδωσι τὸν λιμένα τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις. Xenophon Hellenica 7.3.2 Λακεδαιμονίοις (masc. dat. pl.) Spartan λιμήν –ένος ὁ harbor Ancient Greek for Everyone • Xenophon’s longest and arguably most sophisticated work is the Education of Cyrus (Κύρου Παιδεία). • The Cyropaedia tells the life of Cyrus the Great (died 530 BC), the king who built the mighty Persian empire in the sixth century BC. Although Xenophon is also the first author we know of to write a biography, this is more a work of historical fiction suffused with philosophy. The idea of historical prose fiction itself is remarkable, as the novel would not become a literary genre until more than a century later. Ancient Greek for Everyone • The young Cyrus visits his grandfather Astyages, the king of Media, who asks Cyrus to stay with him and makes lavish offers to him: ἔπειτα τά τε νῦν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ θηρία δίδωμί σοι Cyropaedia 1.3.14 ἐν in νῦν now ἔπειτα then, next παραδείσῳ (masc. dat. sg.) garden θηρία (neut. nom./acc. pl.) animal, beast σοι (dat. sg.) you Persia Media The Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great Ancient Greek for Everyone • Old and near death, Cyrus tells his son Tanaoxares his share of the empire: σοὶ δ’, ὦ Ταναοξάρη, σατράπην εἶναι δίδωμι Μήδων τε καὶ Ἀρμενίων καὶ τρίτων Καδουσίων. Cyropaedia 8.7.11 Ἀρμενίων (masc. gen. pl.) Armenian Καδουσίων (masc. gen. pl.) Cadusian σοι (dat. sg.) you Μήδων (masc. gen. pl.) Mede Ταναοξάρη Tanaoxares σατράπην (masc. acc. sg.) τρίτων (gen. pl.) third Persian word for “governor” ὦ “O!” (used when calling out a name) Armenia Media The Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great Ancient Greek for Everyone • Plato (429-347 BC) is the earliest philosopher whose works survive in more than a few fragments, and the American philosopher Alfred North Whitehead famously said, “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” (Process and Reality, p. 39). • In his youth, reportedly, Plato wanted to be a playwright, and most of his philosophical writings take the form of scripts of plays (“dialogues”). • One of these dialogues (titled Cratylus for one of the characters) explores how, or whether, words, especially nouns, correspond to that to which they refer. Ancient Greek for Everyone • Early in the dialogue, Socrates asks one of his colleagues, Hermogenes, if he can answer this question: Σωκράτης ...τίς παραδίδωσιν ἡμῖν τὰ ὀνόματα οἷς χρώμεθα; (10) Ἑρμογένης οὐ δῆτα. Plato Cratylus 388d9 δῆτα (emphasizes preceding word) τίς (nom. sg.) who? ἡμῖν (dat. pl.) us οἷς χρώμεθα “which we use” Ancient Greek for Everyone • Plato’s Republic is one of his longer and more complex works, synthesizing a number of his ideas about ethics, politics, and cosmology. • Like most of Plato’s writings, it takes the form of a dramatic conversation led by the charismatic and controversial Socrates. Socrates and a number of his followers have met up at the home of Cephalus, an old man from Syracuse (on the island of Sicily). • Early in the conversation, Socrates asks Cephalus (who made his money with a shield factory) what he considers the greatest benefit of wealth. Cephalus replies that wealth can strengthen virtue in a good man. Ancient Greek for Everyone • In his answer to Socrates, Cephalus quotes the choral composer Pindar, who said that for someone who has done nothing wrong: ἡδεῖα ἐλπὶς ἀεὶ πάρεστι. Plato Republic 331a2 ἀεί always ἡδεῖα (fem. nom. sg.) sweet Ancient Greek for Everyone • Aristotle (384-322 BC) was a student of Plato’s for twenty years. Although Aristotle is best known now as a philosopher, he was first a biologist. His method of analyzing the parts, movements and function of animal parts is the foundational method of his philosophy. • His writings include the earliest complete biological works to survive, although he is already reacting against earlier scientists whose work is known only in fragments at best. • The Περὶ τὰ ζῷα ἱστορίαι is traditionally called the Historia Animalium in Latin or the History of Animals in English, but is more accurately translated Research about Animals. It is a collection of biological information about a wide range of animals. Ancient Greek for Everyone • Of cicadas, Aristotle says that if someone startles them: ἀφιᾶσιν ὑγρὸν οἷον ὕδωρ Aristotle History of Animals 5.30.556b15 οἷον like ὑγρόν (neut. nom./acc. sg.) something moist Ancient Greek for Everyone • Of goats, Aristotle reports that, because the animals are so frisky,: αἰγῶν δ’ ἡγεμόνα οὐ καθιστᾶσιν οἱ νομεῖς Aristotle History of Animals 6.19.574a10 αἴξ, αἰγός ὁ, ἡ goat νομεῖς (masc. nom. pl.) herder Ancient Greek for Everyone • Of oxen, by contrast, Aristotle says: καθιστᾶσι τῶν βοῶν ἡγεμόνας ὥσπερ τῶν προβάτων Aristotle History of Animals 6.21.575b1 πρόβατα -ων τά flock (of sheep) βοῶν ὁ (gen. pl.) bull, ox; ἡ cow ὥσπερ just as Ancient Greek for Everyone • Among Aristotle’s many influential writings is his Rhetoric, the oldest surviving summation of the topic and the starting point for what we more often call Speech Communication today. • The work includes some brief theorizing about persuasion, but most of it catalogues techniques orators use to make their speeches convincing. Ancient Greek for Everyone • One technique is to universalize a result, and he includes this example: διδόναι γῆν καὶ ὕδωρ δουλεύειν ἐστίν. Rhetoric 2.23.1399b12 Note: “giving water and earth” is a standard term for making an alliance, referring to a ritual used to formalize the agreement. γῆν (fem. acc. sg.) earth δουλεύειν (pres. inf. act.) be a slave Ancient Greek for Everyone • Next • Unit 4 Biblical reading. – Be able to: • read the sentences aloud • parse each verb and noun (with article where it appears) • translate the sentences into English.
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