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Ancient Greek Courses for Linguistics

Semester 03

ΓΦΑ05   Archaic Epic Poetry (excluding Homer)

Introduction to archaic Greek epic: the Homeric poems and the epic cycle, the Homeric Hymns, the Battle of Frogs and Mice and the Margites, Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days (form and content; their relation to Homer and their influence on posterity). Selective passages to be studied include the encounter between Hesiod and the Muses, the fall of Uranus and ascend of Cronus, Prometheus and fire, Pandora’s jar.

The archaic epic poetry of Cyprus. Study and interpretation of select texts (Euclus, the Cypria, Hegesinus, Homeric Hymns Τo Aphrodite).

ΓΦΑ06    Archaic Lyric Poetry

Introduction to the Ancient Greek Lyric Poetry:  origins, history, poetics, special terminology, ideology, musical instruments, meter. Study and interpretation of selected passages from Archaic Greek Lyric (elegiac, iambic, choral and melic poetry), from the work of the leading representatives (Archilochus, Semonides, Tyrtaios, Mimnermus, Solon, Theognis, as wells Alcman, Alcaeus, Sappho, Simonides, Pindar, Anacreon). 

Semester 04

ΓΦΑ07 Homer [Introduction to Homeric Poetry – Interpretation of selected verses from the Iliad]:

Introduction to the Homeric epics (origins, historical circumstances, religion, ideology, language, poetics, transmission of the text, the Homeric Question, etc.). Introduction to the Iliad (plot, structure, narrative issues). The cycle of Troy and Iliad’s place – Achilles’ menis and the heroic kleos. Analysis of extensive parts of rhapsodies 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 16, 19, 22, 24.

Semester 05

ΓΦΑ09   Euripides

Euripides´ life, his works and his place in the development of tragedy. Euripides and the Peloponnesian war. Experimenting with dramaturgy (tragicomedies, inventive employment of traditional myth, innovations with form). Euripides and the sophists. Euripides and Religion. Detailed study of a play by Euripides. Origins, historical development, and typical features of the genre (dramatis personae, motives, techniques). Linguistic, stylistic and literary analysis of the play. Comparison to the dramaturgy and language of Aeschylus and Sophocles.

Semester 06

ΓΦΑ11 -  Seminar on Ancient Greek Literature [Introduction to scholarly research; detailed study of specialized topics]

Students choose to attend one seminar from a list of at least ten seminars which cover a variety of topics depending on the interests of the individual instructor.
Currently offered seminars cover the following topics:

a. Epos and epyllion in the Late Antiquity

b. Political Thought and Philosophy in Ancient Greece

c. Laughter in Ancient Lyric poetry

d. Philosophy and Science in Ancient Greece

e. The dramaturgy of Euripides

f. Folktales and popular narratives in the ancient world

g. Popular literary novels in the Late Antiquity

h. Attic family law

i. Ancient Greek games and their connection to magic

j. Studies in the Text of Isaios.

k. Public and Private Life in Ancient Greek literature


ΓΦΑ13   Literature of the Late Antiquity

The course focuses on the prose genres that are considered distinct of the culture of the Late Antiquity, specifically biography and the novel. In recent years, students have studied Plutarch’s Lives, especially the Life of Alexander (in comparison with the Alexander Romance) and the Life of Caesar, and have explored the language, the style and the ideology of Plutarch’s biographical prose; or the Greek novel, specifically Longus’ Daphnis and Chloe, and discussed the emergence of popular literature and amatory prose. The course offers also a thorough introduction to the study of narratology and narrative techniques, and their application to ancient narratives.


ΓΦΑ12  Attic Comedy

Introduction to Attic Comedy. Origins, historical context, and conditions of production and performance of the Athenian comic theatre in the 5th century BC. Structure, themes and main representatives of Old Comedy. Aristophanes’ life, his works, his career, and his place in the development of the genre. Theater in 5th c. Athens: collaborations and rivalries among dramaturges; tradition and innovation. Topics of Old Comedy: political satire and the fantastic, war and peace, philosophy and intellectual life, tragedy and parody, everyday life in Classical Athens.

Detailed study of a play by Aristophanes. The historical background of the play, its paratragic dimension, and its political ramifications. Running literary commentary and interpretation of the text.

Semester 07

ΓΦΑ15: Hellenistic Poetry [Introduction. Interpretation of Representative Texts]

Introduction to Hellenistic poetry. The political, social and intellectual preconditions of the poetic production mainly of the third century B.C. Themes, techniques and aims of the Hellenistic poets as deriving from their innovative poetics. Callimachus´ life, his literary output, and its main characteristics. Introduction to the poet´s hymns and to their religious, political and literary background. Detailed analysis of each hymn, either in part or in full.

ΓΦΑ16    Thucydides [Introduction. Interpretation of Select Texts]

General introduction to Thucydides. Biographical information, an overview of the history of Classical Athens in the aftermath of the Persian wars, the rise of Athens, the Peloponnesian war, and their influence on the formation of Thucydides as a historian of Classical Athens. Study of narrative structure and narrative techniques; particular emphasis on the speeches in first person (δημηγορίαι). Thucydides’ approach to history and his assessment as a historian rather than a historiographer. Translation and interpretive commentary on selected sections from all eight books of Thucydides’ work.

Semester 08

ΓΦΑ17 : Aeschylus

Introduction to Aeschylus and Interpretation of an Aeschylean tragedy. Detailed commentary of the text and analysis of the various issues and problems raised in the play (the place of the play in the trilogy, special issues to the play, Aeschylean drama and Athenian Democracy after the Persian Wars, etc.). Recent courses have examined the Eumenides, the Seven Against Thebes and the Suppliants

ΓΦΑ18: Greek Rhetoric of the Late Antiquity

Examines the rhetorical texts and authors of the Second Sophistic Movement (Livanius, Dio Chrysostom, Aelius Aristides, etc.), and explores the distinct aspects of the genre in the particular era, especially the employment of elaborate figures of speech and professional articulation of argumentation. 

ΓΦΑ19- Aristotle 

Study of Aristotle’s Poetics, on the basis of close readings and analysis of the text (both from a philological and a philosophical perspective) and through criticism of landmark modern and contemporary interpretations. In the Poetics, Aristotle examines epic and tragedy by employing the same principles he had already applied to the study of biology and political science: he splits a body into sections, identifies its basic components, and examines the ways in which these sections work together most effectively. Finally he ranks these sections in order of importance.

The Poetics is studied in the broader context of literary theory. Special emphasis is paid on Plato’s views about art, since Aristotle fashions his ideas on the very issue as a reaction and refutation to the stance of his teacher.