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Ancient Greek for Everyone: A New Digital Resource for Beginning Greek Units 3 part 3: Neuter Nouns Classical Reading. 2013 edition Wilfred E. Major Ancient Greek for Everyone. This class Unit 3 Classical reading. Be able to: read the sentences aloud

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Ancient Greek for Everyone:A New Digital Resource for Beginning Greek Units 3 part 3: Neuter NounsClassical Reading

2013 edition

Wilfred E. Major

ancient greek for everyone
Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • This class
    • Unit 3 Classical 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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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • All the sentences here come from Classical Athenian Greek writings from the fifth and fourth centuries BC. They are unchanged, except where … indicates a short omission.
  • There are brief introductions the first time that an author is quoted and information that provides context for the quotation.
  • At the bottom of each slide are vocabulary entries and notes. These supply vocabulary and information for any words that have not yet appeared in the required vocabulary.
ancient greek for everyone2
Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • Euripides wrote many turbulent tragedies and is reported to have lived a comparably turbulent life. During his career, he seems to have generated controversy with his plays, an artist both captivating and disturbing.
  • Among his more controversial plays was Hippolytus. It involves the family life of the mythological hero and king of Athens, Theseus. In it, Theseus’ wife, Phaedra, falls in love with Hippolytus, Theseus’ son from an earlier relationship. The way Euripides handled Phaedra’s passion for her stepson was apparently too much for the play’s original audience in 428 BC and Euripides had to revise the play. Only the revised version survives today.
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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • In the surviving version of the play, Phaedra has fallen in love with Hippolytus, but Hippolytus himself hates all women.
  • When Phaedra reveals her love to Hippolytus, he rejects her completely, but swears never to reveal what she has said.
  • Phaedra commits suicide, but leaves a note claiming that Hippolytus had tried to seduce her.
  • When Theseus finds Phaedra’s body and the note, he flies into a rage against Hippolytus, who maintains his innocence but cannot violate his oath.
  • Theseus exiles his son and orders him killed. At the end of the play, Hippolytus is brought back, nearly dead, and Theseus learns of his error.



Poseidon + Aethra


Theseus + Antiope (Amazon)


+ Phaedra


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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • In the final conversation between father and son, the dying Hippolytus forgives his father for the murder. Theseus replies:

τί φῄς; ἀφίης αἵματός μ’ ἐλεύθερον;

Euripides Hippolytus 1450

μ’ = με (accsg) me

τί what?

ἐλεύθερον(accsg)ὁ free

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • Euripidesalso wrote a tragedy about Hercules.
  • When the play opens, Hercules is away, engaged in his famous Twelve Labors. Back home at Thebes, Hercules’ wife, children and stepfather (Amphitryo) are being terrorized by a usurper named Lycus (whose name means “wolf”).
  • Lycus charges that Hercules is in fact a cowardly fraud, in part because he uses a bow and arrows rather than fighting like a warrior with sword and shield.
  • Amphitryo, of course, defends Hercules and his use of the bow and arrows.
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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • As part of his defense, Amphitryo argues that archers are smarter fighters than hoplites (who use sword and shield), saying that:

τὸ σῶμά τ’ οὐ δίδωσι τοῖς ἐναντίοις.

Euripides Hercules 200

ἐναντίοις(datpl)ὁ opposition

τ‘ = τεand

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • When Euripides died in 406 BC, he left behind several scripts of plays that were never performed during his lifetime.
  • One of these is Iphigenia at Aulis. It is set at Aulis, where the collected forces of Greece are ready to sail to Troy to start the Trojan War.
  • Agamemnon, the leader of the Greeks in the Trojan War, is called upon to sacrifice his oldest daughter to the goddess Artemis so the Greek forces can sail to Troy.
  • The play chronicles the controversy that ensues over whether Agamemnon’s daughter, Iphigenia, should be sacrificed.

Pelops + Hippodamia

Atreus Thyestes

Agamemnon Menelaus Pelopia

+ Clytemnestra + Helen


Iphigenia, Electra, Orestes


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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • When the controversy reaches a crisis, Iphigenia herself says:

...δίδωμι σῶμα τοὐμὸν Ἑλλάδι.

Euripides Iphigenia at Aulis 1397

τοὐμὸν = τὸ ἐμὸν my

Ἑλλάς, -άδος ἡ Greece

ancient greek for everyone9
Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • When Euripides died in 406 BC, he left behind several scripts of plays that were never performed during his lifetime.
  • Another of these is Bacchae. It is set in the distant past in the city of Thebes, at a time when the young god Dionysus is spreading his worship.
  • Dionysus arrives at Thebes and the king of the city, Pentheus, denies the god. Dionysus in turn drives the women of the city into a frenzy (the βάκχαιof the title).
  • Dionysus manipulates Pentheus into dressing as a women and going to watch the activities of the frenzied women. In the ensuing madness, Pentheus’ own mother, Agave, tears her son to pieces and carries his head back to the city as a trophy, although she thinks that she is carrying the head of lion.
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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • Agave gradually learns the truth from her father, Cadmus. After she comes to recognize her son’s head, she asks:

τὸ φίλτατον δὲ σῶμα ποῦ παιδός, πάτερ;

Euripides Bacchae1298

πάτερ father!

ποῦ where?

φίλτατον(nom/accsg) τό very dear, my beloved


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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • In Aristophanes’ comedy Birds, two Athenians, Peisetaerus (whose name means something like “persuasive”) and Euelpides (whose name means something like “hopeful”) go to the land of the birds.
  • They meet the ruler of the birds, who then calls out dozens of other birds. The leader identifies and names many of the birds. For example:

ὄνομα τούτῳ Μῆδός ἐστι.

Aristophanes Birds 1122-23

τούτῳ (datsg)ὁ this

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • In Aristophanes’ last surviving comedy, an honest poor Athenian meets the god of Big Money (Πλοῦτος, usually translated “Wealth”).The poor man has a plan so that good, honest people will get Big Money rather than cheats and crooks.
  • A chorus of grumpy old men have heard about the discovery of Big Money and race to the scene. A clever slave named Cario is standing guard when they arrive.
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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • Cario mocks the chorus for being so old. He declares at one point that they have been sentenced to coffins and that:

ὁ δὲ Χάρων τὸ ξύμβολον δίδωσιν.

Aristophanes Wealth 279

Χάρων, -οντος ὁ Charon

(the ferryman who transports souls to the underworld)


ξύμβολον(nom/accsg) τό ticket

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • In one of Plato’s dialogues, Socrates jokingly refers to a paradox among the Orphics (those who adhered to the sacred writings of Orpheus). They say that we are all now dead and Socrates quotes a standard saying among them:

τὸ …σῶμά ἐστιν ἡμῖν σῆμα.

Plato Gorgias493a

ἡμῖν (datpl) us

σῆμα -ατος τό tomb

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • The actual relationship between words and that to what they refer was a topic of lively debate among intellectuals in ancient Greece. Aristotle here briefly mentions his position on the issue:

τὰ …ὀνόματα μιμήματα ἐστίν.

Aristotle Rhetoric 1404a21

μίμημα -ατος τό imitation

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • Aristotle is alluding to his teacher, Plato, whose dialogue Cratylus explores the problem of language in detail. When Socrates introduces the doctrine of imitation, he gives the example of showing someone their portrait (an imitation of them). Socrates explains that he could next say:

Τουτί ἐστιν σὸν ὄνομα.

ἔστι δέ που καὶ τὸ ὄνομα μίμημα

ὥσπερ τὸ ζωγράφημα.

Plato Cratylus430e


ζωγράφημα -ατος τό painting


μίμημα -ατος τό imitation

που somehow

σον your

τουτί(nom/accsg) τό this here

ὥσπερ just like

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • Aristotle is here discussing what stars are made of. He believes that stars are made up of the same substance as their surroundings. He then mentions that others similarly believe that stars are made up of upper air (ἀήρ), which is fiery, so that:

τὸ ἄνω σῶμα πῦρ εἶναί φασιν.

Aristotle On the Heavens 289a17

ἄνω up

πῦρ, πυρός τό fire

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • Aristotle is discussing the consistency of blood in animals, when he defines a term:

Ἰχὼρ δ’ ἐστὶν ἄπεπτον αἷμα.

Aristotle History of (= Research into) Animals 521b2

ἄπεπτον(nom/accsg) τό uncooked, undigested

δ’ = δέand

ἰχώρ, ἰχῶρος ὁichor

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Ancient Greek for Everyone
  • The Greeks used water clocks to time speeches in the courtroom. This is the last line of a legal speech made by one of a team of prosecutors:

παραδίδωμι τὸ ὕδωρ τοῖς ἄλλοις κατηγόροις.

DinarchusAgainst Demosthenes 4.114

κατηγόροις(datpl) ὁ prosecutor

ὕδωρ, ὕδατος τό water

ἄλλοις(datpl) ὁ other