Classical Studies
GRE 8-103-2013

Beginning Ancient Greek III


Commentary Assignment

Opening of Iliad 10
The opening Homer's Iliad, Book 10, a page from “Venetus A,” a 10th-century manuscript that is the oldest complete text of the Iliad known to be in existence

The Process

  • Stage One: Choose an author. Explore at least three authors and six texts. Then in one or two pages, summarize the salient details about each author and text and explain what you like about each. Then explain why you chose the author you did. Due: first Thursday.
  • Stage Two: Choose a passage. After reading through the text you have chosen, submit a brief explanation why you have chosen the passage along with a photocopy of the text. Due: second Monday.
  • Stage Three: bibliography. Submit a bibliography of the commentaries, articles, and books that will help you elucidate the passage (roughly 5-7 items). The bibliography should include reference works, commentaries on your text, books about your author or genre, and articles about the passage or topic you are commenting on. Due: second Tuesday
  • Stage Four: text, translation, and line-by-line commentary completed. I prefer a copy of the Loeb text to be turned in with the translation and commentary. Due: third Monday.
  • Stage Five: complete project submitted: introduction, text, translation, commentary, appreciation/interpretation, and final bibliography. Due third Wednesday
  • Stage Six: Reading selections from the class anthology. Last week of the course.

What to include:

The basic idea is that this commentary will be useful to other students in the class if they want to read the passage, too. It should fall into five parts:

  1. a general introduction (1-2 pages), including but not limited to some brief biographical background on the author, background on the genre (e.g. biography, history, lyric, etc.), its context within the entire work, meter (if poetry), and any other general knowledge that is important for understanding the passage.
  2. a copy of the text on a single page (with line numbers added if not already included). There is no need to type out the text. In fact, it is better to make a copy, cutting and pasting, so that typos and errors are not introduced into your text.
  3. your own translation (demonstrating your understanding of the Greek).
  4. a line by line commentary providing glosses for new vocabulary and explanations of unusual grammar, cultural references, allusions, historical references, mythology, etc. Please gloss any word not in Athenaze, Chapters 1-28, or unusual forms of words that we have covered. In addition, please include the dictionary form of the word glossed, e.g., apokrithe, aorist passive of apokrinomai. New Testament writers regularly use the aorist passive of this verb instead of the middle, which is more common in the classical Attic dialect.
  5. a one or two page appreciation/synthesis/interpretation of the passage from a literary, scientific, or historical point of view.
    • Questions you might answer in part 5: how does an understanding of the Greek enrich your appreciation of the passage (i.e. nuances in meaning, plays on words, use of tenses, use of voice)? What stylistic choices does the author make (e.g. vocabulary, constructions, subordination)? What imagery or themes are evident in the passage? How does the passage fit into the rest of the work in terms of characterization, plot, mood, etc.? Is it representative or unusual?

Here are directions for typing Greek using Antioch (Antioch is PC compatible software written in unicode that allows you to toggle between Greek and Roman characters, plus add accents and breathing marks). You can find Antioch loaded onto the middle ten machines in the Humanities Lab (College 102).

 

List of Authors

Listed below are some of the authors that you may choose from in selecting your passage. Most can be found on-line in Perseus Table of Contents or in paper form in the Loeb Classical Library, green bound volumes in the 880's.

Perseus includes the texts of many of the authors listed above in both Greek and English as well as an on-line Greek-English Lexicon and Morphological Analysis Tool. It also includes maps, plans, and images of Greek art, artifacts, and archaeological sites.

Commentaries and other works in printed form concerning these authors can be found through Cole On-Line. I would be happy to assist you in finding material on these authors.

Click here for a list of Greek authors and up-to-date links to information about them (an asterisk* denotes most accesible authors)

Places to look to find an author and text

  • Beye, Charles Rowan. Ancient Greek Literature and Society. Cornell 1987. 880.9 B468an (on reserve)
  • Grant, Michael, ed. Greek and Latin Authors, 800 B.C.-A.D.1000: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1980. Ref 880.9 G767g
  • Hadas, Moses. History of Greek Literature. New York: Columbia, 1950. 880.9 H11h
  • Howatson, M.C., ed. Oxford Companion to Classical Literature. Oxford: Oxford, 1989. Ref 880.9 H837o 1989
  • Lefkowitz, Mary R., and Maureen B. Fant. Women's Life in Greece and Rome. A Sourcebook in Translation. 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1992. Greek and Roman documents.  305.420945 W842 1992
  • Rose, H.J. A Handbook of Greek Literature from Homer to the Age of Lucian. London: Mutheun, 1956. 880.9 R72h 1956.
  • Snyder, Jane M. The Woman and the Lyre: Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome. Carbondale: Southern Illinois, 1989.  880.99287 Sn92wo
  • Taplin, Oliver, ed. Literature in the Greek World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Reference Works on the Ancient Greek World

  • Boardman, John, et al. The Oxford History of the Classical World. Oxford: Clarendon, 1986. Political, as well as social, cultural, and literary history.  938 Ox2
  • Bonnefoy, Yves, and Wendy Doniger, eds. Mythologies. 2 Vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.  Ref 291.13 M999
  • Easterling, P.E. and B.M.W. Knox, eds. The Cambridge History of Classical Literature. Vol. 1: Greek Literature. Cambridge, 1985.
  • Grant, Michael, ed. Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean: Greece and Rome. 3 vols. Riverside, NJ: Scribner's, 1988. Covers all aspects of the ancient world with short, authoritative articles.  Ref 938 C499
  • **Hornblower, Simon, and Antony Spawforth, eds. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3rd ed. Oxford, 1996. Brief, authoritative entries on nearly every aspect of the ancient world.  Ref 913.38 Ox2 1996
  • Leach, Maria, ed. Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1949. Excellent; not limited to Greco-Roman world. Ref 398 F6
  • Lefkowitz, Mary R., and Maureen B. Fant. Women's Life in Greece and Rome. A Sourcebook in Translation. 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1992. Greek and Roman documents.  305.420945 W842 1992
  • **Luce, T.J., ed. Ancient Writers: Greece and Rome, 2 vol. New York: Scribners, 1982. Includes biography of and criticism on most ancient authors, and a good starting bibliography.  Ref 928.8 An22
  • Morford, Mark, and Robert Lenardon. Classical Mythology. 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 1985. Useful compilation of material on each of the major gods and heroes of the Greco-Roman world. 292 M819c
  • Smyth, Herbert Weir. Greek Grammar. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1956. 485 Sm9g
  • Snyder, Jane M. The Woman and the Lyre: Women Writers in Classical Greece and Rome. Carbondale: Southern Illinois, 1989.  880.99287 Sn92wo
  • Taplin, Oliver, ed. Literature in the Greek World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

 



Maintained by: classical_studies@cornellcollege.edu Last Update: April 12, 2013 3:09 pm

Professor David Carlisle
GRE 8-103-2013
Introduction to Greek Literature

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