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Unit information: Greek Language Level B2 in 2015/16

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Unit name Greek Language Level B2
Unit code CLASM0029
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Michelakis
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Classics & Ancient History
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Plato’s Symposium is a literary masterpiece set at a high society dinner in 5th-century Athens. As the wine flows, each member of the party gives a speech on the nature of erōs. We are treated to an intimate glimpse of Athenian super-stars at leisure: the comedian Aristophanes, tragedian Agathon, physician Eryximachus, and of course philosopher Socrates, each present their vision of eros. Socrates’ speech seems to cap a crescendo of interpretations, but just as he finishes, the enfant terrible Alcibiades bursts in and gives his own speech. Dressed like the god of wine himself, he narrates how he could not conform to Socrates’ theory and Socrates could not accept his passions. This conflict is all the more poignant in that Plato sets the dialogue near the time of Alcibiades’ violent death. Socrates himself would be executed not long after. Who was right about erotic love?

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students should:

  • have improved their ability to read and interpret ancient Greek texts, including Homeric Greek
  • have reinforced the capacity to identify, analyse and translate complex Greek syntactical structures which they attained in B1 Greek
  • have acquired a knowledge of scansion and metre, and the ability to scan lines of set text
  • have developed an acquaintance with some current approaches to reading ancient literature
  • have had the opportunity to develop communication skills in both oral and written presentations, discussions and written assignments
  • have improved their skill at using secondary literature, in particular dictionaries and academic commentaries, so as to produce independent interpretations of the texts under study.

Teaching Information

Lectures, Seminars and reading classes

Assessment Information

Modes of assessment for First, Second, Third years and MAs will be as follows:

  • 1 assessment exercise in practical criticism on a chosen piece of text 35-40 lines in length, with guidance questions from unit director. 1,500 – 2,000 words. Weighted at 50%.
  • 1 class test (45 minutes) on sight translation (80% of test mark) and grammatical/syntactical knowledge (20% of test mark), on two pieces of text amounting to a total of 15 lines in length. Use of a dictionary will be allowed in this test. Weighted at 25%.
  • 1 class test (45 minutes) on prepared text translation (10-12 lines, 40% of test mark) and context/interpretation knowledge (60% of test mark), with guidance questions from unit director, on one piece of text 20 lines in length. No reference texts will be allowed in this test. Weighted at 25%.

Reading and References

J.R. Cheadle, 2002. Basic Greek Vocabulary, Nelson

Dover K.J.ed.1980 Plato’s Symposium, Cambridge

Liddell, H. G.and R. Scott. 1963. Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Oxford

Morwood, J. 2001. Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek, Oxford

Set Texts:

Set Greek passages: 700 lines TBA

Students should also read all of Plato’s Symposium in English