Skip to main content

Unit information: Greek Language Level B1 in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Greek Language Level B1
Unit code CLAS12315
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lampe
Open unit status Not open




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


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’re 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?

By the end of this unit, you will have:

  • read and understood 400-450 lines of unaltered ancient Greek;
  • corroborated and refined your understanding of Greek morphology, syntax, and usage;
  • expanded your memorization of Greek vocabulary;
  • developed skills in the prepared and at-sight translation of Greek texts;
  • developed sophistication in the philosophy of love, including critical appreciation for the theories put forward throughout this Platonic dialogue.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will have developed and consolidated their knowledge of the Greek language and will have developed their skills of advanced independent reading of Greek texts. They will have acquired knowledge in the use of dictionaries and commentaries, and will be able to relate this knowledge to their understanding and interpretation of a Greek text. In addition, second year students will be expected to have developed more sophisticated analytical skills, as demonstrated in their formal assessments and in their participation in seminar discussions.

Teaching details

Lectures, seminars and reading classes, grammatical instruction classes

Assessment Details

• 1 assessment exercise in practical criticism on a chosen piece of text 35-40 lines in length, with guidance questions from unit director. 2,000 words. Weighted at 50%.

• 1 class test (45 minutes) on grammatical/syntactical knowledge, on two pieces of text amounting to a total of 15 lines in length (50% of test mark each). 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

The following will be used in all Greek units from B1 onwards:

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

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

The following is for use throughout B1 and B2:

Morwood, J. and Anderson, S. 2014. A Little Greek Reader. Oxford

Set text for this unit:

Dover K. J ed. 1980. Plato’s Symposium, Cambridge. (Do *not* get the Aris & Phillips edition of Plato's Symposium edited by C. Rowe!)