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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 CLAS12316
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. D'Costa
Open unit status Not open




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


The aim of this unit is to develop and reinforce students’ skills in the reading of Greek, and to introduce them to the practical criticism of classical texts. The text under study in this unit, Euripides’ Alcestis, is in some ways an untypical ‘tragedy’. Although it deals with an extraordinarily powerful emotional situation, it also includes humour and an ending which, if not exactly ‘happy’, is at least less bleak than seemed likely halfway through the play. The plot turns on the idea that a man is allowed by the gods to avoid death if he can find someone else to die for him. The man is Admetus, and the person who agrees to die for him is his wife Alcestis. But then, enter Heracles, who wrestles with Death and...

Aims: To develop students’ knowledge of the Greek language through the reading of classical Greek verse; to introduce students to techniques of independent reading of Greek, such as use of dictionaries and commentaries; to introduce students to issues of translation and interpretation of Greek literature.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students should:

• have improved their ability to read and interpret ancient Greek texts.

• 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 details

Lectures, seminars and reading 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. 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

Reading and References

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

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

Set Text: Euripides, Alcestis, ed. A.M. Dale (Bristol Classical Press)