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Unit information: Greek Language Level B2 in 2016/17

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Unit name Greek Language Level B2
Unit code CLAS22316
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Lampe
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit develops and reinforces students’ skills in the reading of ancient Greek, and introduces them to the practical criticism of classical texts. The text under study in this unit, Euripides’ Medea, is one of Euripides’ most infamous plays. Awarded last place in the 431 BC City Dionysia and renowned for a particularly controversial dénouement, which sees Medea atop the theatre’s crane in the place usually reserved for the gods, the play has since become one of the most commonly staged Greek tragedies in contemporary theatre. In this course we will interrogate the text, and consider what the Greek can tell us about the play’s controversial features. We will consider the type of commentary that the text may contain about the roles of men and women in society, and how the text aligns the audience with various internal perspectives within the tragedy at different points within its narrative.


  • To develop students’ knowledge of Greek language through the reading of classical Greek verse
  • To introduce students to techniques required to read and study Greek texts independently, including the use of dictionaries and commentaries
  • To introduce students to issues of translation and interpretation of Greek literature, particularly in regards to Euripidean tragedy
  • To develop students’ written communication skills and ability to form coherent, critical arguments about translation through the course assessment

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 Information

Lectures, seminars and reading classes, grammatical instruction classes

Assessment Information

• 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

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

Mastronarde, Donald J. 2002. Euripides: Medea. Cambridge.

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