You love the classics. Isn't it time to learn their languages?
Starting Fall 2022, Symposium Great Books Institute is pleased to offer opportunities to study ancient Greek. And starting January 2023, look out for Latin! These courses are designed for readers and lovers of learning. Subscribe to our newsletter below to stay updated!
“My favorite thing about this course in Homeric Greek is being able to tackle the challenge in a “no-threat/no fear” environment. This was my first attempt at an ancient language. It was intimidating but David Saussy set just the right setting for learning – positive, supportive, and collaborative. We learned together – the ones with Greek experience or language aptitude cheerfully helped those of us who struggled. Even as I struggled there was never a moment where I felt like I didn’t belong because we all belonged no matter our skill level. As long as you didn’t leave the battlefield, no Homeric Greek Warriors were left behind!” –Dawn S.
Beginning Homeric Greek I
Instructor: David Saussy
Who is this course for?
- Absolute Beginners: folks who have never studied a lick of Greek before.
- The Curious Reader: Beginners who love Ancient Greek epic poetry of Homer and the Greeks in general, and who would like to get a taste of Greek, and (to mix metaphors) spend time looking under the hood at the language, to see how it works. This course alone might give these individuals satisfaction of having seen for themselves how ancient Greek works, but will not necessarily continue on to the next level.
- The Refresher: Individuals with some prior experience in Greek, but who want a refresher course.
- The Lifer: Those who are either tasters or refreshers, but who decide they would like to develop their Greek reading skills beyond the beginning stages, and beyond Homer; for those who are looking to develop their competency as far as they are able, for many years to come.
- All are welcome! No matter what political persuasion, ethnicity, gender, or age – those of us late in life, as well as younger – are all welcome.
What this course is NOT:
- This course is not an academic course. No grade will be given.
- This is not a lecture course, but a collaborative pursuit: Folks should expect to practice skills, work hard together, and develop Greek reading know-how. Being built for readers, this is not a course where one is given all sorts of scholarly information about the Greek language extraneous to the main task of getting reading as soon as possible.
Duration: August 28th 2022- May 7th 2023 (Fall/Winter/Spring)
Days/Times: Sundays, 6pm-8pm Central (7-9pm EST) (Generally, every other Sunday evening) – 17 Total 2 Hour Sessions
Text: Clyde Pharr, 4th Edition.
+ Voluntary “Study Halls” on off-weeks supported.
+ Private Forum for course.
+ 24-7 Access to Instructor through Private Forum messaging and other means.
+ Make-up lessons available
+ Class schedule calendar for planning ahead
+ Holiday break between Fall and Winter/Spring, 1 month
Regular Course Tuition: $600
Option 1: One payment of $600
Option 2: $300 X 2 months.
Are you a subscriber of Symposium’s Slow Reading Program? Inquire about discounts on the regular tuition for this and other language courses. Plus: we offer Senior, Student + Teacher, and Veteran discounts. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Thank you for a great class, I never thought I’d be learning Greek! Introduction to Homeric Greek has been ideal for me as an adult beginner of Greek. The seminars with Mr. Saussy – and the study halls – provided structure and added help, but also accountability and something to look forward too. Translating the Iliad adds motivation as the text is not a mere exercise, but a Western masterpiece. I highly recommend this course.” -Erik B
Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεὰ, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ἔθηκεν,
πολλὰς δ᾽ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε δαῖτα, Διὸς δ᾽ ἐτελείετο βουλή,
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε
Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.
The Rage – Sing, Goddess! – of Achilleus Son of Peleus
The Accursed rage, which caused countless sufferings upon the Achaians,
Hurling into Hades high-born souls
Of heroes, and made of them feasts for dogs
And for birds banquets, thus the will of Zeus was accomplished;
(Sing) from the beginning how from the first these two came together in strife,
The Son of Atreus, king of men, and godlike Achilleus…
The Iliad, Open lines 1-7
Learning Ancient Greek – or any other language – is like learning to play a musical instrument or learning how to draw or learning any other skill – it takes practice. A little bit of focused work regularly is what counts – whatever regular means to you – everyday, every other day or some other regular pattern. If you can set aside at least 10 minutes most days, you too can learn to read ancient Greek.
Our intention is that this course of study – and other opportunities like advanced courses and translation groups – is empowering for you and complements the conversation seminars you participate in and your own private reading. We want to do more than just offer courses, but help to build and support a community around the love of learning ancient languages like Greek.
Why Homeric Greek?
There is perhaps no finer way to begin learning ancient Greek than with the work of Homer, in particular, Book 1 of the Iliad. The familiarity you develop with Homeric Greek can easily be applied to later Attic Greek (Sophocles and Plato etc) and Koine Greek (New Testament).
What’s our approach?
This is a conversational reader’s course. We make use of Clyde Pharr’s text, 4th edition (Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners Fourth Edition, ISBN-13: 978-0806141640) the purpose of which is to get us immersed in the world and thought of Book 1 of the Iliad in the original language as soon as possible. During each two hour session, we will work together through the material, sharing translations, raising and answering questions. The instructor is always on call to answer questions and to help beginners advance in their learning; but at the same time, we want to stress the collaborative character of learning in our language studies.
Fall 2022, we will offer one Homeric Greek course: Beginning Homer Greek. If there is a critical mass of folks in 2023, we will continue forward to the next level.
The course will meet generally every two weeks on regular days/evening times. Study Groups voluntarily scheduled on off weeks have been found to be useful by current students, and are encouraged to help support collegiality in the effort of learning this ancient language. Students have daily/weekly access to instructor by means of a private forum for any questions or problems that arise. Make-up lessons are offered in the event that students miss any regularly scheduled sessions. No refunds on payments rendered, but credit is offered for students who wish to try again the following year. Discount on regular cost available for subscribers of Slow Reading Program.