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Ask me about Ancient Greek and Latin

Discussion in 'Research' started by Cursive, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Cursive

    Cursive Scribe

    Hello all,

    I'm new to the forums but I'd like to contribute what I can. I've recently graduated with a BA in Ancient Greek and Latin and wouldn't mind fielding any questions about the languages or most anything else. I try to read works in Greek whenever I can, but I keep a busy schedule so I don't always find the time to keep up with it. I figure answering questions here would give me one more reason to crack that grammar open and as a bonus I'd get to help someone here out.

    All the best!
  2. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Auror

    I'll start by saying its awesome to have you here, as a great lover of Classical Greece and Hellenistic history. Welcome to the forums!
  3. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator


    What's the best way to learn ancient Greek? I've been trying unsuccessfully to teach myself with a Loeb (Xenophon's Oeconomicus), a dictionary and a grammar book (figured I'd pick it up as I tried to translate) but I've been struggling. Is there a coursebook or webpage that you could recommend?
  4. Cursive

    Cursive Scribe

    Thanks for the welcome. I'm glad to see the replies. Chilari I haven't read much Xenophon and what I do remember reading was on the more difficult side because of the way he writes history. I'm not familiar with Oeconomicus but I'm not opposed to helping you with any sections that are giving you trouble. Your Loeb should have section numbers or something similar, if you tell me what those are I can look up that segment. Perseus.tufts.edu has a great website that will give you definitions for every word but unless you know and can recognize the grammar bits it won't be much help.

    I learned Greek with a book called Athenaze by Maurice Balme. Worth every penny. It teaches you the grammar and gives you a paragraph or two of a story that progresses from chapter to chapter, so you learn to read by actually reading. It is by far the best way to learn this and any other language. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you buy it, make sure you get the text book and not the workbook, which only has exercises in it. It's two books total to learn all the grammar, but I think its one of the better books available.

    Again I'd be more than happy to help you in any way that I can. PM or email me if you like. I've just started tutoring someone that I met on Craigslist and it would be great to build a small group of people to talk about and learn Greek with.

    All the best.
    Chilari likes this.
  5. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    That sounds awesome. I'm taking courses on Biblical/Koiné Greek in college; do you know if it's much different than the Greek you're learning?
  6. Cursive

    Cursive Scribe

    Ireth, Koine is not much different than whats generally considered "ancient" Greek. Koine it what the language evolved into as more people of non-Greek origins began to speak it during the Hellenistic Period, from 300 BC onward. Its different enough that they teach classes separately, most of the difference for Biblical Greek stem from the authors of the New Testament using Greek words in different, Christian contexts. Very interesting stuff. If you've learned one you shouldn't have a problem reading/learning the other.

    Good luck with your class. I miss my Greek classes more than anything.
    Ireth likes this.
  7. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    I took a stab at writing a family motto (humurous) in Latin and came up with this:

    In Calamitas Horrendus, In Victoria Magis Horrendus.

    Basically I was going for: In defeat horrible, in victory worse! Or put another way, sore losers and worse winners.

    Does this work?

    Cheers, Greg.
  8. Cursive

    Cursive Scribe

    It should say: cum victae horrendae, horrendior si vicant

    When defeated: horrible, horribler if they win!

    Horribler is a joke, but thats how I'd translate it. I'll be thinking about this all day now that its in my head. Expect another translation, haha.
  9. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

    I just got to say, it's great to have another ancient language person on the board.
  10. RDelaval

    RDelaval Acolyte

    I'm new to the forums and happy to find someone with a knowledge of ancient Greek. I have a question for you. My WIP takes place largely in the Underworld, but some scenes take place in Attica and Boeotia. It is set in 760 BCE. I've come across several terms for a queen: Anassa, Basilis, Basilinna. I know Anassa is the oldest term of the three, but I've seen the other two used interchangeably. Was there a specific reason why one would be used over the other - linguistic, dialectic, or geographical? Would Basilis or Basilinna have been used in the Archaic Era or are they purely the products of the Classical?

    Any info or suggested resources would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  11. Mtsky112

    Mtsky112 Acolyte

    In one of my writings I have a character that is born in Greece in the late 1400's. I know this isn't truly ancient but would you by chance know how outsiders would fit into the culture at this time, say an immigrant family that doesn't know the language?
  12. Cursive

    Cursive Scribe


    This is a link to a map of Greece from around that time. The most important thing to note is that not much of it is labelled as Greece. Most of it is ottoman empire and most of the rest is Venitian. The area was always a hotbed of cultural exchange and Greek was the lingua Franca for centuries. I don't know exactly how much that changed in between classic and medieval/prerenaissance Greece. There's some speculation that Christopher Columbus might have been a Greek but was thought to be Italian because of the Italian influence in the region. It's definitely an interesting time period. Whether or not your character would know Greek should depend on where they are coming from and how wealthy they are. Greek died in western Europe before the Renaissance but continue to be used in Asia minor in Egypt and Persia.

    You should definitely do some research, there was alot going on at that time, and I know nothing about the ottoman empire that would be helpful.
  13. Filk

    Filk Troubadour

    Hey there Cursive! I have recently started to teach myself Latin. I am using Unit 1 of Cambridge Latin Course and am somewhat disappointed with it, but at least it is a start. Do you have any recommended learning books/materials you would suggest I pick up? Any pitfalls I should look out for? Thanks a bunch for your time.
  14. Cursive

    Cursive Scribe

    I don't know as much about Latin textbooks, but I used Wheelock's. It's a gigantic book but gets the job done. Perhaps if you explained what was diappointing about Cambridge I could help a bit more.

    I don't think there are any pitfalls. Latin is pretty straight forward, it just takes diligence and memorization of verb and noun forms. Practice and Practice until you can quickly recognize verbs and nouns and adjectives and how they are working in the sentence. Latin is more about learning grammar than words, the entirety of Latin vocabulary is not that impressive. Focus on the grammar and you should be fine.

    The great thing about latin is that it uses letters that we use too so its easy to type out latin here in the forum. Feel free to contact me in this thread or pm me for my personal email if you want. I'm always happy to help.
    Filk likes this.
  15. MongrelChuck

    MongrelChuck Scribe

    I'm working on a story that includes the Latin phrase "Obliti Sunt Recordati Sumus". From my research this comes out to "They forgot, we remember", but I would like to verify before I make a "Bite The Wax Tadpole" level mistake in my story.

    Is there any good source for checking on translations that provides for changes in Latin over time? I understand that Church Latin has some definite differences from the Latin of the Empire, but would I have to worry about variance within a century? A decade?

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