Major in Ancient Greek

Students who commenced their degree prior to 2014 should refer to the major requirements in the Faculty Handbook from the year in which you commenced– links to previous handbooks are available here.

About the major

An Ancient Greek major allows you to read, in the original, works of immense cultural and literary significance by the great writers of the ancient Mediterranean world. The study of philosophy, history, drama, lyric, epic, the novel, and oratory begins in Greece, and Greek contributions to world literature are undisputed models of perfection in every later age. Reading the actual words of Homer, Euripides, Plato or the New Testament is an extraordinary and unforgettable experience.

A major in Ancient Greek gives you an advanced ability to read and critically analyse Greek literature. Greek majors study a wide variety of important texts from key periods and genres in the development of this hugely influential literature, gaining an understanding of its themes, preoccupations and complex reflection of Greek (particularly Classical Athenian) culture. Linguistic ability is developed as you progress through a series of units that introduce, practise and then analyse in context Greek morphology and syntax. You may begin either at introductory level, if you have no prior knowledge of Greek, or at intermediate level if you have studied Greek previously to HSC-level (or equivalent). The culmination of the major for all students is in-depth study and nuanced appreciation of works of celebrated Greek authors.

Pathway through the major

There are two pathways through an Ancient Greek major: one if you have not studied Greek to HSC-level (or equivalent), and one if you have. These pathways merge at the intermediate level (GRKA2600).

A major in Ancient Greek requires 36 senior credit points including at least 18 credit points from Language units of study of which 6 must be at 3000 level, and at least 18 credit points from Literature units of study (each unit of study is worth 6 credit points). The Ancient Greek units of study that are on offer in 2014 can be found here.

A complete list of units of study available to the Ancient Greek major can be found here. Please note that this list is for information purposes only and not all units of study will be on offer each year.

The non-HSC stream

Over the course of first year, you acquire the fundamental syntactic and morphological rules of Attic Greek. You will study one unit per semester, and reach a comparable standard of linguistic knowledge at the end of the year to that of students who have studied Greek in secondary school to HSC-level. This means that you will be equipped with most of the basic knowledge and skills that enable you to comprehend texts written in Greek.

You can enter this stream either as a first year student (and complete the junior units coded GRKA1600 and GRKA1601) or as a second or third year student (and complete units coded GRKA2620 and GRKA2621). The latter option allows students who have decided to major in ancient history, classical archaeology, philosophy and other fields to gain the competence in Greek that they need to complete or complement their own studies.

During your second year, you will be in a class with students who have studied Greek to HSC-level. You will complete the core units, GRKA2600 (Intermediate Greek 1) and GRKA2601 (Intermediate Greek 2). In the second semester you also have the option of studying a 3000-level unit (GRKA3601, The Language of the Greek Bible or GRKA3602, Greek Epic). You will meet some more complex syntactical and grammatical concepts, but the main focus of the year will be training you to read and analyse Greek literary texts. You will be introduced to critical terminology and theory, and will begin to explore in depth the literary output of classical Greece.

In third year, you complete a final compulsory unit, GRKA3600 (Advanced Greek), where you receive advanced training in the translation and study of Greek literary texts. You will hone your skills in reading and translation as well as grammatical and stylistic analysis. Regular exercises in composition will further develop mastery and appreciation of literary Greek. You also have the option in second semester of studying a 3000-level unit either on the Language of the Greek Bible (GRKA3601) or Greek Epic (GRKA3602).

To achieve an Ancient Greek major, you need to have completed 36 senior credit points. The units on offer are as follows (compulsory units are in bold):

Sample Pathway - Ancient Greek major (non-HSC stream)
First Year S1 GRKA1600 Introduction to Ancient Greek 1 Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2 GRKA1601 Introduction to Ancient Greek 2 Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1 GRKA2600 Intermediate Greek 1 Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2 GRKA2601 Intermediate Greek 2

GRKA3601 Language of the Greek Bible or

GRKA3602 Greek Epic
Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1 GRKA3600 Advanced Greek

GRKA3603 Greek Oratory and Historiography,

GRKA3604 Greek Philosophical Texts
Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRKA3605 Greek Drama, or

GRKA3606 Classics of Greek Literature

GRKA3601 Language of the Greek Bible or

GRKA3602 Greek Epic
Senior unit Senior unit

The ex-HSC stream

If you have studied Greek to HSC-level, you enter straight into the Intermediate level of Greek study. The core units that you complete in your first year are GRKA2600 (Intermediate Greek 1) and GRKA2601 (Intermediate Greek 2). In the second semester you also have the option of studying a 3000 level unit (GRKA3601 The Language of the Greek Bible, or GRKA3602 Greek Epic). You will spend some time studying complex syntactical and grammatical concepts, but the main focus of the year will be training you to read and analyse Greek literary texts. You will begin to explore in depth the literary output of classical Greece.

In second year, you complete one final compulsory unit, GRKA3600 (Advanced Greek), where you receive advanced training in the analysis of Greek literature. Your reading and translation skills will be honed by weekly language classes and the translation of unseen passages, paying close attention to style and diction, and to literary and narrative technique. Exercises in Greek composition will further deepen your knowledge, mastery and appreciation of literary Greek.

In addition you can choose 3 senior-advanced (3000 level) literary units (one in first and second semester). In the first semester of the year, you can take either Greek Oratory and Historiography (GRKA3603) or Greek Philosophical Texts (GRKA3604). In the second semester, you can take either Greek Epic (GRKA 3602) or Language of the Greek Bible (GRKA 3601) and Greek Drama (GRKA3605) or Classics of Greek Literature (GRKA3606).

In the third year of your Ancient Greek major you can choose from three senior-advanced literary units. In these units, you will read important works of Greek literature and discuss them in detail in class with your fellow students and lecturer, as well as writing a substantial research essay.

Sample pathway below, (compulsory units are in bold):

Sample Pathway - Ancient Greek major (ex-HSC stream), only 36 senior credit points are required
for the major
First Year S1 GRKA2600 Intermediate Greek 1 Junior unit Junior unit Junior unit
S2 GRKA2601 Intermediate Greek 2

GRKA3601 Language of the Greek Bible or

GRKA3602 Greek Epic
Junior unit Junior unit
Second Year S1 GRKA3600 Advanced Greek
and

GRKA3603 Greek Oratory and Historiography,

GRKA3604 Greek Philosophical Texts
Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRKA3605 Greek Drama, or

GRKA3606 Classics of Greek Literature

GRKA3601 Language of the Greek Bible or

GRKA3602 Greek Epic
Senior unit Senior unit
Third Year S1

GRKA3603 Greek Oratory and Historiography,

GRKA3604 Greek Philosophical Texts
Senior unit Senior unit Senior unit
S2

GRKA3605 Greek Drama, or

GRKA3606 Classics of Greek Literature

GRKA3601 Language of the Greek Bible or

GRKA3602 Greek Epic
Senior unit Senior unit