What you will study
All references to the Greek language in these notes are to classical Greek, not modern Greek.
This module aims to provide a unique insight into Greek language and literature and the rich culture from which they originated. This module looks at the language and literature of classical Greece. It provides an introduction to the basics of classical Greek and allows you to lay solid foundations on which you can later build if you want to go on to read Greek authors in the original. It also develops your knowledge of the culture and literature of the classical era and includes the study, in translation, of three of the era’s most enduring texts: Euripides’ Medea, Aristophanes’ Clouds and Plato’s Defence of Socrates. No previous knowledge of Greek is required. This module is ideal both for students new to the discipline of classical studies and for anyone wishing to expand their knowledge of the rich thought-world of classical Greece.
The structured approach of this module will enable students with a variety of backgrounds to develop an awareness of the cultural and linguistic characteristics of classical Greece. Its specially designed grammar and vocabulary materials make it accessible to people who have not studied an ancient language before. It will also be of particular interest to those who are already taking classical studies modules. It complements other OU level 2 modules, especially Exploring the classical world (A229).
Whilst this module is designed to suit those wishing to cover only the basics of classical Greek, it provides a sound foundation for more language-orientated students wanting to study authors in the original. These authors include Plato, Aristophanes, Euripides, Sophocles, Herodotus and Homer. It also offers a suitable grounding in language if you want to go on to postgraduate work in areas such as classical studies or philosophy. As this module examines the culture and literature of classical Athens, it is ideal preparation for studying OU level 3 modules such as Myth in the Greek and Roman worlds (A330).
The linguistic core is based around the second edition of the textbook Reading Greek where you get to grips with the language by reading passages adapted from Greek authors. This emphasis on reading means that new vocabulary and grammar is always met in context, with the added advantage that while studying the language you gain an important insight into the literature and history of classical Greece. The passages you read are adapted from a number of authors such as Thucydides, Plato, Herodotus and Aristophanes.
The Language Study Guide is specially developed for independent learners. It will help you to understand the structure of Greek in greater depth and develop strategies for reading and understanding the language. It is designed to support all students, regardless of whether or not you have any previous experience of language learning. It offers important guidance in using the Reading Greek texts, helps you to pace your learning effectively and provides support throughout your studies. The Language Study Guide is backed up by another key resource: simple-to-use, interactive, web-based exercises that allow you to consolidate the language learning you have done and hone your knowledge. In addition, there is a Language Reference Book that sets out clearly, for quick reference, all the Greek grammar you'll need for your study.
The Literature Study Guide introduces you to a number of texts that you will read in translation, with special attention given to their authors’ use of language and to key cultural concepts. There are three key works that you'll read. Euripides’ Medea is a tragedy about betrayal and bitter revenge. Aristophanes’ Clouds is a bawdy comedy about Socrates and the changing intellectual climate in Athens in the 420s BCE. The final work is Plato’s Defence of Socrates, which provides a version of the defence speech delivered at Socrates’ trial in 399 BCE. During the module you'll study the Greek theatre and the changing thought world of classical Athens as well as gaining an overview (in translation) of some of the major authors of the classical Greek world.
Short audio lectures are provided that cover various aspects of the history, literature, thought and culture of the Greek world. They will also allow you to hear how classical Greek may have been pronounced using a number of readings from texts you'll encounter in the module. There are also audio and DVD resources that support your study of the texts you read in translation. These include a filmed production of Euripides' Medea and specially recorded versions of Aristophanes' Clouds and Plato's Defence of Socrates.