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Ancient languages

The ancient language modules are taught as part of the BA Classics and BA Classical Studies programmes.

Introduction to Ancient Greek

Module Convenor - Dimitra Kokkini

This is a course of Ancient Greek language for complete beginners. Teaching will be based on a combination of grammar and translation, allowing students to understand the inner workings of the language and providing them with the necessary tools to read and translate simple passages. There will be new grammar points to be learned every week, as well as translation practice and simple English into Greek composition.

Textbooks

Reading Greek, Text and Vocabulary (Cambridge University Press, 2007) *NB: this is the latest edition*

Reading Greek, Grammar and Exercises (Cambridge University Press, 2007) *NB: this is the latest edition*

Entry Requirements

This a course for complete beginners. No prior knowledge of Ancient Greek is necessary.

This module is open to anyone with an interest and enthusiasm for the subject. However, all modules are taught at university level, and students must be able to read, write and speak English fluently to benefit from their studies.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will have gained: a firm basis of grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary of the language; sufficient knowledge of the language to be able to approach, read, and translate successfully into English adapted passages of Greek prose; the ability to translate simple sentences from English into Greek.

 

Assessment

The module is aimed at BA, MA and CertHE students, who are all taught in the same group.

Please note that assessment is different for each programme of study.

BA and MA STUDENTS:

One piece of take-home translation in Term 1 (20%).

One 'in-class' test (mode of testing tbc) in Term 2 (20%).

One end-of year examination (60%).

CERTIFICATE STUDENTS

One piece of take-home translation in Term 1 (50%).

One piece of take-home translation in Term 2 (50%).

 

Course Content

(This is a provisional schedule. Changes may occur depending on class progress.)

Week 1: Introduction to Ancient Greek.

The alphabet and pronunciation. Diphthongs, double consonants, accents, and breathings. Grammatical terms, links with English grammar, endings, word order, terminology, translation techniques, etc. Definite article.

Week 2: Text 1A-B (Reading Greek)

Agreement. First/second declension adjectives. Present indicative active verbs in –ω.

Week 3: Text 1C-D (Reading Greek)

Present imperative active verbs in –ω. Conjugation, tense, mood, voice, person and number. Thematic and compound verbs. The vocative. Contract verbs: present indicative and imperative. Rules of contraction.

Week 4: Text 1E-F (Reading Greek)

Adverbs. Second declension masculine and neuter nouns. First/second declension adjectives.

Week 5: Text 1G (Reading Greek)

Prepositions. Particles. Enclitics. μεν and δε. Irregular verbs, present indicative. Complement. Omission of verb ‘to be’ (attributive/predicative position of the adjective). Adjectives as nouns. Particles.

Week 6: Text 2A-B (Reading Greek)

Middle verbs: present indicative and imperative. Contract middle verbs: indicative and imperative. First declension of nouns.

Week 7: Text 2C-D (Reading Greek)

Genitive case. Prepositions with the accusative and the dative. Personal pronoun.

Week 8: Text 3A-B (Reading Greek)

Third declension nouns (consonant stems). Irregular third declension nouns ‘Zeus’ and ‘ship’.

Week 9: Text 3C-E (Reading Greek)

Irregular first/second declension adjectives ‘many’ and ‘great’. Negatives. Idioms. Demonstratives.

Week 10 Third declension neuter nouns (consonant stems). Third declension nouns (vowel stems). Third declension adjectives.

Week 11: Text 4A-B (Reading Greek)

Indefinite and interrogative pronoun. Present participles active.

Week 12: Text 4C-D (Reading Greek)

Present participles middle and contract verbs. Elision and crasis.

Week 13: Text 5A-B (Reading Greek)

Imperfect indicative active and middle.

Week 14: Text 5C (Reading Greek)

Future indicative active and middle.

Week 15: Text 5D (Reading Greek)

Indefinite/interrogative words. Third declension noun ‘the king’. Third declension nouns ‘the trireme’, ‘Pericles’, ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘daughter’.

Week 16: Text 6A-B (Reading Greek)

First aorist indicative active and middle.

Week 17: Text 6C-D (Reading Greek)

Second aorist indicative active and middle. Indirect speech.

Past of ‘to be’, ‘to go’, ‘to know’.

Week 18: Text 7A-C (Reading Greek)

Present infinitive active and middle. Irregular infinitives. Verbs taking infinitive constructions. Comparative and superlative adjectives.

Week 19: Text 7D-E (Reading Greek)

Aorist participles active and middle. Aspect.

Week 20: Text 7F (Reading Greek)

Second Aorist participles active and middle. Intensive pronoun/adjective.

Verb “I am able”.

Weeks 21-24 Revision and Exam Preparation.

General Reading

J. Morwood, Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek (Oxford University Press, 2001)

N. Marinone, All the Greek Verbs (Duckworth, 1998)

J. Morwood, The Pocket Oxford Greek Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2000)

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Advanced Greek

Module convenor - Ioannis Lambrou

This course further develops competence and confidence in Classical Greek language for those students who have already studied Intermediate Greek or equivalent (e.g. A-Level Classical Greek). The aim is to enable students confidently and accurately to translate unadapted Greek texts, to develop sensitivity to stylistic aspects of literary Greek (both verse and prose), to practice prose composition in Greek and to engage in the detailed study of a range of set texts.

The course comprises revision and consolidation of Greek grammar, unseen translation, prose composition and the close study of a number of Greek texts. Set texts studied will include selections from Plato’s Symposium, selections from Euripides’ Bacchae, selections from Herodotus’ Histories Book 1 and selections from Homer’s Odyssey Book 9.

BA students will be assessed through an end-of-year examination (70%), a mid-course test in January (15%) and a 2,000-word essay (15%), normally submitted in March.

Essential books:

North, M. and A. Hillard (1997), Greek Prose Composition (2nd ed, London), available online for free at http://www.textkit.com/learn/ID/51/author_id/11/

Abbott, E. and E. Mansfield (1997), A Primer of Greek Grammar (London)

Suggested reference books:

J. Morwood (2001), Oxford Greek Grammar (Oxford)

H. W. Smyth (1984), Greek Grammar (London)

 

Set texts will be distributed as handouts.

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Introduction to Latin

Module Convenor - Caroline Barron

This course introduces you to the basic principles of Classical Latin. It provides a firm basis of grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary of the language, through which you will be able to read and translate into English Roman drama in adaptation. We will be using the texts provided in Reading Latin, as well as additional material depending on progress and the needs of the class. By the end of the year you will have gained sufficient knowledge of the language to be able to approach and successfully translate adapted passages of Latin prose and drama.

No prior knowledge of the language is necessary.

Textbook:

•        Jones, P. and Sidwell, K. (2016) Reading Latin: Grammar and Exercises. Cambridge [Cambridge University Press].

•        Jones, P. and Sidwell, K. (2016) Reading Latin: Text and Vocabulary. Cambridge [Cambridge University Press].

On successful completion of this module you will be expected to be able to:

  • understand the basic grammar and syntax of Latin
  • read simple (or adapted) Latin prose
  • construct simple sentences in Latin
  • understand translation processes
  • locate, retrieve and process information
  • work in groups/teams
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Intermediate Latin

Module Convenor - Dimitra Kokkini

This course continues the study of the Latin language for those students who have completed Beginner’s Latin or an equivalent course (e.g. GCSE Latin). The course will cover the grammatical constructions covered in Sections 4 and 5 of Jones and Sidwell’s Reading Latin textbook, and aims to prepare students confidently to translate and understand literary Latin texts in both prose and verse. Students will practice Latin grammar through translation exercises both from Latin into English and from English into Latin, and will additionally (in the second term) undertake a close reading of selected portions of an unadapted literary text, Catullus's poem 64.

Textbooks

Jones and Sidwell, Reading Latin, Text and Vocabulary (Cambridge University Press, 2016) *NB This is the secondedition*

Jones and Sidwell, Reading Latin, Grammar and Exercises (Cambridge University Press, 2016) *NB this is the secondedition*

Entry Requirements

Beginners' Latin or equivalent.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you will: have acquired a firm basis of the language which can then be used in other areas (including archaeology, ancient history, legal and medical terminology, medieval studies, modern languages etc.); be familiar with the grammar, syntax and idiom of classical Latin; have expanded your vocabulary significantly; be confident in your translation technique; be able to make educated guesses and use your acquired knowledge to approach and resolve difficulties in unseen texts and authors; read unadapted texts (prose and poetry); be able to translate complex sentences from English into Latin.

Assessment

The module is aimed at: BA, MA and CertHE students. All students are taught in the same group.

Please note that assessment is different for each programme of study.

BA and MA (BBK) STUDENTS

One 'in-class' test (mode of testing tbc) in Term 2 (20%).

One piece of take-home translation in Term 2 (20%).

One end-of year examination (60%).

CERTIFICATE STUDENTS

One long piece of take-home translation in Term 2 (100%).

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Intermediate Greek

Module taught by: Dr Ioannis Lambrou

Module Description

This course is a study of Greek language for students who have completed the Beginners Greek course or an equivalent (Greek to GCSE standard). It aims to develop their knowledge of Greek grammar, to widen their vocabulary, and to enable them to master all regular syntactical constructions. By the end of the course, students are expected to be able to read and translate unadapted Greek prose and verse texts and to demonstrate an enhanced ability to translate from English into Greek.

 

Coursework Requirements

Weekly completion of grammar exercises; preparation of passages for translation from Greek into English; translation from English into Greek; in-class and take-home tests.

Assessment

-       BA/MA Students:

one in-class test (20%), one take-home translation assignment (20%), and one three-hour examination at the end of the year (60%)

-       Certificate Students:

two take-home translation assignments (one in December and one in March)

Textbooks

-       Joint Association of Classical Teachers (2007) Reading Greek, Text and Vocabulary AND Reading Greek, Grammar and Exercises (CUP) *NB: this is the latest edition*

 

Reference Books:

-       Morwood, J. (2001) Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek (OUP)

-       Morwood, J. and Taylor, J. (2002) The Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary (OUP)

-       Smyth, H. W. (1920) A Greek Grammar for Colleges (available at http://www.textkit.com)


Course Content

(This is a provisional schedule. Changes may occur depending on class progress.)

Week

Section

Grammar

Passages

1

Section 8A-C

the genitive case and its uses; further comparative and superlative adjectives; present optative, active and middle: παύοιμι, παυοίμην; ἄν + optative; ἀνίσταμαι ‘I get up and go’

8A-C

2

Section 9A-E

the dative case and its uses; time phrases; more optatives: δυναίμην, ἀνισταίμην; principal parts: ἐρωτάω, λέγω, λανθάνω

9A-E

3

Section 9F-G

aorist infinitives, first and second, active and middle; aspect in the infinitive; aorist imperatives, first and second, active and middle; present imperatives: εἰμί, εἶμι, οἶδα, δύναμαι, ἀνίσταμαι; ἔξεστι, δεινός; vocatives; adjectives: πᾶς

9F-G

4

Section 9H-J

 

third person imperatives, present and aorist, active and middle, including εἰμί, εἶμι, οἶδα; future infinitive and its uses; root aorists: ἔβην, ἔγνων; ἐπίσταμαι ‘I know’; principal parts: αἱρέω, αἱρέομαι, πάσχω, φέρω, πείθω, πείθομαι

9H-J

5

Section 10A-E

(Part A)

aorist optative, active and middle; verbs: δίδωμι, γιγνώσκω

10A-B

6

Section 10A-E (Part B)

adjectives: ἀμελής, γλυκύς; relatives: ‘who/which/what/that’

10C-E

7

Section 11A-C

present and imperfect passive; genitive absolute; comparative adverbs and two-termination adjectives; optative of φημί ‘I say’

11A-C

8

Section 12A-D

aorist passive; verbs: ἵστημι, καθίστημι

12A-D

9

Section 12E-F

infinitives in indirect/reported speech; τίθημι ‘I place, put’ δείκνυμι ‘I show, reveal’

12E-F

10

Section 12G-I

‘would-should’ conditions: future ‘remote’ and present ‘contrary to fact’; wishes: ‘would that/O that…’; ὅπως + future indicative ‘see to it that’; optative forms of εἰμί ‘I am’, εἶμι ‘I shall go’, οἶδα ‘I know’; participial constructions in reported speech; the future passive

12G-I

11

Section 13A-B

aorist infinitive passive; future participles active, middle and passive; ὡς + future participle; πρίν + infinitive

13A-B

12

Section 13C-D

conditional clauses: past ‘unfulfilled’; ‘mixed’; and 'open/simple’ (no ἄν); gerunds (verbs used as nouns): τό + infinitive

13C-D

13

Section 13E-F

the perfect indicative active, ‘have -ed’; the aorist optative passive; the use of the optative in indirect speech; sequence of tenses; the future optative

13E-F

14

Section 13G-I

more forms of the perfect (perfect indicative middle and passive, perfect infinitive, perfect participle); some irregular perfects

13G-I

15

Section 14A-F

the subjunctive mood: present, aorist and perfect; indefinite constructions with ἄν

14A-F

16

Section 15A-C

the future perfect

15A-C

&

Plato, Apology

39e-40c

17

Section 16A-D

the pluperfect ‘I had -ed’; imperatives using μή + the aorist subjunctive; verbs of ‘fearing’: φοβοῦμαι μή + subjunctive; verb-forms in -τέος, expressing necessity; the accusative absolute; ὡς + the superlative; ἵνα or ὅπως + subjunctive or optative

16A-D

&

Plato, Apology

40c-40e

18

Section 16E-H

indefinite clauses in secondary sequence; the perfect optative; ἁλίσκομαι ‘I am being captured’; ‘jussive’/’hortatory’ subjunctive; ἕως ἄν ‘until’;

φοβοῦμαι μή + optative

16E-H

&

Plato, Apology

41a-41b

19

Section 17A-B

ἕως + optative ‘until such time as’; (ἀφ)ἵημι; ἕως + indicative ‘while, until’; πρίν ἄν + subjunctive and πρίν + optative ‘until’; διατίθημι, διάκειμαι

17A-B

&

Plato, Apology

41c-41d

20

Section 17C-E

ὥστε clauses ‘so as to, so that’ + indicative and infinitive; numerals; aorist passive imperatives; root aorist imperatives; middle verbs which take passive forms in the aorist; deliberative subjunctives; χράομαι; correlatives

17C-E

&

Plato, Apology

41e-42a

 

Library and study skills resources

You may find the following web links helpful for your studies.

  • For information on the resources available for history students through Birkbeck College Library, including on-line books, reference works, journals, catalogues, and search tools, go to: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/lib/subguides. Note for Certificate and Diploma students: some of the access schemes shown on these pages are only available to degree students. For further information, please refer to Aubrey Greenwood, History Subject Librarian.
  • For guidance on study skills, including essay and report writing, research, and referencing, go to http://www.bbk.ac.uk/lib/subguides/studyskills.
  • For specific guidance for historians and history students on getting the best out of the internet, go to http://www.vts.intute.ac.uk/he/tutorial/history.

 

Course Evaluation

During the course, students will be asked to complete an evaluation form, which gives the opportunity to provide feedback on all aspects of their learning experience.

Further Information

For further information on issues such as student support, plagiarism, and procedural guidelines, please consult the History and Archaeology Student Handbook available on Moodle: http://moodle.bbk.ac.uk/.

 

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Latin set book 2020-21: Tacitus Annals (book 4)

Module Convenors: Prof. C. Edwards and Dr Ben Gray

Tacitus’ Annals, an account of the history of imperial Rome from the death of Augustus to the reign of Nero (though not all of it has survived), is a work of extraordinary power and dark brilliance composed in the early C2nd CE. Its author has been enormously influential as a writer of history, as a political thinker – and as a literary stylist.  This module will focus on book 4 of the Annals, which forms a crucial part of Tacitus’ account of the reign of Tiberius. But we shall also consider the Annals more generally and compare aspects of this work with Tacitus’ earlier writings (particularly the Histories). How do particular stylistic features work to generate an interpretation of the politics of the imperial court in the early first century? We shall explore Tacitus’ distinctive and oblique literary style, his devastating approach to characterisation, his masterly deployment of ambiguity. His prose scintillates with allusions to earlier historians, such as Sallust, but also to poetic works such as Virgil’s Aeneid.  What role does intertextuality play in a work of history?

 

Coursework Requirements

- weekly preparation of selected passages for translation, analysis, and interpretation (the Annals should be read in English in its entirety; J.C. Yardley’s Oxford World’s Classics translation is strongly recommended, though note that A.J. Woodman’s 2004 Hackett translation conveys more effectively texture of Tacitus’ Latin)

- reading of specific items of secondary literature for class presentations and discussion

BA Assessment: Two assessed essays of 2,500 words (15% each) and one three-hour exam (70%), which includes translation, passages for detailed comment, and an essay question.

MA Assessment:              One assessed essay of 5,000 words (100%).

 

Required text:

Edition: A.J. Woodman and R.H. Martin Tacitus Annals book IV (Cambridge 1989/1999)

Preliminary reading:

Good places to start might be:

R. Ash, Tacitus (Ancients in Action, Bristol 2006), ch. 2 (on Tacitus’ turn to historical writing in the Annals and Histories)

C.S. Kraus and A.J. Woodman, Latin Historians (New Surveys in the Classics, 1997), ch. 5 (Woodman on Tacitus)

A.J. Woodman (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Tacitus (Cambridge 2009), esp. Woodman’s own introduction and chapter 2 [available as an ebook via Bbk library]

Some key articles are assembled in:

R. Ash (ed.), Tacitus. Oxford Readings in Classical Studies (Oxford 2012)

Other important studies include:

J. Ginsburg Tradition and theme in the Annals of Tacitus (New York 1981)

J. Henderson Fighting for Rome (Cambridge 1998) ch. 7 ‘Tacitus/The World in Pieces’

E. O’Gorman Irony and Misreading in the Annals of Tacitus (Cambridge 2000)

P. Plass Wit and the writing of history: the rhetoric of historiography in imperial Rome (1988)

R. Syme, Tacitus (two vols., Oxford 1958), esp. vol. 1, chs. 24–6 (on the Annals and their literary style), and vol. 2, chs. 39–42 (on Tacitus as author and thinker)

A.J. Woodman Rhetoric in Classical Historiography (1988), ch. 4 (pp. 160–96) (‘History and Alternative Histories: Tacitus’)

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Greek Set Book – Euripides’ Helen

Module Convenor: Dr Ioannis Lambrou (i.lambrou@bbk.ac.uk)

BA Assessment: Two assessed essays of 2,500 words (15% each) and one three-hour exam (70%), which includes translation, passages for detailed comment, and an essay question.

MA Assessment:              One assessed essay of 5,000 words (100%).

Course Description

Euripides’ Helen, produced in 412 BCE and perhaps the truest embodiment of the dynamics of fifth-century Athenian tragedy, is unique among extant plays in more ways than one, which often confounds modern audience’s expectations. This course involves:

- an in-depth study of the language and style of Euripides’ Helen in the original Greek

- discussion of historical and literary aspects of the play, as well as the intellectual context in which it was composed

- critical engagement with secondary sources (e.g., commentaries, books, journal articles) and other ancient texts in translation

Coursework Requirements

- weekly preparation of selected passages for translation, analysis, and interpretation

- reading of specific items of secondary literature for class presentations and discussion

 

Essential Course Materials

- Allan, W. (ed.), Euripides: Helen (Cambridge 2008)

 

Recommended Preparatory Reading

The following bibliography is preliminary. Further bibliography, in conjunction with the passages of the text for reading each week, will be posted on Moodle.

 

On Greek Drama, see:

- Bushnell, R. (ed.), A Companion to Tragedy (Malden, MA and Oxford 2005)

- Easterling, P. E. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge 1997)

- Gregory, J. (ed.), A Companion to Greek Tragedy (Malden, MA 2005)

- Hall, E., Greek Tragedy: Suffering Under the Sun (Oxford 2010)

- Rabinowitz, N. S., Greek Tragedy (Malden, MA 2008)

- Scodel, R., An Introduction to Greek Tragedy (Cambridge 2010)

- Sommerstein, A. H., Greek Drama and Dramatists (London 2002)

- Wiles, D., Greek Theatre Performance: An Introduction (Cambridge 2000)

 

On Euripides, see:

- Cropp, M., Lee, K., and Sansone, D. (eds.), Euripides and Tragic Theatre in the Late Fifth Century (Champaign, Ill. 2000)

- Mastronarde, D. J., The Art of Euripides: Dramatic Technique and Social Context (Cambridge 2010)

- McClure, L. K. (ed.), A Companion to Euripides (Chichester 2017)

- Mossman. J. (ed.), Oxford Readings in Euripides (Oxford 2003)

 

On Euripides’ Helen, see:

- Allan, W. (ed.), Euripides: Helen (Cambridge 2008)

- Meltzer, G. S., ‘Where is the glory of Troy? Kleos in Euripides’ Helen', CA 13 (1994) 234-255

- Segal, C., ‘The Two Worlds of Euripides’ Helen', TAPA 102 (1971) 553-614

- Wolff, C., ‘On Euripides’ Helen’, HSCP 77 (1973) 61-84

- Wright, M., Euripides’ Escape-Tragedies: A Study of Helen, Andromeda, and Iphigenia among the Taurians (Oxford 2005)

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Advanced Latin

Taught at UCL

Term 1:

Lecture: Monday 2-4pm

PGTA: Friday 4-5pm

 

Term 2:

Lecture: Monday 2-4pm

PGTA: Friday 9-10am

The PGTA classes are optional for our students.

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Advanced Greek

Taught at UCL

Term 1:

Lecture: Monday 12-1pm, Thursday 3-4pm

PGTA: Wednesday 9-10am

 

Term 2:

Lecture: Monday 12-1pm, Tuesday 1-2pm

PGTA: Friday 1-2pm

 

The PGTA classes are optional for our students.