Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

grek 236 xenophon

Spring 2012

Course Description:

The main purpose of this course is to enable students to re-examine all the main morphological, syntactical and stylistic phenomena of Classical Greek prose through the practical exercise of reading passages from Xenophon’s Anabasis. Even though many other works in prose from the fourth century could be selected (both in the context of Philosophy and Oratory), we decided on Xenophon’s Anabasis for the purity of its language, the precision of its syntax and the liveliness and freshness of its depictions.

Each lecture will involve three main activities:

1. Reading of passages from Xenophon’s Anabasis and examination of their lexicon, morphology and syntax. In the course of this examination, each morphological and syntactical phenomenon will be expounded through the use of a Greek Primer, so that students may recognize the different phenomena both in their theoretical presentation (Greek Grammar Textbook) and their practical use in the prose of an ancient author (Xenophon).

2. Translation in class of the read passages: this practice will be quite important to understand the problems which any translation from a foreign language causes, and the different possibilities and choices that a translator can have between literal or freer translations in order to make a translation as correct and readable as possible.

3. Discussion in class of the style and psychological/ideological attitude of the author in the context of his personal experience and historical context in which he lived.    


The course will have three main aspects:

1)      A descriptive one focusing on a systematic examination of the main morphological, syntactical and stylistic phenomena of Greek language in general, and of fourth century historical prose in particular.

2)       A practical one involving a regular examination and translation of passages from the main work of a standard Greek author from fourth century Athens.

3)      A historical-literary one concerning the personal experience of the author in the context of his historical age.



Students will be able to translate passages in the standard Greek prose style of fourth century, and comment on them by analyzing their morphological and syntactical structure, their style and their historical content and context.


Learning Objectives

1. Students will have the possibility to re-examine all the main morphological and syntactical phenomena of Greek language by practically reading and analyzing sections from a classical Greek work of the fourth century.

2.  Students will become familiar with passages in highly idiomatic standard Greek.

3. Students will be able to appraise how Xenophon presents and relates his personal experience and his historical matter


Learning Activities

1.  Description and analysis in class of the main morphological and syntactical aspects of Ancient Greek language.

2. Reading, translation and analysis of passages in Greek with a close examination of their grammar, syntax and style in general.  

3. Discussion of the biography of the author and his historical age with particular reference to the Anabasis and its context.


Evaluation Methods: 

Evaluation will include participation, homework, a midterm and a final exam.

Grade Breakdown:              

Participation                                                    10%

Midterm Exam                                                30 %

Homework                                                      10%

Final exam                                                       50%

Total:                                                              100%


Attendance Policy:

Attendance is mandatory. Three (3) unexcused absences will result in the lowering of your final letter grade by one complete grade. (For example, an A will drop to a B, an A- to a B-, etc.) Four or more unexcused absences may result in failure for the course.  Please see the Dean’s office to have your absences officially excused.


Required Texts:

1) Mather and Hewitt, Xenophon: Anabasis, University of Oklahoma Press, 1976.

2) Abbott & Mansfield, A Primer of Greek Grammar, Duckworth, London, 2007.