Elementary Classical Greek I

Andrew Scholtz, Instructor

Quiz Quotes

If you do optional outside research. . .

  • Please do NOT use unvetted sites like Google or Wikipedia. Believe me, when you do, it shows
  • Use instead Brill's New Pauly via Brill Online (PODS logon required), or sources linked to below

Quiz-quote Ch10

αὐτὰρ ἐπεί ῥ’ εὔξαντο καὶ οὐλοχύτας προβάλοντο,
αὐέρυσαν μὲν πρῶτα καὶ ἔσφαξαν καὶ ἔδειραν,
μηρούς τ’ ἐξέταμον κατά τε κνίσῃ ἐκάλυψαν
δίπτυχα ποιήσαντες, ἐπ’ αὐτῶν δ’ ὠμοθέτησαν.

Homer Iliad book 1 lines 458-61. Chryses sacrifices to Apollo. (Click here for passage and commentary in PDF format.)

Quiz-Quote Ch9

Simonides Epigrams 7.348 (from the Greek Anthology). Epitaph for a poet.....

πολλὰ πιὼν καὶ πολλὰ φαγὼν καὶ πολλὰ κακ᾽ εἰπὼν
       ἀνθρώπους κεῖμαι, Τιμοκρέων Ῥόδιος.

I'm asking you to provide both a literal and an idiomatically colorful free translation. (How do you read the mood of this epitaph?)


You'll find here a string of "aorist" (fancy word for past-tense) participles. They look a little like present participles, but have different stems: πίνω means I drink, πιών means having drunk.

The important thing isn't yet to learn how to form these aorist participles (the term "aorist" for a verb tense isd an unfortunate invention of the Stoic school of philosophy). Just to know for now that πιών means "having drunk" and so on for the rest.

The following should help with that....

Simonides of Ceos (556-468) was a lyric and elegiac poet of international fame. The lines quoted above are his (probably unsollicited) submission for an epitaph for Timocreon of Rhodes - poet and a friend of the Persians during the Persian Wars. (Simonides is known to have criticized his poetry.)

Poetic meter, grammar, vocabulary
These lines consitute an elegiac couplet, a standard meter for epitaph. As for grammar and vocabulary, pion ("having drunk"), phagon ("having eaten"), and eipon ("having said") are "second" aorist (i.e., past tense) active participles, similar in form to present active participles. polla kaka and anthropous are both direct objects of the same participle: eipon. keimai ("I lie") is intransitive middle-passive.

Quiz-Quote ch8

εἶναι δὲ γλυκὺν ὧδε φίλοις, ἐχθροῖσι δὲ πικρόν

Solon fragment 13 line 5. This quote comes from the poetry of Solon (fr. 13.5), Athenian statesman and archon in 594/3 BCE. Having just prayed to the Muses for fame and fortune won honestly, Solon says, ... what??

For Solon, see the CIV reading for chapter 8.

In praying this way, he is echoing what turns out to be the chief moral dictum of ancient Greek popular morality.


Quiz-Quote Ch7

Ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ | πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσε.

Homer Odyssey book 1 lines 1-2. Try translating using vocabulary below:

ἔννεπε. (verb - note form!), from ἐννέπω, "tell of/about, " "sing of/about" + direct object in accusative.

πολύτροπον. πολύτροπος (masc. & fem.), πολύτροπον (neut.). 2nd decl. adjective, "of many ways, "clever, resourceful" (case? modifies?) .

ὅς "who." (masc. nominative sing. relative pronoun)

μάλα πολλά. literally "a great many (things)"; here = adverb "very muchl" (with πλάγχθη).

πλάγχθη. "wandered" (3rd sing. past-tense passive voice of πλάζω, "I beat upon," "I force to wander about")..

Τροίης, Ionic genitive, from Τροία, Τροίας, ἡ.

ἱερόν. ἱερός, ἱερά, ἱερόν. "Holy" (modifies?).

πτολίεθρον, τό. "City," "citadel." (Related to π(τ)όλις, "city.")

ἔπερσε "sacked, destroyed" (3rd sing. simple past of πέρθω)

See links to Greg Nagy on oral poetry and Homer:

Quiz Quote Ch6

νόμος μὲν πάντα κρατύνει.

Hippocrates On Seed 1.



This prefaces the Hippocratic treatise on conception: Peri spermatos, or On Seed. The treatise's opening sentence, and the treatise as a whole, reflect what Thomas Kuhn would call a "paradigm shift," what is sometimes thought of as the "intellectual revolution" of 5th century BCE Greek scientific thought. No longer is it assumed that everything happens by virtue of this or that god. Intellectuals are now beginning to assign causality to something they call "nature" (phusis, from phuein, "to grow"; compare Latin natura, English "physics"), meaning the organizing principal that structures the universe and its processes. So, for instance, in the Hippocratic treatise on epilepsy (On the Sacred Disease), the author denies that epilepsy is caused by divine possession. Still, that leaves ample scope for culturally dertermined assumtions like those we seem to encounter in the On Seed.

Quiz Quote Ch 5

ὁ βίος βραχύς, ἡ δὲ τέχνη μακρή

This is the opening of the Aphorisms, attributed to Hippocrates of Cos, a medical writer from about 400 BCE (we can't actually be sure which books in the Hippocratic collection are his). The quote continues: "the moment of need is acute, experience treacherous, judgment difficult."

The Aphorisms are a collection of (mostly) disconnected nuggets of wisdom, rules of thumb, etc. for use by physicians, though not necessarily without general relevance. What do you think the saying means? Can you apply it to your life?


Subject-complement sentence without use of the linking verb "to be."

Read More. . .

Quiz Quote Chapter 4

πάθει μάθος

This comes from Aeschylus' Agamemnon, line 177. It is sung by the chorus as they reflect on Zeus as the "supreme victor" in the universe: "I have nothing whereto to liken him, weighing all in the balance, nothing save Zeus" (163-165).


πάθει (dative sing.), from τὸ πάθος, τοῦ πάθους (3rd declension). "Suffering" (compare "pathology).

μάθος (take it as nominative sing., though in the larger context it truns out to be acc.). From τὸ μάθος, τοῦ μάθους (3rd declension). "Learning," "knowledge" (compare "mathematics").


πάθει is dative singular (3rd decl.). It's the "dative of means" - how something gets done. "With/by/through/usuing" something are ways to translate the dative of means.

μάθος is an action noun.

So an action, μάθος, accomplished by means of πάθος. Translation? Resonance?

For more on the Agamemnon, and the Oresteia, the trilogy from which the Agamemnon comes, click here.

CH3 Quiz Quote

κοινὰ τὰ τῶν φίλων

Greek proverb quoted by, among others, Euripides (Orestes 735), Plato (Phaedrus 279c), and Aristotle ( Eudemian Ethics 1237b33, Nichomachean Ethics 1159b30). You can see below what some of our sources made of it. What do you think of that?

(Among other things, this saying served as motto for a kind of 1960s-style communal life. Take, for example, the disciples of Pythagoras. Prompted by their teacher, who had declared the things of friends to be in common, and friendship to be equality (koina ta philōn einai kai philian isotēta), they deposited all their property in a common store [Timaeus FGrH 566 F 13b]. Aristotle wrote that "to the extent there exists a commonality, to that extent, there exists friendship. And rightly so. Hence the truth of the saying, κοινὰ τὰ φίλων" [Nichomachean Ethics 1159b29-31].)


κοινὰ complement nominative neut. plur. adjective: "in common." This is the "complement" element. Though the sentence lacks the verb "to be," you should understand it as present in the idea of it.

τὰ "the" (nominative plur. neut. article) - note that there is no explicit noun to go with τὰ

τῶν φίλων gen. plur. article + gen. plural noun "of (the) friends"

CH2 Quiz-Quote

μηδὲν ἄγαν

Like γνῶθι σαὐτόν, μηδὲν ἄγαν was inscribed onto the pronaos of Apollo's temple at Delphi. Aristotle attributes the saying to the sage Chilo, but we see it in the poet Theognis (335) and in Pindar (fr. 216; see also Pausanias 10.24.1). To do μηδὲν ἄγαν could be described as cultivating moderation. One author (Theognis) says μηδὲν ἄγαν σπεῦδε, literally, "Do not hasten (σπεῦδε) too much," loosely, "Take your time."

This notion, which the Roman poet Horace translates as aurea mediocritas, "the golden mean" (Odes 2.10.5), seems to underlie not just ancient Greek ethics but physics as well, which can view the kosmos, the "orderly whole" that is the universe, as an equilibrium of opposed forces — "nothing in excess."

CH1 Quiz-Qote

γνῶθι σαὐτόν, gnōthi sauton. So instructed the inscription chisled onto the pronaos, the entry porch, of Apollo's temple at Delphi. Click here for more.

See also: