Dr Jonathan Kenigson, FRSA: Some Keys to the Classical Kingdom

Learning Ancient Greek is a great way to gain a deeper insight into the language and its history. Ancient Greek includes three distinct forms: Attic Greek, Koine Greek, and Modern Greek. Attic Greek is the oldest form, and it was the dominant dialect of the Classical period. It was used in the writings of many of the ancient Greek classics, like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Koine Greek is a later form and was the main language used in the New Testament. Finally, Modern Greek is the language still used today. Learning Ancient Greek can be a difficult but rewarding endeavor. It requires an understanding of the different dialects, as well as a firm grasp of the grammar and syntax. It also requires patience and practice, but those who persevere will be rewarded with the ability to read and understand the works of some of the great minds of the ancient world. It’s a great way to gain insight into the history and culture of the Greek people.

The Illiad and Odyssey are two epic poems written by the ancient Greek poet Homer. Together, they form the foundational works of Western literature. The Illiad focuses on the final weeks of the Trojan War and the Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus’ return home after the war. Both poems were written in Homer’s native language, Ancient Greek, and their original form has been preserved for centuries. These works have had a major influence on literature, art, and popular culture. They have been translated and adapted countless times, inspiring countless works of art and literature. Even today, the themes and characters of the Illiad and Odyssey are still relevant and can be seen in modern works.

With their timeless themes and captivating stories, it’s no wonder these two works have endured for thousands of years. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are three of the most celebrated playwrights in history. All three lived during the Golden Age of Greece, and all three wrote plays that are some of the greatest examples of Greek tragedy. Aeschylus is the father of tragedy, and his plays are known for their grand scale and ambitious themes. Sophocles, meanwhile, is credited with perfecting the genre, and his tragedies are known for their complex plots and psychological depth. Finally, Euripides is famous for introducing more realistic characters and more contemporary themes into Greek tragedy. Together, these three playwrights created a legacy of drama that continues to influence modern theatre. Their plays are still studied, performed, and enjoyed by audiences around the world. In short, if you’re looking to explore the art of Greek tragedy, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are a great place to start.

The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three poems, most likely written by or in honor of the ancient Greek poet Homer. These poems are devoted to various deities of the Greek pantheon, such as Apollo, Athena, Hera and Dionysus. Each poem is an individual homage, tracing the origin and purpose of the god and their powers. These hymns are also of great importance to the study of Greek mythology, as they provide invaluable insights into the beliefs and rituals of the ancient Greeks. They are also some of the oldest surviving texts in Western literature and have been influential in shaping our modern understanding of mythology and the gods.

From their beauty to their importance in literature, the Homeric Hymns are a timeless testament to the rich history of Greek mythology. The Septuagint, or LXX, is an ancient translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. It was commissioned in the 3rd century BCE and is one of the most important sources for understanding and interpreting the Old Testament. The Septuagint is also significant for the development of the New Testament, as it provides the Greek New Testament writers with most of the quotations from the Old Testament. In addition to its religious and historical importance, the Septuagint was also a great work of literature. It was translated from the original Hebrew into a more accessible form of Greek, making it accessible to a much wider audience than the original. Thanks to its widespread use, the Septuagint continues to be a major source of reference for biblical studies and interpretation today.

Sources and Further Reading:

Bassett, Samuel Eliot. The poetry of Homer. Lexington Books, 2003.

Brenton, Sir Lancelot Charles Lee. The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1986.

Broadhead, Henry Dan, ed. The Persae of Aeschylus. Cambridge University Press, 1960.

Conacher, Desmond John. “Aeschylus’ Oresteia.” Aeschylus’ Oresteia. University of Toronto Press, 2016.

Fowler, Robert, and Robert Louis Fowler, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Homer. Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Gregory, Justina. Euripides and the Instruction of the Athenians. University of Michigan Press, 1997.

Jobes, Karen H., and Moisés Silva. Invitation to the Septuagint. Baker Academic, 2015.

Kirk, Geoffrey Stephen. The songs of Homer. Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Marcos, Natalio Fernández. The Septuagint in context: Introduction to the Greek version of the Bible. Brill, 2000.

Mastronarde, Donald J. The art of Euripides: dramatic technique and social context. Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Michelini, Ann N. Euripides and the tragic tradition. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2006.

Pietersma, Albert, and Benjamin G. Wright, eds. A new English translation of the Septuagint. Oxford University Press, 2007.

Rosenmeyer, Thomas G. The art of Aeschylus. Vol. 541. Univ of California Press, 1982.

Rösel, Martin. “Towards a “Theology of the Septuagint”.” Septuagint research: issues and challenges in the study of the Greek Jewish scriptures (2006): 239-52.

Rutherford, Richard. Homer. Vol. 26. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Segal, Charles. Tragedy and civilization: an interpretation of Sophocles. University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.

Waldock, Arthur John Alfred. Sophocles the dramatist. Vol. 374. CUP Archive, 1951.


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