With this blog I hope to document my progress learning Ancient Greek and to share the wonders of the journey. You will find here my attempts at writing Greek (The Electronic Epistles) as well as materials that I am developing to use for the direct method of learning Greek as an active language. There are also commentaries and vocab lists on the books that I am reading as well as articles on Ancient Greek literature and classical reception in the modern world.
I have just completed a Masters in Classical Studies and am an ongoing student of Ancient Greek and Latin. While I still have a way to go yet, the path to learning classical languages is by no means an unrewarding one as at every stage the student is bombarded with eureka moments of what words in their original language actually mean (or at any rate once meant).
I live in Barcelona, which to me is very much a part of that classical world. Founded as the Roman colony of Barcino, it is situated just a little further down the coast to Empuries, the first Greek colony in Iberia. Barcelona is a multilingual society and so the life I have built here has made foreign languages an everyday thing. Being totally used to swapping between Spanish, Italian, Catalan and French at any evening terrace gathering, classical languages did not seem to be such a monumental leap as they perhaps would have been, had I come to them directly from my past monolingual life in Britain.
My approach to classics then, is conditioned by my experience living abroad as I have been learning Greek & Latin in the same way as I did other European languages. One hurdle to doing this is finding others to speak to, but in a cosmopolitan city there are always people if you know where to look for them. I take part in a weekly Greek συνόδος (path together or meeting) where we read Greek lit and communicate as far as possible in the target language. I am also a member of Circulus Barcinonensis, a group of Latinists who meet monthly to read and speak Latin.
With this blog then, I hope to find other likeminded people and as the Greek name συνόδος suggests, to share the path with them. My attempts at writing Greek will hopefully encourage others to do likewise, but remember, I am a student not a teacher so do not take my syntax as representative of authentic Classical Greek! Like English today, Greek was an international language, so maybe we shouldn’t to be too ashamed of not being classical enough in our style. Then as now, many language users would have been non “natives” whose mother tongues would have affected the way that they spoke or wrote. Lucian, for instance, was a Syrian who wrote in an adapted form of Attic Greek.
I hope that with time the materials I am developing will be useful to help others learn Greek too. I aim to make the writing suitable to beginners, as all words in my epistles are glossed regardless of level.
Εἰρήνη καὶ ὑγίεια ὑμῖν…
(Peace and health to you all)
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