[B-Greek] How to Self-Study Attic Greek?

Richard Ghilardi qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
Fri Jul 20 12:26:52 EDT 2007

Hello Everyone,

I must chime in on this one even if the thread has slipped down the
stream somewhat. My enthusiastic recommendation is:

1) Gavin Betts' and Alan Henry's Ancient Greek in the Teach Yourself
series. Though some simply dismiss the whole series with a wave of the
hand, this excellent volume is truly exceptional. It is a kind of
half-way house between the best of the traditional grammars represented
by Mastronarde and others and the 'story' approach as seen in Athenaze.
Like the traditional grammars they present grammar and vocabulary in 25
units small enough to be manageable in one sitting or class session
(unlike Hansen and Quinn). In Unit 25 they present the fundamentals of
Homeric Greek. Like the 'story' grammars you begin reading real Greek
right away. There is virtually no made-up Greek in the book except in the
illustrative examples in the grammar sections which are translated into
English, of course. All of the heavily annotated readings are real
ancient Greek mostly unedited. An answer key for all the readings is
provided so self-study is possible. The grammatical sections offer quite
full explanations as far as I can tell. And it seems to me that Betts and
Henry have done a superior job with pronoun usage, idioms, and particles.
In one appendix they give virtually all you need to know about
accentuation, if you care to know that. And in another they give you the
essentials of Greek verse. Their suggestions for further reading are

So much for the kudos.

Now for the complaints. They are few and weak.

It's all Greek to English, which is good. There are no English to Greek
exercises, so you never WRITE in Greek. This is most lamentable in what
is otherwise so fine a volume. Yes, there are a lot of exercises after
each handful of units or so where you are asked to give the second person
plural aor. pass. opt. of hISTHMI and the like, but that's hardly Greek
composition. However, at Betts' website, which I will give below, he does
provide English sentences for translation into Greek.

Two quibbles: Noun paradigms are given with the acc. following the nom.
instead of the dative. Lunate sigma is used everywhere instead of the
final sigma normally seen. But I can live with these.

2) All that I've said above may also be said of his Latin volume in the
TY series, except that he does give E to L sentences for translation.

3) All that I've said above may also be said of his New Testament volume
in the TY series. I don't own the NT book so I might be wrong in some
particulars. But in the main, I'm sure I'm right.

I highly recommend all three volumes. I wish he would come out with a
text on Homeric Greek.

For more information go to Betts' website: http://www.tyancientgreek.org

Yours in His grace,

Richard Ghilardi - qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
West Haven, Connecticut USA

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