The Winedark Sea 2.0
November 2, 2006 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of how the language of Odysseus and his people found a home on the web. Of how the newest mass medium came to house a library of Ancient Greek literature. Of how the sounds of a dead language could find a new life online.
posted by jason's_planet (19 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This is excellent. Thank you.
posted by theinsectsarewaiting at 7:50 AM on November 2, 2006

Very nice.
posted by nightchrome at 7:51 AM on November 2, 2006

Perseus is an awesome resource, I don't know how I would ever finish my Greek homework without it. Their servers are really slow and often down, though.
posted by Oobidaius at 9:33 AM on November 2, 2006

Oobidaius, johnnie?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:50 AM on November 2, 2006

posted by dejah420 at 11:57 AM on November 2, 2006

Yes, indeed. Since my high school roommate took Greek and Latin and because she relied on it quite a bit, I needed no encouragement to embrace it wholeheartedly once I got to St. John's.
posted by Oobidaius at 12:05 PM on November 2, 2006

Oobidaius, answering my own question, I see you're a JF.

Not too much more Greek to go for you, now. IIRC, and I was SF95, in my language tutorial it was about the middle of sophomore year that we had finished with Homer and then just started looking at NT stuff. I make a lot out of having as much Attic and Homeric Greek as we get at SJC, but I less frequently mention (though I do, and have here) that I was very bad at it. Anyway, I really thought I'd learned very little because even when I was at the same point you're at I was struggling through every damn sentence. Then, one day, the tutor passed out John in Koine Greek. And, lo!, I could read the thing with no trouble at all. I think a lot of the folks who learn Greek for their bible studies, and thus learn Koine, have no idea how little they actually know.


So, Lattimore or Fitzgerald or...? Me: Lattimore. I dearly wish Perseus had been available when I was at SJC. Perseus is a great resource and I actually use it at least monthly.

Too bad I didn't see your AskMe about moving to Santa Fe a year ago. I think it's funny that you were surprised that it would snow. It's over 7,000 feet!

On Preview: it's good you had some familiarity with Greek prior to SJC. I had friends who took a class at their local university over the summer break. As a JF, that wasn't an option for you but it sounds like you haven't had any trouble with it. I actually have an ex who, after being immersed in johnnie culture via myself and my friends, went to SJC after we broke up. She graduated last year. And she told me that they are using a Greek textbook in the language tutorial now! This bugs me to no end. When I was there, we had a homespun manual by one of the more revered tutors. It was funny, too.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:22 PM on November 2, 2006

Perseus is pretty much one of the most wonderful things ever. (And has been since the early days of the web, so impressively long-lasting, too!) That pronunciation website also looks pretty cool.

Mr. Bligh: Clearly the answer is Fagles! He gives up a bit of strict literalism, but he makes the language sound more alive, and more Homeric, than any other modern translator. In my (grossly uninformed) opinion, anyway.

(Also, if I can say this without derailing the thread completely, greetings, fellow Johnnies!)
posted by moss at 1:17 PM on November 2, 2006

(jason's_planet, this was a great post, sorry for derailing it so thoroughly)

Right now we're still doing Homeric Greek, as the idea is to get through all or most of book IX of the Odyssey. Generally, I think you're right that the focus then turns to the New Testament, but it also appears to be at the tutor's discretion, because our class is gearing up to translate Aristotle's De Anima after we're done with Homer.

As for translators....I myself am particularly fond of Lattimore as well (moss, no offense but I can't stand Fagles- I like reading it but then when I start translating it myself I feel a little cheated that he takes some of the liberties he does. Speaking of, there was a NYT article recently about him- although I prefer others, I deeply respect him as a translator), precisely because he sticks fairly closely to the text. I also liked the Albert Cook translation (for the Odyssey, at least) because it's similar to the Lattimore in terms of literalness. Although, Lattimore feels more elegant to me.

Anyway, they are using a textbook now, it's called An Introduction to Ancient Greek by C.A.E Luschnig- Annapolis, however, uses either a different version of it or they're using the one you mentioned that was written by a tutor, I'm not sure exactly which.
posted by Oobidaius at 1:37 PM on November 2, 2006

(oops, I just made it sound like my second-year Greek class is going to translate an entire volume of Aristotle- in reality, we will only be doing bits of it)
posted by Oobidaius at 1:38 PM on November 2, 2006

(jason's_planet, this was a great post, sorry for derailing it so thoroughly)

(Also, if I can say this without derailing the thread completely, greetings, fellow Johnnies!)

Dudes, relax! I'm not uptight about that kind of thing. You guys didn't "derail" this at all. Not in the least.

(carry on . . . )
posted by jason's_planet at 2:05 PM on November 2, 2006

the οἱ ὀλίγοι are going to love this.
as do I.
posted by Busithoth at 2:56 PM on November 2, 2006

Perseus got me through every ancient greek class I took, and while it is wonderful (has it not been mentioned previously?) I couldn't help thinking I was hooked.

To be honest, it was SO helpful, I think I didn't learn some more obscure and difficult to remember forms and vocab that I should have. I tried to do my work "perseus free" and it was like giving up an addiction. Right up there with not having coffee in the morning.

Does anybody else feel this way? I would just advise anybody studying greek seriously to ease in to Perseus, and not get too hooked- it should boost your work, not become necessary. After a while, I was afraid I could read 'Perseus' better than Greek.

That said, for the causual user, or as a once in a while tool for the serious fan of the hellenic, it is.. totally.. awesome.
posted by conch soup at 3:06 PM on November 2, 2006

and Lattimore roxx
posted by conch soup at 3:12 PM on November 2, 2006

another day has passed, and I'm still exploring this link.
thanks, thanks, thanks.

and damn damn damn that this wasn't around (or I didn't know about it) while I was studying this for credit....
posted by Busithoth at 8:12 AM on November 3, 2006

thanks, thanks, thanks.

You're welcome, you're welcome, you're welcome

And, as always, thanks to everyone who participated in and enjoyed this post!
posted by jason's_planet at 8:30 AM on November 3, 2006

I could have really used access to the Perseus website when I was at SJC. Oh, how I struggled! I've tried to come back to Ancient Greek many times since my time there, but I still find it incredibly difficult. I think I'll give it another whirl.

Also, I find it very sad that a textbook is being used now. I still have my dog-eared copy of the Greek manual somewhere around here from my freshman year in 1990. I'm going to go find it right now! Ah, some of the best times of my life in Santa Fe. *sniff*
posted by causticgnostic at 12:23 PM on November 3, 2006

I was a freshman in '91 in Santa Fe. But I had thought it was the first year they used Mr. Venable's Greek manual. It that what you used, or was yours its last year?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:42 PM on November 3, 2006

I'm almost certain that the manual we used was Mr. Venable's, but I haven't found it yet. I do remember the covers were made from manila folders. It was a pretty low-rent looking book, but it was filled with personality. I'll continue looking for it. I still have a few boxes to go through.
posted by causticgnostic at 1:35 AM on November 4, 2006

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