Greek, Ancient and Modern

Dog-eared Homer

I’ve been interested in Ancient Greece for much of my life. When I was in elementary school, I spent one Thanksgiving vacation copying dictionary entries of the Ancient Greek gods to a spiral bound notebook. I first read Homer in high school, the Odyssey translated by Robert Fitzgerald, which I still have. As an ancient history major1 in college, I read a lot more including many classical works like Xenophon’s Anabasis and Plutarch’s Lives.

I’ve continued to read about Ancient Greece, reading and re-reading many of my favorites. I return to the Iliad often, finding many of the themes relevant to our world today. I have been especially enthralled with the translation of the Iliad by Peter Green2, completed in his nineties, and without a doubt my favorite translation.

Covid19 and 20 Years

In July of 2021, Mandi and I will have been married for 20 years, and we’ve talked about taking a trip, just the two of us, to somewhere we haven’t been. Greece rose to the top of the list for both of us. We’ve talked about it a lot while we’ve been at home during the epidemic, and since neither of us speak Greek, I looked into taking some Greek courses online.

Through iTalki, a website that connects language teachers and learners of all levels, I found a native Greek teacher and have been taking lessons once a week. I’ve been learning modern Greek, which is very different from Classical Greek. Sofia, my teacher, is also a classicist and teaches Ancient Greek, too, so maybe after making progress in Modern Greek, I can work towards my bucket list item of being able to read the Iliad in the original. Even though our trip is in question due to Covid19, I’m sure that Greece and Greek will continue to remain a part of my life.

  1. My first history course changed my college career, and I discovered that writing papers, spending hours scouring dark recesses in the library, and reading ancient authors appealed to me much more than solving math equations and writing computer programs. I was fortunate to be inspired by several incredible professors, including Nick Rauh and John Kirby. ↩︎

  2. I have read many of Professor Green’s books more than once, especially Alexander of Macedon. ↩︎