Greek 202: Greek Comedy [90961]

Z. Philip Ambrose

Fall 2002 Office Hours: 11:00 - 12:00 MWF
10:10-11:00 MWF and by appointment
481 Main St. Seminar Room 207


Texts: Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae , ed. A. H. Sommerstein, (Warminster: Aris &
Phillips 1994).
Aristophanes, Frogs, ed. K. J. Dover (Oxford, 1993)
Euripides, Cyclops, ed. S. Olson (Bryn Mawr Classical Texts).

Attendance is not optional! Read each play in English before we begin to study it in class. Read in English all the plays chosen by other students for their oral reports.

This course surveys Athenian Drama, its obscure origins, its development over two centuries, and its place both in contemporary Athenian public life and in the tradition of literary classics. We will read one satyr play as a bridge between comedy and tragedy.

You should own a good Greek dictionary such as H. Liddell and R. Scott, Abridged Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford, IBCN 0-19-910207-4, $32.00). Also recommended: H. W. Smyth, Greek Grammar (Harvard, 0-674-36250-0), also to be found on line at

Since you will choose a different play to read in Greek for an oral report, to be read in English by all the other students, the class will work through most of the 11 extant works of Aristophanes or even perhaps some of Menander. Emphasis will be given to reading the text aloud in Greek in the correct meter. Careful attention will be given to grammar and syntax. Lectures as well as brief student reports will cover such topics as: dramatic festivals, costumes, and contemporary 5th-century Athenian political, social, and cultural history. The average assignment will be about 100 lines of Greek per day. Special exercises for the Thesmophoriazousae are to be handed in as noted below. Announce to the class your choice of play by September 21.

Grade: 30 % = Daily Class Participation (translation/recitation/commentary)
15% = Hour Test One (seen translation/grammar/commentary)
15% = Hour Test Two (sight and seen translation/grammar/commentary)
10% = Exercises
15% = 20 minute oral report on another play of Aristophanes, read in English and Greek. In your report, explain with written outline handed out to the class and with a full bibliography, the nature of the play with particular emphasis upon its parabasis.
15% = Final Exam (sight and seen translation/grammar/commentary/essay on prepared topic)

Date Assignment

8/26 M Introduction to Greek Drama
8/28 W Read about 100 lines of Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazousae for each class as
8/30 F
[9/02 M Dies Laboris]
9/04 W Ex. 1
9/06 F
9/09 M Ex. 2
9/11 W
9/13 F
9/16 M Ex. 3
9/18 W
9/20 F Ex. 4
9/23 M
9/25 W Ex. 5.
9/27 F
9/30 M First Hour Test
10/02 W Read about 125 lines of Euripides' Cyclops for each class.
10/04 F
10/07 M
10/09 W
10/11 F
10/14 M
10/16 W Second Hour Test
[10/18 F Feriae autumniales = Fall Recess]
10/21 M Read about 100 lines of Aristophanes' Frogs for each class.
10/23 W
10/25 F
10/28 M
10/30 W
11/01 F
11/04 M
11/06 W
11/08 F
11/11 M
11/13 W
11/15 F
11/18 M
11/20 W
11/22 F
11/25 M
[11/27 W Hiatus ad gratias dandas incipit]
[11/29 F Hiatus continuat]
12/02 M
12/04 W

Final Exam: Friday, December 6, 2002, at 8:00 a.m.


Exercises: During your daily reading assignment, do one of these exercises before each class, noting down the lines you have covered.

I. Verb Review:
Ex. 1. Identify the tense, mood, voice, person, and number of every finite verb in the first fifty lines of the Thesmophoriazousae, e.g.:

Line #, form in text, tense, mood, voice, person, number
1 fanhvsetai, fut ind mid 3 sing

Ex. 2. Write down every participle and identify its form by tense, voice, case, and number in lines 51-100 of the Thesmophoriazousae.

II. Noun Review:
Ex. 3 Find one example of each and decline in full in lines 51-100 of the Thesmophoriazousae:
First Declension ending in long alpha or eta
First Declension ending in short alpha
Second Declension ending in -o"
Second Declension ending in -on
Second Declension ending in -h"/ or -a"
Third Declension masculine
Third Declension feminine
Third Declension neuter with a dental stem
Third Declension -e" stem

III. Pronoun Review:

Ex. 4. Write down the personal and relative pronouns in Thesmophoriazousae 130-180.

Ex. 5. Write down the demonstrative and interrogative pronouns or adjectives (mark the adjectives with an asterisk) in Thesmophoriazousae 181- 220.