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Project Ancient Greek - how to start?

How difficult would it be to learn Ancient Greek, in order to read Homer, Platon and the original New Testament in Greek? I had Latin in school for 5 years. And how would you recommend to proceed - learn modern Greek first, or immediately tackle the ancient stuff? How different are those languages from each other? Thanks a lot for your input!

May 22, 2017



As a native speaker of Modern Greek, I learned ancient Greek in school and Homer is still very hard for me to read, for the Iliad and the Odyssey were written centuries before Plato's works and about 1000 years before the New Testament. However, the New Testament and texts of this era will be not far from reach for you even if you only know modern Greek. The language became easier then, because after Alexander the Great conquered a big part of Asia, Greek became sort of the common language for all those peoples. Sorry for the added info, I'm a history freak...hehehe.

I think Modern Greek would be a very good start, as you will get acquainted with the alphabet and the basic syntax and conjugation. Ancient Greek needs a lot of time and perseverance, but I believe you will manage if you really want to. I'm at your disposal for any other questions.


Buy Athenaze- it's a book which teaches the basics of Ancient Greek through a series of increasingly complex stories. The grammar and vocabulary are introduced in easily manageable chunks, and it's very effective.


After finishing that you'll be able to move on to the second book, and after that you'll be able to tackle a large number of unadapted Classical Greek texts.

Learning NT Greek- also known as Koine -is a different story, and will require totally different resources to learning Classical Greek. I'd always recommend starting with Classical, as the material available to read is more numerous and more interesting.


I just started almost the same thing but with Hebrew. My plan is to use Duolingo Hebrew while I get familiar with the alephbet, handwriting Hebrew, and the keyboard layout. Then, maybe after a month or maybe even two, I want to buy a basic book course in Ancient Hebrew.

Whether this is a good idea or not, I don't know.


It would be about as difficult as learning Latin or Russian, but it has the drawback that there is not that much audio material available, almost no simple audio material, and there are 2-3 ways to pronounce it. (Latin has these two last drawback too, but not so much so.) Most of the material you will find is of the old fashioned grammar-translation sort, but there are one or two attempts at a "conversational" approach.

Some people (they say) learn Homeric Greek first and move on to Classical (Attic). Some start with Biblical Greek (I did), as it's pretty much just a simplified development of Classical. Some (maybe the majority) start with Classical. Some do start from Modern Greek--all the modern Greeks, for instance ;). Do whichever seems best to you.

Here are a couple of discussions on Duo #1, #2, and a couple non-Duo links: learn to read, lexicity, online widgets.

Mr_Eyl's suggestion of Athenaze seems good to me (I've only seen the 1st ed.). There is an expanded version of the book if you want more material, published in Italy, with Greek and Italian notes (which is in 2 vols., like the original).


I learnt some Ancient Greek at high school and I am following now the Duolingo course on Greek. Beyond the alphabet and a bunch of roots, I'd say they are really and clearly different languages.


I've always been curious about how different Aeolic, Ionian, Doric etc Greek are from each other? Could speakers of each kind of Greek understand each other? How much variation was there, say, within Doric Greek?

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