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Classical Greek Tutoring
Newsletter, 8th March 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter from Classical Greek Tutoring. In this regular newsletter, I will bring you the latest news in the classics world, as well as hints and tips for learning Greek.

If you enjoy this newsletter, please feel free to forward it to anyone you think may be interested. Click on the buttons below to visit my social media pages and website.

The Classical Association in Northern Ireland is pleased to welcome Dr Kerry Phelan from Maynooth University to deliver the latest lecture in the CANI calendar. Dr Phelan's doctoral thesis was entitled 'A Social and Historical Commentary on Demosthenes' Against Euboulides'. Kerry is a Lecturer in the Department of Ancient Classics at Maynooth, and has taught Greek at the Belfast Summer School since its inception in 2016.

In the News
Oxford Classics dept proposes dropping Homer and Virgil

The proposal to drop the texts by Homer and Virgil forms part of a series of reforms aimed to modernise the first stage of the Classics degree, known as Moderations (Mods), which take place during the second year for all students taking Classics courses across the university. 
Read more here and here.

Gods in Colour exhibition

This exhibition is ongoing until 30th August 2020 in the Liebieghaus Museum, Frankfurt. 

The 'digitorial', which visitors are encouraged to view before their visit, can be seen here

Classical Greek Grammar

In English grammar, there are two 'voices': active and passive. The active voice is when the subject is undertaking the action, e.g., ‘the soldiers guard the village.’  The passive voice is the reverse of this: the subject is having the action done to it, e.g., 'the village is guarded by the soldiers.’

(I once read that, if you can insert ‘by zombies’, then you’re dealing with the passive voice!)

As well as the active and passive, in ancient Greek there is a middle voice. 

What is the middle voice and what does it mean? 

It may convey a sense of reflexivity, e.g., λουω, I wash (active), λουμαι, I wash myself (middle); φαινω, I show (active), φαινομαι, I show myself, I appear (middle). 

The middle voice of a verb can cause it to have a different meaning, usually the subject takes an interest in the action, e.g., φερω, I carry (active), φερομαι, I carry for myself, I win (a prize) (middle). 

In other cases, this personal implication is not so easily discernible, e.g., λυω I release, free, let go (active), λυομαι I ransom (middle); βαινω I walk (active), βαινομαι I make (someone else) walk (middle); διδασκω I teach (active), διδασκομαι I have (someone else) educated by (someone else) (middle); and θυω I make a sacrifice (active), θυομαι I order a sacrifice (to be made by someone else) (middle). Sometimes a verb may have the same meaning in both the middle and active voices, and in other cases the two meanings may appear to diverge from all the rules, e.g., δανειξω, I lend (active), δανειξομαι, I borrow (middle).

In addition there are deponent verbs: middle in form but active in meaning. These verbs do not exist in the active voice, e.g., ἐρχομαι, I go; βουλομαι, I wish; γιγνομαι, I become, am born, am appointed, take place, happen; ἀφικνεομαι, I arrive; δεχομαι, I receive; διαλεγομαι, I converse; ἡγεομαι, I lead.

Depending on the textbook followed, you may meet the middle voice within the first few weeks of beginning your Classical Greek course, or it may be a few months later. The good news is that in the present and imperfect tenses, the middle and passive voices take the same endings. 

If you have any questions about classical Greek grammar, please drop me a line and I'll do my best to help.

A reminder that the Reading Homer's Odyssey course is starting in Belfast on Monday 16th March. The course will run for six weeks and the fee is £60. This can be paid by PayPal by clicking here, cheque or bank transfer (contact me for account details). The dates are as follows: 16th March, 23rd March, 30th March, 20th April, 27th April, and 11th May. Please note that due to the availability of the hall, classes will not run every week. At the first meeting, we will discuss books 1-4 of the Odyssey. You can read any English translation, verse or prose. 

If you wish to join, please drop me a line (

As a thank you for subscribing to my newsletter and updates, I am offering a free download, An Introduction to Ancient Greek, which can be found by clicking here.

If you have enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to forward it to anyone you think may be interested. Click on the buttons below to visit my social media pages and website.

Classical Greek Tutoring

39 Old Mill Grove, Belfast
United Kingdom

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