Language Tools for Ancient History: Greek

Module Code: AH1008

Module co-ordinator: Professor Graham Shipley

  • How did Greeks write numbers?
  • Why did Greek artists write on their artworks?
  • What’s the difference between the Greek of Homer and the Greek of Herodotus?

Language and the written word were crucial in shaping classical antiquity. In this module we will explore a wide range of written sources from the ancient Greek world – not just literature and classical texts, but also writing in all of its myriad forms. You will learn basic Greek grammar and syntax, sufficient to translate short sentences and documents such as simple inscriptions, coins and extracts from literary texts. The texts discussed in their historical and archaeological context will be closely linked to the topics covered in the Introduction to Greek History module.

Non-assessed (but compulsory) exercises form an integral part of the course and are set regularly; these will help towards a smooth and steady learning process, which is essential in the study of languages.

Topics covered

  • Greek grammar and syntax
  • Greek inscriptions
  • Writing on Greek coins
  • Informal writing (ostraka etc.)


  • 20 one-hour practical classes
  • 2 plenary lectures


  • Source project, 1,500 words (30%)
  • Homework completion (10%)
  • In-class test, one hour (60%)