The cup of Phidias

The cup of Phidias found in the workshop at Olympia where he made the statue of Zeus considered to be one of the seven wonders - a remarkable survival

The cup of Phidias found in the workshop at Olympia where he made the statue of Zeus considered to be one of the seven wonders – a remarkable survival


War (4) – peace

War (4) – peace

By the tenth year of the war (422 BCE) both sides desired peace

ταῦτ᾽ οὖν ἀμφοτέροις λογιζομένοις ἐδόκει ποιητέα εἶναι ἡ σύμβασις, καὶ οὐχ ἧσσον τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις, ἐπιθυμίᾳ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῶν ἐκ τῆς νήσου κομίσασθαι: ἦσαν γὰρ οἱ Σπαρτιᾶται αὐτῶν πρῶτοί τε καὶ σφίσι συγγενεῖς. ἤρξαντο μὲν οὖν εὐθὺς μετὰ τὴν ἅλωσιν αὐτῶν πράσσειν, ἀλλ᾽ οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι, εὖ φερόμενοι, οὔπως ἤθελον ἐπὶ τῇ ἴσῃ καταλύεσθαι. σφαλέντων δὲ αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τῷ Δηλίῳ παραχρῆμα οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι, γνόντες νῦν μᾶλλον ἂν ἐνδεξαμένους, ποιοῦνται τὴν ἐνιαύσιον ἐκεχειρίαν, ἐν ᾗ ἔδει συνιόντας καὶ περὶ τοῦ πλέονος χρόνου βουλεύεσθαι. (5.15 adapted)
λογιζομένοις – calculate
ποιητέος – to de done
ἡ σύμβασις – agreement, treaty
ἧσσον – less
‛η επιθυμια – desire
κομίσασθαι – get back, recover
συγγενης – kinsmen
ἤρξαντο – begin
‛η ‛αλωσις – capture
εὖ φερόμενοι – doing well
ἐπὶ τῇ ἴσῃ – on equal terms
σφαλέντων – be defeated
παραχρῆμα – forthwith
γνόντες – knowing
ἐνδεξαμένους – accept
ενιαυσιος – for a year
‛η εκεχειρια – armistice
ἔδει – it was necessary
συνιόντας – meet
βουλεύεσθαι – consider, take counsel

War (1) – causes

War (1) – causes

Thucydides explains what he considers to be the ‘truest reason’ for the Peloponnesian War: the growing power of Athens and Spartan fear

διότι δ᾽ ἔλυσαν [τας σπονδας], τὰς αἰτίας πρῶτον προύγραψα καὶ τὰς διαφοράς, τοῦ μή τινα ζητῆσαί ποτε ἐξ ὅτου τοσοῦτος πόλεμος τοῖς Ἕλλησι κατέστη. τὴν μὲν γὰρ ἀληθεστάτην πρόφασιν, ἀφανεστάτην δὲ λόγῳ, ἡγοῦμαι τοὺς Ἀθηναίους μεγάλους γιγνομένους καὶ φόβον παρέχοντας τοῖς Λακεδαιμονίοις ἀναγκάσαι ἐς τὸ πολεμεῖν: αἱ δ᾽ ἐς τὸ φανερὸν λεγόμεναι αἰτίαι αἵδ᾽ ἦσαν ἑκατέρων, ἀφ᾽ ὧν λύσαντες τὰς σπονδὰς ἐς τὸν πόλεμον κατέστησαν. (1. 23 adapted)
διοτι – for what reason
‛η αιτια – cause
προύγραψα – have written first
‛η διαφορα – disagreement
ζητῆσαί – to seek
ἐξ ὅτου – for what reason
κατέστη – came about
‛η προφασις – reason
αφανης – hidden
ἡγοῦμαι – consider
‛ο φοβος – fear
ἀναγκάσαι – compel, force
τὸ πολεμεῖν – war-making
ἐς τὸ φανερὸν – openly
‛εκατερος – each (side)

Ancient epic in modern performance

Ancient epic in modern performance
The Faculty of Classics at Oxford University invites you to an evening of discussions about harnessing ancient stories to create compelling, modern drama.

Professor Teresa Morgan, Chair of the Board of the Faculty of Classics, will introduce the two presentations and give an update on the Faculty’s activities.

Presentations: Performing Epic and Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers

Date: Tuesday 15 December 2015

Time: 6 – 8pm (talks start from 6.40pm)

Venue: Rainolds Room, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, OX1 4JF

Please contact Kate del Nevo via or phone 01865 610235. Please mention your name, college and year of matriculation. There are limited spaces, so please book early.

The wider world (8)

The wider world (8)

‛οι μεν Συριοι εμποροι πολλου η˛τησαν τον ελεφαντα, συνεβαλον δε δια χρονου. ‛ο Φιλιππος και επριατο παιγνια τοις παισι. τη˛ δε ‛υστεραια˛ ενοστησε προς τας Αθηνας. ‛υπολειπων δε τας νησους ειδε το τε Σουνιον και δη το του Ποσειδωνος ‛ιερον. τελος δε ‛ηκουσι εις τον λιμενα Πειραια ενεργον. και ‛η Αγαπη και ‛ο Θεοδωρος και ‛η Χλοη προσεδοκησαν.

πολλου η˛τησαν – demanded a lot (for)
συνεβαλον – made a deal
δια χρονου – eventually
επριατο – bought
τα παιγνια – toys
ενοστησε – set off home
‛υπολειπων – leaving behind
ενεργος – busy
προσεδοκησαν – waited for (him)

Sophia says: More about augments

I have already explained about augments (and reduplication) if verbs begin with a consonant: the syllabic augment ε- is added before the first consonant of the verb stem.

If verbs begin with a vowel, a temporal augment normally lengthens the first vowel as follows:

α – η
ε – η
ο – ω
αι – η˛
αυ – ηυ
ει – η˛
ευ – ηυ
οι – ω˛

Note also that in compound verbs which have a preposition added to the stem, the augment normally stands between the preposition and verb stem, e.g. ‛υπερεβαινον.

Sophia the donkey

Sophia the donkey

It’s all Greek to me

Map of Ancient Greece

Map of Ancient Greece

This expression may be a direct translation of a similar phrase in Latin. Graecum est, non legitur (‘it is Greek, it cannot be read’) was a phrase used by monk scribes in the Middle Ages, as knowledge of the Greek alphabet and language was dwindling among those engaged with copying manuscripts in monastic libraries.

We live in a more fortunate age. No longer the preserve of a privileged few, modern media enable us to share the riches of Classical Greek with anyone who is interested.