Recently I’ve received several requests, both in person and through the Contact page, for my recommendations for learners of Ancient Greek who want to take advantage of the brain’s ability to process meaningful spoken and written language and who want to employ some of the habits celebrated on this site. This post highlights several resources–books, recordings, and videos–for people improving their Greek at home, as well as some organizations and programs doing good work in this area. The lists are not exhaustive, but should give you good places to start!
Resources for reading, listening, and viewing
- The “Greco” list on the bottom half of this Vivarium Novum page contains 20+ readers published between the mid-nineteenth-century and the present that contain much more continuous Greek text than standard textbooks do, providing many of the benefits of Extensive Reading.
- Alexandros, a course by Mario Díaz based on W.H.D. Rouse’s classic A Greek Boy at Home, includes long passages of Greek with illustrations and has a useful blog and wiki (in Spanish), as well as a supplement with readings from mythology.
- Dialogos (scroll right on the linked page), a course by Santi Carbonell, is based on dialogues in conversational Greek and has several ancillaries.
- The text Reading Greek: Text and Vocabulary (listed on the above Vivarium Novum page, but highlighted here for its value) provides extended, often amusing reading. I recommend the main volume more strongly than the ancillaries and sequels. This is also the text I most recommend if you are starting from scratch, unless you can get your hands on the following:
- The Italian edition of Athenaze is a good introduction IF you can comfortably read Italian. The Vivarium Novum site has extended samples from Volume 1 and Volume 2. (Note: The Italian edition differs significantly from the English edition, which has much less total Greek text.)
- Geoffrey Steadman provides user-friendly editions of many Greek texts for intermediate readers.
- Christophe Rico’s textbook Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language (see below for accompanying YouTube videos) includes written dialogues and other short texts.
- Paideia’s Living Greek blog “provide[s] interesting, intermediate content in . . . ancient Greek to help bridge the gap between textbook [Greek] and classical authors.”
- All passages on Paideia’s Living Greek blog are accompanied by an audio version.
- The above-mentioned Reading Greek text is accompanied by the audio CDs Speaking Greek.
- The above-mentioned Dialogos is accompanied by free audio.
- Believe it or not, developing facility in Modern Greek will do quite a bit for your proficiency in Ancient Greek. You might try the Pimsleur Greek Course if you can find it at a library.
- These videos featuring Christophe Rico (sample below) of the Polis Institute give viewers a sense of participating in full-length Greek classes centered on Total Physical Response (TPR). The videos dovetail with Rico’s textbook, Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language.
- Although the first few lessons are missing, this playlist of Greek classes by Paul Nitz allows viewers to follow an entire Greek course taught with TPR and other meaning-focused techniques.
Organizations and Programs
Most recommended: The Paideia Institute and the Polis Institute
- If you have the time and money, Paideia’s Living Greek in Greece is about as good a short-term Ancient Greek program as you can find.
- Paideia’s conference Living Latin in New York City offers a Greek track.
- Paideia’s Telepaideia (online) courses include both conversational Greek and Greek reading courses.
- Polis has a number of summer Greek programs.
- You can learn about the Polis method (inspired mainly by Ulpan and Total Physical Response [TPR]) and see sample videos here.
Note: Paideia’s programs tend to focus more on Attic Greek, those of Polis more on Koine.
Note, though learners have used my videos in their study of Greek, the videos were created as review material for my class, rather than as an online course. Since I didn’t create a review video for every class, the numbering shows some gaps. Probably teachers of Greek who are using a communicative approach would find the videos useful. They’ll see many examples of the three main communicative methods put into practice: TPR, TPRS, and WAYK.. P. Nitz
Hey there! Wonderful post Justin! I just spent 9 straight days of my summer while my wife was out of town in near-total immersion in Ancient Greek through videos, audio, and extensive easy reading! I thought I might add some other juicy morsels from my scavenging. 1) In addition to Paul Nitz’ and Chistrophe Rico’s amazing videos, an industrious fellow by the name of Rogelio Toledo who studied at Polis has put a bunch of treasures on youtube, some novice-highish, others intermediate and advanced. There’s also a little from a Vivarium Novum professor who is proficient in Greek! I’ve organized everything juicy on youtube I could find other than Mr. Nitz’ already big and lovely playlists into two of my own playlists:
2) Also, if you look up magistercirculus on archive.org, I’ve uploaded most of Athenaze I (Italian edition) as well as some other cool stuff. Other than Athenaze 16, you can get the whole thing between my and Gonzalo Jerez’ uploads. Soon I will add Thrasymachus with cheesy sound effects, some Aesop with running paraphrase, and other easier extensive reading/listening material.
3) Emiliano Caruso has written “A Monolingual Dictionary of Ancient Greek” which you can order from the Anglo-American Bookshop in Rome. Check it out at
4) Finally, I had a light bulb moment a few months ago and learned by experiment that you can easily order Athenaze I and II, as well as the ancillaries Ephodion I and II, and Tavole di Cebete from AMAZON! But… you have to use amazon.it or amazon.es. You type in your name and password and — presto! — they remember you and your address, credit cards, etc. If you’re familiar with amazon, you don’t even really need to know Spanish or Italian to slowly and carefully navigate the checkout process. From these sites you can also get the illusive volumes of the Lingua Latina per se Illustrata series: Cena Trimalchionis, Vergilii Bucolica, and sometimes de Rerum Natura. Happy hunting!