Home – Syllabus

Elementary Ancient Greek I. GRK 101. A. Scholtz (he, him, his). MWF 220-320. Zoom link (BU registration req'd). 4 credits, FL1, no prereqs, non-majors welcome. Office hours by apptStudents with special needs, please inform instructor.

For the whole of the semester, class will be held online via Zoom. For more on how to prepare, how to connect, etc., consult the "Zoom Meetings" page, this site.

For this syllabus, anywhere that you see you see a box like this with light pink background, that box deals with distance-learning procedures etc. that take precedence over, or that supplement, regular course procedures addressed in the section in which the box appears.

The Greek language represents a living tradition stretching back thousands of years. From the Bronze-Age Linear-B tablets (ca. 1300 BCE), to Homeric epic (ca. 700 BCE), to the poems and novels of Cavafy and Kazantzakis (19th-20th cent.), all exemplify a language that lives on in the speech and writing, the literature and cinema, of speakers, writers, and readers of Greek today.

Apollo head

By studying the language of the ancient Greeks, we deepen our appreciation of an ancient people whose contributions — political, intellectual, artistic — are still very much with us. Yet our study of Greek will also open a window into a world very different from the one we inhabit, a world whose contrasts and similarities with our own can help us know ourselves better.

Lion Gate, Mycenae
Lion Gate, Mycenae (photos)

This is a first-year, first-semester course, open to anyone, non-majors as well as majors. Please feel welcome to take part. Not only will you learn something. You'll have fun!

Terms and Conditions

  • As a condition of taking this course, students must fill out and submit the "GRK 101 Questionnaire." That includes clicking "I agree" to the terms and conditions laid out in this section of the course Syllabus. That form will be distributed by Bmail. The deadline for completion and submission is the semester Add/Drop deadline.


Students enrolled in this course agree to abide by all terms and conditions set forth in this syllabus and in other documents accessed from the GRK 101 course site. Students understand that it may become necessary to alter some aspects of the course — assignment schedule, etc. — during the semester, and that the instructor will do so as he sees fit.

Students must as well. . .

  • Respect the race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, general background, and abled-ness of each and every participant in GRK 101
    • Please note that all students are welcome into our classroom. That dictates a high level of respect accorded to each and every one of us. Discriminatory or biased behavior, in word or deed, affecting any GRK 101 student, or the instructor, whether inside or outside the classroom, will not be tolerated.
  • Respect the personal (= physical) and virtual (= online, in email, social media, etc.) space of other GRK 101 students, both inside and outside of class meetings
  • Refrain from various other distractive and / or disrespectful behaviors, including. . .
    • Activity/conversation unrelated to class
    • Unnecessary comings and goings (once in class, please try to stay there)
    • Distractive use of electronic devices, etc. (instructor reserves right to deny students use of same)
    • Show respect for online class sessions by refraining from Zoom-bomging, trolling, and similar behavior
  • Do not share your GRK 101 Zoom access with others, as that can lead to Zoom-bombing, trolling, etc.

Academic Honesty, Valid Use of Study Groups

Students must abide by regulations concerning academic honesty, as defined and elaborated in the University Bulletin. What is academic honesty, also known as academic integrity? Very generally, it is the ability to say that:

  • Your work is yours
  • You have pointed out how you have relied on the words, ideas, research, etc. of others
  • You have done nothing to interfere with the work of fellow students or the instructor
Porch of the Maidens
Porch of the Maidens (photos)

For this course, then, do not:

  • Cheat on exams or quizzes
  • Have others do your work for you
  • Simply copy from the group when working in a group outside of class. (Do contribute to group work actively, and do critique the work of group members)
  • Copy homework from published or unpublished answer keys, teacher's guides, other people's work, etc.

All instances of academic dishonesty will result in an automatic grade of Fail (F) for the course and referral of the case to Harpur Advising and to the Dean.

STUDY GROUPS. You most certainly are encouraged to form those,whether face-to-face or online. That includes the kind of goup-wise homework consultation that allows for mutual teaching, "reality checks," etc.

HOWEVER, you mustn't abuse this privilege. It will be important for me to monitor the doing of assignments, and to offer appropriate advice when collaboration becomes lopsided (the designated homework doer) or when the group mutually "enables" sloppy work.

Please understand that I can tell when students are lending one another their papers. The student doing the copying isn't checking the work of the lending student; neither is learning anything that the assignment is meant to teach. At best, you're compromising your grade. At worst, you'll face a range of serious sanctions.

Abuse of group work can and will be treated as academic dishonesty.


See dedicated contact page.

Students with Special Needs

If you have special needs related to distance-learning aspects of this course, please contact me and the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at your earliest convenience.
Map of Greece
Map of Greece

As I've said, all students are welcome into our classroom. If you have special needs, I strongly urge you to talk to me to explore how those needs can best be served. That potentially includes:

  • Implementing authorized accommodations
  • Respecting the confidentiality of special-needs-related information provided to me
  • Consulting, and partnering with, appropriate entities on campus to insure timely and effective access to classroom facilities, instructional materials, etc.
Note that it will be important for students with special needs "to take an active role in informing faculty [in this case, me!] of authorized accommodations, and collaborating with them to insure effective arrangements. Students who believe they require disability-related support services or accommodations to participate on an equal basis with their class colleagues should follow the procedures outlined in 'Disability Documentation Guidelines and Procedures for Requesting Academic Accommodations" on the SSD's webpage under 'Current Students' " (the above paraphrased or quoted from the SSD website).

Required Text (at BU Bookstore)

  • Balme, Maurice and Gilbert Lawall. 2003. Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek. Book I. 3rd edition New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN-13: 978-0190607661
    • We shall use Book II in the fall.

Learning Outcomes

General-Education Outcomes

From the Bulletin:

"Students who satisfy the Foreign Language requirement will demonstrate

  1. "Basic proficiency in the understanding and use of a foreign language.
  2. "Knowledge of the distinctive features of cultures(s) associated with the languages they are studying."

Course-Specific Outcomes

Bt the end of the semester, students should expect:

  • To know the Greek alphabet
  • Will be able to read ancient Greek aloud
  • Will have acquired a grasp of the fundamentals of Greek grammar (noun and verb inflection, sentence structure, etc.)
  • Will be able to read and understand basic ancient Greek
  • Will be able to hold very simple conversations in ancient Greek


For the whole semester, students will attend class via Zoom; more on that on the dedicated Zoom page. Attendance will be mandatory.

Attendance is required, as is prompt arrival at class; learning cannot happen if we are not there on time and participating. Attendance will be taken and will figure into the participation grade.

Failure to attend class will result in a zero for that day's participation, quizzing, examining, etc. Egregious tardiness will be counted as absence at the instructor's discretion. To leave class early unexcused will count as absence; any graded exercise due that day in class will count as zero. (Don't leave after quizzes!)

Dismissal from Course Due to Absence. By enrolling in this course, you agree that eight (8) unexcused absences will disqualify you from passing the course.

Excusable Absence

Absence is EXCUSABLE in the event of illness, family emergency, vital religious observance or family function, important job interview, etc.

MEDICAL EXCUSE. I only excuse medical absence with a doctor's note or similar documentation.

  • For colds, stomach fever and the like, I generally accept the say-so of the student. Still, understand that to lie about an absence is a violation of academic integrity.

NON-MEDICAL EXCUSE. I only excuse non-medical absence if I have had sufficient warning well ahead of time, or with written documentation in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

If your absence is of the excusable variety, you will need to alert me to it in timely fashion, i.e., at your earkliest convenience, preferably, before class. Please explain the nature of your absence (you don't need to go into sensitive detail). Obtain necessary documentation.

Non-Excusable Absence


  • Oversleeping / alarm-clock malfunction
  • Absentmindedness (keep track of class- and assignment-schedules)
  • Long-weekends, vacation "extenders," plane reservations
  • Unexcused early departure from class-meeting (counts as absence)

If your absence is of the excusable variety, please be on top of makeups: I will not be able to allow you to makeup quizzes/tests, or to strike the absence from the record, if you wait too long. Figure as follows: Absent Monday, all necessary work made up by Wednesday.

Required Absence Due to Illness

Obviously, even if you are contagious, your presence in the virtual classroom will pose no threat to anyone. Also obviously, do not attend class, even virtually, if too sick to do so. Do, though, send me email.

If you are clearly and obviously sick enough that it interferes with your learning, obviously, stay home and get better; maybe see a doctor. Do not come to class. That is for your sake but it is also to prevent you from infecting others.

Typical Class

A typical class will involve a variety of activities, including:

  • Oral Greek warm-up
  • Presentation of new material and review of old
  • Oral back-and-forth, including checkin on work with new vocabulary, new word forms (morphology), etc.
  • Check-in on homework. You will be required to hold up your homework and show it to the class
  • I often ask students to submit homework; more on that below

There will be much structured group work targeting both assignments and unassigned material. Expect to participate in drills and handout-oriented exercises designed to solidify grasp of grammar, vocabulary, etc. Expect also to be called on to participate in sharing your homework "results" with the class, and to work in groups on same.

Assessment of Student Work (aka grading)

oral Greek 10%
participation 25%
chapter quizzes 25%
midterm exam 15%
final exam 25%

Grading Scale

A 93-100
A- 90-92.9
B+ 87-89.9
B 83-86.9
B- 80-82.9
C+ 77-89.9
C 73-86.9
C- 70-82.9
D 60-69.9
F 0-59.9

  • For the purposes of grading, the two lowest, non-zero quiz scores (two quizzes) will be expunged from the record (will not figure into the final grade).

Oral Greek Participation

This is a special form of participation; it is graded separately from other participation. Basically, the oral-Greek grade tracks how engaged you are with the spoken back-and-forth with which each class will begin.

  • This is not going to be tested. I don't deduct points for errors. We need to give ourselves permission to make mistakes
  • Rather, I'm checking in to see if you're making good use of the spoken back-and-forth as a portal into the language, to see if you're making a good faith effort, to see if you're engaged

For more information (dialogues with directions on how to use them, assessment criteria, etc.) see the dedicated PDF document, λαλῶμεν ἑλληνιστί, "Let's Speak Greek!"

Other Participation

That grade will be based on:

  • Evidence of your good-faith effort to do assignments on time as as assigned. (I often collect homework to check it)
  • Evidence of your investing real effort in preparing for oral quizzes
  • Evidence of your ready involvement in learning activities in class

Show evidence for that and you will receive full marks for participation. Fail to do homework or to show up for class in timely fashion likely will result in a zero for that day.

Assignments, Homework

If I ask you to hand in homework, please do so by scanning your paper and then emailing me the PDF you have generated. It is also possible (though not preferable) to use your phone to to photograph the paper and to send me that. Please create well-aligned, high definition images in landscape orientation. Email me those

ALL HOMEWORK MUST BE DONE, written out (unless you're instructed otherwise) and brought to class as per the Assignments page.

  • Homework is to be prepared for class due on the day indicated on the Assignments page.

From Proclus' Commentary on Euclid’s Elements (68.6):

καὶ γὰρ ὁ Ἀρχιμήδης ἐπιβαλὼν καὶ τῷ πρώτῳ μνημονεύει τοῦ Εὐκλείδου, καὶ μέντοι καί φασιν ὅτι Πτολεμαῖος ἤρετό ποτε αὐτόν, εἴ τίς ἐστιν περὶ γεωμετρίαν ὁδὸς συντομωτέρα τῆς στοιχειώσεως· ὁ δὲ ἀπεκρίνατο, μὴ εἶναι βασιλικὴν ἀτραπὸν ἐπὶ γεωμετρίαν.

"For Archimedes as a side note recalls a conversation Euclid once had with Ptolemy [Egyptian king], who asked him if there's a shortcut to learning geometry, a way to avoid immersing oneslf in the basics. Euclid answered, 'There is no royal road to geometry.' "

Neither is there a "royal road" to ancient Greek. It requires study and effort. Homeworks do not need to be perfect to get credit. But homeworks showing little or no effort to do the learning will result in a lowered grade overall for the student.

I will monitor homework by circulating around class and seeing what sorts of help you need. If I see that you haven't done your homework, I will note down a zero for your participation that day. I will also be calling on you and monitoring any homework-related group work done in class.

I will also collect and correct homework periodically and unannounced, perhaps once a week, perhaps more times.

What is required for full points on homework? Not perfection, but evidence of a good faith effort to do exercises right and to learn the lessons they're intended to teach.

Good-faith effort on homework will contribute strongly to full points for your daily participation grade.

Homework will take the form of

  1. Written exercises out of the text book. It's important to make sure you're following directions, whether those in book or special directions noted on Assignments page.

    Written work, though not always collected, is crucial, and will be graded with participation. On your homework papers, be sure to leave space for you to note corrections, indeed, to take notes of various sorts. Note they'll be crucial for reviewing for quizzes and texts.

  2. Reading passages ("beta-readings") to be read OUT LOUD and translated in writing at home in preparation for the next day's class.
  3. Work out (as best you can) how the Greek sounds and what it means; attend to sentence structure, etc. Use all the vocab and other helps available in the book. There is always a vocab list before each reading. Readings also have their own notes. Beta-readings often make you at the alpha-reading notes. Use too the "Greek to English Vocabulary" at the end of the book (pp. 323 ff.).

    You may, if you wish, write out translations, but please do not use those in class. Instead, you should prepare for class by creating detailed notes citing difficult vocab and / or grammar on left (words and phrases in Greek, therefore), and your explanations on the right; that can include, but should not consist solely of, translation.

    These commentaries will, then, help you through class and will provide space for you to note corrections. They'll be crucial for reviewing for quizzes and texts.

  4. Quiz-quotes are brief passages — a few lines — in Greek and from ancient Greek authors, in other words, real Greek. They typically will be assigned for the same day as longer readings ("beta-readings"), therefore, one to go along with each chapter in the book. For these I am asking you:
    • To read the quiz-quote and discussion that goes with it on the quiz-quotes page
      • As always, be sure to practice its pronunciation!
    • To write a translation — use translation notes supplied on the quiz-quotes page
    • To write a brief-paragraph's length of comment: your thoughts about the quotation
      • I am very much interested in your personal take. Still, that needs to respond to — to reflect and to show awareness of — the historical and/or literary context of the quotation. You can use notes supplied with the quotation to help with that

To close off this section, assignments are to be done, and on time. Note that my assessment of participation (including of homework) will reflect your preparation and overall involvement, not "getting it right." A good faith effort will suffice to qualify you for full points on all points of participation. That means a proactive approach to the cooperative learning we'll be doing.

Submitting Homework

If I ask you to submit a written homework assignment, please do so at your earliest possible convenience on the day it is due. Following these steps to scan and upload:

  • Note that I have a YouTube video illustrating the process of scanning and uploading!
    Adobe Scan graphic
  1. Scan the document using a free app like Adobe Scan, available for iOS and Android.
    • On your paper original, make sure to skip multiple lines, so I have space to mark up your document when I send it back to you. Write your name, date, and the sections and exercise numbers from the book
    • When you scan, make sure you save all pages as a single PDF document
    • Good scanning apps (like Adobe Scan) automatically crop and clean up your copy, like this
  2. Upload the scanned document as a PDF to your GRK 101 personal Google Drive. You should find that link in your email.


Quizzes will be open-book, submission as described in the next paragraph. On each quiz paper you submit, I will require a hand-signed pledge stating that you have honored academic honesty requirements ("I hereby pledge not to have cheated on this quiz, [your signature]").

Complete the quiz/exam by hand, then scan as per above and upload to the dedicated quiz or exam link on myCourses.

Oral Quizzes

Once or twice per chapter you'll be studying material from online PDF handouts for the purpose of in-class oral quizzes, as per Assignments page.

  • Certain assignments ask you to memorize a set of Greek word forms (a "paradigm"), maybe special vocabulary, so you can be ready to supply those forms/vocab/whatever in class on a given day. That day, we will work through the forms, probably in drill fashion, but I'll be monitoring how well students do.
Preparing for these quizzes is required. Assessment is based on evidence in class of good preparation. It is all figured into your daily participation grade.

Written Quizzes

For most (not all) chapters of Athenaze, on the last of a sequence of class meetings devoted to a given chapter, there will be a brief quiz assessing your mastery of material relating to the preceding chapter. You will only be quizzed only material that shows up in assigned morphology, sentences, and readings.

  • For the purposes of grading, the two lowest, non-zero quiz scores (two quizzes) will be expunged from the record (will not figure into the final grade).

Written Quiz Coverage

  • Alpha- and beta-vocabulary (must be memorized!). Note that I only quiz or test vocab that appears on homework or is discussed in class
    • Quiz supplies Greek as in book; you supply an English equivalent or two. Focus on vocab that shows up both in homework and vocab lists in book
      • Always keep up with vocab!
  • Morphology (forms of words, endings, sometimes special vocabulary) based on ORAL QUIZZING for that chapter, as per Assignments page
  • Grammar material = translation of sentence(s) based on exercises and reading(s)
    • ENG-to-GRK
    • GRK-to-ENG
    • (No fill-ins)
  • A passage from the assigned alpha- and/or beta-reading(s)
  • The assigned quiz-quotation for that chapter

Studying for Written Quizzes

  • Memorize vocab from
  • For help with vocab mastery, use
  • Review explanations in book
  • Review your notes
  • Review homework papers


In effect, the midterm and final exams will be open-book. They will compensate by offering you additional challenge, like a more difficult homework assignment. They will not be timed, except insofar as there will be a hard deadline for emailing it back to me. See above, Quizzing, for how we're going deal with submission and completion of the the final exam. I will require a hand-signed pledge on your paper that you have honored academic honesty requirements ("I hereby pledge not to have cheated on this exam," etc.).

Midterm Exam

Like a very long written quiz, that is, exact same breakdown of content. Review:

  1. All α/β vocab used in readings and exercises from the beginning of the book and up through the chapter being examined. (Use flashcards for vocab!)
  2. Homework exercises.
    1. These form the basis for the mix-and-match, GRK-to-ENG "Sentences" section of exam.
    2. Plus, they form the basis of ENG-to-GRK sentences, which are, again, mix and match.
  3. All assigned α/β readings (translation assignments), basis for extended passages to translate on exam.
  4. All assigned quiz-quotations.

Final Exam

At precisely 12:00am, on the morning of 17-May, 2021, I'll email to the class the final exam paper. You will have twenty-four hours to prepare your answer paper. Once you have completed it, you will upload a pdf scan of your answers to your Google homework folder. Please do that by midnight of that day (= 12:00am, 18-May

Like the midterm, it will be open book. At no point are you you, however, to communicate with anyone else other than the instructor (me) once my test paper has been published. Not during twenty-four-hour window during which students take the exam, not after that window has been closed, when others may still need to take a make-up. Not ever.

I will require that all students copy to their answer papers an academic honesty pledge. No paper without it will be accepted. Any student caught collaborating in any way with another student will be treated as having committed an act of academic dishonesty and will be subject to sever penalties, including, potentially, permament expulsion from the University.

What will this exam look like? It will look just like the midterm, but with a retrospective element. It will test you on your knowledge of:

  • Material studied since the the midterm, tested exactly the same way as on the midterm (vocab, Greek to English sentences, English to Greek sentences, reading passages)
  • Additional retrospective sentences, readings, and quiz-quotations, to test your knowledge of material from earlier in the semester, but also to encourage broad-based review and to test retention

For help with review, see also the Final exam grammar review PDF, that is, the unedited whiteboard from our review session.

Guide to Studying

Here follows a checklist of items to review in preparation for the test. I would urge you to take the time to perform all these steps:

Pacing. Review for the test a little bit every day between now and the test. Don't wait to cram at the last minute.

Vocabulary, paradigms. Review a few of your vocab flash cards every day. (Remember, we focus on vocab that actually comes up in exercises.) It will not help to cram last minute; slow but steady wins the race. Likewise for paradigms, that is, declension and conjugation tables: nouns, verbs, articles, adjectives, pronouns, participles. Those forms all need to be memorized. Many are irregular. You can't just guess.

Grammar topics. Review the table of contents for chapters 1 through 10 in the beginning of Athenaze, vol. 1. Take note of each grammatical topic mentioned there. Make a mental note of items that appear to you unfamiliar. Start by focusing on reviewing those items. Use the textbook and my handouts. Then go on to a more expansive review of grammar topics.

My comments. These are too often neglected! Collect all your homeworks, all your quizzes, plus your midterm, not to mention my email messages with comments as to the aforementioned. What there seems to be going well? What seems to require additional work? Focus on what requires additional work.

Office Hours, Extra Help

I and the TA for this class are available to meet with you about:

  • The Greek, ways to help you with it, whether that's homework (past, present, or future), quiz/exam prep, anything (it is perhaps better to meet with the TA on this subject, though I am available, too)
  • Your overall progress in the course, ways to improve your grade, other issues that come up (this is something about which you should be meeting with me, not with the TA)

Note, then, that there is a tutor available for this course. Find his name and email on the myCourses course site. We both are here to help students who need and/or want it.

  • Please be advised that if I ask you to meet with one or the other of us, it is required that you do so. This is merely an extension of the instructor's prerogative to request an office-hour consultation. Where the issue is primarily focused on the Greek itself, that's more easily handled via the TA.

Office Hours

Extra Quiz Points

Each time that you meet with me for extra help, I will add three points to the next quiz following those meetings. (If you meet with me following the last quiz of the semester, before the final exam, I will add the points to the last quiz you'll have taken.)

Study Aids

For aids to the study of Greek generally, and to this course specifically, consult the following links:


MAKE USE OF THIS WEBSITE! Note especially the vocab-grammar-syntax handouts (in PDF form). Those are there to help you; use them.

Note also myCourses site (under ELEMENTARY CLASSICAL GREEK I-FALL05) for discussion board and grades.

Additional sites:

See also "Resources" page.

© Andrew Scholtz | Modified 18 May, 2021