“I don’t say these things in an effort to avoid their judgment, but so that they who are ignorant may feel some shame (if they are capable of it) in making their judgment. For, on this subject, I do not just embrace the opinion of friendly jealousy, but even the judgment of hostile hatred, and in sum, if someone pronounces that I am ignorant, I agree with him! When I myself think over how many things are lacking to me, toward which my mind, eager for knowledge, exerts itself, I sadly and silently recognize my own ignorance. But in the meantime, while the end of my present exile is near, at which point this imperfection (from whence our knowledge derives) will be terminated, I am consoled by the thought of our shared nature. I think that it happens to all good and modest minds, that they learn about themselves and derive consolation therefrom. For those who get hold of great knowledge (I am speaking according to the standards of human learning), it is always small when considered in itself, but it becomes great in light of the narrow circumstances from which it is derived, and certainly looks great when compared to others. Otherwise, I ask you, how small and insignificant is the knowledge granted to one mind? Nay, how much like nothing is the knowledge of any one person, whoever they be, when it is compared not just to the knowledge of God, but to one’s own fund of ignorance?”
Non hec dico, ut declinem forum, sed ut pudeat, siquis est pudor, iudicasse qui nesciunt. Ego etenim de hac re non modo sententiam amicabilis amplector invidie, sed hostilis odii, et ad summam, quisquis ignarum me pronuntiat, mecum sentit. Nam et ego ipse recogitans quam multa michi desint ad id quo sciendi avida mens suspirat, ignorantiam meam dolens ac tacitus recognosco. Sed me interim, dum presentis exilii finis adest, quo nostra hec imperfectio terminetur, qua ex parte nunc scimus, nature communis extimatione consolor. Idque omnibus bonis ac modestis ingeniis evenire arbitror, ut agnoscant se pariter ac solentur; his etiam quibus ingens obtigit scientia — secundum humane scientie morem loquor — que in se semper exigua, pro angustiis quibus excipitur, et collata aliis ingens fit. Alioquin quantulum, queso, est, quantumcunque est, quod nosse uni ingenio datum est? Imo quam nichil est scire hominis, quisquis sit, si non dicam scientie Dei, sed sui ipsius ignorantie comparetur?
Hugo of St. Victor, Didascalion 3.13 (11-12th Century CE)
“There is no one to whom it has been granted to know everything, but at the same time there is no one who has not chanced to receive some special gift from nature. The prudent reader, then, listens to everyone and reads everything, and spurns no writing, no person, no learning. He seeks from all without discrimination what he sees is lacking in himself, and considers not how much he knows, but how much he does not know. Here, they note that saying of Plato, ‘I prefer to learn everything reverently, rather than to insert my own ideas shamelessly.’ For, why do you blush to learn and feel no shame in ignorance? The first is a greater disgrace than the second. Or, why do you make pretensions to the highest claims when you toss about in the dregs? You should consider, instead, what your abilities are able to accomplish. He approaches the problem best who does so in proper order. Many people, in trying to make a leap, simply fall head-first. Therefore, avoid excessive haste. In this way, you will arrive more quickly to wisdom. Learn gladly what you do not know from everyone, because humility can make common to you what nature has made each person’s private property. You will be wiser than all if you wish to learn from everyone; those who receive gifts from everyone become wiser than everyone.
You should therefore hold no knowledge as worthless, because all knowledge is good. If you have the time, you should not refuse to at least give every writing a once-over. If you find no profit in it, you at least do not waste anything, especially since there is in my opinion no writing which does not at least propose something worthy of being sought, if it is read in a proper spot and order. If a piece of writing does not have anything particularly special about it, the diligent examiner of words will latch on to something not found elsewhere – and the more rare it is, the more delight he will feel.”
nemo est cui omnia scire datum sit, neque quisquam rursum cui aliquid speciale a natura accepisse non contigerit. prudens igitur lector omnes libenter audit, omnia legit, non scripturam, non personam, non doctrinam spernit. indifferenter ab omnibus quod sibi deesse videt quaerit, nec quantum sciat, sed quantum ignoret, considerat. hinc illud Platonicum aiunt: Malo aliena verecunde discere, quam mea impudenter ingerere. cur enim discere erubescis, et nescire non verecundaris? pudor iste maior est illo. aut quid summa affectas cum tu iaceas in imo? considera potius quid vires tuae ferre valeant. aptissime incedit, qui incedit ordinate. [774B] quidam dum magnum saltum facere volunt, praecipitium incidunt. noli ergo nimis festinare. hoc modo citius ad sapientiam pertinges. ab omnibus libenter disce quod tu nescis, quia humilitas commune tibi facere potest quod natura cuique proprium fecit. sapientior omnibus eris, si ab omnibus discere volueris. qui ab omnibus accipiunt, omnibus ditiores sunt.
nullam denique scientiam vilem teneas, quia omnis scientia bona est. nullam, si vacat, scripturam vel saltem legere contemnas. si nihil lucraris, nec perdis aliquid, maxime cum nulla scriptura sit, secundum meam aestimationem, quae aliquid expetendum non proponat, si convenienti loco et ordine tractetur; [774C] quae non aliquid etiam speciale habeat, quod diligens verbi scrutator alibi non inventum, quanto rarius, tanto gratius carpat.
“But to return to my topic, these men do not know that their teacher Aristotle did not spurn poets, but rather brought them forth as authorities. They also know that he treated of the art of poetry specially in a singular book, in order to provide a complement to his literary philosophy. To that extent, the chief of philosophers (I do not omit Plato as Cicero did) did not neglect poetry. But the successors of his studies (though they perhaps are more worthy of that title than that reality), censure poetry in direct proportion to their ignorance. But this is not surprising: they want to be called Aristotelians without any Aristotle. You would injure them if you called them Platonists, although they seem to hold an even more extreme opinion than Plato, in thinking that poets should not be expelled from an imagined state, but should be prohibited from the entire world.
Plato, however, did not expel all the poets from every city, but only the disreputable Attelani and comic poets, who exercised too much license in noting and describing various vices; even then, he expelled them from a city which he had never seen, but rather invented. For, though in portraying an ideal republic, rather than one he had seen, yet neither in his speech in life nor his authority after death (granted, from admiration of his divinity, eloquence, and the length of his life, which ended in the eighty-first year of his age – a number which is said to possess the highest perfection because it possesses multiplied roots of odd numbers – he was honored with temples and shrines), I repeat, neither his speech in life nor his authority after death prevailed to such a degree that even the comic poets were excluded from real cities. Perhaps some people were receptive to all of that in the schools – but it is manifest that the people were not receptive to that in the theaters, which were bustling with daily recitations of plays and new productions of the poets. The admiration for and authority of the poets was so great among the Athenians, and even all of Greece, that they were not only not expelled from the cities, but were received as the chief administrators of government, placed in command of wars, and welcomed into the counsel chambers of kings, so that the business of the greatest empires was conducted in accordance with the plans of the poets themselves.”
Sed uti ad propositum redeam, nesciunt hi magistrum suum Aristotilem non sprevisse sed allegasse poetas. Nesciunt et ipsum, ut sermocinali philosophie traderet complementum, de arte poetica singulari libro specialiter tractavisse. Adeo princeps ille philosophorum (nec Platonem ut Arpinas excipio) poeticam non contempsit. Quam hi successores studiorum suorum, si tamen id esse vel potius dici merentur, non minus nesciunt quam reprehendunt. Sed hoc mirum non est: sine Aristotile quidem volunt Aristotelici nominari. Quibus iniuriam feceris si Platonicos appellaris, quanquam et hoc ultra Platonem sentire videantur ut poete non de ficta solum per ipsum civitate pellendi sint sed a totius orbis ambitu prohibendi. Sed expulit Plato poetas non quoslibet nec ex qualibet civitate sed inhonestos Athelanos et comicos veteres, quorum nimia licentia fuit circa obicienda et describenda flagitia. Et istos ex illa solum urbe depulit cuius statum nullo modo videre potuit sed confinxit. Nam licet rem publicam describens non qualem vidit sed qualem esse debere sibi persuaserat depinxerit civitatem, non tamen tantum valuit vel viventis oratio vel mortui autoritas (licet admiratione divinitatis et eloquentie ac vite sue periodo, que octogesimo primo anno sue etatis terminata est, qui numerus propter imparium numerorum radices in se, imo per se, multiplicatas perfectionis maxime predicatur, templis et aris cultus fuerit), non, inquam, tantum valuit vel viventis oratio vel mortui autoritas quod ex veris civitatibus etiam comici truderentur. Receperunt illa forsan aliqui tunc in scolis. Palam autem est quod id populi non receperunt in theatris, que quotidianis recitationibus fabularum et novis poetarum editionibus effervebant. Tantaque fuit apud Athenienses et totam Greciam admiratio et autoritas poetarum ut non solum non pulsi de civitate fuerint sed inter principes administrande rei publice sint recepti, prepositi bellis, et regum asciti consiliis, ut iuxta determinationes ipsorum maximorum regnorum negocia gererentur.
“Everyone still needs some kind of break, not only because there is no material which can endure endless labor—and even those things which lack perception or life must be guarded in turns of rest in order to protect their strength—but also because studying requires a desire to learn which cannot be compelled.
Once renewed and made fresh, students who often bristle at what is compulsory bring a greater intensity and a sharper mind to learning. Games do not bother me in young students—for this is also a sign of an excited mind—and I do not hope that a sad and always downcast child will come to studies with a sharp mind when the natural energy customary to that age is missing.
But, still, there should be a reasonable balance to breaks so students might not hate their studies when breaks are denied nor get too accustomed to leisure. There are even some games which are helpful for sharpening the wits of students—such as when they compete by asking each other little questions of any kind. Characters also unveil themselves more simply during games. But, no age seems to be so infirm that it cannot learn immediately what is right and wrong and the age especially good for shaping a character is before children know how to dissimulate and still yield to their teachers most easily. For it is faster to break things that have hardened into evil than it is to correct them.”
Danda est tamen omnibus aliqua remissio, non solum quia nulla res est quae perferre possit continuum laborem, atque ea quoque quae sensu et anima carent ut servare vim suam possint velut quiete alterna retenduntur, sed quod studium discendi voluntate, quae cogi non potest, constat. Itaque et virium plus adferunt ad discendum renovati ac recentes et acriorem animum, qui fere necessitatibus repugnat. Nec me offenderit lusus in pueris (est et hoc signum alacritatis), neque illum tristem semperque demissum sperare possim erectae circa studia mentis fore, cum in hoc quoque maxime naturali aetatibus illis impetu iaceat. Modus tamen sit remissionibus, ne aut odium studiorum faciant negatae aut otii consuetudinem nimiae. Sunt etiam nonnulli acuendis puerorum ingeniis non inutiles lusus, cum positis invicem cuiusque generis quaestiunculis aemulantur. Mores quoque se inter ludendum simplicius detegunt: modo nulla videatur aetas tam infirma quae non protinus quid rectum pravumque sit discat, tum vel maxime formanda cum simulandi nescia est et praecipientibus facillime cedit; frangas enim citius quam corrigas quae in pravum induruerunt.
This semester I am teaching Introductory and Intermediate Ancient Greek fully online. I had the experience of “emergency remote” teaching in the spring and I taught Greek in a hybrid (both online and in person) format almost a decade ago. At my institution, we had the choice to teach in-person, “hybrid”, or fully remote. For reasons of safety and equity, I did not select the first option. I avoided the second option too because “hybrid” in this case is really a bi/multi-modal delivery which also has serious problems in equity and relies on incompletely tested technology.
Solon, fr. 18
“I grow old, always learning many things.”
γηράσκω δ’ αἰεὶ πολλὰ διδασκόμενος·
Given the likelihood of another surge in cases and family considerations (our children will be remote learning as well), I considered it best for student learning to stay in the same mode and practice for an entire semester. Subjects like languages can be taught well in an online format because they present discrete sets of material which can be presented clearly. The challenge is practice and assessment.
I am writing up my process of preparing for this type of teaching not because I have any special insight into teaching online (there are other places and people that do that better than I do) but because some readers might be in similar positions and find it useful and, equally, because some might have good feedback or suggestions for doing this better.
Here’s the syllabus for the class. One of the things I emphasize in the syllabus and in the teaching of the class is transparency about learning. I explain to the students in the first class that there is a difference between assessment of learning and grading and that the course is built on a basic tell-show-do model with a “flipped” lecture.
Heraclitus, fr. 40
“Knowing much doesn’t teach you how to think.”
πολυμαθίη νόον ἔχειν οὐ διδάσκει
Our schools LMS (learning management system) is a home-grown modification of blackboard called LATTE. I find most LMS platforms to be over-engineered with a range of tools not really worth using for classes under a certain number. I use our platform for file and link sharing and centralized communication. Each chapter of the semester gets its own module.
So week 1 looks something like this:
For each chapter of the book I have a prerecorded grammar lecture where I go over new material in the book (the “tell”) and then go through an exercise and some practice (“the show”). Part of the students’ work for each week is to submit a response to the lecture through google forms where they tell me three things they learned, three things that confused them and three things they want to learn more about. (I cribbed this from my friend Norman Sandridge a few years back).
Alcman, fr. 125
“Trying is the first step of learning”
πῆρά τοι μαθήσιος ἀρχά
The classes meet twice a week for 90 minutes virtually, so the asynchronous videos provide extra work with Greek and the trissakephalos sheets provide both (1) feedback to me for how effective the videos are and (2) structure for talking about the grammar at the beginning of the first class. Class time is then dedicated to a combination of exercise review, group work, and problem solving
I provide students with two kinds of videos. The first is a narrated powerpoint presentation. (You can make these by recording the slide show with narration). I have added some material from the text book to do some practice within the grammar presentation and I suspect in the future I will have to add more of that. Each video is around 20-30 minutes.
Making a video from a slide show is easier than it used to be. You can select export from the file menu and create a video directly.
Sophocles, Fr. 843
“I learn what can be taught; I seek what can be found; and I ask the gods what must be prayed for.”
Students come will (ideally) come to class after viewing this video and submitting the trissakephalos sheet. I designed a simple form using google forms and just copied it for each chapter. I have provided a link to each form in LATTE for the students.
So a given week looks something like this. I may add assignments to be completed in the future, but for now I am going to keep it really simple. With the asynchronous videos and the 90 minute class meetings, the students are getting more contact hours than typical. I also am worried about how much focus students will have out of class in a pandemic. My basic assumption is that most of the work they will do for Greek will be with me
Libanius, Autobiography F90 17
“The education of the young had been taken up by people little different from the young themselves.”
For the first session of every week we will spend our time reviewing based on the questions from the trissakephalos sheets and then working on reading and exercises in the textbook. I have also created supplementary videos for them to watch in between the class meetings. I made these using zoom’s “record on this computer function”.
Zoom is a good enough utility for this because you can (1) record, (2) share a screen while doing so, and (3) annotate the screen while talking. As you can see from the shot below, the students get my face, voice, Athenaze, and my mad scribbling, so it is almost like being in the room!
“In sum, nature is education’s raw material: the latter shapes, the former is shaped. There is no art without substance; material has a worth apart from art; and yet, the highest art is superior to the best material.”
Denique natura materia doctrinae est: haec fingit, illa fingitur. Nihil ars sine materia, materiae etiam sine arte pretium est; ars summa materia optima melior.
I also almost forgot to talk about my tech setup. In addition to a second monitor attached to my laptop using the extend screen function I use a galaxy tablet. I login through a different ID and use the tablet to check what students are seeing.
The setup looks a little messy from my angle, but it allows me to use the tablet to write on a whiteboard that students can use too.
My main challenges are getting students to learn vocabulary and then quizzing them on it alongside morphology. A real simple solution is to meet with them individually on zoom and quiz them (which is intense for me), to create a google form quiz or LMS quiz, or to stray from quiz like assessments and use more games and activities in the class time. I am going to practice using the exercises on Ketos and other similar sites.
All exams in the class are going to be take-home because I am trying to emphasize learning the skills students are actually here for: reading Greek on their own. This means it is ok if they have access to a dictionary or grammar.
“The doors of the muses are open”: a proverb applied to those readily acquiring the best things in their education.”
“I would like to tell you a few things about me and my character.
If everyone were like me, there wouldn’t be any courts at all,
They wouldn’t take each other to prison.
There would be no war and everyone would be happy because they had enough.
Ah, maybe the way things are is more pleasing. Act as you will.
This old cranky grump will be out of your way.”
“Humanity waited, thunderstruck by the new light in the sky,
First grieving as it disappeared, then overjoyed at its return.
The human race was incapable of understanding the reasons
Why the sun rose so frequently once it sent the stars
In flight, why the length of days and nights was uncertain
And why the shadows changed too as the sun moved farther away.
Stubborn obsession had not yet taught humankind knowledge and skill
And the land was resting open at the hands of untrained farmers.
At that time gold was resting in untouched mountains
And the untroubled sea hid strange worlds—
For the human race did not dare to risk life
In the waves or wind—people believed that they did not know enough.
But the passage of long days sharpened mortal thought
And hard work produced invention for the miserable
Just as each person’s luck compelled him to turn to himself to make life better.
Then, they competed with each other once their interests were divided
And whatever wisdom practice found through testing,
They happily shared for the common good.”
et stupefacta novo pendebat lumine mundi,
tum velut amisso maerens, tum laeta renato,
surgentem neque enim totiens Titana fugatis
sideribus, variosque dies incertaque noctis
tempora nec similis umbras, iam sole regresso
iam propiore, suis poterat discernere causis.
necdum etiam doctas sollertia fecerat artes,
terraque sub rudibus cessabat vasta colonis;
tumque in desertis habitabat montibus aurum,
immotusque novos pontus subduxerat orbes,
nec vitam pelago nec ventis credere vota
audebant; se quisque satis novisse putabant.
sed cum longa dies acuit mortalia corda
et labor ingenium miseris dedit et sua quemque
advigilare sibi iussit fortuna premendo,
seducta in varias certarunt pectora curas
et, quodcumque sagax temptando repperit usus,
in commune bonum commentum laeta dederunt.
Note: This is a collection of sites/tools to help students and enthusiasts. I am posting it gain because I frequently get the question and there is no simple answer
Typing ancient Greek on computers and hand-held devices is increasingly necessary, but remains more difficult than it needs to. I won’t regale you with horror stories of the days of symbol based fonts when every journal used a different format that required separate entry or converters. But, it did involve keyboard maps that looked like this:
Unicode has made things much easier because almost every font can potentially be Greek.
But text entry can remain an issue for new Greek users. The main challenge for those of us with Roman letter keyboards is that we need to be able to use Polytonic Greek (Polytonic means “with many accents and diacritical marks”; most Greek keyboards are for the simpler modern Greek).
Just to clarify, then, the challenge is getting your device to assign the symbols you want to the keyboard you have and to modify these symbols with diacritical marks (breathings, accents, etc.). If you are just copying and pasting things already used in Greek, you don’t actually need to change anything. (And, if you are quoting long portions of Greek text, I strongly suggest just copying and pasting from the TLG, Perseus, etc. and then checking against varied editions.) But if you want to be a Greek Boss you need to change your keyboard settings.
Most devices already have settings that allow you to do this. (There are assistance utilities for those of us who have less patience/ability). Apple/MAC products tend to have simpler instructions, but sometimes still present challenges. PC/Android products can be annoying. But don’t get too frustrated–just imagine what it was like before computers!
4. I use the Antioch utility. Campus antivirus programs will not allow it to be downloaded and installed. You need to do it from a private residence. I have not tried Keyman, but it looks promising. A similar utility mentioned by Mt Holyoke and Baumann for Apple products is SophoKeys (yay wordplay!). See also, Bill Thayer’s cyborg Typinator.
Note: I am certainly not the first to collect some of these resources. Here’s a twitter picture guide:
You do not need to download anything (let alone *pay* for anything!) to type in Greek. A Greek keyboard already comes installed on your computer—you just have to turn it on. It’s very easy; here’s how. pic.twitter.com/iXNTm4e7aJ
Thomas Carlyle, History of Friedrich II of Prussia:
“He is now (A.D. 1414) holding this Council of Constance, by way of healing the Church, which is sick of Three simultaneous Popes and of much else. He finds the problem difficult; finds he will have to run into Spain, to persuade a refractory Pope there, if eloquence can (as it cannot): all which requires money, money. At opening of the Council, he “officiated as deacon;” actually did some kind of litanying ‘with a surplice over him,’ [25th December, 1414 (Kohler, p. 340).] though Kaiser and King of the Romans. But this passage of his opening speech is what I recollect best of him there: “Right Reverend Fathers, date operam ut illa nefanda schisma eradicetur,” exclaims Sigismund, intent on having the Bohemian Schism well dealt with,—which he reckons to be of the feminine gender. To which a Cardinal mildly remarking, “Domine, schisma est generis neutrius (Schisma is neuter, your Majesty),”—Sigismund loftily replies, “Ego sum Rex Romanus et super grammaticam (I am King of the Romans, and above Grammar)!” [Wolfgang Mentzel, Geschichte der Deutschen, i. 477.] For which reason I call him in my Note-books Sigismund SUPER GRAMMATICAM, to distinguish him in the imbroglio of Kaisers.”