Course outline: Level 3

Byzantine Greek Summer School 2014

Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology
University of Birmingham

This course is for those who have successfully completed Level 2 in a previous year and have followed this up with at least one year’s further study, or those who have taken university courses in Byzantine or Ancient Greek for at least one year (but preferably two years), or who have acquired the appropriate competence in Byzantine or Ancient Greek by other means. The course assumes a wide vocabulary and a thorough knowledge of the morphology and syntax of Greek as described in the Course Outlines for Levels 1 and 2. Revision and extension of formal grammar will be offered as needed. Those who are uncertain whether to apply for Level 2 or Level 3 need not worry unduly at this stage. All those applying for Level 3 will be given short diagnostic translation test at the beginning of the second fortnight of the Summer School, and the test will also be offered to those who applied for Level 2 only. We will aim to fit the course to the level or levels of ability of the participants, dividing into two groups for some of the time if necessary.

As with the Level-1 and Level-2 courses there are two sessions a day, each of three hours’ duration, Monday to Friday, in two consecutive weeks: a total of 60 hours. However, not all the hours will involve instruction or guided translation and for a small part of most days participants will be given time to work on translation individually or in small groups.

There is no pre-defined programme of instruction for this course. Its purpose is to introduce participants to a wide variety of Byzantine Greek texts in different styles and registers, as well as to samples of Classical, Greek, late Byzantine vernacular and Modern Greek. Most of the teachers involved in the Summer School will contribute to Level-3.

All applicants for Level 3 are required to specify at least one text that they would like to study as part of Level 3. See Question 20 on the application form. Obviously not all the texts requested can be covered, but they will provide a guide to your interests and help us to plan the course and to allocate applicants to suitable workshop groups.

Participants will be divided into groups for part of the time, and the groups may change from day to day. People maybe allocated to groups on the basis of their interests and their requested texts.

In addition to a selection of the texts requested by participants, other texts will be chosen by the teachers, to ensure that all participants are exposed to a wide variety of styles and subject matter.

Those who attended Level-3 in a previous year (2008–2012) can be assured that a completely different set of texts will be studied in 2013 (though different selections from some of the same works may be included). Texts will include samples of most of the following: historical texts (both chronographic and discursive), rhetorical texts, liturgical and biblical texts, theological and hagiographical texts, poetic texts (both religious and secular), official documents and letters.

Palaeography. 

In addition, there are optional introductory palaeography sessions in which we read, transcribe and partially translate facsimiles of manuscripts. No previous experience of palaeography is required.

Pronunciation. 

As in the Level-1 and Level-2 courses, we will use modern Greek pronunciation, since all the evidence indicates that this is closer to the pronunciation of Greek in the Byzantine period than is the Erasmian pronunciation (in any of its variants) generally used in the teaching of Classical Greek. Those who have hitherto used only a version of Erasmian pronunciation will be given instruction in Modern Greek pronunciation at the start of the course. Having learned modern pronunciation you will have a head start if you wish at some stage to learn the modern form of the language. For those unfamiliar with Modern Greek pronunciation, there will be additional pronunciation sessions in the first two days of the course.

Assessment. 

At the end of the course there will be a written translation exam (three hours) and students who pass this will be sent a certificate to say that they have successfully completed the course. The exam will consist of excerpts from the works studied in the course, but not from the actual passages studied. The use of dictionaries and other resources will be permitted.