Greek for Reading

As you head into winter break, with visions of elegant, powerful Homeric Greek dancing before your eyes, you may wonder how you can preserve your hard-won Greek from this semester, while continuing to develop your ability to read Greek with ease and enjoyment. Below you will find several resources (most free, a few inexpensive) that will help you become the reader of Greek that you dream to be. Enjoy!


A First Greek Reader with Notes and Vocabulary by  Charles Melville Moss

Includes progressively longer and more challenging stories (from 4 lines to a several small page in length) on a range of folk and historical topics, from naughty boys to how Alcibiades cured his stage-fright, to the Battle of Thermopylae, to Heracles behaving like Heracles. Notes and vocabulary appear in the back of the book.

Stories and Legends: a First Greek Reader, with Notes, Vocabulary and Exercises by Francis Henry Colson

Readings about myth, Athenians, Spartans, Alexander, Oracles, and Philosophers. Most stories are only a paragraph long. Great for a quick read. Notes and vocabulary appear in the back of the book.

First Greek Reader: for the Use of Schools by Archibald Hamilton Bryce

After a grammar, includes readings, most only a few sentences long: Witticism of Hierocles, Anecdotes of Illustrious Men, Aesop’s Fables, and  a few Dialogues of the Dead by Lucian (each a page or two long). Notes follow the readings.

First Greek Reader with Notes and Vocabulary by John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor

Unlike the other Readers, this Reader, which contains only original Greek, is organized by accidence, from single sentences on first declension verbs to longer readings highlighting the various kinds of regular and irregular verbs. The sentences are drawn from a wide array of authors: Aelian, Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius, Stobaeus, Epictetus, the Paroimimographoi, dramatic fragments, Lysias, Plato, Isocrates, Xenophon, Euclid, Ammonius, and more (all regularized into Attic). Notes and vocabulary appear in the back of the book. Great for reviewing morphology.

If you would like to engage in more systematic review of grammar and morphology, and do so with a Homeric twist, Pharr’s Homeric Greek (4th edition) would do nicely. If you’ve recognized areas of the language that you need to master–or you have found acclimating yourself to different dialects to be difficult–this book is an excellent resource. The first edition is also available via Google Books.


Developing a sufficient, functional vocabulary is the single most effective way to becoming a fluent reader of Greek. Below are several resources that will help you focus your attentions on the most common words in Greek (and Homer).

Finally, something a little different: the “Women Intelligent and Courageous in Warfare”, 14 paragraph-length biographies of famous women, including Semiramis, Dido, and Artemisia (c. late second or early first century BCE). You could easily read one every day or so, ponder the historical and mythic implications of each figure, and still have time to read more Greek!


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