09073 - Greek Grammar

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student is expected to know the historical grammar of Greek language; to be able to explain its major phenomena within the Indoeuropean linguistic system; to appreciate stylistic features and peculiarities of the texts read during the course; to know the guidelines of formal philology and history of tradition, in order to analyze and place the literary documents under exam in their historical and communicative contexts, paying attention to their transmission channels. She/he is also expected to know the main lines of the history of ancient Greek linguistics and literary criticism, on the basis of the reading of ancient texts belonging to these domains, and to be able to compare their assumptions to modern and contemporary scholarship.

Course contents

Special focus

a) Greek grammar between a diachronic and a synchronic approach: a reading of Sappho's fragments (C. Neri).

Core course

b) Elements of historical grammar of ancient Greek (V. Garulli).


Course timetable: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 1-3 pm Aula Seminari (Monday-Tuesday), Aula Mansarda (Wednesday), Via Zamboni 32, 3rd floor.

Time of the course: 1 October 2018-12 December 2018 (1st semester).



a) Lecture notes. The reference edition is C. Neri-F. Cinti, Saffo. Frammenti e Testimonianze, Sant’Arcangelo di Romagna, Rusconi Libri, 2017. See also E.-M. Voigt, Sappho et Alcaeus. Fragmenta, Amsterdam, Polak & van Gennep, 1971; A. Aloni, Saffo. Frammenti, Firenze, Giunti, 1997; V. Di Benedetto-F. Ferrari, Saffo. Poesie, intr. di V. D.B., trad. e note di F. F., Milano, Rizzoli (Bur), 1987; or another edition with the Greek text (and, possibly, with critical apparatus). See also E. Degani-G. Burzacchini, Lirici greci, Bologna, Pàtron, 2005 (2nd ed.); C. Neri, Lirici greci. Età arcaica e classica, Roma, Carocci, 2011; F. Ferrari, Una mitra per Kleis: Saffo e il suo pubblico, Pisa, Giardini, 2007 (trad. ingl. 2010); A.H. Lardinois-A. Bierl (edd.), The Newest Sappho (P. Obbink and P. GC inv. 105, Frs. 1-4) (Studies in Archaic and Classical Greek Song, II), Leiden, Brill, 2016. Further readings will be recommended during the course.

b) Lecture notes. The reading of one of the following handbooks is required: L. Heilmann, Grammatica storica della lingua greca, Torino, Sei, 1963; P. Chantraine, Morphologie historique du grec, Paris, Klincksieck, 1947; D. Pieraccioni, Morfologia storica della lingua greca, Messina-Firenze, D'Anna, 1975. See also C. Neri (et all.), Μέθοδος. Corso di lingua e cultura greca. Grammatica, Firenze, D’Anna, 2018. We recommend also: O. Szemerényi, Introduzione alla linguistica indoeuropea, Milano, Unicopli, 1985; E. Campanile-B. Comrie-C. Watkins, Introduzione alla lingua e alla cultura degli Indoeuropei, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2010; F. Fanciullo, Introduzione alla linguistica storica, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2011; A.C. Cassio (ed.), Storia delle lingue letterarie greche, Milano 2016 (second edition).

Students who cannot attend the course are invited to talk with the teachers in order to define an alternative bibliography.

Teaching methods

The lectures will be of two kinds: a) lectures given by the teacher, which will outline a concise historical morphology of the Greek language through the reading of original texts, translated and analysed in class; b) the reading of Sappho’s lines (after some introductory lectures and the analysis of some verses made by the teacher) will be possibly carried out by the students as presentations (which will test thus the abilities they have developed in the first part of the course).

Assessment methods

The oral examination will be an interview in which the teachers, through a series of questions, will test the theoretical knowledge and the theoretical-practical methodologies as explained during the lectures. In particular, the student will be invited to read one of the texts analyzed in class, to give a translation and to highlight and comment the grammatical phenomena found in that passage.

As a result, the student may be asked to analyze from a grammatical point of view any Greek word found in the text read. The candidate will pass the exam by proving to understand very well the Greek text, to have a firm knowledge of the grammatical structures of ancient Greek, and to be able to place them into a historical perspective. In this case, the evaluation ranges from 18 to 30 cum laude depending on how sure, well-founded, precise and rigorous will be the answers of the candidate.

A first assessment will be carried out to begin with in the individual presentations on language of Sappho’s verses, where the students will be able auto-assess their learning.
The viva voce examination consists of a conversation in which the teacher, through a series of questions, will test the theoretical knowledge and the theoretical-practical methodologies as explained in the lectures. In particular, the students will be invited to deal with a particular chapter of the historical morphology of the Greek language (i.e. pronouns, aorist, etc.) through the analysis of the textual examples illustrated in class.
The students who will not have given a presentation to the class will be required to carry out a linguistic analysis of some verses in the viva voce.

Exam registration must be made through AlmaEsami at the following website: https://almaesami.unibo.it/almaesami/welcome.htm

Teaching tools

PC, projector, photocopies.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Valentina Garulli

See the website of Camillo Neri