12322 - History of the Greek Language (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Camillo Neri

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-FIL-LET/02

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Humanities (cod. 8850)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The students are expected to acquire a basic knowledge of the fundamental stages of the Greek language in its diachronic development, from the archaic age to the formation of the so-called 'common language' that then developed into Modern Greek. Through a direct analysis of textual specimens the students are expected to develop: a) the ability to recognise the proper historical setting of a Greek text or document; b) the methodological skills to analyse a text from a historical and linguistic point of view.

Course contents

Core course ('parte istituzionale')

a) General rudiments of History of the Greek Language

Lecture-Seminar (optional, for students majoring in Greek, held in further meetings to be arranged)

b) The language of Aeolic melic poetry: Alcaeus' fragments.

Lectures Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 15-17, Aula II (31.1.2022-13.4.2022).

Start date: 31.1.2022 (2nd semester).

Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9-13 (Dept.).

Links: http://www.unibo.it/docenti/camillo.neri



a) Notes from the lectures. O. Hoffmann-A. Debrunner-A. Scherer, Storia della lingua greca, trad. it. Napoli, Macchiaroli, 1969, or A. Meillet, Lineamenti di storia della lingua greca, trad. it. Torino, Einaudi, 1981 (2nd ed.), or L.R. Palmer, The Greek Language, London, Faber, 1980. See also the introductory section of C. Neri (et all.), Μέθοδος. Corso di lingua e cultura greca. Grammatica, Firenze, D’Anna, 2018. For the study of the Greek dialects, Y. Duhoux, Introduzione alla dialettologia greca antica, trad. it. Bari 1986; L. Bottin, Testi greci dialettali, Padova 2000.

The following optional texts are also recommended: for phonetics, L. Heilmann, L'alfabeto e la pronuncia del greco, in Introduzione allo studio della cultura classica, II, Milano, Marzorati, 1973, 335-362, and M. Lejeune, Phonétique historique du mycénien et du grec ancien, Paris, Klincksieck, 1972; as for morphology, P. Chantraine, Morphologie historique du grec, Paris, Klincksieck, 1961, and L. Heilmann, Grammatica storica della lingua greca, Torino, Sei, 1963; for the 'Indo-European language', P. Szemerényi, Introduzione alla linguistica indoeuropea, ed. by G. Boccali-V. Brugnatelli-M. Negri, Milano, Unicopli, 1985, F. Villar, Gli indoeuropei e le origini dell'Europa, trad. it. Bologna, il Mulino, 1997, W.P. Lehmann, La linguistica indoeuropea. Storia, problemi e metodi, trad. it. Bologna, il Mulino, 1999, M. Alinei, Origini delle lingue d'Europa, I-II, Bologna, il Mulino, 2000 (2nd ed.); for the epic language, P. Chantraine, Grammaire homérique, I-II, Paris, Klincksieck, 1948-1953.

b) Notes from the lectures. As for the text see Eva-Maria Voigt, Sappho et Alcaeus, Amsterdam 1971, pp. 175-355; G. Liberman, Alcée. Fragments (I-II), Paris 1999; as for an Italian translation: Antonietta Porro, Alceo. Frammenti, Firenze 1996; as for the commentary: D.L. Page, Sappho and Alcaeus, Oxford 1955, pp. 149-317; see also C. Neri, Lirici greci. Età arcaica e classica, Roma 2011, 65-73, 222-236, 352-356; G.O. Hutchinson, Greek Lyric Poetry, Oxford 2001, 187-227. Further bibliography will be indicated during the lectures.

Students who do not attend the lessons are required to bring the same program as regards the institutional part and to define a personalized program, also in the light of their own interests, for the monographic part.

Teaching methods

The lectures will be of two kinds: a) lectures given by the teacher, which will outline a concise history of the Greek language from the origins to the Byzantine era through the reading of original texts, translated and analysed in class; b) the reading of Alcaeus' fragments (after some introductory lectures and the specimen analysis of some lines made by the teacher) could be carried out by the students themselves as presentations (which will test thus the abilities they have developed during the course).

Alongside the course, if possible, some lectures on modern Greek will be held (participation free), by Dr. Elena Iakovou (Göttingen).

All the material handed out in the lectures will be available afterwards on line at http://www2.classics.unibo.it/Didattica/Programs/20212022/Corso_Camillo

Assessment methods

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 history of the Greek language (i.e. the Ionic-Attic dialect group, the koiné, etc.) through the analysis of the textual examples illustrated in class.

The maximum grade (30L) requires accurate and complete answers to all questions posed during the oral examination. The exam will be deemed to have been passed (with variable evaluation depending on the quality of the answers) if the candidate has answered in a precise and complete manner to most questions. As for the theoretical knowledge and the translation and exegesis of the texts, the metric is the following: outstanding: 30L; excellent: 28-30; good: 25-27; discrete: 22-24; sufficient: 18-21.

For deeply-rooted didactic conviction, I do not propose links to syllabi of questions, which would inevitably end up impoverishing the general preparation of the students. Since exams take place every fifteen days, students who want to experience the actual performance of an exam can attend - as spectators - the exam sessions, which are public.

Teaching tools

PC, video projector, overhead projector, photocopied handouts.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Camillo Neri