00556 - Greek Literature

Course Unit Page


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

Quality education

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

The students are expected to acquire a specific knowledge of the authors of Greek Literature as well as the methodological skills useful for textual analysis. They are also expected to acquire a knowledge of their historical context and of the anthropological concepts that are important for the Greek culture.

Course contents

A - Module I (30 hours)

Lysias, Against Agoratus (Prof.ssa. G. Alvoni).

B - Module II (30 hours)

Aeschylus,  Seven Against Thebes (Prof. M. Ercoles).

C - (1) Comprehension and translation of Greek classical texts. (2) Texts to be translated by the students: anthology of Greek lyric poetry. (3) Knowledge of the history of ancient Greek literature; reading of one monography among those listed below. (4) Basic notions of metrics. (5) Basic notion of textual criticism.

Timetable and venue: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 9-11 am (Aula Tibiletti, Via Zamboni 38).

Beginning of the lessons: 30 January 2023 (Module 1); 20 March 2023 (Module 2).

The lessons will be carried on all during the second semester. Optional seminars will be arranged between professors and students. A special course of Greek language for beginners will be held in the first semester (since October): it is strongly recommended also to those students who have a basic knowledge of Greek and want to strengthen it.


A – Lisia, Orazioni (I-XV). Introd., trad. e note di E. Medda, Milano (Rizzoli-BUR) 1991 (reissued seveal times). M. Pellegrino, Introduzione all'oratoria greca, Roma (Carocci) 2021.

B – Eschilo, Persiani, Sette contro Tebe, Supplici, a c. di F. Ferrari, Milano (Rizzoli-BUR) 1987 (reissued seveal times). Further bibliography will be cited during the lectures.

The students who will attend the lessons are required to know the content of the lessons. The students who will not attend the lessons must read and traslate also Aristotle, Poetics, 1-18 and 26 (Aristotele. Poetica, intr. e note a c. di D. Lanza, Milano, Rizzoli, 1987).The students who will take a 6 credits examination do not need to prepare this part of the program (i.e. sections A and B).

C – (1) The following title is recommended: R. Pierini-R. Tosi, Capire il greco, Bologna (Pàtron) 2014 (with some practical examples of how to translate a text). Another useful tool for Greek grammatic is C. Neri, Μέθοδος. Corso di lingua e cultura greca, with the collab. of G. Alvoni-R. Batisti-M. Olivieri, Firenze (d’Anna) 2018, including a special section on Greek lexicon. For Greek lexicon, see also G. Ugolini, Lexis. Lessico della lingua greca per radici e famiglie di parole, Bologna (Patron) 2018. (2) As for Greek lyric are requested Archilochus, Hipponax, Mimnermus, Solon in E. Degani-G. Burzacchini, Lirici greci. Antologia, Bologna (Pàtron) 20052, Sappho, Alcaeus, Anacreon, Alcman and Stesichorus in C. Neri, Lirici greci. Età arcaica e classica, Roma (Carocci) 2011. Students who will take 6 credits examination can agree with the teacher some changes. (3) For the history of Greek literature, the students can consult one of these books: A. Porro-W. Lapini (Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017), F. Montanari (Roma, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2017), G.A. Privitera-R. Pretagostini (Torino, Einaudi, 1997), L.E. Rossi (Firenze, Le Monnier, 1995). For critical literature, here is a list of suggested readings (other readings can be arranged with the teachers): V. Di Benedetto, Euripide. Teatro e società, Torino (Einaudi) 1971; M. Vetta, Poesia e simposio nella Grecia antica, Roma-Bari (Laterza) 1983; V. Di Benedetto-E. Medda, La tragedia sulla scena, Torino (Einaudi) 1997; H. Fränkel, Poesia e filosofia della Grecia arcaica, Bologna (Il Mulino) 1997; M. Di Marco, La tragedia greca, Roma (Carocci) 2000; M. Vetta (ed.), La civiltà greca, Roma (Carocci) 2001; E.R. Dodds, I Greci e l’irrazionale, nuova ed. italiana a c. di R. Di Donato, Milano (Rizzoli) 2003; B. Gentili, Poesia e pubblico nella Grecia antica. Da Omero al V secolo, Milano (Feltrinelli) 20064; B. Powell, Omero, Bologna (Il Mulino) 2006; B. Zimmermann, La commedia greca. Dalle origini all'età ellenistica, Roma (Carocci) 2010; C. Calame, I Greci e l’eros, Roma-Bari (Laterza) 2010; F. Condello, Elettra. Storia di un mito, Roma (Carocci) 2011; A. Rodighiero, Generi lirico-corali nella produzione drammatica di Sofocle, Tübingen (Narr) 2012; L. Canfora, La guerra civile ateniese, Milano (Rizzoli) 2013; E. Medda, La saggezza dell'illusione. Studi sul teatro greco, Pisa (ETS) 2013;G. Ugolini-D. Lanza, Storia della filologia classica, Roma (Carocci) 2016; L. Canfora, Tucidide. La menzogna, la colpa, l’esilio, Roma-Bari (Laterza) 2016; S. Fornaro, Un uomo senza volto. Introduzione alla lettura di Luciano di Samosata, Bologna (Pàtron) 2019. (4) For the basic notions of Greek metric (prosody; dactylic hexameter, iambic trimeter, trochaic tetrameter and main lyric verses) the study of one of the following handbooks is required: M.L. West, Greek Metre, Oxford 1982; M.C. Martinelli, Gli strumenti del poeta. Elementi di metrica greca, Bologna, Cappelli, 1997; B. Gentili-L. Lomiento, Metrica e ritmica. Storia delle forme poetiche nella Grecia antica, Milano, Mondadori, 2003. (5) For the basic notions of textual criticim the students are required to consult M.L.West, Critica del testo e tecnica dell’edizione, trad. it. Palermo (L’Epos) 1991.

Teaching methods

The lessons will be carried out as a seminar and students will face exegetical problems of Greek texts. Further lessons will be arranged with students.

Assessment methods

Oral examination. As for C.1, the student must recognize the structure of a Greek phrase from a classical text. The knowledge of Greek Literature is considered preliminary. The final mark will range between 18 and 30: the professors will evaluate the ability to translate and analyse a text of ancient Greek literature (30-29 excellent; 28-27 very good; 26-25 good; 24-22 fair; 21-20 more than sufficient; 19-18 sufficient). The mark 30 cum laude indicates excellent skills combined with personal critical contributions. NB: a translation learned by heart is not a synonym for comprehension: in order to understand texts, the ability to analyse them and identify their structure plays a crucial role. An exam whose preparation is based on learnt-by-heart translations is deemed negative.

Teaching tools

Photocopies, blackboard, mailing list, digital resources.

Office hours

See the website of Giovanna Alvoni

See the website of Marco Ercoles