Greek Readers

I have added a Readers page that can be accessed through the Learn Greek page at either or The new page provides downloadable copies of a number of readers designed to supplement ones study of Ancient Greek.

I have found far more of these for Classical Greek than Hellenistic Greek. If you are aware of any good Hellenistic (Koine) readers that are available for download, please let me know and I will add them. You can contact me through the Contact page.

Lesson 23 imageThe domain name has until yesterday pointed to the online grammar that has for several years been housed at (and, more recently, at Now, however, I have moved the content of those directories so that all of the grammar materials are housed directly at That way, the grammar materials only need to be updated in a single location. and now both redirect to rather than the other way around. Unfortunately, that means that if you have bookmarked any of the lessons, you will need to update your bookmarks. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

For a few days, may show up in your browser as insecure. But that problem will resolve itself in a few days when the domain name registration is finished migrating to a new provider. Since there are no transactions to be completed on the site anyway, it will not be a problem.

I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Richard Wilson, designer of, for the work he has put into producing an online reader for the Greek New Testament complete with variant readings.

What is particularly outstanding about the site is that it is based on the work of many people committed to open resources. For morphological tagging, for example, he uses James Tauber’s MorphGNT. The Greek text is the SBLGNT (not completely open source, but open enough to allow what LaParola is doing with it). And Wilson has also provided access to Westcott and Hort (1881) and Tischendorf (8th edition; 1869-1872) drawing on open source materials, and he has even made it possible to embed these materials in other websites.

This is a real gift to the wider community.

Use of Flashcards in teaching Communicative Ancient Greek

Book Cover: Teaching with Tech 2016

In Teaching with Tech 2016: Language Educators Talking Tech, Paul Nitz has recently published an article arguing for using digital flashcards in teaching Ancient Greek even when using a communicative approach. This is something of an unusual proposal, but Dr. Nitz accompanies  it with compelling arguments. In particular, he recognizes the differences between modern language teaching where immersion in the language is possible and extremely useful, and ancient language classes where the same level of immersion in the language is simply not a reasonable possibility.

You can read Paul’s article online at I’d love to hear what you think.

ὁ κῆπός μου νιφοστιβής ἐστιν

ὁ κῆπός μου νιφοστιβής

Thanks to Sententia Antiquae for the snow-related vocabulary. What an appropriate post for our current situation! We don’t have a lot of snow here in Chapel Hill, but it’s enough to make minor roads dangerous, causing local schools to be closed for the day.

Color Scheme Change

While the content of and remains identical, the color scheme is now different.

Header Menu Footer

Header Menu Footer

Feel free to let me know which one you prefer. You can use the Contact page for this purpose.

Software Page

I have updated the software page at and, removing links that no longer work and eliminating links to insecure servers.

While I’ve tried to include discussions of all of the software packages that allow reading and analysis of Ancient Greek texts, it is almost certain that I have missed some. If you have a favorite program that I have missed, please use the Contact page to let me know. I will be glad to add any program that you find useful for reading Ancient Greek or analyzing Ancient Greek texts.

οὐ μέντοι πολλοῦ γε χρόνου καὶ ἅπασιν ἐκνικῆσαι and the scope of Ancient Greek negation

I received a question on Facebook about a comment Thucidides made in the first book of his ὁ πολέμος τῶν Πελοποννησίων καὶ Ἀθηναίων. Discussing the question of when the Greek people came to be called Hellens (the name that gets translated into English as “Greeks”), Thucidides commented that it was not until after the Trojan war, and that even then it was not immediate. The term Hellens, taken from Hellen, king of Phthia, took time to spread.

His comments about this end with this statement:

  • οὐ μέντοι πολλοῦ γε χρόνου [ἐδύνατο] καὶ ἅπασιν ἐκνικῆσαι.

On first reading it might seem that what is being negated is πολλοῦ χρόνου, and that we should read οὐ μέντοι πολλοῦ γε χρόνου along the lines of “after not much time”, “after a short time”, or “not long thereafter”. Check the translations of this work into English, though, and you’ll find it read in the opposite sense: “after considerable time” or “though a long time elapsed” (This last one is from Richard Crawley (1840-1893). C.F. Smith (Loeb edition) has, “though it was a long time before the name could prevail among them all.”

What’s going on?

The issue has to do with the scope of negation. What is οὐ negating? 

Reading the clause as “After not much time, the name was able to also prevail among them all” implies a semantic structure like this:

[[οὐ μέντοι πολλοῦ γε χρόνου] ἐδύνατο καὶ ἅπασιν ἐκνικῆσαι.]

Crawley and Smith, though, read it this way:

[οὐ μέντοι [πολλοῦ γε χρόνου] ἐδύνατο καὶ ἅπασιν ἐκνικῆσαι.]

That is, οὐ is taken to negate ἐδύνατο or ἐδύνατο καὶ ἅπασιν ἐκνικῆσαι. “For a long time, the name was not able to prevail among them all.”

What might suggest that this is the better reading?

For this we should pay attention to the little words μέντοι and γε. While these words often go untranslated in English, they held meaning as discourse markers for Ancient Greek speakers. 

οὐ μέντοι was often used to negate a possible implication from the immediately preceding discourse: Indeed not!, Not however…. In the present case Thucydides has just stated that the name grew in acceptance until it was accepted by all Greeks. οὐ μέντοι implies that he is now going to place some kind of limit on that idea, negate some possible implication.  He says that the name was not immediately accepted. The negation in the current clause strengthens or extends that negation. Indeed not! 

Here’s the entire sentence/paragraph (complete with links to Pereus in case you need help with vocabulary):

δοκεῖ δέ μοιοὐδὲ τοὔνομα 

τοῦτο ξύμπασά πω εἶχενἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν πρὸ Ἕλληνος τοῦ

Δευκαλίωνος καὶ πάνυ οὐδὲ εἶναι  ἐπίκλησις αὕτηκατὰ 

ἔθνη δὲ ἄλλα τε καὶ τὸ Πελασγικὸν ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτῶν 

τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν παρέχεσθαιἝλληνος δὲκαὶ τῶν παίδων 

αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ Φθιώτιδι ἰσχυσάντωνκαὶ ἐπαγομένων αὐτοὺς 

ἐπ᾽ὠφελίᾳ ἐς τὰς ἄλλας πόλειςκαθ᾽ ἑκάστους μὲν ἤδη 

τῇ ὁμιλίᾳ μᾶλλον καλεῖσθαιἝλληναςοὐ μέντοι πολλοῦ 

γε χρόνου [ἐδύνατο] καὶ ἅπασιν ἐκνικῆσαι.