Ancient Greek

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Classical Greek is a very interesting language, as shown here in some speeches from Greek history, written by Thucydides. The English translation (here translated by Wilkins, 1873) is elegant prose in itself, but notice how much more concretely the Greek text makes the points. The first speech was given in 432 B.C., but many of the arguments are relevant today. Extracts are from (1) the speech of the Corinthian envoys arguing for war; (2) same again, with a more abstract argument; (3) Pericles' funeral oration (a famous passage); (4) the Mytilenean debate between Cleon (for the death penalty) and Diodotus (against the death penalty); and (5) the speech of Alcibiades in Sparta, after his defection from Athens (he also defected again to join the side of the Athenians and then the Persians). Those interested in the remarkable story of Alcibiades can read the Wikipedia entry on his life. See bottom of page for Latin passages. [RETURN]


Here is a better translation of Pericles' speech into English and Latin (F. Haas translation, 1864):

Here is a better translation of Alcibiades' speech, again into English and Latin:


Here is a famous passage from the Cocyrean Disquisition, in Greek and Latin:

Here is part of the famous debate, over the Mytilenean revolt, between Cleon (for the death penalty) and Diodotus (against the death penalty). Cleon's speech (Thuc. III. 39):


Diodotus' speech, which was successful in reversing the decision to execute the population of Mytilene (compare this to the Melian dialogue):

The next piece is from the 1st Speech of Nicias opposing the invasion of Sicily. This speech was not successful (Alcibiades argued that the expedition should go ahead) but Nicias' judgment ended up being correct.

Here are some interesting passages from Herodotus. Croesus, King of the Lydians, asked the wise man Solon who was the most fortunate person alive, and did not get the answer he expected:

Here are some interesting Latin passages. The first is a section from the Aeneid Book VI (read here with the Dryden translation), where Aeneas visits Hades and meets Dido and other characters from earlier in the Aeneid. The second is one of Horace's Odes.



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