LESSON XIII: The Art of Reading

How to Read Ancient Greek

121. In reading an inflected language, such as Greek, the knowledge of three things is absolutely necessary: first, of words; secondly, of forms; thirdly, of constructions.

122. The acquisition of this knowledge is gradual.

The pupil should commit thoroughly to memory the meaning of each new word as it occurs; he or she should learn the forms of the different cases, tenses, and numbers accurately, the first time the paradigms occur, as to be able instantly to recognize these forms thereafter at sight; and as he or she reads, the student should carefully note the laws of construction, especially those which differ from the corresponding constructions in Latin and English.


  1. 1. Read each sentence aloud in the original. Pronounce each word distinctly.
  2. In reading,
    1. a. Observe sharply the forms of the words, so as to become at once aware of their grammatical relations.
    2. b. Make the utmost effort of memory to recall the meanings of words already met.
    3. c. Follow the Greek order strictly in arriving at the thought. Observe carefully the order of the words and the marks of punctuation.
  3. 2. If the thought expressed in the sentence is not perfectly clear, repeat the whole process.
  4. 3. Translate the sentence into simple, idiomatic English.


ἀρχή, ῆς, ἡrule, province, satrapy.
Δᾱρεῖος, ου, ὁDarius II.
δεινός, ή, όνterrible, skilful.
ἰσχῡρός, ά, όνstrong; χωρίον ἰσχῦρόν,stronghold.
Περσικός, ή, όν (cf. Πέρσης)Persian.
σατράπης, ου, ὁsatrap, viceroy.
υἱός, οῦ, ὁson.
ὥστεconjunctive adv., so as, so that, wherefore.


125. The Parentage, Race, and Power of Cyrus the Younger.

Κῦρος, ὁ τοῦ Δᾱρείου υἱός, Πέρσης ἦν καλὸς καὶ ἀγαθός. σατράπην δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποίησεν ὁ Δᾱρεῖος τῆς Λῡδίᾱς καὶ τῆς Φρυγίᾱς καὶ τῆς Καππαδοκίᾱς.

χωρία δὲ ἰσχῡρὰ εἶχεν ἐν τῇ ἀρχῇ ὁ Κῦρος καὶ πλοῖα μακρὰ ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ, καὶ στρατιῶται δὲ αὐτῷ ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ ἦσαν ἀγαθοί, ὁπλῖται Ἑλληνικοὶ καὶ πελτασταὶ καὶ τοξόται Περσικοί.

Τισσαφέρνης δέ, ὁ τῆς Κᾱρίᾱς σατράπης, τῷ Κύρῳ πολέμιος ἦν, τότε δὲ οὔτε ἐστράτευεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν οὔτε διήρπαζε τὴν χώρᾱν. Κῦρος γὰρ στρατηγὸς ἐν πολέμῳ δεινὸς ἦν, υἱὸς δὲ τοῦ Δᾱρείου· ὥστε φόβον εἶχεν ὁ Τισσαφέρνης πρὸς Κῦρον.


—2. —αὐτόν: him, accusative.

—ἐποίησεν: made, from ποιέω, future ποιήσω, aorist ἐποίησα.

—Λῡδίᾱς: for words not occurring in the preceding vocabularies, see the general vocabulary at the end of the book.

—5. καὶ στρατιῶται δέ: καί in the sense of also

—αὐτῷ: to him, dative. στρατιῶται αὐτῷ ἦσαν is equivalent to στρατιώτᾱς εἶχε. For the dative, see the Rule of Syntax in 862).

—6. For the appositives ὁπλῖται, πελτασταί, —τοξόται, see the Rule of Syntax in 804).

—9. ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν: a case of elision (16).