Courses

The Major in Ancient and Modern Greek
Offered by the Classics Department

The major in Ancient and Modern Greek is designed to offer students an opportunity to integrate the study of post-classical Greek language, history, and culture into the departmental program in Ancient Greek and Classical Civilization. The program covers Hellenic civilization from the Bronze Age to the modern day, and traces the development of the language and the culture across traditionally-drawn boundaries. The study of both ancient and modern Greek allows the student to appreciate how familiarity with one enriches understanding of the other, and to chart the development of a language which has one of the oldest continuous written traditions in the world. The literature, history, philosophy, religion, and art of the ancient Greek and Greco-Roman worlds are studied both as an end in themselves and also as a foundation for appreciating later (medieval, Ottoman and modern) developments in these areas. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of the continuity of Greek language and culture, and an understanding of how Byzantine and modern forms relate to their ancient forebears.

Admission to the major. There are no formal pre-requisite courses. Students may start both Ancient and Modern Greek from scratch at Yale. Students who take MGRK 130 must either have completed MGRK 115, or must be able to satisfy the director of the program in Hellenic Studies that they have the required proficiency. All students interested in the major should meet with the program directors of both Classics and Hellenic Studies as soon as possible to discuss a program of study.

The Standard Major. The requirements for the standard major are:

Candidates must complete at least ten term courses as follows:

* No fewer than six term courses at the level of 390 or above in Ancient Greek, of which four are the double-credit Survey for the Major in Ancient Greek. The language courses should include GREK 390.
* One additional course in Ancient Greek history.
* No fewer than two term courses in Modern Greek must be elected, at the intermediate level (MGRK 130) or above
* At least one term course in the history, art history, literature or culture of the Greek-speaking Balkans (or the Hellenic diaspora) in the medieval, Ottoman, or modern period.

For more information please visit www.yale.edu/classics

Hellenic Studies Program Course Descriptions

Fall 2014

L1/MGRK 110: Elementary Modern Greek I
Maria Kaliambou
M-F 9:25-10:15
An introduction to modern Greek with emphasis on reading, writing, speaking and oral comprehension. The course will cover all major noun and adjective groups and their declension; the basic verb conjugations, all tenses, active and passive voice as well as the basic uses of the subjunctive mood; basic daily vocabulary; the basic syntactical structure of Greek.

L3/MGRK 130: Intermediate Modern Greek I
Maria Kaliambou
M-F 10:30-11:15
The intermediate Modern Greek course is for students who have successfully completed two semesters of Yale College Modern Greek. Students will improve their proficiency in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Through a variety of authentic readings and audio-visual material students will be more familiarized with contemporary Greek culture.

MGRK 002/HUMS 051/RLST 016/LITR 080/WGSS 007: Religion and Literature: Irreverent Texts
George Syrimis
W F 2:30-3:45
The course focuses on the complex relationship between religion and modern literature from the nineteenth century to the present. Based mostly on the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions as these two clash in the literary texts, the course focuses on questions of modernity and tradition, the legitimacy of ritual, the relationship between church and state, the reception of antiquity, as well as the emergence of the modern discourses of gender and sexuality in light of religious practice and dogma.

MGRK 214/LITR 207/WGSS 215/HUMS 428/ENGL 243: Modern Literature and the Eastern Mediterranean
George Syrimis and Lanny Hammer
Th 2:30-4:20

The course examines the formative influences of Sappho and C. P. Cavafy primarily on the Anglo-American tradition of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries by focusing on questions of nationalism and imperialism, sexuality and aesthetics, the Sapphic tradition, biography and art, the reception of Antiquity, as well as the topography of modernity. The course investigates the authors' fascination with the eastern Mediterranean in the early to mid-twentieth century as alternative loci for modern Greek, English, and American identities. Authors covered: E. M. Forster, Durrell, Merrill, Seferis, Myrivilis, Tsarouchis, Pamuk, H. D., Woolf, and others.

Spring 2015

MGRK 120: Elementary Modern Greek II: 
Maria Kaliambou
M T W Th F 9.25-10.15
An introduction to modern Greek with emphasis on reading, writing, speaking and oral comprehension. The course will cover all major noun and adjective groups and their declension; the basic verb conjugations, all tenses, active and passive voice as well as the basic uses of the subjunctive mood; basic daily vocabulary; the basic syntactical structure of Greek.

MGRK 140: Intermediate Modern Greek II
Maria Kaliambou
M T W Th F 10.30-11.20

The intermediate Modern Greek course is for students who have successfully completed two semesters of Yale College Modern Greek. Students will improve their proficiency in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). Through a variety of authentic readings and audio-visual material students will be more familiarized with contemporary Greek culture.

MGRK 212: Folktales and Fairytales
Maria Kaliambou
M 1.30-3.20

The course approaches, in the first part, the folktale as a genre of oral literature. Some basic concepts of the folktale and fairy tale scholarship will be discussed. The folktale will be placed in the oral literary canon by discussing and challenging the academic classifications of oral narratives. Topics such as performance, storytellers and audience will be analyzed. In the second part, the course scrutinizes the most important theoretical approaches, such as formalism, psychoanalysis, feminism and history-sociology. At the third and last part, the course will deal with the problem of orality versus literacy, as expressed in early European folk and fairy tales from Italy and France, followed by the Brothers Grimm collections through to popular chapbooks of fairy tales. The course will encourage a comparative reading of the primary texts from many European countries (German, French, Italian). However, the course will place specific focus on Greek material and will challenge the applicability or relevance of the Western European scholarship to an oral tradition of a country of the European margins such as Greece. Texts will be available in English though students are encouraged to read available material in the original language

MGRK 001: Western Visions of Greece
George Syrimis
W F 2:30-3:45

The course examines the construction of the terms “Hellenic” and “Greece” from the Enlightenment to the present through the prism of what we have come to call “Western” culture. The course explores the relationship between adaptation and interpretation through various media (literature, film, philosophy, literary criticism) as well as the social movements that have informed our concept of the Hellenic (political, sexual, aesthetic, religious, etc.). The course addresses the way in which ancient Greek civilization was refigured as an ideal cultural template, symbolic origin, and philosophical reflection for both contemporary Greeks and European Philhellenes.

MGRK 300: The Olympic Games: Ancient and Modern
George Syrimis and William Casey King
TTh: 11:35-12:25, 1 HTB

This lecture course is an introduction to the history of the Olympic Games from antiquity to the present. The first third of the course will focus on the mythology of athletic events in ancient Greece and the ritual, political and social ramifications of the actual competitions. Specific emphasis will be placed on the artistic representation of athletic culture in epic, lyric poetry, sculpture and vase painting. The rest of the course will trace the revival of the modern Olympic movement in 1896, the political investment of the Greek state at the time and the internationalist argument of Pierre de Coubertin, and subsequently focus on specific games as these illustrate the convergence athletic cultures and sociopolitical transformations in the 20th century. The study of the modern Olympic Games offers a global platform through which students can investigate the evolution of social, political and economic movements and trends which have become definitive of the modern age. Special attention will be paid to questions of social class and economics, gender equality, racism, doping and the issue of “the natural body,” as well as media exploitation and the spectacular representation of the hosting country through a number of opening ceremonies. The course will also feature several film screenings as well a guest speakers and former Yale Olympians.

 

Past Courses