First Year GBT Questions

For the complete five year reading list see our curriculum guide.

Please write answers to the following questions in order to prepare yourself to participate in our class discussions. You should email your answers to these questions at the end week #16 and week #34 to When you email in your questions please header the email "Student name semester questions".  Please email your semester quiz scores in a seperate email the same week.  That email should have "student name semester quizzes" in the header.  Please do not use class time to fill in answers to these questions, but come to class ready to give your own answers you have gleaned from the reading.

  1. Iliad, Books 1-2, pp. 77-128

Greek Alphabet

Aa Bb Gg Dd Ee Zz Hh Qq Ii Kk Ll Mm Nn Xx Oo Pp Rr Ss Tt Uu Ff Cc Vv Ww

Though we will not be learning Greek in the Great Books Tutorial, I would like all of you to learn how to pronounce and type Greek words. Please make sure to install the Greek font. Resources to help you learn to read and type the Greek alphabet can be found on my page for the Greek class. They are in the third paragraph at the top of that webpage.

First paragraph of the Iliad in Greek. You may need to install the sgfixed font from the Greek page to see it properly.

mhnin aeide qea\ Phlhiadew )Axilh=oj
ou)lome/nhn, h(\ muri/' )Axaioi=j a)/lge' e)/qhke,
polla\j d' i)fqi/mouj yuxa\j )/Ai+di proi/+ayen
h(rw/wn, au)tou\j de\ e(lw/ria teu=xe ku/nessin
5 [5] oi)wnoi=si/ te pa=si, Dio\j d' e)telei/eto boulh/,
e)c ou(= dh\ ta\ prw=ta diasth/thn e)ri/sante
)Atrei/+dhj te a)/nac a)ndrw=n kai\ di=oj )Axilleu/j.
ti/j t' a)/r sfwe qew=n e)/ridi cune/hke ma/xesqai;
Lhtou=j kai\ Dio\j ui(o/j: o(\ ga\r basilh=i+ xolwqei\j
10 [10] nou=son a)na\ strato\n o)/rse kakh/n, o)le/konto de\ laoi/,
ou(/neka to\n Xru/shn h)ti/masen a)rhth=ra
)Atrei/+dhj: o(\ ga\r h)=lqe qoa\j e)pi\ nh=aj )Axaiw=n
luso/meno/j te qu/gatra fe/rwn t' a)perei/si' a)/poina,
ste/mmat' e)/xwn e)n xersi\n e(khbo/lou )Apo/llwnoj
15 [15] xruse/w? a)na\ skh/ptrw?, kai\ li/sseto pa/ntaj )Axaiou/j,
)Atrei/+da de\ ma/lista du/w, kosmh/tore law=n:

Principle characters-
Achaians acaioi - Greeks
Agamemnon agamemnon- (Atrides) Greek commander
Menelaos- menalaoj (Atrides) Brother of Agamemnon, Husband of Helen
Odysseus- odusseuj (Tactful) Husband of Penelope
Diomedes- (Tydides)
Achilles- acilleuj (Peliades) commander of Myrmidons
Patroclus- patroklojfriend and counselor of Achilles

King Priam- Husband of Hecuba
Prince Hector- Husband of Andromache
Prince Paris- paramour of Helen
Pandarus- archer

2. Iliad, Books 3-5, pp.128-195



Paris attempts to prove his own valor by offering to fight Menelaus man-to-man and end their dispute over Helen. Being that this whole war was really just a personal conflict it is surprising that Paris has taken nine years to actually offer this resolution. Maybe it took him nine years to get up the courage? Why do you think it took him 9 years to finally make this offer?

If the Trojans wanted to get rid of Helen and end the war, why haven't they just gotten together and told Paris to give her back?

Helen is central to the Trojan War. Whether she takes pride in this position or finds it burdensome is something that Homer does not make clear. Do you think that she enjoys her position?

You might think it strange that Priam has only chosen to ask Helen to tell him about these Greek soldiers after the war has been going on for nine years. Why do you think he waits so long?

What turns the battle decisively in the Trojan’s direction?

What turns it back to the Achaians?

One of the most interesting literary techniques that Homer uses is the chiasm. The chiasm is a structure that looks like this;








In Book V we have this chiasm;

It is a redo of Agamemnon’s accusation that, "You are not as good as your fathers, live up to their reputation!"

(Line 921)

A "So Tydeus’ son is half the size of his father,
B and he was short and slight-but Tydeus was a fighter!
C Even then, when I forbade him to go to war
D or make show of himself in others’ eyes...
that time, alone, apart from his men, he marched
the message into Thebes, filled with hordes of Thebans,
I told him to banquet in their halls and eat in peace.
But he always had that power, that courage from the first---
and so he challenged the brave yound blades of Thebes
to tests of strength and beat them all with ease,
I urged him on with so much winning force.
c But you, Tydides, I stand by you as well,
I guard you too. And with all good will I say,
fight it out with the Trojans here! But look at you---
b fatique from too much changing has sapped you limbs,
that or some lifeless fire has paralyzed you now.
a. So you’re no offspring of Tydeus
a the gallant, battle-hardened Oeneus’ son!"

3. Iliad, Books 6-9, pp.195-276

pa/trokloj kleopa/tr*

Chiasm in Book 6

Lines 142-168


Who are you, my fine friend?- another born to die?
I’ve noticed you on the line where we win glory,
not till not. But here you come, charging out
in front of all the rest with such bravado--
daring to face the flying shadow of my spear.
Pity the ones whose sons stand up to me in war!
But if you are an immortal come from the blue,
I’m not the man to fight the gods of heaven.
Not even Dryas’ indestructible son Lycugus,
not even he lived long...
that fellow who tried to fight the deathless gods.
He rushed at the maeneds once, nurses of wild Dionysus,
scattered them breakneck down the holy mountain Nysa.
A rout of them strewed their sacred stave on the ground,
raked with the cattle prod by Lycurgus, murderous fool!
And Dionysus was terrified, he dove beneath the surf
where the sea-nymph Thetis pressed him to her breast--
Dionysus numb with gear: shivers racked his body
thanks to the racous onslaught of that man.
But the gods who live at ease lashed out against him--
worse, the son of Cronus struck Lycurgus blind.
Nor did the man live long, not with the hate
of all the gods against him.
No my friend,
I have not desire to fight the blithe immortals.
But if you’re a man who eats the crops of the earth,
a mortal born for death--here, come closer,
the sooner you will meet your day to die!"
Here is the general sense echoed between each pair of sections.

Take some time to make sure you can see the idea repeated in each section.

A-a. Who are you? Surely you will meet your death at my hands.
B-b. Unless you are an immortal, but if you are mortal then you will die.
C-c. I do not desire to fight immortals
D-d. Even the great mortal Lycurgus was no match for the immortals.
E Story of the foolish Lycurgus who taught he could fight the gods.

Keep looking for chiasms as we read through the Iliad; there are lots of them, especially in important sections.

It is difficult not to be quite moved by Hector’s conversation with his wife Andromache. What more do we learn from this conversation about Hector’s motivation for fighting the war? (lines 461-588)

Andromache must know that Hector’s absence from the battle would only lead to the Trojan’s sure defeat. Doesn’t her pleading with Hector show that she thinks more of her own good than that of the city?

Besides the fact that Hector is her husband, why does Andromache have an especially great desire for his well-being?

Homer begins the Iliad by telling us that it will be about the Rage of Achilles. You might think that Homer has gotten quite side-tracked as we are nearly half-way through the book and do not know much about his conflict with Agamemnon then we did at the end of book 1. Why do you think Homer does not return to the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon until here in book 9?

There is another Chiasm in (lines 148-187 of Book 7) Nestor’s speech. See if you can find it for yourself!

Phoenix, Ajax and Odysseus are chosen as the embassy to Achilles. When they approach Achilles, they find him in a very un-warlike activity- playing a lyre and singing songs about the great deeds of the ancient warriors. What does Achilles interest in these songs tell us about his character?

Even though Odysseus’ speech show Achilles fairly reasonable grounds for return to the battle-lines, he takes quite poorly to this first speech- "I hate that man who says one things but hides another in his heart."(lines 378-379) Here he is probably refering to Agamemnon, but he could also be insulting the crafty Odysseus. Achilles has nothing but scorn for all the gifts that Agamemnon offers. If it was the removal of Briseus that was the cause of Achilles anger, why does the prospect of her return not persuade him more?

Even though Achilles does make concessions to the embassy, when Odysseus returns to camp he only tells Agamemnon what Achilles told him, i.e. that Achilles will sail home tomorrow, rather than the modified answers that Achilles gave Phoenix and Ajax. Why do you think Odysseus doesn’t tell the full truth?

4. Iliad, Books 10-13, pp. 276-369

ou}ke/ti diogene\j Patro/kleej a!lkar }Acaiw~n  11.982

Patroclus meets Nestor at his threshold and Nestor takes the opportunity to persuade Patroclus to lead the Myrmidons back into battle disguised as Achilles. Why do you think Nestor launches into this long story about his battle with the Epeans?

What besides the desire for glory brings Patroclus to fight?

In book 12 line 220ff the seemingly unstoppable Trojan attack, receives an ill-boding omen. What is the omen and what is its significance?

Here is a general question that we should talk about now that we are a ways into the Iliad. We all hear a great deal of criticism of the amount of violence there is in our culture. On TV, in our movies and in music, we are constantly barraged with hundreds of violent and distasteful ideas and images. Was Homer just this same sort of thing for the ancient Greeks? Is his "violence" just as bad as the senseless violence we are always getting on television? Is it even an a profitable exercise to read this book or are your minds simply being corrupted by the cruelty that is so often shown? If you were a parent would you have your kids read this book?

5. Iliad, Books 15-18, pp. 387-488

to\n de\ baru\ stena/cwn prose/fhj Patro/kleej i{ppeu~ (16.20)

When Iris tells Poseidon not to reenter the fighting, on what grounds does he object to being required to obey Zeus? Does he eventually heed Iris’s message?

After pleading with Achilles to pity the Achaeans, Patroclus says "if down deep some prophecy makes you balk, some doom your noble mother revealed to you from Zeus, well and good: at least send me into battle, quickly" (line 16.40-42) How does Achilles respond to Patroclus insinuating that Achilles will not fight because of the prophecy?

What condition does Achilles require before returning to battle?

Homer mimics the first line of the book when calling upon the Muse to tell the story of the burning of the ships. (lines 16.134-136) Why does Homer do this?

Despite his tremendous anger, what does Achilles do when the ships start to burn?

In his prayer for Patroclus, we get to see Achilles heart stripped of any outward show. What do we learn of his real concerns from his prayer? Lines 16.276-293.

After Patroclus retreats Apollo encourages Hector to pursue him. Even though Hector is able to kill Patroclus what are the actual circumstances that make his victory somewhat inglorious?

At the end of book 16 Patroclus gives a prophetic speech as he dies. This speech and the following description of his death (lines 996-1010) very closely resemble the speech at and description of Hector’s death in book 22 lines 422-432. Some scholars say that these two sections are so similar because it was easy for Homer merely to reuse the same lines for Hector’s death rather than having to take the time to write new lines. Can you think of a better explanation for the similarity that does not lead us to believe that Homer was such a lazy knuckle-dragger? Notice the differences as well as the similarities between the two passages!

When Hector strips Patroclus armor and puts it on himself why is he rebuked by Zeus? (lines 17.230-239)?

The speech of Achilles’ in lines 18.91-150 gives us a remarkable example of "changed thinking." Yet, when it comes to the actual reasons why Achilles was refraining from battle, the same conditions remain- the prophecy concerning his own death remains, Agamemnon still has not truly shown him respect, he has not been given Briseus back and the Trojans have not yet reached his own ships. Read Achilles speech (lines 18.91-150) and answer in as much detail as possible- Why is he willing to abandon all these considerations and rush headlong into battle regardless of any of them being fulfilled? How did his thinking change so quickly?

wpe2.jpg (35085 bytes)

Graphic Image of shield

6. Iliad, Books 19-24, pp. 488-617

w%j e!fato klai/ouj }, e}pi\ de\ stena/conto gunai~kej. (22.610)

Achilles begins his speech to Ag., "Agamemnon- was it better for both of us, after all, for you and me to rage at each other, raked by anguish, consumed by heartsick strife, all for a young girl?" (lines 19.63-66) Who was it in the embassy that expressed this same view of their conflict?

Rather than apologizing for allowing so many of his comrades to fall in battle during his absence, what sentiment does Achilles express in his speech?

After Achilles speaks the Achaeans roar out in joy. When Agamemnon speaks he shows a remarkable lack of self-composure. How is this manifested in the way he begins his (lines 87-95) speech?

After this section Agamemnon tells this long story about Ruin (line 106-157). Why does he tell this story and do you think it accomplishes his purposes?

What’s the significance of the fact that Achilles begins his speech by addressing Agamemnon and Agamemnon begins his by addressing the army as a whole?

Who is Agamemnon addressing in line 158 when he says, "And so with me, I tell you!"?

Who he is addressing is not clear until line 168 when "you" must be referring to Achilles. What tone does this ambiguity give to his speech?

What is the disagreement that Agamemnon and Achilles have and why does Homer introduce it at this point?

As Achilles prepares to return to the battle Homer shows his combination of grief and hate- "his eyes blazed forth in searing points of fire, unbearable grief came surging through his heart"(line 432-433). Achilles asks his team of horses to keep him from harm but what do they reply?

As the Trojan retreat behind the walls, only Hector remains outside. His parents, watching from on top of the wall, see Achilles coming and plead with Hector to join the rest of them in the safe confines of the city. Priam knows all to well what happens to a king when his city is overthrown, "the very dogs I bred in my own halls to share my table, guard my gates--mad, rabid at heart they’ll lap their master’s blood".(line 80-81). We usually think that it is worse for a young person to die than an old person, what is Priam’s view?

As Hector sees Achilles coming on, what are the thoughts that keep him from retreating through the gates?

How is Hector finally brought to forsake his futile attempt to flee?

When Hector attempts to convince Achilles that they ought to form a pact, Achilles merely replies, "wolves and lambs can enjoy no meeting of the minds" (line 311) What does he mean by this?

In line 483, Homer says Hector’s mother groans as if "all Troy were torched and smoldering". What is the irony in this?

When Achilles puts the lock of hair on Patroclus’ pyre why is that a sign that Achilles has no hope of returning home?

During the games, we see Idomeneus and Ajax break out with a trivial quarrel, but what event shows us the remarkably different spirit that now prevails among the commanders?

Why is the giant Ajax unable to bet Odysseus at wrestling?

What is Meriones tremendous feat with the bow and why was he able to accomplish such an amazing feat?

At the end of the book, what is the final sign we are given of the reunion of Achilles and Agamemnon?

What is Achilles' initial reaction at seeing Priam? (lines 563-567)

Why can Achilles and Priam have such a cordial meeting?

What insinuation does Priam make that angers Achilles?

What does it imply when Achilles says, "I may break the laws of Zeus"?

Is Achilles’ and Priam’s meeting a fitting ending to this book?

Have we seen the fall of Troy?

Is Achilles a believable character?

Does his being 1/2 immortal help us understand his character?

C.H. Whitman in his book, "Homer and the Homeric Tradition" points that whole Iliad is actually one huge chiastic structure. The first and last books actually repeat the same themes. The structure looks like this...

Book 1

A) The rejection of the father (Chryses) who wishes to ransom his daughter.

B) Quarrel between Achilles and Agamemnon.

C) Thetis speaks to Achilles and agrees to take a message to Zeus.

D) Thetis and Zeus

E) Dispute among the gods.

Book 24

e) Dispute among the gods.

d) Zeus and Thetis.

c) Thetis speaks to Achilles, having brought a message from Zeus.

b) Friendly converse between Achilles and Priam.

a) Agreement that the father (Priam) man ransom the body of his son.

For the six-minute Iliad, go to

For some good laughs, see what Hollywood does with the Iliad in Helen of Troy.

7. Odyssey, Books 1-8, pp. 1-143 *Paper 1 due*

a!ndra moi e!nnepe, mou~sa, polu/tropon, o$j ma/la polla\ pla/gcqh (1.1)

While reading the Odyssey we must always remember the story of Agamemnon’s homecoming. What happened to Agamemnon on his return home?

Book 1 does not begin by showing us Odysseus, but rather, his son and the house full of suitors in Ithaka. What can we learn about Telemakhos from his initial description in lines 142-149?

When Athena comes in the form of Mentes what message does she have for Telemakhos? (lines 220-249)

Athena strongly condemns the suitors for their abuse of Odysseus’ home and then suggests to Telemakhos a plan of action concerning his mother and the suitors. What is the plan that she gives to Telemakhos?

What personal interest does Telemakhos have in his mother’s remarriage?

What will happen to him if his mother remarries?

After Athena leaves what does Telemakhos tell the suitors about his upcoming voyage?

After Telemakhos shows new assertiveness, the suitors are eager to know what it was that Telemakhos was told that gave him this new assertiveness ("maybe he knows something we don’t!") Why does Telemakhos tell them that he received no word concerning his father rather than telling them that Odysseus was returning? Would not telling the suitors of his father’s return encourage the suitors to leave the house in fear?

Book 2

Book 2 begins with Telemakhos calling an assembly and expressing his desire to expel the suitors. Telemakhos’ new-found assertiveness quickly draws the ire of Antinoos who argues that the suitors can not be blamed for continuing their suit in the hall’s of Odysseus. What reason does Antinoos give to excuse the suitor’s continued pursuit of Penelope?

Telemakhos will not hear this excuse and tells the suitors that they must take their dinner elsewhere. At the end of his speech he says, "I beg Zeus you shall get what you deserve: a slaughter here, and nothing paid for it!" (line153-154) What occurs to make these words prophetic?

Book 3

When Telemakhos meets Nestor he immediately asks for news of his father. Even though Nestor can not tell him where his father is, what explanation does he give for the Achaians difficulties in returning home?

What important warning does Nestor give Telemakhos?

Traveling by chariot to the house of Menelaus, Telemakhos finds him celebrating the weddings of his son and daughter. How does Homer show us the good natured hospitality of Menelaus? (lines 27-37)

If the Trojan war was fought to reunite Helen and Menelaus, then this book offers us an opportunity to see if the war was fought in vain. What do you think of this couple? Does Helen really show herself to be as desirable a woman as the Trojan war implied or has this woman been a bit over-rated?

Do Helen and Menelaus show themselves the ideal couple we would expect them to be?

What encouragement does Menelaus offer Telemakhos concerning his father?

The first four books of the Iliad are known as the Telemachy. They are given this term simply because they introduce us to Odysseus’ son. It is not until book 5 that we will be reintroduced to Odysseus himself. Why does Homer spend so much time on Telemakhos before bringing us to the main character?

Book 5

When Athena comes to Zeus to plead for Odysseus’ release from Kalypso, what is the first argument that she uses? (lines 9-14)

In line 249, it says that Odysseys used dead trees because they would "float him high". The answer to this question is not in the text, but do any of you know why it is that the wood of dead tries floats higher?

Poseidon does sink Odysseus’ raft, but who comes to his rescue?

Book 6

How long has it been since Odysseus has been in civilized domestic society?

Book 7

What is the lie that Odysseus tells in lines 325-330 and why does he tell it?

When Odysseus tells of his history he never mentions his wife and son. Why do you think this is so?

Book 8

The bard sings the tale of the clash between Odysseus and Akhilleus. Some traditions have it that they quarreled over how Troy would be taken- whether through force or guile. The final solution was of course Odysseus’ guileful hollow horse. Odysseus almost breaks down at the hearing of this song but is able to skillfully restrain himself despite the memories he must fight. Alkinoos perceives Odysseus’ distress but thinks that the solution is a change of activities- from poetry to sports. How is Odysseus’ identity revealed all the more during these games?

8. Odyssey, Books 9-15, pp. 143-287

outij odusseuj

When Odysseus and his companions are trapped in the cave of Polyphemos, how was Odysseus able to deliver his little band?

As Odysseus sails away, he hurls taunts at the Cyclops and in a moment of reckless gloating Odysseus speaks a bit of folly. What is it?

line 573

What vice of Odysseus’ men do we see at the beginning of book 10 and what is its result?

What vice of Polites do we see in lines 10.249-253?

Why is it especially appropriate that the men are turned into swine by Kirke?

What does Tiresias specifically command Odysseus to do before Tiresias will speak to him and why would Tiresius give him such a odd task?

Odysseus’ interview with Achilles in Hades is especially interesting because we see the heroes of the Iliad and Odyssey come for a face to face interview. What startling revelation does Achilles make about giving up the goodness of life to obtain glory?

What was the conflict between Odysseus and Ajax (Aias)? What is his response to Odysseus’ attempt to speak with him?

What does the story about the cattle on the island of Helios show us about Odysseus’ companions?

His treatment of Odysseus is remarkable given the fact that Odysseus has been make to look like a beggar (i.e. hobo, beggar, bum, pan-handler or "homeless person" if you want to be politically correct!). Yet, the pious Eumaios shows him the utmost respect and kindness. What are some of the many kindnesses that Eumaios shows Odysseus?

Why do you think Homer refers to Eumaios as "O my swineherd"?

Eumaios is full of pious aphorisms, e.g. "rudeness to a stranger is not decency, poor though he may be poorer than you. All wanderers and beggars come from Zeus." (lines 68-70) Give some more examples of Eumaios’ pious sentiments. (?)

Give some examples of Eumaios own personal fidelity to Odysseus despite Odysseus’ long absence. How does he show that he is still faithful to Odysseus?

What scare does Athena give Tekemakhos at the beginning of book 15 to hurry Telemakhos home?

What omen is given as Telemakhos departs and what is the interpretation that Helen gives it?

9. Odyssey,Books 16-24, pp. 287-463
odussantoj    odusseuj

Telemakhos is still a child though, he can see nothing but defeat for himself if he were to go up against the suitors. Odysseus is eager to "test" his son and find if there might be any of the fighting spirit in him. How does Odysseus put his son to the test?

(line 16.110)

What is Telemakhos’ excuse for not fighting the suitors?

When Eumaios brings Odysseus (in tramp disguise) to the house, the suitors are quick to level the usual criticism that is made of vagrants. What is it? (lines 17.289-291)

Who recognizes Odysseus at the house?

Homer loves to play with the irony in the fact that Odysseus comes to beg in his house as if he owned nothing. What is the irony in Antinoos’statement in lines 490-493?

In his guise Odysseus gets to play on the conscience of the suitors. What is the point that he makes in lines 595-600?

In lines 631-640 we can see the real lack of piety in Antinoos. When faced with the fact that in Odysseus he may be mistreating a god in disguise- he only shrugs. What is the irony in the idea of Odysseus being a "god in disguise"?

In lines 19.320-330, Odysseus says that he will shortly return; what is the excuse that he gives in lines 330-340 for his long absence?

Does Odysseus really need to do some explaining for himself? Could he just assume that Penelope would be willing to accept him back after being gone for so long?

What irony is contained in lines 19.365-368?

What irony is contained in line 19.418?

Does Penelope’s telling Odysseus of the dream make you more or less convinced that she knows who he is?

If we assume that she doesn’t know who he is, how would we understand her setting forth the contest on the next day?

How would we understand this event if she does know who he is?

What does the fact that Odysseus says that Odysseus will be at the contest tells us about whether Odysseus thinks Penelope knows who he is?

In book 20, what is the concern that Odysseus voices to Athena concerning his killing of the suitors?

In book 20, we see a man slaughter 40 nearly defenseless men in his own house. How has Homer prepared us so that we do not come to think of Odysseus as a thug after reading this account?

Does Odysseus "wrath" differ from that of Achilles?

Who are the only two allowed to survive the wrath of Odysseus?

Odysseus tells Telemakhos to kill the faithless maids with his sword. Why does he then go and hang them?

Book 23

What is Penelope’s first response to Odysseus when coming to see him after he had killed the suitors?

We have seen a number of instances of "testing" by Odysseus. Now Penelope has a test of her own for Odysseus. Do these tests make you think more or less of these two people? Are the tests unreasonable and overly skeptical?

10. The Three Theban Plays, Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex), pp. 159-198

oisqa pou, oidipoj (line 54)
miasma (line 110)
gnwqi seauton

In lines 69-84, Oedipus talks of himself as a great doctor who knows just the cure for the peoples ills. What is the irony in line 80?

What irony is contained in lines 88-89?

When Creon tells Oedipus of the circumstances surrounding Laius’ death, Creon says that the messenger recounted that it was actually a band of men that killed him.(line 138) We know that it was Oedipus alone that killed him; why do you think the messenger brought this false story?

To understand lines 154-159, we must understand the concept of the kinsman avenger. What is a kinsman avenger?

What is the irony in lines 154-159?

After Oedipus tells the people he has found the way to rid them of the plague, he tells them to take up the branches of supplication that had been laid. What is the significance of this?

What is the irony in lines 256-260?

You will find Sophocles just can’t get enough of playing with the irony in Oedipus situation! Explain the irony in lines 284-287.

What is the irony in lines 301-303?

Oedipus has Tiresias the prophet brought to him to shed light on the question of the killer’s identity. Knowing that Oedipus is the man, Tiresias can only begin by saying, "How terrible-to see the truth when the truth is only pain to him who sees!" Why is this statement so fitting for Oedipus?

In line 401 Tiresias tells Oedipus that in fact he is the "miasma" (blood stain of guilt). Oedipus will not stand for such a rebuke from the prophet and accuses Tiresias of conspiracy against him. Oedipus claims he has no need of the services of the prophet. What reasons does he give for having no need of the prophet? (lines 451-454)

Oedipus is also quick to suspect that his brother-in-law Creon had connived to use Tiresias’ harsh message as a means for ousting Oedipus and claiming the throne for himself. How does Creon argue that this would be a ridiculous suspicion?

For a humorous version of the Oedipus story, see You can find another humorous version by using your real player to listen to the location pnm://

11. The Three Theban Plays, Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex), pp. 198-251 *Paper 2 due*

prin a@n te/rma tou~ bi/ou pera/s* mhde\n a}lgeino\n paqw/n. line 1683
u#brij futeu/ei tu/rannon.

Why did the lone survivor of King Laius’ ambush ask to be sent out of Thebes?

Who does Oedipus think his parents are?

Who confirmed the original prophecy concerning Oedipus killing his father?

What does the witness of Laius’ murder report that Oedipus latches on to in hopes of proving that he was not the murderer?

After this rebuke from the chorus, Jocasta seems to have a quick conversion- what does she all of a sudden have an interest in doing?

What news does the messenger bring that temporarily boosts the hopes of Oedipus and Jocasta?

Jocasta’s philosophy of life is best described in her speech in lines 1069-1078. Summarize it.

What is the irony in lines 1083?

Why are Oedipus and Jocasta’s hopes of escaping the oracles quickly dashed?

As soon as Jocasta comes to understand what Oedipus has done what is her response?

(see lines 1157-1160)

Even as the truth about his origin continues to be unveiled what hope does he cling to that might give an alternate explanation for his birth?

When Oedipus interviews the Shepherd, how does Oedipus continue to play the role of the philosopher in pursuit of truth?

Upon seeing the doom of Oedipus what conclusions does the chorus draw from his fate?

12. The Three Theban Plays, Oedipus at Colonus

maqein paqein

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

In lines 6-9 Oedipus says that he has learned acceptance. Why would suffering teach acceptance?

Where does Oedipus come to for safety?

What does the chorus of citizens from Colonus agree to do in return for Oedipus leaving the holy ground?

What is the chorus’ response when Oedipus tells them his name?

What arguments does Oedipus give for why the citizens of Colonus should pity him? (pg. 299)

What news does Ismene bring when she arrives?

Why does Oedipus say his sons are like Egyptians?

Why is Oedipus’ burial place of such importance?

Why is Oedipus so reluctant to help Thebes?

What is the irony in line 498?

In line 589, Oedipus says that nothing he did was "self-willed" and in line 616 he says that he was "blind" in his deeds. Are these claims true and if so, do they relieve him of guilt?

Would it be unreasonable for the chorus to expel Oedipus from the land?

How does Theseus receive Oedipus?

What "gift" does Oedipus offer him?

Lines 685- 688 are the most famous lines from this play. The effects of time on all things is a theme that will be developed much further by the philosophers that we will read later. Why does Oedipus speak these lines to Theseus?

The chorus in lines 760-817 gives us a great example of "Athenian pride". The song sung by the chorus is the Athenian equivalent of "America the beautiful". What are some of the virtues of Athens that it extols?

What is it that Creon desires Oedipus to do?

After Creon fails at persuading Oedipus to return to Thebes, what does he do?

Who comes in to save the day?

In lines 1040-1043, what Athenian virtue is extolled?

In lines 1070-1094, what argument does Creon us to claim that his taking Oedipus is just?

What does Oedipus say to refute that claim (see lines 1106-1117)?

Oedipus makes the same argument, but with a bit of sarcasm in lines 1132-1136. Summarize it.

You might enjoy this musical adaptation of this play- The Gospel at Colonus

13. The Three Theban Plays, Antigone, pp. 59-96
a}narci/aj de\ mei~zon ou}k e!stin kako/n line 751

Ou!toi sune/cqei~n, a}lla\ sumfilei~n e!fun.

Not to join in hate, but to love mutually I bring forth.


The plays of Sophocles were likely played at the Theater of Dionysios on the Acropolis. Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4

For a nice video version of Antigone, do a search for "juliet stevenson antigone" on

It is helpful to keep these relationships in mind during your reading. The children (and siblings) of Oedipus are Ismene, Antigone, Eteocles and Polyices. Oedipus' wife (and mother) is Jocasta whose brother is Creon. Creon is married to Eurydice and their son Haemon is engaged to Antigone.

What are the two meanings that can be given to line 57?

In line 57, Antigone states that Creon, "has no right to keep me from my own." Is this true?

In lines 60-80, what arguments does Ismene use to persuade Antigone from her plans?

In line 86, Antigone says "if I die in the act, that death will be a glory" and in line 112 she says that the worse thing to suffer is a death without glory. What warning is contained for her in the chorus that begins at line 116?

How did Eteocles and Polynices die?

Why can Creon say (in line 180) that "the ship of state is safe"?

Why did Creon decree such a harsh punishment (no proper burial) for Polynices?

After the sentry comes and tells Creon that someone has given Polynices the burial rites, the Leader of the chorus suggests that it might of actually been the gods who performed the burial. Why is this suggestion so unacceptable to Creon? (see lines 317ff)

The chorus beginning at line 377 is quite fascinating. It is basically a hymn in honor of the greatness of Man. What are some of man’s abilities that it extols?

What do lines 409-412 mean?

Does this hymn remind you of any of the Psalms?

Psalm 8 is very similar but there is a very important difference. Read Psalm 8 and see if you can find it.

After the sentry brings the accused Antigone back from the site of Polynices body, Creon asks her if she knew of the official decree against his burial. Why doesn’t she just tell him that she was unaware of the decree so that she can avoid being punished?

What arguments does Antigone use to defend herself before Creon? (see lines 499ff)

In lines 551-554, Creon implies that Antigone glories in her crime. Is it true that she glories in her crime?

In line 561, Antigone says "Give me glory". Does this sound like something a typical woman would say?

Antigone justifies her burying her traitor brother by saying "Death longs for the same rites for all." but Creon replies, "Never the same for the patriot and the traitor." Who would you side with at this point in the argument?

Can Antigone be seen as sincere when she states, "I was born to join in love, not hate--that is my nature." (line 590)

Why does Antigone not want Ismene to join her in dying?

What is the nature of Creon’s relationship to his son?

Summarize Creon’s thoughts in lines 751-761.

What message does Haemon bring to his father?

14. The Three ThebanPlays, Antigone, pp. 96-128

Th\n eu}sebi/an sebi/sasa

Piety honoring (aor part.)


Theater of Dionysius

Summarize the point Haemon is making to his father with the tree analogy in lines 797-799.

Why is Creon not affected by Haemon’s statements that the whole city is of a contrary opinion regarding Antigone’s sentence?

What are the double meanings that can be given to line 839?

What does Haemon mean when he says, "her death will kill another."? (line 843)

Does Creon execute Antigone as he said he would? (lines 870-879)

Why would the chorus sing a hymn to love at this time in the play? Doesn’t this seem like an inappropriate time to be talking about love?

When Antigone appears for the first time since her sentence, how has her character changed? (line 900 ff.)

What does she mention for the first time?

Does Antigone admit that what she did was wrong in lines 1013-1021?

In line 1034, Antigone says that she is being punished for "reverence, all for reverence" the word that she uses for reverence is eusebian. This is the same word that is used in 2 Peter 1:7 and is translated "godliness". It can also be translated as "piety". How genuine do you think her statement is?

With the entry of Tiresias (we have not seen him since early in Oedipus Rex) the tables begin to turn as Creon is faced with increasing criticism. Were did we hear a line like 1123?

Creon also resembles Oedipus for his tyrannous character. He shows the careless disregard for the gods that Oedipus displayed. How is this shown in lines 1151-1153?

Line 1176-7 is also very similar to Tiresias’ interview with Oedipus. In lines 1181-1215 what does Tiresias say Creon’s error is?

After Tiresius’ speech, Creon very quickly breaks. He is quick to send his men to make sure that Polynices does receive the proper rites. I must admit that he changes his mind so quickly that the transitions seems a little implausible. Can you give an explanation for why he changes so quickly rather than resisting the words of Tiresius like Oedipus did?

At line 1239, the chorus begins the hymn of praise in honor of Dionysus, the patron deity of Thebes. Why is it appropriate to sing praises to Dionysus at this point?

What does the chorus mean by "real delight" in line 1289?

Read lines 1431-1435; what similarities do you see between Creon and Oedipus?

15. The Oresteia, Agamemnon, pp. 99-139 *Paper 3 due*

Di/ka de toi~j me\n paqou~sin maqei~n e}pirre/pei.

Justice to the suffering (aor part) to learn (inf) turns the lot to

Justice brings the suffering to learn.

Line 250

What does "the torch has brought us triple-sixes" mean?

What relationship exists between Clytaemnestra and Helen?

Why does the chorus fear for Agamemnon's return?

Why do they think that he will be assassinated?

Why did he sacrifice his daughter and what was her name?

What does the chorus say about the character that Cly. has developed while Ag. was away? (see line 152).

What does the Chorus mean by "we must suffer into truth"? (see line 179)

Read lines 210-226 on page 110 What does the chorus think of Agamemnon's choice in sacrificing his daughter?

What is revealed in Cly. character when she says, "No one takes me in with visions--senseless dreams."? (line 275)

What is the difference in the role that the Chorus plays in Aeschylus' plays as opposed to the plays of Sophocles?

Why does Clytaemnestra put down the red carpet for Agamemnon when he returns?

The leader of the chorus tells Cly. that she "Speaks like a man" (line 354)- what is the irony in that?

16. The Oresteia, Agamemnon, pp. 139-173 *First semester questions due*

i}w\ i}w\ basileu~ basileu~, pw~j se dakru/sw?

O, O, King, King, How you will I mourn?

Line 1516

pro\j ke/ntra mh\ la/ktize, mh\ pai/saj mog*~j.

against the goads not kick, (so that) not all you might suffer.

Line 1656  cmp Acts 26:14

Mycenae Lion’s Gate

Agamemnon’s bath

Palace Rooms

Tholos Tomb

Explain lines 957-960.

What is the double meaning in line 966?

In line 1001 the chorus says "Justice comes to birth". What do they suspect will happen? How would they know what to suspect?

Agamemnon brings back Cassandra to be his concubine, but what does Clytaemnestra address her as?

Cassandra was a prophetess, but had a special curse put on her. What was that curse?

When would people finally believe her?

After Clytaemnestra and Agamemnon enter the house what does she prophesy?

Why does Cassandra shreek with terror in line 1219?

See lines 1241-1249. How does Cassandra describe the wretchedness of Clytaemnestra?

What does Clytaemnestra’s prophecy in lines 1300-1304 forbode?

What is the double meaning in line 1423? "My Lord is home at last."

Read Clytaemnestra’s speech in lines 1391-1424. What character traits do we see displayed in Clytaemnestra?

What is Clytaemnestra referring to in lines 1531-1533?

What warning does the Chorus give her in lines, 1534-1541?

What biblical phrase does Clytaemnestra’s line "By the sword, you did your work and by the sword you die." resemble?

Why does Aigisthus call himself, "the weaver of Justice"? (line 1635)

In what way does Aegisthus mock the Chorus?

How do they mock him?

17. The Oresteia, The Libation Bearers, pp. 173-227

End of 1st semester.

ai}ai~ mele/wn e!rgwn

Alas sorrowful work

stuger+~ qana/t+ diepra/cqhj

by a loathsome death you were destroyed.


e} e!

mi/mnonti de\ kai\ pa/qoj a}nqei~

to the remaining suffering will bloom.

Line 1001

The Libation Bearers

As Orestes returns, we see that he, like Agamemnon, comes "home at last". And just like Agamemnon, the homecoming will be accompanied by familial bloodshed; however, this time the one returning will not be the victim, but the murderer.

Explains lines 65-69.

In line 122, Electra speaks of "Judge or avenger" what is the difference between these two roles?

Why is Electra worried about keeping her conscience clear? See line 124. Does the chorus share her concern?

What does "Justice" mean for Electra? see line 148

What prayer of Electra’s is immediately answered?

Electra’s description of Orestes (line 240-247) resembles what other description we have read?

Why is Orestes concerned that he might not avenge his father’s murder? See lines 272-301

What definition is given to Justice by the chorus in lines 310-320?

Why does Orestes wish that his father was cut down by a Lycian at Troy? line 350.

What interpretation does Orestes give to his mother’s dream? lines 525-735

What is so ominous about what Clytaemnestra says in lines 649-656?

What is the irony in Orestes statement "I am a stranger"?

What hint does he give that he thinks Clytaemnestra should be able to recognize him?

Why does the nurse call Orestes, "the sweetest dearest plague of all our lives!" line 735.

What does the chorus mean in line 823, "Wipe out death with death."

What are the two ways of understanding Aegisthus line, "No he’ll never trap me open-eyed!" line 840

Line 874 is actually more ambiguous in the Greek than it sounds in English. It can mean either "the dead are killing the living" or "the living are killing the dead". What would it mean if you took it in either of these senses?

Looking at lines 895-900- what is the effect that destiny has on the thinking of Orestes and his mother?

Explain what the chorus means in lines 950-955.

Who is the double tyranny that Orestes speaks of in line 964?

Orestes speaks at length regarding the justice of his mother’s murder. Why does he not think it necessary to address the murder of Aegisthus?

In lines 1000-1005 what warning does the chorus give to Orestes?

Why does he fall under a special curse?

Why is Orestes worried about Menelaus? Line 1041

What common expedient of murderers does Orestes resort to?

18. The Oresteia, The Eumenides, pp. 227-279

To\ mhtro\j ai#m } o$maimon e}kce/aj pe/doi e!peit } e}n !Argei dw/mat } oi}kh/sei patro/j?
Line 661

There is a little bit of historical background that I would like you to think about. The time of king David is roughly 1000BC and the time of the Babylonian exile around 500BC. Corresponding events in ancient Greek history would be Homer (somewhere between 800-1200BC) and the Golden Age of Athens (around 500BC). During the Golden Age of Athens most of the authors we will read lived - Sophocles, Aeschylus, Plato, Aristotle. Right about the time that Old testament history is winding down, Athens is really at it’s height.

Do you think that the decision of Athena’s court established "justice" or destroyed it?

Please consider sixth ammendment from the United States Constitution. 
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.[no

19. Aristotle, The Poetics,

γὰρ προσὸν μὴ προσὸν μηδὲν ποιεῖ ἐπίδηλον, οὐδὲν μόριον τοῦ ὅλου ἐστίν.

Poetics 1451a 35

Chp. 4- What natural capacity of man produced poetry?

What developments in the theatrical performance were Aeschylus and Sophocles responsible for?

Chp. 5- What does "Tragedy endeavors to keep as far as possible within a single circuit of the sun" mean?

Chp. 6- Why does Aristotle say plot is the most important part of a tragedy?

Chp 7- Of what proportion must a play be?

Chp 9- What is the difference between Poetry and History.

Chp 10- What do "propter hoc" and "post hoc" mean?

Chp 13- Try to find a well-known story that transgresses one of Aristotle’s three guidelines for plot.

Chp 14- How does a good poet arose fear or pity in his audience?

Chp 15- What does it mean to make a character "consistent and the same throughout"?

Chp 17- Why does Aristotle think that a touch of madness is helpful for someone who wants to be an actor?

Chp 20- What would be another word for Aristotle’s term "Diction?"

Chp 23- Why did Homer not include the story of the Trojan horse in the Iliad?

Chp 24- What does Aristotle mean by the art of "framing lies?"

Chp 25- Can it be morally wrong for a character to perform some actions on stage?

In the early renaissance, the composer Monteverdi attempted to reconstruct ancient Greek theater and in so doing created opera!  You can see his first opera, the story of Orpheus in the underworld, here.  Be sure to turn on the English subtitles by clicking CC.

20. Plato, Gorgias, 447 - 482

po/teron dokei~ soi, w~ Pw~le, ka/kion ei~nai, to\ a}dikei~n h} to\ a}dikei~sqei?

Which seems to you, O Polus, harmful to be, to suffer evil or to inflict evil?

Gorgias 474c


knack (routine) /art = sophistic/legislation = beautification/gymnastics

= rhetoric/justice = cookery/medicine

Plato’s Academy

Agora area- tile standard

448- What is the difference between rhetoric and dialogue?

453- Why does Socrates keep pressing Gorgias to say what the field of rhetoric is?

454- What two types of pursuasion are there?

456- Does Gorgias think that an rhetorician may use his skills for any end without compunction?

462- What is the difference between an art and a routine?

463- What does Socrates mean by "to flatter?"

465- Explain the "geometrical proportion" that Socrates puts forward.

sophistic/legislation = beautification/gymnastics = rhetoric/justice = cookery/medicine

467- Explain the difference between willing what you are doing and willing that for the sake of which you act?

468- Why cannot the tyrant do what he wills?

474- Note

kakion - evil agaqon - good
aiscron - shameful kalon - fair

478- Why is it good to be punished for a crime?

479- Why is the tyrant to be pitied?

21. Plato, Gorgias, 482 - 504

te/loj ei}~nai a{pasw~n tw~n pra/xewn to\ a}gaqo/n.

End to be of all acts the good.

Gorgias 500

482- What is the difference between an idea being grounded in convention and being grounded in nature?

483- Why does Callicles think that conventions are created by weaklings?

483- How could Callicles claim that "might makes right" is in accordance with nature?

487- Why is Socrates glad that Callicles is so frank in his positions, when Socrates disagrees so completely with Callicles?

489- How did Socrates get Callicles to admit that in fact he did not think that the good was the advantage of the stronger but of the "more gifted" intelligent people.

491- What else does Callicles claim that the better man must have besides intelligence? And, why must he have this additional attribute?

492- Explain Callicles view of ideal happiness.

493- What is the point of the leaky pitcher analogy?

494- What is the point of the scratching example?

495- What is the "inconsistency" that Socrates draws Callicles into?

497- Explain how Socrates shows Callicles that the pleasurable and the good are not necessarily the same thing.

498- How does Socrates show Callicles that experiencing pleasure does not make one necessarily good?

499-500- Show how Socrates gets Callicles to admit that orators may not use their art to any end whatsoever.

22. Plato, Gorgias, 504 - 527

o{ Qa/natoj tugca/nei w!n, w{j e}moi\ dokei~, ou}den a!llo h@ duoi~n pragma/toin dia/lusij, th~j vuch~j kai\ tou~ sw/matoj, a}p }a}llh/loin

Gorgias 524 b

504- How are order and proportion produced in the soul?

505- How does Socrates lead Callicles to the position that "to be disciplined is better for the soul than indiscipline."?

507- Give three examples from Homer that might teach the lesson, "the temperate soul is good"

508-Why does Socrates think that it is appropriate that the universe is called orderly?

510- Why is the tyrannt able to befriend no one but other tyrrants?

513- What does Socrates think should be the true purpose of oratory?

In modern political terms, would this purpose be "liberal" or "conservative"?

516- Why does Socrates hold that Pericles was a poor ruler?

521- What does Callicles mean by saying that one should be the "state’s servant?"

521- Why does Socrates think that he would have no defense in a court of law?

525- How does Socrates think that we can reach the isles of blessed?

How has this idea influenced church dogma?

If Socrates were presented the Gospel would his ideas be a hindrance or aid in his seeing its truth?

How might God have used Plato to prepare the Pagan world to accept the Gospel?

23.The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives; Theseus, Solon, Themistocles;
*Paper 4 due*

e}cou/shj ga/r ti th~j vuch~j a}gaphtiko\n e}n eauth~ kai\ pefukui/aj
Plutarch, Life of Solon – chapter 7.

Delphi =

Cleobus and Biton -

Plutarch -

Centaurs -


What does Plutarch say regarding the veracity of the history surrounding Theseus?

How did the men of Theseus’ day resemble Callicles?

Explain why Theseus’ galley become fodder for later philosophical discussions?

What measures did Theseus employ in order to centralize the inhabitants of Attica in Athens?

Explain the derivation of our word "academy".


Give examples of Solon’s moral approach to politics.

What were Anarcharsis’ criticisms of democracy?

How did Thales attempt to show Solon the futility of worldly pleasures?

What qualifications did Plutarch make regarding Thales philosophy?

What were the main points of contention between the rich and poor?

What contemporary examples do you see that are comparable to the Greek use of euphemisms?

By changing the value of the mina, Solon was resorting to what age old technique for relieving the burdens of debtors?

What is the difference between Solon’s canceling of debts and the cancellation of debts that occurred under the Biblical year of Jubilee?

Can Solon truthfully say, "I stood guard with a broad shield before both parties [meaning the rich and the poor] And prevented either from triumphing unjustly."?

Why did Solon abolish dowries?

What was Solon’s cure for vagrancy?

Why was Solon against theatrical productions?


Why was Themistocles’ son the most powerful man in the empire?

Explain the irony in the reply the people of Andros gave to Themistocles threats.

What do we know of Xerxes from the Bible?

Where in the Bible do we see followers of the teaching of the Magians?

24. The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives; Aristides, Cimon, Pericles;

to\ ga\r kalo\n e}f } au{to\ praktikw~j kinei~ (set in motion) kai\ praktikh\n eu}qu\j o{rmh\n (direction) e}nti/qhsin (put into), h}qopoiou~n (form character) ou} t*~ mimh/sei (portrayal) to\n qeath/n (spectator), a}lla\ t*~ i{stori/& tou~ e!rgou th\n proai/resin (purpose) pareco/menon



Plutarch- Life of Pericles 2

Helmet of Militiades -

Shield -

Muses (slaves) on Acropolis -


Pheidias sculpture-

Aristides ostrakon -

There are many references in these readings to various battles in the Persian Wars. For help in understanding these battles it would be good to see p.133 in "Atlas of the Greek World" from Facts On File. ISBN 0-87196-448-1


Compare the characters of Aristides and Themistocles.

What arguments does Plutarch give for why rulers ought to pursue virtue rather than mere power?

What becomes manifest in Aristides’ character in the event with the ostrakon?

Why did Aristides think that the boat bridge across the Hellespont should not be destroyed?

What was Aristides motivation for moving Athens in a democratic direction?

What weaknesses plagued the union of Greek cities under Aristides?


Why was Cimon thought more Spartan (Peloponesian) than Athenian?

How did Cimon win the allegiance of the Greek armies?

Did Cimon’s generosity show him to be virtuous or simply a panderer?

How did Cimon weaken the military resolve of the other cities?

How were Pericles’ actions instrumental in the downfall of Cimon?


Why ought we to study the lives of famous men?

Why was Philip of Macedon ashamed of his son being able to play the harp so well?

Why does virtue have the ability to draw us to imitation while talents do not?

Why was Pericles especially concerned that the people would not suspect him of having tyrannical ambitions?

How did Pericles compete with the personal largesse of Cimon?

What was Pericles most enduring contribution to Athens?

How did Pericles excuse his usage of the monies collected for the war against the Persians?

How does Plutarch describe the contrast between the Philosopher and the Statesman?

What did Pericles mean by saying, "no Athenian ever put on mourning because of me."?

How does Plutarch’s view of the gods differ from that of the Poets?

25. The Rise and Fall of Athens: Nine Greek Lives;Nicias, Acibiades, Lysander;

ou{/tw mo/lij o{ Niki/aj e}pisteu/qh maqw\n a{/ polla/kij au}toi~j proei~pen.

Life of Nicias 30 (end).





Describe the influences that contributed to the Athenians deciding to go to war in Sicily.

How was Plato able to promote the acceptance of natural causes for natural phenomena?

Why did Nicias’ fate cause his men to despair of ever receiving justice from the gods?

Why was the knowledge of Euripides’ poetry of great benefit to Greek soldiers?

What was the irony in Nicias suffering defeat at the hands of the Sicilians?

Map of Sicily

Map of Greece and Sicily


Explain the phrase "Leave the flute to the sons of Thebes, for they have no idea of conversation."

Of what nature was Socrates’ "love" for Alcibiades?

What is the nature of Alcibiades character? Explain with examples.

What was a "deme"?

What does Alcibiades’ ability to quickly assimilate with all types of people show regarding his character.


How did Lysander contribute to the corruption of Sparta?

How did Lysander empty many of the Greek ships without a single battle?

How was Gylippus’ theft foiled and what was the lesson to be learned from it?

How was most of the Greek navy destroyed in a half hours’ time?

26. The Histories; Read Book I;Book II, chps 50-53 & chps 112-120; Book III, chps 37, 38, 66-87

polloi~si ga\r dh\ u{pode/xaj o!lbon o{ Qeo\j prorri/zouj ane/treve

Herodotus 1.32


I.2 Why does Homer never bring up contradictory reports regarding the events in the Trojan war as Herodotus does the events in his history?

I.32 Explain Solon’s view of the benefits of worldly goods.

I.46-54 How did Croesus go about testing the veracity of the oracles? Might Jehovah actually have spoken through the pagan oracles?

I.88 Why did Croesus’ statement "What they are sacking and pillaging is yours." have such an impact on Cyrus.

I.91 What are the subtleties in the Oracles’ statements that lead Croesus to his downfall?

I.97 What situation leads the Medes to desire a king over them?

I.111 Compare Herodotus’ view of the gods with that of Homer.

I.129 Why does Astyages call Harpagus the "stupidest and most unjust man alive"?

I.191 Where in the Bible do we read of the events recounted in this section?

I.196 How did the Babylonians make sure that all of their girls were married, the pretty as well as the homely?

II. 50-53 What do these sections show of Herodotus’ view of the gods?

II. 112-120 Why does Herodotus think it was improbable that Helen was actually in Troy?

III. 38 What does Herodotus mean by "Custom is king of all"?

III. 72 What modern cliché means the same thing as Darius’ statement, "Our practices our different, but our aim is the same."

III. 80 What arguments does Otanes make in favor of democracy?

III. 81 What arguments does Megabyzus make in favor of oligarchy?

III. 82 What arguments does Darius make in favor of monarchy?

27. The Histories; Read Book V, chps. 91-93, 105; Book VI, chps 42-48, 56-72, 94-120;Book VII

to\ mh\ a!ma a}rch pa~n te/loj katafai/nesqai.

Every end doth not appear in the hour of its beginning.

Herodotus 7.51



V. 92 Explain Thrasybulus’ political advice to Periander.

VI. 94 Why was Darius so interested in receiving "earth and water" from all the Greek states?

VI. 110-120 Describe how the much smaller Athenian force was able to triumph over the Persians at Marathon.

VI. 120 What will be the ensuing political effects of the Spartans late arrival at Marathon?

VII. 8 What was Xerxes’ main motivation for desiring to subjugate the Greeks?

VII. 10 What were Artabanus’ concerns regarding the invasion of Greece?

VII. 17-20 How was Xerxes convinced to proceed with his campaign?

VII. 34-35 What do we see of Xerxes character in the event with the Hellespont?

VII. 46 Explain Artabanus statement- "And therein is the god discovered to be envious for he gives us but a taste of the sweetness of life."

VII. 103 What assumptions does Xerxes make about the effects of democracy on the strength of its armies?

VII. 139 Why does Herodotus hold that the Spartans’ chances of success against a Persian land campaign were very slim.

Give a number of reasons why the Spartans were able to hold out so effectively against the Persians.

28. The Histories; Read Book VIII; Book IX *Paper 5 due*


ta\ pre/pei ma~llon barba/roisi poie/ein h! per !Ellhsi.

Such renown is better suited to barbarians than Greeks.

Herodotus 9.79









Herodotus books 8-9

For questions that cover a wider number of sections, I will no longer be giving section numbers.

Describe the Persian destruction of the Acropolis.

VIII.59 What was Themistocles point in saying "But those who get left behind never get crowned."

Why was Sicinnus role in the battle of Salamis so crucial?

What explanations does Herodotus give for the defeat of the Persians at Salamis?

How was queen Artemisia able to escape when pursued by a Greek ship?

After defeat at Salamis, what was Xerxes greatest fear for his army?

Why did Eurybiades argue that the bridges over the Hellespont ought not to be destroyed?

IX.16 What did the Persian at the dinner party tell Thersander that was so astonishing?

IX.22 Compare Herodotus’ description of the death of Masistius to Homer’s descriptions of the death of leading warriors.

Recount the Athenian and Spartan maneuvering for position when preparing to fight the Medes in the battle of Plataia.

What reasons does Herodotus give for Greek supremacy in the battle of Plataia?

What differences in the Greek and the Barbarian character becomes evident in Pausanias’ treatment of the body of Mardonius?

What point did Pausaniuas make with the preparation of the Persian and Spartan meals?

29. Plato, Euthyphro,


#Ara to\ o$sion, o$ti o$sio/n e}stin, filei~tai u{po\ tw~n Qew~n? h! o$ti filei~tai, o$sio/n e}stin?

Euthyphro 10a



Bulliten boards for ten tribes





Plato’s Academy








|God |

|Holy |


Plato’s Euthyphro

Explain the circumstances in the case that Euthyphro is bringing to court.

5e. What is Euthyphro’s first attempted definition of holiness?

6d. Why is Socrates not satisfied with the examples that Euthyphro gives?

9e. What is Euthyphro’s second attempted definition?

10a. Put Socrates’ question "is the holy approved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it’s approved?" into your own words.

10d. How does Socrates get Euthyphro to agree that the holy is approved by the gods because it is holy?

12e. What is Euthyphro’s third attempted definition?

14b. What is his forth attempted definition?

What conclusion does the dialogue end with?

30. Plato, Apology,

a}lla\ ga\r h!dh w$ra a}pie/nai, e}moi\ me\n a}poqanoume/n+, u{mi~n de\ biwsome/noij; o{po/teroi de\ h{mw~n e!rcontai e}pi\ a!meinon pra~gma, a!dhlon panti\ plh\n h@ t+~ qe+~.

end of Apology

Mars Hill - Acts 17:16-34


What accusation was bought against Socrates?

What was Socrates’ response to the Oracle’s statement regarding his own wisdom?

In what sense did Socrates claim that he was wise?

How does Socrates discredit Miletus?

How did Socrates refute Meletus claim that he was corrupting the youth of Athens?

How did Socrates prove to Meletus that he is not an atheist?

Why does Socrates call himself a gadfly?

Why did Socrates think that his divine voice did not oppose his conviction?

31. Plato, Phaedo, Beginning to 73

to\ Qeou\j ei#nai h{mw~n tou\j e}pimeloume/nouj kai\ h{ma~j tou\j a}nqrw/pouj e!n tw~n kthma/twn toi~j qeoi~j e#inai.

Phaedo 62b


Ancient Art and Mathematics

Why was Socrates in prison for such a long time before his execution?

Why did Socrates think that suicide was not an acceptable way of ending one’s life?

64a How is it that Philosophers are "of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death"?

Why does Socrates think that cutting oneself off from their physical senses will bring one closer to truth?

Recount Socrates’ argument regarding the dead coming from the living and the living from the dead.

32. Plato, Phaedo, 73 to 90a

e{ka/sth h{donh\ kai\ lu/ph w$sper h^lon e!cousa proshloi~ au}th\n proj to\ sw~ma kai\ prosperona~ kai\ poiei~ swmatoeidh~, doxa/zousan tau~ta a}lhqh~ ei#nai a$per a@n kai\ to\ sw~ma f*~.
Phaedo 83d



What does Socrates mean by saying that all knowledge comes through recollection?

75d. Why does Socrates think that we must have obtain our understanding of such concepts as equality, beauty and goodness, before birth?

In what sense do such terms exist?

Explain Socrates’ proof of the afterlife.

81a In Socrates’ view, how does one prepare oneself for death?

83d. Why are pleasures rivets?

86a. What does Simmias’ attunement attempt to demonstrate regarding the soul?

What is the point of Cebes story of the tailor and the coat?

How are some people brought to misology?

33. Plato, Phaedo, 90a to end *Paper 6 Due*

See for weekly phrase.

#W Kri/twn, e!fh, t+~ }Asklhpi+~ o}fei/lomen a}lektruo/na.



Phaedo 118



What is Socrates argument against the attunement theory?

What is Socrates argument against Cebes?

Why is it natural that Socrates had an interest in mathematics and natural science when he was young?

Explain Socrates’ difficulties with Anaxagoras’ views.

99b Explain this line- "being unable to distinguish between the reason for a thing, and the condition without which the reason couldn’t be operative."

100d What does Socrates mean by saying, " is by Beauty that beautiful things are beautiful."?

101c What does it mean to become two by "sharing in duality"?

How is it that Simmias can be both tall and short?

105d Explain Socrates’ use of opposites in his explanation of the immortality of the soul.

Recount Socrates view of the "layered earth".

Does Socrates really believe in this view?

34. Exhortation to the Greeks; Chpts. I-IV *Second semester questions due*


poreu/omai Journey, go, live

diaporeu/omai go through

e}kporeu/omai go out

e}mporeu/omai be in business

e}mpo/rion market (emporium)

prosporeu/omai to come (prosper??) cmp O.Fr. prosperare “Cause to succeed”

Go into business, get along well, going out of business etc.

Business, busy from “anxiety, care”


Modern Greece /


Ancient Christianity

Chapter 1.

Explain Clement’s understand of the pagan gods.

What is the "door hitherto shut?"

Chapter 2.

What is Clement’s definition of Atheist?

How did the pagans come to worship many of their false gods?

What do Clement’s examples of the god’s licentious behavior prove?

Chapter 4.

How did the ancients come to worship courtesans?

Please hand in your questions. You do not need to hand in week #35 questions.

35. Exhortation to the Greeks Chpts. V-XII

Week 35

grafai\ de\ ai{ qei~ai kai\ politei~ai sw/fronej, su/ntomoi swthri/aj o{doi/.

Clement chapter 8

Chapter 5.

What did Clement mean by saying that the Pagan’s had a "dream of the truth"?

Chapter 6.

Explain the phrase, "I seek after God, not the works of God."

With which ideas of Plato did Clement agree?

Explain, "God is the measure of the truth of all existence."

Why ought we not to have two balances in our bag?

What did Plato learn from the Hebrews?

Chapter 8.

Why are the scriptures the "short road to salvation"?

Chapter 10.

What reasons does Clement give for the pagans to abandon the gods of their fore-fathers?

Explain- "For man has been constituted by nature, so as to have fellowship with God."


For information on your papers, please see the paper guides at

All work to be considered must be turned in within one week of the due date.