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Greek Historiography and Philosophy

Code: 104205 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OB 2 1
2504394 English and Classics Studies OB 2 1


Carlos Varias Garcia

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


Joaquim Gesti Bautista


It is recommended to have previously undertaken both Ancient Greek language subjects, Elements of Greek Language and Greek Narrative Texts, from the 1st year of the Bachelor’s Degree in Ancient Studies. The contents of these subjects will be taken for granted.

Objectives and Contextualisation

This subject belongs to the field “Greek Philology” and it is a compulsory subject from the 2nd year of the Bachelor’s Degree in Ancient Studies.

The contents of this subject aim to offer an introduction to Classic Greek prose by studying the work of three important authors from the first half of the IV century B.C., Xenophon, Plato and Lysias. They are the most representative examples of the classical literary prose’s three main genres: historiography (Xenophon), philosophy (Plato) and oratory (Lysias).

Moreover, the theory and practice of Greek syntax, understood in a wide scope (morphosyntax), will be examined through the planned texts.

At the end of the subject the student must be able to:

1) Read and interpret passages from the authors cited above correctly;

2) Understand the field in a whole and be able to identify the context in which the studied texts are included;

3) Value the studied works’ contribution to the Western cultural tradition.


    Ancient Studies
  • Apply grammatical knowledge acquired in the analysis and comprehension of Latin and Greek texts.
  • Be able to express oneself orally and in writing in the specific language of history, archaeology and philology, both in one's own languages and a third language.
  • Interpret texts written in Latin and Greek to understand the history and Classical civilisations.
  • Make a commentary on a literary texts applying knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
    English and Classics Studies
  • Apply the methodology of analysis and knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics to comment on literary texts and analyse the culture and history of English-speaking countries and the ancient world.
  • Demonstrate grammatical knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages and its application to the analysis and comprehension of Greek and Latin texts.
  • Identify and interpret literary texts of different languages, analysing the generic, formal, thematic and cultural features according to concepts and methods of comparative literature and literary theory.
  • Interpret written texts in Latin and Greek to learn about classical history and civilizations.
  • Produce effective written work or oral presentations adapted to the appropriate register in distinct languages.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse the morpho-syntactic components of a Greek text, identifying those that are internal to a particular literary genre or dialect.
  2. Autonomously searching, selecting and processing information both from structured sources (databases, bibliographies, specialized magazines) and from across the network.
  3. Explain the context of the literary works whose characters, topics and clichés were passed down to the following tradition.
  4. Extract information from the Greek and Latin texts on aspects of realia especially related to their historical and cultural context.
  5. Identify in the Greek texts the characteristics of a particular literary genre.
  6. Preparing an oral and written discourse in the corresponding language in a proper and organized way.
  7. Translate fragments of the Greek works proposed.
  8. Translate fragments of the proposed Greek works.


This subject will combine the explanation of the contents of Greek language and literature related to the works and authors studied, with the realization of exercises of reading, translation and commentary of a selection of passages that will be delivered at the beginning of the course. This anthology will be adapted to the level of knowledge of Greek language of the students. Contents:

1. Introduction:

1.1. Greek historiography: origins and authors of the Classical Period. Herodotus, Thucydides and Xenophon’s life and works.

1.2. Greek Philosophy: origins and authors of the Classical Period. Plato and Aristotle’s life and works.

1.3. Greek oratory: origins and authors of the Classical Period. Lysias and Demosthenes’ life and works.

2. Selection of passages to translate from Xenophon, Plato and Lysias.

3. Study of Greek morphosyntax.

3.1. Imperative, Subjunctive and Optative.

3.2. Syntax of the Complex Sentences.

3.3. Modal Syntax.

4. Translated readings of:

  • Herodotus’ Histories (selection);
  • Plato’s Symposium.



The subject, eminently practical, will be organized in two groups according to the levels established in the first year.

The methodology of this subject will consist on alternating theoretical explanations from every topic listed in the previous section, with the translation of the authors’ passages already cited, according to the material that will be provided to students at the beginning of course and that will be adapted to the level of each group.

Pel que fa a les lectures obligatòries, els professors faran dos controls de lectura: un de la selecció de passatges de la Història d'Heròdot i un altre del Banquet de Plató.

As for the compulsory readings, the teachers will monitor them through two reading controls: one on the selection of passages from the work Histories by Herodotus; the other one on Plato's Symposium.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Elaboration of grammatical exercises 13 0.52 1
Elaboration of translation exercises 22 0.88 1, 3, 4, 5, 7
Presentation of the theoretical contents 10 0.4 3, 4, 5
Type: Supervised      
Solving grammar exercises 15 0.6 1, 2, 6, 5, 7
Solving translation exercises 15 0.6 1, 6, 5, 7
Type: Autonomous      
Grammar and vocabulary study 20 0.8 1, 5, 7
Morphosyntactic analysis, translation and commentary of the anthology of texts 40 1.6 1, 2
Reading in translation of the selected works 15 0.6 2, 3, 4



This subject/module does not incorporate single assessment.

The evaluation of this subject is continuous and will be carried out following the activities listed in the table below.

Given the eminently practical nature of this subject and in order to make a gradual learning of the contents, regular lecture attendance and the elaboration, submission of the exercises, translations and several activities proposed in class, will also be considered part of the evaluation.

It is an essential requirement to obtain a minimum score of 3,5/10 in each one of the evaluation activities in order to make the final average grade. The final grade needs to be at least 5/10 to pass the subject.

Students will obtain a Not assessed/Not submitted course grade unless they have submitted more than 1/3 of the assessment items. 


In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Procedure for reviewing grades awarded

On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place. 

Reassessment procedure

To participate in the reassessment, students must have previously been assessed in a set of activities whose weight is equivalent to a minimum of 2/3 of the total grade.

To participate in the reassessment, students must have obtain a minimum score of 3,5/10 in the final average grade. In the reassessment, only students who have failed any exam or reading control and have not achieved an average grade of 5/10 will be able to reassess the subject. It will only be able to recover, at most, two exams or reading controls: either the two text translation exams, or one text translation exam and one reading control, either the two reading controls.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Lecture attendance and active participation, and personal resolution of exercises 10% 0 0 1, 3, 5, 7
Reading control of Plato's Symposium 15% 0 0 1, 2, 6, 3, 4, 5, 7
Reading control of the anthology of Herodotus' History 15% 0 0 6, 3, 4, 5
Translation and grammatical and literary commentary exam of Greek texts (1st term) 30% 0 0 1, 6, 3, 5, 7, 8
Translation and grammatical and literary commentary exam of Greek texts (2nd term) 30% 0 0 1, 6, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8


Basic bibliography

Alberich, Joan; Ros, Montserrat, La transcripció dels noms propis grecs i llatins. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia catalana, 1993.

Berenguer Amenós, Jaime, Gramática griega, Barcelona: Bosch, 1969 (reeditat diverses vegades).

Bergua, Jorge, Morfología del verbo griego antiguo (con un compendio de sintaxis verbal), Zaragoza: Universidad de Zaragoza, 2023.

Crespo, Emilio; Conti, Luz; Maquieira, Helena, Sintaxis del griego clásico, Madrid: Gredos, 2003.

Easterling, Patricia E.; Knox, Bernard M. W. (eds.), The Cambridge History of Classical Literature. Volume 1: Greek Literature; Part 3: Philosophy, History, and Oratory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Fernández Galiano, Manuel, La transcripción castellana de los nombres propios griegos, Madrid: SEEC, 19692.

Fernández Galiano, Manuel, Manual práctico de morfología verbal griega, Madrid: Gredos, 19812.

Jiménez López, María Dolores (ed.), Sintaxis del griego antiguo, 2 vols., Madrid: CSIC, 2020. 

Lesky, Albin, Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid: Gredos 1969.

López Férez, Juan Antonio (ed.), Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid: Cátedra, 1988.

Shelmerdine, Cynthia W., Introduction to Greek, Newport, Mass.: Focus, 20082.

Van Emde Boas, Evert; Rijksbaron, Albert; Huitink, Luuk; de Bakker, Mathieu, The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Readings in translation

Heròdot, Històries. Llibres I-III (trad. Rubén J. Montañés), Barcelona: LaMagrana, 2002.

Heròdot, Històries. Llibres IV-VI (trad. Rubén J. Montañés), Barcelona: La Magrana, 2003.

Heròdot, Història, llibres I i II, vol. I-II (trad. Manuel Balasch), Barcelona: Fundació Bernat Metge, 2000-2001.

Heròdot, Història, llibres III a IX, vol. III-IX (trad. Joaquim Gestí), Barcelona: Fundació Bernat Metge, 2006-2012.

Heródoto, Historia. Libros I-IX, 5 vol. (trad. Carlos Schrader), Madrid: Gredos, 1977-1989.

Heródoto, Historia (trad. Manuel Balasch), Madrid: Cátedra, 1999.

Plató, Diàlegs, vol. VI: El convit (trad. Eulàlia Presas), Barcelona: Fundació Bernat Metge, 1983 [se’n pot trobar una reedició amb pròleg d’Antoni Bosch-Veciana a la col·lecció Bernat Metge Essencials III, Barcelona 2019].

Plató, El banquet. Fedre (trad. Joan Leita), Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1997.

Platón, El banquete (trad. Fernando García Romero), Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1989.

Platón, Diálogos, vol. III: Fedón, Banquete, Fedro (trad. Carlos García Gual, Marcos Martínez Hernández - el de Banquete-, Emilio Lledó), Madrid: Gredos [col. 'Biblioteca Clásica Gredos' 93], 1986. 

Web links

www.liceus.com, project “E-excellence” of University topics in Spanish: see the topics of Greek Morphology, Greek Syntax and Greek Literature (Xenofon, Plato, Lysias) in web page “Cultura Clàssica” (= Classic Culture).

Specific additional bibliography of historiography, philosophy and oratory will be added at lectures.


If required (online or hybrid teaching), Teams.