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Recently, I’ve been reading some Homeric Greek, and thought it would be beneficial to collect some resources I’ve found useful or interesting in the process. Similar to my Ancient Greek Textbooks Roundup post, this is just a post for gathering everything together in one place for convenient reference.
Grammars/Introductions for Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek: A Book For Beginners
The original 1920 version of this book is freely-available in the public domain, but there have been two later revisions of it—one by John Wright in 1985, and a further revision by Paula Debnar which is curently in print from the University of Oklahoma Press. This textbook is designed for students with no background in Greek, leading them through the grammar of Homeric Greek in particular, culminating in readings of Iliad 1.1-611. There’s also an excellent web site with a vast amount of supplementary material (videos, exercises, etc.) for the book available here: https://commons.mtholyoke.edu/hrgs/
Similar to Pharr, this book is designed for students with no background in Greek, guiding them through grammar for Homeric Greek, and leading them through a reading of Odyssey 5. See also this review in BMCR.
A Reading Course in Homeric Greek
Raymond V. Schoder, Vincent C. Horrigan, and Leslie Collins Edwards
- A Reading Course in Homeric Greek: Book 1 (Review in BMCR)
- A Reading Course in Homeric Greek: Book 2
- Transition to Attic Greek: A Supplement to “A Reading Course in Homeric Greek”
This book is also designed for students with no background in Greek. Book 1 focuses on Odyssey 9 (alongside various other selections), while Book 2 goes through Odyssey 6 & 12.
John H. O’Neil and Timothy F. Winters
Unlike the other books in this category, this book is designed for introducing Homeric Greek to students who already have some background in Attic Greek. Specific passages covered are all selections from the Iliad: 1.1-21, 1.121-39, 1.148-60, 1.172-87, 3.328-39, 5.297-352, 6.421-39, 16.306-57, 16.843-61, 18.97-116, 22.306-30. See also this review in BMCR.
Bristol Classical Press
M.M. Wilcock, W.B. Stanford
These combine a Greek edition with corresponding English commentary at the back of each volume:
Harvard Loeb Classical Library
A.T. Murray and William F. Wyatt/George E. Dimock
As with all Loebs, these present the Greek text with a facing English translation. Murray’s original edition has fallen into the public domain, but the editions currently in print have been revised by later editors:
- Iliad 1-12 (public domain edition)
- Iliad 13-24 (public domain edition)
- Odyssey 1-12 (public domain edition)
- Odyssey 13-24 (public domain edition)
Oxford Classical Texts
David B. Munro and Thomas W. Allen, eds.
Martin L. West, ed.
The best introduction to West’s edition (and an excellent overview of the issues involved generally) may be the series of reviews and exchanges surrounding it in BMCR. Start with Gregory Nagy’s review of the first volume and Jean-Fabrice Nardelli’s of the second volume, and West’s response. If you’re still interested in more, there’s an exchange over West’s Studies in the Text and Transmission of the Iliad (review, response), as well as a review of West’s (posthumous) Odyssey edition.
Walter Leaf, ed.
A significant portion of my reading is done in the excellent Attikos app from the University of Chicago. You can tap on any word for a quick parse and definition, or open a full definition in the corresponding Logeion dictionary app. I’ll often split-screen this on my iPad with a PDF open in the Documents app. You can also read texts online in any web browser with Perseus or Perseus under PhiloLogic.
Perhaps an outlier when people think of “Homeric Greek,” but Bloomsbury have recently published an edition (with text, translation, and commentary) of The Homeric Battle of Frogs and Mice, edited by Joel P. Christensen and Erik Robinson. The relative shortness, ease, and weirdness of the text can make it an excellent candidate for transitioning to reading Homeric Greek.
Richard John Cunliffe
This edition expands Cunliffe’s Lexicon with his Homeric Proper and Place Names. Originally published in 1924, the Lexicon should definitively be in the public domain in the U.S. in 2020.
Georg Autenrieth, translated by Robert P. Keep
Originally published in German by Autenrieth, the English translation of this dictionary was published in 1889 and is freely available in the public domain. It’s also available as a digitized dictionary within Perseus and Logeion.
Readers, Commentaries, & Scholia
The so-called “D” Scholia come from an ancient schoolbook tradition, and largely consist of glosses on Homer. These are not available in English translation, but can be very valuable for reading while staying “in language,” as often these scholia will give an expanded Greek explanation for a confusing bit of Homeric Greek. Two excellent editions of these scholia are freely available as PDFs:
Geoffrey Steadman generously publishes his readers/commentaries for various ancient works as free PDFs and inexpensive print-on-demand paperbacks:
Bristol Classical Press
In addition to the fuller editions/commentaries listed above, Bristol also publishes some volumes with individual books of Homer containing Greek text with facing vocabulary/commentary:
Cambridge also publishes a six-volume comprehensive commentary on the Iliad under the general editorial guidance of G.S. Kirk:
- Volume 1, Iliad 1-4
- Volume 2, Iliad 5-8
- Volume 3, Iliad 9-12
- Volume 4, Iliad 13-16
- Volume 5, Iliad 17-20
- Volume 6, Iliad 21-24
The Basel Commentary
Although there are no end of available translations of Homer, the English translation which is likely to be most useful for the purpose of aiding a reading of the Greek is that of Richmond Lattimore:
These also have the advantage of having standalone commentaries available based off of them:
- A Companion to The Iliad: Based on the Translation by Richmond Lattimore by M.M. Willcock (same editor/commentator as the Bristol Classical Press edition of the Iliad)
- Homer’s Odyssey: A Commentary based on the English Translation of Richmond Lattimore by Peter Jones
Perhaps an odd category, but over the years various people have made Attic/Koine Greek paraphrases of Homer. Similar to the D Scholia, these can help with reading Homer while staying “in language.”
- Iliad paraphrase available as an appendix to Bekker’s Scholia in Homeri Iliadem