20130816-Mair-headshot-colour-squareWelcome to my blog which links to all the ‘magic’ things I’ve made and found whilst studying and teaching Classical Latin, Ancient Greek and Ancient History.  Take a look at each of the different green tabs along the top of this page (or at the links on the Blogroll).   I hope this site will be useful to you and you will enjoy using these resources as much as I have.

A330 Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds

Well I have a new Open University course looming – A330 Myth in the Greek and Roman Worlds.  It starts October 2010 and I am looking foward to it with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.  I know there will be some very good company, but the course itself is a bit of an unknown quantity – this is the first time it will run – and some of the content is going to be challenging for me to say the least.  I am not sure if I am more worried about philosophy or Buffy the Vampire Slayer … both are apparently going to feature.  So … I am going to start gathering material early and my Mythology resources page will grow as I progress through the course.  Hopefully all will become clear, or at least clearer :-).  Meanwhile, if you have any resources you think would be useful, do comment below or get in touch and I will add them here.

Live Online Ancient Greek Class on eduFire

I have just arranged my first ever live online Ancient Greek class on the eduFire online learning site.  I can also provide individual sessions.  Come and have a look :-)

To register as an eduFire student (its free :-)) click here.

To get a free conducted tour round all the technology to make sure it works for you, take a Student Orientation session by clicking here.

To sign up for my classes (max 12 students – $7 each – you can use English payment methods too) click here.  The times will not be accurate till you register and chose your own timezone – till then it will assume you are in America :-O

To book an individual session any time you like click here.

Look forward to seeing you :-)

More help starting Ancient Greek (or Latin)

Well learning Ancient Greek (or Latin) on your own from a book is not ideal, so here are some more sociable methods:

  1. Go to a Summer School.
    The Joint Association of Classical Teachers (JACT) keeps a list of Summer Schools here.  I have been to the one in Durham twice and it is so wonderful I am going again this month! Excellent tuition! Excellent food! And really good fun. They cater for all ages from about sixth form upwards and there is a really nice mix of generations.  Here are some pictures of my experiences:
    Durham 2009
    Durham 2008
    Durham 2007
  2. Try a Madingley Weekend.
    These are held four times a year with classes at various levels. If you are a complete beginner you have to hit the cycle at the right time to get into the startup class but after that you can usually find a class at approximately the right level. Many people attend all the classes because they are addictive.  Look what is coming up here for Ancient Greek or here for Latin.
    I have some jolly pictures of past weekends too.
    May 2009
    Feb 2009
    May 2008
    November 2007
    September 2007
    Gosh I didn’t realise I had been to that many! Anyway you see how addictive it it!
  3. Find a private tutor.
    JACT keep a list of private tutors and will try to find one in your area if you contact them here or you could try finding an online teacher at eduFire, an online teaching site.  I teach there and I would be happy to help you starting out with Ancient Greek or doing Latin up to A level.  Click for my profile.
  4. Try distance learning.
    The Open University is planning a new 60 point level 2 course in Ancient Greek Language and Literature to replace its two old 30 pointers (A296 and A396).  The first presentation will be in October 2009.  You can get more details and sign up here, or try Lampeter University who have a variety of on-site and distance learning courses from beginner to MA level.
  5. Go to University!
    Yes really! Universities are often keen to accept enthusiastic students of all ages, even without conventional qualifications, and many cater for students with no previous knowledge of ancient languages.  Don’t be afraid to talk to them about your plans.  You can find details of courses via UCAS.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you enjoy it.  If you have more recommendations, please do share them in a comment :-)

Starting Out with Ancient Greek

Commemorative Coin Greece 2004

Commemorative Coin Greece 2004

There is no doubt about it, Ancient Greek is lovely and wacky! Sometimes it makes me laugh out loud with its convolutions that seem to circle round meaning rather than locking it down firmly as Latin does. It seems to me to be a language for people who want to consider things from every angle, forever striving for a balanced view.

There is also no doubt that it is much easier to make a start on Ancient Greek if you already know some Latin, or some other inflected language (where part of the word tells you what it is referring to and another part tells you more about who or when or how – rather like lego components snapping together to make something concrete). However, if you know some Ancient Greek, you will find it much easier to make a start at Latin too … we had better start somewhere though and so to start Ancient Greek, you could do some of the following:

Read this book:

Greek to GCSE Part 1 (you could check if it is cheaper here.)

This is an absolutely excellent book and in my opinion it is a pleasure to follow – an answer key is available from the author, John Taylor, via the publisher.  It is written for schools but I, as an adult learner, found it by far the most clear introduction to Greek I have seen. There are two further volumes which follow on – available here.

The popular alternative is to use the Reading Greek set of books:

Reading Greek Text and Vocabulary

Reading Greek Grammar and Exercises

Reading Greek Study Guide

with an optional

Speaking Greek CD

or find them all here.

These books are obviously much more expensive than Part 1 of Greek to GCSE but they will take you much further – well up to A level standard.  The reason I cannot recommend them as highly is that I found the rapid introduction of new and glossed vocabulary very difficult to bear.  However, the books are very popular indeed and you may find them in use when you attend summer schools or evening classes.

One more reasonably good alternative is this:

Learn Ancient Greek

The early chapters are pleasant and light, though later on Peter Jones falls into his usual trick of throwing in masses of new and glossed vocabulary.


Take your pick.  Any other suggestions?  I have heard good things of the Athenaze series, but haven’t tried it myself.

Do let me know how you get on with any of these too, particularly if you are really new to Ancient Languages ….

Reading Recommendations

Well this is rather a funny place to start but I am going to lead you off to look at some of my reading recommendations. These links take you to books I have found useful or books friends have recommended. It is worth browsing round the different menus on the right of the various sites to see if there are particular topics that interest you.

For general interest in Classical Studies, try here:
UK Classics site

And a specialist area for Plato’s Symposium – just in case you are studying the last A396 Open University Course :)
Plato’s Symposium

If you are in America, this site might be more convenient:
USA Favourites site.

Finally, wherever you are, the Book Depository usually gives reasonable prices and it is worth checking where you will get them cheapest.

The BookDepository

Visit my Online Living Blog

Visit my Online Living Blog

All of these links are attached to my affiliate codes, so if you use the links when you want to buy something, I will get commission.  That helps me keep my various sites (and my Classical Studies habit) going!

If you are interested in the other online exploits which I use to try to keep the wolf from the door, have a look at my Online Living Blog.


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