You are here

GREEK 461 A: Early Greek Literature

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
* *
Olga Levaniouk
Olga Levaniouk

Syllabus Description:


Olga Levaniouk          

Denny M262B,  (206) 543-2266

This course will introduce the students to the Odyssey in the original.  We’ll read and discuss our favorite parts of the poem, some by instructor's choice, some by the students', aiming for the best poetic, mythological, and cultural adventure we can have in ten short weeks. As we read, we'll pursue two practical goals. The first one is to continue— or begin—introducing students to the grammar and vocabulary of Homeric language. We will look at the dialectal, traditional, and historical aspects of Homeric language and properties of Homeric poetry as spoken word. The second goal is to get a taste of the Odyssey as a work of poetry in general and oral traditional poetry in particular. Apart from translation, the work for the course will involve learning to enjoy the Odyssey in a new way, some hard thinking, and a very modest amount of secondary reading. Evaluation will include two quizzes, participation in a discussion board, a brief class presentation, and a short essay, which may take the form of a commentary on a passage.


W.B. Stanford, The Odyssey of Homer, 2 vols. 1959, second edition 1990.

Cunliffe, R. A Lexicon of the Homeric Dialect. Norman 2012.


Recommended Books:

Allen, T., ed. Homeri Opera, vols. 3 and 4. Oxford Classical Texts.

Chantraine, P. Grammaire Homérique. Paris 1958.

Heubeck, A. et al. A Commentary on Homer's Odyssey, 3 vols. Oxford 1992.

Lord. A. The Singer of Tales. Cambridge, Mass. 1960/2000.



First passage analysis: 20% (due Oct. 30)

Second passage analysis: 20% (due Nov. 20)

Note: two weeks in advance of the due date you will be given a passage of 10-15 lines for which you will have to do the following:

  1. translate
  2. scan metrically
  3. identify each word grammatically – what the form is and what it is doing in the sentence
  4. point out any features that are Homeric (in the sense that they are different from the Attic dialect)
  5. comment on any interesting features of grammar, meter, sound, or content.

These assignments are open book and you are free to use any sources of information you may find except for copying the assignment from a peer.  For the purposes of these assignments please work individually, not in groups.


Essay, 5-8 pages:  25% (due Dec. 11)


Presentation (on the subject of your essay, during the eleventh week of class): 10%

Participation: 25%

To get full credit for your participation grade you are expected to take part in the ”Ask each other” discussion in the following way: for every week of class please ask at least two questions of your peers and answer at least one of theirs.


Note: the other discussion threads are there for you to ask questions of the instructor and to exchange opinions and do not contribute to your grade, but only to your enjoyment of the course.





Questions? Please contact Olga Levaniouk at


Policies and useful links:

Student conduct:

The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals. Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution. More information can be found online at

Safe Campus: Call SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 anytime – no matter where you work or study – to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others.

Disability Resources

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Religious accommodations

“Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy ( Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (”

Learning Support:

Catalog Description: 
Readings and discussion of selected authors of the early Greek period.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
June 28, 2020 - 9:11pm