Ancient Greek Alive

Third Edition

By Paula Saffire, Catherine Freis

Ancient Greek Alive

304 pp., 8.5 x 11, 23 illus

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4800-5
    Published: May 1999
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4382-3
    Published: December 2017

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This innovative textbook offers students a dynamic introduction to classical Greek. It inspires a constructive sense of enthusiasm in the classroom while helping students master grammatical principles and reading skills.

Among the imaginative features of the book is a two-week introduction to spoken Greek, which immerses students in the sound and basic vocabulary of the language so that they are comfortable as they learn to read and write. (Conversational scripts are provided.) For its reading passages, Ancient Greek Alive uses engaging and even humorous stories drawn from folklore around the world and rendered freshly into classical Greek.

The book's grammatical explanations are unusually clear. Helpful, one-step-at-a-time exercises are incorporated into the lessons. Entire chapters are devoted to vocabulary review to underline its importance and provide rest stops. There are special sections on aspects of Greek culture. Students test their reading skills along the way on intriguing passages in original Greek texts, which range from Heraclitus and the New Testament to Diogenes and Greek gravestones.

About the Authors

Paula Saffire is associate professor of classics at Butler University in Indianapolis.
For more information about Paula Saffire, visit the Author Page.

Catherine Freis is professor and chair of the department of classical studies at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi.
For more information about Catherine Freis, visit the Author Page.


"Faculty in colleges and secondary schools considering a new textbook for beginning Greek are well advised to look at Saffire and Freis. In a way they give the best of both worlds, being traditional but with some innovations and some attention to oral work. The story-telling and reading emphasis are excellent and attractive. Saffire and Freis's enthusiasm for Greek and joy in teaching it bubble through each page."--Scholia Reviews

"This textbook is nicely laid out for classroom study. . . . Appropriate for either high school or college use."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"Ancient Greek Alive is an innovative approach to learning Greek involving extensive reading and even some oral exercises. At the same time, the content is as rigorous and linguistically sophisticated as any traditionalist could ask for. This book should help teachers reconsider their teaching strategy and contribute to the health of our discipline."--David Kovacs, University of Virginia

"The distinctive feature of this text is that it uses as readings not texts which come from classical Greek authors but instead Saffire's own translations of folktales from the Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, Russian, and Chinese traditions. A Greek "Thesauros" at the end offers the student coordinated readings from Greek literature itself, and any student who has worked through the two sets will be on the way to success in the language."--Timothy Long, Indiana University

"An introductory Greek text that is more than a text. It is an excitement, an enticement to learning. . . . I admire the clarity of the morphological presentation, which manages to slip in a little linguistics in a painless manner, and the force and simplicity of the syntactical explanations. . . . The readings offered are full of humor and intelligence. This will surely bring more students to enjoy the pleasures of Greek."--Joel Farber, Franklin and Marshall College

"Ancient Greek Alive is a good venture for any young-at-heart teacher who is disenchanted with traditional texts which leave students cold. [The book] has wonderful, witty stories of various origins, including the Far East, yet all in good classical Greek. These stories can be read swiftly by students of even average ability."--Eliot Youngman, Mercer University