Reading Morice’s Easy Greek Stories

I reached a neat milestone last night with Morice’s (Easy) Stories in Attic Greek. I was able to plow thru an entire story, before turning to the glossary to look up words. By no means did I know all the words, not at all. But I could understand most of the little words (prepositions, those goddam pronouns, and the connective adverbs) and the “real” words (nouns and verbs and such) I either knew, or could figure out from context, or could mentally leave the word untranslated. For example, the story was clearly about a poor man, who had a gift for the king — a ῥαφανῖδα “raphanida.” It was beautiful and large. His neighbors were amazed at it, and thought it was magical. And so on. I guessed that a ῥαφανῖδα was a domestic animal, or maybe a precious stone, or even a big tree. Whatever. I could go thru the story leaving ῥαφανῖδα and LOT of other words uncertain, but still get the gist of “who was doing what to whom.” THEN, at the end, having plowed thru all the little words, figuring out the sentence structures, and already knowing some of the words, only then did I go look up all the words I didn’t know. 🙂

Oh yes … ῥαφανῖδα means “radish.”

Morice’s Stories in Attic Greek really is a good book. It has 260 short stories, very short — about one hundred words each, that an intermediate Greek student can struggle through. “Intermediate” is a somewhat flexible term. At this point I am more of an “advanced beginner.” But reading these little stories is a valuable, and enjoyable, adjunct to Mastronarde’s grammar text, Introduction to Attic Greek, although I might have jumped the gun a little. Given the frequent use of participles in any Greek writing (including Morice’s 19th Century ‘retro’ pedagogical efforts), it might be a good idea to get through “Uses of the Participle” (Unit 28) in Mastronarde, before attempting to read even “easy” Greek stories.