Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language

Rated 4 out of 5 by from The course guide is inadequate. It does not provide the vocabulary necessary to complete the assignments. An explanation of the answers would be helpful.
Date published: 2020-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course, for sure! I love this course. I bought it just as a refresher, since I already have a Classics degree from a major university in 1973. I thought it wouldn't hurt to go back over the basics and just accustom myself to the script and to normal sources. Well, major surprise! Classics has come a long way since the days when it was memorize or get out. This course is so logical, so well laid out, and so thoroughly explained that it's hard to imagine any circumstance where it wouldn't be great course. Whether you are beginning your journey with Greek or, like me, well on the way this course will match your goal. Whether you go through it fast or slow I think you will find it amazing. I can't think of better introduction to Greek, and I say that as a Classics graduate who started in high school and has been to both Italy and Greece several times.
Date published: 2020-06-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from If You Grew Up Hearing Greek . . . better skip this. I couldn't understand Mueller at all; listening to him speak the language was torture. I didn't hang around long enough to find out if he got the theory correct. My grandmother nearly rose from the dead to yank me away from the TV.
Date published: 2020-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Professor Mueller is an outstanding teacher. This course is a better way than I expected for learning the basics of ancient Greek. Organization of the course and teaching are excellent.
Date published: 2019-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review it? Already? This is a 36 lesson course that requires the student to actually do homework. I've only had it a week. How the heck am I supposed to review it when I'm barely into it?! No pressure! Oh, he has a dry sense of humor and I am enjoying it. The mid-west accent is a bit of a shock. It's well-organized because there's "more than one way" to watch a video with a cat in the way. I would recommend it to a friend, but they all have glazed eyes every time I mention it. I took this to refresh my knowledge - from 30 years ago, so I'm calling me novice again. You want photos? What? Of me on the couch trying to watch the video on a Kindle over my cat's head?
Date published: 2019-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent and clear introduction to Ancient Greek It has been 45 years since I took a few semesters of Ancient Greek in college and I am really enjoying this re-introduction. Professor Mueller is articulate and witty, and presents grammar with perfect clarity. I like that he includes sentences/passages to read aloud and translate, so one can immediately practice what has been presented. I really hope that The Great Courses will offer additional Greek courses by this professor. It would be wonderful to delve into the Lyric poets, Plato, the dramatists...
Date published: 2019-09-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from the sounding of ancient Greek to an old modern Greek is disconcerting
Date published: 2019-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Material and an Engaging Professor I'm now about 1/2 way through the course and am very impressed both with the content and, most of all, with Professor Mueller. He succeeds in making the natural difficulties of mastering a new language -- with a new alphabet -- both interesting and engaging. I took this course mostly to get some Koine Greek for reading the New Testament -- which is well covered -- and also because I am interested in Classical studies, although I do not really intend to try to read Homer (or, worse, Plato and Aristotle ;-) in the original without a crib sheet at minimum. But Professor Mueller's humor, clear enthusiasm for his subject and his care to help the remote student understand -- not just mechanically repeat -- the texts is both welcome and encouraging. If you're interested in this at all, I'd highly recommend this course. Learning a new language isn't easy, and takes real work, but Professor Mueller is a great guide and companion on the journey.
Date published: 2019-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Restoration of Things Not Competely Lost Three years of Classical and Koine Greek were inside my brain somewhere. Sixty years later Prof. Mueller sweeps away the clutter over the treasure I thought was lost. And for the first time, I truly comprehend Greek accentuation. Each lesson causes another tumbler to fall into place; the doors have opened to a world I thought lost.
Date published: 2019-06-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's a lot of fun! I purchased both Greek and Hebrew as a review. I haven't started the Hebrew yet but I enjoy the professor of Greek very much. His dry wit and humor makes the class a joy!
Date published: 2019-04-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from First lesson on DVD is incorrect I bought this course to learn some elementary Biblical Greek, but the first lesson is supposed to be the Greek alphabet but is not (a later lesson shows instead). I requested and received a replacement with no trouble, but the replacement has the same problem. The Teaching Company needs to learn more quality control and customer service.
Date published: 2019-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Prof Mueller is brilliant. Fantastic witty sense of humour makes every lecture both informative and entertaining. If my Greek university prof was like him I would not have dropped the course. He clearly is an expert in his field and I also highly recommend his Latin 101 course as well. Both courses are a stepping stone to the path of reading fluency in these critical eternal languages.
Date published: 2018-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb course! I am working through Greek 101 for the second time as I delve into this beautiful yet difficult language. My goal to read out loud and understand the Iliad, a goal which I am nearing. Prof. Mueller has a thoroughly delightful and informative way of leading the learner into the mysteries of ancient Greek. The pace is steady and doable although the infinitives and participles take a bit of reviewing. For me I love ancient Greek and I applaud the Professor for making this journey so much fun.
Date published: 2018-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I want Greek 201- more Homer, please! This is a great introduction to Ancient Greek by a very personable professor. His dry humor while introducing the inevitable grammar and grammar drills is excellent, and he quickly reviews English terms in case the student has not thought about grammar since grammar school. He focuses on Homeric Greek, then shows similar examples in New Testament Greek. My interest is in Homeric or Attic Greek which has far fewer internet video resources than New Testament Greek. I don't know how many TGC would have to sell to make a follow up feasible, but I would be thrilled to continue. I have looked through the same professor's Latin class and will probably closely watch that one next.
Date published: 2018-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this course! I haven't gotten far into the course, but I am very pleased with the instructor, the course content, and the guidebook. Well written and well executed.
Date published: 2018-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! A very clear (and entertaining!) class in the Homeric (Epic) dialect of Ancient Greek. Dr. Mueller is an excellent teacher. The course uses a book which is essentially the same as Pharr's "Homeric Greek: A Book for Beginners". But the book that comes with the course has an Answer Key, which Pharr's does not. Pharr's revised edition (Wright) includes a few things not in the course (or in the same order) as the "Greek 101" book (i.e., athematic aorists are mercifully avoided early on). The student will find himself reading the first five lines of the "Iliad" by Lesson 13, a wonderful motivator! Choosing Homeric Greek as the entry point into Ancient Greek (rather than Attic or Koine) is good common sense and has literature that is highly interesting as its goal. Dr. Mueller also includes examples of Koine Greek in his lessons, which is very good, too. The cost of the course is very reasonable, and the fact that it is possible to re-watch the lessons as often as necessary makes it perfect for self-study. Dr. Mueller includes humor in his lessons as well. The course and presentation are well thought-out, giving a polished feel without distracting digressions. Very highly recommended!
Date published: 2018-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent refresher or introduction to this immort I studied Classical Greek for two years, but that was 50 years ago. The professor is great at introducing and drilling on grammar and vocabulary. His approach of starting with Homeric rather than Attic Greek is unconventional but interesting as it allows one to understand how the language developed over time, and to see the underlying rules. The accompanying study book is great too.
Date published: 2018-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Professor! I just got this DVD, so I have not completed it yet, but I sat down to listen to just one lecture and ended up watching three! Professor Mueller is very engaging and he said something that I thought was profound. I bought this to learn to READ ancient Greek, not speak it. He said that speaking a language will help me comprehend the written word and I should know what the ancients sounded like reading their own manuscripts. I love it.
Date published: 2018-07-17
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don't waste your time I bought this a month or two ago. The speaker spends the first 7+ minutes talking about how great he is and how much you will learn, but not actually saying anything. I turned off the first lesson after 15 minutes of mindless babble, and I haven't looked at it since. P.S. I've received non-stop spam from Great Courses ever since, even though I requested not to be contacted with offers.
Date published: 2018-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Title summarizes well the subject matter I purchased this DVD Greek 101 set to review the biblical Greek I learned in college so many years ago. This set is helping me to remember what I learned so that I can use it better in the courses I teach.
Date published: 2018-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great graphics and illustrations I received the course about a month ago. Was delighted to be able to begin to grasp the complexity of the Greek language with such ease.The Professor makes the lesson presentation a very enjoyable experience with no hang ups and highlighting the to learn a foreign language is not to seek perfection but to be able to absorb,read and communicate.Greate experience so far. As a former translator it has always been my goal to be able to understand the essence of what is being communicated which often suffers when translations are employed to render a form of communication in another language. I seek not perfection only understading
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent!! The pedagogy of the instructor is spectacular. He is clear. He is entertaining. He is effective in teaching style. By the time the 30 minute session is over, I've already learned the material with him, and I need only to review it on my own twice prior to moving on to the next lesson. I love it!
Date published: 2018-05-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Greek 101 The instructor is extremely competent, patient, and knowledgeable. However the subject is too complicated for me. The amount of rules requiring memorization is overwhelming.
Date published: 2018-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greek as a treat The course brought to mind Churchill's observation that he would let the best students learn "Latin as an honor, and Greek as a treat." I'm only on Lesson 8-- but really learning a lot. It's worth noting that this is not a course that you can just listen to and appreciate for the professor's story-telling ability-- it requires a significant amount of engagement (writing out the translations, studying, etc.). If you're interested in Ancient Greek, and willing to put in some study time, this course is absolutely wonderful-- and the professor is very good, and quite entertaining.
Date published: 2018-03-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellant teacher. I studied Koine Greek about 40 years ago and have become rather rusty since then. This course is very helpful to me because it teaches the Classical form which later evolved into the Koine used in the New Testament which helped me to understand how and why those changes occurred. What I especially appreciate is that I can take my time to review each lesson as many times as I need until I am confident enough to proceed.
Date published: 2018-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great narration and presentation I bought this a while back in 2017 and banked it until I had time. I like the pace and the accompanying manual is a great tool. Years ago I took Greek from my Latin teacher, over the summer, with other interested students. Latin is something I have several years of, but many decades ago... Greek is a musical, fluid language, unlike Latin, and that enchanted me. So I am delighted to revisit this ancient tongue.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not Quite What I Expected I had hoped to be able to use this with my first year Greek class, but it moves too quickly. Haven't tried it yet as a review.
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impressive lectures to learn Greek The professor is pretty friendly and distinguished, degree PhD is also an outstanding point to those who wanna learn this immortal tongue, and I prefer DVD format, it has subtitles, and maybe higher definition as well.
Date published: 2017-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tried to load the discs, but they arrived blank. You were, however, immediately responsive and are sending me replacement discs. Luckily, I also have the live streaming capability so I was able to view my first lecture. The professor is very lively and explains everything very well. Looking forward to completing this challenging course.
Date published: 2017-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Instructor I haven't had a chance to start the Greek series yet because I'm still doing the Latin series, which is wonderful. Having taken Latin in college over 30 years ago, I have enjoyed the review of endings. Dr. Mueller has structured the course in a masterful way, starting with the hardest declensions and conjugations first, as they are the most difficult to remember. Dr. Mueller's presentation is humorous, understated, and delightful. Puts my college Latin teachers to shame.
Date published: 2017-09-20
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Greek 101: Learning an Ancient Language
Course Trailer
The Greek Alphabet & Pronunciation
1: The Greek Alphabet & Pronunciation

Learn the 24 letters of the Greek alphabet using the restored classical pronunciation, recognizing that there was some variation in pronunciation in the ancient world. Practice the pairings of vowels called diphthongs, and sound out a selection of words that you will soon be reading in sentences.

34 min
First-Declension Nouns
2: First-Declension Nouns

Discover that Greek nouns have gender and their endings supply a host of information, such as whether the case is nominative, genitive, dative, or accusative—a function usually performed by word order or prepositions in English. Begin with the eight noun endings of the primarily feminine first declension.

31 min
Basic Rules of Greek Accentuation
3: Basic Rules of Greek Accentuation

Invented over two thousand years ago by Aristophanes of Byzantium, head of the Library of Alexandria, accents are important clues to the pronunciation of Greek words, and they often provide other crucial information. Learn the rules for the three types of accents: acute, grave, and circumflex.

32 min
Additional Patterns of the First Declension
4: Additional Patterns of the First Declension

Look at two variations in the pattern of the first declension—one used in Homeric Greek and the other in Koine, the Greek of the New Testament. Despite being separated by almost a thousand years, the two dialects have remarkable continuity.

31 min
Verbs in the Present Tense
5: Verbs in the Present Tense

Greek verbs can be described in terms of person, number, tense, voice, and mood. In this lesson, focus on verbs that are present active indicative. Learn that voice, person, and number are indicated by endings on the verb base. For the present tense, these are called primary endings.

30 min
Adjective Forms & Second-Declension Nouns
6: Adjective Forms & Second-Declension Nouns

So far, you have studied first-declension nouns, which are mainly feminine. Now expand your range into masculine and neuter nouns, many of which use second-declension endings. Practice these endings together with their adjectival forms in words that you will encounter in Homer.

30 min
Building Basic Translation Skills
7: Building Basic Translation Skills

Review what you have learned up until now. Then try your hand at translating from English to Greek—first into Homeric Greek and then into Koine, noticing the key differences between the two dialects. Close by reading the opening passage of the Gospel of John in its unadapted original Koine.

30 min
First- & Second-Declension Pronouns
8: First- & Second-Declension Pronouns

Delve deeper into the first and second declensions, discovering that the endings for demonstrative adjectives and pronouns differ in only minor ways from those for nouns. Practice using different types of pronouns, and learn that they underwent a fascinating evolution from Homeric Greek to Koine.

31 min
Verbs in the Imperfect Tense
9: Verbs in the Imperfect Tense

Greek has several ways of talking about the past. Focus on the imperfect tense, which describes an action that was ongoing in the past—for example, “The Achaeans were dishonoring the gods.” The imperfect is built by adding a vowel prefix, called an augment, to the verb base, plus secondary endings.

31 min
Verbs in the Future & Aorist Tenses
10: Verbs in the Future & Aorist Tenses

Learn two new tenses: the future and aorist. In the process, encounter the concept of principal parts, which are indispensable for recognizing different tenses. Concentrate on the first three principal parts for regular verbs (present and imperfect, future, and aorist). Also inspect some irregular verbs.

31 min
First-Declension Masculine Nouns
11: First-Declension Masculine Nouns

Although first declension nouns are generally feminine, some masculine nouns also fall into this class. Learn how to recognize them (as well as the declensions of all nouns) from the nominative and genitive forms supplied in Greek dictionaries. Then investigate some finer points of compound verbs.

29 min
The Root Aorist
12: The Root Aorist

The aorist is a past tense that makes no reference to the duration or completion of an action, and focuses instead on the simple act. In Lesson 10, you learned the morphology of the first aorist. Now study the second aorist and root aorist. Analyze examples of all three aorist tenses in the New Testament and Homer.

29 min
Third-Declension Nouns
13: Third-Declension Nouns

Encounter the third and final declension, focusing, as usual, on the genitive, which is the key to identifying the declension. This is especially important with the third declension, since the noun base is not obvious from the nominative form. Then make your final preparations to read Homer's Iliad in unadapted Greek.

32 min
Understanding Dactylic Hexameter
14: Understanding Dactylic Hexameter

Read the first five lines of Homer’s Iliad, focusing on vocabulary and grammar. Then investigate the quality that makes Homer a great poet: his use of sound and meter. Homer composed in dactylic hexameter, which was used throughout antiquity. Learn the rules that govern this epic meter.

29 min
Practicing Dactylic Hexameter
15: Practicing Dactylic Hexameter

Practice reciting the first five lines of the Iliad, hearing how the meter enhances the meaning of the text. Then study third declension neuter endings, and read three verses of unadapted New Testament Greek, covering the conversation between the angel Gabriel and Mary in Luke 1:32-34.

32 min
The Middle/Passive Voice: Present & Future
16: The Middle/Passive Voice: Present & Future

Go deeper into Homer with lines 6-10 of the Iliad. Then discover the middle and passive voices. The passive operates as in English, with the subject receiving the action of the verb. However, English doesn’t have a middle voice, which in Greek signals that the subject is acting in its own interest.

31 min
Aorist & Imperfect Middle/Passive
17: Aorist & Imperfect Middle/Passive

In the previous lesson, you learned the primary middle/passive endings, which are used for the present and future tenses. Now compare these to the secondary middle/passive endings, which are used for past tenses. Then read lines 11-16 of the Iliad, learning new rules for scanning dactylic hexameter.

32 min
Perfect & Pluperfect Active
18: Perfect & Pluperfect Active

Learn the fourth principal part, which governs the formation of the perfect and pluperfect tenses. Discover the great utility of these past tenses for talking about completed action. Study an example of the perfect in John 3:13, and read lines 17-21 of the Iliad.

30 min
Forming and Using Infinitives
19: Forming and Using Infinitives

Study the fifth principal part, which forms the basis of the perfect and pluperfect middle/passive, and the sixth and final principal part, which forms the basis of the aorist passive. Then learn how to construct the infinitive in different tenses, looking at examples in Homer and the New Testament.

30 min
Active Participles
20: Active Participles

Participles are verbal adjectives. Like verbs, they have tense and voice. Like adjectives, they agree in case, number, and gender with the nouns they modify. Learn to form participles in different tenses of the active voice. Study examples in the Gospel of Matthew and in your reading of lines 22-27 of the Iliad.

31 min
Middle/Passive Participles
21: Middle/Passive Participles

Move on to middle/passive participles. Greek participles pack a lot of meaning into a single word that may require an entire clause to translate into English. Look at examples from two different verses in Matthew as well as your Homeric reading for this lesson: lines 28-32 of the Iliad.

31 min
The Perfect System in the Middle/Passive
22: The Perfect System in the Middle/Passive

Learn to form the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect middle/passive tenses on the basis of the fifth principal part. Study examples in Matthew and Luke. Then read lines 33-37 of the Iliad, which includes a stirring scene “along the shore of the much-roaring sea.”

32 min
The Subjunctive Mood
23: The Subjunctive Mood

Turn from the indicative mood to the subjunctive mood, which denotes situations that are doubtful, wishful, purposeful, or fearful. Subjunctives are easily recognized by their long vowel that precedes (or constitutes) the verb ending. Explore several examples, including one from Luke's Nativity narrative, and read line 38 of the Iliad.

32 min
The Imperative Mood, Active
24: The Imperative Mood, Active

Encounter the imperative mood—the verb construction used for commands. Study the imperative endings in the present and aorist tenses. Find three aorist commands in Luke 22:36, and even more as you continue your reading of the Iliad with lines 39-47.

30 min
The Imperative Mood, Middle/Passive
25: The Imperative Mood, Middle/Passive

Learn to form imperatives in the middle/passive, looking at examples in Matthew 3:2 and John 14:1. Note that in Homeric Greek the imperative and other verb endings tend to be uncontracted. Then read the Iliad lines 48-52, experiencing the devastation wrought by Apollo’s silver bow.

32 min
The Optative Mood
26: The Optative Mood

The last of the moods is the optative, which expresses a wish—as in line 42 of the Iliad, where the priest Chryses implores Apollo, “May the Danaans requite my tears….” Find more examples of this easily recognized form in the New Testament. Then continue your reading of the Iliad with lines 53-58.

32 min
The Aorist Passive
27: The Aorist Passive

Delve deeper into the aorist passive, which was introduced in Lesson 19. This tense may sound exotic, but it’s a workhorse in Greek sentences. For example, study the string of aorist passive commands in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew. Then work your way through lines 59-63 of the Iliad.

32 min
Third-Declension Adjectives
28: Third-Declension Adjectives

In the next four lessons, return to the declension of adjectives and pronouns to explore variations on patterns you have already practiced. In this lesson, focus on third-declension adjectives. Close by reading lines 64-69 of the Iliad. Also learn about a handy class of words called particles.

32 min
Demonstrative Adjectives & Pronouns
29: Demonstrative Adjectives & Pronouns

Investigate the use of Greek demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, which correspond to English words such as this, that, these, and those. Chart a rich sampling of demonstratives, including a reflexive pronoun, in Luke 23:28-29. Then continue with the heightening tension in lines 70-75 of the Iliad.

30 min
Personal & Possessive Pronouns
30: Personal & Possessive Pronouns

Plumb the depths of Greek personal and possessive pronouns. Begin with the historically later forms of the New Testament, revisiting the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew. Then focus on the pronouns in your next extract from the Iliad, lines 76-80. Along the way, discover a classic figure of speech called chiasmus.

30 min
Relative, Interrogative & Indefinite Pronouns
31: Relative, Interrogative & Indefinite Pronouns

Conclude your exploration of Greek pronouns with interrogative, indefinite, and relative pronouns. These are words such as who, which, and what; and, for indefinite pronouns, someone, something, and similar unspecific descriptors. Look at examples in the New Testament and in the Iliad 81-85.

31 min
Regular -μι Verbs in the Active
32: Regular -μι Verbs in the Active

Bring your study of Greek verbs to a close by focusing on an important class of verbs that end in μι in the first principal part. There aren’t many such μι verbs, but they are useful and common, and they appear frequently in compounds.

30 min
Regular -μι Verbs in the Middle/Passive
33: Regular -μι Verbs in the Middle/Passive

Extend your exploration of μι verbs, studying the middle passive, which is more regular than the active voice covered in the previous lesson. Note examples of μι verbs in Luke 22:19, which depicts a moment from the Last Supper, and lines 86-100 of the Iliad.

32 min
Review of Regular -μι Verbs
34: Review of Regular -μι Verbs

Search for the features that distinguish μι verbs from the verb forms encountered earlier in the course, whose first principal part ends in ω. Resume your study of the Lord’s Prayer, discovering two μι verb aorist commands. Then read lines 101-108 of the Iliad, which open with a μι verb compound.

31 min
The Verb εἰμί
35: The Verb εἰμί

The most common μι verb is also one of the most irregular: to be. Study its forms, discovering that, as unpredictable as it appears, it is more regular than its English counterparts: I am, you are, he is. Then learn to count in Greek, and analyze lines 109-117 of the Iliad.

30 min
Irregular Verbs & Tips for Further Study
36: Irregular Verbs & Tips for Further Study

Learn two more irregular verbs, to go and to know, seeing them at work in sentences from John and Matthew. Then complete your last passage from the Iliad, lines 118-125, and consider strategies for continuing your Greek studies—whether you want to dig deeper into Homer and the New Testament, or discover new masterpieces.

30 min
Hans-Friedrich Mueller

The Latin language offers keys to more than most people can imagine…until they too learn Latin. I have devoted my life to helping others obtain the keys that they need to unlock the intellectual treasures that interest them most.


The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Union College

About Hans-Friedrich Mueller

Dr. Hans-Friedrich Mueller is the Thomas B. Lamont Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He earned his M.A. in Latin from the University of Florida and his Ph.D. in Classical Philology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before coming to Union College, he taught at The Florida State University and the University of Florida. Professor Mueller won the American Philological Association's Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level, as well as two awards for excellence in teaching at The Florida State University. At the University of Florida, he developed a graduate distance-learning program in classics for high school teachers. In addition to writing numerous articles, Professor Mueller is the author of Roman Religion in Valerius Maximus, the editor of an abridged edition of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the translator of Andreas Mehl's Roman Historiography: An Introduction to Its Basic Aspects and Development. He is also the author of Caesar: Selections from his Commentarii De Bello Gallico and coauthor of Caesar: A LEGAMUS Transitional Reader.

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