Graecum Annual Course

Knowledge of ancient languages is indispensable for the study of the ancient world, philosophy and historical disciplines. To bridge any potential gaps, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences offers Greek courses that can be credited as free electives.

In the degree subject or program of Ancient Civilizations within the subject areas Ancient History, Greek and Latin Studies, original source texts are – also – read in the original. For the in-depth study of Classical Archaeology and Provincial Roman Archaeology, knowledge of Greek and/or Latin is indispensable for handling inscriptions and other textual sources. Through a knowledge of Ancient Greek, students of philosophy obtain a deeper understanding of fundamental texts (Pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle) and the terms employed which continue to shape philosophical thought to this day.

For bachelor studies in Ancient Civilizations with a concentration in Greek or Latin Philology, knowledge of Ancient Greek at the baccalaureate level is required. For a specialization in the subject areas of Ancient History or Classical Archaeology, knowledge of Latin or Greek at the baccalaureate level is required.

Students who do not yet have sufficient knowledge of Greek may acquire it in the Graecum Annual Course. The course is validated with 12 credits as a free elective.

The Graecum Annual Course spans two semesters. It begins in the fall semester and prepares students for the final Graecum examination at the end of the spring semester. The Graecum is equivalent to the Ancient Greek Matura at the Swiss Gymnasium.

The first course semester is dedicated to the acquisition of basic language skills (basic grammar and vocabulary) and the introduction to translation technique on the basis of simple texts. It also offers insights into Greek literary and philosophical history and material culture. Both are conveyed through the passages from the textbook 'Kantharos', a varied selection of - initially simplified - original Greek texts from different periods (Archaic to Late Antiquity) and genres (philosophy, historiography, rhetoric, novel, tragedy, epistolary literature, anecdotal, etc.).

The second course semester aims to consolidate, deepen and extend the acquired language skills by reading lengthier original texts (poetry and prose). Special emphasis is placed on the linguistic analysis of the texts and a precise translation, but background understanding of the texts is also conveyed and consideration is given to questions of content interpretation. At the same time, the use of auxiliary tools such as dictionaries and grammars is practiced and the appropriate use of print translations is discussed. In addition to the readings, the most important grammatical phenomena are reviewed.

The in-house faculty examination takes place at the end of the spring semester (May/June). It consists of a three-hour written exam (translation of a prose text not read in the course, with access to a dictionary) and a 20-minute oral exam on a passage of text discussed in the second semester (translation without dictionary, questions on the text and its literary and cultural-historical background).

For students who do not pass the exam the first time, a repeat examination date is offered just before the beginning of the fall semester (August/September).

Advanced Courses - Maintaining Language Proficiency

Every semester, the subject area Greek Philology offers an advanced course in which an important but only moderately difficult text of Greek literature is read (usually a tragedy or comedy in the HS and a prose text in the FS). The advanced courses - which can be attended as often as desired - are open to graduates of the Graecum and are each awarded 3 credits (as free electives) upon successful completion. They aim i.a. to consolidate the language skills acquired in the Graecum course by means of text examples and to introduce well-known texts of world literature in the original Greek.

Greek Representative of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Lecturer of the Graecum course