="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512">

17 Reading Passages

Reading Passages



For each of the following Greek sentences: 1). Read it aloud; 2). Parse each verb and noun; and 3). Translate each sentence into English. To download this assignment as a pdf, click here: AGE Readings 5.


Classical Readings

1. The oldest surviving script of a play in the world is Persians by Aeschylus, originally performed in 472 BC. In 479 BC, the Greeks had scored a shocking naval victory over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis.  Aeschylus himself had fought in the battle. This play dramatizes the news of this defeat reaching the Persian capital.

The play begins with a chorus of old Persian men singing about the attack on Greece by the current Persian king, Xerxes. They have not yet heard the fate of the Persian forces. The Queen of Persia enters (unnamed by Aeschylus, but her name was Atossa). She is the mother of Xerxes (and wife of the previous king, Darius). The Queen reports an ominous dream. At one point in the dream:

Ξέρξης πέπλους ῥήγνυσιν ἀμφὶ σώματι.

Ξέρξης (nom sg) ὁ Xerxes

πέπλους (acc pl) ὁ robe

ῥήγνυμι rip, break

Aeschylus Persians 199


2. A couplet from Aeschylus’ lost play Ἡλιάδες (Daughters of the Sun) has this to say about Zeus:

Ζεύς ἐστιν αἰθήρ, Ζεὺς δὲ γῆ, Ζεὺς δ’οὐρανός,

Ζεύς τοι τὰ πάντα…

αἰθήρ –έρος ὁ air

γῆ (nom sg) ἡ earth

οὐρανός (nom sg) ὁ sky

πάντα (nom/acc pl) τό everything

τοι = a conversational particle that means “really, you know”

Aeschylus fr. 70


3. Words of encouragement from a lost play of Euripides:

δι’ ἐλπίδος ζῆ καὶ δι’ ἐλπίδος τρέφου.

ζῆ live! (a command)

τρέφου take your nourishment! (a command)

Euripides Phrixus fr. 826


4. In one of Plato’s dialogues, conversation turns to discussion of why children can be so different from their parents. At one point, one of the participants, Protagoras, cautions that they should not yet pass judgment on two young men in the room:

ἔτι γὰρ ἐν αὐτοῖς εἰσιν ἐλπίδες· νέοι γάρ.

ἔτι yet, still

νέοι (nom pl) ὁ young

Plato Protagoras 328d


5. The Athenian orators Aeschines and Demosthenes were long engaged in a bitter public feud while Philip II of Macedon was gradually taking control of Greece. Each accused the other of corruption. Here Aeschines has charged that Demosthenes lied about ambassadors being sent to Macedonia:

τὰ δὲ σώματά ἐστιν αὐτῶν οὐκ ἐν Μακεδονίᾳ, ἀλλ’ Ἀθήνησι.

Ἀθήνησι (dat) ἡ Athens

Μακεδονίᾳ (dat sg) ἡ Macedonia

Aeschines 2.58


6. From a lawsuit about an investment loan. At one point the prosecutor asks:

διὰ τί ἡμῖν οὐκ ἀποδίδως τὰ χρήματα;

ἡμῖν (dat pl) us

χρῆμα –ατος τό thing (pl.) money

Demosthenes 56.32


7. Aristotle is discussing respiration among sea animals. Crustaceans, he says, must expel the water that they take in with their food, and:

τὰ μὲν οὖν μαλακόστρακα, οἷον οἵ τε καρκίνοι καὶ οἱ κάραβοι, παρὰ τὰ δασέα ἀφιᾶσι τὸ ὕδωρ διὰ τῶν ἐπιπτυγμάτων.

δασέα (nom/acc pl) τό hairy (part)

ἐπίπτυγμα –ατος τό fold, flap

κάραβοι (nom pl) ὁ crab

καρκίνοι (nom pl) ὁ crawfish

μαλακόστρακα (nom/acc pl) τό crustacean

οἷον for example

ὕδωρ, ὕδατος τό water

Aristotle 477a2-4


8. From a report on white bears in the region of Mysia. Whenever anyone comes near them,

ἀφιᾶσιν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος φλέγμα πάμπολύ τι, ὡς ἔοικεν, ὃ προσφυσᾷ πρὸς τὰ πρόσωπα τῶν κυνῶν, ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων…

ἀνθρώπων (gen pl) ὁ human

ἔοικεν it seems

κυνῶν (gen pl) ὁ dog

πάμπολυ (nom/acc sg) τό whole lot

προσφυσᾷ (3rd sg) blows

πρόσωπα (nom/acc pl) τό face

φλέγμα –ατος τό phlegm, vomit

ὡσαύτως in the same way

Aristotle 845a21-23


Biblical Readings

1. The Lord cautions the Israelites not to rebel against the protector he has set for them:

τὸ γὰρ ὄνομά μού ἐστιν ἐπ’ αὐτῷ.

μου my

LXX Ex. 23:21


2. The Lord specifies how he speaks to Moses:

στόμα κατὰ στόμα λαλήσω αὐτῷ, ἐν εἴδει καὶ οὐ δι’ αἰνιγμάτων…

αἴνιγμα –ατος τό riddle

εἴδει (dat sg) τό form, figure

λαλήσω (1st sg) I will speak

LXX Num. 12:8


3. Moses recounts a message sent to Sihon, requesting travel across the River Jordan and:

εἰς τὴν γῆν, ἣν κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν δίδωσιν ἡμῖν.

γῆν (acc sg) ἡ earth, land

ἡμῖν (dat pl) us

ἡμῶν our

θεός (nom sg) ὁ god

κύριος (nom sg) ὁ lord

LXX Deut. 2:29


In sentences 4-7, notice that the relative pronoun has been “attracted” to the case of its antecedent, rather than representing the case it should be in its relative clause. When this happens, it is almost always when the antecedent is in the genitive or dative case, and the case that it is replacing is the accusative.


4. Moses relays the Lord’s blessings for the Israelites:

ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἧς κύριος ὁ θεός σου δίδωσίν σοι…

γῆς (gen sg) ἡ earth, land

θεός (nom sg) ὁ god

κύριος (nom sg) ὁ lord

σοι (dat sg) you

σου your

LXX Deut. 4:40


5. Moses advises where they might hear of someone worshipping other gods:

ἐν μιᾷ τῶν πόλεών σου, ὧν κύριος ὁ θεός σου δίδωσίν σοι…

θεός (nom sg) ὁ god

κύριος (nom sg) ὁ lord

μιᾷ (dat sg) ἡ one

πόλεων (gen pl) ἡ city

σοι (dat sg) you

σου your

LXX Deut. 13:13


6. In discussing the sabbatical year, Moses again invokes the blessings that the Lord promises:

ἐν τῇ γῇ, ᾗ κύριος ὁ θεός σου δίδωσίν σοι…

γῇ (dat sg) ἡ earth, land

θεός (nom sg) ὁ god

κύριος (nom sg) ὁ lord

σοι (dat sg) you

σου your

LXX Deut. 15:4


7. Moses relays the Lord’s rule that the Israelites appoint judges:

ἐν πάσαις ταῖς πόλεσίν σου, αἷς κύριος ὁ θεός σου δίδωσίν σοι,

θεός (nom sg) ὁ god

κύριος (nom sg) ὁ lord

πάσαις (dat pl) ἡ all

πόλεσιν (dat pl) ἡ city

σοι (dat sg) you

σου your

LXX Deut. 16:18


8. The prophet Isaiah quotes the Lord in order to encourage King Hezekiah:

ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ δίδωμι ἐν αὐτῷ πνεῦμα…

ἐγώ (nom sg) I

ἰδού look!

LXX 4 Kings 19:7


9. The Lord (Κύριος) agrees to hand over Job to the Slanderer (Διάβολος):

Ἰδοὺ πάντα, …, δίδωμι ἐν τῇ χειρί σου.

Ἰδοὺ παραδίδωμί σοι αὐτόν.

ἰδού look!

πάντα (nom/acc pl) τό all, everything

σοι (dat sg) you

σου your

χείρ, χειρός ἡ hand

LXX Job 1:12, 2:6


10. Mattathias encourages his sons with an example of virtue being rewarded:

Δανιηλ ἐν τῇ ἁπλότητι αὐτοῦ ἐρρύσθη ἐκ στόματος λεόντων.

ἁπλότης –ητος ἡ singularity, generosity

ἐρρύσθη (3rd sg) was protected

λέων –οντος ὁ lion

LXX 1 Macc. 2:60


11. From a Psalm:

σῶσόν με ἐκ στόματος λέοντος…

λέων –οντος ὁ lion

με (acc sg) me

σῶσον save (a command)

LXX Ps. 21:22


12. From the opening of a Psalm:

κλίνατε τὸ οὖς ὑμῶν εἰς τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ στόματός μου·

ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου…

ἀνοίξω (1st sg) I will open

κλίνατε lean (a command) 

μου my

οὖς, ὠτός τό ear

παραβολαῖς (dat pl) ἡ parable

ῥῆμα –ατος τό speech

ὑμῶν your, y’all’s

LXX Ps. 77:1-2


13. The end of a Psalm:

οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος·

αὐτὸς ποιμανεῖ ἡμᾶς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας.

αἰών –ῶνος ὁ eternity

ἡμᾶς (acc pl) us

ἡμῶν our

θεός (nom sg) ὁ god

οὗτος (mas. nom. sg.) this

ποιμανεῖ (3rd sg) shepherds

LXX Ps. 47:14


14. From a prophecy:

καὶ ἐξαρῶ τὸ αἷμα αὐτῶν ἐκ στόματος αὐτῶν…

ἐξαρῶ (1st sg) I will take out

LXX Zech. 9:7


15. John speaks of those becoming children of God:

οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ’ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.

ἀνήρ, ἀνδρός ὁ man

ἐγεννήθησαν (3rd pl) were born

θέλημα –ατος τό will

θεοῦ (gen sg) ὁ god

σάρξ, σαρκός ἡ flesh

Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 1:13


16. From Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus on being born again:

τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τῆς σαρκὸς σάρξ ἐστιν, καὶ τὸ γεγεννημένον ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος πνεῦμά ἐστιν.

γεγεννημένον (nom/acc sg) τό what is born

σάρξ, σαρκός ἡ flesh

Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 1:13


17. Jesus the good shepherd:

ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ποιμήν ὁ καλός…καὶ τὴν ψυχήν μου τίθημι ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων.

ἐγώ (nom sg) I

καλός (nom sg) ὁ good, beautiful

μου my

ποιμήν -μένος ὁ shepherd

προβάτων (gen pl) τό sheep

ψυχήν (acc sg) ἡ life, soul, breath

Κατὰ Ἰωάννην 10:14-15


18. Clement of Alexandria describes Jesus as the ultimate tutor and invokes the image of the good shepherd:

ὁ γὰρ ἀγαθὸς ποιμὴν τὴν ψυχὴν ἑαυτοῦ τίθησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων.

ἀγαθός (nom sg) ὁ good

ἑαυτοῦ his own

ποιμήν -μένος ὁ shepherd

προβάτων (gen pl) τό sheep

ψυχήν (acc sg) ἡ life, soul, breath

Clement of Alexandria Pedagogue 1.11.97


19. Paul closes a section of his letter to the Romans with words on the omnipotence of God:

ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα· αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας· ἀμήν.

αἰών –ῶνος ὁ eternity

δόξα (nom sg) ἡ glory

πάντα (nom/acc pl) τό everything

Πρὸς Ῥωμαίους 11:36


In sentences that lack a verb, it is almost always a good idea to supply a form of the verb εἰμί.


20. Paul discusses unity:

εἷς θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ πάντων, ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων καὶ διὰ πάντων καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν.

εἷς (nom sg) ὁ one

θεός (nom sg) ὁ God

πάν, πάντος τό  everything

πατήρ, πατρός ὁ father

πρὸς Ἐφεσίους 4:6


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Reading Passages by Wilfred E. Major and Michael Laughy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.