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43 Reading Passages

Reading Passages



1. Read the passages aloud in Greek.

2. Vocabulary and commentary is provided for each passage. For words that do not appear in the vocabulary, please use your dictionary.

3. Translate the passages. As you translate the sentences, pay careful attention to words that go together, such as prepositional phrases and relative clauses. Breaking the sentences up into logical units is oftentimes a better first approach than attempting to translate all the words in succession.

To download this assignment as a pdf, click here: AGE Readings 14.


Biblical Readings

1. In this argument about Christian love, just as believers love God and his child,

ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκομεν ὅτι ἀγαπῶμεν τὰ τέκνα τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅταν τὸν θεὸν ἀγαπῶμεν καὶ τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ ποιῶμεν. αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν· καὶ αἱ ἐντολαὶ αὐτοῦ βαρεῖαι οὐκ εἰσίν.

βαρεῖαι (fem. nom. pl.) heavy

ἐντολαὶ (fem. nom. pl.) ἐντολὰς (acc. pl.) commandment

ἵνα so that

ὅταν whenever

τέκνα (neut. nom./acc. pl.) children

τηρῶμεν “we watch over; observe”

1 Jn. 5:2-3


Classical Readings

1. Aristotle summarizes the argument that there is an infinite number of atoms:

ἐπεὶ διαφέρει τὰ σώματα σχήμασιν, ἄπειρα δὲ τὰ σχήματα, ἄπειρα καὶ τὰ ἁπλᾶ σώματά φασιν εἶναι.

ἁπλᾶ (nom/acc pl) τό simple, singular

ἄπειρα (nom/acc pl) τό infinite

Aristotle 303a10-12


2. Aristotle is here discussing what stars are made of. He believes that stars are made up of the same substance as their surroundings. He then mentions that others similarly believe that stars are made up of upper air (ἀήρ), which is fiery, so that:

τὸ ἄνω σῶμα πῦρ εἶναί φασιν.

ἄνω above, up

Aristotle On the Heavens 289a17


3. Aristotle is studying the problem of what basic element produces all the others. In summarizing the problem, he says that the primary element must be the most refined one (λεπτομερέστερον) and mentions that some people conclude this element is fire:

ἐπεὶ οὖν φασὶ πάντων τῶν σωμάτων τὸ πῦρ λεπτότατον εἶναι.

λεπτότατον (nom/acc sg) τό most refined

Aristotle On the Heavens 303b20


4. In one of Plato’s dialogues, Socrates is getting ready to relate an old Egyptian story about the origin of writing. He says that there was an old god to whom the Ibis bird was sacred and that:

αὐτῷ δὲ ὄνομα τῷ δαίμονι εἶναι Θεύθ.

Θεύθ Thoth

Plato Phaedrus 274c


5. In this comedy, the women of Athens have taken control of the government and implemented a communal state. All citizens are supposed to bring their property downtown to be distributed equally. In this scene, a Neighbor is getting his things ready, but another Man is cynical about the idea:

λέγουσι γοῦν ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς.

λέξουσι γάρ.

καί φασιν οἴσειν…

φήσουσι γάρ.

ἀπολεῖς ἀπιστῶν πάντ’.

ἀπιστήσουσι γάρ.

ὁ Ζεύς σέ γ’ ἐπιτρίψειεν.


ἐπιτρίψουσι γάρ. οἴσειν δοκεῖς τιν’, ὅστις αὐτῶν νοῦν ἔχει; οὐ γὰρ πάτριον τοῦτ’ ἐστίν. ἀλλὰ λαμβάνειν ἡμᾶς μόνον δεῖ νὴ Δία· καὶ γὰρ οἱ θεοί.


ἀπιστέω –ήσω disbelieve

ἀπιστῶν -ῶντος ὁ non-believer

γ’ = γε emphasizes previous word

γοῦν = γε + οὖν

ἐπιτρίψειεν (3rd sg) “May (s/he) blast”

ἐπιτριπέω –ψω blast

Ζεύς, Διός ὁ Zeus

μόνον only

νὴ Δία by Zeus!

πάντ’ = πάντα

πάτριον (nom/acc sg) τό native

τοῦτ’ = τοῦτο

Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 773-83


6. In his history of the Peloponnesian War (fought primarily between the πόλεις of Athens and Sparta), Thucydides documents the terms of a treaty made between the Spartans and the Persians in 412 BC (8.18, which we have already translated). He also reports this revised version from several months later. The language of this version is structured to say that the agreement (ξυνθῆκαι) is so-and-so, with the specifics given as indirect statements with accusative and infinitive construction. Note that in the language of the agreement, the subject accusatives often follow the infinitives for emphasis.

Ξυνθῆκαι Λακεδαιμονίων καὶ τῶν ξυμμάχων πρὸς βασιλέα Δαρεῖον καὶ τοὺς παῖδας τοὺς βασιλέως καὶ Τισσαφέρνην, … κατὰ τάδε. ὁπόση χώρα καὶ πόλεις βασιλέως εἰσὶ Δαρείου ἢ τοῦ πατρὸς ἦσαν ἢ τῶν προγόνων, ἐπὶ ταύτας μὴ ἰέναι ἐπὶ πολέμῳ μηδὲ κακῷ μηδενὶ μήτε Λακεδαιμονίους μήτε τοὺς ξυμμάχους τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίων, μηδὲ φόρους πράσσεσθαι ἐκ τῶν πόλεων τούτων μήτε Λακεδαιμονίους μήτε τοὺς ξυμμάχους τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίων μηδὲ Δαρεῖον βασιλέα μηδὲ ὧν βασιλεὺς ἄρχει ἐπὶ Λακεδαιμονίους μηδὲ τοὺς ξυμμάχους ἰέναι ἐπὶ πολέμῳ μηδὲ κακῷ μηδενί. … τὸν δὲ πόλεμον τὸν πρὸς Ἀθηναίους καὶ τοὺς ξυμμάχους κοινῇ ἀμφοτέρους πολεμεῖν· ἢν δὲ κατάλυσιν ποιῶνται, κοινῇ ἀμφοτέρους ποιεῖσθαι.

Thucydides 8.37


Ἀθηναῖος -ου ὁ Athenian

ἀμφοτέρους (acc pl) ὁ both

Δαρεῖος -ου ὁ Darius II (king of Persia 424-404 BC)

ἤν ~ εἰ

ἦσαν (3rd pl) were

κατάλυσις –εως ἡ truce

κοινῇ in common, together

Λακεδαιμόνιος -ου ὁ Spartan

ὁπόση –ης ἡ however much, all that

πρόγονος –ου ὁ ancestor

Τισσαφέρνης -ου ὁ Tissaphernes (the Persian official representing Persia in this treaty)

φόρος –ου ὁ revenue

ξυνθήκη –ης ἡ agreement


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