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50 Reading Passages: Classical

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 16.


Classical Reading

In 399 BC, a group of Greek mercenaries (known as the Ten Thousand) were trapped deep in the enemy territory of the Persian Empire. Under Xenophon’s leadership, they managed to escape and find their way back to Greece. The Ἀνάβασις is Xenophon’s own account of their adventures.

Near the end of their journey back to Greece, Xenophon and the Ten Thousand are fighting alongside Seuthes, a king of part of Thrace, in a campaign against a tribe known as the Thynians, who attacked and tried to burn the Greeks’ camp during the night. Xenophon brings the matter up to Seuthes:


20. Ἐκ τούτου ὁ Ξενοφῶν δεῖται τοὺς ὁμήρους τε αὐτῷ παραδοῦναι καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος, εἰ βούλεται, συστρατεύεσθαι· εἰ δὲ μή, αὐτὸν ἐᾶσαι. 21. τῇ οὖν ὑστεραίᾳ παραδίδωσιν ὁ Σεύθης τοὺς ὁμήρους, πρεσβυτέρους ἄνδρας ἤδη, τοὺς κρατίστους, ὡς ἔφασαν, τῶν ὀρεινῶν, καὶ αὐτὸς ἔρχεται σὺν τῇ δυνάμει. ἤδη δὲ εἶχε καὶ τριπλασίαν δύναμιν ὁ Σεύθης· ἐκ γὰρ τῶν Ὀδρυσῶν ἀκούοντες ἃ πράττει ὁ Σεύθης πολλοὶ κατέβαινον συστρατευσόμενοι. 22. οἱ δὲ Θυνοὶ ἐπεὶ εἶδον ἀπὸ τοῦ ὄρους πολλοὺς μὲν ὁπλίτας, πολλοὺς δὲ πελταστάς, πολλοὺς δὲ ἱππέας, καταβάντες ἱκέτευον σπείσασθαι, καὶ πάντα ὡμολόγουν ποιήσειν καὶ πιστὰ λαμβάνειν ἐκέλευον. 23. ὁ δὲ Σεύθης καλέσας τὸν Ξενοφῶντα ἐπεδείκνυεν ἃ λέγοιεν, καὶ οὐκ ἂν ἔφη σπείσασθαι, εἰ Ξενοφῶν βούλοιτο τιμωρήσασθαι αὐτοὺς τῆς ἐπιθέσεως. 24. ὁ δ’ εἶπεν· Ἀλλ’ ἔγωγε ἱκανὴν νομίζω καὶ νῦν δίκην ἔχειν, εἰ οὗτοι δοῦλοι ἔσονται ἀντ’ ἐλευθέρων. συμβουλεύειν μέντοι ἔφη αὐτῷ τὸ λοιπὸν ὁμήρους λαμβάνειν τοὺς δυνατωτάτους κακόν τι ποιεῖν, τοὺς δὲ γέροντας οἴκοι ἐᾶν. οἱ μὲν οὖν ταύτῃ πάντες δὴ προσωμολόγουν.

Xenophon, Anabasis 7.4.20-24



ἀκούων –ουσα –ον hearing

βούλοιτο (3rd sg imperf indic) < βούλομαι

γέρων -οντος ὁ old man

δέομαι ask

δή now

δυνατώτατος –η –ον very powerful

ἐᾶσαι ~ ἐᾶν (pres. inf. of ἐάω)

ἔγωγε ~ έγώ

εἶδον (3rd pl indic) “saw”

εἶπεν (3rd sg indic) “said”

εἶχε (3rd sg imperf indic) < ἔχω have, hold

έπιδείκνυμι show to

ἐπίθεσις -εως ἡ attack

ἤδη already

Θυνός –οῦ ὁ Thynian

ἱκετεύω beg, appeal

ἱππεύς –εως ὁ horseman, cavalry

*καλέσας –ασα –αν having called

*καταβάς –άσα –άν having descended

κράτιστος –η –ον very powerful, important

λέγοιεν ~ ἔλεγον

τὸ λοιπόν in the future

μέντοι however

νῦν now

Ξενοφῶν –ῶντος ὁ Xenophon

Ὀδρυσαί –ῶν οἱ Odrysians (another Thracian tribe)

οἴκοι at home

ὅμηρος –ου ὁ hostage

ὁπλίτης -ου ὁ heavy infantry soldier

ὀρεινός –ή –όν mountainous

παραδοῦναι ~ παραδιδόναι

πελταστής –οῦ ὁ light infantry

προσομολογέω concede

Σεύθης –ου ὁ Seuthes

σπείσασθαι ~ σπένδειν < σπένδω make a truce

συμβουλεύω advise

συστρατεύω march an army along with

συστρατευσόμενος –α –ον for the purpose of marching along

τιμωρήσασθαι ~ τιμωρεῖν < τιμωρέω take revenge

τριπλάσιος –α –ον triple

*declines like πᾶς, πᾶσα, πᾶν




Ἐκ τούτου: “After this”

δεῖται introduces indirect discourse with infinitive phrase (παραδοῦναι and συστρατεύεσθαι).


τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ: Supply ἡμέρᾳ.


Note the μέν…δέ constructions.

πάντα ὡμολόγουν ποιήσειν: ὡμολόγουν introduces indirect discourse; πάντα is the direct object of ποιήσειν. Note that here and elsewhere, Xenophon varies the word order in his indirect statements for emphasis.

πιστὰ λαμβάνειν ἐκέλευον:  ἐκέλευον introduces indirect discourse; πιστὰ is the direct object of λαμβάνειν.


ἔφη introduces indirect discourse with infinitive phrase (σπείσασθαι).


νομίζω introduces indirect discourse with infinitive phrase (ἔχειν).

ἔφη introduces indirect discourse with infinitive phrase (συμβουλεύειν)



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