GRK 101: Plato

GREEK 101: Plato’s Symposium
TR 3:10–4:30pm, Online Instruction

Instructor: Colin Webster (
Office Hours: By appointment via Zoom
20-day drop

Description and Goals
In this course we will read Plato’s Symposium in ancient Greek, focusing on the speech of Alcibiades. And at the center of it all sits Socrates—beautiful and ugly, playful and serious. How should we understand this ironic character and his riddling speech? What can his portrayal tell us about the nature of love, philosophy or education? Although we will ask such questions, this course primarily aims to solidify our knowledge of Attic grammar and morphology, while also enriching our Greek vocabulary. This will increase the speed, enjoyment and critical insight with which we read Greek texts. By the end of the semester students should be capable of taking graduate level courses or reading further on their own.

The core of the course will consist in daily reading assignments, which are to be prepared and submitted in advance. You will be expected to use the provided glossary and memorize the vocabulary entries required for the class reading. You will also be expected to consult the commentaries and/or Smyth on points of grammar and morphology. During class we will go over the texts in detail in both group settings and in breakout sessions.

Required texts:
Plato’s Symposium: Greek Text with Facing Vocabulary and Commentary, Geoffrey Steadman.

Recommended Texts
Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar (Revised Edition), edited by Gordon M. Messing (Harvard Univerity Press, 1956)
H.G. Liddell and Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford University Press, 1945)