Theophrastus Workshop Details:
- Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2023
- Time: 8:00am – 10:00am PST (11:00am – 1:00pm EST)
- Location: Online via Zoom
- Cost: $20
- Difficulty: This workshop will be conducted in Ancient Greek. Upper-intermediate Greek knowledge is a minimum requirement.
- Cancellation policy: Full refund available before November 15th. No refunds afterwards.
Although this workshop is second in a series, there is no requirement to have attended the first one.
The moment you begin learning Ancient Greek, Athens looms as an inevitable stop along the road, regardless of your final destination. However, usually, when we think of Athens, we think of the flourishing Athens of Pericles, of Socrates’ small circle of students engaged in philosophical discussions, or of the great orators delivering their crafty speeches in the midst of the Agora. But where is everyone else? Weren’t there also ordinary people in Athens, and if so, can we find out more about their lives from our sources?
The answer to these questions is naturally yes, and there are many sources that tell us about the everyday life of Athens in the Classical Period and beyond. One of the more accessible such works to the late-intermediate and advanced student of Ancient Greek is the “ἠθικοὶ χαρακτῆρες”, by Theophrastus, who was one of Aristotle’s most diligent students and also his successor as the head of the Lyceum. Written somewhere at the end of the 4th century B.C., the Characters (as it’s often translated) caricatures different human types that Theophrastus encountered: the Bumpkin, the Flatterer, the Superstitious, and many others. This work not only offers insight into the everyday life of the Athenians of that period, but also presents a copious source of idiomatic Greek, phrases and expressions that every serious student of Ancient Greek should be familiar with. Further, Theophrastus’ Characters is more than a sociological or philological curiosity. It is the work of a philosopher, and so, in a sly and unassuming way, these depictions of human types are an invitation to philosophic life.
Having had our brief introduction to Theophrastus and his interesting work in a previous session, we will now proceed forward and read two of the Characters he describes along with similar passages from other authors. As usual, our focus will be on the language and its features, idioms, subtleties and, in one word, its character. By acquiring a taste of the language, this time we are going to start enjoying the Ancient-Greek sense of humor.
Attendance to the previous workshop is helpful but by no means a prerequisite, so feel free to join even if you missed that.
Attendance is limited to 12 students max in order to preserve a small, collegial atmosphere. So, if you’re interested, don’t hesitate. Sign up, and we look forward to seeing you on November 30th!
Vladimir Chiurlea, our Ancient Greek & Latin Fellow, was born in the wild city of Bucharest, Romania. While completing his BA in Byzantine Music, he caught the fever of Ancient Greek and is yet to recover. When he is not teaching and reading Ancient Greek, he is roaming the streets and parks of Romania spreading the contagion of Greek poetry. He has experience teaching Ancient Greek to total beginners and advanced students both online and in-person.