This list is intended to help you prepare for the Greek PhD preliminary examination. That exam is a test of your competence in Greek and your familiarity with the field of Greek literature, rather than a test on this list. Read as much as you can in preparation, in the knowledge that acquaintance with all of these texts constitutes preparation for a career in Classics.

MA students planning to continue to a PhD are strongly encouraged to take a PhD-level exam, even while registered in the MA program. An MA student who takes the PhD exam and passes it at the PhD level (85% or higher) will, as a result, be qualified for their MA (pending satisfactory fulfillment of the other MA requirements) and be considered to have passed the Greek PhD preliminary exam, if they continue into the PhD program at this institution. A pass mark of 95% or higher on the PhD-level exam results in a pass with distinction. An MA student who passes a PhD-level exam at the MA level (75% - 84%) may earn their MA on that basis, pending satisfactory fulfillment of the other MA requirements, but would be required to re-take the Greek PhD preliminary exam if admitted to the PhD program.

The exam will consist of two sections: A. Translation; B. Passage analysis:

A. The translation section will consist of two out of three passages of poetry and two out of three passages of prose to be translated, all to be drawn from the published list. Each poetry passage will be ca. 20-25 lines in length, and the prose passages of a length corresponding to that.

B. The analysis section will require exam-takers to discuss one out of two passages of prose and one out of two passages of poetry, all to be drawn from the published list.

Instructions as they appear on the exam paper are given below.

Substitutions to the present list: students may propose substitutions of equivalent difficulty and length pertaining to up to two prose and two verse authors; these substitutions would need to be approved by the graduate director in consultation with the graduate committee.

As you read the texts, we recommend supplementing your reading by background reading in one of the standard literary histories, e.g. P. E. Easterling and B. M. W. Knox, eds. (1989) The Cambridge History of Classical Literature, Cambridge (volume 1), or A. Lesky (1966) A History of Greek Literature, New York. You will find both of these in HUMN 350. No Classics library books should leave their respective rooms! Further advice on secondary reading on individual authors is available from faculty.

Instructions as they appear on the exam:

Ia. Translation: Prose (1 hour). Translate two of the following passages into accurate and idiomatic English. 

Ib. Translation: Poetry (1 hour). Translate two of the following passages into accurate and idiomatic English. 

II.  Select one of the following two passages of poetry in (a) and one of the two passages of prose in (b), and write an analytical essay on each (60 minutes total).  If you can, identify the author, work, and location of the passage within the work; the author’s date, historical milieu, and the context of the passage or work within the author's career; speakers and others referred to directly or indirectly; and places, events, or other important points of reference.  Comment on significant themes as well as formal features such as meter or rhythm, dialect, and genre; if possible identify the performance venue, occasion, or intended readership. Paraphrase is not necessary and should not be used for its own sake, but you may use it to support interpretation of the text.

Greek Ph.D. Readling List


On the Mysteries (MacDowell: Oxford 1962)


Against the Stepmother, Tetralogies (Gagarin:  CGLC 1997)


Agamemnon (Raeburn and Thomas: Oxford 2011); Choephori (Garvie: Oxford 1986), Eumenides (Sommerstein: CGLC 1989)

Apollonius of Rhodes

Argonautica, Book 3 (Hunter: CGLC 1989)


Clouds (Dover: Oxford 1968); Birds (Dunbar: Oxford 1995); Lysistrata (Henderson: Oxford 1987); Frogs (Dover: Oxford 1993)


Ethics 1; Politics 1; Athenaion Politeia 1-41 (Rhodes: Oxford 1981); Poetics (Lucas: Oxford 1968)


Aetia, frr. 1-2, 67-75, 110 (Harder: Oxford 2012); Hymn 2 (Williams: Oxford 1978; Stephens: Oxford 2015); Epigrams (Gow and Page, Hellenistic Epigrams: Cambridge 1965)


Philippics 1 (Wooten: Oxford 2008); Against Conon (Carey and Reid: CGLC 1985); For Phormio (Pearson: Scholars Press 1972)


Alcestis (Dale: Oxford 1961; Parker, Oxford 2007); Medea (Mastronarde: CGLC 2002); Hippolytus (Barrett: Oxford 1964); Bacchae (Dodds: Oxford 1960, 2nd ed.)


Helen (MacDowell: Bristol Classical Press 1982)


Books 1.1-130 (Asheri, Lloyd, Corcella: Oxford 2007); 5 (Hornblower: CGLC 2013); 8 (Bowie: CGLC 2007)


Theogony (West: Oxford 1966); Works and Days (West: Oxford 1978)


Airs, Waters, Places (Hayes and Nimis: Faenum Publishing 2013)


Iliad (1-4 Kirk: Cambridge; 5-8 Kirk: Cambridge; 9-12 Hainsworth; 13-16 Janko: Cambridge; 17-20 Edwards; 21-24 Richardson: Cambridge; 1 Pulleyn: Oxford; 6 Graziosi and Haubold: CGLC; 9 Griffin: Oxford; 22 de Jong CGLC; 24 Macleod CGLC


Odyssey 1-8 (Heubeck, West, and Hainsworth: Oxford); 6-8 (Garvie, CGLC); 9-16 (Heubeck and Hoekstra: Oxford); 17-24 (Russo, Fernandez-Galliano, and Heubeck: Oxford); 13-14 (Bowie, CGLC); 17-18 (Steiner, CGLC); 19-20 (Rutherford CGLC)

Homeric Hymns

Hymn 2 (Richardson: Oxford 1974; Foley: Princeton 1993), Hymn 5 (Faulkner: Oxford 2008; Olson: de Gruyter 2012; Richardson CGLC: Cambridge 2010,)


Panegyricus (Usher: Aris and Phillips 1990)


Daphnis and Chloe


Lyric Poets

As in D. Campbell, Greek Lyric Poetry; the Cologne Archilochus epode; the 2004 fragments of Sappho’s “Poem on Old Age” and the 2014 fragments of Sappho’s “Brothers Poem”


1 (Carey: CGLC 1990; Todd: Oxford 2007); 12 (Edwards: Bristol Classical Press 1999; Todd: Oxford forthcoming)


Dyskolos (Handley 1965)


Olympians 1, 2 (Willcock CGLC), 7 (Willcock CGLC), 14; Pythians 1, 8, 10; Nemeans 6, 7, 8, 10 (Olympians and Pythians, Gildersleeve: New York 1899; Nemeans, Bury: Macmillan 1890; Isthmians, Bury: Macmillan 1892)


Apology and Crito (Burnet: Oxford 1924); Symposium (Dover: CGLC 1980); Republic 6, 7, 10 (Adam: Cambridge 1902)


Pericles (Stadter 1989)


Book 6 (Walbank I: Oxford Clarendon 1957)


Ajax (Finglass: Cambridge 2011; Stanford: Macmillan 1963, Bristol Classical Press reprint); Antigone (Griffith: CGLC 1999) Oedipus Tyrannus (Dawe: CGLC rev. ed. 2006), Oedipus at Colonus (Jebb: Bristol Classical Press reprint of 1900 edition, Cambridge; Critical text: Lloyd-Jones and Wilson: Oxford 1990)


Idylls 1, 7, 11, 13 (Gow: Cambridge 1952; Dover: Macmillan 1971 (BCP reprint); Hunter: CGLC 1999 has commentary on 7, 11, 13)


Book 1, 3, 5.84-116; 6 (Gomme, Andrewes, Dover: Oxford Clarendon 1945-1981;  Hornblower I and III: Oxford Clarendon 1991, 2008); 2 (Rusten: CGLC 1989)


Hellenica 2 (Krentz: Aris and Phillips 1995; Underhill: reprint by Bristol Classical Press 1991); Athenaion Politeia (Frisch 1942; Marr and Rhodes: Aris and Philips 2008)