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Summer Greek Institute

Accelerated Course in Homeric Greek

Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
“Wrath! Sing the wrath, goddess, of Peleus’s son Achilles…”

Just as Helen’s face launched a thousand ships, this opening line of the Iliad launches its readers into a world both distant and familiar: the world of the Trojan War and its aftermath, as portrayed by Homer. The St. John’s College Summer Greek Institute aims to guide its participants on a journey deep into Homer’s world, first by developing proficiency in Homeric Greek, and then by applying their newly developed proficiency to a study in Greek of the Iliad and its enduring themes.

What is the Accelerated Course in Homeric Greek?

It is a rigorous and rewarding nine-week study in the Homeric Greek language. The course is designed for students new to the language, and those who need to refresh their skills.

Intensive language programs across the country are known for their high attrition rate and extreme stress. St. John’s College believes that a reasonable, humane pace in an engaging environment is more conducive to real thought and an overall successful learning experience than a hurried attempt to “just get through it.” That said, the program will still require a great deal of dedication and hard work, as one might expect of any attempt to learn over a year’s worth of an ancient language in a single summer. The program is not-for-credit.

What are the components of the program?

The first four weeks of the class is an accelerated course in Homeric Greek for beginners, including students who have not previously studied Greek. This part of the course consists of grammar lessons, extensive drilling and exercises, and quizzes and examinations.

The remaining five weeks of the class focuses on carefully reading and translating selections from the Iliad and the Odyssey. As students translate these texts and continue to develop proficiency with Homer’s language, they use seminar-style discussions to explore in greater depth their literary and philosophical qualities. Thus, the hard work done with Homer’s language is increasingly rewarded by primary access to the treasures of his poetry. By the end of the class, successful students have acquired a solid foundation in ancient Greek, equivalent to at least one year’s college-level study. This constitutes excellent preparation for both graduate school comprehensive exams and future reading in the original of other ancient Greek authors.

Who teaches the classes?

Classes are taught by full-time St. John’s College faculty with extensive experience teaching Greek. Additionally, a teaching assistant will work closely with students to support the class work.

How big will the classes be?

Class size is limited to 16 students to ensure a more engaged learning environment.

Class Schedule

The Accelerated Homeric Greek Course is held at the St. John’s College Santa Fe campus.

Classes will meet Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a 90-minute lunch break.

Wednesdays will be a half day to allow for extra study time, as well as to provide an opportunity to attend the college’s summer lecture series, for those interested.

In addition to the approximately 25 hours of class time per week, students should plan on an equivalent amount of preparation time outside of class, memorizing vocabulary and paradigms and working on translation exercises.

Primary Text: Homeric Greek 4th edition, edited by Pharr, Wright, and Debnar. Copies are available for purchase in the St. John’s College Bookstore. Prior editions of this text are not acceptable.

NOTE: Participants are asked to review English syntax and memorize the Greek alphabet before the first day of class. They are also encouraged to read Book One of the Iliad in translation before their arrival. Other preliminary study material and exercises may be sent out prior to the start of the course. 

Who can apply?

College students, graduate or undergraduate, especially those who need to make language requirements, and anyone 18 and older interested in learning Homeric Greek.

How do I apply?

An application form is available for download here.

A complete application needs to include both the application and a letter of interest explaining your need or interest in the Accelerated Course in Homeric Greek.

Return both the letter of interest and completed application form to, or mail to

Graduate Institute Summer Programs
c/o St. John’s College
1160 Camino Cruz Blanca
Santa Fe, NM 87505

Application Deadlines

Space is still available for the 2016 summer. Applications will be accepted until the program is full. The deposit to secure a space is $500.

Applications may be accepted after March 11, only if there is still space in the program. If not, applicants will be put on a waiting list in the order in which they are received and notified if a space opens up.


Tuition is $2,980 for the nine-week session.

A non-refundable deposit of $500 ($250, for applications received by January 15) is required to reserve your space and is due two weeks after you are notified of acceptance. Deposits will be credited to your tuition payment.

On-campus housing and meal plans are not included in tuition.

Important Dates

The 2016 Summer Language Program in Homeric Greek runs June 6 to August 5 (nine weeks).

Early submission is strongly encouraged; the program is limited to 16 participants.

January 15, 2016: Standard application deadline

March 11, 2016: Late application deadline

April 15, 2016: On-campus housing payment is due

May 15, 2016: Tuition payment is due

Withdrawal Dates and Fees

Participants who withdraw from the Summer Language Program within the first week will be reimbursed 75% of their tuition; within the second week, 50%; within the third week, 25%. Participants who withdraw during or after the fourth week of classes will receive no reimbursement.

Financial Aid

The Graduate Institute Summer Programs are non-for-credit courses, and therefore not available for financial aid. While stipends are available for some of the other summer programs, no stipends are available for the Summer Language Program.

On Campus Housing/Meal Plans

A limited number of on-campus dorm rooms are available for summer program students. Those interested should contact Scott W. Hannan in the Graduate Institute office for availability and cost.


Contact Scott W. Hannan
505-984-6050 /