Ancient Greek Online by Richard Welland Crowell PhD
Portrait of Aristotle
Ancient Greek Texts and Language Help

Homer's Iliad

Sappho's Lyrics

Aristotle's Poetics

John's Gospel

» Language Help «



Poetic Meter

Pitch Accent

» How To Use This Website «

Quick Start
To see the English translation of any Greek word, just let your mouse pointer hover over it and the English will appear. Some pages have a hyperlink called "In English" that you can click on to see a complete English translation of the text. (You will learn ancient Greek better if you don't use that method, though.)


This site was designed to be a learning environment for students as well as a reading room for scholars. The large print Greek is easy on the eyes. The Internet has returned us to the scrolling method of reading texts, which lends itself particularly well to the project at hand.

The most valuable component of this website is the English translation which appears as a "tool tip" whenever you rest the cursor on a word of Greek. Each word translation has been individually formulated in context, without any mechanical repetition, and every effort has been made to suggest the broadest possible spectrum of meaning. This is not a crutch or a crib but rather an attempt to delve more deeply into the language.

The best way to teach yourself ancient Greek is to purchase A Reading Course in Homeric Greek (Focus Publishing). If you already know Latin, then you will also want to buy Clyde Pharr's Homeric Greek. As you gain confidence, pick up Autenrieth's A Homeric Dictionary and the two-volume Iliad in the Loeb Classical Library. The other option is to begin with John's Gospel, which has the advantage of being familiar in translation. Then add Smyth's Greek Grammar and the abridged version of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. (Liddell's daughter was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland.) Eventually, you will want to invest in the unabridged Greek-English Lexicon (LSJ, ninth edition). All of these books are readily available from online booksellers.

The editions of these texts are my own. I am sure to have made editorial decisions that are misguided or incorrect, and for that I ask patient indulgence and would appreciate feedback in the form of e-mails (

The laborious conventional system of accentuation has here been pared down to a minimum, being retained only where it is necessary to differentiate long vowels from short (indispensable for reading the poetry), to disambiguate words whose meanings change according to accentuation (such as τις/τίς) and to indicate words that take an accent unpredictably (not following the simple rule that the word accent falls on the third-to-last syllable, unless the last syllable is long, in which case it falls on the next-to-last syllable).

If the classics are to be read intelligently by a wide audience, we must streamline the teaching of ancient Greek. The alternative is to follow the example of the monkey trapped with its hand in a pot because it refuses to let go of anything.

This is a time of crisis for the Humanities. In colleges and universities across the country, Classics departments are being dismantled or simply left to die of attrition as professors retire without being replaced. We are once again entering upon a Dark Age when classical learning is regarded as irrelevant to the poorly understood needs of an increasingly violent and irrational world. Like the Irish monks of the 8th and 9th centuries, we must go quietly about the task of preserving and disseminating the keystones of classical civilization before they are lost from consciousness.

We are fortunate to have the Internet, which can serve as a 21st-century scriptorium, open around the clock to visitors from across the globe. But the Internet is vulnerable, depending as it does upon electricity (fossil fuels) and the uncensored flow of cyberinformation across political boundaries, which is why printed texts are still crucially important. Feel free to print out these pages for reference and distribution. Copy and paste the Greek text into Microsoft Word and reset the font size to 14.

My PhD is from Boston University (1994, dissertation Parallelism in the Iliad) and my approach to textual matters was formed there by Donald Carne-Ross -- an authentic man of letters who taught me to respect the words in and of themselves, "pressing each one like a plump grape." I hope you derive profit and pleasure from this site, which has been created and maintained as a labor of pure love, and slowly changes and grows. Please check back on a regular basis for new developments.

-- Richard Welland Crowell, Editor/Webmaster Email Me Here


All Contents Copyright © 2001-2013 Richard Welland Crowell