Ancient Voices

The Classical Association of Scotland is proud to open registration for its summer languages initiative: Ancient Voices.

The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the potential value and strength of online provision across education, opening sessions which would usually be geographically restricted to a truly global audience, and facilitating learning amongst those who otherwise lack the time or resources to commit to more intensive in-person courses etc. It is with this knowledge at the forefront of our minds that CAS is now offering a set of online summer classes in different ancient languages, purposefully designed and shaped to those with already busy schedules, or who simply want to give the subjects a try without a large financial or time commitment. In this way, the classes are perfect for students, teachers and lifelong learners alike! From Monday 5th July until Sunday 1st August, we will be dividing the week into sections where we offer language class in 2hr slots in Latin, Ancient Greek, Hebrew and Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The weekly layout will look like this:

All times are based on UK-time (please Google ‘time in Edinburgh’ if unsure!)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Beginners’ Latin Session (1500-1700) Intermediate Latin Session (1400-1600)


Advanced Latin Session (1600-1800)

Drop-In Language Clinic (1200-1400)


Optional Lectures/Workshops (1500-1700)

Beginners’ Greek Session
Intermediate Greek Session (1400-1600)


Advanced Greek Session (1600-1800)

Beginners’ Hieroglyphs Session (1400-1600)


Beginners’ Hebrew

Drop-In Language Clinic (1500-1700)

Each individual language stream (e.g. Latin Beginners) is priced at £40 per person. This entitles you to the full 8hrs of language tuition, access to drop-in language clinics for questions and troubleshooting, and access to a variety of optional workshops which will include both linguistic and non-linguistic topics (e.g. Cuneiform. Full range tbc).

UPDATE: Our first lecture on Wednesday 7th July will be by Prof. Tom Harrison (St Andrews), and is entitled Living with Herodotus.

UPDATE: Our second optional lecture on Wednesday 14th July will be by Dr Sam Newington (Aberdeen), entitled Prometheus: Past and Present.

Ancient Voices is designed so that no two classes will ever clash, meaning that you are able to sign up to multiple streams (e.g. Advanced Greek and Beginners Hebrew), should you so wish. Beginners sessions offer a grammar and vocabulary based launch point, designed for those with little to no experience; Intermediate offers a blend of grammar and textual learning for those who want to consolidate on the basics, and Advanced offers a fully textual launch point, reading directly across ancient texts in which our teachers specialise. Each thread is led by expert teachers from across the school and university sectors (outlines available below).

Registration and payment information can be found in our Ancient Voices Registration Form, which should be completed and emailed to Dr Alex Imrie (

Course Synopses

Beginners’ Latin

This course is led by Ms Alison Greer

Beginners Latin provides an introduction to the Latin language, over 4 x 2hr taught sessions, one per week, over 4 weeks, with some independent study expected between sessions. No previous knowledge is required. 

We will start with the basic ‘rules’ and fundamentals of structure and vocabulary, which will give students a basic toolkit with which to get started on some straightforward translation. Sessions will be grammar focused, with simple translation exercises tailored around the grammar points taught in each session. Starting with simple sentences, we aim to progress to longer but straightforward passages. 

Language learning will be structured around the following main elements: verbs in the first and second conjugations, and the verb ‘to be’, all in the present tense; nouns of the first and second declensions, and agreement of adjectives. This is not exhaustive – depending on progress we can expand on content. 

By the end of week 4 our aim is for students to have an understanding of the basics of the language, and to be able to approach basic text with ease and confidence. These sessions are designed to provide a foundation for further study. Learning materials will be provided both in advance of classes and throughout. 

Intermediate Latin

This course is led by Ms Laura Donati

What to expect:  

We will be translating a selection of non-adapted texts, both prose and poetry, which will give us the chance to explore cultural attitudes towards women (Plautus, Curculio, passim; Aulus Gellius Noctes Atticae 1.6); touch upon the issues of marriage, adultery and pudicitia (Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 1.57-58; Cicero, De Republica 4.5; Catullus 62); and focus on some exceptional female figures of the Late Republic (Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia 6).  

The selection of passages is aimed at offering revision and consolidation of the most challenging grammar and syntax topics encountered while translating. We will go through the relevant grammar and syntax points as we go along and use ad hoc exercises to practise.  


You should be comfortable with noun declensions and pronouns; you should be able to recognise verb forms of all conjugations in the active and passive indicative and subjunctive. A good grasp of the simplest subordinate clauses and constructions is also necessary.

Advanced Latin

This course is led by Dr Juan Lewis

This course will be initially focused on Caesar’s De Bello Gallico. While this is often regarded as a rather elementary text, closer examination of the Latin involved reveals that it brings together all manner of constructions and forms that offers the more advanced reader interesting food for thought. In terms of grammar, it has everything! There will also be scope to consider epigraphic Latin at this level, as well as potential for other exercises and unseen translations. 

Beginners’ Greek 

This course is led by Dr Sam Newington

Full details to follow, but this course will largely mirror the approach of the Beginners’ Latin module, and will take students from the fundamentals of active tense grammar and word forms through to reading adapted original texts.  

Intermediate Greek

This course is led by Dr Natalia Tsoumpra

The Intermediate Greek course is aimed at post-beginners in Greek who have a basic understanding of the Greek language but want to advance their knowledge, and consolidate their grammar and reading skills. The course will offer the opportunity to study in depth some complex grammatical phaenomena (such as the function of participles, temporal and causal clauses, result and purpose clauses, indefinite clauses, and conditionals) and read a fascinating selection of (non-adapted) literary texts, both prose and verse, which offer various representations of women, and illustrate attitudes towards sexuality and gender (marital sexuality, transgression and deviance, prostitutes and courtesans). By the end of the course students will have developed an enhanced understanding of the nuances of the (Classical) Greek language, and the ability to translate with confidence from Greek into English and read independently.

Text selection (extracts): Herodotus, Histories; Lysias, On the Murder of Eratosthenes; [Demosthenes], Against Neaira; Euripides, Medea; Aristophanes, Lysistrata; Menander, Samia and The Arbitration.

Advanced Greek 

This course is led by Mr Manos Tsakiris

The Advanced Greek course will explore a selection of passages from three different literary genres, namely a Homeric Hymn (Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 1-6, 45-255), a tragedy (Euripides’ Hippolytus 1-120; 267-481) and a Socratic dialogue (Xenophon’s Symposium Chapter 8). The passages will offer a glimpse into the varied ways in which the goddess Aphrodite and the repercussions of love were perceived in the ancient Greek world. 

The class will primarily focus on translation; a good command of Greek grammar and syntax is thus necessary, but there will be ample opportunities for revision and consolidation of prior knowledge. Complex grammatical and syntactical features will be analysed and revised as they arise while translating. Particular emphasis will be given to syntax, especially on verbal adjectives and all types of subordinate clauses. In-class exercises and brief unseen passages are also to be expected.

In terms of verb conjugation, students are expected to be able to identify all moods, tenses and voices of regular verbs and be able to conjugate at least some of the most common irregular verbs. In terms of syntax, students are expected to be familiar with all basic constructions and all types of subordinate clauses, although there is no problem if these are a little rusty (since they will be studied in depth during class time!) 

Beginners’ Hebrew

This course is led by Dr Benedikt Eckhardt

This course will introduce students to the Hebrew alphabet, some basic grammatical and syntactical forms (verbal aspects, nominal and verbal sentences, genitive constructs), and some basic vocabulary. The first 2-hour session will consist of an introduction to the Hebrew language, the alphabet and the diacritical signs used in the Hebrew Bible; by the end of this session, students should be able to read out a vocalized Hebrew text. The following sessions will consist of detailed readings of original Hebrew text, taken mainly from Genesis 1 and Psalm 136, and explanations of the most relevant grammatical structures found in these passages. Students will be asked to prepare for each session (except the first); worksheets will be circulated. No knowledge of Hebrew is required to take this course.

Beginners’ Egyptian Hieroglyphs

This course is led by Dr Angela McDonald

Session 1: Introduction to hieroglyphs and basic Middle Egyptian grammar 

Sessions 2-4: Theme – What next? After Life in Ancient Egypt 

Session 2: An existential struggle: Excerpts from The Dispute of a Man with his Soul (Middle Kingdom literary text) 

Session 3: Wishing for the best: Funerary wishes from the tomb of Paheri (New Kingdom)   

Session 4: Going to the dark side: Harper’s Songs 

 This brief introduction to hieroglyphic Egyptian is aimed at complete beginners. After an introductory session that will teach the basics of Middle Egyptian, we will move on to read excerpts from texts in three linked sessions that explore Egyptian conceptions of the life after death. We’ll read from a literary text in which a man and his soul argue about the merits of life and death, and we’ll contrast the positive imagery in funerary wishes with the carpe-diem pessimism of the so-called harper’s songs. All texts and supporting materials will be provided.