Studying Ancient Greek Language and Literature in Rostock

Greek culture and civilisation including its language and literature stand at the beginning of the development of European civilisation. They were influenced by other ancient civilisations of the Middle East and the Mediterranean and had an impact on them in turn, especially on Roman culture.

Through the gateway of Late Antiquity Greek culture influenced mediaeval Christian civilisation, in the Latin-speaking West the process of reception was mostly indirect without reference to the Greek originals. From the Renaissance onwards Greek sources were being increasingly studied directly again, but reception was largely shaped by Hellenistic philosophy. Thus, time and again European literature, art and science has drawn inspiration from Greek antiquity in various ways time, but the complex history of reception needs to be critically examined. Furthermore, knowledge of Greek literature is indispensable to a critical description and analysis of our own position in the history of the mind, since all periods of the Modern Era have formed their concept of themselves in counter-distinction to a concept of (especially Greek) Antiquity. We like to see ourselves as enlightened, critical, modern persons who have moved a long way away from ancient humanity, which we suppose to have been naive and incapable of reflection in the true sense of the word. A critical evaluation of such historical concepts and ideas requires a detailed examination both of the ancient originals and of the processes of reception that have handed them down to us together with a certain interpretation.

An analysis of Ancient Greek concepts with a view to developing a historically founded critical concept of the Modern Era up is therefore at the core of the Greek curriculum in Rostock. This can only be achieved in close cooperation with the other classical disciplines.

The curriculum is based on the study of examples, but it aims at providing samples of all the "great" authors: Homer, Hesiod, Greek Lyric, the dramatists Aischylos, Sophokles, Euripides and Aristophanes, the historians Herodotos and Thukydides, the philosophers Plato and Aristotle, and the rhetoricians. However, texts that are relevant to the history of science and many other fields are also included. Apart from the Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic periods the Age of the Emperors and Late Antiquity (e.g. Plutarch, Plotinos and Proklos) are also studied.

Students are explicitly encouraged to choose their own areas of special interest, and teachers aim at including them in their courses