IS NOT EASY
… You should not go on
clinging to your childhood. You are no longer of an age to do that.
(Athena to Telemachos)
We are not suggesting that preserving Greek is easy; rather, at the millennium it is nearly impossible. Even when we write what others can read, stay fast in the classroom, forgo the conference, and tutor the uninitiated, stewardship of Classics is hard. Teaching the ancient Greeks to today’s students requires a special kind of dedication, a calculated imprudence, the desire to plunge in rather than slink off, allegiance precisely to what one Classicist recently dismissed as “middle-class dutifulness.” (D. Konstan, Classical World 89 , p. 32).
If Western civilization is to be taught well, if we are to learn what it is to think like a Greek, someone then must teach Greek. If any are to teach about Greece and Rome, then at least a few in America must be left who know the Greek language, not just literature in translation, not merely the history of the Mediterranean. But the problem is that Greek is fairly difficult—and it resides in the shadowy world of