The latest publication from the Polis Institute Press is an ancient Greek version of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale Hansel and Gretel, co-authored by our Dean, Christophe Rico, and Polis instructor Stephen Hill. The book is designed as a teaching aid for students who have completed beginner levels in ancient Greek. This story was chosen because it is so beloved and well known that readers will find it easy to infer the meaning of new unfamiliar words as they appear in the storyline. The storyline is also complemented with rich illustrations and images and notes in the margins to help explain new words without the need of a dictionary. The vocabulary references everyday life, expanding the reader’s knowledge of ancient Greek as a living language. Hansel and Gretel is available in e-book or hardcover form at Amazon.
When students first encounter ancient Greek texts, they often feel intimidated or even discouraged due to the substantial language level required to decipher those texts. Reader’s editions that include native-language translation assistance for more difficult vocabulary and grammar can be quite helpful, but they also train the student to associate the target language with modern glosses or rely on modern language notes.
This book, on the other hand, uses images and/or simple phrases in ancient Greek to explain new words, thus increasing the reader’s familiarity and authentic comprehension of the target language as they learn. Each new word includes additional grammatical forms. Noun include the genitive and article. Adjectives include the masculine, feminine, and neuter singular. And, verbs include the first-person present indicative, the second-person present indicative, the present infinitive, and the aorist imperative. However, a preliminary knowledge of the first volume of the Polis textbook for learning ancient Greek, which includes about a thousand of the most common words in Koine Greek, is highly recommended. This approach will familiarize the reader with more than 90% of the words used and greatly enhance the reading experience.
An audio file of the text, read by Christophe Rico, can be downloaded from the Polis Institute website: https://www.polisjerusalem.org/resource/hansel-and-gretel-ancient-greek/. Although the target audience for this book is beginner level students, advanced students can also enjoy and benefit from it. We are confident that this version of Hansel and Gretel will inspire students to increase their reading proficiency and broaden their vocabulary.