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2019 English-G


July 14–20, 2019

at the University of Kentucky, Lexington

Anyone with at least intermediate knowledge of ancient Greek and an interest in developing active competence in the language is invited to the second annual σύνοδος ἑλληνική adjacent to the campus of the University of Kentucky, modeled on the well-known Latin conventicula which Professor Terence Tunberg has organized since 1996. The σύνοδος is organized by Humanitas in cooperation with the Polis Institute, Jerusalem. For one week, we will use ancient Greek as an active language of communication to talk about everyday objects and events and to discuss selections from a wide variety of ancient Greek texts. This sort of immersion experience will benefit a variety of ancient Greek users: students who wish to read ancient Greek more quickly and without automatically producing an English translation; teachers who wish to introduce oral and/or aural ancient Greek into their classrooms; and anyone who wishes to encounter ancient Greek in a way that might be different from his or her previous experiences. Those with prior experience – either minimal or extensive – speaking ancient Greek are most welcome, as are those who have never spoken ancient Greek at all. During the week of the σύνοδος, we ask that participants use only Greek to communicate with each other and with the facilitators.

Please note, however, that the σύνοδος is not designed for people still learning the elements of Greek grammar. Anyone unsure about whether the σύνοδος is a good fit for his or her background should feel free to apply and allow the organizers to judge based on the application.




The deadline for receipt of entry fees and also, in the case of those who have opted for conference housing, the cost of lodging is June 1, 2019. Those who wish to participate, however, are strongly urged to apply as soon as possible to secure a spot. For 2019 there are 25 places available.

Please note that the entry fee and lodging fee, once paid, are not refundable.  This, unfortunately, is an administrative necessity..



On the first day (July 14), nothing is scheduled until the evening, when there will be an informal reception starting at 7PM. All participants are strongly urged to attend. At this reception any language – not only ancient Greek, but Latin, English, etc. – may be used to communicate. The next morning (July 15), no language will be allowed except ancient Greek. If at all possible, therefore, participants are encouraged to arrive in Lexington before 4:00PM on July 14 to allow enough time to find their lodgings and familiarize themselves with the location of the σύνοδος before the reception begins.



Dr. Christophe Rico, a linguist and specialist on spoken ancient Greek, is the director of the Polis Institute, Jerusalem, which runs regular courses in ancient Greek as a spoken language during the academic year in Jerusalem and intensive courses in a variety of countries during the summer. He is the author of Polis: Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language (Polis) and Mère de l’Enfant-Roi – Isaïe 7, 14 (Éditions du Cerf).

Stephen Hill is a Ph.D. student in Classics at the University of Virginia, having earned M.A. degrees in Classics (University of Kentucky) and Teaching English as a Second Language (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). He has taught summer courses in spoken ancient Greek for the Polis Institute at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and at Ave Maria University in Florida.




The registration fee for participating in the σύνοδος is $175.

Participants who wish to make their own arrangements for housing in a hotel or other off-campus lodging will pay in advance only the $175 registration fee.



Those who wish to stay in summer conference housing will pay both the $175 entry fee and the cost of housing in advance. The housing options are as follows:

 1. A person who chooses to share a suite with another participant and to bring her/his own linens will pay $420 (which comprises the $175 entry fee plus $35 per night for lodging).

Two participants who share a suite in conference housing will each have their own private bedroom, but will share a bathroom and the kitchen area.

2. A person who chooses to share a suite with another participant and to have linens supplied daily by the housing staff will pay $490 (which comprises the $175 entry fee plus $45 per night for lodging).

3. A person who chooses to have sole occupancy of a suite and to bring her/his own linens will pay $665 (which comprises the $175 entry fee plus $70 per night for lodging).

4. A person who chooses to have sole occupancy of a suite and to have linens supplied daily by the housing staff will pay $735 (which comprises the $175 entry fee plus $80 per night for lodging).

Please note that the housing prices were quoted to us in the summer of 2018. It is therefore possible that those in charge of the summer conference housing could make small changes in their rates without giving us notice.



The location of the σύνοδος is within walking distance from a variety of restaurants, including cafeterias. We will distribute a list of these in advance of the σύνοδος. One or both facilitators will offer an optional Greek lunch daily, probably at one of the cafeterias so that participants can purchase food or bring their own as they wish. 



Anyone interested in participating in the σύνοδος should fill out this online form. Submission of the form does not guarantee acceptance.



Participants who plan to come to the conventiculum in their own cars and want to park their cars on the University campus will need to buy a parking permit.  They will receive a ticket to be displayed in their vehicles, which will give them the right to use the University parking lots for the whole week of the seminar. To purchase a parking permit, please phone the Department of Parking and Transportation at (859) 257-5757, or go to the office in person after arriving to buy a permit in person. The Parking & Transportation Services office is open on normal business days until 4:00 p.m. and is located at 721 Press Avenue, Lexington 40508-0571.

Testimonials from participants: | Λόγοι ἐπαινετικοὶ ὑπὸ μετόχων συγγεγραμμένοι·

I became convinced that speaking is not really optional. If you forfeit this step, then you give up the ability to go so much further in reading Greek throughout your life.

I am able to understand spoken Greek far better than I was at the start of the σύνοδος. I am also able to think and speak in Greek much more quickly! I have noticed that reading Euripides is now more comfortable than it was before the σύνοδος, and I expect the same will be true of other Greek authors.

[The σύνοδος] gave me a much firmer grip on the Greek language and texts through its unique approach and active use of the language.  I have become familiar with the language at a depth I didn't know was even possible.

The σύνοδος definitely increased my confidence in Greek. It helped me look at a page of Greek not so much as a puzzle to be decoded but rather as an intelligible language. It also gave me a start in speaking the language.

The συνοδος showed me what is possible with the language. Greek no longer feels daunting at all. The συνοδος shows me how much can be achieved with hard work and time.