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Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Ancient Greek

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded
In brief... header image

Leaving Certificate Ancient Greek is concerned with the study of the language, literature, history, art and architecture of Ancient Greece. The emphasis is very much on the reading of the great writers such as Homer, Plato, Sophocles and Euripides. Students at higher level are required to do composition from the vernacular into Greek and to read greater quantities of Greek literature than students at ordinary level.

Why Study this?header image

What kind of student might Ancient Greek suit?

  • Students who achieved good grades in Junior Cert Greek. Otherwise, this subject will require a lot of catching up.
  • Students who are interested in ancient Greek culture, philosophy, myths, or history.
  • Anyone with an interest in how languages develop and the origin of words.


It would be difficult to take up this subject for the first time at senior cycle if you have not already studied it for the Junior Cert.

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Course Overview header image

Students of Greek as a Leaving Cert subject study the language of ancient Greece, as well as Greek culture, philosophy, dramas, legends, gods, art, architecture and history. All of the above have had a massive influence on modern society and culture.

Ancient Greek is assessed by written examination. There are separate ordinary level and higher level papers.

Course Contentheader image

Ordinary Level Course

(a) Scansion: (confined to the lambic Trimeter and the Hexameter).
(b) Prescribed Texts: - Prescribed in a given year by the examining authority
(c) Unprescribed Text:
(d) History: (including Art and Literature):
(e) Three Passages from the Works of the Following Authors*:

Xenophon, Thucydides, Homer, Euripides, the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.

(i) The period from the beginning of the Peloponnesian War to the death of Alexander the Great. Questions of a general nature will also be set on Athenian and Spartan constitutional history and institutions, from their origin to the end of the fifth century B.C.
(ii) Literary questions of a general nature will be set on the life and works
(including their relevant background) of the major Greek authors from Homer to Aristotle. A study should also be made of the art of the Greeks. Questions of a general nature will be set and candidates will be expected, through the use of film strips and modern illustrations to have an acquaintance with examples of sculpture, archaic and classical (including architectural sculpture), the architecture of temples, the Attic black and red figure vase paintings.

Higher Level Course

(a) Translation into Greek from an idiomatic passage in the vernacular.
(b) Scansion (confined to lambic Trimeter, the Hexameter and Trochaic Tetrameter)
(c) Prescribed Texts: - Prescribed in a given year by the examining authority 
(d) Unprescribed Text:
(e) Three Passages from the Works of the Following Authors:

Xenophon, Thucydides, Homer, Euripides, the Four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, the works of Sophocles and Plato (simpler dialogues), Herodotus.

(f) History (including Art and Literature):

*The list of authors given is an indication of the range of suitable material. Four passages will be set on the ordinary level paper and candidates will be required to translate three of these four passages.

On the higher level paper candidates will be required to select three out of four passages set.
Vocabulary aid will be provided in the case of all unprescribed passages appearing on the examination papers.

From the questions set in this section of the examination paper, candidates will be required to answer three and at least one of the three will be chosen from (i) and from (ii).

Exam Structure header image

Ancient Greek is assessed by written examination. There are separate ordinary level and higher level papers.

Allocation of marks:

Ordinary Level

Prescribed Text:

Translation                                 60
Questions                                   40
Named Authors and Works          (70 x 3)
History, Art and Literature:         (30 x 3)

Higher Level

Translation into Greek                 50
Questions                                   30
Named Authors and Works:         (60 x 3)
History, Art, Literature:               (30 x 3)

Career Possibilities header image

This subject would be of particular interest for anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in Languages, Journalism, Law, Politics, Public Administration, or Teaching.

Career Guidance