Searching for Happiness: Ancient Greek and Latin Summer School in Siracusa – 2021

Palazzo Francica Nava
Open to All
Team Taught
Summer 2021

Searching for Happiness; life and death in Greece and Rome

Classical languages Summer school in Siracusa, Italy

August 2-13 2021

Join us at the Exedra-Fonte Aretusa Classical languages Summer School on the idyllic island of Ortigia in Siracusa, city of Archimedes, to ‘search for happiness’ in the texts of some of the great writers in Greek and Latin, 

We offer two weeks of intensive instruction in Ancient Greek and Latin with our experienced and enthusiastic tutors in small classes where you will get individual attention, and learn more about the language and the ideas, philosophy and rhetoric of the texts; the search for happiness will looks at works by Homer, Plato and Lucretius.

 The program includes cultural and extra-curricular activities, offering students the opportunity to experience the art, architecture, and environment of one of the most important cities of the ancient Greek world.  Uniquely this year, because of Covid-19, the Greek plays are being held in the great Greek Theatre of Siracusa in July and August (usually in May and June), so participants will be able to see Bacchae by Euripides and The Clouds by Aristophanes in the extraordinary setting of the Neapolis Archaeological Park.

Study in the historic Palazzo Francica Nava, just steps from the 5th century BCE Temple of Athena, and a short walk from the 6th century Temple of Apollo—or the Cala Rossa beach, in case you are in the mood for a swim – and if you can’t find happiness in the texts, you’ll find it as you explore Ortigia! 

The Summer School is divided into two weeks of language and reading-based instruction. There will be two courses each week, with three hours of teaching for each course each day and students are expected to do extra hours of private study every day. Classes will be small so everyone can benefit from the full attention of the tutors.

During the first week, the Beginners class will focus on Greek grammar, syntax and basic constructions. 

The Intermediate / Advanced reading group will translate and discuss Homer’s Book 11 of The Odyssey.  

In the second week, the Greek reading group will translate and discuss texts by Plato, including exerpts from Protagoras, and the Latin reading group will translate and discuss De Rerum Natura by Lucretius.

The reading-classes will focus on reading the text in the original and then translating it, looking at the most important syntactical constructions and bringing up the grammar when necessary. At the same time, we will provide a philosophical and intertextual commentary which will focus on the rhetorical techniques and construction of the argument of the texts – the aim is to be able to understand the main ideas and the general philosophical concepts used.

In this way, we believe that all readers of Greek and Latin – intermediate and advanced – will be able to get a lot out of the classes and enrich them with their active participation. 

On-Line Option

We are now offering a hybrid format (part in-person – part on-line) because of the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation. The on-line classes will run from 3- 5 pm CEST Mon-Fri so if you are interested in on-line participation, please complete the registration form to show your interest, or contact

  • Dates
  • Monday 2nd August - Friday 6th August 2021Beginners Ancient Greek and Reading Ancient Greek - Homer The Odyssey, book 11
  • Monday 9th August - Friday 13th August 2021Reading Ancient Greek 2 - Plato - and Reading Latin - Lucretius

All courses will be taught in English by Dr. George Gazis and Dr. Chiara Blanco, with Prof. Heather Reid.

Dr. Gazis is Assistant Professor in Greek Literature at the Department of Classics and Ancient History, at Durham University. His research interests lie in Archaic Greek Poetry (mainly Homer), as well as Greek Lyric and Tragedy. He is the author of Homer and the poetics of Hades (OUP, 2018) and the editor of Aspects of Death in Greek Literature (LUP, forthcoming).

Dr. Blanco is a Research Lecturer in Classics at Trinity College, University of Oxford. Before joining Trinity, she was a Lecturer in Classics at Exeter College, Oxford, and she also taught Classics at Durham University and the University of Cambridge, where she also completed her PhD. Her main research interests lie in the intersections between ancient literature (Greek tragedy in particular) and medicine, and she is also interested in the role of the senses and emotions in Greek and Roman culture.

Prof. Reid is emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa USA and Scholar in Residence at Exedra Mediterranean Center in Siracusa, Sicily. She is a 2015 Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, 2018 Fellow of Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and 2019 Fulbright Scholar at the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. As founder of Fonte Aretusa, she promotes conferences and research on Western Greece. She has also published books and articles in ancient philosophy, philosophy of sport, and Olympic Studies, including Introduction to the Philosophy of Sport (2012), Athletics and Philosophy in the Ancient World (2011), and The Philosophical Athlete (2002, 2nd ed. 2019). 

Entry requirements

Adults (18+) with an interest in Ancient Greek, Latin, philosophy and classical literature.
Teaching groups will be small so students will benefit from workgin closely with the class tutors.

Text Books

Recommended Editions
Homer, The Odyssey, Oxford Classical Texts
Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book 3 Edited by E. J. Kenney, University of Cambridge
Plato, Protagoras, Edited by Nicholas Denyer, University of Cambridge

For Beginners Greek.
i. Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek, Oxford (optional).
ii. Oxford Greek Dictionary, Oxford (optional).

Other material will be provided by the course tutors.

How you study

Participants may choose to do one or two weeks of classes (running Monday to Friday)

The course will run with a minimum of 6 participants for each week and each course. Exedra reserves the right to cancel a course if numbers are not reached.

A typical weekday may look like this:
Morning – guided tour/activity
14.30 – 15.30 – Class
15.30 – 16.30 – Private study/Break
16.30 – 17.30 – Class
17.30 – 18.30 – Private study/Break
18.30 – 19.30 – Lecture/Workshop

Included Extras

Coffee breaks and light refreshments will be provided on weekdays, as will a welcome ‘apericena’ on Monday nights and a farewell dinner on Friday nights of both weeks. Participants will be taken on a guided tour of Ortigia to visit the temples of the Greek city and the most fascinating sites of the ‘island of the quails’. Orientation on arrival will include information about the course, the city and the latest Italian Covid-advice.

Additional Activities

Exedra will organises a range of activities from guided visits of archeological and historic sites, to aperitivi and cooking classes so participants can enjoy, not only the intense but stimulating lessons, but also the local culture and the wonderful setting of Ortigia.

Optional excusions

From 29-31 July, in conjunction with Fonte Aretusa Association, a three-day tour to Noto, Akrai, Morganina, Piazza Armerina and Agrigento. Fee for the trip includes private transport, two nights in hotels with breakfast, two group dinners, all entrance tickets and guide (min. 7 participants required).
From 7-8 August, an overnight trip to Acitrezza, Naxos, Taormina and Mount Etna. Fee for the trip includes private transport, one night in a hotel with breakfast, one group meal, all entrance tickets and guide (min. 7 participants required).

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