22 votes
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Learn Ancient Greek or Latin first?

Learning Latin is (generally speaking*) easier than Greek; you don't need to learn a new alphabet, and if you know a little bit of Italian, French or Spanish, you might recognize some of the words. ...
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19 votes

Can one translate ἀθάνατος as 'living' rather than 'immortal'?

"Living" is an undertranslation of "ἀθάνατος." "Living" has a straightforward translation from "ζῆν" (to live): the participle "ζῶν"; "ἀθάνατος," however, means "not mortal," as opposed to "not dead....
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16 votes
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Evidence about pronunciation of ευ and αυ in Homeric Greek?

I would go further than Draconis's answer and say that we can be pretty certain that these diphthongs were indeed diphthongs in Homer's time. Here are some additional arguments: The Homeric poems ...
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16 votes
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Is there any rule for determining whether a verb beginning with ε- will augment to η- vs ει-, or must all verbs' behaviors be memorized?

You'll basically have to memorise them, yes, though there are patterns. Both the η- in ἠλευθέρουν and the ει- in εἶχον represent a contraction of ε + ε, but the former is much older than the latter. ...
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16 votes
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Is there an English word derived from τάσσω, with a similar meaning of arranging/organising?

The word you are looking for would be taxonomy, from τάσσω, fut. τάξω, to arrange in a certain order, e.g. of troops. Τακτικός is that which is required for the arrangement: the tactics.
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  • 1,073
14 votes

Learn Ancient Greek or Latin first?

The best choice depends on various things, like your goals, the time available, your language background, the courses you could attend, and probably other factors that did not occur to me. I will give ...
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14 votes

Are "μπ" and "ντ" indicators that the word didn't exist in Koine/Ancient Greek?

No, there are plenty of ancient Greek words that have μπ and ντ in there somewhere. Two common words off the top of my head are ἀντί and πέμπω, thoroughly attested throughout ancient Greek. If you ...
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12 votes

Can one translate ἀθάνατος as 'living' rather than 'immortal'?

ἀθάνατος uses the privative ἀ- (from [ἀν-][2] = "not"). Adding the privative prefix to a noun makes a compound meaning "one who is without [noun]". Since θάνατος means death, ...
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12 votes
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Where does the final -ς in genitive feminine singularis -ᾱς/-ης/τῆς come from?

It's the other way around, actually: Latin lost this -s, and Greek retained it! In older Latin, and fossilized phrases like pater familiās "father of the household", you see the genitive ...
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12 votes
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Meaning of "τρίχας" in Anacreon's Περι Γέροντος

Accusative of respect: 'He's old/an old man with respect to his hair(s)' – i.e., his hair is that of an old man. Draconis has alluded to this in the other answer, but it's worth making explicit that ...
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12 votes
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Are "μπ" and "ντ" indicators that the word didn't exist in Koine/Ancient Greek?

Koiné Greek & earlier lacked initial <μπ>, <ντ>, or <γκ> although these strings are commonplace word-internally. There are however a small number of Modern Greek words beginning &...
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  • 236
11 votes

Can one translate ἀθάνατος as 'living' rather than 'immortal'?

Short answer: no, athanatos means "immortal", not just "living". Longer answer: compare the English word "immortal". It comes from the Latin in- ("not") + mort- ("death"). So you could argue ...
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11 votes
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Are there minimal pairs between the acute and circumflex accent?

Two examples come to mind: λῦσαι (aorist masculine imperative 2nd person singular, or aorist active infinitive, of λύω) contrasts with λύσαι (aorist active optative 3rd person singular of the same ...
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  • 1,312
11 votes

Meaning of "τρίχας" in Anacreon's Περι Γέροντος

To add on a bit to cnread's (completely valid) answer: this is a form that's also called the "accusative of body parts" or the "Greek accusative" (since it wasn't common in Latin ...
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Why -ώς in αἰδώς?

"Is this just a phonetic thing in this word, rather than a semantic one?" Yep. In fact, as Smyth says, αἰδώς is the only such "-οσ- stem" word in Attic. (In Homer you will also ...
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11 votes
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In the etymology of 'physics', what is the ultimate Greek root?

The Greek word for 'nature' was indeed φύσις. It is derived from the Greek word φύειν, which means 'to grow,' and was used for a variety of things, including natural appearance, natural character, and ...
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11 votes
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Greek quote source

The line is, in fact: Τα γ’αριστα ουδεν ημιν αμεινονα It would seem that, somewhere along the line, it has been transcribed incorrectly. I can just imagine a harried reporter hearing the line and ...
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10 votes

The pronunciation of Eta (η)

Sources that say Ancient Greek eta was pronounced like the vowel in English "delay" or "hair" are only providing a loose approximation of the vowel. Greek η was always a ...
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10 votes

Why no relative pronoun in ἄνθρωπος ἐξηραμμένην ἔχων τὴν χεῖρα?

Whether a relative pronoun is ‘needed’ depends, in part, on how the participles ἔχων and ἐξηραμμένην are functioning. ἐξηραμμένην (withered) is functioning as a verbal adjective, modifying τὴν χεῖρα (...
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10 votes

Are "μπ" and "ντ" indicators that the word didn't exist in Koine/Ancient Greek?

CMW is completely correct, but to add on a bit: The reason ΜΠ and ΝΤ are used for /b/ and /d/ nowadays is because, historically, the voiced stops Β Δ Γ turned into fricatives, and then later the ...
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10 votes
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Is Greek ἀρά, prayer, cognate with Latin ara, altar?

The etymology of ἀρά is unclear. There is an Arcadian inscriptional form καταρϝος which shows that it had a digamma (which actually confuses things further since if so, the Attic form should regularly ...
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10 votes
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Did Plato describe man as "a being in search of meaning"?

As is often the case with these quotes, it's actually a summary of a summary of Plato. We see an early version in Ernst Cassirer's 1944 essay An Essasy on Man: It is impossible—says Plato in the ...
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9 votes

Learn Ancient Greek or Latin first?

My suggestion is to study Greek and Latin together, calmly, step-by-step, in order to see the differences and similarities between the two grammars and their usual constructs. This is also the ...
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9 votes
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reference for the greek verb αγγελιαφορέω

As you mention, this is a reference to the scholia (i.e. line-by-line commentary) on Aeschylus's Prometheus Bound for a given line of the play. Using the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, I found the full ...
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9 votes
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The pronunciation of Eta (η)

As Asteroides has said, the "classical" pronunciation (from the fifth century BCE or thereabouts) is reconstructed as /ɛː/, a longer version of the vowel in English "red". However, ...
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On the Windows polytonic Greek keyboard, what is the difference between the accent on q and the accent on semicolon?

This page has some helpful info. On an English keyboard, the accent found on the semicolon renders a tonos (modern); the accent found on the Q renders an oxia (ancient). Basically, these two accents – ...
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9 votes

Where does the final -ς in genitive feminine singularis -ᾱς/-ης/τῆς come from?

You have it backwards. The sigma is original. From Sihler 263.7: Gen.sg. PIE *-es, *-os, *-s are all attested forms of the gen.sg. marker and all three would yield much the same results in the ...
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  • 39.4k
9 votes

Why -ώς in αἰδώς?

@TKR is right about the specific case of αἰδώς and mentioned the Attic declension, but there's more to say: there is a good number of Greek nouns ending in -ως even outside the Attic declension, and ...
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  • 6,159
9 votes
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What is the ancient Greek word for apprenticeship?

Yes, μαθητεία is a word that would certainly be understood in this context, though in practice it was usual to talk about someone being a μαθητής to someone rather than about μαθητεία in the abstract. ...
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9 votes
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What would "agenda" be in Ancient Greek?

The closest Greek equivalent to a Latin gerundive is one of the verbal adjectives ending in -τέος (formed on the aorist passive stem). Both ποιέω and πράττω – unlike ἄγω, as you note – are generally ...
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