Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Transliteration of Greek

Douglas M. MacDowell (1931-2010), review of Paul Cartledge et al., edd., Nomos: Essays in Athenian Law, Politics and Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), in Classical Review 41.2 (1991) 379-381 (at 381):
The book also includes a useful glossary of technical terms such as atimia and endeixis. Words of this kind are naturally printed in the Roman alphabet within an English text, but I must add a protest here at the use of that alphabet for other Greek quotations. If this is an attempt to make Greek intelligible to Greekless readers, it is an obvious failure. Anyone who does not understand καί μοι κάλει τούτων τοὺς μάρτυρας will not understand kai moi kalei touton marturas (p. 31), and even those who do know Greek may be puzzled by the vegetable appearance of ton onion (p. 172). I hope that all the authors of this book will make further contributions to our understanding of Greek law and society, but next time will they please write their quotations in the proper letters?

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