Easy Ancient Greek Texts for Beginners

Here is a list of easy Ancient Greek texts that are suitable for beginners. I have included some “classics” (like Xenophon) as well as some less known authors. Peruse the list and pick the ones you find most interesting. But first a word of warning…

What does “easy” Ancient Greek actually mean?

It is likely that not all texts here will be “easy” for you: And that’s OK! Ancient Greek is a complex language that developed over hundreds of years, and what is “easy” for you depends a lot on the form of Greek you learned (Attic, Koine, Homeric) as well as your personal background (Do you know modern Greek already? Latin? Ancient culture in general? The myths?…).

Almost all original Ancient Greek texts were written for native speakers, so even the “easy” ones will prove challenging for modern day language learners. Don’t despair! If Xenophon is too difficult for you now, maybe just pick another book from the level 1 or 2 category below, read it first, and then come back to Xenophon. He will still be waiting for you, no need to hurry.

And whatever you do: Just keep reading! If you read some Ancient Greek every day (even if it is just for ten minutes), you will get better. I promise.

Level 1
Complete Beginner

For whom?

  • you are still learning the basics of grammar
  • you have not yet finished an introductory class or textbook

Suggested texts


Even while you are studying with one textbook, you can read other textbooks to strengthen the concepts you are learning.

  • Ancient Greek Alive by Paula Saffire (contains simple, (mostly) entertaining stories and skits in Ancient Greek: highly recommended)
  • Athenaze by Maurice Balme, Gilbert Lawall, and James Morwood (if you live in Europe, you might want to get the expanded Italian edition)
  • Speaking Ancient Greek as a Living Language by Christophe Rico (good if you want to learn Koine/New Testament Greek)
  • Alexandros by W.H.D. Rouse/Mario Díaz Ávila (this is a shortened, illustrated version of Rouse’s A Greek Boy at Home; “Alexandros” is easier to understand than Rouse, but the Greek is a bit odd at times)
  • Thrasymachus by C.W.E. Peckett
  • Griechischer Lehrgang by Günther Zuntz (contains only original texts, in snippet form; a bit dry for some tastes because all the snippets are taken out of context, but other students love it)



  • Anacreon 21 (Ἡ γῆ μέλαινα πίνει…)

Level 2
Advanced Beginner

For whom?

  • you have just finished an introductory class/textbook
  • at university/college level: you have just finished the first term (non university: ca. 6 months of intensive study)

Suggested Texts



Varia/Daily Life

Philosophical Texts


  • Greek Anthology (a vast collection of epigrams; the epigrams are often not per se “easy” but they are short and, mostly, interesting; if you don’t know where to start, try book 5)

Level 3

For whom?

  • you have studied for about a year at university level
  • you feel comfortable with the books from level 2

Suggested Texts




  • The Life of Aesop (Βίος Αἰσώπου)
  • The Life or Alexander (Βίος Ἀλεξάνδρου)
  • The Life of Secundus the Philosopher (Βίος Σεκούνδου φιλοσόφου)


Ancient Novels

  • Chariton’s Callirhoe
  • Xenophon’s Ephesian Tale
  • Longus’ Daphnis & Chloe



Which are your favorite Ancient Greek books for beginners? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Hi Jenny,

    You may not remember that I once studied Sappho online under your guidance. I also did about half of ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ with Kosta Hadavas which led to a posting entitled ‘Something comparatively easy to read in Ancient Greek’ at http://wp.me/pBfTB-2HM. Interestingly enough, there’s not a *great deal* of overlap. I’ll put a link to your posting there anyway!

    With very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


    • χαῖρε, Howard!
      Thanks a lot for your post (and yes, of course I remember you! I don’t have that many Londoners who are fluent in Russian and a dozen other languages in my Ancient Greek classes ;)). The selection you made in your blog post sounds very good, thanks for posting this! Would you mind if I were to update my post a bit based on yours? In the long run, I hope to gather as many ideas as possible since this question (What can I read?) is so fundamental for every student of Ancient Greek.
      Merry Christmas to you, too!

  2. Hi Jenny,

    Thanks for the reply.

    Of course you can use any material from my posting that you find useful! I also posted something about your (and my) researches on various classics-related resources, so you might have got some traffic from that.

    Did you know that you can not only read ‘A Greek boy at home’ for free online but also consult all of the vocabulary in the free sample at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rouses-Greek-William-Henry-Denham/dp/1585103241 ?

    With very best wishes,


  3. χαῖρε, ὦ βελτίστη! πάντα ταῦτα ἃ λέγεις καλῶς ἔχει περὶ τῶν ῥᾳδίων βιβλίων ἑλληνιστί. νῦν δὲ χαίρω σφόδρα τὸ σὸν βιβλίον ἀναγιγνώσκων, χάριν οὖν σοι οἶδα τοῦτο γράφουσῃ! ἄλλα δὲ καὶ βιβλία ἐστὶν ὥσπερ “ὁ Λόγος” ὑπὸ τοῦ Cultura Clasica ἐν τῇ Ἰσπανίᾳ, καὶ “ὁ Κατάσκοπος” τε καὶ “ἡ Λευκανθία καὶ ὁ Μήροδαξ”: https://bibliothecafactorum.wordpress.com καὶ “ὁ Ἑρμῆς Πάντα Κλέπτει” ὑπὸ τοῦ John Foulk: https://www.lulu.com/shop/john-foulk-and-mahkeda-kellman/hermes-panta-kleptei/paperback/product-wq5eqm.html?page=1&pageSize=4 ἆρα ταῦτα τὰ βιβλία ἀνέγνωκας;

  4. χαῖρε, Jenny!

    Congratulations on your new website. Best wishes for 2024!
    You already have it on your reading list of Easy text, but I have found Thrasymachus to be a very useful addition to the more traditional textbooks (Athenaze, Reading Greek etc). While working through Athenaze I also read the stories in Thrasymachus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *