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Review of Easy Selections Adapated from Xenophon

It's rather a shame, I think, that this book appears to not have any reviews on Goodreads and seems to be, overall, somewhat forgotten. I have seen it recommended by a few people, but definitely not as many as I had hoped. The reason behind this, I believe, is partly due to its age, since it was published in the mid-19th century. Modern reprints are available on various online sites, but I find them to be rather costly for what they are — reprints of a public domain book with nothing added to it.

I find it a shame mostly because these adapted readings are absolutely blissful for those who have only just begun studying the language. A few things have been left out from the original, but it follows the original closely enough so that finding the corresponding passages in the original text should not prove too difficult a task. Additionally, the readings are, as the preface to the first edition puts it, […] somewhat graduated, so that the beginning is made still easier than the rest[.][…]. This approach is, I find, somewhat reminiscent of the great Lingua Latīna Per Sē Illūstrāta though to a much lesser extent than that, of course.
Quick side-note for those wishing to have an experience similar to that of LLPSI, I highly recommend Seumas MacDonald's Lingua Graeca Per Se Illustrata which is an open-source project whose goal it is to be similar to LLPSI. It can be found under the following URL: https://seumasjeltzz.github.io/LinguaGraecaPerSeIllustrata

Putting that digression aside, this somewhat graded approach is a fantastic way of slowly having learners approach the language without feeling too overwhelmed right away; and, indeed, this appears to have been the writer's intention, as the preface states — referring to the traditional approach of […] Grammar or Delectus-work […] — that […][h]e [referring to the learner] is simply baffled and bewildered by having too many difficulties thrust on him at once, and either buys a word for word translation, or simply looks out the words without trying to connect them and discover a meaning. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement and fully agree that such an approach is much superior.

Attic Greek is the first ancient and dead language I have studied — if one does not count my rather short-lived dabbling in Sanskrit — and I have thus tried to change my learning habits accordingly. Whereas with the other, still living, languages that I have learnt I attempted to get a lot of audio input whilst also trying to have as many simple conversations as possible; in Greek, I endeavoured to fully pass up on the auditory and conversational part and, instead, delve straight into reading texts as soon as possible. I was, perhaps, a tad overambitious when I attempted to read Geoffrey Steadman's Xenophon's Anabasis Book 1: Greek Text with Facing Vocabulary and Commentary after only a few weeks' study; but having these adapted selections of Xenophon's greatly simplified that task to the point of me finding it rather simple to go through the book now — albeit line by line. I can frequently grasp the overall meaning of a sentence of the original Anabasis and uncertainties can generally be cleared by reading the corresponding portion of the adapted readings.

And thus, to end this review, I would like to say that this is a great book, both on its own, but especially when used with the original text with comments and vocabulary help.