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2014 Notes from the Marking Centre – Classical Greek Extension


This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Classical Greek Extension course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2014 Higher School Certificate examination, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.

This document should be read along with:

Section I – Prescribed Text – Homer, Odyssey VI, VII and VIII

Characteristics of better responses:

  • translations of the extract demonstrated a thorough understanding of the many Homeric forms in the extract (Q.1)
  • a thorough knowledge of where each extract fits in the narrative and a clear understanding of how Nausicaa was prompted to approach her father (Q.2ai) was demonstrated and clear relevant details which outlined the extract (Q.2bi) were included
  • a thorough knowledge of the Greek text was demonstrated to explain how the extract conveys the nature of the relationship between Nausicaa and her father (Q.2aii) and how the language contributes to the dramatic effect at this point in the narrative (Q.2aiii)
  • a thorough knowledge of Books VI–VIII was demonstrated
  • arguments were presented convincingly and points were substantiated with specific reference to Books VI–VIII (Q.3).

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • there were a number of mistakes made when translating the seen extract, for example:
    • they did not understand that Athene ‘stood in front of him’ (line 21)
    • ‘therefore’ was often omitted (line 25) as was ‘in turn’ (line 27)
    • ‘they inhabit this city and its tilled fields’ was misunderstood, (line 26), as was ‘for these men do not tolerate strangers very much’ (line 32) and ‘but go quite silently’ (line 30)
    • the prohibition in line 31 was translated as a negative purpose clause and the indefinite construction at the end of line 33 was misunderstood
    • at the end of line 35 the Earth-shaker has granted them to cross the great open sea, but this was often misunderstood to mean that he has given the great open sea
  • candidates relied on general knowledge related to the extract rather than a thorough understanding of the Classical Greek (Q.2bii)
  • candidates relied on some general knowledge of Odysseus and his reception at the palace, rather than focusing on what the question asked, that is explaining how the characteristics Odysseus displays in his encounter with Nausicaa foreshadow the way in which he gains acceptance in the palace of Alcinous (Q.3).

Section II – Non-prescribed Text

Characteristics of better responses:

  • in their translations, candidates paid close attention to every word in the Classical Greek text and demonstrated an excellent knowledge of both the vocabulary and the Homeric forms.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • there were grammatical mistakes in the translations, for example, there was no recognition of the verb in line 29 as being present not future, the purpose clause at the end of line 31, that the last word of line 33 is a present participle not aorist, or the force of an in line 39
  • candidates also misinterpreted parts of the text, for example, ‘dead men’ instead of ‘mortal men’ (line 32) was provided, no understanding of ‘in their hearts’ and ‘as a god’ (line 36), ‘an abundance of gold’ (line 38), ‘nor did he disobey’ (line 43), ‘he bound his beautiful sandals under his feet’ (line 44), and that the sandals are ‘immortal (and) golden’ (line 45)
  • the circumstances referred to by Zeus in the extract itself were not identified (Q.4av).
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