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I work at a large urban university.  Our academic buildings are surrounded by rowhouses and brownstones bearing the signatures of the fraternities and sororities housed within.  Once, while out taking a lunchtime stroll, I found myself walking behind a couple who was visiting the campus.  “What fraternity is that?” said the woman, pausing in front of a corner building.  “Oh that’s uh…” and here the man paused to gaze upon the Greek letters, before confidently replying, “Zeta Eta Nu.”  Both satisfied by this answer, the couple resumed their walk.

The building they had paused in front of was the house of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

I have to admit, I reluctantly admired the certainty with which that man had delivered such a spectacularly wrong answer.

Could you have identified that fraternity more accurately?  Take today’s Pop Quiz to test your Greek knowledge!

QUESTION: What are the names of these Greek characters? (given in both upper- and lower-case here)

  1. Γγ
  2. Ππ
  3. Λλ
  4. Ψψ
  5. Ωω
  6. Ββ
  7. Μμ
  8. Ζζ
  9. Σσ
  10. Θθ

Bonus:  Here is a picture of me gaping at an important artifact.  One of the scripts on this stone is Greek.  What are the other two?
staring at the Rosetta Stone

ANSWERS: (for reference, look here)

  1. Gamma
  2. Pi
  3. Lambda
  4. Psi
  5. Omega
  6. Beta
  7. Mu
  8. Zeta
  9. Sigma
  10. Theta

Bonus: That artifact is the Rosetta Stone.  The three scripts on the stone are Greek, demotic Egyptian, and Egyptian hieroglyphs.  I wrote about my pilgrimage to the British Museum here!


How did you do?  If you’ve never studied ancient Greek, how did you know as much as you did?


Copyright Allison Taylor-Adams.  See About for details.