Classical Greek Lookup

When studying Greek words, it is sometimes fun and beneficial to see how the words are used outside of the New Testament. One of the features of Logos Bible Software, version 3 is the ability to look up Greek words in the online Perseus database, which includes a wide variety of classical Greek texts, many with morphological and lexical tags, and some with English translations.

Let’s say you wanted to see references to crucifixion outside the New Testament. In this screenshot, I’ve right-clicked on σταυρόω – the verb form of ‘to crucify’ – in my lexicon (in this case BDAG), chosen ‘Selected Text’ and ‘Perseus Greek Word Lookup’. I could also have right-clicked the word in a Greek Bible and chosen ‘Selected Text’ and the ‘(Lemma)’ form instead. Of course, I may also want to run this lookup on related words, such as σταυρός – ‘cross’.

Here Perseus has provided some analysis of the word. Note the link to ‘Configure display’. Use this link to choose between displaying texts in transliteration or Unicode or some other Greek encoding. After some initial analysis, you can see hit counts by genre – in this case 92 hits in prose and 1 hit in poetry.

Clicking on ‘Greek Word Search’ will generate a concordance of the 93 hits of this word in the database, as seen below.

You can see hits in authors such as Josephus, Xenophon, Epictetus, Thucydides, and Appian. Clicking on the first line of each hit will open the Greek text to the larger context of the hit. Clicking on individual words will provide analysis to help you translate the passage. Sometimes a link to an English translation or Latin version is available as well.


  1. I often get the following error (in my web browser) when trying use this feature:
    Perseus Server Error
    The Perseus web server has encountered an error, probably due to a bad database on one of its servers. We are working to correct the problem. In the meantime, try reloading this page, or use one of the mirror sites:
    Berlin, Germany
    Chicago, IL
    Oxford, England

  2. Vincent Setterholm says

    Yes, sometimes the Perseus server seems over-worked, and one has to repeat the lookup. Usually waiting a few seconds and trying again once or twice will get you in.

  3. Damian McGrath says

    I’ve made some comments on the Beta Newsgroup concerning the use of the old Perseus site/structure. If one goes to (the Perseus 4.0) site, one never gets a server busy error. That’s why I use buttons to go to the new site as opposed to using the Perseus menu item.

  4. Vincent Setterholm says

    Thanks for the head’s-up, Damian. Perseus 4.0 wasn’t very far along when we designed this feature. We’ll take a look into seeing if we can automate links to the new version of the site instead.