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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 February, 2004, 11:11 GMT
It's all Greek to Harry Potter
Classics teacher Andrew Wilson
Andrew Wilson had a one-year deadline for the translation
A teacher has translated the first Harry Potter book into classical Greek.

Classics teacher Andrew Wilson, from Bedford, says it is the longest text to have been translated into the ancient language in 1,500 years.

Mr Wilson spent a year on the project, which was commissioned by the publishers.

The book will come out later this year, along with the Irish Gaelic version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Mr Wilson said: "I read an article in the Daily Telegraph which said they were looking for someone to translate into classical Greek. On a whim, I wrote to the publisher and said 'I can do that' as a kind of joke."

"I think what the official line is, is that it can be used in schools to encourage people to learn Greek. Having got kids reading English, JK Rowling is quite keen to have them reading Latin and reading Greek.

"I've really no idea who's going to read it, but a lot of my classical friends said they were looking forward to it."

Child in class
Pupils were bemused by the translation at story time

He said his model for Harry Potter has been Lucian, a writer from the 3rd century AD, who is "not much read in schools".

"I suppose he thinks of himself as a philosopher, with science fiction thrown in."

Mr Wilson said writing the book had its challenges.

"Everybody asked me, what's the Greek for Quidditch?

"What's the Greek for bludger and snitch and all these other technical terms that JK Rowling has invented?"

'Pomegranate tree'

The classics teacher had to use descriptions of the characters and the unique vocabulary used in the book in his translation.

In his work, Harry Potter is translated as "warrior goblet", While red-haired Ron Weasley's name is translated as "pomegranate tree"

The classics teacher showed the ancient Greek version for the first time this week at Scott School in Bedford, where he read to the children.

One of the pupils told BBC Look East: "I didn't know what he was saying, but I did recognise a couple of words and it did make us laugh."

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