Classical Composition: Chreia/Maxim I


Wednesdays and Fridays at 9AM

Price: $400US


To register, call 215-987-2655. 

Course Description

What if your child could have the same training as the greatest writers and speakers of all time? These giants of history learned their art through a system called the progymnasmata, which taught them how to effectively communicate and persuade their audiences – a necessary skill in any time period. These days, being able to clearly articulate the tenets of our Orthodox Faith is more needed than ever. The progymnasmata will teach your children to express themselves clearly through writing and speech, so that they might convincingly convey the Truth to others.
The third progymnasma is the Chreia/Maxim.

Learning Objectives

In this course, students will

  • learn to write a persuasive essay about a saying from a famous figure (chreia) or proverb (maxim) using the six heads of development (encomium, paraphrase. cause, converse, analogy, example, testimony, and epilogue)
  • learn and practice new grammatical rules
  • continue to practice using the three plot components
  • continue to practice using the six narrative components
  • continue to practice word and sentence variation
  • continue to practice outlining
  • continue to practice paraphrasing
  • continue to practice using the eighteen figures of description
  • continue to practice using  twelve classical figures of speech

Textbooks and Other Resources

Classical Composition: Chreia/Maxim Student Book, James A. Selby:

English Grammar Recitation III Student Book:

Nota Bene: Students are expected to come to class prepared with a pencil and notebook dedicated to this class.

Instructional Format: Two will be held each week in real-time, using the Zoom web conferencing system.

Office Hours: In addition to the required live meetings, the instructors will hold “office hours” each week. Office hours will be conducted using Zoom and will be by appointment.

Anticipated Assignments and Exercises

In the live classes, under the guidance of the instructor, the students will learn and grammatical concepts, and discuss the chreias and maxims and complete exercises cementing knowledge of the heads of development. 

For homework, students will practice what has been learned in class and complete various portions of their persuasive essays. 


The grading in this course will follow a more elementary/middle school model. Since students are completing exercises and participating in classroom activities, they will be graded on how well they have completed their exercises and on their participation in class.

Class attendance and participation – 15%

Homework – 15%

Quizzes – 20%

Heads of development – 20% 

Final– 30%

Vasilios Asimakos was born the son of Greek immigrants in Lowell, Massachusetts, where he developed a deep love of reading and writing from an early age. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2009 with degrees in English and Theatre. After spending a few years as a professional actor in Boston and Los Angeles, he discovered his true passion was Classical Christian Education. Along with teaching at the Initiative, he teaches 12th Grade Rhetoric and 6th Grade Literature and Composition at a Classical Christian School in Greenville, South Carolina. He, his wife Seraphima, and his daughter Maria attend St. Philaret of New York Orthodox Church in Greenville.