A Brief History of Ancient Greek

A Brief History of Ancient Greek

Stephen Colvin

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 1405149256

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A Brief History of Ancient Greek accessibly depicts the social history of this ancient language from its Indo-European roots to the present day.

  • Explains key relationships between the language and literature of the Classical period (500 - 300 BC)
  • Provides a social history of the language which transliterates and translates all Greek as appropriate, and is therefore accessible to readers who know little or no Greek 
  • Written in the framework of modern sociolinguistic theory, relating the development of Ancient Greek to its social and political context
  • Reflects the latest thinking on subjects such as Koiné Greek and the relationship between literary and vernacular Greek











survives in the Constitution of the Athenians of an anonymous �commentator nicknamed the “Old Oligarch.” The writer implies that Athenian naval supremacy has been responsible for a range of decadent behaviors, including linguistic contagion: “Further, �hearing every type of language, they have taken one feature from here, another feature from there. Greeks on the whole use their own language, customs, and dress; but the Athenians use a mixed bag taken from all the Greeks and barbarians.”10 This

Thessalian myth in epic: Thebes is an important centre of Greek saga, and the great Iliadic hero Achilles comes from Thessaly. Thence the epic tradition crossed the Aegean to the eastern Aeolic region, where it remained in a dialect that was largely Aeolic until (a relatively short time before the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey) Ionic-speaking bards appropriated it and started to sing it (as far as they were able) in Ionic. Homeric and all subsequent epic poetry was composed in a dialect mixture that

the words to some extent): we have already come across some examples above. However, languages very often change the meanings of words, and drop words for no apparent reason (dropped words may be replaced by borrowings, or by other words which have been pressed into service, or which have had their �meanings extended). Words which are more likely to resist replacement include the so-called “core” vocabulary: numerals, body parts, family �members, and certain others. It is rare, however, for a

terms, such as hupatos “highest” for consul, and Sebastos “reverend” for the imperial title Augustus. These did not, on the whole, survive into the modern language owing to their specificity. At the same time, however, Greek took over a number of Latin words which made themselves at home in the language: The depth of the engagement of the vernacular with Latin is also shown by the borrowing of a number of Latin suffixes. These �endings (morphemes) were used to create nouns and adjectives out of

Trojan war Tsakonian Turkic Turkish Tyrtaios of Sparta, language of Ugarit script Varro Ventris, Michael Vergil Vlach West Greek, dialect group see also Doric; Northwest Greek women, language of Xenophon Xouthos, son of Hellen

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