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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ancient Greek
Ἑλληνική
Hellēnikḗ
Account of the construction of Athena Parthenos by Phidias.jpg
Inscription about the construction of the statue of Athena Parthenos in the Parthenon, 440/439 BC
Region eastern Mediterranean
Era 9th century BCE to the 6th century AD
Indo-European
Greek alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-2 grc
ISO 639-3 grc (includes all pre-modern stages)
Glottolog anci1242[1]
Homeric Greece-en.svg
 Beginning of Homer's Odyssey
Beginning of Homer's Odyssey

Ancient Greek includes the forms of Greek used in ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period (9th to 6th centuries BC), Classical period (5th and 4th centuries BC), and Hellenistic period (3rd century BC to the 6th century AD). It is antedated in the second millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek.

The language of the Hellenistic phase is known as Koine (common). Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it closely resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects.

Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians, playwrights, and philosophers. It has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article primarily contains information about the Epic and Classical phases of the language.

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Transcription

From metal bulls roasting people to death to philosophers in barrels, here are ten crazy things the ancient Greeks did. 10. Milo of Croton The Ancient Greeks invented progressive strength training. Milo of Croton won six Olympiads in the wrestling events. He also won multiple times at the Pythian Games, Isthmian Games, and Nemean Games. Milo loved to show off his strength and dexterity. According to sources, his favorite trick was to hold a pomegranate and have people try to take it from him. No one was strong enough to take the pomegranate from him and he also managed to not damage the fruit. How did he gain such prodigious strength and skill? According to popular legend, Milo noticed a newborn calf near his home. He decided to lift the animal and carry it on his shoulders. He returned the next day and did it again. He did it every day until the calf grew to a four-year-old bull. Thus was progressive strength training born. Here’s another wild athlete story. Theagenes of Thasos was a formidable fighter who won over 1,300 bouts over his two decade career. He even won a crown for long-distance running in the city of Argos. As a boxer, he was never defeated. According to legend, years after his death, a vandal tried to deface a statue honoring Theagenes. The bronze statue broke in half and crushed the would-be criminal. 9. Birth Control by Sneezing The Ancient Greeks had various forms of birth control. Some forms involved certain herbs and plants, which worked very well. However, one physician, Soranus, advised women to do something a little odd. After intercourse, women were told to squat and sneeze to avoid becoming pregnant. He also suggested jumping up and down to dislodge the sperm. If that’s not crazy enough for you, the website Snopes.com was still debunking the “jump up and down” method of birth control as recently as 2007. 8. Brazen Bull In the 6th century BC, a brass worker named Perilaus of Athens created a large, hollow bull made of brass and gave it to a ruler named Phalaris. A door on the side of the bull allowed a man to climb into the sculpture. Once the door was closed, a fire could be lit from underneath and slowly roast the person to death. But it doesn’t end there. In the head of the bull was a series of stops and pipes that transformed the screams of the person into “the tenderest, most pathetic, most melodious of bellowings”. Phalaris was far from impressed. So disgusted by the cruelty of the piece, he asked Perilaus to climb into the bull and demonstrate the capabilities of the pipes. Once inside, Phalaris shut the door and ordered a fire lit beneath the bull. He reportedly said, “Receive the due reward of your wondrous art; let the music-maker be the first to play.” Before Perilaus died, they removed him from the bull and threw him off a cliff. Despite Phalaris’s disgust, the brazen bull became the most common form of execution in Ancient Greece. Here’s an extra fact. Phalaris was a tyrant ruling in Acragas in Sicily from 570 BC to 554. He’s known for several building projects but he did have a cruel streak that made him the proverbial “evil tyrant”. According to legend, after he was overthrown by a general, the new ruler ordered Phalaris to die by roasting to death inside the brazen bull. 7. Victorious Corpse Did you know? Cheating was a huge problem in Ancient Greek sport, just like today. Most of the time, it was the usual bribery or foul moves during games. Here is a picture of a scene on a kylix depicting two pankratists fighting. One of them is trying to gouge out the eye of his opponent while simultaneously biting. The umpire is preparing to strike the fighter for the foul. Some fighters would find an easier way and try to curse or hex their opponents using “curse tablets” to make them lose. An event held during the Olympic Games was the pankration, which was a mixed martial arts style that blended boxing and wrestling. Most famous of the pankratists was Arrhachion. During the 54th Olympiad in 564 BC, Arrhachion entered the pankration to defend his championship. However, his opponent got the better of him and put Arrachion into a chokehold. It is said Arrhachion’s trainer shouted, “What a fine funeral if you do not submit at Olympia”. Arrhachion responded by twisting and kicking his opponent’s foot and dislocating it. The pain forced his opponent to surrender. Unfortunately, the move broke Arrhachion’s neck. Despite that, the judges named Arrhachion the victor. In death, he successfully defended his title. His fame spread as people held him up as the athletic ideal. Geographer Pausanias mentioned a statue immortalizing Arrhachion during his description of Phigalia, making it the oldest victor statue ever recorded. 6. Throw an Apple Throughout history, there have been dozens of ways for one person to declare love to another. The Ancient Greeks put an interesting twist on it: they threw apples. According to Greek myth, Eris, the goddess of discord, was upset that no one invited her to the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. True to her nature, she threw a golden apple inscribed with the words “to the most beautiful” into the wedding party. Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite all claimed the apple. For whatever reason, they chose Paris of Troy to select the recipient. Hera and Athena bribed him, but Aphrodite offered the best prize: the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta. Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite, claimed Helen, and started the Trojan War. Isn’t that romantic? From then on, Greeks considered the apple sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Throwing an apple was the symbolic way of declaring love and catching it meant you reciprocated the person’s feelings. 5. Philosopher in a Barrel Diogenes of Sinope is a larger than life figure who we know little about with any certainty. He left behind no writings or other first-hand accounts. Most of what we know comes from legend and theory. If half of this was true, he must have been a fascinating figure. Diogenes immigrated from modern-day Turkey to Athens in the 4th century BC because he and his father may have been defacing money. Diogenes fled before authorities arrested him. Why he defaced money remains a mystery. Anyway, Athens at the time was the center of Greek philosophy and Diogenes fell in love with the teachings of Antisthenes, who preached asceticism and simplicity. At first, Antisthenes was unimpressed by Diogenes and tried to chase him away with a stick. Eventually, though he relented and took Diogenes on as a pupil. In an effort to fully live this new philosophy, Diogenes gave away all of his possessions save a stick, a cloak, and a bread bag. He lived in a barrel, urinated in public, and did everything he could do to show that happiness was not found in wealth or possessions but in oneself and in pure honesty. People thought he lived like a dog, so they called him a “cynic”, which meant “canine”. His philosophy, therefore, became known as “cynicism”. Diogenes’ story doesn’t end here. Pirates captured him during a voyage to Aegina and took him to Corinth, where he lived until dying around the age of 90. How he died is a thing of legend. Some say he died from a dog bite, others that he ate some bad octopus, and still others say he held his breath until dying. Most historians think it was just old age. Diogenes requested that his friends throw his remains to the dogs but they gave him a proper burial, placing a marble pillar and a statue of a dog over his grave. Want to hear a funny story? One day, Diogenes sat by his barrel to enjoy the sun. Alexander the Great approached him and asked if he could do anything for the famous philosopher. Diogenes replied, “Yes. Step to one side. You’re blocking the sun.” 4. Figging Those of you who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey might also enjoy this. Otherwise, you might want to skip this number. A BDSM practice today, figging began as a Greek practice for horses, called “gingering”. Ginger was placed into the anus of a horse to cause the horse to hold its tail up high. At some point, someone decided to use it as a punishment for female slaves and it became known as “figging”. A skinned ginger root was inserted into the anus or vagina, causing a burning sensation. The slave was then restrained so she could not remove the root. Interestingly, the practice of figging as a punishment was carried on until the Victorian era, when the same was done to female prisoners. Did you know? Slaves filled in important gaps in the workforce because working for money, outside of a government job, was frowned upon. Slaves worked as cooks, artisans, maids, miners, nurses, porters, and even in the army as attendants to their masters, baggage carriers, and sometimes as fighters. The weirdest example? The police in Athens during part of the fifth and fourth centuries BC consisted mostly of Scythian slaves. 3. Red Lipstick In ancient Greece, if a woman wore red lipstick, it meant she was a prostitute as it was seen as extremely sexually suggestive. Most women during this time avoided makeup altogether. The lipstick was often made from a combination of dye, wine, sheep sweat, human saliva, and crocodile excrement. Because it was a mark of prostitution, it also led to the first law concerning lipstick. If a prostitute appeared on the street during the wrong hours of the day or without the required lip color, she could be fined for posing as a lady. 2. Naked Exercise When we think of the term “gymnasium”, we think of exercise, basketball courts, and sweating. The word we use, though, has a double meaning. It comes from a Greek noun that meant “a place to exercise” and “a place to be naked”. In Ancient Greece, men exercised in the nude. They believed that doing so honored the gods. In fact, the practice was so beloved that when someone tried to introduce loincloths, they were vehemently refused. The Greek gymnasium, however, was more than a place to work out. It functioned as a sort of men’s club, where they discussed politics and philosophies of the day. Young boys and older men met and became lovers in gymnasiums. It was an accepted practice of Ancient Greek life because the older man was supposed to act as a mentor for the boy. 1. Burning the Temple The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was built around 550 BC. The temple was 350 feet by 180 feet. The statue of Artemis was made of gold, ebony, silver, and black stone. A garment decorated with reliefs of animals and bees covered the legs and hips. Wonderful works of art adorned the interior of the temple. A young Ephesian man named Herostratus wanted his name remembered throughout history. On July 21, 356, he set fire to the wooden furnishings of the mostly stone building and put rags placed in key places throughout the sanctuary so it would burn faster. By morning, only the pillars were left behind. The Ephesians were so enraged that, after executing Herostratus, they made a law to strike Herostratus’ name from all record and make it illegal to speak his name. However, a non-Ephesian historian named Theopompus recorded the arsonist’s name. The date is also important as it was the same night Alexander the Great was born. Legend has it that Artemis was so preoccupied by the birth of Alexander, she didn’t notice her own great temple burning. Ephesians rebuilt the temple, only for it to be destroyed again later, by the Goths.

Contents

Dialects

Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects. The main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic, Arcadocypriot, and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions. Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions.

There are also several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek (derived primarily from Ionic and Aeolic) used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", and in later poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects.

History

Idioma griego antiguo.png
Ancient Greek Language

The origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period. They have the same general outline, but differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period[2] is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups already existed in some form.

Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not later than 1120 BC, at the time of the Dorian invasion(s)—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BC. The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the later Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians.

The Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians, Aeolians, and Ionians (including Athenians), each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, and Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation.

One standard formulation for the dialects is:[3]

 Distribution of Greek dialects in Greek in the classical period.[4] Western group:   Doric proper   Northwest Doric   Achaean Doric Central group:   Aeolic   Arcado-Cypriot Eastern group:   Attic   Ionic
Distribution of Greek dialects in Greek in the classical period.[4]
Western group: Central group:
  Aeolic
Eastern group:
  Attic
  Ionic

West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic (or Attic-Ionic) and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Often non-west is called East Greek.

Arcadocypriot apparently descended more closely from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.

Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, and can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian likewise had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree.

Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence.

Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions, generally equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric (including Cretan Doric), Southern Peloponnesus Doric (including Laconian, the dialect of Sparta), and Northern Peloponnesus Doric (including Corinthian).

The Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek.

All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, and these colonies generally developed local characteristics, often under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects.

The dialects outside the Ionic group are known mainly from inscriptions, notable exceptions being fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos and the poems of the Boeotian poet, Pindar.

After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed, largely based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect slowly replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, which is spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has also passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century AD, the Koine had slowly metamorphosized into Medieval Greek.

Related languages

Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language closely related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: possibly a dialect of Greek; a sibling language to Greek; or a close cousin to Greek, and perhaps related to some extent, to Thracian and Phrygian languages. The Pella curse tablet is one of many finds that support the idea that the Ancient Macedonian language is closely related to the Doric Greek dialect.[5]

Phonology

Differences from Proto-Indo-European

Ancient Greek differs from Proto-Indo-European and other Indo-European languages in certain ways. In phonotactics, Ancient Greek words could end only in a vowel or /n s r/; final stops were lost, as in γάλα "milk", compared with γάλακτος "of milk" (genitive). Ancient Greek of the classical period also differed in phonemic inventory:

  • PIE *s became /h/ at the beginning of a word (debuccalization): Latin sex, English six, Ancient Greek ἕξ /héks/.
  • PIE *s was elided between vowels after an intermediate step of debuccalization: Sanskrit janasas, Latin generis (where s > r by rhotacism), Greek *genesos > *genehos > Ancient Greek γένεος (/géneos/), Attic γένους (/génoːs/) "of a kind".
  • PIE *y /j/ became /h/ (debuccalization) or /(d)z/ (fortition): Sanskrit yas, Ancient Greek ὅς "who" (relative pronoun); Latin iugum, English yoke, Ancient Greek ζυγός /zygós/.
  • PIE *w, which occurred in Mycenaean and some non-Attic dialects, was lost: early Doric ϝέργον, English work, Attic Greek ἔργον /érgon/.
  • PIE and Mycenaean labiovelars changed to plain stops (labials, dentals, and velars) in the later Greek dialects: for instance, PIE *kʷ became /p/ or /t/ in Attic: Attic Greek ποῦ /pôː/ "where?", Latin quō; Attic Greek τίς /tís/, Latin quis "who?".
  • PIE "voiced aspirated" stops *bʰ dʰ ǵʰ gʰ gʷʰ were devoiced and became the aspirated stops φ θ χ /pʰ tʰ kʰ/ in Ancient Greek.

Phonemic inventory

The pronunciation of Ancient Greek was very different from that of Modern Greek. Ancient Greek had long and short vowels; many diphthongs; double and single consonants; voiced, voiceless, and aspirated stops; and a pitch accent. In Modern Greek, all vowels and consonants are short. Many vowels and diphthongs once pronounced distinctly are pronounced as /i/ (iotacism). Some of the stops and glides in diphthongs have become fricatives, and the pitch accent has changed to a stress accent. Many of the changes took place in the Koine Greek period. The writing system of Modern Greek, however, does not reflect all pronunciation changes.

The examples below represent Attic Greek in the 5th century BC. Ancient pronunciation cannot be reconstructed with certainty, but Greek from the period is well documented, and there is little disagreement among linguists as to the general nature of the sounds that the letters represent.

Consonants

Bilabial Dental Velar Glottal
Nasal μ
m
ν
n
γ
(ŋ)
Plosive voiced β
b
δ
d
γ
ɡ
voiceless π
p
τ
t
κ
k
aspirated φ
θ
χ
Fricative σ
s
h
Trill ρ
r
Lateral λ
l

[ŋ] occurred as an allophone of /n/ that was used before velars and as an allophone of /ɡ/ before nasals. /r/ was probably voiceless when word-initial (written ). /s/ was assimilated to [z] before voiced consonants.

Vowels

Front Back
unrounded rounded
Close ι
i
υ
y
Close-mid ε ει
e
ο ου
o
Open-mid η
ɛː
ω
ɔː
Open α
a

/oː/ raised to [uː], probably by the 4th century BC.

Morphology

 Ostracon bearing the name of Cimon, Stoa of Attalos
Ostracon bearing the name of Cimon, Stoa of Attalos

Greek, like all of the older Indo-European languages, is highly inflected. It is highly archaic in its preservation of Proto-Indo-European forms. In Ancient Greek, nouns (including proper nouns) have five cases (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative), three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), and three numbers (singular, dual, and plural). Verbs have four moods (indicative, imperative, subjunctive, and optative) and three voices (active, middle, and passive), as well as three persons (first, second, and third) and various other forms. Verbs are conjugated through seven combinations of tenses and aspect (generally simply called "tenses"): the present, future, and imperfect are imperfective in aspect; the aorist (perfective aspect); a present perfect, pluperfect and future perfect. Most tenses display all four moods and three voices, although there is no future subjunctive or imperative. Also, there is no imperfect subjunctive, optative or imperative. The infinitives and participles correspond to the finite combinations of tense, aspect, and voice.

Augment

The indicative of past tenses adds (conceptually, at least) a prefix /e-/, called the augment. This was probably originally a separate word, meaning something like "then", added because tenses in PIE had primarily aspectual meaning. The augment is added to the indicative of the aorist, imperfect, and pluperfect, but not to any of the other forms of the aorist (no other forms of the imperfect and pluperfect exist).

The two kinds of augment in Greek are syllabic and quantitative. The syllabic augment is added to stems beginning with consonants, and simply prefixes e (stems beginning with r, however, add er). The quantitative augment is added to stems beginning with vowels, and involves lengthening the vowel:

  • a, ā, e, ē → ē
  • i, ī → ī
  • o, ō → ō
  • u, ū → ū
  • ai → ēi
  • ei → ēi or ei
  • oi → ōi
  • au → ēu or au
  • eu → ēu or eu
  • ou → ou

Some verbs augment irregularly; the most common variation is eei. The irregularity can be explained diachronically by the loss of s between vowels. In verbs with a prefix, the augment is placed not at the start of the word, but between the prefix and the original verb. For example, προσ(-)βάλλω (I attack) goes to προσέβαλoν in the aorist.

Following Homer's practice, the augment is sometimes not made in poetry, especially epic poetry.

The augment sometimes substitutes for reduplication; see below.

Reduplication

Almost all forms of the perfect, pluperfect, and future perfect reduplicate the initial syllable of the verb stem. (Note that a few irregular forms of perfect do not reduplicate, whereas a handful of irregular aorists reduplicate.) The three types of reduplication are:

  • Syllabic reduplication: Most verbs beginning with a single consonant, or a cluster of a stop with a sonorant, add a syllable consisting of the initial consonant followed by e. An aspirated consonant, however, reduplicates in its unaspirated equivalent: Grassmann's law.
  • Augment: Verbs beginning with a vowel, as well as those beginning with a cluster other than those indicated previously (and occasionally for a few other verbs) reduplicate in the same fashion as the augment. This remains in all forms of the perfect, not just the indicative.
  • Attic reduplication: Some verbs beginning with an a, e or o, followed by a sonorant (or occasionally d or g), reduplicate by adding a syllable consisting of the initial vowel and following consonant, and lengthening the following vowel. Hence ererēr, ananēn, ololōl, ededēd. This is not actually specific to Attic Greek, despite its name, but it was generalized in Attic. This originally involved reduplicating a cluster consisting of a laryngeal and sonorant, hence h₃lh₃leh₃lolōl with normal Greek development of laryngeals. (Forms with a stop were analogous.)

Irregular duplication can be understood diachronically. For example, lambanō (root lab) has the perfect stem eilēpha (not *lelēpha) because it was originally slambanō, with perfect seslēpha, becoming eilēpha through compensatory lengthening.

Reduplication is also visible in the present tense stems of certain verbs. These stems add a syllable consisting of the root's initial consonant followed by i. A nasal stop appears after the reduplication in some verbs.[6]

Writing system

Ancient Greek was written in the Greek alphabet, with some variation among dialects. Early texts are written in boustrophedon style, but left-to-right became standard during the classic period. Modern editions of Ancient Greek texts are usually written with accents and breathing marks, interword spacing, modern punctuation, and sometimes mixed case, but they all were introduced later.

Sample texts

The beginning of Homer's Iliad exemplifies the Archaic period of Ancient Greek (see Homeric Greek for more details):

Μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά, Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος
οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί’ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε’ ἔθηκε,
πολλὰς δ’ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν
ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν
οἰωνοῖσί τε πᾶσι· Διὸς δ’ ἐτελείετο βουλή·
ἐξ οὗ δὴ τὰ πρῶτα διαστήτην ἐρίσαντε
Ἀτρεΐδης τε ἄναξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς.

The beginning of Apology by Plato exemplifies Attic Greek from the Classical period of Ancient Greek:

Ὅτι μὲν ὑμεῖς, ὦ ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι, πεπόνθατε ὑπὸ τῶν ἐμῶν κατηγόρων, οὐκ οἶδα· ἐγὼ δ' οὖν καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπ' αὐτῶν ὀλίγου ἐμαυτοῦ ἐπελαθόμην, οὕτω πιθανῶς ἔλεγον. Καίτοι ἀληθές γε ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν οὐδὲν εἰρήκασιν.

Using the IPA:

[hóti men hyːmêːs | ɔ̂ː ándres atʰɛːnaî̯i̯oi | pepóntʰate | hypo tɔ̂ːn emɔ̂ːŋ katɛːɡórɔːn | uːk oî̯da ‖ éɡɔː dûːŋ kai̯ au̯tos | hyp au̯tɔ̂ːn olíɡuː emau̯tûː | epelatʰómɛːn | hǔːtɔː pitʰanɔ̂ːs éleɡon ‖ kaí̯toi̯ alɛːtʰéz ɡe | hɔːs épos eːpêːn | uːden eːrɛ̌ːkaːsin ‖]

Transliterated into the Latin alphabet using a modern version of the Erasmian scheme:

Hóti mèn hūmeîs, ô ándres Athēnaîoi, pepónthate hupò tôn emôn katēgórōn, ouk oîda: egṑ d' oûn kaì autòs hup' autōn olígou emautoû epelathómēn, hoútō pithanôs élegon. Kaítoi alēthés ge hōs épos eipeîn oudèn eirḗkāsin.

Translated into English:

How you, men of Athens, are feeling under the power of my accusers, I do not know: actually, even I myself almost forgot who I was because of them, they spoke so persuasively. And yet, loosely speaking, nothing they have said is true.

Modern use

The study of Ancient Greek in European countries in addition to Latin occupied an important place in the syllabus from the Renaissance until the beginning of the 20th century. Ancient Greek is still taught as a compulsory or optional subject especially at traditional or elite schools throughout Europe, such as public schools and grammar schools in the United Kingdom. It is compulsory in the Liceo classico in Italy, in the gymnasium in the Netherlands, in some classes in Austria, in Croatia in klasična gimnazija, in Classical Studies in ASO in Belgium and it is optional in the Humanistisches Gymnasium in Germany (usually as a third language after Latin and English, from the age of 14 to 18). In 2006/07, 15,000 pupils studied Ancient Greek in Germany according to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, and 280,000 pupils studied it in Italy.[7] It is a compulsory subject alongside Latin in the Humanities branch of Spanish Bachillerato. Ancient Greek is also taught at most major universities worldwide, often combined with Latin as part of Classics. It will also be taught in state primary schools in the UK, to boost children’s language skills,[8][9][10] and will be offered as a foreign language to pupils in all primary schools from 2014 as part of a major drive to boost education standards, together with Latin, Mandarin, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.[11] Ancient Greek is also taught as a compulsory subject in all Gymnasiums and Lyceums in Greece.[12][13]

Modern authors rarely write in Ancient Greek, though Jan Křesadlo wrote some poetry and prose in the language, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone[14] and some volumes of Asterix[15] have been translated into Ancient Greek. Ὀνόματα Kεχιασμένα (Onomata Kechiasmena) is the first magazine of crosswords and puzzles in Ancient Greek.[16] Its first issue appeared in April 2015 as an annex to Hebdomada Aenigmatum. Alfred Rahlfs included a preface, a short history of the Septuagint text, and other front matter translated into Ancient Greek in his 1935 edition of the Septuagint; Robert Hanhart also included the introductory remarks to the 2006 revised Rahlfs–Hanhart edition in the language as well.[17]

Ancient Greek is also used by organizations and individuals, mainly Greek, who wish to denote their respect, admiration or preference for the use of this language. This use is sometimes considered graphical, nationalistic or funny. In any case, the fact that modern Greeks can still wholly or partly understand texts written in non-archaic forms of ancient Greek shows the affinity of modern Greek language to its ancestral predecessor.[18]

An isolated community near Trabzon, Turkey, an area where Pontic Greek is spoken, has been found to speak a variety of Greek that has parallels, both structurally and in its vocabulary, to Ancient Greek not present in other varieties.[19] As few as 5,000 people speak the dialect but linguists believe that it is the closest living language to Ancient Greek.[20][21]

Ancient Greek is often used in the coinage of modern technical terms in the European languages: see English words of Greek origin. Latinized forms of Ancient Greek roots are used in many of the scientific names of species and in scientific terminology.

See also

References

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Ancient Greek (to 1453)". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  2. ^ Imprecisely attested and somewhat reconstructive due to its being written in an ill-fitting syllabary (Linear B).
  3. ^ This one appears in recent versions of the Encyclopædia Britannica, which also lists the major works that define the subject.[page needed]
  4. ^ Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
  5. ^ Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan, Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture, Oxford University Press, 2008, p.289
  6. ^ Palmer, Leonard (1996). The Greek Language. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. p. 262. ISBN 0-8061-2844-5. 
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Ancient Greek 'to be taught in state schools'". Telegraph.co.uk. 30 July 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Primaries go Greek to help teach English" Archived 25 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. - Education News - 30 July 2010.
  10. ^ "Now look, Latin's fine, but Greek might be even Beta", TES Editorial, 2010 - TSL Education Ltd.
  11. ^ More primary schools to offer Latin and ancient Greek, The Telegraph, 26 November 2012
  12. ^ "Ωρολόγιο Πρόγραμμα των μαθημάτων των Α, Β, Γ τάξεων του Hμερησίου Γυμνασίου". Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "ΩΡΟΛΟΓΙΟ ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ ΓΕΝΙΚΟΥ ΛΥΚΕΙΟΥ". Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Areios Potēr kai ē tu philosophu lithos, Bloomsbury 2004, ISBN 1-58234-826-X
  15. ^ "Asterix around the World - the many Languages of Asterix". Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  16. ^ , http://www.repubblica.it/ultimora/24ore/nazionale/news-dettaglio/4581488 Enigmistica: nasce prima rivista in greco antico 2015).
  17. ^ Rahlfs, Alfred, and Hanhart, Robert (eds.), Septuaginta, editio altera (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006).
  18. ^ "Akropolis World News". Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Jason and the argot: land where Greek's ancient language survives, The Independent, 3 January 2011
  20. ^ Against all odds: archaic Greek in a modern world, University of Cambridge
  21. ^ Archaic Greek in a modern world video from Cambridge University, on YouTube

Further reading

External links

.

Grammar learning

Classical texts

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