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A Brief History of Ancient Greek

Colvin, Stephen

Brief Histories of the Ancient World


1. Auflage Februar 2023
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-4051-4926-6
John Wiley & Sons

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Attested since the fourteenth century BC, and still spoken today by over 10 million people, Greek has been one of the most influential languages in human history. English, Spanish, French, Russian, and Arabic are among the many languages to have borrowed key terms and concepts from Greek.

A Brief History of Ancient Greek takes the reader through the history of this ancient language from its Indo-European beginnings right up to the present day, and explains key relationships between the language and literature of the Classical period (500-300 bc). The development of the language is also related to the social and political context, in line with modern sociolinguistic thought. The book reflects the latest scholarship on subjects such as koine Greek, and the relationship between literary and vernacular Greek.

All Greek is transliterated and translated where appropriate, so that the text is accessible to readers who know little or no Greek, including scholars and students who require an accessible overview of the history of the language, or linguists and professionals who need a quick source of data and background information.

List of Figures vi

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

1 The Indo-European Beginnings 1

2 An Aegean Co-Production 17

3 Mycenean Greek 32

4 The Dark Ages 51

5 The Alphabet 68

6 The Greek Dialects 89

7 Homer and the Epic Tradition 113

8 The Language of Greek Poetry 134

9 Bare Words: The Start of a Common Language 156

10 Greek to Romaic and Back 178

Appendix: The Greek Alphabet and Pronunciation 200

Abbreviations and Symbols 202

Glossary 204

References 207

Index 211
Stephen Colvin is Reader in Classics and Historical Linguistics at University College London. Previously, he was Associate Professor in the Department of Classics at Yale. He is the author of Dialect in Aristophanes (1999), A Historical Greek Reader (2007), and editor of The Greco-Roman East: Politics, Culture, Society (2004).

S. Colvin, University College London, UK