Ancient Greek dialects

Ancient Greek in classical antiquity, before the development of the common Koine Greek of the Hellenistic period, was divided into several varieties.

Most of these varieties are known only from inscriptions, but a few of them, principally Aeolic, Doric, and Ionic, are also represented in the literary canon alongside the dominant Attic form of literary Greek.

Likewise, Modern Greek is divided into several dialects, most derived from Koine Greek.

AncientGreekDialects (Woodard) en
Distribution of Greek dialects in Greece in the classical period.[1]
Western group: Central group:
  Aeolic
Eastern group:
  Attic
  Ionic

Provenance

  • The earliest known Greek dialect is Mycenaean Greek, the South/Eastern Greek variety attested from the Linear B tablets produced by the Mycenaean civilization of the Late Bronze Age in the late 2nd millennium BC. The classical distribution of dialects was brought about by the migrations of the early Iron Age[2] after the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization. Some speakers of Mycenaean were displaced to Cyprus while others remained inland in Arcadia, giving rise to the Arcadocypriot dialect. This is the only dialect with a known Bronze-age precedent. The other dialects must have preceded their attested forms but the relationship of the precedents to Mycenaean remains to be discovered.
  • Aeolic was spoken in three subdialects: one, Lesbian, on the island of Lesbos and the west coast of Asia Minor north of Smyrna. The other two, Boeotian and Thessalian, were spoken in the northeast of the Greek mainland (in Boeotia and Thessalia).
  • The Dorian invasion spread Doric Greek from a probable location in northwestern Greece to the coast of the Peloponnesus; for example, to Sparta, to Crete and to the southernmost parts of the west coast of Asia Minor. North Western Greek is sometimes classified as a separate dialect, and is sometimes subsumed under Doric. Macedonian is regarded by some scholars as another Greek dialect, possibly related to Doric or NW Greek.[3][4][5][6][7][8]
  • Ionic was mostly spoken along the west coast of Asia Minor, including Smyrna and the area to the south of it, but also in Euboea. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey were written in Homeric Greek (or Epic Greek), an early East Greek blending Ionic and Aeolic features. Attic Greek, a sub- or sister-dialect of Ionic, was for centuries the language of Athens. Because Attic was adopted in Macedon before the conquests of Alexander the Great and the subsequent rise of Hellenism, it became the "standard" dialect that evolved into the Koiné.

Literature

Ancient Greek literature is written in literary dialects that developed from particular regional or archaic dialects. Ancient Greek authors did not necessarily write in their native dialect, but rather chose a dialect that was suitable or traditional for the type of literature they were writing (see belles-lettres).[9][10] All dialects have poetry written in them, but only Attic and Ionic have full works of prose attested.

Homeric Greek is used in the first epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, and the Homeric Hymns, traditionally attributed to Homer and written in dactylic hexameter. Homeric is a literary dialect with elements of Ionic, Aeolic and Arcadocypriot. Hesiod uses a similar dialect, and later writers imitate Homer in their epics, such as Apollonius Rhodius in Argonautica and Nonnus in Dionysiaca.[11] Homer influenced other types of poetry as well.

Ionic proper is first used in Archilochus of Paros. This dialect includes also the earliest Greek prose, that of Heraclitus and Ionic philosophers, Hecataeus and logographers, Herodotus, Democritus, and Hippocrates. Elegiac poetry originated in Ionia and always continued to be written in Ionic.[12][13]

Doric is the conventional dialect of choral lyric poetry, which includes the Laconian Alcman, the Theban Pindar and the choral songs of Attic tragedy (stasima). Several lyric and epigrammatic poets wrote in this dialect, such as Ibycus of Rhegium and Leonidas of Tarentum. The following authors wrote in Doric, preserved in fragments: Epicharmus comic poet and writers of South Italian Comedy (phlyax play), Mithaecus food writer and Archimedes.

Aeolic is an exclusively poetic lyric dialect, represented by Sappho and Alcaeus for Lesbian (Aeolic) and Corinna of Tanagra for Boeotian.

Thessalic (Aeolic), Northwest Doric, Arcado-Cypriot and Pamphylian never became literary dialects and are only known from inscriptions, and to some extent by the comical parodies of Aristophanes and lexicographers.

Attic proper was used by the Attic orators, Lysias, Isocrates, Aeschines and Demosthenes, the philosophers Plato and Aristotle and the historian Xenophon. Thucydides wrote in Old Attic. The tragic playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides wrote in an artificial poetic language,[14] and the comic playwright Aristophanes writes in a language with vernacular elements.

Classification

Ancient classification

The ancients classified the language into three gene or four dialects, Ionic proper, Ionic (Attic), Aeolic, Doric and later a fifth one, Koine.[15][16] Grammarians focus mainly on the literary dialects and isolated words. Historians may classify dialects on mythological/historical reasons rather than linguistic knowledge. According to Strabo, "Ionic is the same as Attic and Aeolic the same as Doric - Outside the Isthmus, all Greeks were Aeolians except the Athenians, the Megarians and the Dorians who live about Parnassus - In the Peloponnese, Achaeans were also Aeolians but only Eleans and Arcadians continued to speak Aeolic".[17] However, for most ancients, Aeolic was synonymous with literary Lesbic.[18] Stephanus of Byzantium characterized Boeotian as Aeolic and Aetolian as Doric.[19] Remarkable is the ignorance of sources, except lexicographers, on Arcadian, Cypriot and Pamphylian.

Finally, unlike Modern Greek[20] and English, Ancient Greek common terms for human speech ( 'glôssa',[21] 'dialektos',[22] 'phônê'[23] and the suffix '-isti' ) may be attributed interchangeably to both a dialect and a language. However, the plural 'dialektoi' is used when dialects and peculiar words are compared and listed by the grammarians under the terms 'lexeis'[24] or 'glôssai'.[25]

Modern classification

The dialects of Classical Antiquity are grouped slightly differently by various authorities. Pamphylian is a marginal dialect of Asia Minor and is sometimes left uncategorized. Mycenaean was deciphered only in 1952 and so is missing from the earlier schemes presented here:

Northwestern, Southeastern Ernst Risch, Museum Helveticum (1955): Alfred Heubeck:
Western,
Central,
Eastern
A. Thumb, E. Kieckers,
Handbuch der griechischen Dialekte (1932):
W. Porzig, Die Gliederung des indogermanischen Sprachgebiets (1954):
East Greek
West Greek
C.D. Buck, The Greek Dialects (1955):[26]
  • East Greek
  • West Greek
    • The North-West Greek Group
      • Phocian (including Delphian)
      • Locrian
      • Elean
      • The Northwest Greek koine
    • The Doric Group
      • Laconian and Heraclean
      • Messenian
      • Megarian
      • Corinthian
      • Argolic
      • Rhodian
      • Coan
      • Theran and Cyrenaean
      • Cretan
      • Sicilian Doric

Phonology

The Ancient Greek dialects differed mainly in vowels.

Hiatus

Loss of intervocalic s and consonantal i and w from Proto-Greek brought two vowels together in hiatus, a circumstance often called a "collision of vowels".[27] Over time, Greek speakers would change pronunciation to avoid such a collision, and the way that vowels changed determined the dialect.

For example, the word for the "god of the sea" (regardless of the culture and language from which it came) was in some prehistoric form *poseidāwōn (genitive *poseidāwonos). Loss of the intervocalic *w left poseidāōn, which is found in both Mycenaean and Homeric dialects. Ionic Greek changed the *a to an e (poseideōn), while Attic Greek contracted it to poseidōn. It changed differently in other dialects:

  • Corinthian: potedāwoni > potedāni and potedān
  • Boeotian: poteidāoni
  • Cretan, Rhodian and Delphian: poteidān
  • Lesbian: poseidān
  • Arcadian: posoidānos
  • Laconian: pohoidān

The changes appear designed to place one vowel phoneme instead of two, a process called "contraction", if a third phoneme is created, and "hyphaeresis" ("taking away") if one phoneme is dropped and the other kept. Sometimes, the two phonemes are kept, sometimes modified, as in the Ionic poseideōn.

Ā

A vowel shift differentiating the Ionic and Attic dialects from the rest was the shift of ā () to ē (η). In Ionic, the change occurred in all positions, but in Attic, it occurred almost everywhere except after e, i, and r (ε, ι, ρ). Homeric Greek shows the Ionic rather than the Attic version of the vowel shift for the most part. Doric and Aeolic show the original forms with ā ().[28]

  • Attic and Ionic mētēr (μήτηρ); Doric mātēr (μᾱ́τηρ) "mother"[29] (compare Latin māter)
  • Attic neāniās (νεᾱνίᾱς); Ionic neēniēs (νεηνίης) "young man"[30]

Ablaut

Another principle of vocalic dialectization follows the Indo-European ablaut series or vowel grades. The Proto-Indo-European language could interchange e (e-grade) with o (o-grade) or use neither (zero-grade). Similarly, Greek inherited the series, for example, ei, oi, i, which are e-, o- and zero-grades of the diphthong respectively. They could appear in different verb forms – present leipo (λείπω) "I leave", perfect leloipa (λέλοιπα) "I have left", aorist elipon (ἔλιπον) "I left" – or be used as the basis of dialectization: Attic deiknūmi (δείκνῡμι) "I point out" but Cretan diknumi (δίκνῡμι).

Post-Hellenistic

The ancient Greek dialects were a result of isolation and poor communication between communities living in broken terrain. All general Greek historians point out the influence of terrain on the development of the city-states. Often, the development of languages dialectization results in the dissimilation of daughter languages. That phase did not occur in Greek; instead the dialects were replaced by Standard Greek.

Increasing population and communication brought speakers more closely in touch and united them under the same authorities. Attic Greek became the literary language everywhere. Buck says:[31]

"… long after Attic had become the norm of literary prose, each state employed its own dialect, both in private and public monuments of internal concern, and in those of a more… interstate character, such as… treaties…."

In the first few centuries BC, regional dialects replaced local ones: Northwest Greek koine, Doric koine and Attic koine. The last came to replace the others in common speech in the first few centuries AD. After the division of the Roman Empire into the east and the west the earliest Modern Greek prevailed. The dialect distribution was then as follows:

According to some scholars, Tsakonian is the only modern Greek dialect that descends from Doric, albeit with some influence from the Koine.[32] Others include the Southern Italian dialects in this group, though perhaps they should rather be regarded as descended from the local Doric-influenced variant of the Koine.[33]

Notes

  1. ^ Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
  2. ^ Sometimes called the Greek Dark Ages because writing disappeared from Greece until the adaptation of the Phoenician alphabet.
  3. ^ Masson, Olivier (2003) [1996]. "[Ancient] Macedonian language". In Hornblower, S.; Spawforth A. (eds.). The Oxford Classical Dictionary (revised 3rd ed.). USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 905–906. ISBN 0-19-860641-9.
  4. ^ Hammond, N.G.L (1993) [1989]. The Macedonian State. Origins, Institutions and History (reprint ed.). USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814927-1.
  5. ^ Meier-Brügger, Michael; Fritz, Matthias; Mayrhofer, Manfred (2003). Indo-European Linguistics. Walter de Gruyter. p. 28. ISBN 978-3-11-017433-5.
  6. ^ Roisman, Worthington, 2010, "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia", Chapter 5: Johannes Engels, "Macedonians and Greeks", p. 95:"This (i.e. Pella curse tablet) has been judged to be the most important ancient testimony to substantiate that Macedonian was a north-western Greek and mainly a Doric dialect".
  7. ^ "[W]e may tentatively conclude that Macedonian is a dialect related to North-West Greek.", Olivier Masson, French linguist, “Oxford Classical Dictionary: Macedonian Language”, 1996.
  8. ^ Masson & Dubois 2000, p. 292: "..."Macedonian Language" de l'Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1996, p. 906: "Macedonian may be seen as a Greek dialect, characterized by its marginal position and by local pronunciation (like Βερενίκα for Φερενίκα etc.)."
  9. ^ Greek mythology and poetics By Gregory Nagy. Page 51] ISBN 978-0-8014-8048-5 (1992)
  10. ^ Sihler, Andrew Littleton (1995). New Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 10–12. ISBN 0-19-508345-8.
  11. ^ Homer and the epic: a shortened version of The songs of Homer By Geoffrey Stephen Kirk Page 76 (1965)
  12. ^ A History of Greek Literature: From the Earliest Period to the Death of Demosthenes by Frank Byron Jevons (1894) Page 112
  13. ^ A History of Classical Greek Literature: Volume 2. The Prose Writers (Paperback) by John Pentland Mahaffy Page 194 ISBN 1-4021-7041-6
  14. ^ Helen By Euripides, William Allan Page 43 ISBN 0-521-54541-2 (2008)
  15. ^ New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity: Volume 5, Linguistic Essays With Cumulative Indexes to Vols. 1-5 Page 30 ISBN 0-8028-4517-7 (2001)
  16. ^ History Of The Language Sciences By Sylvain Auroux Page 440 ISBN 3-11-016736-0 (2000)
  17. ^ Strabo 8.1.2 14.5.26
  18. ^ Mendez Dosuna, The Aeolic dialects
  19. ^ Stephanus of Byzantium, Ethnika s.v. Ionia
  20. ^ glossa: language, dialektos: dialect, foní : voice
  21. ^ LSJ glôssa Archived December 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ LSJ:dialektos Archived December 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ LSJ phônê Archived December 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ LSJ lexis Archived December 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ Ataktoi Glôssai (Disorderly Words) by Philitas of Cos
  26. ^ First published in 1928, it was revised and expanded by Buck and republished in 1955, the year of his death. Of the new edition Buck said (Preface): this is virtually a new book." There have been other impressions, but no further changes to the text. The 1955 edition was at the time and to some degree still is the standard text on the subject in the United States. This part of the table is based on the Introduction to the 1955 edition. An example of a modern use of this classification can be found at columbia.edu as Richard C. Carrier's The Major Greek Dialects Archived October 6, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Two vowels together are not to be confused with a diphthong, which is two vowel sounds within the same syllable, often spelled with two letters. Greek diphthongs were typically inherited from Proto-Indo-European.
  28. ^ Smyth, Greek Grammar, paragraph 30 on CCEL: vowel change involving ē, ā
  29. ^ μήτηρ
  30. ^ νεᾱνίας
  31. ^ Greek Dialects
  32. ^ Medieval and modern Greek By Robert Browning Page 124 ISBN 0-521-29978-0 (1983)
  33. ^ Browning, ibid.

Further reading

  • Bakker, Egbert J., ed. 2010. A companion to the Ancient Greek language. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Christidis, Anastasios-Phoivos, ed. 2007. A history of Ancient Greek: From the beginnings to Late Antiquity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Colvin, Stephen C. 2007. A historical Greek reader: Mycenaean to the koiné. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Horrocks, Geoffrey. 2010. Greek: A history of the language and its speakers. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Palmer, Leonard R. 1980. The Greek language. London: Faber & Faber.

Overviews

Inscriptions

Aeolic Greek

In linguistics, Aeolic Greek (; also Aeolian , Lesbian or Lesbic dialect) is the set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece); in Thessaly; in the Aegean island of Lesbos; and in the Greek colonies of Aeolis in Anatolia and adjoining islands.

The Aeolic dialect shows many archaisms in comparison to the other Ancient Greek dialects (Arcadocypriot, Attic, Ionic, and Doric varieties), as well as many innovations.

Aeolic Greek is widely known as the language of Sappho and of Alcaeus of Mytilene. Aeolic poetry, which is exemplified in the works of Sappho, mostly uses four classical meters known as the Aeolics: Glyconic (the most basic form of Aeolic line), hendecasyllabic verse, Sapphic stanza, and Alcaic stanza (the latter two are respectively named for Sappho and Alcaeus).

In Plato's Protagoras, Prodicus labelled the Aeolic dialect of Pittacus of Mytilene as "barbarian" (barbaros), because of its difference from the Attic literary style: "He didn't know to distinguish the words correctly, being from Lesbos, and having been raised with a barbarian dialect".

Ancient Greek grammar

Ancient Greek grammar is morphologically complex and preserves several features of Proto-Indo-European morphology. Nouns, adjectives, pronouns, articles, numerals and especially verbs are all highly inflected.

Another complication of Greek grammar is that different Greek authors wrote in different dialects, all of which have slightly different grammatical forms (see Ancient Greek dialects). For example, the history of Herodotus and medical works of Hippocrates are written in Ionic, the poems of Sappho in Aeolic, and the odes of Pindar in Doric; the poems of Homer are written in a mixed dialect, mostly Ionic, with many archaic and poetic forms. The grammar of Koine Greek (the Greek lingua franca spoken in New Testament times) also differs slightly from classical Greek. This article primarily discusses the morphology and syntax of Attic Greek, that is the Greek spoken at Athens in the century from 430 BC to 330 BC, as exemplified in the historical works of Thucydides and Xenophon, the comedies of Aristophanes, the philosophical dialogues of Plato, and the speeches of Lysias and Demosthenes.

Antonín Bartoněk

Antonín Bartoněk (October 29, 1926 in Brno - May 30, 2016 Brno) was a Czech classical philologist and a specialist in Mycenaean studies.

Bartoněk studied classical philology at the Masaryk University in Brno. Since his graduation in 1952, he worked at this university, first as an assistant, since 1962 as a lecturer, since 1968 as a professor. Since 1990 he has also taught as a professor at the Palacký University in Olomouc. At the Universities of Vienna, Heidelberg, Graz, Amsterdam and Cambridge, he took on long-term visiting professorships.

Most of Bartoněk's published research was dedicated to Mycenaean studies and Greek linguistics. He was one of the leading experts in the deciphering and development of Linear B texts as well as in the field of ancient Greek dialects. His major work is the Handbuch des mykenischen Griechisch (Handbook of Mycenaean Greek, 2003).

Before the fall of the Iron Curtain he was one of the few scholars of the Eastern Bloc active in this field of research. Despite obvious difficulties he maintained contacts with leading Western colleagues. Noteworthy is a postcard he received from John Chadwick: it had passed the border controls, though it was written entirely in the Linear B script.

Bartoněk was also editor of a cultural guide to the Austrian-Czech border area (including the Waldviertel/the Forest Quarter and Weinviertel/the Wine Quarter).

Aspirated consonant

In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of breath that accompanies either the release or, in the case of preaspiration, the closure of some obstruents. In English, aspirated consonants are allophones in complementary distribution with their unaspirated counterparts, but in some other languages, notably most Indian and East Asian languages, the difference is contrastive, while in Arabic and Persian, all stops are aspirated.To feel or see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds, one can put a hand or a lit candle in front of one's mouth, and say spin [spɪn] and then pin [pʰɪn]. One should either feel a puff of air or see a flicker of the candle flame with pin that one does not get with spin.

Attic declension

The Attic declension is a group of second-declension nouns and adjectives in the Attic dialect of Ancient Greek, all of whose endings have long vowels. In contrast, normal second-declension nouns have some short vowels and some long vowels. This declension is called Attic because in other dialects, including Ionic and Koine, the nouns are declined normally.

Claude Brixhe

Claude Brixhe is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Nancy in France. His research interests include ancient and modern Greek dialects, Koine Greek, the history of the Greek alphabet, and non-Greek Anatolian languages.

Delphian

Delphian can refer to:

Delphi, an ancient Greek sanctuary and home of a well-known oracle

Delphian, one of the ancient Greek dialects

Delphian (band), a Dutch progressive metal band

Delphian (typeface)

Delphian League, an English amateur football league

Delphian Records, a record label based in Edinburgh, Scotland

The Delphian School, the founding school of Delphi Schools

The Delphian Society, founded in 1910 to promote the education of women in the United States

Djerait

The Djerait were an indigenous Australian people of the Northern Territory

Greek dialects

Greek dialects may refer to:

Ancient Greek dialects

Varieties of Modern Greek

Greek literature

Greek literature dates from ancient Greek literature, beginning in 800 BC, to the modern Greek literature of today.

Ancient Greek literature was written in an Ancient Greek dialect. This literature ranges from the oldest surviving written works until works from approximately the fifth century AD. This time period is divided into the Preclassical, Classical, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. Preclassical Greek literature primarily revolved around myths and include the works of Homer; the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Classical period saw the dawn of drama and history. Three philosophers are especially notable: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. During the Roman era, significant contributions were made in a variety of subjects, including history, philosophy, and the sciences.

Byzantine literature, the literature of the Byzantine Empire, was written in Atticizing, Medieval and early Modern Greek. Chronicles, distinct from historics, arose in this period. Encyclopedias also flourished in this period.

Modern Greek literature is written in common Modern Greek. The Cretan Renaissance poem Erotokritos is one of the most significant works from this time period. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Feraios are two of the most notable figures.

Hellenic languages

Hellenic is the branch of the Indo-European language family whose principal member is Greek. In most classifications, Hellenic consists of Greek alone, but some linguists use the term Hellenic to refer to a group consisting of Greek proper and other varieties thought to be related but different enough to be separate languages, either among ancient neighbouring languages or among modern spoken dialects.

History of Greek

This article is an overview of the history of the Greek language.

Homeric Greek

Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey and in the Homeric Hymns. It is a literary dialect of Ancient Greek consisting mainly of Ionic and Aeolic, with a few forms from Arcadocypriot, and a written form influenced by Attic. It was later named Epic Greek because it was used as the language of epic poetry, typically in dactylic hexameter, by poets such as Hesiod and Theognis of Megara. Compositions in Epic Greek may date from as late as the 3rd century BC, though its decline was inevitable with the rise of Koine Greek.

Ionic Greek

Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic or Eastern dialect group of Ancient Greek.

Koine Greek

Koine Greek (UK: , US: ), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the common supra-regional form of Greek spoken and written during the Hellenistic period, the Roman Empire, and the early Byzantine Empire, or late antiquity. It evolved from the spread of Greek following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, and served as the lingua franca of much of the Mediterranean region and the Middle East during the following centuries. It was based mainly on Attic and related Ionic speech forms, with various admixtures brought about through dialect levelling with other varieties.Koine Greek included styles ranging from more conservative literary forms to the spoken vernaculars of the time. As the dominant language of the Byzantine Empire, it developed further into Medieval Greek, which then turned into Modern Greek.Literary Koine was the medium of much of post-classical Greek literary and scholarly writing, such as the works of Plutarch and Polybius. Koine is also the language of the Christian New Testament, of the Septuagint (the 3rd-century BC Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible), and of most early Christian theological writing by the Church Fathers. In this context, Koine Greek is also known as "Biblical", "New Testament", "ecclesiastical" or "patristic" Greek. The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius also wrote his private thoughts in Koine Greek in a work that is now known as The Meditations. It continues to be used as the liturgical language of services in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Magna Graecia

Magna Graecia (, US: ; Latin meaning "Great Greece", Greek: Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, Megálē Hellás, Italian: Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day regions of Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily; these regions were extensively populated by Greek settlers, particularly the Achaean settlements of Croton, and Sybaris, and to the north, the settlements of Cumae and Neapolis. The settlers who began arriving in the 8th century BC brought with them their Hellenic civilization, which was to leave a lasting imprint on Italy, such as in the culture of ancient Rome. Most notably the Roman poet Ovid referred to the south of Italy as Magna Graecia in his poem Fasti.

Odyssey

The Odyssey (; Greek: Ὀδύσσεια Odýsseia, pronounced [o.dýs.sej.ja] in Classical Attic) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other Homeric epic. The Odyssey is fundamental to the modern Western canon; it is the second-oldest extant work of Western literature, while the Iliad is the oldest. Scholars believe the Odyssey was composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.The poem mainly focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus (known as Ulysses in Roman myths), king of Ithaca, and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres (Greek: Μνηστῆρες) or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.

The Odyssey continues to be read in the Homeric Greek and translated into modern languages around the world. Many scholars believe the original poem was composed in an oral tradition by an aoidos (epic poet/singer), perhaps a rhapsode (professional performer), and was more likely intended to be heard than read. The details of the ancient oral performance and the story's conversion to a written work inspire continual debate among scholars.

The Odyssey was written in a poetic dialect of Greek—a literary amalgam of Aeolic Greek, Ionic Greek, and other Ancient Greek dialects—and comprises 12,110 lines of dactylic hexameter. Among the most noteworthy elements of the text are its non-linear plot, and the influence on events of choices made by women and slaves, besides the actions of fighting men. In the English language as well as many others, the word odyssey has come to refer to an epic voyage.

The Odyssey has a lost sequel, the Telegony, which was not attributed to Homer. It was usually attributed in antiquity to Cinaethon of Sparta. In one source, the Telegony was said to have been stolen from Musaeus of Athens by either Eugamon or Eugammon of Cyrene (see Cyclic poets).

Pamphylian Greek

Pamphylian is a little-attested and isolated dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Pamphylia, on the southern coast of Asia Minor. Its origins and relation to other Greek dialects are uncertain. A number of scholars have distinguished in Pamphylian dialect important isoglosses with Arcadocypriot which allow them to be studied together. Pamphylia means "land of all phyles (tribes)". The Achaeans may have settled the region under the leadership of Amphilochus, Calchas, and Mopsus. However, other cities in Pamphylia were established by different Greek tribes: Aspendos was a colony of Argos, Side was a colony of Aeolian Cyme, Sillyon was a colony of an unknown Greek mother city, and Perga was a colony established by a wave of Greeks from northern Anatolia. The isolation of the dialect took place even before the appearance of the Greek article. Pamphylian is the only dialect that does not use articles other than Mycenean Greek and poetic language.

Proto-Greek language

The Proto-Greek language (also known as Proto-Hellenic) is an Indo-European language. It is assumed to be the last common ancestor of all known varieties of Greek, including Mycenaean Greek, the subsequent ancient Greek dialects (i.e., Attic, Ionic, Aeolic, Doric, Ancient Macedonian and Arcadocypriot) and, ultimately, Koine, Byzantine and Modern Greek. The unity of Proto-Greek would have ended as Hellenic migrants, who spoke the predecessor of the Mycenaean language, entered the Greek peninsula sometime in the Neolithic or the Bronze Age.

Origin and genealogy
Periods
Varieties
Phonology
Grammar
Writing systems
Literature
Promotion and study
Other

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