Attic Greek

Attic Greek is the Greek dialect of the ancient city-state of Athens. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to later Greek and is the standard form of the language that is studied in ancient Greek language courses. Attic Greek is sometimes included in the Ionic dialect. Together, Attic and Ionic are the primary influences on Modern Greek.

Attic Greek
RegionAttica, Lemnos
Erac. 500–300 BC; evolved into Koine
Language codes
ISO 639-3
AncientGreekDialects (Woodard) en
Distribution of Greek dialects in Greece in the classical period.[2]
Western group: Central group:
Eastern group:

Origin and range

Greek is the primary member of the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European language family. In ancient times, Greek had already come to exist in several dialects, one of which was Attic. The earliest attestations of Greek, dating from the 16th to 11th centuries BC, are written in Linear B, an archaic writing system used by the Mycenaean Greeks in writing their language; the distinction between Eastern and Western Greek is believed to have arisen by Mycenaean times or before. Mycenaean Greek represents an early form of Eastern Greek, the group to which Attic also belongs. Later Greek literature wrote about three main dialects: Aeolic, Doric, and Ionic; Attic was part of the Ionic dialect group. "Old Attic" is used in reference to the dialect of Thucydides (460–400 BC) and the dramatists of 5th-century Athens whereas "New Attic" is used for the language of later writers following conventionally the accession in 285 BC of Greek-speaking Ptolemy II to the throne of the Kingdom of Egypt. Ruling from Alexandria, Ptolemy launched the Alexandrian period, during which the city of Alexandria and its expatriate Greek-medium scholars flourished.[3]

The original range of the spoken Attic dialect included Attica and a number of the central Cyclades islands; the closely related Ionic was also spoken along the western and northwestern coasts of Asia Minor in modern Turkey, in Chalcidice, Thrace, Euboea, and in some colonies of Magna Graecia. Eventually, the texts of literary Attic were widely studied far beyond their homeland: first in the classical civilizations of the Mediterranean, including in Ancient Rome and the larger Hellenistic world, and later in the Muslim world, Europe, and other parts of the world touched by those civilizations.


The earliest Greek literature, which is attributed to Homer and is dated to the 8th or 7th centuries BC, is written in "Old Ionic" rather than Attic. Athens and its dialect remained relatively obscure until the establishment of its democracy following the reforms of Solon in the 6th century BC: so began the classical period, one of great Athenian influence both in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean.

The first extensive works of literature in Attic are the plays of the dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes dating from the 5th century BC. The military exploits of the Athenians led to some universally read and admired history, as found in the works of Thucydides and Xenophon. Slightly less known because they are more technical and legal are the orations by Antiphon, Demosthenes, Lysias, Isocrates, and many others. The Attic Greek of the philosophers Plato (427–347 BC) and his student Aristotle (384–322 BC) dates to the period of transition between Classical Attic and Koine.

Students who learn Ancient Greek usually begin with the Attic dialect and continue, depending upon their interests, to the later Koine of the New Testament and other early Christian writings, to the earlier Homeric Greek of Homer and Hesiod, or to the contemporaneous Ionic Greek of Herodotus and Hippocrates.


AGMA Ostrakon Thémistocle 3
A ballot voting against Themistocles, son of Neocles, under the Athenian Democracy (see ostracism). Inscription: ΘΕΜΙΣΘΟΚΛΕΣ ΝΕΟΚΛΕΟΣ (classical standard Θεμιστοκλῆς Νεοκλέους Themistoklês Neokléous). The text is an example of the epichoric alphabet; note that the last two letters of Themistocles are written in a boustrophedon manner and that Ε and Ο are used for both long and short e and o.

Attic Greek, like other dialects, was originally written in a local variant of the Greek alphabet. According to the classification of archaic Greek alphabets, which was introduced by Adolf Kirchhoff,[4] the old-Attic system belongs to the "eastern" or "blue" type, as it uses the letters Ψ and Χ with their classical values (/ps/ and /kʰ/), unlike "western" or "red" alphabets, which used Χ for /ks/ and expressed /kʰ/ with Ψ. In other respects, Old Attic shares many features with the neighbouring Euboean alphabet (which is "western" in Kirchhoff's classification).[5] Like the latter, it used an L-shaped variant of lambda (Greek Lambda Athenian.svg) and an S-shaped variant of sigma (Greek Sigma Z-shaped.svg). It lacked the consonant symbols xi (Ξ) for /ks/ and psi (Ψ) for /ps/, expressing these sound combinations with ΧΣ and ΦΣ respectively. Moreover, like most other mainland Greek dialects, Attic did not yet use omega (Ω) and eta (Η) for the long vowels /ɔː/ and /ɛː/. Instead, it expressed the vowel phonemes /o, oː, ɔː/ with the letter Ο (which corresponds with classical Ο, ΟΥ, Ω) and /e, eː, ɛː/ with the letter Ε (which corresponds with Ε, ΕΙ, and Η in later classical orthography). Moreover, the letter Η was used as heta, with the consonantal value of /h/ rather than the vocalic value of /ɛː/.

In the 5th century, Athenian writing gradually switched from this local system to the more widely used Ionic alphabet, native to the eastern Aegean islands and Asia Minor. By the late 5th century, the concurrent use of elements of the Ionic system with the traditional local alphabet had become common in private writing, and in 403 BC, it was decreed that public writing would switch to the new Ionic orthography, as part of the reform following the Thirty Tyrants. This new system, also called the "Eucleidian" alphabet, after the name of the archon Eucleides, who oversaw the decision,[6] was to become the Classical Greek alphabet throughout the Greek-speaking world. The classical works of Attic literature were subsequently handed down to posterity in the new Ionic spelling, and it is the classical orthography in which they are read today.



Long a

Proto-Greek long ā → Attic long ē, but ā after e, i, r. ⁓ Ionic ē in all positions. ⁓ Doric and Aeolic ā in all positions.

  • Proto-Greek and Doric mātēr → Attic mētēr "mother"
  • Attic chōrā ⁓ Ionic chōrē "place", "country"

However, Proto-Greek ā → Attic ē after w (digamma), deleted by the Classical Period.[7]

  • Proto-Greek kor[8] → early Attic-Ionic *korwē → Attic korē (Ionic kourē)

Short a

Proto-Greek ă → Attic ě. ⁓ Doric: ă remains.

Sonorant clusters

Compensatory lengthening of vowel before cluster of sonorant (r, l, n, m, w, sometimes y) and s, after deletion of s. ⁓ Aeolic: compensatory lengthening of sonorant.[9]

PIE VsR or VRs → Attic-Ionic-Doric VVR.
VsR or VRs → Aeolic VRR.[10]
  • Proto-Indo-European *es-mi (athematic verb) → Attic-Ionic ēmi (= εἰμί) ⁓ Aeolic emmi "I am"


Proto-Greek and other dialects' /u/ (English food) became Attic /y/ (pronounced as German ü, French u) and represented by y in Latin transliteration of Greek names.

  • Boeotian kourios ⁓ Attic kyrios "lord"

In the diphthongs eu and au, upsilon continued to be pronounced /u/.


Attic contracts more than Ionic does. a + e → long ā.

  • nika-enikā "conquer (thou)!"

e + e → ē (written ει: spurious diphthong)

  • PIE *trey-es → Proto-Greek trees → Attic trēs = τρεῖς "three"

e + oō (written ου: spurious diphthong)

  • early *genes-os → Ionic geneos → Attic genous "of a kind" (genitive singular: Latin generis, with r from rhotacism)

Vowel shortening

Attic ē (from ē-grade of ablaut or Proto-Greek ā) is sometimes shortened to e:

  1. when it is followed by a short vowel, with lengthening of the short vowel (quantitative metathesis): ēo
  2. when it is followed by a long vowel: ēō
  3. when it is followed by u and s: ēuseus (Osthoff's law):
  • basilēosbasils "of a king" (genitive singular)
  • basilēōnbasiln (genitive plural)
  • basilēusibasileusi (dative plural)


Attic deletes one of two vowels in a row, called hyphaeresis (ὑφαίρεσις).

  • Homeric boē-tho-os → Attic boēthos "running to a cry", "helper in battle"



PIE *ky or *chy → Proto-Greek ts (palatalization) → Attic tt. — Ionic and Koine ss.

  • Proto-Greek *glōkh-ya → Attic glōtta — Ionic glōssa "tongue"

Sometimes, Proto-Greek *ty and *tw → Attic tt. — Ionic and Koine ss.

  • PIE *kwetwores → Attic tettares — Ionic tesseres "four" (Latin quattuor)

Proto-Greek and Doric t before i or y → Attic-Ionic s (palatalization).

Shortening of ss

Doric, Aeolian, early Attic-Ionic ss → Classical Attic s.

  • PIE *medh-yos → Homeric μέσσος (messos) (palatalization) → Attic μέσος (mesos) "middle"
  • Homeric ἐτέλεσσα → Attic ἐτέλεσα "I performed (a ceremony)"
  • Proto-Greek *podsi → Homeric ποσσί → Attic ποσί "by foot"
  • Proto-Greek *hopot-yos → dialectal ὁπόσσος → Attic ὁπόσος

Loss of w

Proto-Greek w (digamma) was lost in Attic before historical times.

  • Proto-Greek korwā[11] Attic korē "girl"

Retention of h

Attic retained Proto-Greek h- (from debuccalization of Proto-Indo-European initial s- or y-), but some other dialects lost it (psilosis "stripping", "de-aspiration").

  • Proto-Indo-European *si-sta-mes → Attic histamen — Cretan istamen "we stand"

Movable n

Attic-Ionic places an n (movable nu) at the end of some words that would ordinarily end in a vowel, if the next word starts with a vowel, to prevent hiatus (two vowels in a row).

  • pāsin élegon "they spoke to everyone" vs. pāsi legousi
  • pāsi(n) dative plural of "all"
  • legousi(n) "they speak" (third person plural, present indicative active)
  • elege(n) "he was speaking" (third person singular, imperfect indicative active)
  • titheisi(n) "he places", "makes" (third person singular, present indicative active: athematic verb)

Rr instead of rs.

Attic (as opposed to Ionic) uses rr in words, when Ionic uses rs:

  • Attic χερρόνησος → Ionic χερσόνησος "peninsula"
  • Attic ἄρρεν → Ionic ἄρσεν "male"
  • Attic θάρρος → Ionic θάρσος "courage".

Attic replaces the Ionic -σσ with -ττ :

  • Attic γλῶττα → Ionic γλῶσσα "tongue"
  • Attic πράττειν → Ionic πράσσειν "to do, to act"
  • Attic θάλαττα → Ionic θάλασσα "sea".[12]


  • Attic tends to replace the -ter "doer of" suffix with -tes: dikastes for dikaster "judge".
  • The Attic adjectival ending -eios and corresponding noun ending, both having two syllables with the diphthong ei, stand in place of ēios, with three syllables, in other dialects: politeia, Cretan politēia, "constitution", both from politewia whose w is dropped.


Attic Greek grammar is to a large extent Ancient Greek grammar or at least when the latter topic is presented it is with the peculiarities of the Attic dialect. This section mentions only some of the Attic peculiarities.


In addition to singular and plural numbers, Attic Greek had the dual number. This was used to refer to two of something and was present as an inflection in nouns, adjectives, pronouns and verbs (any categories inflected for number). Attic Greek was the last dialect to retain it from older forms of Greek, and the dual number had died out by the end of the 5th century BC.


With regard to declension, the stem is the part of the declined word to which case endings are suffixed. In the alpha or first declension feminines, the stem ends in long a, which is parallel to the Latin first declension. In Attic-Ionic the stem vowel has changed to ē in the singular, except (in Attic only) after e, i or r. For example, the respective nominative, genitive, dative and accusative singular forms are gnome, gnomes, gnome(i), gnomen, "opinion" but thea, theas, thea(i), thean, "goddess".

The plural is the same in both cases, gnomai and theai, but other sound changes were more important in its formation. For example, original -as in the nominative plural was replaced by the diphthong -ai, which did not change from a to e. In the few a-stem masculines, the genitive singular follows the second declension: stratiotēs, stratiotou, stratiotēi, etc.

In the omicron or second declension, mainly masculines (but with some feminines), the stem ends in o or e, which is composed in turn of a root plus the thematic vowel, an o or e in Indo-European ablaut series parallel to similar formations of the verb. It is the equivalent of the Latin second declension. The alternation of Greek -os and Latin -us in the nominative singular is familiar to readers of Greek and Latin.

In Attic Greek, an original genitive singular ending *-osyo after losing the s (like in the other dialects) lengthens the stem o to the spurious diphthong -ou (see above under Phonology, Vowels): logos "the word" logou from *logosyo "of the word". The dative plural of Attic-Ionic had -oisi, which appears in early Attic but later simplifies to -ois: anthropois "to or for the men".

Classical Attic

Classical Attic may refer either to the varieties of Attic Greek spoken and written in Greek majuscule[13] in the 5th and 4th centuries BC (Classical-era Attic) or to the Hellenistic and Roman [14] era standardized Attic Greek, mainly on the language of Attic orators and written in Greek uncial (good Attic and vehement rival of vulgar or Koine Greek).

Attic replaces the Ionic -σσ with -ττ :

  • Attic γλῶττα → Ionic γλῶσσα "tongue"
  • Attic πράττειν → Ionic πράσσειν "to do, to act"
  • Attic θάλαττα → Ionic θάλασσα "sea"


  • The vernacular and poetic dialect of Aristophanes.
  • The dialect of Thucydides (mixed Old Attic with neologisms).
  • The dialect and the orthography of Old Attic inscriptions in Attic alphabet before 403 BC. The Thucydidean orthography is similar.
  • The conventionalized and poetic dialect of the Attic tragic poets, mixed with Epic and Ionic Greek and used in the episodes. (In the choral odes, conventional Doric is used).
  • Formal Attic of Attic orators, Plato,[15] Xenophon and Aristotle, imitated by the Atticists or Neo-Attic writers, and considered to be good or Standard Attic.

See also


  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Attic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
  3. ^ From Goodwin and Gulick's classic text "Greek Grammar" (1930)
  4. ^ Kirchhoff, Adolf (1867), Studien zur Geschichte des Griechischen Alphabets.
  5. ^ Jeffery, Lilian H. (1961). The local scripts of archaic Greece. Oxford: Clarendon. 67, 81
  6. ^ Threatte 1980, pp. 26ff.
  7. ^ Smyth, par. 30 and note, 31: long a in Attic and dialects
  8. ^ Liddell and Scott, κόρη.
  9. ^ Paul Kiparsky, "Sonorant Clusters in Greek" (Language, Vol. 43, No. 3, Part 1, pp. 619-635: Sep. 1967) on JSTOR.
  10. ^ V = vowel, R = sonorant, s is itself. VV = long vowel, RR = doubled or long sonorant.
  11. ^ Liddell and Scott, κόρη.
  12. ^ Γ.Ν. Χατζιδάκις, Σύντομος ιστορία της ελληνικής γλώσσης, page 40: "Some special characteristics of the Attic dialect are [...] the double -ρρ instead of -ρσ and the double -ττ instead of -σσ [...] . (Translated from greek).
  13. ^ Only the excavated inscriptions of the era. The Classical Attic works are transmitted in uncial manuscripts
  14. ^ Including the Byzantine Atticists.
  15. ^ Platonic style is poetic


Further reading

  • Allen, W. Sidney. 1987. Vox Graeca: The pronunciation of Classical Greek. 3rd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • 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.
  • Teodorsson, Sven-Tage. 1974. The phonemic system of the Attic dialect 400–340 BC. Gothenburg, Sweden: Institute of Classical Studies, University of Göteborg.
  • Threatte, Leslie. 1980–86. The grammar of Attic inscriptions. 2 vols. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Γεώργιος Μπαμπινιώτης, Συνοπτική Ιστορία τής Ελληνικής γλώσσας, Athens 2002.

External links

Ancient Greek

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period (9th to 6th centuries BCE), Classical period (5th and 4th centuries BCE), and Hellenistic period (Koine Greek, 3rd century BCE to the 4th century CE).

It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.

Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage on 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 periods of the language.

Ancient Greek phonology

Ancient Greek phonology is the description of the reconstructed phonology or pronunciation of Ancient Greek. This article mostly deals with the pronunciation of the standard Attic dialect of the fifth century BC, used by Plato and other Classical Greek writers, and touches on other dialects spoken at the same time or earlier. The pronunciation of Ancient Greek is not known from direct observation, but determined from other types of evidence. Some details regarding the pronunciation of Attic Greek and other Ancient Greek dialects are unknown, but it is generally agreed that Attic Greek had certain features not present in English or Modern Greek, such as a three-way distinction between voiced, voiceless, and aspirated stops (such as /b p pʰ/, as in English "bot, spot, pot"); a distinction between single and double consonants and short and long vowels in most positions in a word; and a word accent that involved pitch.

Koine Greek, the variety of Greek used after the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, is sometimes included in Ancient Greek, but its pronunciation is described in Koine Greek phonology. For disagreements with the reconstruction given here, see below.

Ancient Libya

The Latin name Libya (from Greek Λιβύη: Libyē, which came from Berber: Libu) referred to the region west of the Nile generally corresponding to the Atlantic Mountains according to Diodorus. Its people were ancestors of the modern Libyan. They occupied the area for thousands of years before the beginning of human records in ancient Egypt. Climate changes affected the locations of the settlements.

More narrowly, Libya could also refer to the country immediately west of Egypt, viz Marmarica (Libya Inferior) and Cyrenaica (Libya Superior). The Libyan Sea or Mare Libycum was the part of the Mediterranean Sea south of Crete, between Cyrene and Alexandria.

In the Hellenistic period, the Berbers were known as Libyans, a Greek term for the inhabitants of the Berber world. Their lands were called "Libya" and extended from modern Morocco to the western borders of ancient Egypt. Modern Egypt contains the Siwa Oasis, which was part of ancient Libya. The Siwi language, a Berber language, is still spoken in the area.

Berlin Painter

The Berlin Painter (active c. 490–460s BCE) is the conventional name given to an Attic Greek vase-painter who is widely regarded as a rival to the Kleophrades Painter, among the most talented vase painters of the early 5th century BCE (see Pottery of Ancient Greece).

The Berlin Painter along with the Kleophrades Painter was educated by a member of the Pioneer Group, who introduced red-figure painting.

Bryn Mawr Painter

The Bryn Mawr Painter is the name given to an Attic Greek red-figure vase painter active in the late Archaic period (c. 500 – 480 BCE).

Cypriot syllabary

The Cypriot or Cypriote syllabary is a syllabic script used in Iron Age Cyprus, from about the 11th to the 4th centuries BCE, when it was replaced by the Greek alphabet. A pioneer of that change was king Evagoras of Salamis. It is descended from the Cypro-Minoan syllabary, in turn a variant or derivative of Linear A. Most texts using the script are in the Arcadocypriot dialect of Greek, but also one bilingual (Greek and Eteocypriot) inscription was found in Amathus.


The Greek word "ἐλευθερία" (capitalized Ἐλευθερία; Attic Greek pronunciation: [eleu̯tʰeˈria]), transliterated as eleutheria, is an Ancient Greek term for, and personification of, liberty. Eleutheria personified had a brief career on coins of Alexandria.

In Ancient Greece, Eleutheria was also an epithet for the goddess Artemis, and as such she was worshipped in Myra of Lycia. The Roman equivalent of the goddess Eleutheria is Libertas, a goddess in her own right, and a personification of liberty.


Elis or Eleia (Greek: Ήλιδα, romanized: Ilida, Attic Greek: Ἦλις, romanized: Ēlis /ɛ̂ːlis/; Elean: Ϝᾶλις /wâːlis/, ethnonym: Ϝᾱλείοι) is an ancient district that corresponds to the modern regional unit of Elis.

Elis is in southern Greece on the Peloponnese, bounded on the north by Achaea, east by Arcadia, south by Messenia, and west by the Ionian Sea. Over the course of the archaic and classical periods, the polis "city-state" of Elis controlled much of the region of Elis, most probably through unequal treaties with other cities; many inhabitants of Elis were Perioeci—autonomous free non-citizens. Perioeci, unlike other Spartans, could travel freely between cities. Thus the polis of Elis was formed.

Homer mentions that Elis participated in the Trojan War.The first Olympic festival was organized in Elian land - Olympia - by the authorities of Elis in the eighth century BC, with tradition dating the first games to 776 BC. The Hellanodikai, the judges of the Games, were of Elian origin.

The local form of the name was Valis, or Valeia, and its meaning, in all probability was, "the lowland" (compare with the word "valley"). In its physical constitution Elis is similar to Achaea and Arcadia; its mountains are mere offshoots of the Arcadian highlands, and its principal rivers are fed by Arcadian springs.According to Strabo, the first settlement was created by Oxylus the Aetolian who invaded there and subjugated the residents. The city of Elis underwent synoecism—as Strabo notes—in 471 BC. Elis held authority over the site of Olympia and the Olympic games.

The spirit of the games had influenced the formation of the market: apart from the bouleuterion, the place the boule "citizen's council" met, which was in one of the gymnasia, most of the other buildings were related to the games, including two gymnasia, a palaestra, and the House of the Hellanodikai.


The term heliophysics means "physics of the Sun" (the prefix "helio", from Attic Greek hḗlios, means Sun), and appears to have been used only in that sense until quite recently. In the early times, heliophysics was concerned principally with the superficial layers of the star, and was synonymous with what is now more commonly called "solar physics". Usage was extended explicitly in 1981 to its literal meaning, denoting the physics of the entire Sun: from center to corona, and has been used in that sense since. As such it was a direct translation from the French héliophysique, which had been introduced to provide a distinction from physique solaire (solar physics). It thus became a subdiscipline of heliology. Early in the 21st century the meaning of the term was extended by Dr George Siscoe of Boston University to include the physics of the heliosphere (the space around the Sun beyond the corona, in principle out to the shock where the solar wind encounters the interstellar medium, but excluding the planets and other condensed bodies), although Siscoe's view of the discipline appears not to contain most of the true realm of endeavour. The term was adopted in Siscoe's restricted sense by the NASA Science Mission Directorate to denote the study of the heliosphere and the objects that interact with it—most notably planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres, the solar corona, and the interstellar medium. Heliophysics combines several other disciplines, including solar physics, and stellar physics in general, and also several branches of nuclear physics, plasma physics, space physics and magnetospheric physics. Solar wind interaction with magnetized planets, Solar wind propagation, Solar activity effects on planetary magnetospheres. Solar magnetic field configuration from the Sun to the Heliopause. The recent extension of heliophysics is closely tied to the study of space weather and the phenomena that affect it. To quote Siscoe from a recent conference presentation:

Heliophysics [encompasses] environmental science, a unique hybrid between meteorology and astrophysics, comprising a body of data and a set of paradigms (general laws—perhaps mostly still undiscovered) specific to magnetized plasmas and neutrals in the heliosphere interacting with themselves and with gravitating bodies and their atmospheres.

"Heliophysics" is now the name of one of four divisions within NASA's Science Mission Directorate (Earth Science, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, and Astrophysics). The title was used to simplify the name of the "Sun--Solar-System Connections" Division (and before that, the "Sun-Earth Connections" Division).

NASA's restricted use of the term heliophysics has also been adopted in naming the International Heliophysical Year in 2007-2008.

History of Greek

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

Leonidas I

Leonidas I (; Doric Λεωνίδας Α´, Leōnídas A'; Ionic and Attic Greek: Λεωνίδης Α´, Leōnídēs A' [leɔːnídɛːs]; "son of the lion"; died 11 August 480 BC) was a warrior king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, and the 17th of the Agiad line; a dynasty which claimed descent from the mythological demigod Heracles. He was the husband of Gorgo, the daughter of Cleomenes I of Sparta. Leonidas had a notable participation in the Second Persian War, where he led the allied Greek forces to a last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BC) while attempting to defend the pass from the invading Persian army.

Lycaon of Arcadia

In Greek mythology, Lycaon (/laɪˈkeɪɒn/; Attic Greek: Λυκᾱ́ων, Attic Greek: [ly.kǎː.ɔːn]) was a king of Arcadia who, in the most popular version of the myth, tested Zeus' omniscience by serving him the roasted flesh of Lycaon's own son Nyctimus, in order to see whether Zeus was truly all-knowing.

In return for these gruesome deeds, Zeus transformed Lycaon into a wolf, along with his offspring; Nyctimus was restored to life.

Despite being notorious for his horrific deeds, Lycaon was also remembered as a culture hero: he was believed to have founded the city Lycosura, to have established a cult of Zeus Lycaeus and to have started the tradition of the Lycaean Games, which Pausanias thinks were older than the Panathenaic Games. According to Gaius Julius Hyginus (d. AD 17), Lycaon dedicated the first temple to Hermes of Cyllene.


Oesyme or Oisyme (Attic Greek: Οίσύμη, Doric Greek: Οίσύμα) was an ancient Greek polis (city-state) located in ancient Thrace and later in Macedonia. It was within the region of Pieras or Edonis between the river Strymon and the river Nestos. Thucydides mentions it with Galepsus and notes that both were colonies of Thasos that sided with the Spartan army of Brasidas after it had taken Amphipolis in 424 BCE. Stephanus of Byzantium identifies it as the same Aesyme or Aisyme (Αίσύμη) named by Homer in the Iliad as the place of origin of Castianeira, mother of Gorgythion, who was fathered by Priam, king of Troy. The town is mentioned by several ancient geographers including Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder. Diodorus notes the town under the misspelling Σύμη - Syme (omitting the initial vowels). The town also appears in the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax as Σιούμη - Sioume.Athenaeus quotes a passage from Armenidas where Oesyme is mentioned among the places of Thrace famous for the quality of their wines. It was later renamed Emathia (Ἠμαθία) after its occupation by Phillip II of Macedon. It was considered a polis and an emporion at the same time.

The location of the ancient city is identified with the fortified citadel on Cape Vrasidas south of the village of Nea Peramos in the southern part of the bay of Eleutherai.

Persephone Painter

The Persephone Painter, working from about 475 to the 425 BCE, is the pseudonym of an ancient Attic Greek vase-painter, named by Sir John Beazley after investigating a red-figure bell-krater vase of about 440 BCE which includes a mythological scene of the return of Persephone from Hades. This name vase of the Persephone Painter currently resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The Persephone Painter is known for his close relationship to the Achilles Painter, through whose workshop the Persephone Painter passed. Winfred van de Put suggested that Persephone Painter may be identified with the Thanatos Painter.There are currently 26 works attributed to the Persephone Painter and these include both large and small vases.

Sparta (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Sparta (Doric Greek: Σπάρτα, Spártā; Attic Greek: Σπάρτη, Spártē) was the daughter of King Eurotas of Laconia. She was wife of King Lacedaemon (also her uncle) by whom she became the mother of Amyclas and Eurydice, wife of King Acrisius of Argos. The city of Sparta is said to have been named after her; however, the city was often called Lacedaemon as well. The two names were used interchangeably. Sparta was represented on a sacrificial tripod at Amyclae.

She was said to be a fair and beautiful maiden worth defending and protecting at all costs. Villages and armies would often shout her name before entering battle representing what they were fighting for.


A thalassocracy or thalattocracy (from Classical Greek θάλασσα (thalassa) (θάλαττα in Attic Greek), meaning "sea", and κρατεῖν (kratein), meaning "power", giving Koine Greek θαλασσοκρατία (thalassokratia), "sea power") is a state with primarily maritime realms, an empire at sea (such as the Phoenician network of merchant cities) or a seaborne empire. Traditional thalassocracies seldom dominate interiors, even in their home territories. Examples of this are Phoenician Tyre, Sidon, and Carthage, or Srivijaya and Majapahit in Southeast Asia. One can distinguish this traditional sense of thalassocracy from an "empire", where the state's territories, though possibly linked principally or solely by the sea lanes, generally extend into mainland interiors: the Bruneian Empire (1368–1888) in Asia. Compare to tellurocracy ("land-based hegemony").The term thalassocracy can also simply refer to naval supremacy, in either military or commercial senses of the word supremacy. The Ancient Greeks first used the word thalassocracy to describe the government of the Minoan civilization, whose power depended on its navy. Herodotus distinguishes sea-power from land-power and spoke of the need to counter the Phoenician thalassocracy by developing a Greek "empire of the sea".

Tithonos Painter

The Tithonos Painter (working ca 500–475 BCE) is the conventional name given to an Attic Greek red-figure vase-painter whose actual name never appeared on his works, which have been recognized in the 20th century when John Beazley identified his Late Archaic characteristic house style. Pots with decoration attributed to the Tithonos Painter are all Nolan amphorae (see Typology of Greek Vase Shapes) and lekythoi. He has been characterized as "a competent but unoriginal craftsman", working under the influence of the Berlin Painter.


Xenophon of Athens (; Greek: Ξενοφῶν, Ancient Greek: [ksenopʰɔ̂ːn], Xenophōn; c. 431BC – 354 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher, historian, soldier, mercenary, and student of Socrates. As a soldier, Xenophon became commander of the Ten Thousand at about 30, with noted military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge saying of him, “the centuries since have devised nothing to surpass the

genius of this warrior.” He established the precedent for many logistical operations and was among the first to use flanking maneuvers, feints and attacks in depth. He was among the greatest commanders of antiquity.

As a historian, Xenophon is known for recording the history of his time, the late-5th and early-4th centuries BC, in such works as the Hellenica, which covered the final seven years and the aftermath of the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), thus representing a thematic continuation of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.

As one of the Ten Thousand (Greek mercenaries), Xenophon participated in Cyrus the Younger's failed campaign to claim the Persian throne from his brother Artaxerxes II of Persia and recounted the events in Anabasis, his most notable history. Like Plato (427–347 BC), Xenophon is an authority on Socrates, about whom he wrote several books of dialogues (the Memorabilia) and an Apology of Socrates to the Jury, which recounts the philosopher's trial in 399 BC.

Despite being born an Athenian citizen, Xenophon was also associated with Sparta, the traditional enemy of Athens. His pro-oligarchic politics, military service under Spartan generals, in the Persian campaign and elsewhere, and his friendship with King Agesilaus II endeared Xenophon to the Spartans. Some of his works have a pro–Spartan bias, especially the royal biography Agesilaus and the Constitution of the Spartans.

Xenophon's works span several genres and are written in plain-language Attic Greek, for which reason they serve as translation exercises for contemporary students of the Ancient Greek language. In the Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Diogenes Laërtius observed that, as a writer, Xenophon of Athens was known as the “Attic Muse”, for the sweetness of his diction (2.6).

Origin and genealogy
Writing systems
Promotion and study
Ages of Greek

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