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Languages and Dialects of Ancient Greece Timeline

Ancient Greece Timelines

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Here are the five main dialects of ancient Greek that have been found on inscriptions. They are divided based on geography, with regional subdivisions. Following the ancient dialects are the other, more modern Greek languages.

1. Attic-Ionic Greek (represented in literature)

  • Ionic
    • East Ionic
    • Central Ionic
    • West Ionic
  • Attic (the Greek spoken in Attica, which includes Athens).

2. Achaean

  • Arcadian
  • Cyprian
  • Pamphylian

3. Aeolic (represented in literature)

  • Lesbian
  • Thessalian
  • Boeotian

4. Doric (represented in literature)

  • Laconian-Heraclean
  • Messenian
  • Argolic
  • Megarian,
  • Corinthian
  • Rhodian
  • Theran-Melian
  • Coan-Calymnian
  • Cretan

5. Northwest Greek

  • Phocian
  • Locrian
  • Elean

6. Koine Greek

4th century B.C. to A.D. 4th century, the language of the New Testament and Septuagint, which spread during the Hellenistic era throughout the empire of Alexander the Great. Koine was based on the classical Attic Greek modified by Alexander's soldiers's dialects [Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, by Daniel B. Wallace; 1997]. The language was simplified and made more explicit to meet the needs of a universal language.

Koine is the feminine form of the Greek adjective for 'common' (koinos) to go with either the Greek noun dialektos or glossa 'dialect' or 'language'.

7. Byzantine

5th - 15th century A.D. The Greek of this period was influenced by the East with an influx of words from other languages that we call Byzantine Greek. Byzantine Greek was used administratively by the Byzantine Empire.

8. Modern Greek

15th Century A.D. to the present.

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