Ancient Greece
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Ancient Greek Language

The Ancient Greeks were the first Europeans to read and write with an Alphabet, which eventually led to all modern European languages.
The Ancient Greek Language has different theories of origin; firstly some believe it migrated with the Proto-Greek speakers into the Greek Peninsula, dating from 2500BC to 1700 BC. Second Theory considers the migration into Greece happened before Proto-Greek, so the characteristics of Greek sounds were later.

Ancient Greek Dialects

Different variants of the early Greek alphabet suited to local dialects. There were three major dialects in ancient Greece, Aeolic, Doric and Ionic. Each of these were from different tribes, the Aeolians lived in the islands of the Aegean, the Dorians, from the Greek coast of Peloponnesus, including Crete, Sparta and other parts of West Coast Asia Minor. The Ionians settled in the West coast of Asia Minor including the Smyma.
The first surviving script for writing Greek was the Linear B discovered in 1953. It was used for the archaic Mycenaean dialect. When Mycenaean civilization was destroyed, there was a period of roughly five hundred years, when writing was either not used, or either that there was nothing that survived.

Homer's poetry of the Iliad and Odyssey were written in a sort of literary Ionic with some borrowed words from the other dialects. Ionic, became the first literary language of ancient Greece until the ascendancy of Athens in the late fifth century. Greek lyrical poetry and Ancient Greek Tragedy was written in Doric.

Attic Greek was a sub dialect of Ionic that belonged to the language of the Athenians for centuries. Classical Literature that survived is written in Attic Greek, this includes extant text of Plato and Aristotle .

Hellenistic Greek 'Koine' (meaning Common, also known as Biblical Greek) came from the colonization of Asian Minoans to Egypt and to the Middle East; this is where the language evolved into multiple dialects. Alexander the Great was instrumental in combining these dialects to make the 'Koine' dialect. As this allowed Alexander's combined Army to communicate with itself and the language also taught the inhabitants of the land he conquered, making Greek a world language. This then allowed the Greek language to flourish during the Hellenistic period.

From the beginning of the classical period, Greek has been written in the Greek alphabet, which was derived from the Phoenicians. This is clear from the shape of the letters, even Herodotus in his book of Histories, claimed the Greek alphabet included Phoenician styled letters in the alphabet, However, the Phoenician language only had letters for constants, which the Greeks adopted and evolved to included letters of sounds that were not included. Early Ancient Greek was also written from right to left, the same as the Phoenician.


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