Ancient Greek dialects

Ancient Greek Dialects

Ancient Greek dialects

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Description:
Ancient Greek, in classical antiquity before the development of the Koiné (κοινή) as the lingua franca of Hellenism, was divided into several dialects. Likewise, Modern Greek is divided into several dialects, most of them deriving from the Koiné.

Provenance

  • The earliest known dialect is Mycenaean Greek, the language reconstructed 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 AgeSometimes called the Greek Dark Ages because writing disappeared from Greece until the adaptation of the Phoenician alphabet. 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......
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