By Stephen Colvin
A short historical past of historic Greek accessibly depicts the social background of this historical language from its Indo-European roots to the current day.
Explains key relationships among the language and literature of the Classical interval (500 - three hundred BC)
offers a social heritage of the language which transliterates and interprets all Greek as applicable, and is consequently obtainable to readers who understand very little Greek
Written within the framework of contemporary sociolinguistic conception, bearing on the advance of historical Greek to its social and political context
displays the most recent considering on topics corresponding to Koiné Greek and the connection among literary and vernacular Greek
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Additional resources for A Brief History of Ancient Greek
This is because the Phoenician alphabet, like Arabic and Hebrew script, does not regularly indicate vowels: anyone who has learned a Semitic language will understand the reasons for this (the vowels are often morphologically predictable in a way that is alien to Indo-European). 28 An Aegean Co-Production The Greeks sensibly added the extra vowels that are necessary for representing Greek (see Chapter 5): but to claim that an alphabet suited to writing European languages marked a dramatic breakthrough does indeed have its roots in a Eurocentric and (arguably) anti-Semitic world view.
It appears in slightly different forms at different periods; since the Bronze Age texts have not been deciphered, it is not clear whether it was used for one language, or more than one language. Owing to the clear relationship with Linear A this early Cypriot script is known as Cypro-Minoan. One text found on Crete, in a context which dates it to around 1700 bc, stands outside all known scripts of the Aegean. This is the Phaistos disk, discovered in the palace at Phaistos. It is made of baked clay and stamped on both sides with 242 signs arranged in a spiral, apparently to be read from the outside to the center in a clockwise direction.
The peoples responsible for these earlier remains were covered by the term Pelasgian, which may explain why the Argolid was associated with 22 An Aegean Co-Production them (the Argolid was the traditional home of Agamemnon, leader of the Greek expedition to Troy, and impressive remains of Mycenae were visible in the region). In general the areas associated with the heroic or early Greek world seem to have attracted a Pelasgian pedigree, or at least a connection; hence perhaps the Pelasgian association with Thessaly and environs, which are curiously prominent in Homeric epic, and where the terms Hellas and Hellene seem to have originated (see Chapter 6).
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