1902 Encyclopedia > Greece > The Historic Stages of the Greek Language

Greece
(Part 19)




UNIT III: GREEK LANGUAGE (cont.)

The Historic Stages of Greek

The legend of the sons of Hellen, as we find it in Apollo- Divisions dorus, is of course entirely destitute of historical authority, of the but it serves as an indication of what the Greeks felt to be Greek a natural division of their race ; and from this point of view it is largely confirmed by language. The story runs that Hellen left his kingdom to iEolus his eldest son, while he sent forth Dorus and Xuthus, the father of Ion, to make con-quests in different lands. We see from this that the iEolic dialect was regarded as the oldest representative of Hellenic speech, that the Dorian came next to it, and that the Ionian, out of which the Attic subsequently sprung, was regarded as belonging properly to a later period. On the whole this view is not misleading; but it requires some qualification. In the first place this division is more satis-factory for literature than for history; the names iEolic, Doric, Ionic, and Attic cover well enough the written lite-rature of Greece, but are hardly comprehensive enough for all the spoken dialects. These were literally innumerable, —we are told that the tiny island of Peparethus had three clearly distinct,—and they shaded off one into another by

slight gradations. The influence of mixed populations is often seen to tell upon their language; and sometimes race distinctions do not tally with those of dialect; thus the ^Eolians of the Peloponnesus adopted a dialect essentially Dorian, while the Dorians of Halicarnassus spoke Ionian. It is often a matter of dispute under which head a partic-ular dialect shall be placed, and whatever division may be made, connecting links are sure to be found between mem-bers of different groups.
.ffiolic. JEOLIC.—This is usually subdivided into four chief dialects :—(1) Lesbian, (2) Thessalian and (?) Macedonian, (3) Boeotian, (4) Elean and Arcadian. It has been maintained by some high authorities, e.g., by Kirchhoff, that Lesbian alone ought to be considered iEolic, and that not only Elean and Arcadian, which Ahrens admits come nearer to Doric, but even Boeotian and Thessalian ought to be ranked as Doric. On the other hand, Professor E. Curtius denies to iEolic the character of a dialect, and holds that it is rather a name for those remains, preserved in different localities, of the more ancient form of the language, and that everything which was not Doric or Ionic was called by the ancients iEolic. We shall find, however, that some of the distinctive features of the Lesbian dialect, which has the fullest right to be called iEolie, were certainly not primitive, but of later origin, so that we can hardly accept this view. The extent to which various dialects admit of being grouped together will be best examined after a survey of their special characteristics.
Lesbio- Lesbio-JEolic.—The sources for this dialect are (1) inscriptions, and iEolic. (2) the statements of grammarians, based mainly upon quotations from Alcseus and Sappho. Of the former, there are only three of great importance, —one found at Mytilene, recording the return of some exiles in the time of Alexander the Great (Corpus Inserip. Grcec, No. 2166); another found at Pordoselena, an island close to Lesbos, of a few years later (ib., 2166c); and a third, of the same date as the first, found at Eresus and edited by Conze and Sauppe. The poets are of great value, because they appear to have written in the pure dialect of their country, and not to have framed a conventional language for themselves. The 28th and 29th idylls of Theocritus, called by the scholiast iEolic, are naturally a more suspicious source.
The grammarians with one accord lay stress upon the tendency to barytone pronunciation as a mark of jEolism. The word is accented on the last syllable : for <roif>6s, 6ufj.6s, 'AxtXXevs, ßapiis, and the like, the Lesbians said ai<pos, 6vp.os, 'AxixXevs, ßdpus. This tendency has often been adduced, along with the loss of the dual, to prove a closer connexion of .ffiolic than of any other Greek dialect with Latin; it is rather a striking proof of the danger of drawing such deductions from phenomena of purely independent origin (cf. Schräder in Curtius's Studien, x. 259). The grammarians also tell us that iEolic did not use the rough breathing. The in-scriptions date from a time when the aspirate was not written ; and the MSS. are not sufficiently trustworthy to give us much help. But there are instances enough in wdiich a tenuis preceding a syllable which in ordinary Greek begins with the rough breathing appears in iEolic as an aspirate—Ahrens quotes nine, besides the article and the demonstrative and relative—to show that aspiration was not unknown. It is to be noticed that in all these instances the rough breathing represents a primitive s or j. The same authorities assert that jEolie was distinguished by its retention of the digamma, and hence this letter is called by Quintilian and Priscian "iEolium digammon;" but inscriptions show that, though more common in. iEolic than in Ionic, it was much less faithfully retained in the former than among the Boeotians and Dorians. Before p it was commonly hardened into ß, between vowels vocalized into v. Of the distinctively iEolic phonetic laws, the following deserve special notice. When in other dialects ( has originated in bj, it usually appears as öS ; ßpiaSa = bi£a. Liquids are very frequently doubled, usually as a result of assimilation: e.g., vv=va or n, as eyevvaro, Krevvas, p.ijvi>os (cf. mensis), ep.p.1, apyevvos ; vv = vj, as Keyyos, KX'IVVCO (SO (pdeppca); vv = vf, as-ycWos = yovv6s. 2<r is retained, where primitive, wdiile Attic often drops it: /ittraos, iaaovrai, taaos. n assimilates a following pi instead of being assimilated by it : tiiriraTa —0/j.fj.ara (brr-p.ara), yp6Tnrara = ypap-p-ara (ypatp-p-ara). Before <r, v generally passes into i, forming a diphthong with a preceding vowel: TcSA.au, Att. raAas for TaAae-s ; Trais, Att. Treis for iravr-s ; so Trpeiroivais — TrpeTrovT-iav-s, <r6(pats, Att. <ro<pas for aotpdv-s, Xeyoto-i, Att. Xeyovm.
Of the vowels, a is sometimes retained, when it has been "dulled" in Attic, e.g., Sra ( = 6Ve), tmd = \mi ; but more commonly it passes into o, especially when in contact with liquids, e.g., crpSros, e<pdop-0ai, bp.vda-tim' ( = avap.vtio-<>T)vai)—this may be regarded as a char-acteristic mark of jEolism ; o often becomes v, e.g, ti<r$os = 6(os; so airvSofievai; ä is retained as in Ionic, when Ionic has rj, but y has its proper place where it has originated in a lengthened e, e.g., fidrTjp, rati iroXiv, o-rdxxav ( = O~TT)XTIV). Por et and on n and u are commonly used : o-vp^peprtv, xvp, urivos, &pavos, Kupos. The t of diphthongs is often omitted : dxd6ea=a.Xi)8eia ; Xaxov" for Xaxo'n)v (cf. the popular Attic iroeiV). In contraction ao becomes a, Kpovitia; ¤0 ev, lieAevs ; oo a, o.vQp<l>Tra>. The apparent diaeresis of diphthongs is sometimes due to a retention of the uncontracted form ; some-times, as in oXSa in Alcseus, &1 in inscriptions, it is real.
In noun-inflexion, besides the changes produced by these phonetic laws, we may notice the loss of the dual, and also a tendency to metaphrastic forms, especially the accusative in v from consonantal stems.
In verb-inflexion there is a 2d sing, in -oda, exetoBa, but not the Doric 1st plur. in -,u.es ; the 3d plur. ends in -tat (as noticed above); and contracted verbs commonly follow the earlier conjugation in -p.t, (plhT)p.i, SoKiixapu (the grammarians add, but probably incorrectly, yeXaip.t).
The general character of Jiolic was much less hard and vigorous than that of Doric ; it was distinguished by a quick tripping utter-ance, as contrasted with the Doric slow deliberateness ; the verse of the iEolic poet abounds in dactyls and anapaests. To the Athenians the language of Lesbos seemed somewhat outlandish, so that, though it was doubtless an exaggeration, it was not an absurd one, for Plato (Protag., 341c) to represent Prodicus as saying of Pittacus are AeV/3ios &v Kal ev (pwvfj /3ap/3apisj redpap.tj.ei/os.
The Thessalian dialect is known only by a few inscriptions, the Thes-most important of which were discovered by Leake and Eangabe. salian. It forms a kind of link between Lesbian and Boeotian, doubling liquids, changing o into o, and dropping the i of diphthongs with the former, but agreeing with the latter in the use of an infinitive in -p.ev. It is also characterized by the use of ov for a>; e.g., 'ATTXOVI/ for 'ATTSXXOIV, bvdXovp.a = avdXwpa ; cf. a-rrh ras rovv rayovv yvovp.as; and the genitive sing, ends in -oi (for oio) instead of -ov ; e.g., 'Avrtyeveiot Xe£ai>TOs, AiVxvAis Sarvpot. The general character of the dialect confirms the tradition that the earlier common home of the Lesbians and the Boeotians was in Thessaly.
The Boeotian dialect is known mainly from inscriptions. The scanty Boeotian, fragments of Corinna have come down to us mixed with Ionic forms; and the specimens of the Boeotian dialect given by Aristophanes in the Achamians and Eubulus in his Antiopa are still more corrupted by an intermixture of Attic. The Boeotians differed from the Lesbians in many not unimportant points. (1) They had no tendency to throw the accent back. (2) They liked the rough breathing. (3) They retained an earlier T, or changed it into 9, where the Lesbians had a. (4) A Lesbian trS (= f) appears in Boeotian as 55. (5) The Lesbian doubling of liquids and change of vs to is are unknown in Boeotian. (6) In inflexion Boeotian retains -oo and -aav, which Lesbian contracts. (7) The Boeotian genitives are eptovs, reovs, eovs, the Lesbian epteBev, aedev, edev. Further, Boeotian changes e to i before vowels, v to ou, ij to ei, ei to i, and oi to v, all which changes are unknown to Lesbian; cf., e.g., Bceot. di6s, Kowes,. ohp.es, aveSeiKe, iroerras, fSaatXios, TV Sdfjo, fvKta, &c. As against these numerous differences there are but few points of resemblance, except such as would be shared by all the Dorian dialects. A few peculiar words shared by both are noticed by Beerman (Curt., Stud., ix. p. 85), and he lays stress upon their agreement in -pev (1 plur.)' as contrasted with the Doric -pes, on the feminine terminations -is and -a> (vAAe|is, ~2,d-n<pu, May™, &c.), and on the common use of patronymic adjectives instead of the genitive of the father's name. But it may fairly be said that these would not have been regarded as sufficient indications of a close connexion, unless the traditional evidence in its favour had been so strong. We must assume that the Lesbian emigrants changed their language more rapidly than those who had moved less far from their earlier home.
The Elean dialect is represented by Strabo (viii. p. 333) as being Elean_ also iEolic. This tradition is decidedly rejected by Ahrens, and is very doubtful. The most recent discussion of the question (by Schrader in Curtius's Studien, x. 267 sqq.) advocates the theory that the Eleans separated from the rest of the Greeks at a time ante-cedent to the distinction between jEolic and Doric. This practically coincides with the view of Ahrens that, while it has many points of contact with Doric, and especially with Laconian, it is really a dis-tinct dialect, and is confirmed by the inscriptions, of which the most important are the ancient bronze plate brought back from Olympia by Sir W. Gell (C. I. G. 11) recording a treaty between the Eleans and the Heraeans, and the recently discovered inscription of Damocrates, edited by Kirchhoff (Archceol. Zeit., 1876). Iti agrees with Lesbian in the nom. sing. masc. in a, reXeara, and the acc. plur. masc. in ois (-oip) for ov-s. It resembles the northern Doric in the use of ev with the acc., in the apocope of irepi to 7rap, and in a heteroclite dat. plur. in -ois (ay&voip), and Laconian in a complete retention of the digamma, (changed in the later inscrip-tions to /3), in the change of final s into p (e.g., roip, dxXoip, Trpot^evoip, j8o!Kiap = Fondas), and in the change of a medial s into the rough breatliing (7ro^ao-o-ai = iroij)o-ao-0ai)- The last two, and also the use of £ for /, are much less usual in the early than in the later inscriptions ; and the same is the case with Laconian ; hence the phenomena point rather to a later action of one dialect upon the other than to a close original connexion. Much light may be-

expected to be cast upon the Elean dialect by the researches at Olympia, which are bringing to light almost every week forms of great philological interest. Arcadian. The Arcadian dialect rests almost wholly upon inscriptions, of which the most important is one found at Piali near Tegea in 1859, edited by Bergk, and afterwards by Michaelis, with valuable notes by Curtius. The very careful examination of this dialect by Schrader (Curtius's Studien, x. 273-280) shows that it has more points in com-mon with Doric than with iEolic,—indeed that there is no single point in which it agrees with all the dialects of the latter, where it does not also agree with the former. Its agreement with Lesbian especially is only on minute points, which seem to be of independ-ent origin. Hence its jEolic character may be definitely given up. Among the more interesting phenomena which it presents, we may notice -au for the gen. sing. masc. of _-nouns, -ot as the dative (or possibly locative) sing, of o-nouns, iv used for els and ev, -rot as the inflexion of the 3d sing, middle (e.g., yivTfrot, 5e'aToi)and -qpeyos as the ending of the participle of verbs in -e'» (dStKi)tievos ; cf. naSa-X-qp-evcp = KaraSnXovpeytp in the Elean treaty; Lesb. KaXr)p.eyos, &c). Cyprian. The Cyprian dialect may be mentioned here; for the results of its examination entirely confirm the statements of Herodotus (vii. 90) and Pausanias (viii. 5, 2) that Arcadians were among the colonists of Cyprus. This was first asserted by Bergk on the strength of a few glosses ; but recently the inscriptions have been deciphered by Dr Birch, followed with more complete success by Brandis, Schmidt, and Deecke and Siegismund. They are not written in Greek characters, but in an alphabet of their own, which is syllabic in its character, i.e., each sign represents a consonant followed by a vowel. Of these signs there are 56 as yet identified ; there is no distinction between tenues, medials, and aspirates, nor is there any mark of rough or smooth breathing ; the signs therefore stand for a, e, i, o, y, Tea, ice, hi, ko, ky, pa, &c, ta, &c., ma, &c., na, &c, ra, &c, la, &c, sa, &c, andm, &c. The number is made up by ja, je, ji (jo and jy not having yet been discovered), sse, za, and zo. If a word ends in a consonant, the sign of that consonant when followed by e is used ; but an article or a preposition is often treated as coalescing with its noun. When two consonants come together, the first is denoted by the sign of that syllable which it makes either with the vowel attached to the second consonant (e.g., po-to-li-ne = TTOAIV) or with the preceding vowel (e.g., a-ra-ky-ro = apyvpi>>). A nasal is always omitted before an explosive (a-to-ro-po-se = avQpieiros). Cyprian agrees with Arcadian in the geni-tive in -au, in a.TTv for cWo" (sometimes followed in both by the dative), in the preposition iv (often with aec), and in many less important points.





Doric. DORIC. —The Dorian dialect was divided by Ahrens, following the Greek grammarians, into two main groups—(1) the severer Doric, (2) the milder, the one being more closely connected with iEolic, the other with Ionic. To the former belonged the speech of Laconia, Crete, Cyrene, and the Greek colonies in Italy; to the latter the lan-guage of Argolis, Messenia, Megara, and northern Greece, and the colonies of Asia Minor and Sicily. The basis of this distinction is the use of a and ij in the severer as against ou and et in the milder dialect. But the division can hardly be maintained in practice, and hence it is abandoned by most modern scholars. The northern Doric, for instance, which is ascribed by Ahrens to the second di-vision, has been shown by Merzdorf (Sprachwissensch. Abhandl. &c. Leipsic, 1874, pp. 23-42) to form a bridge between jEolic and Doric. Again, while we find ov in use at Thera, at Cyrene, a colony of Thera, co is retained ; hence this cannot point to a deep division. We may notice first the authorities for the particular dialects, and then the characteristics of Doric generally. Sources The Laconian dialect is known from few and unimportant in-for the scriptions, from the fragments of Alcman, which, however, are in a various language much modified for poetie purposes, and from the specimens subdia- in the Lysistrata of Aristophanes and in other Attic comedies, lects. There are also a large number of Laconian glosses in Hesychius, and Thucydides (v. 77) gives a treaty in the Spartan dialect. Our knowledge is largely supplemented by the famous tables of Heraelea, a colony of Tarentum, which itself was founded by Sparta. These were found in the bed of the river Cavone in 1732 and 1735, and are now partly in the Museo Borbonico at Naples and partly in the British Museum.
From Crete there are numerous important inscriptions, chiefly treaties between various towns. It is curious that some of the most valuable of these were found in the ruins of the splendid temple of Dionysus in the island of Teos; this temple enjoyed the rights of an asylum, and the inscriptions are mainly treaties acknowledging these rights on the part of various Cretan cities. They contain some highly interesting archaisms of form.
For Thera there is an important inscription containing the will of a wealthy lady Epicteta (O.I. 67., 2448); for its more famous colony, Cyrene, there are only brief and fragmentary records.
The Argolic dialect appears on a very ancient helmet found at Olympia (C. I. G., 29) and on an inscription very recently dug up at the same place, as well as on several others of less importance. From Messenia there is a long and very interesting inscription found at Andania, dealing with the cultus of certain deities; it is of comparatively late date (probably 93 _._.) and in a much modified Doric, but it contains some striking forms.
The Corinthian dialect is learnt mainly from inscriptions at its colonies of Coreyra and Syracuse, both of which cities supply some very ancient and valuable records. In the same way the Doric of Megara is preserved most fully on Byzantine inscriptions. For this we have also the Megarian in the Acharnians of Aristophanes.
For the Locrian dialect Ahrens had but few and fragmentary in-scriptions and no literary evidence ; recently a bronze tablet con-taining a treaty between Chaleion and CEantheia (of the 4th century B.C.) has been dug up at the latter place; and also a tablet contain-ing the regulations for founding a colony at Naupactus (cf. Curt., Stud., ii. 441-449, iii. 205-279). These throw much new light on the dialect, and enable us to set it down with confidence as a link between Doric and iEolic.
The general character of the Doric dialect was that of a slow, de- General liberate, and emphatic speech ; it is the speech of the warrior and Doric char-the ruler, not of the orator or merchant. The irXaretao-ij.6s, which the acteristics. ancient authorities ascribe to the Dorians, is not distinctive of them, but was shared by the Boeotians and other iEolians ; it is to be re-garded rather as a mark of an earlier stage of the language, which was retained like many other similar characteristics by the Dorians much more extensively than by contemporary Ionians. It is quite the exception for any Doric characteristic to be of recent origin. A natural hypothesis finds in the full and broad sounds of the dialect of these " men of the mountain-forests " signs of the chest strength-ened by mountain air and mountain life, To pass to details :—
In accentuation Doric showed no inclination to the barytone pro-nunciation of Lesbos ; on the contrary, it has more oxytone forms even than Attic. In many words the Doric accent is of especial in-terest as bearing valuable testimony to the origin of the inflexions ; we find not only dyyeXot, avSpdnrot, and rvirrofievot, but also eXeyov, eXinrav, iraiSes, _______, and dfnreXos (acc. plur.),—these forms all pointing back to a time when the final syllable was long, and thus demanding from philology an account of this length.
In vowels a short a is often retained where Attic has e (iapos, _____, _____) or _ (femart = _____-i): _ in Laconian became ou, but probably only as an indication that the earlier pronunciation of the vowel was retained, when in ordinary Greek it had sunk into ii. Wherever rt in Ionic has come from an earlier a, Doric retains a, but where it has ori-ginated in e, i) is retained as in Lesbio-iEolic (irariip, Bceot. _____{_); it is also retained in augments (ripxip-av), and as a contraction for ae (ei/inn). On the other hand ao and ace contract into _ ('ArpeiSa, yeXav). The contractions of to, ecu, vary much in different dialects. The severer Doric gives _ for et and w for ou: T)S for els, i)p.ev for eap.ev, _____, MoVa, eyfr\Xf\Qiuiv'rt=e\etXr\Qu>o't, /______ (Lesb-/_____), K&pos, &c. A noteworthy phenomenon is presented by the shortening of long final syllables, almost exclusively where the length is due to compensatory lengthening in the place of a lost consonant (Svptords, _______ v6p.os, irpd^ds, ____ [ = TTO5-S], Xeyes, _'_____, _____); of all forms of the dialect the Cretan especially favoured this.
Of the consonants, the digamma was retained longer by the Doric than by any other dialect, but we find it gradually disappearing. It is used in the old Laconian, Argolic, Corinthian, and Corcyraean inscriptions, but not in the Cretan, with the exception of the proper name /_|__; on the Heraclean tables it is very common, but there are some strange exceptions, as o'tKtd, epyd£op,at, and ______ ; some have held that it is there wrongly inserted in /e|, but this is really a valuable confirmation of the labial spirant to which other lan-guages also bear witness. The digamma is often changed to /3 (as in Elean), but never before p, as in Molic; whether it ever actually passed into y, or whether the numerous forms which give this in the place of an earlier digamma are all due to the mistakes of copyists, is a question still under discussion (Curtius's Princ, ii. 229 ff). _ is constantly retained, where the Ionians have weakened it into <r, especially in rt: ___1 = ___-1; so _________ = _____overt, T(0eyTt = _______; cf. irXdrtos, TTXOVTIOS, Sajrts, ^eXtyovyrtot.
Three changes characteristic of Laconian came in at a compara- Laconian lively late date ; for they do not appear in the Heraclean tables, peculiari-and consequently they must be later than the foundation of Taren- ties, turn. (1) 0 becomes a ; this is very common in the Spartan of the Lysistrata; e.g., aeXet, crtyrjr ( = 6tyeb), erieis ( = 0e6s); cf. __ criw 0-ip.a.Tos (Thuc. v. 77), o-eios avi\p (Ar., Eth. Nic, vii. 1). (2) Final s becomes p ; this is still later, and does not appear in Aristophanes, but is very common in the more recent inscriptions. (3) Medial a between vowels becomes '; this is found in Aristophanes (Mela, iraa, &c.) and in later inscriptions (riooioayi), but not in Alcman.
The traditional change of _ into 8 is denied by Ahrens and Curtius, who altogether reject, with very good reason, the asserted identity of Sa and y% The appearance of | in the future and com-pound aorist of verbs in -feu (e.g., 5otctp.d£ovTt, ep.ept^av, &c. in the ____. Herod., p.ucri|ai in Aristoph., Lysist.) has been rightly explained by Curtius (Princ., ii. 248) as a hardening of the original spirant _ (j) before the cr, the only possible alternative to its com-plete loss, which we find in the ordinary Greek SoKtp.do-w. The change of (into <rS, ascribed by the grammarians to Doric, is more

properly Leshian, and is unknown to pure Doric; here c* is as a rule retained, but in the Laconian dialect when initial it becomes 5 (8o>p.6s = fapos), when medial 55 (pvcriBficii = pv8ifa, TroTo55ec = Tcpoo-o£ei).
A double cr is retained where this is the more ancient form, changed in ordinary Greek into cr; thus the Heraclean tables give 8Woj, p.4<ro-os, iaaovrtu, &c. The crcr often found in Dorian inscrip-tions (and sometimes in the earlier Attic also), where there is no historical explanation of its presence, seems to be an attempt to represent the sound of the earlier sibilant san, which was retained by the side of sigma. For the earlier guttural koppa, the distinctive sign p is found in old inscriptions, almost, but not quite exclusively before o, e.g., <popivd6Bev, opfos.
We may notice finally a free use of assimilation especially in Laconian (Tvovp.p.a = irvyp.i)> icdppoiy— K.peio'o'oiv, i.e., Kaprioiv, o.KK6p = &0'K6S), and on the other hand the retention of vs by the Argives and Cretans (TSVS, p.ovo~a, evs, TLS4VS, Tipvvs, &c.).
The characteristic Dorian inflexions are almost entirely such as are due to these phonetic laws, or to the tendency to metaphrastic or heteroelite formations, already noticed.
IONIC.—The Ionic dialect is commonly divided into three stages,— the Old Ionic or Epic dialect, the New Ionic, represented most com-pletely by Herodotus and Hippocrates, and the Attic. This division is not satisfactory; for, in the first place, the Epic is a mixed dialect or more properly a style, and cannot be taken as a faithful represen-tative of a spoken language ; and, in the second place, Attic is not a later stage of the New Ionic, but in many respects remains faithful to forms in which even the Old Ionic has departed from the earlier usage. The three sub-dialects, however, agree on the whole much more closely than any one of them does with either JJolic or Doric, and they may therefore be grouped together. We know from an express statement of Herodotus (i. 142) that there were many sub-ordinate varieties of the ordinary Ionic ; he mentions four within a comparatively narrow extent; but neither the extant inscriptions nor the statements of grammarians enable us to distinguish these with any precision. It is probable that the differences lay rather in slight shades of pronunciation than in any extensive variations, and that, on the whole, the varieties closely resembled each other. As the general character of Doric is due, at least in a measure, to the hardy mountain life of the Dorians, so the Ionic type was determined by the easier and more effeminate life of the Ionians. All harshness is carefully avoided; the spirants, especially the /, were dropt here earlier and more completely than in any other dialect; the a is more extensively changed into e and o ; aspiration is frequently lost or transposed so as to be easier to pronounce ; T, especially before i, regularly passes into cr; gutturals are replaced by dentals or labials. The vowel-system is especially rich and free ; sometimes an easy flow is given by the avoidance of contraction ; sometimes again a full colouring is produced by the variety of the diphthongs. The varied literary activity of the Ionians in different directions gave a manifold development to their language, which makes it especially well adapted to poetry, and adds not a little of poetical charm even to their prose.





Epic Dialect. —The language of the Homeric poems is doubtless based upon the popular spoken dialect of the district in the midst of which they grew up. But as every scholar would now admit that they were constructed out of a large mass of previously existing material, however widely opinions may differ as to the person or school to which they owe their present form, and as much of this material must have dated from a great antiquity, it need not surprise us to find in the midst of a dialect, which is of a much more recent type than jEolic or Doric, traces of archaisms, earlier in some respects than anything to be found elsewhere. It is one of the greatest services which comparative philology has done for the in-terpretation of these poems, that it has enabled us to recognize as relics of an older language much which had been previously set down as poetic licence, or held to be inexplicable.
One of the most interesting of these relics is the effect produced by the earlier existence of a spirant, no longer written, upon the quantity of a preceding syllable. As late as the time of I. Belcker all such cases were unhesitatingly ascribed to the digamma; and this accounts for many instances; but in others the cognate languages point to cr or,/: e.g., we find, not only <pi\a feipaTa Sicrai, OVTOI 5)) fo'iKovSt, and hundreds of similar cases (La Koehe gives 84 Homeric words with the digamma), some of very common occurrence, but also 8ehs (j)lis, foitcaSt (j)i(j)ep.eva>v, en -yap (<r)e'xoc eA/cecc Kvypd, me: crc£ (a)eit6pi}v, eis aAa (<r)aATO, and many other instances. On the other hand, the occasional neglect of the digamma, even in words for which it is most certainly estab-lished, points, not necessarily, as some have argued, to a later origin of those lines in which this occurs, but to a fluctuating usage, akin to though much more extensive than our own poetic use of forms like loveth and loves, formed and form'd, my and mine. In the form in which the poems now appear, it is often of much importance to remember that they must have been tran-scribed at a comparatively late date from the earlier into the later Ionic alphabet (see ALPHABET, vol. i. p. 610), and that doubtless many words were inaccurately represented. 'Hie limits of this sketch do not admit of a statement of the characteristic epic forms. They will be found given with very full references in the introduc-tion to La Roche's school edition of the Iliad (Berlin, 1870), and with admirable clearness and scientific exactness in the sketch of Homeric grammar prefixed by Mr D. B. Monro to his edition of the First Book of the Iliad (Oxford, 1879).
The New Ionic dialect is found first in the writings of the iambic New Ionie. elegiac poets, Archilochus, Callinus, and Mimnermus (where the digamma has already entirely disappeared), and is known more completely from Herodotus and Hippocrates. We are told that the language of the former was varied (TOI/CIATI) as compared with the pure (naOapii) Ionic of preceding logographers ; this seems to refer to the occasional introduction of epic forms and expressions, which give a delightful poetic tinge to his language {cf. Quintil., ix. 4,18, Turn ipsa SictAeKTos habet earn iucunditatem, ut latentes etiam nnmeros complexa vidcatur) and not to any dialectic variations. Besides the general tendencies of Ionie mentioned above we may notice the retention of the earlier K for ir in interrogative and relative words (icoios, OKOO-OS, &c), the interchange of ec and ov with the simple vowels (etpopat, KeivSs, |e?yos, but p4£wv, 5e'|co, Taxece ; and povvos, ovvopa, TO ovpos, vovcos), the contraction of o^into o> ((Hwtrai, e'j3«0ee, ivvdaas), the use of ijl for ec ([la<ri\Tj'in, p-avrrjiov), the Ionic crasis in aviip, SAAOI, &C, the entire absence of the appended v, the gen. plur. in -euv for Homer's -dav, Att. -5c, and the use of -CITCU, -CCTO for -vrai and -VTO wherever these are added directly to the tense-stems (cf. ecTKeuaSaTai, cforiKccTcu, /3ej3AectTai, TiBsarai, ayoiaro, &c.). The dialect of Herodotus has been most fully discussed by Bredow, Qnaistionum criticarumcle dialecto Herod, libri duo, 1846); there are some excellent remarks upon it by Mr Woods in an introduction to his edition of Book i. pp. 40-45. The text of Hippocrates is in too unsettled a state, and the genuineness of many of the treatises ascribed to him too doubtful, to make it possible for us to build much upon his authority. From inscriptions but little can be gained. See Erman in Curtius's Studien, vol. v. pp. 250 ff.
The Attic dialect may be regarded as on the whole a slightly modi- Attic, tied representative of the Ionic spoken before the foundation of the Ionic colonies. It is not so much a daughter of Ionic as its mother, as Bergk justly calls it. In Ionic the tendency to soften the lan-guage which had already commenced before the separation went on its way unrestrained in the luxurious life of the Asiatic cities . In Attica, possibly owing to the free admission of non-Ionic citizens by Solon and Cleisthenes, this tendency was checked, and there are even some signs of a reaction in the direction of the earlier and more vigorous speech. There is a celebrated inscription found at Sigeum in the Troad (ft I. G., 8), the antiquity of which, though attacked by Boeckh, has been established by Kirchhoff; this is in two parts,—the upper in Ionic dialect, the lower (which is probably a little later, but also belonging to the time of Pisistratus) in Attic, and we can already see the reaction at work. The Attic dia-lect thus adapted itself admirably to the character of the Athenian people, which knew better than any other Hellenic community how to unite energy and dignity with grace and refinement, to preserve the aeiiv6ri]s of the Dorian without sacrificing the x<V's °f the Ionian. The Attic of the inscriptions may be most conveniently divided according as these are written in the old alphabet of sixteen letters or in the so-called Ionic alphabet of twenty-four. The latter was introducedforpublic documents inthearchonshipof Euclides(403 B.C.); the inscriptions written before that date have been collected and edited by Kirchhoff in the first volume of the new Berlin Corpus Inseriptionum Grazearum, and their linguistic peculiarities well com-mented upon by Cauer in Curtius's Studien, vol. viii. pp. 223-301 and 399-442. The Attic of literature is divided into the Old and the New, the point of division being earlier than the archonship of Euclides, and coinciding more nearly with the beginning of the Peloponnesian War (431 B. c.). The division is, however, not strictly a chronological one, for, while Thucydides and the tragedians adhere to the older forms, contemporary comic writers adopt the later ones; in Plato both are found side by side ; but in the orators the change to the new is fully established. The difference is not deeply marked, and lies for the most part in minute details. In some cases these seem to point to the adoption in literature of popular forms which had always been current, and which were really older than the forms that (probably owing to the influence of the Ionic poets and historians) had become fashionable with older writers. Thus the TT which in New Attic supplants crcr cannot possibly have come from this weaker sound ; they are both independent modifications of an earlier KJ or rj ; and the inscriptions show clearly (cf. Cauer, p. 284 sq.) that crcr was never used except under Ionic influence. In other cases there are undoubtedly indications of the weakening


The tablets of Styra, engraved not later than 480 B.C. (Kirchhoff, Zur Geschichte der Griech. Alph., p. 139 sq.), give an interesting example of Ionic of a less complete development.
On this question, however, the arguments of Ascoli deserve careful consideration. They have considerably modified the judgment of Curtius in the fifth edition of the GrundzUge, cf. pp. 666 ff


of sound which marks the ordinary course of language : e.g., aiv for \{iv, pp for per ; the same is probable in the instances where a simple vowel represents an earlier diphthong, as in ¿teí, ¿teros, e\da, and troeiv, and in the tendency to allow ee (ij) to sink into ei (ei), e.g., 0ao-t\e7s, KAeidpov, ÁÍiet, eÍKa^ov, and the duals cméAei, (evyet for anéxn, (eíryri. It is less easy to account for the change of t)V (¿áv) to dv.
Qualities In the New Attic th*. Greek language may be said to have reached of the its zenith of grace, expressiveness, and symmetry ; and hence this Greek is the proper place for a few remarks on the qualities which have language, confessedly made the Greek language quite unrivalled as a means for the expression of human thought.
In the first place we may notice its purity and consequent trans-parency. The Greeks felt themselves to be sharply marked off from the barbarians around *hem, and in consequence rarely allowed their language to be contaminated by foreign influences. Latin teems with borrowed words, often ill-adapted to the genius of the language ; Greek has very few, and these almost invariably Hellenized in form. Hence the etymologist feels himself to have a far firmer footing in Greek than on Italian soil. Hence too the or-ganic structure of Greek retains its regularity, and the orthography is well established and rarely fluctuating. Then there is the phon-etic harmony of the language. Dissonance was everywhere avoided; there is no undue predominance of consonants, as in Latin and still more strikingly in Etruscan. The endings of the words are light, no final consonant being endured, except the liquids v and p and the spirant s. The brightest of the vowels, a, e, o, are far more common than the harder and thinner i and u, Greek here again contrasting sharply with Latin. The abundance of diphthongs—practically lost in the modern pronunciation of Greek—gives a rich variety of sound, besides supplying admirable means for the differentiation of mean-ings. The careful observation of accent, by the side of and quite dis-tinct from the due marking of quantity, lent a varied modulation to the rhythm, which the rapid utterance of the Athenians especially prevented from ever becoming wearisome. The range of different forms at the disposal of poets and the freedom allowed in the order of words permitted the writer to choose the rhythmical effect most conducive to the harmony of his period. With regard again to the expressiveness of the language, the completeness of theverbal inflexion enabled various shades of meaning to be expressed with unrivalled precision and terseness. It is perhaps impossible to estimate with any approach to accuracy the extent of the vocabulary of a language known to us only from a literature which, in some of its most im-portant branches, has come down to us in a sadly fragmentary state; but some approximation may be made from the fact that Herodian is said to have determined the accent of 60,000 words. But the free power of word-formation and composition to which this marvellous richness was largely due was no mechanical process. It sprang from the lively fancy of the most poetic of nations,—a fancy which shows itself alike in the significant individual names borne by every Greek citizen, which contrast so sharply with the obscure, trivial, and stereotyped hereditary labels of the Romans, and in the charac-teristic and often sportive appellations of plants and animals. Nor can we omit that which was according to Aristotle the despair of the barbarian of old, as it is of the modern schoolboy, the exquisitely exact and delicate use of the particles. Of all the qualities which make Greek really untranslatable, even into German, the only one of modern languages which approaches it in this respect, perhaps the most characteristic is the abundance of these tiny atoms of speech, not one of which can be neglected with impunity, while it is impossible to reproduce them all except at an expenditure of our means of expression which ruins the lightness and grace of the sentence. The history of the development of the period, that device in which the symmetry of form is inseparably wedded to the artistic balance of thought,"—a device which is found in no language which has not derived it directly or mediately from Greece,—belongs to the region of literature rather than language. But many a construction, for which formal syntax finds it hard to discover a name and a classi-fication, can only be understood aright if we look upon it as the utterance of a national life unrivalled in its bold and vivid freshness, delighting in variety, and shaping at its will a language still fluid and plastic.
Pronun- With regard to the pronunciation of Greek, the best modern ciation scholars are at one in regarding the modern pronunciation, advo-of GreeK. cated at the revival of learning by Reuchlin, as wholly misleading for an earlier period. On the other hand, the current pronunciation in England is hardly more correct than the conventional pronunciation of Latin ; and even the Continental pronunciation, as estab-lished by Erasmus, needs to be modified on many points. The vowels and consonants present no difficulty : d, a, T¡, e, t, t, a, o were undoubtedly pronounced as the corresponding vowels are now in French, German, or Italian ; v and v were the French ú and it, i.e., very nearly the German ue. The consonants may be pronounced as in English, y being however always hard, and £ being ds, while, as noticed already, the aspirates cp, 8, x=P-h, t-h, c-h. It is much more difficult to determine the pronunciation of the diphthongs. Undoubtedly they were originally strictly diphthongal, i.e., the two vowels were each pronounced, but ran rapidly one into the other : cf. traits and the Homeric irdts, oh and oi's. But at an early period the diphthongal pronunciation was lost, and in modern Greek the sound i is given alike to at, et, and ot. This cannot be correct for the Attic period ; it probably began to creep in in the time of the Dia-dochi; ot at this date began to pass into u, and much later sank into i ; ov had always the force of our oo, and is used even when the syllable is short : e.g., in Boeot. Koives it was pronounced as u in " put." It is altogether erroneous to pronounce v in diphthongs as v, as is done in modern Greek; vt was doubtless pronounced much as wee, but with more stress laid on the first element.
The dialects long continued to exist in the mouths of the common people ; but the influence of extended commercial intercourse, and especially of the commanding position which Athens had gained as the centre of education and the home of science, literature, and philosophy, gave an increasing predominance to one, the Attic dia-lect. The Ionic was the first to disappear ; there are but few traces of this after the Peloponnesian War ; the jEolic and the Doric are found, but always in diminishing extent, as late as the time of the Roman emperors. But Attic lost in purity as it gained in range ; new words and constructions crept in especially from the increasing influence of the East ; until at last the grammarians gave the dis-tinctive name of i) ttotvri StdAeitTos to the language popularly current. The rise of the Alexandrian school of critics gave a new stimulus to the study of literary Attic ; on the other hand the vulgar speech continued its own course of free combination and assimilation from various quarters. Thus in the Roman times we have three main divisions of Greek :—(1) the revived Attic of the schools, the purity of which was jealously guarded By grammarians such as _ Phrynichus ; (2) the common (KOIVT)) literary language, employed by such writers as Polybius and Plutarch ; and (3) the popular spoken language, which much more freely absorbed foreign elements than the KOIVT], and which may be described as Hellenistic. This is the basis of the diction of the Septuagint and the New Testament. Of course the dividing lines cannot be sharply drawn. Of the authors belonging to this period some, like Lucian, en-deavoured to approach as closely as possible to the standard of pure Attic ; others, like Babrius, came nearer to the popular diction. The peculiarities of this stage of the language consist rather in new words and new inflexions than in extensive syntactical changes. The former are too numerous to state here (cf. Winer's Grammar, part ii. pp. 69-128, ed. Moulton); of the latter we may notice—
1. A negligent use of the moods with particles : e.g., oVcu-witha
past indicative, el with the conjunctive, 'Iva with the present indicative.
2. A construction of verbs with cases unknown in Attic : e.g.,
yeveadat with accusative, upoaKoveiv and irpoo-^aiveiv with dative, &c.
3. The extension of the genitive of the infinitive (TOO ttoteiv)
beyond its original and natural limits.
4. The use of the conjunctive for the optative after past tenses, and
the gradual disuse of the latter mood, which has wholly dis-appeared in modern Greek. (Li., p. 38.) Under the Greek empire, the language of literature was still based upon an artificial and often a lamentably unsuccessful imitation of Attic; and an interesting parallel might be worked out in detail between the Greek and the Latin writers of this period. But, just as in the Western empire, the popular dialect went on its way, for the most part unrecognized in literature, but constantly exerting its effect upon the written language, and from time to time coming to the surface. The first writer who boldly adopted the popular dialect was Theodoras Ptochoprodromus, a monk of Constantinople who lived under the emperor Manuel Comnenus (1143-1180); his language, though with some traces of the more ancient forms, is essentially modern Greek. To the same period belongs Simon Sethos, a chronicler, the first prose writer of the modern language. In the 14th century we have the romance in verse, Bclfhandros and Chrysantza, a work highly spoken of for imaginative power and free command of the language in its new form. The poems of Gorgilas (cent, xv.), Chortakes and Kornaros (cent, xvii), and . Rhegas (cent, xviii.) suffice to show that the popular language never entirely ceased to be used as an organ of literary utterance. An epoch in the history of modern Greek is marked by the long and fruitful activity of the illustrious scholar and patriot Coraes (1748-1833). He made it his object to purify the popular dialect, not by an artificial resuscitation of the ancient Attic, but by a strenuous endeavour to preserve and to render current all classical forms not wholly extinct, and to replace foreign and barbarous words by genuine Greek ones, often freshly coined for the purpose. Greece now can nnmber poets, historians, scholars, and orators who bring forth from their native language no feeble echoes of the immortal notes with which its prime was made musical for every age.
Authorities.—For all that concerns the formation and history of the Greek language the writings of Professor G. Curtius of Leipsic are unrivalled in sound sobriety of judgment and full mastery of all the results of modern philological science, which owes to him some of its most important advances. The chief are Grundzuge der


Griechischen Etymologie (5th edition, Leipsic, 1879, translated into English by A. S. "Wllkins and E. B. England, 2 vols. 1875-6); Das Verbvm, der Griechischen Sprache (vol. i. 2d edition, 1877, vol. ii. 1876; English translation in one volume, 1880); a School Grammar (8th English edition, 1876) and Elucidations of the same (2d English edition, 1876). The fullest storehouse of the facts of inflexion and of syntax is Kuhner's Ausführliehe Grammatik (2d edition, 1871). For the Greek dialects Ahrens's De Graxm Lingua Dialectis (2 vols. 1839, 1843) remains the best work ; but recent discoveries have made it necessary to supplement it in many places ; indispensable material for this is furnished by the series of monographs in Curtius's
Studien zur Griechischen und Lateinischen Grammatik (10 vols.
Leipsic, 1868-78) and in many scattered programmes and disserta-
tions. Mr Merry's Specimens of Greek Dialects (Clarendon Press,
1875) contains admirably clear and useful introductions for junior
students. Bergk's Griechische Literaturgeschichte contains much
that is useful, but needs to be used with caution. For modern
Greek the standard works are Sophocles's Glossary of Later and
Byzantine Greek (Boston, 1870), and Mullach's Grammatik der
Griechischen Vulgarsprache (Berlin, 1856). (A. S. "W.)


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