Greek Dialects (2941 words)

Historical Context Essay

Michele Bianconi (University of Oxford)
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Ancient Greek comes to us in a variety of texts written in different times, places and scripts. The kind of language of these texts is not the same throughout: we have many varieties of the language itself, as normally happens with well-documented languages. These varieties are commonly called “dialects”, but – as we shall see – this notion needs some further explanation.

Our evidence of the ancient Greek dialects spans from the latter part of the second millennium BCE (when Mycenaean Greek is attested) to the first half of the first millennium CE, and is found both in literary texts and in epigraphs from all parts of the Greek-speaking world. From the end of the …

Citation: Bianconi, Michele. "Greek Dialects". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 August 2017 [, accessed 12 May 2021.]

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