Ancient Greek

Alternative name(s): Attic, Attisch (nl), Koine

Language family: Indo-European

Language Group: Greek

Geographical use: Ancient Greece

Information: Extinct language. Every city state in Ancient Greece had its own Greek dialect. There was no standard language. From the Ionic dialect came the Attic language, the standard form of classical Greek. It was the language of Athens and the district of Attica where the city was located. Because of Athens' political supremacy, Attic pushed away all other dialects. During Alexander the Great's conquest, Attic spread all over the Middle East. Due to mixing with other peoples, a new kind of Greek was formed: Koine. This was the language at court, of literature and trade. Koine was divided into two types: literary Koine was the language of the highly skilled upper-class; ordinary Koine was the spoken language of the lower classes, which borrowed many words from various Middle-Eastern languages. The New Testament was written in this ordinary Koine.

Literary Koine could not maintain itself, despite many attempts by students and great writers as Lucius, Plutarch and Pausanias. After the destruction of Alexandria's library and the closure of the Athens schools of philosophy, literary Koine only remained used in church. Ordinary Koine remained the standard language of Greece.


Greek - Modern