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By Stephen Colvin

A short heritage of historical Greek accessibly depicts the social background of this old 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 as a result available to readers who recognize very little Greek
Written within the framework of recent sociolinguistic idea, referring to the improvement of historic Greek to its social and political context
displays the newest considering on topics akin to Koiné Greek and the connection among literary and vernacular Greek

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Extra info for A Brief History of Ancient Greek

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After the eastern Mediterranean collapse of the twelfth century bc (a sequence of events which saw the ­disappearance of Mycenean civilization and the Hittite empire) the Phoenicians rose to a dominant position in the Mediterranean. Phoenician colonies and trading posts were established in Cyprus, North Africa, Sicily, Spain, and Sardinia; their famous colony Carthage was founded in the ninth century, when Phoenicians were at the height of their wealth and maritime power. Greek literature bears witness to a memory of Phoenician importance and influence during the so-called Greek “Dark Ages” following the Mycenean collapse; indeed, contact and trade with the Phoenicians must have played a part in the Greek recovery in the period following the tenth century.

The end of the Bronze Age is put at around 1200 bc in Greece: at this period of general turmoil in the Aegean Mycenean civilization collapsed. The increase in the use of iron over bronze may have been caused by the interruption to the supply of tin to Greece in the unsettled conditions that followed (bronze is an alloy of copper and tin): tin is not found in Greece, and had to be imported from as far away as Cornwall. It is interesting that the archaeological and ­historical reality that is the Late Bronze Age coincides in Greek ­tradition with the “heroic period” in which most of the famous episodes in Greek mythology are set.

Linear A is also related to, and perhaps the ancestor of, a family of syllabic scripts on Cyprus. The Greeks on Cyprus used a syllabic 36 Mycenean Greek script to write their dialect from the eighth to the third centuries bc: one isolated inscription (Opheltau, “of Opheltas”) on a bronze spit appears to date to the eleventh century. The Cypriots were unique among the Greeks in not using the Greek alphabet until the Hellenistic period (some late inscriptions give their text in both scripts). The syllabary they used was an adaptation of an earlier Cypriot script which is attested both on Cyprus and at Ugarit (on the Syrian coast) from the sixteenth to the twelfth centuries bc.

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