Online Encyclopedia

CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GREEK

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 501 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GREEK DIALECTS i. Arcadian and Cyprian.—As Cyprian was written in a syllabary which could not represent a consonant by itself, did not distinguish between voiced, unvoiced and aspirated consonants, did not represent at all a nasal before another consonant, and did not distinguish between long and short vowels, the interpretation of the symbols is of the nature of a conundrum and the answer is not always certain. Thus the same combination of two symbols would have to stand than a few words in length is found in either dialect earlier than the 5th century B.C. In both dialects the number of important inscriptions is steadily increasing. Both dialects change final o to v, an-6 passing into &r6. Arcadian changes the verb ending -ac into -ot. Arcadian uses S or i- for an original gw-sound, which appears in Attic Greek as (3: i-Eaaw, Attic (36aaw, " throw." In inflexion both agree in changing -ao of masculine -a stems into av (Arcadian carries this form also into the feminine -a stems), and in using locatives in -at and -ot for the dative, such locatives being governed by the prepositions arb and Ei (before a consonant fc in Arcadian). Verbs in „raw, -Ew and -ow are declined not as -w, but as -pa verbs. The final c of the ending of the 3rd plural present changes the preceding a to e: ¢Epovec, Cp. Laconian (Doric) dfpovrc, Attic ¢Epourc, Lesbian ¢fpococ. Instead of the Attic Tts, the interrogative pronoun appears as ois, the initial a in Arcadian being written with a special symbol .2. The pronunciation is not certain. The original sound was qw, as in Latin quis, whence Attic Tic and Thessalian Kts. In Arcadian Kai, the Aeolic particle ae and the Ionic av seem to be combined. in forms which became adverbs like 'ABOnac and BBpaac; but after 420 B.C. these were replaced b}tt -acs, 66pacs, &c. The Ionic of Asia Minor showed many changes earlier than that of the Cyclades and Euboea. It lost the aspirate very early: hence in the Ionic alphabet H is e, not h; it changed au and eu into ao and eo, and very early replaced to a large extent the -pc by the -w verbs. This confusion can be seen in progress in the Attic literature of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., SEtKvvpi gradually giving way to SesKV6w, while the literature generally uses forms like t4'tec for 5¢tn (impft.). In Attica also the aspiration which survived in the Ionic of Euboea and the Cyclades ceased by the end of the 5th century. The Ionic of Asia Minor has -ws as the genitive of c-stems; the other forms of Ionic have -445os. 4 Doric.—As already mentioned, the dialects of the North-West differ in several respects from Doric elsewhere. As general characteristics of Doric may be noted the contractions of a+e into n, and of a+o or w into a, while the results in Attic and Ionic of these con-tractions are a and w respectively: Men from vsKbw, Attic &vtea; ripapes t pl. pres. from repaw, Attic ritapev; rcpav gen. pl. of rip& " honour, ' Attic ripay. In inflection the most noticeable points are the pronominal adverbs in locative form: eovrsi, rnvsi (this from a stem limited to a few Doric dialects and the Bucolic Poets), rsi&e, Srec, &c.; the nom. pl. of the article rot, rat, not ot, at, and so roiroc in Selinus and Rhodes; the 1st p1. of the verb in -Ass, not in -pee, cp. the Latin -mus; the aorist and future in -s-, where other dialects have -e-, or contraction from presents in -rw; S&K&f'w, &iKaow, Doric &cKa{;w, &c.; the future passive with active endings, tripean6naeuvrc (Rhodes), found as yet only in the Doric islands and in the Doric prose of Archimedes; the particles at " if " and Ka with a similar value to the Aeolic se and the Attic-Ionic &v. Doric had an accentuation system different both 'from Aeolic and from Ionic-Attic, but the details of the system are very imperfectly known. In older works Doric is often divided into a dialeclus severior and a dialectus mitis. But the difference is one of time rather than of place, the peculiarities of Doric being gradually softened down till it was ultimately merged in the lingua franca, the KOLA, which in time engulfed all the local dialects except the descendant of Spartan, Tzakonian. Here it is possible to mention its varieties only in the briefest form. (a) The southern dialects are well illustrated in the inscriptions of Laconia recently much increased in number by the excavations of the British School at Athens. Apart from some brief dedications, the earliest inscription of importance is the list of names placed on a bronze column soon after 479 B.C. to commemorate the tribes which had repulsed the Persians. The column, originally at Delphi, is now at Constantinople. The most striking features ofthe dialect are the retention of F at the beginning of words, as in the dedication from the 6th century Favat:L&os (Annual of British School, xiv. 144). The dialect changed -a- between vowels into -h-, paha for µaaa " muse." Later it changed 0 into a sound like the English th, which was represented by a. Before o-sounds here and in some other Doric dialects changed to c: Bibs, acbs for Oebs " god." The result of contraction and " compensatory lengthening " was not ec and ou as in Attic and Ionic, but n and w: into, infinitive =elects from *esmen; gen. sing. of o-stems in w: Bea, ace. pl. in -ws:Osiier; dy was represented by &&, not j', as in Attic-Ionic; pfat&Se= p60c;'e. The dialect has many strange words, especially in connexion with the state education and organization of the boys and young men. The Heraclean tables from a Laconian colony in S. Italy have curious forms in -aaac for the (lat. pl. of the participle rpaaa6vraaac=Attic rp&rrouac. Of the dialect of Messenia we know little, the long inscription about mysteries from Andania being only about 10o B.C. From Argolis. there are a considerable number of early inscriptions, and in a later form of the dialect the cures recorded at the temple of Asklepios at Epidaurus present many points of interest. There is also an inscription of the 6th century B.c. from the temple of Aphaia in Aegina. F survives in the old inscriptions: FeFpsptva (= etpnpeva) ; vs , whether original or arising by sound change from -nty, persists till the 2nd century B.C.: havrlrvxbvaa=n &vrlrvxovaa, rbvs vi6vs=robs Mobs. The dialect of the Inachus valley seems to resemble Laconian more closely than does that of the rest of the Argolic area. Corinth and her colonies in the earliest inscriptions pre-serve F and P( = Latin Q) before o and v sounds, and write t and ¢ by xa and Oa, the symbols which are used also for this purpose in old Attic. In the Corcyrean and Sicilian forms of the dialect, X before a dental appears as v: 'cvrtas=44)rtas; and in Sicilian the perfect-active was treated as a present: &e&otKw for &E&ocsa, &c. From Megara has come lately an obscure inscription from the beginning of the 5th century; its colony Selinus has inscriptions from the middle of the same century ; the inscriptions from Byzantium and its other Pontic colonies date only from Hellenistic times. In Crete, which shows et considerable variety of subdialects, the most important document is the great inscription from Gortyn containing twelve tables of family law, which was discovered in 1884.. The local alphabet has no separate symbols for x and de, and these sounds are therefore written with K and r. As in Argive the combination -vs was kept both medially and finally except before words beginning with a consonant ; -ty- was represented by 3 , later by -re-, as in Thessalian and Boeotian : br&rroc, Attic brbaoe; and finally by -00-; X combined with a pre-ceding vowel into an au-diphthong: aka, Attic &XKn, cp. the Englishpronunciation of talk, &c. In Gortyn and some other towns -06- was assimilated to -60-, where 0 must have been a spirant like the English th in thin; f' of Attic Greek is represented initially by S, medially by &&, but in some towns by r and re: 565s(=i'w6s), 5GK65Esv (=&LK&i-eiv). Final consonants are generally assimilated to the beginning of the next word. In inflection there are many local peculiarities. In Melos and Thera some very old inscriptions have been found written in an alphabet without symbols for ¢, x, 4), z, which are therefore written as rh, Kh or P h, re, Ka. The contractions of a+e and of o+o are represented by E and 0 respectively. The old rock inscriptions of Thera are among the most archaic yet discovered. The most characteristic feature of Rhodian Doric is the infinitive in -pecv: 56pssv, &c. (=Attic &ouvac), which passed also to Gela and Agrigentum. The inscriptions from Cos are numerous, but too late to represent the earliest form of the dialect. (b) The dialects of N.W. Doric, Locrian, Phocian, Aetolian, with which go Elean and Achaean, present a more uncouth appearance than the other Doric dialects except perhaps Cretan. Only from Locris and Phocis come fairly old inscriptions; later a Koivli was developed, in which the documents of the Aetolian league are written, and of which the most distinctive mark is the dative plural of consonant stems in -case &pxbvrois (=Attic apxouac), &ywvocs (=Attic lyaoc), &c. Phocian and the Locrian of Opus have also forms like Aeolic in -coac. In place of the dative in -~, locatives in -o care used in Locrian and Phocian. Generally north of the Corinthian gulf the middle present participle from -ew-verbs ends in -sipevos; similar forms are found also in Elean. Locrian changed e before p into a: rarapa for rartpa; cf. English Kerr and Carr, sergeant and Sargeaunt. ar appears for a6, and P and F are still much in use in the 5th century B.c. Many thousands of inscriptions were found in the French excavations at Delphi, but nothing earlier than the 5th century B.C. In the older inscriptions the Aeolic influence—datives in -sees, Svvpa for 6vopa--is better marked than later. In the Laws of the Labyad phratry (about 400 B.c.) the genitive is in ov, but a form in -w is also found, FotKw, which seems to be an old ablative fossilized as an adverb. The nom. pl. &seartropes is used for the ace. ; similar forms are found in Elean and Achaean. The more important of the older materials for Achaean come from the Achaean colonies of S. Italy, and being scanty give us only an imperfect view of the dialect, but it is clearly in its main features Doric. Much more remarkable is the Elean dialect known chiefly from inscriptions found at Olympia, some of which are as early as the beginning of the 6th century. The native dialect was replaced first by a Doric and then by the Attic Kocvn, but under the Caesars the archaic dialect was restored. Many of its characteristics it shares with the dialects north of the Corinthian gulf, but it changes original Ito a: pa =pn, &c. ; S was apparently a spirant, as in modern Greek (=th in English the, thine), and is represented by i- in some of the earliest inscriptions. Final -s became -p; this is found also in Laconian; -ty- became -ea-, but was not simplified as in Attic to -a-: 5aaa=Attic &aa. As we have seen, Ionians, Aetolians and Dorians tended to level local peculiarities and make a generally intelligible dialect in which treaties and other important records were framed. The language of literature' is always of necessity to some extent a Koevk : with some Greek writers the use of a KocI+ was, especially necessary. The local dialect of Boeotia was not easily intelligible in other districts, and a writer like Pindar, whose patrons were mostly not Boeotians, had perforce to write in a dialect that they could understand. Hence he writes in a conventional Doric with Aeolic elements, which forms a strong contrast to that of Corinna, who kept more or less closely to the Boeotian dialect. For different literary purposes Greek had different Kocvai. A poet who would write an epic must adopt a form of language modelled on that of Homer and Hesiod; Alcaeus and Sappho were the models for the love lyric, which was therefore Aeolic; Stesichorus was the founder of the triumphal ode, which, as he was a Dorian of Sicily, must henceforth be in Doric, though Pindar was an Aeolian, and its other chief representatives, Simonides and Bacchylides, were Ionians from Ceos. The choral ode of tragedy was always conventional Doric, and in the iambics also are Doric words like &paw, Taw, &c. Elegy and epigram were founded on epic; the satirical iambics of Hipponax and his late disciple Herondas are Ionic. The first Greek prose was developed in Ionia, of which an excellent example has been preserved to us in Herodotus. Thucydides was not an Ionian, but he could not shake himself free of the tradition: he therefore writes rpaaaw, raeaw, &c., with-aa-, which was Ionic, but is never found in Attic inscriptions nor in the writers who imitate the language of common life—Aristophanes (when not parodying tragedy, or other forms of literature or dialect), Plato and the Orators (with the partial exception of Antiphon, who ordinarily has -ee-, but in the one speech actually intended for the law-courts -re-). Similarly Hippocrates and his medical school in Cos wrote in Ionic, not, however, in the Ionic of Herodotus, but in a language more akin to the Ionic gown of the inscriptions; and this dialect continued to be used in medicine later, much as doctors now use Latin for their prescriptions. The first literary document written in Attic prose is the treatise on the Constitution of Athens, which ie generally printed amongst the minor works of Xenophon, but really belongs to about 425 B.C. From the fragment of Aristophanes' Banqueiers and from the first speech of Lysias " Against Theomnestos " it is clear that the Attic dialect had changed rapidly in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., and that much of the phraseology of Solon's laws was no longer intelligible by 400 B.C. Among the most difficult of the literary dialects to trace is the earliest—the Homeric dialect. The Homeric question cannot be discussed here, and on that question it may be said quot homines tot sententiae. To the present writer, however, it seems probable that the poems were composed in Chios as tradition asserted ; the language contains many Aeolisms, and the heroes sung are, except for the Athenians (very briefly referred to). and possibly Telamonian Ajax, not of the Ionic stock. Chios was itself an Ionicized Aeolic colony (Diodorus v. 81. 7). The hypothesis of a great poet writing on the basis of earlier Aeolic lays (KX a &vdpCav) in Chios seems to explain the main peculiarities of the Homeric language, which, however, was modified to some extent in later times first under Ionic and afterwards under Athenian influence. Of Dorian literature we know little. The works of Archimedes written in the Syracusan dialect were much altered in language by the late copyists. The most striking development of the late classical age in Doric lands is that of pastoral poetry, which, like Spenser, is " writ in no language," but, on a basis of Syracusan and possibly Coan Doric, has in its structure many elements borrowed from the Aeolic love lyric and from epic. From the latter part of the 5th century B.C. Athens became ever more important as a literary centre, and Attic prose became the model for the later Koty , which -grew up as a consequence of the decay of the local dialects. For this decay there were several reasons. If the Athenian empire had survived the Peloponnesian War, Attic influence would no doubt soon have permeated the whole of that empire. This consummation was postponed. Attic became the court language of Macedon, and, when Alexander's conquests led to the foundation of great new towns, like Alexandria, filled with inhabitants from all parts of the Greek world, this dialect furnished a basis for common intercourse. Naturally the resultant dialect was not pure Attic. There were in it considerable traces of Ionic. In Attica itself the dialect was less uniform than elsewhere even in the 5th century B.C., because Athens was a centre of empire, literature and commerce. Like every other language which is not under the dominion of the schoolmaster, it borrowed the names of foreign objects which it imported from foreign lands, not only from those of Greek-speaking peoples, but also from Egypt, Persia, Lydia, Phoenicia, Thrace and elsewhere. The Ionians were great seafarers, and from them Athens borrowed words for seacraft and even for the tides : diarwres " ebb," paxia " high tide," an Ionic word ,!)nxln spelt in Attic fashion. From the Dorians it borrowed words connected with war and sport : Xoxc ybs, Kvvaybs, &c. A soldier of fortune like Xenophon, who spent most of his life away from Athens, introduced not only strange words but strange grammatical constructions also into his literary compositions. With Aristotle, not a born Athenian but long resident in Athens, the Kam') may be said to have begun. Some characteristics of Attic foreigners found it hard to acquire—its subtle use of particles and its accent. Hence in Hellenistic Greek particles are comparatively rare. According to Cicero, Theophrastus, who came from as near Attica as Eretria in Euboea, was easily detected by a market-woman as no Athenian after he had lived thirty years in Athens. Thoucritus, an Athenian, who was taken prisoner in the Peloponnesian War and lived for many years in Epirus as a slave, was unable to recover the Athenian accent on his return, and his family lay under the suspicion that they were an alien's children, as his son tells us in Demosthenes' speech " Against Eubulides." In the Koci" there were several divisions, though the line between them is faint and irregular. There was a K 0041 of literary men like Polybius and of carefully prepared state documents, as at Magnesia or Pergamum; and a different Kocvii of the vulgar which is represented to us in its Egyptian form in the Pentateuch, in a later and at least partially Palestinian form in the Gospels. Still more corrupt is the language which we find in the ill-written and ill-spelt private letters found amongst the Egyptian papyri. Not out of the old dialects but out of this Kotvi arose modern Greek, with a variety of dialects no less bewildering than that of ancient Greek. In one place more rapidly, in another more slowly, the characteristics of modern Greek begin to appear. As we have seen, in Boeotia the vowels and diphthongs began to pass into the characteristic sounds of modern Greek four centuries before Christ. Dorian dialects illustrate early the passing of the old aspirate B, the sound of which was like the final tin English bit, into a sound like the English th in thin, pith, which it still retains in modern Greek. The change of y between vowels into a y sound was charged by the comic poets against Hyperbolus the demagogue about 415 B.C. Only when the Attic sound changes stood isolated amongst the Greek dialects did they give way in the Kocvii to Ionic. Thus the forms d ith -re- instead of -TT- won the day, while modern Greek shows that sometimes the -pp- which Attic shared with some Doric dialects and Arcadian was retained, and that sometimes the Ionic -pa-, which was also Lesbian and partly Doric, took its place. In other cases, where Ionic and Attic did not agree, forms came in which were different from either: the genitives of masculine a stems were now formed as in Doric with a, but the analogy of the other cases may have been the effective force. The form rubs " temple," instead of Ionic vnbs, Attic sews, can only be Doric.' In the first five centuries of the Christian era came in the modern Greek characteristics of Itacism and vowel contraction, of the pronunciation of or and yr as mb and nd and many other sound changes, the loss of the dative and the confusion of the 1st with the 3rd declension, the dropping of the -At conjugation, the loss of the optative and the assimilation of the imperfect and second aorist endings to those of the first aorist .2 There were meantime spasmodic attempts at the revival of the old language. Lucian wrote Attic dialogue with a facility almost equal to Plato; the old dialect was revived in the inscriptions of Sparta; Balbilla, a lady-in-waiting on Hadrian's empress, wrote epigrams in Aeolic, and there were other attempts of the same kind. But they were only tours de force, Kijaoc 'A&b't3os, whose flowers had no root in the spoken language and therefore could not survive. Even in the hands of a cultivated man like Plutarch the Kocv$ of the 1st century A.D. looks entirely different from Attic Greek. Apart from non-Attic constructions, which are not very numerous, the difference consists largely in the new vocabulary of the philosophical schools since Aristotle, whose jargon had become part of the language of educated men in Plutarch's time, and made a difference in the language not unlike that which has been brought about in English by the development of the natural sciences. It is hardly necessary to say that these changes, whether of the Kowi, or of modern Greek, did not of necessity impair the powers of the language as an organ of expression; if elaborate inflection were a necessity for the highest literary merit, then we must prefer Cledmon to Milton and Cynewulf to Shakespeare. The Chief Characteristics of Greek. As is obvious from the foregoing account of the Greek dialects, it is not possible to speak of the early history of Greek as handed down to us as that of a single uniform tongue. From the earliest times it shows much variety of dialect accentuated by the geographical characteristics of the country, but arising, at least in part, from the fact that the Greeks came into the country in separate waves divided from one another by centuries. For the history of the language it is necessary to take as a beginning the form of the Indo-European language from which Greek descended, so far as it can be reconstructed from a comparison of the individual I.E. languages (see INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES). The sounds of this language, so far as at present ascertained, were the following: (a) 11 vowels: a, a, e, h, i, i, o, o, u, u, a (a short indistinct vowel). b) 14 diphthongs: ai, au, ei, eu, oi, ou, ai, au, ei, eu, oi, ou, ai, au. C) 20 stop consonants. Labials: p, b, ph, bh (ph and bh being p and b followed by an audible breath, not f and a). Dentals: t, d, th, dh (th and dh not spirants like the two English sounds in thiis and then, but aspirated t and d). Palatals: k, g, 1z h, gh (kh and gh aspirates as explained above). Velars: q, g, qh, gh (velars differ from palatals by being produced against the soft palate instead of the roof of the mouth). Labio-velars: Of, g;, q.h, g.h(these differ from the velars by being combined with a slight labial w-sound). (d) Spirants Labial: w. Dental: s, z, post-dental s, interdental possibly is, V. Palatal: x (Scotch ch), y. Velar: x (a deeply guttural x, heard now in Swiss dialects), 3. Closely akin to w and y and often confused with them were the semi-vowels u and i. (e) Liquids: 1,"r. (f) Nasals: m (labial), n (dental), n (palatal), n (velar), the last three in combination with similar consonants. (a) As far as the vowels are concerned, Greek retains the original state of things more accurately than any other language. The sounds of short e and short o in Attic and Ionic were close, so that e-l-e contracted to a long close e represented by se, o+o to a long close o represented by ov. In these dialects u, both long and short, was modified to u, and they changed the long a to e, though Attic has a after s, c and p. In Greek a appeared regularly as a, but under the influence of analogy often as a and o. (b) The short diphthongs 9s a whole remained unchanged before a following consonant. Before a following vowel the diphthong was divided between the two syllables, the c or v forming a consonant at the beginning of the second syllable, which ultimately disappeared. Thus from a root dheu- " run " comes a verb Beta for es-Fw, from an earlier *Bev-w. The corresponding adjective is Bobs "swift," for eo-Fo-s, from an earlier *Bcv-o-s. The only dialect which kept the whole diphthong in one syllable was Aeolic. The long diphthongs, except at the ends of words, were shortened in Attic. Some of these appear merely as long vowels, having lost their second element in the proethnic period. Apparent long diphthongs like those in aprovpyla, o'c w arise by contraction of two syllables. (c). The consonants suffered more extensive change. The voiced aspirates became unvoiced, so that bh, dh, gh, gh, gth are confused with original ph, th, kh, qh, qgk: I.E. *bhero (Skt. bharami) is Gr. (pips.); I.E. *dhumos (Skt. dhumas), Gr. Kula; I.E. *ghimo- (Skt. 1 Thumb, Die griechische Sprache im Zeitalter des Hellenismus (1901), pp. 242-243. 2 Thumb, op. cit. p. 249. hima-), Gr. (buo)-Xcµo-s; I.E. *stigh- (Skt. stigh-), Gr. ar1XES; I.E. *g°hen- (Skt. han-), Gr. Odes) (probably), 4,6vos. The palatal and velar series cannot be distinguished in Greek; for the differences between them resort must be had to languages of the salemgroup, such as Sanskrit, Zend or Slavonic, where the palatals appear as sibilants (see INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES). The labio-velar series present a great variety of forms in the different Greek dialects, and in the same dialect before different sounds. Thus in Attic before o vowels, nasals and liquids, the series appears as rr, ,3, c; before e and i vowels as r, S(S), 0; in combination with u, which led to loss of the ° by dissimilation, K, 'y, X. Thus Erroµat corresponds to the Latin sequo-r, apart from the ending; l3oIh to Latin bos (borrowed from Sabine), English cow; tb6vos " slaughter," ErrEtwwOV, old Irish gonim, " I wound." Parallel to these forms with p are forms in the Italic languages except Latin and Faliscan, and in the Cymric group of the Celtic languages. The dental forms r, S, 0 stand by themselves. Thus its (from the same root as rrov, rroa, rr6BEv, etc.) is parallel to the Latin quis, the Oscan pis, old Irish chi, Welsh pwy, " who. " " what?" Attic rirrapes, Ionic rEQo psi " four" is parallel to Latin quattuor, Oscan rrETOpa, old Irish cethir, old Welsh petguar; TLats is from the same root as irown. For the voiced sound, /3 is much more common than S before e and i sounds; thus ftos " life," from the same root as Skt. jivas, Latin vivus; fft6s ' bowstring," Skt. jya, &c. In Arcado-Cyprian and Aeolic, ir and f3 often precede e and i sounds. Thus parallel to Attic rETrapss Lesbian has rrieravpES, Homer rrtavpes, Boeotian rrETTapes; Thessalian fiXXoµat, Boeotian fsiXoµat alongside of Attic /3oi,Xoµac, Lesbian %6XXoµat, Doric fc Xoµat and also SnXoµat. In Arcadian and Cyprian the form corresponding to TLC was ass, in Thessalian 'as, where the labialization was lost (see the article on Q). A great variety of changes in the stopped consonants arose in combination with other sounds, especially (a semivowel of the nature of English y), u (w) and s; -TA.-, -Bt- became first -aa- and later -a- in Attic Greek, -rT- in Boeotian (the precise pronunciation of -aa- and -rt.- is uncertain) : Attic ,-rrZeros, earlier 6-rroaaos, Boeotian 6-rr6rros, from the same stem as the Latin quot, quotiens; Homeric uieuos, Attic µdaos from *µeOws, Latin medius; -xi-, -xi- became -oo-, Attic -TT-: rrLaaa• " pitch," Attic rrtrra from *rrlKta, cp. Latin pix, picis, EXaaawv, Attic EXarrwv comparative to EXaxbs. 6i and yi became r: ZEbs (Skt. Dyaus) EXrri3-w from Voris, stem &Xrrtb-" hope," µaUTtl'w from µaartE, stem µaariy- " lash." (d) The sound u was represented in the Greek alphabet by F, the " digamma," but. in Attic and Ionic the sound was lost very early. In Aeolic, particularly Boeotian and Lesbian, it was persistent, and so also in many Doric dialects, especially at the beginning of words. When the Ionic alphabet was adopted by districts which had retained F, it was represented by l3: fp65ov Aeolic for p6bov, i.e. Fp65ov. In Attic it disappeared, leaving no trace; in Ionic it lengthened the preceding syllable; thus in Homer brroSEtaas is scanned with o long because the root of the verb contained F: Wets. Attic has ttvos, but Ionic Eeivos for EEvFos. Its combination with r became -aa-, Attic and Boeotian -TT-, in r cro-epes, rErralsEs,,rrrrapEs for I.E. ggetu-. But the most effective of all elements in changing the appearance of Greek words was the sound s. Before vowels at the beginning, or between vowels in the middle of words, it passed into an h sound, the " rough breathing." Thus Errna is the same word as the Latin septem, English seven; hA-s has the same stem as the Latin sal, English sal-t; €Le for ebhw is the same as the Latin uro (*eusO). Combined with or u also it passes into h: bµnv, Skt. syuman, " band "; n5bs, Doric SSbs, Latin sua(d)vis, English sweet; cp. OLKOLO for *FotKOato, vnbs, Lesbian vauos " temple," through vaF6s from *vaaFo-s connected with vats) " dwell." Before nasals and liquids s was assimilated: /let-Saw, Latin mi-ru-s, English smile; vitba, Latin nivem, English snow; Xiyw, Latin laxus, English slack; klkw from *sreu-o of the same origin as English stream (where t is a later insertion), imperfect i'l0sov for *esreuom; cp. also 4nXoµµetins, ayavvt4,OS, 'aXXnKTOS. After nasals s is assimilated except finally; when assimilated, in all dialects except Aeolic the previous syllable is lengthened if not already long: Attic & aim, Eneuva for the first aorist *enemsa, *emensa; but rOvs, ran, &c., of the accusative pl. either remained or became in Aeolic rots, rats, in Ionic 'and Attic robs, rag, in Doric rws, ras; cp. TtOELi for *rt8ivrs, (3as for *filters, its " one " for *sem-s, then by analogy of the neuter *sens. Assimilation of a to preceding p and X is a matter of dialect: Ionic Bapo&e, but Attic Bappio, and so also the Doric of Thera: €KeXaa, but EarvtXa for *17r0Xaa. With nasals t affected the previous syllable: nEKratvw (*TEKr'1fi ,,), where ,j is the nasal of the stem' T&TO /, itself forming a syllable (see the article N for these so-called sonant nasals). Before original m becomes n; hence /3atvw with n, though from the same root as English come. Original t does not survive in Greek, but'is represented by the aspirate at the beginning of words, ayvbs=Skt. yajnas; medially after consonants it disappears, affecting the preceding consonant or syllable where a consonant precedes; between vowels it disappears. A sound of the same kind is indicated in Cyprian and some other dialects as a glide or transition sound between two vowels. (e) The most remarkable feature in the treatment of the nasals is that when n or m forms a syllable by itself its consonant character disappears altogether and it is represented by the vowel a only:rar6s, Latin tentus, a- negative particle, Latin in, English un ; a-rrX6os has the same prefix as the Latin sim-plex (sip). The liquids in similar cases show Xa or aX and pa or ap: Ti-rXa-µEV, rrE-rraxrat• gipaeor,Bpaabs,BapaoS. The ends of words were modified in appearance by the loss of all stop-consonants and the change of final m to n, ZSEtte, Latin dixit ; rty6v, Latin iugum. Accent.—The vowel system of Greek has been so well preserved because it shows till late times very little in the way of stress accent. As in early Sanskrit the accent was predominantly a pitch accent (see ACCENT). Noun System.—The I.E. noun had three numbers, but the dual was limited to pairs, the two hands, the two horses in the chariot, and was so little in use that the original form of the oblique cases cannot be restored with certainty. Ionic has no dual. The I.E. noun had the following cases: Nominative, Accusative, Genitive, Ablative, Instrumental, Locative and Dative. The vocative was not properly a case, because it usually stands outside the syntactical construction of the sentence; when a distinctive form appears, it is the bare stem, and there is no form (separate from the nominative) for the plural. Greek has confused genitive and ablative (the distinction between them seems to have been derived from the pro-nouns), except for the solitary FOLKw=OLKOBE1, in an inscription of Delphi. The instrumental, locative and dative are mixed in one case, partly for phonetic, partly for syntactical reasons. In Arcadian, Elean, Boeotian, and later widely in N. Greece, the locative -oc is used for the dative. The masculine a-stems make the nom. in most dialects in -as. The genitive is in -ao (with o borrowed from the o-stems), which remains in Homer and Boeotian, appears in Arcado-Cyprian as -av, and with metathesis of quantity -es) in Ionic. The Attic form in -ov is borrowed directly from the o-stems. In the plural the -a and -o stems follow the article in making their noniinatives in -at and -ot instead of the original -as and -Os. The neuter plural was in origin a collective singular, and for this reason takes a singular verb; the plural of fvyOv " yoke " was originally *'u a, and declined like any other -a stem. But through the in' uence of the masculine and feminine forms the neuter took the same oblique cases, and like its own singular made the accusative the same as the nominative. In the plural of -a and -o stems, the locative in -tutu, -otat was long kept apart from the instrumental-dative form in -acs, -ors. The Verb System.—The verb system of Greek is more complete than that of any of the other I.E. languages. Its only rival, the early Vedic verb system, is already in decay when history begins, and when the classical period of Sanskrit arrives the moods have broken down, and the aorist, perfect, and imperfect tenses are syntactically confused. 'Throughout the Greek classical period the moods are maintained, but in the period of the Korvn the optative occurs less and less and finally disappears. The original I.E. had two voices, an active and a middle, and to these Greek has added a third, the passive, distinguished from the middle in many verbs by separate forms for the future and aorist, made with a syllable -0n-, TtµnBnaoµat, Ertµn0ne, though in this instance, Ttµnaoµat, the future middle, is often used with a passive sense. Other forms which Greek has added to the original system are the pluperfect—in form a past of the perfect stem with aorist endings. It merely expressed the perfect action in past time, and, except as derived from the context, did not possess the notion of relative time (past at a time already past), which attaches to the Latin forms with the same name. The future optative was also a new formation, betraying its origin in the fact that it is almost entirely limited to Oratio Obliqua. The aorist imperatives were also new; the history of some of them, as the second sing. act. irauaov, is not very clear. The whole verb system is affected by the distinction between -o and -mi verbs; the former or thematic verbs have a so-called " thematic vowel " between the root and the personal suffix, while the -mi verbs attach the suffixes directly to the root. The distinction is really one between monosyllabic and disyllabic roots. The history of the personal endings is not altogether clear; the -o verbs have in the present forms for the 2nd and 3rd person in -ets and -et, which are not yet elucidated. In the middle, Greek does not entirely agree with Sanskrit in its personal endings, and the original forms cannot all be restored with certainty. The endings of the primary tenses differed from those of the secondary, but there has been a certain amount of confusion between them. The syntax of the verb is founded on the original I.E. distinction of the verb forms, not by time (tense), but by forms of action, progressive action (present and imperfect), consummated action (aorist), state arising from action, emphatic or repeated action (perfect). For the details of this see INDO-EUROPEAN LANGUAGES. Gustav Meyer's Griechische Grammatik (nothing on accent or syntax), No systematic collection of Greek laws has come down to us. Our knowledge of some of the earliest notions of the subject is derived from the Homeric poems. For the details of Attic law we have to depend on ex parte statements o'~~°_a, in the speeches of the Attic orators, and we are some- tines. times enabled to check those statements by the trustworthy, but often imperfect, aid of inscriptions. Incidental illustrations of the laws of Athens may be found in the Laws of Plato, who deals with the theory of the subject without exercising any influence on actual practice. The Laws of Plato are criticized in the Politics of Aristotle, who, besides discussing laws in their relation to constitutions, reviews the work of certain early Greek lawgivers. The treatise on the Constitution of Athens includes an account of the jurisdiction of the various public officials and of the machinery of the law courts, and thus enables us to dispense with the second-hand testimony of grammarians and scholiasts who derived their information from that treatise (see CONSTITUTION OF ATHENS). The works of Theophrastus On the Laws, which included a recapitulation of the laws of various barbaric as well as Grecian states, are now represented by only a few fragments (Nos. 97-106, ed. Wimmer). Our earliest evidence is to be sought in the Homeric poems. In the primitive society of the heroic age (as noticed by Plato) written laws were necessarily unknown; for, " in that early period, they ~ had no letters; they lived Law In ~' Homer. by habit and by the customs of their ancestors " (Laws, 68o A). We find a survival from a still more primitive time in the savage Cyclops, who is " unfamiliar with dooms of law, or rules of right " (OUTS Slams di eiSbra olive BEµceraS, Od. ix. 215 and 112 f.). Dike (Step), assigned by Curtius (Etym. 134) to the same root as SsLKVVµc, primarily means a " way pointed out," a " course pre-scribed by usage,' hence " way " or " fashion," " manner " or " precedent." In the Homeric poems it sometimes DlkE. signifies a " doom " of law, a legal " right," a " lawsuit "; while it is rarely synonymous with " justice," as in Od. xiv. 84, where " the gods honour justice," TL011vt MOW. Various senses of " right " are expressed in the same poems by themis (Niue), a term assigned (ib. 254) to the same root as rIO i c. In its primary sense themis is that which " has been laid newts. down "; hence a particular decision or " doom." The plural themistes implies a body of such precedents, " rules of right," which the king receives from Zeus with his sceptre (Il. ix. 99). Themis and dike have sometimes been compared with the Roman fas and jus respectively, the former being regarded as of divine, the latter of human origin; and this is more satisfactory than the latest view (that of Hirzel), which makes " counsel " the primary meaning of themis. Thesmos (oeoµbs), an ordinance (from the same root as themis), is not found in " Homer," except in the last line of the Thesmos. original form of the Odyssey (xxiii. 296), where it probably Nouros: refers to the " ordinance " of wedlock. The common term for law, vbuor, is first found in Hesiod, but not in a specially legal sense (e.g. Op. 276). A trial for homicide is one of the scenes represented on the shield of Achilles (Il. xviii. 497-508). The folk are here to be seen thronging the market-place, where a strife has The trial arisen between two men as to the price of a man that scene. has been slain. The slayer vows that he has paid all (errxero 7ravr' aao6ouvai), the kinsman of the slain protests that he has received nothing &waivero o liv EAEsOcu); both are eager to join issue before an umpire, and both are favoured by their friends among the folk, who are kept back by the heralds. The cause is tried by the elders, who are seated on polished stones in a sacred circle, and in the midst there lie two talents of gold, " to give to him who, among them all, sets forth the cause most rightly" (rcu Sb iev Ss 'sera Toffee &tcnv Wiurara eiirot). The discussions of the above passage have chiefly turned on two points: (I) the legal questions at issue; and (2) the destination of the" two talents." (I) In the ordinary view (a), it is solely a question whether the fine or blood-money, corresponding to the Wergeld (see WERGELD, TEUTONIC PEOPLES, BRITAIN: Anglo-Saxon) of the old Germanic law (Grimm, Rechtsalterthumer, 661 f.), has been paid or not. (This is accepted by Thonissen, Lipsius, Sidgwick and Ridge-way.) In the other view (b), it is held that the slayer " claimed to pay " the fine, and the kinsman of the slain " refused to accept any compensation " (so Passow and Leaf, approved by Pollock). (2) The " two talents " (shown by Ridgeway to be a small sum, equal in which did excellent pioneer work when it first appeared in '88o, was hardly brought up to date in its 3rd edition (1896),but is still useful for the dialect and bibliographical material collected. See also H. Hirt, Handbuch der griech. Laut- and Formenlehre (1902). Of smaller grammars in English perhaps the most complete is that of 1Thompson (London, 1902). The grammar of Homer was handled by D. B. Monro (2nd ed., Oxford, 1891). The syntax has been treated in many special works, amongst which may be mentioned W. W. Goodwin, Syntax of the Greek Moods and Tenses (new ed., 1889) ; B. L. Gildersleeve and C. W. E. Miller, Syntax of Classical Greek from Homer to Demosthenes, pt. i. (New York, 1901— and following) ; J. M. Stahl, Kritisch-historische Syntax des griechischen Verbums (1907); F. E. Thompson, Attic Greek Syntax (1907). (ii.) The relations between Greek and the other I.E. languages are very well brought out in P. Kretschmer's Einleitung in die Geschichte der griechischen Sprache (Gottingen, 1896). For comparative grammar see K. Brugmann and B. Delbruck, Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (the 2nd ed., begun 1897, is still incomplete) and Brugmann's Kurze vergleichende Grammatik (1902—1903) ; A. Meillet, Introduction a l'etude comparative des langues indo-europeennes (2nd ed., 1908). Greek compared with Latin and English: P.Giles, A Short Manual of Comparative Philology for Classical Students (2nd ed., 1901, with an appendix containing a brief account and specimens of the dialects); Riemann and Goelzer, Grammaire comparative du Grec et du Latin (1901), a parallel grammar in 2 vols., specially valuable for syntax. (iii.) For the dialects two works have recently appeared, both covering in brief space the whole field: A. Thumb, Handbuch der griechischen Dialekte (with bibliographies for each dialect, 1909); C. D. Buck, Introduction to the Study of the Greek Dialects, Grammar, Selected Inscriptions, Glossary (Boston, 191o). Works on a larger scale have been undertaken by R. Meister, by O. Hoffmann and by H. W. Smyth. For the Kowit may be specially mentioned A. Thumb, Die griech. Sprache in Zeitalter des Hellenismus (1901); E. Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemderzeit: Laut- and Wortlehre (1906) ; H. St J. Thackeray, it Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek, vol. i. (1909); Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, trans. by Thackeray (1898); J. H. Moulton, A Grammar of New Testament Greek. I. Prolegomena (3rd ed., 1906). (iv.) For the development from the Koivri to modern Greek: A. N. Jannaris, An Historical Greek Grammar, chiefly of the Attic Dialect, as written and spoken from Classical Antiquity down to the Present Time (1901); G. N. Hatzidakis, Einleitung in die neugriechische Grammatik (1892); A. Thumb, Handbuch der neugriechischen Volkssprache (2nd ed. 1910). (v.) The inscriptions are collected in Inscriptiones Graecae in the course of publication by the Berlin Academy, those important for dialect in the Sammlung der griech. Dialektinschriften, edited by Collitz and Bechtel. The earlier parts of this collection are to some extent superseded by later volumes of the Inscr. Graecae, containing better readings and new inscriptions. A good selection (too brief) is Solmsen's Inscriptiones Graecae ad inlustrandas dialectos selectae (3rd ed., 1910). A serviceable lexicon for dialect words is van Herwerden's Lexicon Graecum suppletorium et dialecticum (2nd ed., much enlarged, 2 vols. 191o). (vi.) The historical basis for the distribution of the Greek dialects is discussed at length in the histories of E. Meyer (Geschichte des Allertums, ii.) and G. Busolt (Griechische Geschichte, i.); by Professor Ridgeway, Early Age of Greece, i. (1901), and P. Kretschmer in Glotta, i. 9 if. See also A. Fick, Die vorgriechischen Ortsnamen (1905). (vii.) Bibliographies containing the new publications on Greek, with some account of their contents, appear from time to time in Indogermanische Forschungen: Anzeiger (Strassburg, Triibner), annually in Glotta (Gottingen, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht), and The Year's Work in Classical Studies (London, Murray). (P. GI.)
End of Article: CHIEF CHARACTERISTICS OF THE GREEK
[back]
CHIEF (from Fr. chef, head, Lat. caput)
[next]
CHIEF EXPORTS OF THREE AMERICAN

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.