Monday, March 27, 2006
First alphabet: the Greek, about the 9th century BC
The language of prose writers such as Plato and Aristotle in philosophy, Thucydides in history, and Galen in medicine, was chiefly Ionic or Attic (around Athens)-Ionic. Attic became the standard of classical Greek.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 300's B.C., people in the eastern Mediterranean spoke and wrote a simplified Attic / Greek known as koine (common dialect). The New Testament is written in koine. Greek in this form remained the common language of cultured people of all nations until sometime after the 300's A.D.
Greek has interest for students of English because many of our words are borrowed from Greek, often through Latin or one of the Romance languages. Scientific words from Greek include
Words of Greek origin used in the arts include
Most of the alphabets of modern Europe are modeled on the Greek, which was in turn adapted from the alphabet of the Phoenicians sometime between the 1100's and 700's B.C.
* Describe the location of the Phoenicians.