Ionic Greek was a subdialect of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of ancient Greek (see Greek dialects).
History [ edit ]
The Ionic dialect appears to have originally spread from the Greek mainland across the
Aegean at the time of the Dorian invasions, around the 11th Century BC.
By the end of the
Greek Dark Ages in the 5th-century BC, the central west coast of Asia Minor, along with the islands of Chios and Samos, formed the heartland of Ionia proper. The Ionic dialect was also spoken on islands across the central Aegean and on the large island of Euboea north of Athens. The dialect was soon spread by Ionian colonization to areas in the northern Aegean, the Black Sea, and the western Mediterranean.
The Ionic dialect is generally divided into two major time periods, Old Ionic (or Old Ionian) and New Ionic (or New Ionian). The transition between the two is not clearly defined, but 600 BC is a good approximation.
The works of
Homer (the Iliad, the Odyssey, and the Homeric Hymns) and of Hesiod were written in a literary dialect called Homeric Greek or Epic Greek, which largely comprises Old Ionic, with some borrowings from the neighboring Aeolic dialect to the north. The poet Archilochus wrote in late Old Ionic.
The most famous New Ionic authors are
Anacreon, Theognis, Herodotus, Hippocrates, and, in Roman times, Aretaeus, Arrian, and Lucian.
Ionic acquired prestige among Greek speakers because of its association with the language used by both
Homer and Herodotus and the close linguistic relationship with the Attic dialect as spoken in Athens. This was further enhanced by the writing reform implemented in Athens in 403 BC, whereby the old Attic alphabet was replaced by the Ionic alphabet, as used by the city of Miletus. This alphabet eventually became the standard Greek alphabet, its use becoming uniform during the Koine era. It was also the alphabet used in the Christian Gospels and the book of Acts.
Phonology [ edit ]
ā → Ionic ē. — Doric, Aeolic: ā remains. — Attic: ā after e, i, r, but ē elsewhere. [2 ]
ᾱνί ᾱς — Ionic νε ηνί ης "young man" original and Doric
ἁ (ᾱ) → Attic-Ionic ἡ "the" (feminine singular) original and Doric μ
ᾱτηρ → Attic-Ionic μ ητήρ "mother"
e, o → Ionic : ei, ou [note 1 ] compensatory lengthening after loss of w in the sequences enw-, erw-, onw-, orw-. — Attic: e, o is not lengthened. [3 ]
όρϝᾱ → Attic κ [4 ] όρη — Ionic κ ούρη "girl" *
ὄρϝος → ὄρος — οὔρος "mountain" *ξ
ένϝος → ξ ένος — ξ εῖνος "guest, stranger"
Ionic sometimes removes initial aspiration (Proto-Greek h
V- → Ionic V-). [5 ]
* → Attic hāwéli-os — Homeric (early Ionic) hēlios ēélios "sun"
Ionic contracts less often than Attic.
εα — Attic γέν η "family"
Consonants [ edit ]
kʷ before → Ionic a, o k. — Attic p. [note 2 ]
κϝω → Ionic ὄ κως — Attic ὅ πως "in whatever way, in which way"
ky, khy → Ionic ss. — Attic tt. This Ionic feature made it into Koine Greek. [7 ]
κι̯ω → Ionic τά σσω — Attic τά ττω "I arrange"
Grammar [ edit ]
Word order [ edit ]
Ionic had a very
analytical word-order, perhaps the most analytical one within ancient Greek dialects.
Glossary [ edit ]
ἄβδης scourge ( ábdês Hipponax .98)
ἄεθλον (Attic áethlon ἆθλον athlon prize)
ἀειναῦται aeinaûtai archontes in Miletus and Chalcis ( aeí always + naûtai sailors)
ἀλγείη illness (Cf.Attic algeíē ἀλγηδών algēdṓn pain) Algophobia
ἄμπωτις ámpōtis ebb, being sucked back, i.e. of sea (Attic anápōtis, verb anapínō) (Koine, Modern Greek ampotis)
ἄνου (Attic anou ἄνω ánō, up)
Απατούρια Apatoúria Pan-ionic festival ( see also Panionium )
ἀππαλλάζειν (Attic appallázein ἐκκλησιάζειν ekklesiázein gather together,decide) (Doric apellazein)
ἀχάντιον (Attic achántion ἀκάνθιον akánthion small thorn acanthus)
βάθρακοι (Attic báthrakoi βάτραχοι bátrachoi, frogs) in Pontus babakoi
βροῦκος species of broûkos locust (Attic akrís) ( Cypriots call the green locust βρούκα broúka)
βυσσός (Attic byssós βυθός bythós depth,bottom,chaos)
γάννος gánnos Ephesian (Attic huaina (glanos Aristotle.HA594a31.) ( Phrygian and Tsakonian ganos
eídē (Attic εἴδη ὕλη hýle forest) ( Aeolic Greek eide also) (Greek Eidos)
ἐνθαῦτα here ( enthaûta entoutha also) (Attic ἐνταῦθα entaûtha) ( Elean ἐνταῦτα entaûta)
ἐργύλος (Attic ergýlos ἐργάτης ergátēs worker)
ἑστιᾶχος ionic epithet for Zeus, related to hestiâchos Hestia (oikourós, housekeeper, οἰκῶναξ oikônax)
ἠγός ēgós (Attic εὐδαίμων eudaímon happy) (Hesychius s.v. εὐηγεσίη) (τ 114)
ἠέλιος (Attic êélios hḗlios sun) (Cretan abelios)
Iastí, "the ionic way" ( Ἰαστί Ἰάονες, Iáones, Ionians; Ἰάς, Iás, old name of Attica, Strabo IX, 1.5 )
ídē forested mountain (Attic ἴδη δρυμῶν ὄρος drymôn óros) ( Herodotus 4,109,2) ( Mount Ida)
ἰητρός (Attic iatrós,iatēr doctor) iētrós,iētēr
ἴκκος (Attic íkkos ἵππος híppos, horse) ( Mycenaean i-qo )
κάρη head (Common kara) (Poetic kárē kras)
κιθών (Attic kithṓn χιτών chitṓn)
κοεῖν (Attic koeîn νοεῖν noeîn to think) noesis
κοῖος (Attic koîos ποῖος poîos who?)
κύθρη (Attic kýthrē χύτρα chýtra cooking pot)
μύτταξ (Attic mýttax πώγων pṓgōn beard)
Xouthidai Ionians from Ξουθίδαι Xuthus
ὀδμή (Attic odmḗ ὀσμή osmḗ scent, smell)
πηλός thick wine, pēlós lees (Attic πηλός pelós mud, silt) ( proverbial phrase mê dein ton , don't make wine into lees, Ath.9.383c, cf. Demetr.Eloc.171) Oinea Pêlea poiein
ῥηχίη flood-tide, loanword to Attic as rhêchíê ῥαχία rhachía (Homeric,Koine,Modern Greek πλημμυρίς plêmmurís -ída)
σαβακός (Attic sabakís σαθρός sathrís decayed) Chian
σάρμοι sármoi lupins (Attic θέρμοι thermoi} Carystian
σκορπίζω scatter, disperse (probably from skorpios skorpízô scorpion and an obsolete verb skerpô, penetrate)
ταῦροι [8 ] (Attic tauroi bulls) ( taûuroi Ephesian word, the youths who acted as cupbearers at the local festival of Poseidon)
φοινικήια phoinikḗia grámmata Lydians and Ionians called so the letters
χλοσσός (Attic chlossós ἰχθύς ichthús fish)
ô oioî exclamation of discontent ὦ οἰοῖ ἐπιφώνημα σχετλιαστικὸν παρ' Ἴωσι
See also [ edit ]
^ Among Greek dialects, Ionic was the fondest of long vowels and was thus considered especially suited to solo singing; the more austere, broad-sounding Doric was preferred in choral singing.
^ A similar divergence occurred in the Celtic languages between Gaelic and P-Celtic languages (including Welsh), and in the Italic languages between Latin and Oscan.
References [ edit ]
^ Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
^ Smyth, par. 30 and note, 31: long a in Attic and other dialects
^ Smyth, par. 37 note: Ionic compensatory lengthening after loss of w
^ Liddell and Scott, ko/rh on Perseus Project
^ Smyth, par. 9 note: early loss of rough breathing in Ionic of Asia Minor
^ Smyth, par. 59 note: contraction in dialects
^ Smyth, par. 112, 78: ky, khy -> tt; = ss in non-Attic dialects
^ Athenaeus Deipnosophists 10 425c
Sources [ edit ]
A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity- A.Panayotou
Ionic and Attic A Grammar of the Greek Language by Benjamin Franklin Fisk