Arcadocypriot Greek

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Arcadocypriot Greek
RegionArcadia, Cyprus
Erac. 1200 – 300 BC[citation needed]
Early forms
Greek alphabet
Cypriot syllabary
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Distribution of Greek dialects in Greece in the classical period.[1]

Arcadocypriot, or southern Achaean, was an ancient Greek dialect spoken in Arcadia in the central Peloponnese and in Cyprus. Its resemblance to Mycenaean Greek, as it is known from the Linear B corpus, suggests that Arcadocypriot is its descendant.

In Cyprus the dialect was written using solely the Cypriot syllabary. The most extensive surviving text of the dialect is the Idalion Tablet.[2] A significant literary source on the vocabulary comes from the lexicon of 5th century AD grammarian Hesychius.


Proto-Arcadocypriot (around 1200 BC) is supposed to have been spoken by Achaeans in the Peloponnese before the arrival of Dorians, so it is also called southern Achaean. The isoglosses of the Cypriot and Arcadian dialects testify that the Achaeans had settled in Cyprus. As Pausanias reported:

Agapenor, the son of Ancaeus, the son of Lycurgus, who was king after Echemus, led the Arcadians to Troy. After the capture of Troy the storm that overtook the Greeks on their return home carried Agapenor and the Arcadian fleet to Cyprus, and so Agapenor became the founder of Paphos, and built the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaepaphos (Old Paphos).[3]

The establishment happened before 1100 BC. With the arrival of Dorians in the Peloponnese, a part of the population moved to Cyprus, and the rest was limited to the Arcadian mountains.

According to John T Hooker, the preferable explanation for the general historico-linguistic picture is

that in the Bronze Age, at the time of the great Mycenaean expansion, a dialect of a high degree of uniformity was spoken both in Cyprus and in the Peloponnese but that at some subsequent epoch the speakers of West Greek intruded upon the Peloponnese and occupied the coastal states, but made no significant inroads into Arcadia.[4]

Later developments[edit]

After the collapse of the Mycenaean world, communication ended, and Cypriot was differentiated from Arcadian. It was written until the 3rd century BC using the Cypriot syllabary.[5][6]

Tsan was a letter in use only in Arcadia until around the 6th century BC. Arcadocypriot kept many characteristics of Mycenaean, early lost in Attic and Ionic, such as the /w/ sound (digamma).



Arcadian word English transliteration Meaning Other Greek dialects
ἀμφιδεκάτη amphidekatê 21st of the month ἡ μετὰ εἰκάδα ἡμέρα (ampheikas)(dekatê tenth)
ἄνωδα anôda up-side Attic ἄνωθε anôthe
ἄρμωλα armôla or ἀρμώμαλα armômala food seasoning Attic ἀρτύματα artymata; ἀρτύω artyo
ἄσιστος asistos nearest Attic ἄγχιστος anchistos
δάριν darin or dareir span of all fingers; see Ancient Greek units of measurement Attic σπιθαμή spithame, inch)
Ἑκατόμβαιος Hecatombaios epithet for Apollo in Athens and for Zeus in Gortys (Arcadia) and Gortyna, Crete
Ϝιστίαυ Wistiau Attic Hestiou, eponym genitive of Hestios; Cf.Hestia and gistia)
ϝοῖνος woinos wine Cypriot, Cretan, Delphic, Magna Graecian; Attic oinos
ζέλλω zellô "throw, put, let, cast" Attic βάλλω ballô
ζέρεθρον zerethron pit (Homeric, Attic βέρεθρον berethron; (Koine barathron)
θύρδα thyrda outside Attic ἔξω exô, thyra door; (Paphian θόρανδε thorande
ἴν in in, inside Attic en; Cypriot id.
κάθιδος kathidos water-jug Attic ὑδρία hydria; (Tarentine huetos)
κάς kas and Attic καί kai; Cypriotic id.
κίδαρις kidaris Arcadian dance (Athenaeus 14.631d.)[7] and Demetra Kidaria in Arcadia.
κόρϝα korwa girl Attic korê; Pamphylian name Κορϝαλίνα Korwalina
Κορτύνιοι Kortynioi (Kortys or Gortys (Arcadia))
κυβήβη kubêbê boot, shoe Attic hypodema
Λῆναι Lênai Bacchae (Lenaeus Dionysus, Lenaia festival
μωρίαι môriai horses, cattle
οὔνη ounê or ounei come on! Go! Attic δεῦρο, δράμε deuro, drame
πέσσεται pessetai it is cooked, roasted Attic ὀπτᾶται optatai
πος pos towards, into Attic προς pros; Cypriot id. !

ποσκατυβλάψη[8] poskatublapse (Attic proskatablapsei)

σίς[9] sis who, anyone Attic tis; Laconian tir; Thessalian kis; Cypr. sis (si se)


  • ἀβάθων abathôn teacher (Attic didaskalos)
  • ἁβαριστάν abaristan (γυναικιζομένην) 'effeminate'
  • ἀβαρταί abartai birds, volatile (Attic hai ptênai, ta ptêna πτηνά)
  • ἀβλάξ ablax 'brightly wonderful' (Attic λαμπρῶς lambrôs) (α + βλάξ (blax) "idiot", blapto "harm")
  • ἀβρεμής abremês ἀβλεπής, ἀνάξιος του βλέπεσθαι, 'unworthy of being seen, despicable'
  • ἁγάνα hagana and agana (Attic σαγήνη sagênê 'dragnet')
  • ἄγαν θές (agan thes) (Attic σιώπα siôpa, 'shut up' ( "too much" + "put" (tithemi imp.)
  • ἄγκυρα ankura (Attic τριώβολον triôbolon, "three obols") (Attic ankura anchor)
  • ἀγλαόν aglaon (Attic γλαφυρόν glaphyron, "smooth, sweet, simple, decorated" (Cretan also), (Attic: aglaos "bright")
  • ἀγόρ agor eagle (Attic ἀετός aetos)
  • ἀγχοῦρος anchoûros near the morning (from anchauros anchi + aurion tomorrow )
  • ἄδειὁς adeios (Attic akathartos), "cleanless, impure" (cf. Attic: adeios, adeia = "fearless, safe", Byzantine and Modern: adeios, adeia = "empty")
  • ἄδρυον adryon (ploion dugout canoe) (α + δρῦς)
  • ἀθρίζειν athrizein (Attic ῥιγοῦν rhigoun to shiver)
  • ἀίεις aieis 'you listen' (Attic ἀκούεις akoueis) (aïô only in poetic use)
  • αἰπόλος aipolos (Koine kapêlos wine-seller) (Attic aipolos 'goatherd') (Attic pôleô sell)
  • ἀκεύει akeuei (Attic τηρεῖ terei he observes, maintains, keeps order)
  • ἄκμων akmôn (Attic ἀλετρίβανος aletribanos plough or pestle) (Attic ἄκμων anvil, meteor) (Acmon mythology)
  • ἀκοστή akostê barley (Attic κριθή krithê ) Cypr. according to Hsch., but Thess. for grain of all kinds according to Sch.Il.6.506.)
  • ἅλς hals (Attic oinos wine) (Attic ἅλς hals sea) (ἅλα *θάλασσαν (Α 141) vgAS ἢ οἶνος Κύπριοι)
  • ἀλάβη alabê or alaba (Attic μαρίλη marile charcoal-ember) λιγνύς. σποδός. καρκίνος. ἄνθρακες
  • ἀλειπτήριον aleipterion (Attic γραφεῖον grapheion writing utensil or place of writing and engraving) (Attic ἀλειφω aleiphô smear, rub)
  • ἄλευρον aleuron grave (Attic τάφος taphos )(leuros smooth, level, even )(Attic ἄλευρον wheat flour)
  • ἄλουα aloua gardens (Attic κῆποι kêpoi)
  • ἁλουργά halourga the red things of the sea τὰ ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης πορφυρᾶ Cypr. according to Hsch.
  • ἄνδα anda she (Attic αὕτη hautê)
  • ἄορον aoron lever μοχλός gateway πυλῶν door-keeper θυρωρός (Aeolic aoros unsleeped)
  • ἀούματα aoumata chaffs, straws left-overs of barleys τὰ τῶν πτισσομένων κριθῶν ἄχυρα (Cf. loumata, lumata)
  • ἀπέλυκα apelyka (Attic ἀπέῤῥωγα aperrhoga I am broken, crashed)
  • ἀπλανῆ aplanê many, a lot (Attic πολλά) (Laconian ameremera) (Attic aplaneis unmoving, non wandering esp. for stars)
  • ἀποαἵρει apoairei (Attic ἀποκαθαίρει apokathairei he cleans, removes) (ἀπαίρω lead off, set out to sea)
  • ἀπόγεμε apogeme imp. remove out, draw off liquor(Attic ἄφελκε aphelke) (Attic γέμω gemô to be full of)
  • ἀπολοισθεῖν apoloisthein to finish complete (Attic ἀποτελεῖν apotelein)(ὅλος holos whole)
  • ἀπόλυγμα apolugma denudation (Attic ἀπογύμνωσις apogymnôsis)(cf. apolouma)
  • ἀρὰς ἐπισπεῖραι aras epispeirai Cypriot cursing custom sowing barley with water σπειρόντων κριθὰς μεθ' ἁλὸς καταρᾶσθαί τισιν
  • ἄριζος arizos grave (Attic taphos) (α + ῥίζα rhiza root)
  • ἄρμυλα armula shoes (Attic ὑποδήματα hypodemata)
  • ἀρμώατος armôatos (Attic σπασμός spasmos spasm)
  • ἄρουρα aroura 'heap of wheat with straws' σωρὸς σίτου σὺν ἀχύροις (Homeric, Ionic ἄρουρα aroura earth)
  • ἄρπιξ arpix harpix or aprix acanthus "species of thorn", εἶδος ἀκάνθης (Attic aprix fast, tight)
  • αὔγαρος augaros (Attic ἄσωτος asôtos unsaved, wasteful, prodigal)
  • αὐεκίζειν auekizein (Attic σφακελίζειν sphakelizein produce gangrene)
  • Ἀχαιομάντεις Achaiomanteis seers, priests in Cyprus (Hesychius)
  • βᾶλλαι ballai (Attic βαθμοί bathmoi grades, steps, stages) (Aeolic arrows)
  • βλάστα blasta (Attic βλάστησις blastesis Vegetation)
  • βομβοία bomboia (Attic κολυμβὰς ἐλαία kolumbas elaia pickled olive, swimming in brine)(Attic kolumbaô dive, swim)
  • βορβορίζει borborizei γογγύζει. μολύνει it groans, pollutes
  • βουκανῆ boukanê anemone flower ἀνεμώνη (bukanê trumpet)
  • βουνός bounos (Attic στιβάς stibas bed of straw, reeds, leaves) (Koine bounos hill, mountain)
  • βοώνητα boôneta (Attic 'purchased things in the price of cows') τιμῆς βοῶν ἠγορασμένα (Cypriot unholy things)
  • βρένθιξ brenthix (Attic θριδακίνη thridakine lettuce)
  • βρίγκα brinka small (Attic μικρόν mikron)
  • βριμάζειν brimazein orgasmize ὀργᾷν εἰς συνουσίαν (Brimô mythology) (brimaomai freak, be enraged)
  • βροῦκα brouka green locust χλωρὰν ἀκρίδα (Ionic broukos)
  • βρούχετος brouchetos frog (Attic βάτραχος bathrachos) (Hsch. brouchetos pit βάραθρον)
  • βύβλιοι byblioi gravekeepers
  • γάνος ganos garden pl. ganea (Hebrew gan 'garden')
  • γέμοις νυ gemois nu lit."you may be full, filled now" Hsch. λαβέ καὶ κάθιζε take and sit
  • γένεσις genesis libation (Attic σπονδή sponde)
  • γοᾶναι goanai (Attic κλαίειν klaiein to cry) (goaô moan)
  • γρᾶ gra or grasthi "eat (imp)" (Attic φάγε phage) (Attic graô gnaw) (Sanskrit grasate eat) (PIE *gres- devour) (Salaminian καγρᾶkagra kata + graô Koine kataphagas gluttonous)
  • δαματρίζειν damatrizein τὸ συνάγειν τὸν Δημητριακὸν καρπόν "collect the fuits of Demeter"
  • δεῖν dein 'turn' (Attic στρέφειν strephein (cf. Attic: deo tie)
  • δίπτυον diptuon (Attic hemimedimnos, a dry measure) (Aeolic kammarpsis)
  • διφθεραλοιφός diphtheraloiphos elementary teacher γραμματοδιδάσκαλος grammatodidaskalos ( aleiphô "smear" + diphthera "goatskin, writing-material, parchment"
  • δρόσος drosos ἀχρείος achreios "needless, useless" (Attic drosos dew)
  • δύσεα dusea (the things around the wall) τοῦ τοίχου τὰ πέριξ
  • ἔαρ ear (Attic αἷμα haima blood) (Attic Ear Spring (season))
  • Ἔγχειος Encheios Ἀφροδίτη
  • ἔλαψα elapsa (Attic διέφθειρα diephtheira I harmed)
  • ἔλφος elphos butter (Attic βούτυρον boutyron)
  • ἔναυὁν enauon ἔνθες put in, ignite εναύοντες ἀνάπτοντες πυρί. τὰ γὰρ σμήνη τῶν μελισσῶν διώκουσι διὰ πυρὸς καὶ καπνοῦ A (n)
  • ἔπιξα epixa (Attic ὄρνεα ornea birds)
  • ἐροῦντες erountes (Attic λέγοντες legontes the saying) (Attic erountes the ones who will say)
  • ἐρούα eroua walk and rest πορεύου,αναπαύου (cf. Homeric erôeô)
  • ἔστη estê (Attic στολή stolê, equipment, garment) (cf. esthês clothing)
  • ζάει zaei (Attic κινεῖ καὶ πνεῖ it moves and blows) (zaei binei, inire, coïre, of illicit intercourse)
  • θᾶτες thates or thutes manual labourers (Attic θῆτες thêtes) (see Timocracy)
  • θεῖον theiοn (Attic ἴγδιον igdion mortar) (Aristophanes θυεία thyeia igdion mortar)
  • θίβων thibôn (Koine thibis ark, basket) (Hebrew tēbhāh ark, from Egyptian tebt 'box')
  • θρόδαξ throdax (Attic θρίδαξ thridax lettuce)
  • θύα thua flavourings ἀρτύματα. Κύπριοι. ἔνιοι τὰ ἀρώματα. Καλλίμαχος (fr.564). Εὔπολις (fr. 108,2) τὰ πέμματα. λέγεται δὲ καὶ τὰ θυόμενα ταῖν θεαῖν
  • ἵγα higa shut up (Attic σιώπα siôpa) (Cretan iga)
  • ἱμονιά himonia strap (Attic ἵμας himas)
  • ἳν hin dat. and acc. of the old pers. Pron. hi (q.v.). in, Arc., Cypr., and Cret. for en (q.v.)[10]
  • καλίνδινα kalindina intestines (Attic ἔντερα entera) (PIE: ghel-ond-, ghol-n•d- stomach; bowels) (Homeric cholades) (Macedonian gola)
  • καχίλα kachila flowers (Attic ἄνθη anthê)
  • κενεά (Attic ἀναδενδράδες anadendrades climbing vineyards) (Attic kena kenea vain
  • κίβισις kibisis bag (Attic πήρα pêra) (Aetolian kibba)
  • κίλλος killos morning cicada ( τέττιξ πρωϊνὸς tettix proinos) (Hesychius killos donkey)
  • Κινυράδαι Kinyradai priests of Aphrodite ἱερεῖς Ἀφροδίτης
  • κίρις kiris or kirris (cypriotic epithet for Adonis) (Laconian kirris λύχνος lychnos light, lamp)
  • κίτταρις kittaris Cypriot Diadem.Κίτταροι Kittaroi, the ones who wear it
  • κιχητός kichêtos the vessel or the substance where the censer(Attic libanôtos) is being dyed εἰς ὃ ἐμβάπτεται ὁ λιβανωτός
  • κυνύπισμα kunupisma drink from pomace (stemphyla), i.e. left-overs of pressed grapes.
  • λήνεα lênea or λείνα leina (Attic ἔρια eria wools)
  • μόψος mopsos 'stain on the clothes' (Attic kêlis κηλὶς ἡ ἐν τοῖς ἱματίοις) (Mopsus mythology) (Mopsopia old name of Attica and Attic tales of Euphorion of Chalcis)
  • μύθα mytha voice (Attic φωνή phonê mythos μυθέομαι mytheomai speak narrate)
  • μυλάσασθαι mulasasthai cleanse with oil (Attic σμήξασθαι smêxasthai σμήχω smêchô)
  • ὄλινοι olinoi sheaves of barley ὄλινοι κριθῆς δέσμαι. καὶ ὤλενος παρὰ Κυπρίοις
  • ὀρτός ortos (Attic βωμός bômos altar)
  • οὐάραι ouarai we (Attic ἡμεῖς hemeis)
  • οὔαρον ouaron olive oil (Attic ἔλαιον elaion)
  • οὖνον ounon or ounos road (Attic odos) (Koine dromos)
  • πέσσον pesson (Attic ὄρος mountain or χωρίον village)
  • πιλνόν pilnon (Attic φαιόν phaion obscure brown, πελιδνόν pelidnon livid (blue, green/ dark)
  • πρέπον prepon beast (Attic τέρας teras beast)(prepôn -ontos, a fish) (Attic prepon -ntos suitable)
  • Πυγμαίων Pygmaion Ἄδωνις Adonis
  • ῥύεινα rhueina lamb, accusative (Attic ἄρνα arna)(nom. rhuein, arên from Wrêna)
  • σί βόλε si bole? (Attic τί βούλει; ti boulei? what do you want?)
  • σίγυνον sigunon (Attic ἀκόντιον akontion spear)[11]


  • ἐπίκορον epicoron (Attic ἐπίκοπον epikopon) cutting, re-stamped coin (from keirô and koptô cut)
  • ἐς πόθ' ἕρπες es poth' herpes? (Attic πόθεν ἥκεις pothen hekeis? where do you come from?) (Attic ἕρπειν herpein to creep, to crawl, move slowly like a serpent
  • εὐτρόσσεσθαι eutrossesthai (Attic ἐπιστρέφεσθαι epistrephesthai return)
  • θόρανδε thorande (Attic ἔξω exo outside) θύρα thyra door
  • ἵγγια hingia one (Cypr. ingia) (εἷς heis) (Cretan itton hen one)
  • ἰμίτραιον imitraion (Hsch.ὑπόζωστον hypozoston under-girdle, rope of ship
  • ἰμπάταὁν impataon (Attic ἔμβλεψον emblepson look inside -imperative) (Hsch. inkapathaon enkatablepson)
  • κάβειος kabeios young (Attic νέος neos)
  • καβλή kablê (Koine μάνδαλος mandalos latch)
  • κακκέρσαι kakkersai (Attic κατακόψαι katakopsai to cut, slay) (kata + keirô cut)
  • καλέχεο kalecheo (Attic κατάκεισο katakeiso lay down -imperative) (Homeric λέχος lechos bed)
  • καπατάξεις kapataxeis (Attic κατακόψεις katakopseis you will cut, slay)
  • κάῤῥαξον karrhaxon (Attic κατάραξον kataraxon strike -imperative) (kata + arassô
  • κατέρεαι katereai (Atticκάθισαι kathisa sit)
  • κίβος kibos (Attic kibôtos ark or ἐνεός eneos speechless)
  • κιδνόν kidnon here (Attic ἐνθάδε enthade)
  • κόρζα korza or korzia heart ( Attic καρδία kardia ) ( Ionic kardiê )( Homeric kradiê ) ( Aeolic karza )
  • κύβος kubos saucer bowl dish (Attic τρύβλιον trublion) (Attic kubos cube)
  • λιμήν limên ἀγορά and (ἐνδιατριβή endiatribê delay, abide, stay) (Attic λιμήν limên port, harbour)
  • μοχοῖ mochoi inside (Attic ἐντός entos)(cf.muchos innermost part, nook, corner)
  • σάπιθος sapithos sacrifice (Attic θυσία thysia)
  • σάσαι sasai to sit (Attic καθίσαι kathisai) (cf. Poetic thassô sit, thôkos backless throne)
  • σές ses (Attic ἔλαθες elathes you were hidden, escaped notice see λανθάνω lanthano)
  • σίαἱ sihai to spit (Attic πτύσαι ptusai to spit, cast out)
  • σοάνα soana (Attic ἀξίνη axinê axe)
  • στροπά stropa (Attic ἀστραπή astrapê) (Homeric sterope, lightning flash)
  • ὕεσι huesi (Koine στολή stolê "garment", (Attic ἀμφίεσις amphiesis clothing, Hsch. ὑεστάκα huestaka)
  • Φάπη Phapê Παφία Paphia (Paphian Aphrodite)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
  2. ^ Georgiadou, Anna (2015). "The Tablet of Idalion (ICS 217)". Kyprios Character. History, Archaeology & Numismatics of Ancient Cyprus.
  3. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.5.1 Archived 2008-01-26 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ John T Hooker, Mycenaean Greece (Routledge Revivals). Archived 2015-12-24 at the Wayback Machine Routledge, 2014 ISBN 1317751221 p164
  5. ^ Kypros, Salamis, c. 600 BC [1] Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Kypros — Kourion ~320 BC [2] Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Mortals and Immortals [3] Archived 2016-12-24 at the Wayback Machine by Jean-Pierre Vernant
  8. ^ Arkadia — Tegea — 4th century BC IG V,2 6 38 Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Arkadia — Mantineiastoichedon. — 5th century BC [4] Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "LSJ". Archived from the original on 2022-01-26. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  11. ^ Aristotle, Poetics, XXI [5] Archived 2007-12-19 at the Wayback Machine


  • A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity- Arcado-Cypriot by A.Panayotou
  • C. M. Bowra Homeric Words in Arcadian Inscriptions
  • Yves Duhoux. Introduction aux dialectes grecs anciens. Lounain-la-Neuve: Cabay, 1983 ISBN 2-87077-177-0
  • Rüdiger Schmitt. Einführung in die griechischen Dialekte. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1977 ISBN 3-534-05672-8
  • Markus Egetmeyer. Le dialecte grec ancien de Chypre. 2 vols., vol. 1: Grammaire; vol. 2: Répertoire des inscriptions en syllabaire chypro-grec. Berlin–NY: De Gruyter, 2010.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bakker, Egbert J., ed. 2010. A companion to the Ancient Greek language. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Christidis, Anastasios-Phoivos, ed. 2007. A history of Ancient Greek: From the beginnings to Late Antiquity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Colvin, Stephen C. 2007. A historical Greek reader: Mycenaean to the koiné. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Horrocks, Geoffrey. 2010. Greek: A history of the language and its speakers. 2nd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Palmer, Leonard R. 1980. The Greek language. London: Faber & Faber.