How do I teach myself the Byzantine/Medieval Greek language, i.e., around the 9th century?

By: | Post date: 2016-01-16 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

Hm. Noone teaches Byzantine Greek as something distinct from Ancient Greek. That’s because for most purposes, it isn’t distinct.

I’m going to go through a potted history of Byzantine Greek for others who might stumble on this question.

There are three registers of Mediaeval Greek to consider; I’ll use Mediaeval to include Greek under Latin rule.

  • The vernacular doesn’t show up much at all; nothing systematic before the 14th century. There is exceptionally a vernacular corpus from the 9th century, the Category:Bulgarian Greek inscriptions. You don’t need Modern Greek to read them.
  • Low literary Greek was an officialese Koine, with occasional hints of vernacular developments, and lots of Latinisms.
  • High literary Greek was Atticist: it was an attempt to write in the Attic of the ancients, with varying degrees of over-enthusiasm.

If you’re going to work with Mediaeval or Byzantine Greek, you do the following:

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