Category: Mediaeval Greek

Smyrilios

By: | Post date: 2017-09-20 | Comments: 7 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

This post is about a mediaeval Greek bird name. This post is, of course, not about a mediaeval Greek bird name at all. I coauthored with George Baloglou an analysis of a vernacular mediaeval Greek poem, the Entertaining Tale of Quadrupeds (Διήγησις Παιδιόφραστος των Ζώων των Τετραπόδων). The Tale recounts a parliament of animals, who […]

Against the recent PhD on Nathanael Bertos

By: | Post date: 2017-09-19 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Culture, Literature, Mediaeval Greek

My post on Nathanael Bertos was occasioned by a Google search that led me to find out that there had been a recent PhD thesis, which had just been published, by Despoina Athanasiadou-Stefanoudaki. I bought the book. Bertos was advertised as one of the earliest writers in Greek vernacular prose, and I knew nothing about him; […]

Four Romaic names for Greece

By: | Post date: 2017-09-15 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Culture, Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek, Modern Greek

As ably explained in Wikipedia: Names of the Greeks, there is a tension in mediaeval and modern times between names for Greeks based on their ancient heritage (Hellenic; Hellenes), and names for Greeks based on their Roman and Byzantine heritage  (Romaic; Romioi = Romans). The tension was clearer within Greek, because Western languages used a term […]

Nilus-Nathanael Bertos (?) (ca. 1460?): On a captive freed through the prayers of priests

By: | Post date: 2017-09-13 | Comments: 19 Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Literature, Mediaeval Greek

I rejoin Hellenisteukontos with a translation of a sermon possibly by Nilus-Nathanael Bertos. No, most people have not heard of him, and justifiably so. He isn’t all that good. But the sermon struck me as so… WTF, so divorced from the world I know (a world substantially informed by the Reformation and the Enlightenment), that […]

Who faces more difficulty, a Greek who reads the original Koine New Testament or an English speaker who reads the works of Shakespeare?

By: | Post date: 2017-08-14 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

How on earth do we quantify this? Especially given (a) we read Shakespeare in modernised orthography; (b) we ignore the pronunciation differences, unless we’re tuning in to Ben Crystal for Reconstructed Shakesperian, and Randall Buth for Reconstructed Koine; (c) there is huge stylistic disparity in the New Testament: Mark is much easier to read than […]

Why do many people say that Koine Greek is close to Modern Greek and distant from Attic, while grammatically it seems to be very close to Attic and still some significant distance away from Modern Greek?

By: | Post date: 2017-08-14 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

Well has Dimitra Triantafyllidou’s answer put it: Is the glass half-full or half-empty? Here’s some ways in which Koine is closer to Modern Greek: Phonetics: there’s lots of disagreement about precise dates, but in lower-class Koine, potentially as few as two sounds were left to change over between Koine and Modern Greek, ɛ > i […]

At what point in time did the pronunciation of the Greek β change from “B” to “V”?

By: | Post date: 2017-08-13 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

Looking at Sidney Allen’s Vox Graeca, we know that Plato (Cratylus 427a) describes both δ and τ as stops. The first unequivocal evidence is the differentiation between б and в in Cyrillic in the 9th century AD. It turns out though that at the same time, beta was being transliterated in Georgian as as ბ […]

How did the Byzantine Empire named the Mediterranean Sea?

By: | Post date: 2017-08-13 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium confirms John Bard’s answer: As late as the 4th C., the Mediterranean continued to be an “inner sea,” totally surrounded by the territory of the Roman Empire. It was the only sea for Greeks, the esō thalassa [internal sea] (Aristotle) as opposed to the exō thalassa [external sea] or ocean; […]

What does the ancient Greek word ‘βρουχος’ mean?

By: | Post date: 2017-08-13 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

Like Riccardo Radici’s answer says: It is a variant of βροῦκος = locust (see: Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, Βροῦκος) OP has expanded on his inquiry: Its a word in the Greek Septuagint. Ive seen it translated in 3 different ways: Caterpilar,grasshopper,or lightning. But I have no idea how they came with […]

Why didn’t Modern Greek unify all the ancient Greek dialects? See my comment.

By: | Post date: 2017-08-12 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

The answer is Niko Vasileas’ answer. I’ll add that koineisation, the merger of dialects into a new norm, happens a lot. Australian English is a dialect koine, for example, and so is the contemporary dialect of London, and so is Early Modern English. They do tend to have a dominant dialect as their basis, typically […]

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