Article

The Greek and Latin Languages in the Papyri

Eleanor Dickey

in The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199843695
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199843695.013.0006

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

 The Greek and Latin Languages in the Papyri

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  • Classical Studies
  • Greek and Roman Papyrology
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For the first thousand years after the end of the classical period, documentary papyri constitute the most important source of information on the development of the Greek language. Meanwhile, Greek writing tablets rarely survive, so that the vast majority of the extant corpus of subliterary Hellenistic and Roman Greek comes from documents written on papyri or ostraca in Egypt. The Greek in which these documents were written is considered to be a form of koinê. Postclassical literature in both Greek and Latin tended to take the classical model as a goal to be imitated linguistically. The languages, as they were learned by children and used in ordinary conversation, were constantly evolving. This article describes Greek phonology, Greek morphology and syntax, Greek vocabulary, and the Latin of papyri and ostraca.

Keywords: Greek language; documentary papyri; Greek writing tablets; Egypt; ostraca; koinê; Latin papyri

Article.  9929 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Greek and Roman Papyrology ; Historical Archaeology

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