The Greek language is a branch of the Indo-European family, and was spoken, probably as early as 15 centuries before our era, by the Greeks in Europe and Asia Minor, and subsequently in lower Italy, Sicily, and numerous colonies established on the coasts of the Mediterranean and Black seas. It became afterward the reigning language of the Macedonian, Syrian, Egyptian, and Byzantine empires. Besides the dialects of modern Greece, remnants of it are found in lower Italy, at the southern extremity of Calabria. The origin of the language and the degree of its relationship to other forms of Aryan speech have not been definitely established. The ancient Greeks and Romans speak of a Pelasgic race as the common stock of both nations, but without furnishing sufficient information to place it within the reach of history. The conjectures of ancient and modern writers have linked it to nearly every great nation of antiquity, but without a satisfactory result. Alstedius in the 17th century derives the Greek from the Hebrew, and the people from Javan, the son of Japheth; Webb from the Chinese; Mon-boddo from Egypt, believing that the Pelasgi were Goths. Martin and Buffier assert that the Phoenician Cadmus altered the language in the north, and the Phrygian Pelops in the south.
Rudbeck and Ihre derive it from the Gothic, while Jamieson holds to the reverse. Grote says that he cannot accept a hypothesis which implies that "the Hellenic language is a mere confluence of two foreign barbaric languages (Phoenician and Egyptian) with two or more internal barbaric languages, Pelasgian, Lelegian, etc.," and considers futile all inquiries in regard to the ante-Hellenic Pe-lasgians. George Rawlinson adopts the opinion of Niebuhr, Thirlwall, and K. O. Muller, that the relation of Greek to Pelasgian was like that of English to Anglo-Saxon. Gladstone designates the Pelasgiaus as pure Aryan, and the Hellenes "as Aryan with a residue or mixture of Turanian elements." Geldart considers the popular notion of the Greeks themselves, that the language of the modern Albanians is that of the ancient Pelasgians, as nearest the truth. Cuno contends, in his Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der alten Volker-kunde (Berlin, 1871), that the Greeks and Romans used the term Pelasgian very nearly in the same sense in which modern linguists use the term Aryan or Indo-European, and that Greek is most closely related to the Lithuanian language, because it has retained the same accentuation and several forms of words which, though found in Sanskrit, have disappeared in the other languages derived from it.
The belief that Latin is a daughter of Greek, which was common for centuries both in ancient and modern times, has been rejected by many eminent scholars. The general opinion at present is that Greek is an elder sister of Latin. E. Curtius says that out of 500 Greek verbal roots only 30 reappear exclusively in Latin. Lott-ner says he has discovered that Greek has fewer words in common with Latin than Latin has with German, Slavic, and Lettic. Max Muller makes the following statement in regard to the affinity of the classical tongues of the Indo-European family: "No sound scholar would ever think of deriving any Greek or Latin word from Sanskrit. . . . Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin are sisters, varieties of one and the same type. They all point to some earlier stage, when they were less different from each other than they now are, but no more." - The history of the Greek language is divided by Benfey, in his Geschichte der Sprach-wissenschaft (Munich, 1868), into three periods. The first is the period of its literary development from the time of epic poetry to the rise of the common tongue, the or the Hellenic of the Hellenes; the second embraces the time during which the came to be the language of all civilized nations and educated persons, and the time during which it was gradually confined again to its original limits; the third period begins with the fall of the Byzantine empire, and its principal feature is the gradual disregard of the literary language, and the rise of the popular forms of speech which finally produced the modern Greek. History becomes acquainted with the Greek language only after it had separated into numerous dialects. The dialectic differences were mainly of form and pronunciation, and but small in stems and roots. Two main classes predominate among all the dialect forms: the Doric and the Ionic or which were spoken by the two principal races, of which the Doric was the largest. Another principal dialect was that spoken by the AEolians of Asia Minor, Boeotia, and Thes-saly. E. Curtius, in his "History of Greece" (translated, London, 1868-'73), says: "There were Greeks who spoke neither Ionic nor Doric, and these were said to speak AEolic. But the AEolic is not a dialect, like the Doric and Ionic; it commands no defined territory of language, and possesses no fixed character. The so-called AEolic Greek is rather to such an extent colored differently, according to the different regions in which it settled itself, that it is impossible to fix upon a universally prevalent type, upon a fixed law of sounds, and a system of grammatical forms comprehending all its members. Speaking generally, and leaving out of the question certain more recent formations, it included those forms which, when compared with the cognate languages of Asia, we must recognize as the most ancient.
The AEolic stands nearest to the original tongue of the Greeks, to that tongue which we must regard as the common mother of the various dialects - among them, of the Graeco-Italic language; accordingly, it is easy to point out undeniable analogies between AEolic Greek and Latin." The Doric dialect was spoken chiefly in northern Greece, in the Peloponnesus, in Crete, and in the numerous Doric colonies, especially Sicily and lower Italy. It is essentially the dialect of Pindar and Theocritus. Ionic was spoken chiefly in Asia Minor and Attica, in numerous islands, and in the Ionic colonies. It was early developed by poetry, and produced three different but nearly related dialects: the old Ionic or epic dialect, preserved in the poems of Homer and Hesiod; the new Ionic, chiefly known from the history of Herodotus; and the Attic dialect, contained in the literature of Athens at the time of her glory. In the Attic dialect three less important distinctions are made, the old, the middle, and the new ; or the two distinctions between the earlier and the later Attic. The old Attic differed but little from the old Ionic, as the Ionians were the original inhabitants of Attica; but through intercourse with AEolians, Dorians, and other Greek and foreign races, it adopted many non-Ionic words, and produced the middle or earlier Attic, as written by Thucydides and the tragedians.
The new or later Attic is considered as beginning with Demosthenes and AEschines. Through the importance of Athens and the superiority of its literature, the Attic became the chief dialect, and, even after Athens had ceased to be the leading city, remained the language of the educated Greeks. But it soon lost its purity and excellence, and thus from the 3d century B. C. the common Greek dialect was distinguished from it. The conquests of Alexander gave it an enormous territory ; but being spoken by Macedonians, Egyptians, Ethiopians, Syrians, and other minor nations, it was stripped of many of its original forms, and numerous barbarisms were added to it. The researches of Curtius tend to show that the Greeks and Macedonians could not understand each other. How far the Macedonian language resembled that of the Illyrians is not positively known. It is apparent, however, that at this time took place a gradual mingling of Greek and Macedonian speech, as Plutarch asserts that Greek and not Macedonian was spoken at the courts of Philip and Alexander. The fusion of the two languages produced the so-called Macedonian dialects, of which the most prominent, being cultivated by learned men, was that of Alexandria. It has been falsely termed the Hellenistic language; with its Syrian, Hebrew, and Chaldean peculiarities, it was used in the Alexandrian translations of the Old Testament, and subsequently also of the New, whence it has been carried into the works of the fathers of the church ; and it has therefore been proposed to designate it as ecclesiastic Greek. The Greek spoken in Egypt was mainly a language studied by officials and traders.
The dialect has been found inscribed on the stones of Rosetta and of Adule, and on a number of papyri. The Greek of Ethiopia was still more corrupt, and was also principally used in business and for inscriptions. Greek was spoken in Carthage and Mauritania, as well as in Bactria and India. It continued also to be spoken in Gallia Narbonensis and Aquitania, where, starting with the colony of Massilia established by the Phocaeans in the 6th century B. C., it had gradually gained territory and become the general language of the institutions of learning. Henry Stephens shows, in his Traite de la conformite du langage fran-coys avec le grec (Paris, 1569), that it remained there in use for many centuries after the introduction of Christianity. In Sicily, and in parts of Calabria and Apulia, Greek was spoken as late as the 11th century of our era. Mommsen has shown, in his Unteritalische Dialekte (Leipsic, 1850), that it continued to be used by the side of Latin and Arabic, until Italian usurped its place as the literary language of the country. Greek was thus during the first three centuries of our era a sort of universal language, and everybody who claimed to be educated was obliged to be conversant with it.
But the language deviated perceptibly from the old standard, and the efforts of the purists to check this tendency, by insisting on using ancient Attic forms, had but little success. The transfer of the seat of government of the Roman empire to Constantinople caused the introduction of many Latinisms, and the crusades that of many Gallicisms and other foreign elements. According to Hallam, artificial Attic Greek was spoken in Constantinople, even till its capture by Mohammed II., by the superior ranks of both sexes, with tolerable purity, and at that time had degenerated only among the common people and the inhabitants of the provinces. But the literary documents show a gradual transition from the language of the grammarians to that of the people, which is designated in them as the common and impure language, or the common and simple style, and also as usage. The popular dialect of the 12th century was essentially the same as the Romaic or modern Greek of the present day, and the first writer who can be said to have used it in its entirety was Theodoras Prodromus, nicknamed Ptochopro-domus, a monk who lived in the reign of the emperor Manuel Comnenus. The appellation of Romaic, by which the new dialect was designated, arose from the circumstance that the Greeks had affected the name of after the new name of the seat of government and in distinction from the who were the latest advocates of the language and customs of ancient Greece. But the modern theory of a complete extirpation of the Hellenic race at this present time is unsupported by the unalloyed speech of the inhabitants of modern Greece. Deffner and other students of modern Greek have shown that it contains formations evidently older than the Attic dialect, with which a large class of modern Greek authors are now striving to supplant it. In fact, the so-called ancient forms never died out, but are nearly all found even in the more cultivated modern Greek of the middle ages. Greek is now, says Geldart, "as really alive as it was in the days of Homer." "Comparative philology derives no unimportant light from modern Greek, because it preserves many archaic forms which are postulated by phi-lologers, but not actually to be found in any known dialect." Mullach, in his Grammatik der griechischen Vulgarsprache (Berlin, 1856), divides the existing dialects of modern Greece into six main varieties, besides Tzakonian and Albanian, whose claim to be considered Greek dialects is not admitted by all. They are: 1, the dialect of Anatolia (Asia Minor) ; 2, Chi-otic; 3, Cretan; 4, Cyprian; 5, Peloponne-sian; 6, of the Ionian islands.
The Tzakonian dialect is the language of ancient Cynuria, and of a foreign race, which was probably of Semitic origin. It adopted and adapted the materials of the Greek language gradually, partly during the time that Greek was still ancient Greek, and partly after it had become modern. Albanian is considered by many authorities the direct descendant of ancient Pelasgic or Graeco-Italic, the parent of both Latin and Greek. The modern Greek dialects of lower Italy are not well known; they are spoken in 12 villages at the southern extremity of modern Calabria. - The Greek alphabet was formed from the Phoenician. Ancient writers supposed that it was at first composed of 16 letters only, obtained from Cadmus, and that the other letters were due to Palamedes and others. Many authorities consider these personages mythical; others, like Lenormant in La legende de Cadmus (Paris, 1867), consider them historical. Mommsen believes that an .AEolic-Achaeic alphabet was in use in the Peloponnesus long before the dominion of the Dorians, who introduced their own graphic system; but his theory is hardly supported by palaeographic material.
Curtius's hypothesis is that the Asiatic Ionians obtained it from the Phoenicians, and carried it into European Greece about 14 centuries B. C, while Duncker argues that it was brought from Crete to Greece during the 8th century. Without regard to the period and manner in which the Greeks came into its possession, the prevailing opinion is that they adopted at once the whole Phoenician alphabet of 22 letters, and added the sign Y. Some of the letters passed out of use, as the vav or digamma and the koppa, and were replaced by others, as the phi and chi, which appear already in the old Attic alphabet. The Ionians added the psi and the omega, and employed the aspirate eta to designate the sound of long E. Their alphabet, thus consisting of 24 letters, was officially adopted in Athens in 403 or 401 B. C, and has since continued in general use. The ancients believed that all words beginning with a vowel had some aspiration, either soft spiritus lenis) or hard spiritus asper). The spiritus lenis (') is not rendered in other tongues; the spiritus asper (') is given in Italic and Germanic languages by II. In diphthongs the breathing stands over the second vowel. The two breathings were distinguished only during the flourishing period of Greek, and only in Doric and Attic. After Alexander the Great it seems that the spiritus asper lost its force in the whole language. In modern Greek both breathings are written, but neither is pronounced. The signs "' and over a vowel to denote that it is long or short are used only with the vowels a, t, v, since are distinguished by their form. The sign (') for the spiritus lenis is also used as an apostrophe, and further as a coronis over the junction of two words contracted into one. The Greeks indicate also the tone or accent of words. The circumflex accent is placed only on the last syllable, or last but one, of a polysyllabic word; the acute equally on short and on long syllables ; and the grave accent may be considered to rest on every syllable not otherwise marked, especially on the final syllable of polysyllabic words, but is written as a substitute for the acute on final syllables of words within a sentence and not immediately followed by a pause. Accentuation, however, is not uniform in all Greek dialects. It is supposed by many that Aristophanes of Byzantium was the inventor of the signs of aspiration and accentuation, and that they were introduced about 200 B. C. for the purpose of teaching the language to foreigners. They do not appear in very old inscriptions and manuscripts, but there is reason to think that they were used long before his time. The ancients wrote only in uncials and capitals or majuscules.
A sort of cursive or business hand made its first appearance in Alexandria about the 2d century B. C.; but the small characters or minuscules are not found in manuscripts older than the 8th century A. D. - The pronunciation of Greek in the times of Homer, Sophocles, and Xenophon is still a matter of discussion. While it has gradually become quite uniform in continental Europe, the English allowed the continuance of the English vowel sounds, a practice which had its origin with the grammar schools and crept into the universities. Many prefer the system of pronunciation called etacism, which was introduced by Erasmus in the beginning of the 16th century. Until then it was allowable to read ancient Greek after the pronunciation of modern Greek as spoken by the natives who fled to the west of Europe. This pronunciation is called iotacism, or Reuchlin-ism, after Reuchlin, who was its advocate in the time of Erasmus. It consists in pronounc-ing i, n, v et, oi, vl with the same sound, that | of the Italian i; when accented, like the Eng-lish ee in bee; when unaccented, like i in bit.
Furthermore, at is pronounced like the Italian e, av like av or af, ev like ev or ef, like iv or ! if; the iota subscript has no effect on the pronunciation of the vowel above it; is pronounced like our v ; y before e, l, etc., like y; like the soft th or the soft Spanish d ; like z ; x as a strong aspirate, like x or j in Spanish ; r after v sounds like d; and after like The Erasmians maintain that among the ancients each vowel and diphthong had its own proper sound: a like the Italian a, l like the Italian i, v like the French u or German u, e and like the Italian long and short e respectively, and diphthongs the sounds which result from the combined sounds of their component letters. They maintain also that has the sound of our b, y of our hard of of dz, and x of German ch; that and should always retain the sound of t and p ; and that the initial aspirate should be sounded as h. The controversy has been carried on with renewed energy in recent times, but so far to no definite settlement, the etacists and the iotacists being equally supported by high authorities. - Greek grammar has received a scientific method through the results of comparative philology, especially subsequent to the labors of Bopp and Pott, and through the recent researches of Curtius. The noun in ancient Greek has three numbers, singular, dual, and plural. The dual is a later formation, and did not occur in AEolic. The distinction of the three genders, though unknown to Indo-European in its radical stage, was introduced very early, probably before the first separation occurred. There were originally only the three cases, vocative, accusative, and nominative; the genitive and dative were introduced subsequently. The throe modes of declension vary in the ancient dialects. Adjectives have either three or two endings, and in the latter case the masculine and feminine agree. Personal pronouns are declined in a peculiar manner; otherwise the declensions of nouns apply also to adjectives, and with variations to pronouns and numerals.
Adjectives admit of comparison. Verbs are of three genera, possessing, besides the active and passive, a middle voice; most tenses of the passive and middle voices coincide; the middle has a kind of reflexive, reciprocal, or deponent character. The tenses are the present, imperfect, perfect, pluperfect, aorist, future, and future perfect; the moods are the indicative, subjunctive, optative, imperative, and infinitive. The preterite tenses are formed by augments and reduplication. There are active, reflexive, and passive participles, and verbal adjectives. The endings are inflected according to the character of the verbs, which terminate either in u or in w in the first person singular of the present indicative. - The language of the common people of modern Greece has a number of striking peculiarities. and words like it make in the genitive in the plural accusative A large number of nouns belonging to different declensions are made to follow one. The v for the accusative is dropped in pronunciation where the phonetic laws of the language admit of it. The words are still the same that Plutarch or even Thucydides might have employed. - The grammatical and lexicographical study of Greek was begun by the sophists, especially Protagoras, by Plato, and by Aristotle in regard to rhetoric. After the decline of Grecian liberty and language many words and phrases became obsolete, and were explained by the grammarians under the titles of and There were etc. Homeric lexicons appeared at an early age; one of them was Apollonius's in which the youth of republican Athens searched for elucidations of the poet. Didymus compiled a "Tragic Lexicon," Theo a "Comic Lexicon," and Phrynichus a kind of dictionary, containing the more recondite and exquisite phrases of the Attic writers, and entitled Pausanias of Caesarea seems to have written the best rhetorical lexicon, containing illustrations of the Greek orators, as it is often quoted by Eustathius. The first who reduced into one vocabulary the Homeric, dramatic, and rhetorical lexicons was Diogenianus, a celebrated grammarian, who lived in the time of Hadrian. The most prominent writers on grammar were Aristophanes Byzantinus (about 260 15. C), Aristarchus of Samothrace (about 150), and Dionysius Thrax (about 80), who prepared the first systematic grammar, which remained for many centuries of great value, subsequent grammars being little else than commentaries on it. Photius, patriarch of Constantinople, was the author of a celebrated lexicon, which he entitled But the most important of all the ancient lexicons is that of Hesychius, a grammarian of uncertain age, who seems to have compiled it from a vast number of sources. The dictionary of Suidas, a Christian monk who lived about the 11th century, differs from the other ancient lexicons, as it contains biographical notices of celebrated authors, and large extracts from their works. In western Europe but few were acquainted with the Greek language previous to the emigration of the Greeks to Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries. The early Greek scholars were Bede, Alcuin, John Scotus Eri-gena, Humbert, Abelard, John Basing, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, and a few others. It is difficult to determine to what extent they were acquainted with the language, but in all probability their knowledge of it was insignificant. In 1470 the Greek grammar of Constantino Lascaris was published at Milan; it was the first attempt at printing from Greek types; in the printed editions of Greek classics of an earlier date Greek words were inserted with a pen.
The first Greek and Latin dictionary was compiled by a Carmelite friar of Piacenza named Joannes Crastonus. It was a bare vocabulary, but was frequently reprinted with continual additions, "till at length," says Henry Stephens, "unlearned printers contending who should put forth the biggest lexicon, and offering rewards to those who would furnish the greatest number of words, the explanations, which were in the first instance so meagre, became as fat as a Boeotian sow." (See Dictionary.) Greek learning dawned in England toward the close of the 15th century. Milling, Selling, Latimer, More, Colet, Grocyn, and Linacre were known as students of Greek before Erasmus came to teach it at Cambridge in 1510. Later appear the names of Lilly, Lupsett, Lister, Pace, Lee, Tunstall, Stokesley, Clement, Brian, Wakefield, Bullock, Croke, Tyndale, Smith. Redman, and Cheke as Greek scholars. In France were Lefevre d'Etaplcs (Faber Stapulensis), who was able to criticise the Greek of Erasmus, and Bude (Budaeus), who was beyond question the most profound Greek scholar in Europe. Germany produced Reuchlin and his younger contemporary Melanchthon, who even in his youth was deemed the peer of Erasmus; and next to them Beatus Rhena-nus, Luseinius, Wilibald Pirkheimer, Camera-rius, Grynaeus, and Hessius. In Italy Greek was in a measure superseded by the study of Latin. Vettori enjoyed the highest reputation as a student of Greek, and next to him Bonamico, Nizzoli, Parrhasio, Corrado, and Mallei. The study seems to have been little prosecuted in Spain. The Greek grammars of this period were by Clenardus (Lou-vain, 1530), and by Varenius of Mechlin (Lou-vain, 1532), both of which were often reprinted, and the former is still the basis of several modern works, such as the Eton Greek grammar.
The year 1572 became an epoch in Greek learning by the publication of Stephens's Thesaurus. Subsequently Greek became better known, and the greatest authorities upon it were Scaliger, Casaubon, Canter, and Sylbur-gius. But Greek learning declined in the 17th century. Hallam says : "The decline was progressive; few scholars remained after 1G20, and a long blank ensued, until Fabricius and Kus-ter restored the study of Greek near the end of the century. Even in France and Holland, where many were abundantly learned, and some accomplished philologers, the Greek language seems to have been either less regarded, or at least less promoted, by eminent scholars, than in the preceding century." During the 17th and 18th centuries the progress of Greek learning was mainly due to the labors of Bent-ley, Stanley, Pearson, Price, Hudson, Potter, Baxter, Burney, Boyle, Viger, Fischer, Labbe, Scot, Erasmus Schmidt, Fronton du Due, Gru-ter, Heyne, Heinsius, Matthiae, and Hermann. Buttmann's Ausfuhrliche griechische Sprach-lehre, in the revised edition of 1819, must be considered the first grammar that can lay claim to scientific method and completeness.
Thiersch carefully investigated the most ancient phases of the language, and Passow's lexicographical labors have the special merit of having been made on a sound historical basis. Lobeck carefully revised Buttmann's grammar and rendered it available to modern students. Rost, Kuhner, Kruger, and Mehlhorn introduced into their grammars the results of comparative philology. Later Greek grammars and lexicons are principally due to the labors of Germans, other nations having contented themselves with translating and rearranging them for the educational purposes of their own country. In fact, the contributions made in Germany toward Greek philology during the last 50 years are enormous. Every small division of the study has been specially represented by numerous publications. The principal authorities on the alphabet alone are Baumlein and Kirchhoff; on pronunciation, Seyffarth, Liskovius, Gotthold, and Ellissen; on the digamma, Sachs. Peters, Savelsberg, and Leskien; on the hiatus, Benseler; on quantity, Spitzner and Passow; on accentuation, Gottling, Geppert, and Winckler; on word building, Hempel, Budenz, Rodiger, Clennn, E. Curtius, and G. Curtius; on inflection, Koch, Reimnitz, Grotefend, Kolbe, Lissner, Ahrens, II. Muller, Aken, Francke, Doderlein, Becker, Sander, and Traut; on syntax, Bern-hardy, R. Kuhner, Schmidt, Fritsch, Weber, Ebhardt, Geist; on dialects in general, Ahrens; on AEolic, Giese and Hirzel; on Attic, Kras-per and Dietfurt; on Bucolic, Muhlmann; on Cretan, Bergmann; on Cypric, Schmidt; on Epic, Grafenhan, Lucas, and Berger; on Ionic, Lobeck. The best lexicons are by Rost and Palm, Kreussler, Keil, Peter, Schneider, Pape, Ramshorn, Jacobitz and Seiler, Benseler, and Lucas. Lexicons for the writings of single authors or groups of authors are : for AEschy-lus, by Wellauer; for Euripides, by Beck; for Herodotus, by Schweighauser; for the Homeric writings, by Doderlein; for Hyperides, by Westermann; for Plato, by Ast; for Sophocles, by Schneider and Ellendt; and for the tragedians, by Fahse. English scholars of Greek lexicography and grammar are: Green, Lightfoot, Evelyn Abbott, J. B. Mayor, A. A. Vansittart, Kennedy, R. Ellis, E. B. Cowell, Henry Jackson, W. M. Leake, Chandler, Simcox, Wordsworth, Peile, Donaldson, Liddell, Trench, Scott, Yonge, Ferrar, and others.
American writers on the Greek language are : Pickering, Anthon, Crosby, Spencer, Hadley, Goodwin, Kendrick, Sophocles, Drisler, and Felton. - Literature. In its widest extent, the history of Greek literature is coeval with that of the language. It begins in a period of indefinite antiquity, and comes down to the present day. If we commence with the earliest monuments, we trace it back to nearly 1000 B. C, where we find the art of poetical composition existing already in the highest perfection, in the form of epic narrative. The admirable structure and the wonderful language of the Homeric poems imply a long period of antecedent culture, striking intimations of which are found in the poems themselves. Poetry preceded prose, in the form of hymns to the gods, and songs or ballads in celebration of martial deeds. Of the earliest temple poetry no specimens have been preserved, but the Homeric hymns may give us some idea of their style. Of the earliest ballads also, none have come down to us; but the song of Demodocus in the Odyssey no doubt very fairly represents their primitive style of composition.
The ballads were essentially epic, and led in the course of time to the proper epic, which is found in its perfect type in the Iliad and the Odyssey. The temple poetry appears to have originated in the north of Greece, and in the temples of Dodona, Delphi, and other primeval seats of Greek religious culture. Ballad poetry probably appeared very early on the Greek mainland; but its full development took place among the Ionian colonies of Asia Minor and the AEgean islands. The principal names of the legendary minstrels were Am-phion, Orpheus, Thamyris, Eumolpus, Musaeus, Linus, Olen, and Olympus. The earliest literary documents are the poems known as the Iliad and the Odyssey, founded on the legends of the war of Troy and the return of Ulysses; but nothing positive is known of the poet, nor where and when they were composed. (See Homer.) About 50 compositions of various length, in a style closely resembling that of the Iliad and Odyssey, together with a burlesque poem called Batracltomyomachia, or the "Battle of the Frogs and Mice," have also been attributed to Homer. The epic style was continued by a series of poets called the "cyclic," of whose works only the titles, brief abstracts, and fragments have been preserved.
The next development of poetry was in Boeotia, in the works of Hesiod, who also employed the epic style. His principal poems are the "Works and Days," and the Theogonia. The next form of Greek poetry was the elegiac, and, in close connection with it, the iambic. The rhythm of the epic poetry was dactylic, and the metre hexameter. The Ionians of Asia Minor were also the originators of the elegiac and iambic. The elegiac rhythm was also dactylic, and its measure alternately hexameter and pentameter; or rather, every alternate verse consisted of two catalectic trimeters. The principal poets in this style were (between V00 and 600 B. C.) Archilochus, Callinus, Simonides of Amorgos, who shares with Archilochus the credit of having invented the iambic trimeter, Tyrtaeus, author of the martial elegies, Mim-nermus, and Solon. This species of composition is sometimes ranked with the lyric; but it is more properly to be considered as a transition from the epic to the proper lyric. The principal orders of lyric poetry were paeans, ' hyposchemas, paroenia, scolia, embateria, and epinicia.
The forms of composition were stro-phic, i. e., with divisions called strophes, corresponding to each other line for line; and choral, with strophes corresponding by pairs, or with these and proodes, mesodes, and epodes. The rhythms were of the richest variety, and artfully constructed so as to express by their movement the sentiment or passion intended to be conveyed by the language. The atrophic composition was usually delivered with a simple musical accompaniment; the choral, with a musical accompaniment and a rhythmical motion, sometimes a dance performed by the trained choreutoe, or members of the band who delivered it. Of the lyric style, there were two principal schools, the AEolic and the Doric. The AEolic flourished chiefly among the AEolian colonies of Asia Minor, and especially in Lesbos. The Doric was more generally diffused over Greece, Asia Minor, Sicily, and even Italy. The principal writers of the AEolian poetry, which was strophic in form, were Aleaeus (about G00) and Sappho, his contemporary, both Lesbians. Akin to this school may be considered the lyric poetry of Anacreon (about 500); not the odes which pass under his name, but the fragments which alone represent his genuine compositions, and which are rather Ionic than AEolic in tone and style.
Of the poets who form, as it were, a transition to the proper Dorian choral poets, Aleman and Stesichorus may be placed at the head. Stesichorus (600) was the first to introduce the epode, and to give a greater variety to the rhythm of the strophes than had been customary. His language was the old epic, modified by some Dorian forms. Simonides of Ceos flourished about 500; Ibycus about 540; Bacchylidcs was the nephew of Simonides. We come now to the greatest master of the Dorian lyric style, and perhaps the greatest lyric poet of all ages, Pindar, born at Cynoscephalae in Boeotia about 522. Of his numerous compositions, we have only the four series of epinician odes, i. e., odes written in commemoration of victories gained at the four national festivals, the Olympic, Pythian, Ne-mean, and Isthmian. These are the most important specimens that have come down to us from the lyrical age. We say the lyrical age, because lyrical composition was the characteristic style during this period, although it continued to be cultivated with other species in the subsequent times. - The earliest writers of prose were those who first engaged in philosophical speculations. Of their writings only a lew fragments have been preserved.
Thales was the founder of the Ionic philosophy, to which belonged Pherecydes, Anaximander, An-aximenes, Anaxagoras, etc. Pythagoras established the Italian school, and was followed by Alcma?on, Timaeus, Epicharmus, Theages, Archytas, and others. In history the Ionians took the lead. Cadmus of Miletus, about 540, is the earliest; Acesilaus of Argos soon followed. Hecataeus of Miletus came somewhat later; Pherecydes of Leros, Charon of Lampsa-cus, Hellanicus of Mitylene, Dionysius of Miletus, all preceded Herodotus, but were rather chroniclers than historians in the proper sense of the word. The first great historian was Herodotus of Halicarnassus (born in 484), who, though a Dorian by birth, wrote in the Ionic dialect. His delightful work is preserved, and its extraordinary merits have given him justly the name of the "father of history." Literature was cultivated later in Athens than in the Asiatic colonies; but the foundations were more deeply laid, and that famous city must always be regarded as the teacher of the world in arts and letters. We have already mentioned Solon among the elegiac poets. The Athenians were of Ionian descent, and their literature may be regarded as the continuation and perfection of the literature of that race.
But the characteristic form of Athenian poetry was the dramatic. During the long period of democratic Athens, especially in the time of Pisistratus, much was done for the patronage of literature and literary men. The Homeric poems were carefully revised, and the regular reading of them was one of the public entertainments of the Panathenaic festival. Dramatic poetry, in a partially developed form, had already existed elsewhere; the dithyram-bic tragedy had made its appearance. The dramatic clement in the Homeric epics, especially the Iliad, could not fail to strike the listeners at the festivals, and to suggest the idea of representing instead of narrating events; of exhibiting persons in action rather than describing them. The dramatic pageantry of the Dionysiac worship furnished another suggestion of the dramatic form. The actual starting point of the Greek drama was the choral song, tragedy springing from the dithyramb and comedy from the phallic representation. Put the direction given to the new style was determined by the several influences we have mentioned. Thespis took the first step (535), by adding action to the chorus.
He was followed by Phrynichus, who was the first to bring female characters upon the stage; Lis "Capture of Miletus" was performed in 498. Choerilus was his contemporary and rival. Pratinas of Phlius lived in the same period. AEschylus, the perfecter of tragic art, was born at Eleusis in 525. This great poet added a second actor, and lived to see the tragic art raised to its highest point of excellence by his own genius and that of Sophocles, who added a third. Greek tragedy is well represented by the remaining works of AEschylus, Sophocles (born in 405), and Euripides (480). Of each of the two former only seven plays are in existence; of the last there are 19, viz.: 17 tragedies, one tragi-comedy, and one satyric drama. It was the practice of the tragic writers to combine in one representation three tragedies, and a kind of farce, called a satyric drama, because the chorus consisted of satyrs. Put instead of a satyric drama, the Alcestis of Euripides shows that sometimes the representation was closed by a piece resembling the modern tragi-comedy. The three tragedies were called a trilogy, and the four pieces together a tetralogy. Of the tragic poets who succeeded the three great masters, or were their contemporaries, only the titles of plays and brief fragments remain.
Comedy went along with tragedy, and sustained very peculiar relations to it. It originated probably among the Dorians, and was brought into regular form by Epicharmus about 500 B. C, and he is therefore justly called the inventor of comedy. Of the proper Attic comedy Chionides and Magnes were among the earliest writers; but of their works only a few titles remain. Cratinus first exhibited about 450; 38 titles of his comedies have been collected. Crates wrote about the same year, and Phrynichus the comic poet lived a little before the Peloponnesian war; the names of 10 of his comedies are extant. Eupolis exhibited for the first time in 429; he was a contemporary and rival of Aristophanes. Of the 54 comedies which Aristophanes wrote (according to Suidas), only 11 have come down to us. His first recorded exhibition was in 427, and his last in 388. From these plays. 10 of which belong to the old comedy, i. e., to that period of Attic comedy in which public and private characters were introduced by name we can form a distinct idea of the character and tendencies of this branch of the Attic drama. There were many other writers of the old comedy, but only their names and a few fragments have been preserved.
The middle comedy is that form which comedy assumed when it was forbidden by law to introduce living persons by name, Thirty-four poets belonging to this branch are mentioned, but none of their works, of which an immense number were known to the ancients, have been preserved, except in unimportant fragments. The names of three sons of Aristophanes occur in this number. The new comedy was a still further modification which comedy first assumed in the age of Alexander. Its distinguishing characteristic was, that all its characters were fictitious. The earliest writer was Philippides, who flourished about 323. The two most celebrated names were Philemon and Menan-der, the former of whom wrote 97, and the latter 105 plays. Numerous fragments of Me-nander, some of them of considerable length, show the elegance of his style and the variety and vigor of his genius. The last poet of the new comedy was Posidippus, who began to exhibit in 289; he wrote more than 50 pieces. The fertility and excellence of the Greek dramatic literature were most remarkable. The Dionysiac festivals, celebrated at Athens in the spring, were the principal occasion on which new pieces were brought out, and always in competition for the prize, and under the direction of the chief magistrates.
The emulation thus excited among men of the highest genius gave a wonderful impulse to this species of composition, the originality and extent of which have always appeared so surprising. - The prose compositions that belong to this age were equally distinguished by their appropriate excellences. In history, we have Thucydides, born about 471, whose work on the Peloponnesian war is not only the first specimen of what has been called philosophical history, but remains unsurpassed down to the present time. Xenophon was born about 444. His historical works, though not equal to that of Thucydides in vigor of coloring and depth of reflection, yet are adorned with every grace of narrative and description. His other works are valuable for the light they throw on the spirit of Greek institutions and the peculiarities of Greek life. Of the works of Ctesias, Philistus, Theopompus, and Ephorus, which belong to a period somewhat later, none have come down entire. In philosophy, to which the teachings of Socrates (born in 409) gave a great impulse, we have the writings of Plato (about 429) and his pupil Aristotle (384). Plato was endowed with a brilliant imagination, and loved to soar into the highest region of speculation.
His sense of the beautiful was exquisite; and his style was at once idiomatic and lofty, while in passages it moved with a rich and stately music which all ages have admired. Aristotle was a student and observer; practical results were the object of his investigations. His style was terse, logical, close, seldom adorned with poetical embellishments, and never with rhetorical exaggerations. Everything he wrote embodied the results of careful and extensive observations. He never entered the world of ideas with Plato. His views were comprehensive, and his expositions, except where the writing evidently contains only the heads of his discourses, are singularly clear. His works embrace the subjects of logic, rhetoric, physics, metaphysics, natural history, and politics. Plato founded the Academic school, whose point of reunion was the academy, on the Cephissus, north of Athens; Aristotle established the Peripatetic school, in the lyceum, near the Ilissus, on the opposite side of the city. - In the same period, political eloquence, always a characteristic form of Greek utterance, reached its highest perfection. In Homer we find not merely traces of eloquence, but admirable specimens. Public discussion was the general rule in the Greek republics.
In Athens especially the statesman could not maintain himself, or exercise the smallest influence, without the faculty of public speaking. The historians relate the speeches of statesmen and generals. Thucydides describes the debates at Athens and elsewhere, on the questions that preceded and the events that occurred in the Peloponnesian war. Herodotus and Xenophon abound in speeches and orations; Solon, Pisis-tratus, Miltiades, Aristides, Themistocles, and Pericles were orators as well as legislators, counsellors, and generals. Pericles was the first to cultivate the art, and to adorn his mind with the teachings of philosophy and general literary culture. We have no exact report of any of the speeches of this class of statesmen, though Thucydides undoubtedly gives us the substance of several of the most important of those of Pericles. The rhetorical art in its technical charac-acter originated in Sicily; and the first rhetorical school at Athens was opened by Gorgias of Leontini. Other sophists and teachers of rhetoric were Protagoras, Prodicus, Hippias, etc. The peculiar judicial system also of Athens made a great demand for the rhetorical talent.
The Athenian orators, whose works are extant in whole or in part, are Antiphon, Andocides, and Lysias in the 5th century; Isaeus, Isocrates, Lycurgus, Hyperides, AEschines, Demades, Demosthenes, and Dinarchus in the 4th. The orations of these men present every variety of excellence, from the subtlest legal argument to the most passionate appeal. Demosthenes com-bines all the excellences of all the others, with some that are peculiar, at least in degree, to himself. - After the death of Alexander the Great, although literature continued to he cul-tivated in Greece, and especially in Athens, the rhetorical and philosophical schools holding an eminent position for centuries, yet till the Roman conquest the principal seat of letters and science was Alexandria, under the Ptolemies in Egypt. This period is called the Alexandrian age. Its characteristics were erudition, criticism, and the study of science; and in poetry the only original species was the bucolic or the idyl. The principal poets were Bion of Smyrna, Theocritus, Aratus (epic), Lycophron (author of "Cassandra"), Callimachus (epic, hymns), and Moschus. The bucolic poets are picturesque and pleasing.
During the Roman supremacy, and down to the introduction of Christianity, the principal poet was Nicander ; the most important prose writers were Poly-bius, Apollodorus, Dionysius Thrax the grammarian, Diodorus Siculus, Dionysius of Hali-carnassus, and Dionysius Periegetes. From this period to the close of the Roman empire in the West, there are two parallel series of writers, the pagan and the Jewish and Christian. Of the former, the most important are Babrius, Strabo, Epictetus, Plutarch, Dion Chrysostomus, Arrian, Polyaenus, Pausanias, Marcus Antoninus, Aristides, Lucian, Pollux, Diogenes Laertius, Achilles Tatius, Dion Cas-sius, Athenaeus, Herodianus, Philostratus, Plo-tinus, Dexippus, Longinus, Palaephatus, and Iamblichus; of the latter, Philo, Josephus, the authors of the books of the New Testament, Clement of Rome, Justinus, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clemens of Alexandria, Origen, and Athana-sius. - During the period extending from the establishment of the seat of government at Constantinople, A. D. 330, to the beginning of the reign of Justinian I. (527), it was common to paraphrase the books of the Old and New Testaments, and to versify the lives of Christian martyrs.
The best of this class of productions came from Egypt, though the empress Eudocia and Basil the Great, bishop of Constantinople, were also quite successful in it. Quintus of Smyrna undertook to furnish some additions to the Iliad, but in spite of his evidently faithful study of Homer's diction, he was not able to equal it in conciseness and force. Cyrus of Panopolis and Nonnus are the most distinguished poets of this period; next to them rank Tryphiodorus, Coluthus, Musaeus, and Christo-dorus. The strangest production of this age is the so-called which give the life of Jesus in a kind of Homeric versification, and which are said to have been written either by the empress Eudocia or by Pelagius. The most distinguished ecclesiastical writers were Cyril, Basil, Chrysostom, Eusebius, Gregory Nazian-zen, and Theodoret. The historians treated principally the history of the eastern empire, and the only work of this kind that has come down to us in a somewhat complete condition is Zosimus's account of the empire during the first four centuries. Next in importance is the ecclesiastical history of Socrates. Of Euna-pius, Olympiadorus, Priscus, Candidus, Malchus, and Hesyehius of Miletus, we have only a few fragments. The
ascribed to Hesyehius, is considered a forgery. Marcianus's Periplus and a geographical dictionary by Stephanus of Byzantium were the most prominent geographical works. The finest style was displayed in rhetoric. Hime-rius of Bithynia was considered a rhetorician above comparison, though the emperor Julian and his teacher Libanius appear to modern criticism far superior to him. Synesius and Procopius show that the art was beginning to decline. Works of imagination came principally from the pens of Longus, Heliodorus, Achilles Tatius, Xenophon of Ephesus, and Eumathius, of whom the last is the poorest in invention, but the most prodigal with the coloring of Syrian diction. The grammarians Choeroboscus, Theodosius, Orion, and Hesychius were less devoted to independent studies than to copying diligently the works of their predecessors; and the bulky compilations of Hesychius are still of value. - The next period is that of mediaeval Greek literature, extending to the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453. The abolition of the pagan schools by Justinian closed also the literature of paganism; nevertheless this period contains rather the history of the decay than of the growth of a literature.
After Procopius, the only one who combined a profound knowledge of the political affairs of his country with simplicity of style, and after Agathias, who endeavored to imitate Procopius, there followed a small number of historians, like Petrus, Hesychius, Nonnosus, Theophanes, and Menandcr Protector, whose productions are neither trustworthy nor entertaining. The chronicle of Syncellus is the most important. The Egyptian Theo-phylactus Simocattes, the Hellene Georgius Pisides, and the Syrian Malalas, are vile in diction and vulgar in sentiment. Geographical studies were represented by the friar Cosmas Indicopleustes, who devised a new system to harmonize with the Bible. The best minds prosecuted juridical studies, such as Tribonianus, Dorotheus, Theophilus Antecessor, Theodoras, Stephanus, Cyrillus, Philoxenus, and others. During the 8th and 9th centuries, the period of iconoclasm, literature could be cultivated but little, and the preservation or tradition of many a Greek author is entirely owing to the literary tastes prevailing at the time in Armenia, Syria, and Egypt. The most celebrated man of the second half of the 9th century was Photius, the teacher of Leo the Philosopher; but the literary spirit developed during this period is best represented by Constantino VII. Porphyrogenitus, who collected all the literary productions of the past, whether valuable or worthless, long or short, and had them copied by a number of savants into a kind of cyclopaedia of 53 books.
New literary productions became exceedingly scarce, and the few that made their appearance were surprisingly deficient in logic, taste, and language. Among them may be mentioned the chronicles and memoirs of Leontius the younger, Genesius, Leo Grammaticus, Xiphilinus, Hippolytus, and Leo Diaconus, and above all the history of Anna Comnena. The manuscripts of this age swarm with errors in grammar and orthography. 1 he chronicle of Simeon Sethos, toward the end of the 11th century, is considered the first monument in prose of modern Creek; but no poetical work is known that dates back further than the 12th century. - During the interval between the conquest of Constantinople and the struggle for independence in the 19th century, only a very small number of literary productions deserve to be mentioned, aside from the works written in the service of the Greek church. In the 17th century the Greeks were admirers of a very weak idyllic form of poetry, especially of Drymiticos's "Beautiful Shepherdess;" but a few compositions made their appearance . which aimed at a more artistic style, and which were more elevated in sentiment, like the "Hellas" by Allatios. In a strict sense the literature of modern Greece cannot be considered older than the latter part of the 18th century, when Constantinos Rhigas sent out the patriotic songs that invigorated the national spirit of the Greeks. His most celebrated production is the imitation of the Marseillaise, beginning Adamantios Corais, often designated as the father of the literature of modern Greece, may more deservedly be called the literary Hercules of Greece, being a very prolific writer of medical treatises and translator of the classics. It is often asserted, but not equally evident, that he produced a revolution in the language of modern Greece. " His linguistic reform was a very simple one," says Geldart; "he proposed to use the classical terminations wherever these were not altogether obsolete, in preference to those which prevailed in the mouths of the common people." The Greeks were not slow to follow his rule and the example which he set. Accordingly, the language of the books is somewhat different from that of the people of Greece. On the threshold of the 19th century stand Christo-pulos, Piccolos, and Rizos-Nerulos as writers of lyric songs, tragedies, and comedies, which are characterized by a comparatively pure diction, and also by imitations of French standards.
The poetry of Christopulos, whom the Greeks designate as the modern Anacreon, was successfully imitated by the brothers Alexander and Panagiotis Sutsos, Calvos, Solomos, and Angelica Pally. Other poets of the present time who deserve to be noticed are Alexander Rizos Rangavis or Rangabe, Orphanidis, Carasutsas, Valaoritis, Zalocostas, Naphtis, Vlachos, and Antoniades. The sciences are represented principally by translations of the most noted works of the Occident, but original works are rapidly increasing. Historical works have been published by Paparigopulos, Cumas, Sutsos, Tricupis, Philimon, Levkias, Zampe-lios, Surmelis, Venizelos, and Sathas. On the geography of various countries have written Philippidis, Constantas, Scarlatos Byzantios, Valetas, and Rangavis. Writers on archaeology are Pantazis, Pittakis, Rangavis, and Lam-bros. Contributions to philology are furnished by Neophytos Ducas, Darvaris, Bambas, Aso-pios, Philip Joannou, Gennadios, Bernardakis, and Galanos. The most celebrated mathematicians are Vaphas, Pyrrhos, and Zochios. Theological and philosophical writers are Apos-tolidis, Contogonis, Adamidis, Kyriacos, and Agathangelos. - See Browne's "History of Classical Literature" (London, 1851); Mure's Critical History of the Language and Literature of Ancient Greece" (1854-'67); K. O. Muller's "History of the Literature of Ancient Greece," continued by J. W. Donaldson (1858); and Nicolai, Geschichte der griechischen Literatur (Magdeburg, 1805).