Aeolic Greek

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Aeolic Greek
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{{cleanup lang|date=May 2019}}{{for|the architectural style|Aeolic order}}

|isoexception = dialect}}In linguistics, Aeolic Greek ({{IPAc-en|iː|ˈ|ɒ|l|ɪ|k}}), also known as Aeolian ({{IPAc-en|iː|ˈ|oʊ|l|i|ə|n}}), Lesbian or Lesbic dialect, is the set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece); in Thessaly; in the Aegean island of Lesbos; and in the Greek colonies of Aeolis in Anatolia and adjoining islands.The Aeolic dialect shows many archaisms in comparison to the other Ancient Greek dialects (Arcadocypriot, Attic, Ionic, and Doric varieties), as well as many innovations.Aeolic Greek is widely known as the language of Sappho and of Alcaeus of Mytilene. Aeolic poetry, which is exemplified in the works of Sappho, mostly uses four classical meters known as the Aeolics: Glyconic (the most basic form of Aeolic line), hendecasyllabic verse, Sapphic stanza, and Alcaic stanza (the latter two are respectively named for Sappho and Alcaeus).In Plato's Protagoras, Prodicus labelled the Aeolic dialect of Pittacus of Mytilene as "barbarian" (barbaros),Protagoras by Plato - Greek text because of its difference from the Attic literary style:James A. Towle, Commentary on Plato: Protagoras 341c "He didn't know to distinguish the words correctly, being from Lesbos, and having been raised with a barbarian dialect".




Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Greek *{{PIE|kÊ·}} changed to Aeolic p everywhere. By contrast, PIE *{{PIE|kÊ·}} changed to Attic/Ionic, Arcadocypriot, and Doric t before e and i.
  • PIE {{PIE|kÊ·etwores}} → Lesbian písures, Boeotian péttares ~ Attic téttares, Ionic tésseres, Doric tétores "four"
Similarly PIE/PGk *{{PIE|gÊ·}} always became b and PIE *{{PIE|gÊ·Ê°}} > PGk *{{PIE|kÊ°Ê·}} always became ph (whereas in other dialects they became alternating b/d and ph/th before back/front vowels).Labiovelars were treated the same way in the P-Celtic languages and the Sabellic languages.

Sonorant clusters

A Proto-Greek consonant cluster with h (from Indo-European {{PIE|*s}}) and a sonorant (r, l, n, m, w, y) changed to a double sonorant in Aeolic (rr, ll, nn, mm, ww, yy) by assimilation. In Attic/Ionic and Doric, the h assimilated to the vowel before the consonant cluster, causing the vowel to lengthen by compensatory lengthening.
PIE VsR or VRs → Attic/Ionic-Doric VVR. VsR or VRs → Aeolic VRR.V = vowel, R = sonorant, s is itself. VV = long vowel, RR = doubled or long sonorant.
  • PIE {{PIE|h₁ésmi}} → Proto-Greek ehmi → Aeolic emmi ~ Attic/Ionic Ä“mi (= ) "I am"

Loss of h

Lesbian Aeolic lost in initial h- (psilosis "stripping") from Proto-Indo-European s- or y-. By contrast, Ionic sometimes retains it, and Attic always retains it.
  • PIE {{PIE|sehâ‚‚u̯elios}} → Proto-Greek hāwelios → Lesbian āélios, Ionic ēélios ~ Attic hÄ“lios "sun"

Retention of w

In Thessalian and Boeotian (sub-dialects of Aeolic) and Doric, the Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Greek semi-vowel w (digamma) was retained at the beginning of a word.
  • PIE {{PIE|wekÊ·-es-}} → Boeotian, Doric wépos ~ Attic-Ionic épos "word", "epic" (compare Latin vōx "voice")


Long a

In Aeolic and Doric, Proto-Greek long ā remains. By contrast, in Attic, long ā changes to long ē in most cases; in Ionic, it changes everywhere.Smyth, Greek Grammar, par. 30 and note, 31: Attic long e, long a
  • PIE {{PIE|mehâ‚‚ter-}} → Aeolic, Doric mātÄ“r ~ Attic/Ionic mÄ“tÄ“r "mother"


In Boeotian, the vowel-system was, in many cases, changed in a way reminiscent of the modern Greek pronunciation.
  • Attic/Ionic {{IPA|/ai/}} ~ Boeotian {{IPA|/eː/}} ~ Modern Greek {{IPA|/e/}}
  • Attic/Ionic {{IPA|/eː/}} ~ Boeotian {{IPA|/iː/}} ~ Modern Greek {{IPA|/i/}}
  • Attic/Ionic {{IPA|/oi/}} ~ Boeotian {{IPA|/yː/}} ~ Mediaeval Greek and Old Athenaean {{IPA|/yː/}} ~ Modern Greek {{IPA|/i/}}


In Lesbian Aeolic, the accent of all words is recessive (barytonesis), as is typical only in the verbs of other dialects.Smyth, par. 162 note: (Lesbian) Aeolic recessive accent
  • Attic/Ionic potamós ~ Lesbian pótamos "river"


Contracted or vowel-stem verbs that are thematic in Attic/Ionic are often athematic (-mi) in Aeolic.Smyth, Greek Grammar, par. 656: contract verbs in Aeolic
  • Ionic philéō, Attic philô ~ Aeolic phílÄ“mi "I love"
The same is also found in Irish, where this selection has been generalized, i.e. -im, also in Slovak -m.Aeolic athematic infinitive active ends in -men or (Lesbian) -menai. ~ Attic/Ionic has -enai.
  • Lesbian émmen, émmenai; Thessalian, Boeotian eîmen ~ Attic/Ionic eînai (spurious diphthong) "to be"
In the Lesbian dialect this ending also extends to the thematic conjugation, where Attic/Ionic has -ein. All three of these Aeolic endings occur in Homer. Proto-Greek -ans and -ons → -ais and -ois (first- and second declension accusative plural). ~ Attic/Ionic -ās and -ōs (= -ους).Smyth, par. 214 note 9: first declension in dialectsSmyth, par. 230 note: second declension in dialectsDative plural -aisi and -oisi. ~ Attic/Ionic -ais and -ois.The participle has ois and ais for Attic ōs (= ους), ās.Smyth, par. 305 note



  • {{LSJ|a)e/lios|āélios}} "sun" Doric also (Attic hÄ“lios; Cretan abelios; Laconian bela; Pamphylian babelios) (PIE sawel-)
  • ágōnos "struggle" (Attic {{LSJ|a)/gw{{=}}n|ἀγῶν}} agōn; Elean dat. pl. agōnois for agōsi)
  • {{LSJ|a)qrh/mata|athrÄ“&769;mata}} gifts sent by kin to Lesbian brides (Sappho fr.) (compare Homeric hedna, eedna)
  • Aiolíōnes "Aeolians" (Attic Aioleîs) ({{LSJ|ai)oli/zw|aiolizō}} "speak Aeolic, compose in the Aeolian mode, trick out with false words" Sophocles Fr.912 ) (aioleō vary, adorn, diversify (aiolos quick-moving, glittering, shifty)
  • aklades (unpruned vineyards) (Attic akladeutoi ampeloi)
  • akontion (part of troops) (Attic spear) (Macedonian rhachis, spine or backbone, anything ridged like the backbone)
  • -τος amenÄ“s -tos (Attic (wiktionary:ὑμήν|ὑμήν) humÄ“n) thin skin, membrane.
  • amōnes (Attic ἀνεμώνες anemones
  • aoros (Attic ἄϋπνος ahypnos, without sleep) Μηθυμναῖοι
  • arpys (Attic ἔρως Eros, Love) attested in Crinagoras, ἁρπάζειν harpazein to snatch. Homeric harpaleos attractive,devouring
  • asphe to them (Attic sphe, sphi)
  • bakchoa (Attic βόθρος bothros sacred dungeon, pit)
  • balla threshold (Attic bÄ“los) (Doric balos)
  • ' belphin dolphin (Attic delphis) and ' Belphoi Delphi
  • bama Doric also (Attic βῆμα bema walking, step)
  • ' blÄ“r incitement (Attic delear) ' bradanizō brandish, shake off. (Cf.Elean bratana Common rhatane)
  • bradinos slender, soft (Attic rhadinos) Sapph.90,104.
  • braidion (Attic ῥάιδιον rhaidion easy)
  • brakein to understand (dysbrakanon imprehensible)
  • brakos long robe, Sapph.70 Homeric ῥάκος ϝράκος rhakos wrakos
  • briza root (Attic rhiza)
  • brodon (Attic ῥόδον rhodon, rose) and vagina metaphorically in Erotic Glossary.
  • brodopachus with pink, rosy forearms (Attic rhodopuches) ( brodopachun Sappho) and brododaktulos with rosy fingers
  • brocheos or βρουκέων broukeon (Attic βραχύ brachy short) ( 2,7)
  • drasein (Attic θύειν to sacrifice)
  • dnophos darkness Ionic also (Attic zophos) (akin to knephas)
  • eide (Attic ὕλη, forest) (εἴδη Ionian also)
  • Ennesiades Lesbian Nymphs
  • epialtÄ“s and epialÄ“s nightmare (Attic ephialtÄ“s) (wiki Ephialtes)
  • zadelon with holes in it, open (Attic diadelon obvious) (Alcaeus 30 D 148P)
  • imbÄ“ris eel (Attic enchelys) Μηθυμναῖοι
  • iron holy (Attic hierón) (Doric hiarón) (Ionic hirón)
  • Issa old name of Lesbos Island Cf. Antissa
  • issasthai (Attic klerousthai to take sth by lot)
  • kankulÄ“ (Attic kÄ“kis wet,vapour, mordant dyeing)
  • kammarpsis dry Measure (Attic hemimedimnon, one half of a medimnos)
  • karabides (Attic graes) Μηθυμναῖοι
  • kaualeon Hsch (Attic aithos fire, burning heat) (Cf.kaiō burn)
  • klaides Doric also (Attic kleides bars, bolts, keys)
  • Mesostrophonia'' Lesbian festival
  • messui (Attic ἐν μέσῳ in the middle)
  • molsos (Attic , fat)
  • xennos foreigner, guest-friend, strange (Attic xenos) (Ionic xeinos)
  • ximba (Attic ῥοιά rhoia pomegranate-tree) (Boeotian sida)
  • othmata (Attic ommata eyes)
  • ón óna (Attic aná) upon,through,again (Arcadocypriot also)
  • passyrion (Attic passydia totally,all together,with the whole army)
  • pedameivō (Attic metameivo exchange) (πεδέχω pedecho μετέχω metecho), pedoikos metoikos peda for meta
  • pempe five (Attic pente, Pamphylian pede ) ( pempassein to count per five) (Attic pempe imp. of pempō send)
  • Perrhamos Priamus (Alcaeus 74D,111P (it means also king)
  • pésdos pedestrian,infantry) (Attic pezós)
  • pesson plain (Attic pedion)
  • ' pessyres four (Lesbian ' pisyres) (Boeotian pettares) (Attic tessares) (Doric tetores)
  • saōmi save (Attic sōizō ) (Homeric saoō)
  • siglai ear-rings (Attic enōtia, Laconian exōbadia)
  • skiphos Attic xiphos sword (skiptō, given as etym. of skiphos and xiphos, Sch.Il.1.220; cf. skipei: nussei, it pricks,pierces)
  • spóla(Attic stolÄ“) equipment, garment (spaleis, the sent one, for staleis)
  • strótos (Attic stratós) army
  • syrx (Attic σάρξ flesh) (dative plural σύρκεσιν syrkesi Attic σαρξίν sarxin)
  • tenekounti (Attic enoikounti dative singular of enoikōn inhabiting)
  • tragais you break, grow rough and hoarse and smell like a goat
  • tude tudai and tuide here) (Ionic tÄ“de)
  • usdos (Attic ozos twig, branch)
  • phauophoros priestess (Attic hiereia) (light-keeper) (Aeolic phauō for Homeric phaō shine) (Homeric phaos light, Attic phōs and phōtophoros)
  • phÄ“ria (Attic thÄ“ria beasts)
  • Psapphō, (Attic Sapphō)



  • ' abremÄ“s (Attic ablepÄ“s unworthy seeing, despicable (Cypriotic also) (Hes. text ' agora (Attic limen port, harbour) (Hes. text alphinia white poplar (PIE albho- 'white') (Attic leukÄ“, PIE leuk- 'bright,light') (Macedonian aliza)
  • Aploun Apollo (Attic Apollōn) (Doric, Pamphylian Apelon)
  • aspaleia safeness (Attic asphaleia)Krannon — c. 250 - 215 BC SEG 23:437, 7
  • astralos (Attic ψάρ -ος psar Starling)
  • bebukousthai to be swollen (Homeric buktaon blowing)
  • bousia (Attic γογγυλίδι gongylidi turnip)
  • ' dámossos public (Attic dÄ“mósios) opp. ' iddioûstikos privative (Attic idiōtikós)Selected Papers in Greek and Near Eastern History weblink by David Malcolm Lewis, Peter John RhodesSkotoussa — 197-185 BC SEG 43:311
  • daratos Thessalian bread (Macedonian dramis) (Athamanian dramix) (PIE der- cut,split)
  • despoina woman (Attic gunÄ“, Doric guna) (fem. of despotes)
  • enormos (agora, assembly, market and chōra) (Attic enormeō get in a harbour, hormos bay,anchorage
  • ereas children (Hsch.Attic tekna) (Homeric ernos young sprout,scion) (Neo-Phrygian eiroi children)
  • theanoustai (Attic (wikt:xyster|xyster)s)
  • itheiÄ“ (Attic hamaxitos chariot-road) (Homeric Ψ 580) (Attic ithys,eytheia straight line)
  • impsas past participle of impto (Attic ζεύξας zeuxas zeugnymi join together)(Ἴμψιος Impsios Ποσειδῶν ὁ ζύγιος Poseidon Zygius on horses)
  • kalaphos (Attic ἀσκάλαφος, Ascalaphus a bird (Magnesian)
  • kapanÄ“ chariot (Attic apÄ“nÄ“) also, a helmet(kapanikos plenteous
  • kis who, anyone (Attic tis) (Laconian tir) (Arcadocypriot sis)
  • karpaia Thessalo-Macedonian mimic military dance (see also Carpaea) Homeric karpalimos swift (for foot) eager,ravenous.
  • kyrrhos or kyrros sir,master (Attic kyrios)
  • ' MaketounThessalia — Larisa — 220-210 BC - SEG 27:202 'Macedonian man' (Attic Makedōn) (Thessalian -oun suffix for Attic ' ōn in both nominative and genitive of participles,pronouns and nouns.
  • mattuÄ“ a meat-dessert of Macedonian or Thessalian origin (Athenaeus)Deipnosophists 14.663-4(pp.1059-1062)(Macedonian mattuÄ“s a kind of bird)
  • nealeis new-comers, newly caught ones (Cf.nealeis,neÄ“ludes)
  • Magnesia — Demetrias — late 2nd century BC weblink nebeuō pray (Macedonian neuō) (Attic euchomai, neuō wink)
  • ' onala, ' onalouma (Attic analōma expense cost) ( on- in the place of Attic prefix (wiktionary:ἀνά|ana-), ongrapsantas SEG 27:202
  • Pétthalos and (Boeotian Phéttalos) (Attic Thettalós) (Ionic, Koine Thessalós) 'Thesalian man' ( Petthalia Thessalia) (Petthaloi Thessalians) (Koine thessalisti the thessalian way) ( Attic entethettalizomai become a Thessalian, i.e. wear the large Thessalian cloak ( Thettalika ptera ''feathers' ), Eupolis.201. )
  • tageuō to be tagos archon in Thessaly

See also

{{Wiktionary category 2|Aeolic Ancient Greek}}



Further reading

{hide}Library resources box |by=no |onlinebooks=yes |others=yes |about=yes |label=Aeolic Greek
|viaf= |lccn= |lcheading= |wikititle= {edih}
  • Bakker, Egbert J., ed. 2010. A companion to the Ancient Greek language. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Bowie, Angus M. 1981. The poetic dialect of Sappho and Alcaeus. New York: Arno.
  • 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.
  • Page, Denis L. 1953. Corinna. London: Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.
  • Palmer, Leonard R. 1980. The Greek language. London: Faber & Faber.
  • West, Martin L. 1990. "Dating Corinna." Classical Quarterly 40 (2): 553–57.
{{Ancient Greece topics}}{{Greek language}}{{Greek language periods}}

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