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Mediaeval Greek

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Mediaeval Greek

Postby Jefferson Cicero » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:09 pm

This is more of a curiosity than anything else, but are there any guides to the study of Mediaeval (or Byzantine) Greek? Of course I don't intend to study it in any detail, especially since learning Attic is enough of a task as it is, but it would be nice to know the differences between that form of Greek and Koine or Attic, and of course in future, one may wish to take a shot at the stray Byzantine text or two.
'Greek had to be simplified, and Latin had to be replaced with Italian, because we barbarians stole so many Greek and Latin words.'
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Re: Mediaeval Greek

Postby Scribo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 6:31 pm

Jefferson Cicero wrote:This is more of a curiosity than anything else, but are there any guides to the study of Mediaeval (or Byzantine) Greek? Of course I don't intend to study it in any detail, especially since learning Attic is enough of a task as it is, but it would be nice to know the differences between that form of Greek and Koine or Attic, and of course in future, one may wish to take a shot at the stray Byzantine text or two.


Do you mean like a textbook? No, unfortunately. Essentially what tends to happen is one finds books for Homeric, Classical and Hellenistic Greek and then Medieval Greek is treated as a monolithic entity and is then thrust together with modern Greek, which is often treated as if it has underwent no change from post antiquity to the present.

Rather, you have a few options. One is a synoptic overview of the history of Greek, such as Horrock's. It's a brilliant book, full of examples and analysis from a variety of sources. There's Browning's seminal "Medieval and Modern Greek" which assumes some experience with Attic. It's much better the later it is down the chronological scale...

You need Attic anyway for the tendency to Atticise throughout the late Eastern Roman Empire at various points. There is good work spread throughout articles and so on, but that's for when you get specific. It depends on what you're working on.

Texts wise you have various options. I often purchase cheap crappy editions when I'm in Greece. I'm rarely impressed with critical editions of later texts so I don't feel like I'm missing much. However there are some notable examples: Mavrogordato has a wonderful edition (cum translatio and commentary) available cheaply of Digenes Akrites and some works can be found in the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval collection. Think Loeb format.

Several universities and libraries put scans of texts online too. I don't know much more, we'd need a specialist who knows the inside of the discipline.
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Re: Mediaeval Greek

Postby Shenoute » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:19 am

I'm venturing out of the Latin fields there to mention that Sophocles' Glossary of later and Byzantine Greek has a section (p. 67-130) on the differences between Classical and Later & Byzantine Greek. I find it very clearly written and organized.
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