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Ancient Greek language
|Era||developed into Koiné Greek by the 4th century BC|
|Writing system||Greek alphabet|
Map of Homeric Greece
Ancient Greek was the language spoken by the people of Ancient Greece from the 9th to 4th century B.C. Ancient Greek and Latin are the most important ancient languages (languages which are no longer spoken) for speakers of English today. This is because a very large number of English words come from Greek and Latin.
The Greek language had many different dialects, but the “Attic Greek” which was spoken by the people of Athens is thought to be the purest of the forms. Because the Greeks became very powerful in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea their language spread very quickly. Alexander the Great even took it into Asia. Later, in the Roman world, children were taught Greek as a second language in the same way that many non-English speakers today learn English as their second language.
The great poems of the Ancient Greek poets like Homer were written in Greek. The poems of the Iliad and the Odyssey tell exciting stories about warfare, travel and the Greek gods. In the 5th century B.C., some great plays were written by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. This was the "Golden Age" of Ancient Greece, the so-called "Hellenistic" period. These works of Ancient Greek literature inspired people for centuries and are still read today.
Unlike Latin, the Ancient Greek language did not split into many languages and is not considered a separate language from Modern Greek language, but a different period in the history of the language up to the present day.