Ionic Greek
Ionic Greek was a subdialect
Subdialect - is a subdivision of dialect. Subdialects can be divided further, ultimately down to idiolects.Normally subdialects of one dialect are quite close to each other, differing mainly in pronunciation and certain local words....

 of the Attic–Ionic dialect group of Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 (see Greek dialects).


Ionic dialect appears to have spread originally from the Greek mainland across the Aegean
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 at the time of the Dorian invasion
Dorian invasion
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece...

s, around the 11th Century B.C.
11th century BC
The 11th century BC comprises all years from 1100 BC to 1001 BC. Although many human societies were literate in this period, some of the individuals mentioned below may be considered legendary rather than fully historical.-Events:...

By the end of the Greek Dark Ages
Greek Dark Ages
The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

 in the 5th Century B.C, the central west coast of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, along with the islands of Chios
Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

 and Samos
Samos Island
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of Asia Minor, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a separate regional unit of the North Aegean region, and the only municipality of the regional...

, formed the heartland of Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 proper. The Ionic dialect was also spoken on islands across the central Aegean and on the large island of Euboea
Euboea is the second largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about long, and varies in breadth from to...

 north of Athens. The dialect was soon spread by Ionian colonization to areas in the northern Aegean, the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, and the western Mediterranean.

Ionic dialect is generally divided into two major time periods, Old Ionic (or Old Ionian) and New Ionic (or New Ionian). The exact transition between the two is not clearly defined, but 600 B.C. is a good approximation.

The Homeric works (the Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, the Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

, and the Homeric Hymns
Homeric Hymns
The Homeric Hymns are a collection of thirty-three anonymous Ancient Greek hymns celebrating individual gods. The hymns are "Homeric" in the sense that they employ the same epic meter—dactylic hexameter—as the Iliad and Odyssey, use many similar formulas and are couched in the same dialect...

), and the works of Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

, were written in a literary dialect called Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek
Homeric Greek is the form of the Greek language that was used by Homer in the Iliad and Odyssey. It is an archaic version of Ionic Greek, with admixtures from certain other dialects, such as Aeolic Greek. It later served as the basis of Epic Greek, the language of epic poetry, typically in...

 or Epic Greek, which consists largely of Old Ionic, with some borrowings from the neighboring Aeolic dialect to the north. The poet Archilochus
Archilochus, or, Archilochos While these have been the generally accepted dates since Felix Jacoby, "The Date of Archilochus," Classical Quarterly 35 97-109, some scholars disagree; Robin Lane Fox, for instance, in Travelling Heroes: Greeks and Their Myths in the Epic Age of Homer , p...

 wrote in late Old Ionic.

The most famous New Ionic authors are Anacreon
Anacreon was a Greek lyric poet, notable for his drinking songs and hymns. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets.- Life :...

, Theognis
Theognis of Megara
Theognis of Megara was an ancient Greek poet active sometime in the sixth century BC. The work attributed to him consists of gnomic poetry quite typical of the time, featuring ethical maxims and practical advice about life...

, Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles , and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine...

 and in Roman times Aretaeus
Aretaeus of Cappadocia
Aretaeus , is one of the most celebrated of the ancient Greek physicians, of whose life, however, few particulars are known. There is some uncertainty regarding both his age and country, but it seems probable that he practised in the 1st century CE, during the reign of Nero or Vespasian...

, Arrian
Lucius Flavius Arrianus 'Xenophon , known in English as Arrian , and Arrian of Nicomedia, was a Roman historian, public servant, a military commander and a philosopher of the 2nd-century Roman period...

, and Lucian
Lucian of Samosata was a rhetorician and satirist who wrote in the Greek language. He is noted for his witty and scoffing nature.His ethnicity is disputed and is attributed as Assyrian according to Frye and Parpola, and Syrian according to Joseph....


Ionic acquired prestige among Greek speakers because of its association with the language used by Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

, the writings of Herodotus
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

, and the close linguistic relationship with the Attic dialect spoken in Athens. This was further enhanced by the writing reform implemented in Athens in 403 BC, whereby the old Attic alphabet was replaced by the Ionic one, as used by the city of Miletus
Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

. This alphabet eventually became the standard Greek alphabet used thereafter, its use becoming uniform during the Koine era. It was also the alphabet used in the Christian Gospel
A gospel is an account, often written, that describes the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In a more general sense the term "gospel" may refer to the good news message of the New Testament. It is primarily used in reference to the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John...

s and the book of Acts
Acts or ACTS may refer to:Christianity* Acts of the Apostles , a genre of early Christian literature* Acts of the Apostles, the fifth book in the Bible's New Testament...



Proto-Greek ā → Ionic ē. — Doric
Doric Greek
Doric or Dorian was a dialect of ancient Greek. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea, some cities on the coasts of Asia Minor, Southern Italy, Sicily, Epirus and Macedon. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the...

, Aeolic
Aeolic Greek
Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

: ā remains. — Attic
Attic Greek
Attic Greek is the prestige dialect of Ancient Greek that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to later Greek, and is the standard form of the language studied in courses of "Ancient Greek". It is sometimes included in Ionic.- Origin and range...

: ā after e, i, r, but ē elsewhere.
  • Attic νενίς — Ionic νεηνίης "young man"
  • original and Doric (ᾱ) → Attic-Ionic "the" (feminine)
  • original and Doric μτηρ → Attic-Ionic μητήρ "mother"

e, o → Ionic ei, ou
Spurious diphthong
A spurious diphthong is an Ancient Greek vowel that is etymologically a long vowel, but is written and pronounced exactly like a true diphthong ει, ου .-Origin:...

:Among Greek dialects, Ionic was the fondest of long vowels and was thus considered especially suited to solo singing; the more austere, broad-sounding Doric was preferred in choral singing. compensatory lengthening
Compensatory lengthening
Compensatory lengthening in phonology and historical linguistics is the lengthening of a vowel sound that happens upon the loss of a following consonant, usually in the syllable coda...

 after loss of
w in the sequences enw-, erw-, onw-, orw-. — Attic: e, o is not lengthened.
  • Proto-Greek κόρϝᾱ → Attic κόρη — Ionic κούρη "girl"
  • *ὄρϝος → ὄρος — οὔρος
  • *ξένϝος → ξένος — ξεῖνος

Ionic sometimes removes initial aspiration (Proto-Greek hV
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

- → Ionic V-).
  • Proto-Greek *hāwéli-os → Attic hēlios — Homeric (early Ionic) ēélios

Ionic contracts less often than Attic.
  • Ionic γένεα — Attic γένη "family"


Proto-Greek before a, o
Back vowel
A back vowel is a type of vowel sound used in spoken languages. The defining characteristic of a back vowel is that the tongue is positioned as far back as possible in the mouth without creating a constriction that would be classified as a consonant. Back vowels are sometimes also called dark...

 → Ionic k. — Attic p.A similar divergence occurred in the Celtic languages
Celtic languages
The Celtic languages are descended from Proto-Celtic, or "Common Celtic"; a branch of the greater Indo-European language family...

 between Gaelic
Goidelic languages
The Goidelic languages or Gaelic languages are one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic languages, the other consisting of the Brythonic languages. Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from the south of Ireland through the Isle of Man to the north of Scotland...

 and P-Celtic
P-Celtic and Q-Celtic
There are two main competing schemata of categorisation of Celtic languages. The older P-Celtic/Q-Celtic hypothesis links Gaulish with Brythonic as P-Celtic and links Goidelic with Celtiberian as Q-Celtic. The difference between P and Q languages is the treatment of Proto-Celtic *kw, which became...

 languages (including Welsh
Welsh language
Welsh is a member of the Brythonic branch of the Celtic languages spoken natively in Wales, by some along the Welsh border in England, and in Y Wladfa...

), and in the Italic languages
Italic languages
The Italic subfamily is a member of the Indo-European language family. It includes the Romance languages derived from Latin , and a number of extinct languages of the Italian Peninsula, including Umbrian, Oscan, Faliscan, and Latin.In the past various definitions of "Italic" have prevailed...

 between Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and Oscan
Oscan language
Oscan is a term used to describe both an extinct language of southern Italy and the language group to which it belonged.The Oscan language was spoken by a number of tribes, including the Samnites, the Aurunci, the Sidicini, and the Ausones. The latter three tribes were often grouped under the name...

  • Proto-Greek *ὀκϝω → Ionic ὄκως — Attic ὅπως "in whatever way, in which way"

Proto-Greek ky, khy → Ionic ss. — Attic tt. This Ionic feature made it into Koine Greek.
  • Proto-Greek τάκι̯ω → Ionic τάσσω — Attic τάττω "I arrange"

Word order

  • Ionic had a very analytical word-order, perhaps the most analytical one within ancient Greek dialects.


  • ábdês scourge ( Hipponax
    Hipponax of Ephesus and later Clazomenae was an Ancient Greek iambic poet who composed verses depicting the vulgar side of life in Ionian society in the sixth century BC...

  • áethlon (Attic athlon prize)
  • aeinaûtai archon
    Archon is a Greek word that means "ruler" or "lord", frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem ἀρχ-, meaning "to rule", derived from the same root as monarch, hierarchy, and anarchy.- Ancient Greece :In ancient Greece the...

    tes in Miletus
    Miletus was an ancient Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia , near the mouth of the Maeander River in ancient Caria...

     and Chalcis
    Chalcis or Chalkida , the chief town of the island of Euboea in Greece, is situated on the strait of the Evripos at its narrowest point. The name is preserved from antiquity and is derived from the Greek χαλκός , though there is no trace of any mines in the area...

     (aeí always + naûtai sailors)
  • algeíē illness (Cf.Attic algēdṓn pain) Algophobia
    Algophobia is a phobia of pain - an abnormal and persistent fear of pain that is far more powerful than that of a normal person...

  • ámpōtis ebb,being sucked back, i.e. of sea (Attic anápōtis, verb anapínō) (Koine,Modern Greek ampotis)
  • anou (Attic ánō, up)
  • Apatoúria Pan-ionic festival ( see also Panionium
    The Panionium was an Ionian sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon Helikonios and the meeting place of the Ionian League. It was on the peninsula of Mt. Mycale, about south of Smyrna—now İzmir, in Turkey...

  • appallázein (Attic ekklesiázein gather together,decide) (Doric apella
    The Apella was the popular deliberative assembly in the Ancient Greek city-state of Sparta, corresponding to the ecclesia in most other Greek states...

  • achántion (Attic akánthion small thorn acanthus)
  • báthrakoi (Attic bátrachoi, frogs) in Pontus
    Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

  • broûkos species of locust
    Locusts are the swarming phase of short-horned grasshoppers of the family Acrididae. These are species that can breed rapidly under suitable conditions and subsequently become gregarious and migratory...

     (Attic akrís) (Cypriots call the green locust broúka)
  • byssós (Attic bythós depth,bottom,chaos)
  • gánnos Ephesian
    Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city, on the west coast of Asia Minor, near present-day Selçuk, Izmir Province, Turkey. It was one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League during the Classical Greek era...

     (Attic huaina
    Hyenas or Hyaenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae of suborder feliforms of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora , and one of the smallest in the mammalia...

     (glanos Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

    .HA594a31.) (Phrygian
    Phrygian language
    The Phrygian language was the Indo-European language of the Phrygians, spoken in Asia Minor during Classical Antiquity .Phrygian is considered to have been closely related to Greek....

     and Tsakonian
    Tsakonian language
    Tsakonian, Tsaconian, Tzakonian or Tsakonic is a Hellenic language, spoken in the Tsakonian region of the Peloponnese, Greece....

  • eídē (Attic hýle forest) (Aeolic Greek
    Aeolic Greek
    Aeolic Greek is a linguistic term used to describe a set of dialects of Ancient Greek spoken mainly in Boeotia , Thessaly, and in the Aegean island of Lesbos and the Greek colonies of Asia Minor ....

     eide also) (Greek Eidos
    Eidos (disambiguation)
    Eidos is a Greek word meaning "image", "shape", "look", "kind" or "species". The term became significant in Greek philosophy when Plato used it to refer to the ideal Forms or Ideas in his Theory of Forms...

  • enthaûta here (entoutha also) (Attic entaûtha) (Elean  entaûta)
  • ergýlos (Attic ergátēs worker)
  • hestiâchos ionic epithet for Zeus ,related to Hestia
    In Greek mythology Hestia , first daughter of Cronus and Rhea , is the virgin goddess of the hearth, architecture, and of the right ordering of domesticity and the family. She received the first offering at every sacrifice in the household. In the public domain, the hearth of the prytaneum...

     (oikourós, housekeeper, oikônax)
  • ēgós (Attic eudaímon happy) (Hesychius s.v. ) (τ 114)
  • êélios (Attic hḗlios
    Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

     sun) (Cretan abelios)
  • Iastí, "the ionic way" ( , Iáones, Ionians; , Iás, old name of Attica, Strabo
    Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

     IX, 1.5 )
  • ídē forested mountain (Attic drymôn óros) (Herodotus
    Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

     4,109,2) (Mount Ida
    Mount Ida
    In Greek mythology, two sacred mountains are called Mount Ida, the "Mountain of the Goddess": Mount Ida in Crete; and Mount Ida in the ancient Troad region of western Anatolia which was also known as the Phrygian Ida in classical antiquity and is the mountain that is mentioned in the Iliad of...

  • iētrós,iētēr (Attic iatrós,iatēr doctor)
  • íkkos (Attic híppos ,horse) (Mycenaean i-qo )
  • kárē head (Common kara) (Poetic kras)
  • kithṓn (Attic chitṓn
    Chiton (costume)
    A chiton was a form of clothing worn by men and women in Ancient Greece, from the Archaic period to the Hellenistic period ....

  • koeîn (Attic noeîn to think) noesis
  • koîos (Attic poîos who?)
  • kýthrē (Attic chýtra cooking pot)
  • mýttax (Attic pṓgōn beard)
  • Xouthidai Ionians from Xuthus
    In Greek mythology, Xuthus was a son of Hellen and Orseis and founder of the Achaean and Ionian nations. He had two sons by Creusa: Ion and Achaeus and a daughter named Diomede.- Hesiod :...

  • odmḗ (Attic osmḗ scent, smell)
  • pēlós thick wine, lees
    Lees (fermentation)
    Lees refers to deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate, or are carried by the action of "fining", to the bottom of a vat of wine after fermentation and ageing. The yeast deposits in beer brewing are known as trub...

      (Attic πηλός pelós mud, silt
    Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

    ) (proverbial phrase
    Proverbial phrase
    A proverbial phrase or a proverbial expression is type of a conventional saying similar to proverbs and transmitted by oral tradition. The difference is that a proverb is a fixed expression, while a proverbial phrase permits alterations to fit the grammar of the context.Another similar construction...

     mê dein ton Oinea
    In Greek mythology, Oeneus, or Oineus was a Calydonian king, son of Porthaon and Euryte, husband of Althaea and father of Deianeira, Meleager, Toxeus, Clymenus, Periphas, Agelaus, Thyreus , Gorge, Eurymede, Mothone, Perimede and Melanippe...

    In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

    , don't make wine into lees, Ath.9.383c, cf. Demetr.Eloc.171)
  • rhêchíê flood-tide , loanword to Attic as rhachía (Homeric,Koine,Modern Greek plêmmurís -ída)
  • sabakís (Attic sathrís decayed) Chian
    Chios is the fifth largest of the Greek islands, situated in the Aegean Sea, seven kilometres off the Asia Minor coast. The island is separated from Turkey by the Chios Strait. The island is noted for its strong merchant shipping community, its unique mastic gum and its medieval villages...

  • sármoi lupin
    Lupinus, commonly known as Lupins or lupines , is a genus in the legume family . The genus comprises about 280 species , with major centers of diversity in South and western North America , and the Andes and secondary centers in the Mediterranean region and Africa Lupinus, commonly known as Lupins...

    s (Attic thermoi} Carystian
    Carystus ; was an ancient city-state on Euboea. In the Iliad it is controlled by the Abantes. By the time of Thucydides it was inhabited by Dryopians.- Persian War :...

  • skorpízô scatter, disperse (probably from skorpios scorpion
    Scorpions are predatory arthropod animals of the order Scorpiones within the class Arachnida. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping claws and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger...

     and an obsolete verb skerpô ,penetrate)
  • taûuroi (Attic tauroi bulls) (Ephesian word, the youths who acted as cupbearers at the local festival of Poseidon
    Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

  • phoinikḗia grámmata Lydians
    The Lydians were the inhabitants of Lydia, a region in western Anatolia, who spoke the distinctive Lydian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian group....

     and Ionians called so the letters
    Letter (alphabet)
    A letter is a grapheme in an alphabetic system of writing, such as the Greek alphabet and its descendants. Letters compose phonemes and each phoneme represents a phone in the spoken form of the language....

  • chlossós (Attic ichthús fish)
  • ô oioî exclamation of discontent


  • Hesychius of Alexandria
    Hesychius of Alexandria
    Hesychius of Alexandria , a grammarian who flourished probably in the 5th century CE, compiled the richest lexicon of unusual and obscure Greek words that has survived...

  • A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity- A.Panayotou Ionic and Attic
  • A Grammar of the Greek Language by Benjamin Franklin Fisk Ionic Dialect
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.