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Ancient Greek language survives in small community

An isolated community in north-eastern Turkey has been found to speak a dialect of Greek that is very close to the ancient Greek.

As few as 5,000 people speak the dialect but linguists believe that it is the closest, living language to ancient Greek and could provide an unprecedented insight into the language of Socrates and Plato and how it evolved.

The community lives in a cluster of villages near the Turkish city of Trabzon in what was once the ancient region of Pontus, a Greek colony that Jason and the Argonauts are supposed to have visited on their epic journey from Thessaly (now Thessaloniki) to recover the Golden Fleece from the land of Colchis (present-day Georgia). Pontus was also supposed to be the kingdom of the mythical Amazons, a fierce tribe of women who cut off their right breasts in order to handle their bows better in battle.

Linguists found that the dialect, Romeyka, a variety of Pontic Greek, has structural similarities to ancient Greek that are not observed in other forms of the language spoken today. Romeyka’s vocabulary also has parallels with the ancient language.

Ioanna Sitaridou, a lecturer in romance philology at the University of Cambridge, said: “Romeyka preserves an impressive number of grammatical traits that add an ancient Greek flavour to the dialect’s structure, traits that have been completely lost from other modern Greek varieties.

[Full story]

3 thoughts on “Ancient Greek language survives in small community

  1. I think it’s very interesting and it could be possible. For example, there is a small community in a Himalaya Village called Malana where all citizens are caucasian race, so some antropologists tell that they are troops descendents of Alexander the Great.
    Sometimes, History gives us few miracles.
    You can read more about this information in my blog http:\\ This is written in spanish, if you can’t read it, I can translate it.

    You can follow me in twitter too: @meditantiguo

    Mi apologies, but my english is very bad.

    Best regards,
    Mario Agudo.

  2. A fascinating story that is regrettably spoiled by the journalist’s failure to check his facts.

    Thessaly of old continues to be modern-day Thessaly, central Greece (“Thessalia” in Greek) and has no connection with the northern city of Thessaloniki.

    Every schoolchild who knows a bit of Greek mythology knows that Jason set off from Iolcos (today’s Volos) on his quest for the Golden Fleece, and Volos is in Thessaly.

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