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A Historical Greek Reader: Mycenaean to the Koine [Paperback]

Stephen Colvin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 48.00
Price: 44.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Nov 2007 0199226601 978-0199226603
A Historical Greek Reader provides an introduction to the history of the ancient Greek language by means of a series of texts with linguistic commentary, cross-referenced to each other and to a reference grammar at the front. It offers a selection of epigraphic and literary texts from the Mycenaean period (roughly the fourteenth century BC) to the koiné (the latest text dates to the second century AD), and includes a wide range of Greek dialect texts. The epigraphic section balances a number of well-known inscriptions with recent discoveries that may not be easily available elsewhere; a selection of literary texts traces major developments in the language of Greek poetry and literary prose. The book finishes with an account of the linguistic and sociolinguistic background of koiné Greek. The commentary assumes no prior knowledge of Greek historical linguistics, but provides a basic amount of up-to-date bibliography so that advanced students and others can pursue linguistic issues at greater depth where necessary.

Product details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (15 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199226601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199226603
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 952,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Stephen Colvin is Reader in Classics and Comparative Philology at the University of London.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
1. Greek is one of a number of interrelated languages that spread over a vast area of Europe and Asia during the second and first millennia BC. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3,000 years in between the covers! 20 Jun 2009
The problem with most Greek readers is that there has been a concentration on Classical Greek or Classical with Hellenistic Greek. This wonderful reader adds Mycenaean Linear B and also later Byzantine Greek, too. We have, therefore, as it were, an fuller album of the developement of Greek, showing snapshots plus commentary, from its earliest recorded Late Bronze Age beginnings to its being the `lingua franca' of most of the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond. The vocabulary and the exercises add to this historical development of the understanding of the life of this wonderful, versatile and important language. 3,000 years of language, culture, and history, all of which still continues, in a manageable and accessible volume.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction to the Subject 5 Sep 2010
By Cinna the Poet - Published on Amazon.com
Colvin's book is an excellent and timely addition to the generalist's library or that of the beginning linguist or philologist. The only other modern(ish) introduction to ancient Greek dialects in English is that by the great Carl Darling Buck (see here or here for my review of that). In that review I compare Buck and Colvin, both of them favorably, and ultimately recommend going through Colvin but, after his treatment of each dialect, pausing to turn to the corresponding chapter in Buck for further inscriptions and additional insights before moving on to the next dialect in Colvin. There are also some other suggestions in that review; I hope this helps you decide.

Also, for an overview of ancient Greek from many different angles, I heartily recommend Christidis' (ed.) magnificent History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity, which includes dialects and much, much more, along with the also excellent Blackwell Companion to the Ancient Greek Language. (A contributor to the first volume told me he thought Rau's discussion of Indo-European & Greek in the second was by far the best of its size.) ...Best of luck!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of the Oxford Historical Greek Reader 20 Jun 2010
By Ryan Mease - Published on Amazon.com
This book is very, very helpful for reading Greek texts. It is essentially a condensed version of Buck's work on Greek dialects. The authors of the Reader first explain the fine rules of grammar for the various Greek dialects, as well as the specific rules for major literary figures (Homer, Thucydides, etc.) and then present passages to represent these dialects and authors. The selections are great representations, and, furthermore, they are each supplemented by an analysis of specific variations. This would make a great textbook for a higher level Greek course.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ancient Greek biography 31 May 2010
By Bao Yintong - Published on Amazon.com
Stephen Colvin intended to write an academic prose that caters for both professionals and amateurs alike. For some Greek enthusiasts who have only little exposure to periodicals and whose knowledge about the language comes mainly from 100 years old grammars this book tells you how ancient Greek language has been reinterpreted in 20th century. For example, 19th century introductions on classical Greek will say Greek people came from three waves of immigration corresponding to Ionic, Aeolic and Doric dialect respectively. Nevertheless more recent scholarship has rebuked this hypothesis. Colvin's book classifies the language in classical era into a quintet: namely Arcado-Cypriot, Attic-Ionic, Aeolic, west Greek and Pamphylian. Another plot from early Minoan-Mycenaean period down to the classical Greek world was drawn; this evades the semi-structuralism the old theory might assume and also contains some formerly less documented language varieties.
The 300 page book roughly divides in two parts. In the first part the auther articulate a brief history from Mycenaean language (not yet evolved into "Greek" according to the author)to Hellenistic Koine. Colvin described the whole ramification with detailed features in phonology and morphology. The second part of this book is samples from all strata of Greek mentioned in the previous section. Early Mycenaean syllabary is listed in transliteration in Latin alphabet, the translation in Greek with necessary extra marks, translation in English and annotations of the original text; other dialects are given the latter three parts. All samples are from tablets and stones to ensure authenticity.
So I think this book is a perfect biography of the Greek language in which you trace from its birth to the late antiquity. High price is a blemish but I won't devaluate the book by this criterion.
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