Ancient Greek

is one of the most important languages when it comes to the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. It is attested from ca. 1500 BCE onwards, which makes it a fascinating object of diachronic linguistics in its own right. In literary texts and inscriptions, many Ancient Greek dialects are preserved (see introduction). Its phonological inventory differs strikingly from that of Modern Greek – and from the pronunciation used in contemporary Classical studies (see sounds). Ancient Greek is highly inflective with massive allomorphy, part of which is inherited, part of which is due to conditioned sound changes (see words). Ancient Greek is the only archaic IE language which is not clearly OV. On the contrary, SVO is attested already in Mycenean, the oldest stratum of the language. There is reason to believe that the language was discourse-configurational (see structures).


Lucien van Beek

Leiden University

Luuk Huitink

University of Amsterdam


Ancient Greek, intro, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48903

external history of Greek and main sources, Greek within IE, Mycenaean, Archaic Classic, Koine


Ancient Greek, intro, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48904

alphabet, quick phonetic details, overview of writing systems, linear B, epichoric alphabets


Ancient Greek, intro, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48905

dialects in the Archaic and Classical periods, classifications, illustrative dialectal examples



Ancient Greek, sounds, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48906

segments: consonant phonemes, geminates, vowels, diphthongs, evidence for realization


Ancient Greek, sounds, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48907

accentuation: evidence and realization, accent laws, accent assignment


Ancient Greek, sounds, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48908

syllables, suprasegmentals, prosodic words: on dissimilation, epenthesis, assimilation and coda deletion.



Ancient Greek, words, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48909

derivation: morphological type, roots and suffixes, ablaut, the Caland System


Ancient Greek, words, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48910

compounding: general grammatical and typological considerations, right-oriented and left-oriented compounds


Ancient Greek, words, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48911

declension: categories, gender, noun vs. adjective, special issue on confused nominal paradigms


Ancient Greek, words, unit 4


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48912

conjugation: verbal categories, verb stem formation, sample paradigms, voice, various forms of reduplication



Ancient Greek, structures, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48913

overview of morphosyntactic categories, agreement, noun phrases, linearization including discontinuous noun phrases


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48914

voice: active and middle-passive meanings and forms, argument structure, passivization, different kinds of verbs and middle meanings


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48915

tense, lexical and grammatical aspect, the seven indicatives of the Greek verb, imperfect-aorist-present in narrative


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 4


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48916

mood and modality: mood and modality in Classical Greek, use of moods in main and subordinate clauses


Ancient Greek, structures, unit 5


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/48917

constituent order and information structure: word order, prepositives and postpositives, constituent order, clausal peripheries



Further sources:

lecturers' recommendations
van Beek & Huitink (2020)
Mycenaean Greek
Dalpedri (2022)
Texts and treebanks
Antonopoulou & Skopeteas (2023)


general introductions, encyclopedias, literature, writing, history, miscellaneous

Bakker, Egbert J. (ed.) 2010. A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Colvin, Stephen. 2014. A Brief History of Ancient Greek. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
Crain, Gregory R. (ed.). Perseus Digital Library: Greek and Roman Materials. Massachusetts: Tufts University, Department of Classics. (Accessed 2021-06-24.)
Giannakis, Georgios & Bubenik, Vit & Crespo, Emilio & Golston, Chris & Lianeri, Alexandra & Luraghi, Silvia & Matthaios, Stephanos (eds.). 2013. Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics. Leiden: Brill.
Huys, Marc & Van Hal, Toon. no date. Ancient Greek Language on the Web: A Critical Survey of Websites. (Accessed 2021-06-24).
Hooker, J. T. 1980. Linear B: An Introduction. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press.
Horrocks, Geoffrey C. 2010. Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.
Jeffery, Lilian H. 1990. The Local Scripts of Archaic Greece (Revised ed. suppl. by Johnston, Alan). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lexicity. 2016. Greek. (Accessed 2021-06-24.)
Nègre, Xavier. 2002-2021. Lexilogos (Accessed 2021-06-24.)
Pantelia, Maria C. (ed.) 2014. Thesaurus Linguae Graecae® Digital Library. Irvine: University of California. (Accessed 2021-06-25.)

Mycenaean Greek

Chadwick, John. 19672. The Decipherment of Linear B. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chadwick, John (& Michael Ventris). 19732. Documents in Mycenaean Greek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Palmer, L. R. 19692. The Interpretation of Mycenaean Greek Texts. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Duhoux, Yves & Anna Morpurgo Davies (eds.). 2008–2014. A Companion to Linear B: Mycenaean Greek Texts and their World, vol. 120, 127, 133 Bibliothèque des Cahiers de Linguistique de Louvain (BCLL). Louvain-La-Neuve: Peeters.
Del Freo, Maurizio & Massimo Perna (eds.). 20192. Manuale di epigrafia micenea: Introduzione allo studio dei testi in lineare B. Padova: libreriauniversitaria.it edizioni.
Marazzi, Massimiliano. 2013. Scrittura, epigrafia e grammatica greco-micenea. Roma: Carocci.

See also detailed bibliography in:
Dalpedri, Saverio. 2022. Mycenean bibliography. Ms., University of Göttingen.


grammars, treatments of major grammatical domains

Devine, Andrew M. & Stephen, Laurence D. 1994. The Prosody of Greek Speech. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kühner, Raphael & Blass, Friedrich. 1904. Ausführliche Grammatik der Griechischen Sprache. Hannover und Leipzig: Ibraguimov. (searchable digitized version in the Perseus Digital Library) (Accessed 2021-07-05.)
Rijksbaron, Albert. 2007. The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Smyth, Herbert Weir. 1920. A Greek Grammar for Colleges. New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Chicago: American Book Company. (searchable digitized version in the Perseus Digital Library) (Accessed 2021-07-05.)
Threatte, Leslie. 1980. The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions. Vol. 1: Phonology. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
Threatte, Leslie. 1996. The Grammar of Attic Inscriptions. Vol. 2: Morphology. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter.
Van Emde Boas, Evert & Rijksbaron, Albert & de Bakker, Mathieu & Huitink, Luuk. 2019. The Cambridge Grammar of Classical Greek. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

See also collections/discussions of available printed/digitized grammars in Huys & Van Hal, n.d., in Lexicity, in Lexilogos, as well as a recent blogspot in AWOL, The Ancient World Online.


dictionaries, headword search tools, further sources of information about the lexicon

Beekes, Robert Stephen Paul. 2009, 2016. Etymological Dictionary of Greek (2 Vols.). Leiden: Brill.
Liddell,Henry George & Scott, Robert. 1940. A Greek-English Lexicon. Revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones with the assistance of Roderick McKenzie. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (searchable digitized version in the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae®) (Accessed 2021-07-05.)
Montanari, Franco. 1995. The Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek. Leiden: Brill.
Woodhouse, Sidney C. 1910. The University of Chicago Library English-Greek Dictionary: A Vocabulary of the Attic Language. London: George Routledge & Sons. (searchable digitized version at the University of Chicago Library) (Accessed 2021-07-05.)

See headword search in various dictionaries in the Perseus Digital Library, in the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae®, and in Lexilogos, see also collections of available dictionaries in Lexicity 2016. .


text collections, corpora, treebanks

Gippert, Jost & Martinez, Javier & Korn, Agnes & Mittmann, Roland. 2016. TITUS TEXTUS: Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien. Frankfurt: University of Frankfurt. (Accessed 2021-06-25.)
The Packard Humanities Institute. 2020. Searchable Greek Inscriptions: A Scholarly Tool in Progress. New York: Cornell University; Athens: Ohio University. (Accessed 2021-06-25.)
Vatri, Alessandro & McGillivray, Barbara. 2018. The Diorisis Ancient Greek Corpus. Research Data Journal for the Humanities and Social Sciences 3 (1). 55–65.

See also the large searchable text collections of the Perseus Digital Library and the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae®, treebanks in Pedalion, listing of text collections in Lexicity 2016 and in the University of Chicago Library, and a summary by Antonopoulou & Skopeteas (2023).

teaching material

coursebooks, exercises, materials or introductions supporting teaching

Allen, W. Sidney. 1987. Vox Graeca: A Guide to the Pronunciation of Classical Greek. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Häußinger, Michael. No date. Systematische Grammatik der Griechischen Sprache. (Accessed 2021-05-27.)
Krause, Todd B. & Slocum, Jonathan. 2004. Early Indo-European Online: Classical Greek Online. University of Texas: Linguistics Research Centre. (Accessed 2021-06-24.)
Probert, Philomen. 2003. A New Short Guide to the Accentuation of Ancient Greek. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Van Hal, Toon (supervisor). 2013-2015. Pedalion. (Accessed 2021-06-24.)

See also collections of teaching materials in Huys & Van Hal, n.d., discussions and materials in the Textkit Greek and Latin Forums: A Classical Language Learning Forum.