Ancient Macedonian language: Wikis


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This article is about the language of Ancient Macedonians; for the unrelated South Slavic language, see Macedonian language.
Ancient Macedonian
Spoken in Macedon (extinct language)
Language extinction absorbed by Attic Greek in the 4th century BC
Language family Indo-European
  • Ancient Macedonian
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 ine
ISO 639-3 xmk

Ancient Macedonian was the Indo-European language of the ancient Macedonians. It was spoken in Macedonia during the 1st millennium BC. It is believed to have gradually fallen out of use, along with possibly other spoken Greek dialects, during the 4th century BC by when the standard Koine Greek was mainly used.[1]

Knowledge of the language is very limited, there being only a few fragmentary surviving attestations, mainly in glosses and proper names[2 ]. The volume of the surviving public and private inscriptions indicate that there was no written language in ancient Macedonia but Greek[3].

A body of words has been assembled from ancient sources, mainly from coin inscriptions, and from the 5th century lexicon of Hesychius of Alexandria, amounting to about 150 words and 200 proper names, though the number of considered words sometimes differs from scholar to scholar. Most of them are similar to standard Greek, while some have been interpreted as pointing to a separate lineage from Indo-European.



Due to the fragmentary attestation various interpretations are possible.[4] The discussion is closely related to the reconstruction of the Proto-Greek language. The suggested historical interpretations of Macedonian include:[5]

  • an Indo-European language which is a close cousin to Greek and also related to Thracian and Phrygian languages, suggested by A. Meillet (1913) and I. I. Russu (1938),[6] or part of a Sprachbund encompassing Thracian, Illyrian and Greek (Kretschmer 1896, E. Schwyzer 1959).
  • an "Illyrian" dialect mixed with Greek, suggested by K. O. Müller (1825) and by G. Bonfante (1987).
  • various explicitly "Greek" scenarios:
  • a Hellenic language suggested by Brian Joseph [4] and other modern linguists [10] who consider that the Macedonian tongue was a sibling language to all the Ancient Greek dialects, perhaps not on par as other Greek dialects. If this view is correct, then Macedonian and Greek would be the two subbranches of a group within Indo-European, forming a Greco-Macedonian supergroup, "which could more properly be called Hellenic".[4] This terminology may lead to misunderstandings, since the "Hellenic branch of Indo-European" is also used synonymously with the Greek branch (which contains all ancient and modern Greek dialects) in a narrower sense.


From the few words that survive, only a little can be said about the language. A notable sound-law is that the Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirates (/bʰ, dʰ, gʰ/) appear as voiced stops /b, d, g/, (written β, δ, γ), in contrast to all known Greek dialects, which have unvoiced them to /pʰ, tʰ, kʰ/ (φ, θ, χ) with few exceptions.[11]

  • Macedonian δάνος dánοs ('death', from PIE *dhenh2- 'to leave'), compare Attic θάνος thános
  • Macedonian ἀβροῦτες abroûtes or ἀβροῦϜες abroûwes as opposed to Attic ὀφρῦς ophrûs for 'eyebrows'
  • Macedonian Βερενίκη Bereníkē versus Attic Φερενίκη Phereníkē, 'bearing victory'
  • Macedonian ἄδραια adraia ('bright weather'), compare Attic αἰθρία aithría, from PIE *h2aidh-
  • Macedonian βάσκιοι báskioi ('fasces'), Attic φάσκωλος pháskōlos 'leather sack' , from PIE *bhasko
  • According to Herodotus 7.73 (ca. 440 BC), the Macedonians claimed that the Phryges were called Brygoi before they migrated from Thrace to Anatolia (around 8th–7th century BC).
  • According to Plutarch, Moralia[12] Macedonians use 'b' instead of 'ph', while Delphians use 'b' in the place of 'p'.
  • Macedonian μάγειρος mágeiros ('butcher') was a loan from Doric into Attic. Vittore Pisani has suggested an ultimately Macedonian origin for the word, which could then be cognate to μάχαιρα mákhaira ('knife', <PIE *magh-, 'to fight')

If γοτάν gotán ('pig') is related to *gwou ('cattle'), this would indicate that the labiovelars were either intact, or merged with the velars, unlike the usual Greek treatment (Attic βοῦς boûs). Such deviations, however, are not unknown in Greek dialects; compare Doric (Spartan) γλεπ- glep- for common Greek βλεπ- blep-, as well as Doric γλάχων gláchōn and Ionic γλήχων glēchōn for common Greek βλήχων blēchōn.[13]

A number of examples suggest that voiced velar stops were devoiced, especially word-initially: κάναδοι kánadoi, 'jaws' (<PIE *genu-); κόμβους kómbous, 'molars' (<PIE *gombh-); within words: ἀρκόν arkón (Attic ἀργός argós); the Macedonian toponym Akesamenai, from the Pierian name Akesamenos (if Akesa- is cognate to Greek agassomai, agamai, "to astonish"; cf. the Thracian name Agassamenos).

In Aristophanes' The Birds, the form κεβλήπυρις keblēpyris ('red-cap bird') is found, showing a Macedonian-style voiced stop in place of a standard Greek unvoiced aspirate: κεβ(α)λή keb(a)lē versus κεφαλή kephalē ('head').

A number of the Macedonian words, particularly in Hesychius' lexicon, are disputed (i.e., some do not consider them actual Macedonian words) and some may have been corrupted in the transmission. Thus abroutes, may be read as abrouwes (αβρουϝες), with tau (Τ) replacing a digamma.[14] If so, this word would perhaps be encompassable within a Greek dialect; however, others (e.g. A. Meillet) see the dental as authentic and think that this specific word would perhaps belong to an Indo-European language different from Greek.

A. Panayotou summarizes some generally identified, through ancient texts and epigraphy, features[15]:



  • Occasional development of voiced aspirates (*bh, *dh, *gh) into voiced stops (b, d, g) (e.g. Βερενίκα, Attic Φερενίκη)
  • Retention of */a:/ (e.g. Μαχάτας)
  • [a:] as result of contraction [a:] + [ɔ:]
  • Apocope of short vowels in prepositions in synthesis (παρκαττίθεμαι, Attic παρακατατίθεμαι)
  • Syncope (hyphairesis) and diphthongization are used to avoid hiatus (e.g. Θετίμα, Attic Θεοτίμη)
  • Occasional retention of the pronunciation [u] οf /u(:)/ in local cult epithets or nicknames (Κουναγίδας = Κυναγίδας)
  • Raising of /ɔ:/ to /u:/ in proximity to nasal (e.g. Κάνουν, Attic Κάνων)
  • Simplification of the sequence /ign/ to /i:n/ (γίνομαι, Attic γίγνομαι)
  • Loss of aspiration of the consonant cluster /sth/ (> /st/) (γενέσται, Attic γενέσθαι)


  • First-declension masculine and feminine in -ας and -α respectively (e.g. Πεύκεστας, Λαομάγα)
  • First-declension masculine genitive singular in -α (e.g. Μαχάτα)
  • First-declension genitive plural in -ᾶν
  • First person personal pronoun dative singular ἐμίν
  • Temporal conjunction ὁπόκα
  • Possibly, a non-sigmatic nominative masculine singular in the first declension (ἱππότα, Attic ἱππότης)



M. Hatzopoulos summarizes the Macedonian anthroponymy (that is names borne by people from Macedonia before the expansion beyond the Axius or people undoubtedly hailing from this area after the expansion) as follows:[16]

  • Epichoric Greek names that either differ from the phonology of the introduced Attic or that remained almost confined to Macedonians throughout antiquity
  • Panhellenic Greek names
  • Identifiable non-Greek (Thracian, Illyrian and "native" -- that is names generally confined to Macedonian territory that aren't identified with any language, Greek or not) names
  • Names without a clear Greek etymology that can't however be ascribed to any identifiable non-Greek linguistic group.

Common in the creation of ethnics is the use of -έστης, -εστός especially when derived from sigmatic nouns (ὄρος > Ὀρέστης but also Δῖον > Διασταί).[15]


The toponyms of Macedonia proper are generally Greek, though some of them show a particular Macedonian phonology that might set them apart and a few others are non-Greek.


The Macedonian names of about half or more of the months of the ancient Macedonian calendar have a clear and generally accepted Greek etymology (e.g. Dios, Apellaios, Artemisios, Loos, Daisios), though some of the remaining ones have sometimes been considered to be Greek but showing a particular Macedonian phonology (e.g. Audunaios has been connected to "Haides" *A-wid and Gorpiaios/Garpiaios to "karpos" fruit).


The below list includes only those regions and elements that may be related or have been written by Macedonians before 350 BC.Early evidence from coastal cities dates back to 600-550 BC in Central Macedonia (Sane[17],Therme[18]) ~ 550 BC East Macedonia (Neapolis)[19] and 5th c.BC West (Pydna)[20].There is also a Carian inscription found in Therme 6th c. BC[21].

Macedonian words in epigraphy

  • Macedonian onomasticon: the earliest massive epigraphical documents are, the second Athenian alliance decree with Perdiccas II (~417-413 BC), the decree of Kalindoia,~335-300 BC) and seven curse tablets of the 4th c. BC bearing mostly names.[23][24]
  • Macedonian sound-law: it is restricted to names and one epithet of Artemis.
    • Berenika priestess of Demetra ca. 350 BC is the oldest evidence. However it never turned into Pherenike in Macedon or Egypt. On the contrary Attic Pherenik- became Berenik-; hence popular Athenian name Berenikides after 3rd c. BC.[25]
    • Bila Brateadou (Attic Phile, Doric Phila Prateadou or Phrateadou (Aigai ca. 350-300 BC.[26]
    • Phylomaga (Attic Phylomache) (Methone,Pieria ca. 350-300 BC).[27]
    • Lamaga, Laomaga (Attic Laomache)[28]


  • ἄγημα ágēma, 'vanguard, guards' ( 4 times only in Macedon ~ 200 BC )[29] (Attic ἄγω ágô lead,drive PIE *ag-)
  • ἀρχικερδέμπορος archikerdemporos president of guild of merchants (hapax)[30](Kerdemporos epithet of Hermes Orph.H.28.6 .
  • Βλουρεῖτις Bloureitis epithet of Artemis. (Skydra 106 AD, hapax)[31].LSJ: Φιλωρεῖτις Philôreitês. Artemis Agrotera (Huntress[32]), Gazoreitis (from Gazoros, north of Kerkini lake), Bloureitis (fond of mountains). phil- + oros , ouros mountain.
  • Δάῤῥων Darrhôn minor god of healing
  • ἐδέατρος edeatros as archedeatros; 'taster', (Attic thaliarchos) Ptolemy I Soter first edeatros appointed by Alexander (See Athenaeus)[33] (3 inscriptions, all related to late Ptolemies)[34]
  • ἑταῖροι hetairoi , companion cavalry after 350 BC[35] (Attic hetaîroi, comrades) PIE *swe-t-aro < suffixed form of *swe)
  • κότθυβος kotthubos non-metallic armour. (Amphipolis - ca.200 BC, hapax)[36]. (Cf.Attic kosumbos, fringe, hairnet) (Hesych. κοσύμβη kosumbe Cretan small shield, ἀνάδεσμα, anadesma, bandage, ἐγκόμβωμα, enkomboma, outward ornamental garment, Egyptian περίζωμα perizoma girdle. About the military decree of Amphipolis, see Phalanx, last paragraph.
  • Κυναγίδας Kynagidas epithet of Herakles. (Mycenaean Gk. Kynagitas attested in Linear B as ki-na-ke-ta, Attic kynegos, Doric kynagos Hunter) attested in 14 inscriptions of various places in Macedonia from 4th century BC to 2nd century AD. Κυναγὼ Kynago epithet of Artemis, attested twice. (Protectors of Hunters). Oldest inscription in Beroea — ca. 350-300 BC[37] (spelled in one inscription, Kounagidas)
  • κνῖμα or κνίμα knima ( line 17 see trakylion below ).
  • Macedonian months , of which Dystros and Gorpiaios have no apparent etymology.
  • νεύω neuo pray (Thessalian nebeuo[38]) (Attic euchomai) (Attic neuo nod,wink). Attested as feminine past participles in Berenika's archineusasai women and Alexandra Argaiou,Kala Thea neusasa[39].
  • παπᾶ papa, an expression like "ouch" (Attic papae, Locrian papa, Greek demotic apapa) [40]
  • πελιγᾶνες peligânes Macedonian senators, (wiki peliganes)
  • πυρόκαυσις pyrokausis ( 9 times in 2 inscriptions ~200 BC )[41] (additional draft,military recruitment per family. Each family provided one soldier.
  • σάρισσα sárissa (σάρισα sarisa attested hapax with one s in the military decree of Amphipolis[42]), a long pike used by the Macedonian phalanx (Theophrastus, Polybius; etymology unknown – Blumenthal[43] reconstructs *skwrvi-entia- to a root for 'cut', but this is speculative; perhaps (Attic σαίρω sairô to show the teeth, grin like a dog, esp. in scorn or malice), (σαρόω-ῶ saroô sweep clean, wipe out, sarôsis sweeping away, sarôtron broom), (sarônis an old hollow oak)
  • σκοῖδος skoidos administrator,secretary,quaestor (Elimeia-late 4th-mid. 3rd c. BC)[44] PIE *skei- 'to cut, split' cf. Greek schizo 'to split', schedos 'riddle',schediazo improvise Lithuanian skedzu 'make thin, separate, divide',Latin scindere 'to split', Gothic skaidan, O.E. sceadan 'to divide, separate'[45].LSJ skoidion 'hat' dialectical for skiadion.
  • συνοπλᾶνες synoplânes co-fighters (2nd/3rd c.AD)[46] (singular: συνοπλὰν synoplan or σύνοπλας synoplas) (Attic synoploi,synoplos) syn- + hoplon hoplites
  • τρακύλιον trakylion ((..the pathway between the two trakylia...rivers..mountains..))[47]
  • ὑπασπισταὶ hypaspistai (the ones under shield , hypo- + aspis) (wiki Hypaspists) (6 times in Macedon) [48]
  • Ψευδάνωρ Pseudanôr epithet of Dionysus, (wiki Pseudanor)

The Pella curse tablet

The Pella curse tablet, a text written in a distinct Doric Greek dialect, found in 1986, dated to between mid to early 4th century BC, has been forwarded as an argument that the ancient Macedonian language was a dialect of North-Western Greek, part of the Doric dialects.[49] Before the discovery it was proposed that the Macedonian dialect was an early form of Greek, spoken alongside Doric proper at that time.[50]

Hesychius Glossary

The below words of unknown date, out of the single Hesychius manuscript, are marked as Macedonian.For the words of Macedonian Amerias, see Glossary of Amerias. Terms that occur in epigraphy are transferred above.

  • ἄβαγνα abagna 'roses amaranta (unwithered)' (Attic ῥόδα rhoda , Aeolic βρόδα broda roses).(LSJ: amarantos unfading.Amaranth flower. (Aeolic ἄβα aba 'youthful prime' + ἁγνός hagnos 'pure, chaste, unsullied) or epithet aphagna from aphagnizo 'purify'[51].If abagnon is the proper name for rhodon rose, then it is cognate to Persian bāġ , 'garden' , Gothic bagms 'tree' and Greek bakanon 'cabbage-seed'.Finally, a Phrygian borrowing is highly possible if we think of the famous Gardens of Midas , where roses grow of themselves (see Herodotus 8.138.2 , Athenaeus 15.683)
  • ἀβαρκνᾷ abarknai κομᾷ † τὲ Μακεδόνες Text Corrupted (komai ? , ἄβαρκνα abarkna hunger, famine.
  • ἀβαρύ abarú 'oregano' (Hes. ὀρίγανον origanon) (LSJ: βαρύ barú perfume used in incense, Attic βαρύ barú 'heavy') (LSJ amarakon sweet Origanum Majorana)(Hes. for origanon ἀγριβρόξ agribrox, ἄβρομον abromon , ἄρτιφος artiphos, κεβλήνη keblênê)
  • ἀβλόη , ἀλογεῖ abloē , alogei Text Corrupted †<ἀβλόη>· σπένδε Μακεδόνες [<ἀλογεῖ>· σπεῖσον Μακεδόνες] spendô)
  • ἀβροῦτες or ἀβροῦϜες abroûtes or abroûwes 'eyebrows' (Hes. Attic ὀφρῦς ophrûs acc. pl., ὀφρύες ophrúes nom., PIE *bhru-) (Lithuanian bruvis , Persian abru) (Koine Greek ophrudia , Modern Greek φρύδια frydia)
  • ἀγκαλίς ankalis Attic 'weight, burden, load' Macedonian 'sickle' (Hes. Attic ἄχθος ákhthos , δρέπανον drépanon, LSJ Attic ἀγκαλίς ankalís 'bundle', or in pl. ἀγκάλαι ankálai 'arms' (body parts), ἄγκαλος ánkalos 'armful, bundle', ἀγκάλη ankálē 'the bent arm' or 'anything closely enfolding', as the arms of the sea, PIE *ank 'to bend') ( ἀγκυλίς ankylis 'barb' Oppianus.C.1.155.)
  • ἄδδαι addai poles of a chariot or car,logs (Attic ῥυμοὶ rhumoi) (Aeolic usdoi ,Attic ozoi ,branches,twigs) PIE *H₂ó-sd-o- , branch
  • ἀδῆ adē 'clear sky' or 'the upper air' (Hes. οὐρανός ouranós 'sky', LSJ and Pokorny Attic αἰθήρ aithēr 'ether, the upper, purer air', hence 'clear sky, heaven')
  • ἄδισκον adiskon potion,cocktail ( Attic kykeôn )
  • ἄδραια adraia 'fine weather, open sky' (Hes. Attic αἰθρία aithría, PIE *aidh-)
  • Ἀέροπες Aeropes tribe (wind-faced) (aero- +opsis(aerops opos, Boeotian name for the bird merops)
  • ἀκόντιον akontion spine or backbone,anything ridged like the backbone:ridge of a hill or mountain (Attic rhachis) (Attic akontion spear,javelin) (Aeolic akontion part of troops)
  • ἀκρέα akrea girl ( Attic κόρη korê , Ionic kourê ,Doric/Aeolic kora ,Arcadian korwa , Laconian kyrsanis ( Ἀκρέα , epithet of Aphrodite in Cyprus,instead of Akraia , on the heights ).
  • ἀκρουνοί akrounoi 'boundary stones' nom. pl. (Hes. ὃροι hóroi, LSJ Attic ἄκρος ákros 'at the end or extremity', from ἀκή akē 'point, edge', PIE *ak 'summit, point' or 'sharp')
  • ἀλίη alíē 'boar or boarfish' (Attic kapros) (PIE *ol-/*el- "red, brown" (in animal and tree names)[52](Homeric ellos fawn , Attic elaphos deer ,alkê elk)
  • ἄλιζα aliza (also alixa) 'White Poplar' (Attic λεύκη leúkē , Thessalian alphinia, LSJ:ἄλυζα , aluza globularia alypum) (Pokorny Attic ἐλάτη elátē 'fir, spruce', PIE *ol-, *el- , P.Gmc. and Span. aliso 'alder')
  • ἄξος axos 'timber' (Hes. Attic ὓληhulê) (Cretan Doric ausos Attic alsos grove little forest. (PIE *os- ash tree(OE.æsc ash tree),(Greek.οξυά oxya,Albanian ah,beech),(Armenian. haci ash tree)
  • ἀορτής aortês, 'swordsman' (Hes. ξιφιστής; Homer ἄορ áor 'sword'; Attic ἀορτήρ aortēr 'swordstrap', modern Greek αορτήρ aortír 'riflestrap'; hence aorta) (According to Suidas: Many now say the knapsack ἀβερτὴ abertê instead of aortê . Both the object and the word [are] Macedonian.
  • Ἀράντιδες Αrantides Erinyes ( in dative ἀράντισιν ἐρινύσι)(Arae[53] name for Erinyes,arasimos accursed , araomai invoke,curse,pray or rhantizô sprinkle,purify.
  • ἄργελλα argella 'bathing hut'. Cimmerian ἄργιλλα or argila 'subterranean dwelling' (Ephorus in Strb. 5.4.5) PIE *areg-; borrowed into Balkan Latin and gave Romanian argea (pl. argele), "wooden hut", dialectal (Banat) arghela "stud farm") ; cf. Sanskrit argalā 'latch, bolt', Old English reced "building, house", Albanian argësh "harrow, crude bridge of crossbars, crude raft supported by skin bladders"
  • ἀργιόπους argiopous 'eagle' (LSJ Attic ἀργίπους argípous 'swift- or white-footed', PIE *hrg'i-pods < PIE *arg + PIE *ped)
  • Ἄρητος Arētos epithet or alternative of Herakles (Ares-like)
  • ἀρκόν arkon 'leisure, idleness' (LSJ Attic ἀργός argós 'lazy, idle' nom. sing., ἀργόν acc.)
  • ἀρφύς arhphys (Attic ἱμάς himas strap,rope),(ἁρπεδών harpedôn cord, yarn; ἁρπεδόνα Rhodes, Lindos II 2.37).
  • ἄσπιλος aspilos 'torrent' (Hes. χείμαῤῥος kheímarrhos, Attic ἄσπιλος áspilos 'without stain, spotless, pure')
  • βαβρήν babrên lees of olive-oil ( LSJ: βάβρηκες babrêkes gums, or food in the teeth, βαβύας babuas mud )
  • βαθάρα bathara pukliê (Macedonian), purlos (Athamanian) (unattested; maybe food, atharê porridge , pyros wheat)
  • βίῤῥοξ birrhox dense,thick ( LSJ:βειρόν beiron )
  • γάρκα garka rod ( Attic charax ) ( EM: garkon axle-pin ) ( LSJ: garrha rod )
  • γόλα gola or goda bowels,intestines ( Homeric cholades ) PIE: ghel-ond-, ghol-n•d- stomach; bowels[54]
  • γοτάν gotan 'pig' acc. sing. ( PIE *gwou- 'cattle', ( Attic βοτόν botón ' beast', in plural βοτά botá 'grazing animals' ) ( Laconian grôna sow female pig, and pl. grônades ) ( LSJ:goi , goi, to imitate the sound of pigs ) ( goitasheep or pig )
  • γυλλάς gyllas kind of glass (gyalas a Megarian cup)
  • γῶψ gôps pl. gopes macherel ( Attic koloios ) ( LSJ: skôps a fish ) (Modern Greek gopa bogue fish pl. gopes)
  • δαίτας daitas caterer waiter ( Attic daitros
  • δάνος danos 'death', (Hes. Attic thánatos θάνατος 'death', from root θαν- than-) ,PIE *dhenh2- 'to leave, δανoτής danotês (disaster,pain) Sophocles Lacaenae fr.338[55]
  • δανῶν danōn 'murderer' (Attic θανών thanōn dead ,past participle)
  • δάρυλλος darullos 'oak' (Hes. Attic δρῦς drûs, PIE *doru-)
  • δρῆες drêes or δρῆγες drêges small birds ( Attic strouthoi ) (Elean δειρήτης deirêtês , strouthos, Nicander.Fr.123.)( LSJ: διγῆρες digêres strouthoi , δρίξ drix strouthos)
  • δώραξ dôrax spleen , splên (Attic θώραξ thôrax chest,corslet
  • ἐπιδειπνίς epideipnis Macedonian dessert
  • Ζειρηνίς Zeirênis epithet or alternative for Aphrodite (Seirênis Siren-like)
  • Ἠμαθία Êmathia ex-name of Macedonia,region of Emathia from mythological Emathus (Homeric amathos êmathoessa, river-sandy land , PIE *samadh[56]. Generally the coastal Lower Macedonia in contrast to mountainous Upper Macedonia.For meadow land (mē-2, m-e-t- to reap) ,see Pokorny[57].
  • Θαῦλος Thaulos epithet or alternative of Ares ( Θαύλια Thaulia 'festival in Doric Tarentum , θαυλίζειν thaulizein 'to celebrate like Dorians' , Thessalian Ζεὺς Θαύλιος Zeus Thaulios, the only attested in epigraphy 10 times, Athenian Ζεὺς Θαύλων Zeus Thaulôn, Athenian family Θαυλωνίδαι Thaulônidai
  • Θούριδες Thourides Nymphs Muses (Homeric thouros rushing, impetuous.
  • ἰζέλα izela wish, good luck (Attic agathêi tychêi) (Doric bale , abale,Arcadian zele ) ( Cretan delton agathon )[58] or Thracian zelas wine.
  • ἴλαξ ílax 'the holm-oak, evergreen or scarlet oak' (Hes. Attic πρῖνος prînos, Latin ilex)
  • ἰν δέᾳ in dea midday ( Attic endia , mesêmbria) (Arcadian also in instead of Attic en)
  • κἄγχαρμον kancharmon having the lance up τὸ τὴν λόγχην ἄνω ἔχον (Hes. ἄγχαρμον ancharmon ἀνωφερῆ τὴν αἰχμήν <ἔχων> Ibyc? Stes?) having upwards the point of a spear)

(κἄ , Crasis) kai and,together,simultaneously + anô up (anôchmon hortatory password)

  • κάραβος karabos
    • Macedonian 'gate, door' (Cf. karphos any small dry body,piece of wood (Hes. Attic 'meat roasted over coals'; Attic karabos 'stag-beetle'; 'crayfish'; 'light ship'; hence modern Greek καράβι karávi)
    • 'the worms in dry wood' (Attic 'stag-beetle, horned beetle; crayfish')
    • 'a sea creature' (Attic 'crayfish, prickly crustacean; stag-beetle')
  • καρπαία karpaia Thessalo-Macedonian mimic military dance (see also Carpaea) Homeric karpalimos swift (for foot) eager,ravenous.
  • κίκεῤῥοι kí[k]erroi 'pale ones (?)' (Hes. Attic ὦχροι ōkhroi, PIE *k̂ik̂er- 'pea') (LSJ:kikeros land crocodile)
  • κομμάραι kommarai or komarai crawfishes (Attic karides)(LSJ:kammaros a kind of lobster, Epicharmus.60, Sophron.26, Rhinthon.18:-- also kammaris , idos Galen.6.735.) (komaris a fish Epicharmus.47.)
  • κόμβοι komboi 'molars' (Attic γομφίοι gomphioi, dim. of γόμφος gomphos 'a large, wedge-shaped bolt or nail; any bond or fastening', PIE *gombh-)
  • κυνοῦπες kynoupes or kynoutos bear (Hesychius kynoupeus, knoupeus ,knôpeus)(kunôpês dog-faced) (knôps beast esp. serpent instead of kinôpeton , blind acc. Zonar (from knephas dark)(if kynoutos (knôdês knôdalon beast)
  • λακεδάμα lakedáma ὕδωρ ἁλμυρὸν ἄλικι ἐπικεχυμένον salty water withalix , rice-wheat or fish-sauce.(Cf.skorodalmê 'sauce or pickle composed of brine and garlic'). According to Albrecht von Blumenthal,[43] -ama corresponds to Attic ἁλμυρός halmurós 'salty'; Cretan Doric hauma for Attic halmē; laked- is cognate to Proto-Germanic *lauka[59] leek ,possibly related is Λακεδαίμων Laked-aímōn, the name of the Spartan land.
  • λείβηθρον leíbēthron 'stream' (Hes. Attic ῥεῖθρον rheîthron, also λιβάδιον libádion, 'a small stream', dim. of λιβάς libás; PIE *lei, 'to flow'); typical Greek productive suffix -θρον (-thron) (Macedonian toponym , Pierian Leibethra place/tomb of Orpheus)
  • ματτύης mattuês kind of bird ( ματτύη mattuê a meat-dessert of Macedonian or Thessalian origin) (verb mattuazo to prepare the mattue) (Athenaeus)[60]
  • παραός paraos eagle or kind of eagle (Attic aetos , Pamphylian aibetos) (PIE *por- 'going, passage' + *awi- 'bird') (Greek para- 'beside' + Hes. aos wind) (It may exist as food in Lopado...pterygon)
  • περιπέτεια peripeteia or περίτια peritia Macedonian festival in month Peritios. (Hesychius text περί[πε]τ[ε]ια )
  • ῥάματα rhamata bunch of grapes (Ionic rhagmata,rhages Koine rhôgmata,rhôges , rhax rhôx)
  • ῥοῦτο rhouto this (neut.) (Attic τοῦτο touto)
  • ταγόναγα tagonaga Macedonian institution,administration ( Thessalian ταγὸς tagos commander +ἄγωagô lead)

Other Sources


A number of Hesychius words are listed orphan; some of them have been proposed as Macedonian[69]

  • ἀγέρδα agerda wild pear-tree ( Attic ἄχερδος acherdos.
  • ἀδαλός adalos charcoal dust (Attic αἴθαλος aithalos , ἄσβολος asbolos)
  • ἄδδεε addee imp. hurry up ἐπείγου ( Attic thee of theô run )
  • ἄδις adis 'hearth' (Hes. ἐσχάρα eskhára, LSJ Attic αἶθος aîthos 'fire, burning heat')
  • αἰδῶσσα aidôssa ( Attic aithousa portico, corridor ,verandah, a loggia leading from aulê yard to prodomos)
  • βάσκιοι baskioi 'fasces' (Hes. Attic δεσμοὶ φρῡγάνων desmoì phrūgánōn, Pokorny βασκευταί baskeutaí, Attic φασκίδες phaskídes, Attic φάσκωλος pháskōlos 'leather sack', PIE *bhasko-)
  • βίξ bix sphinx (Boeotian phix) , (Attic sphinx)
  • δαλάγχα dalancha sea (Attic thalatta) (Ionic thalassa)
  • δεδάλαι dedalai package, bundle (Attic dethla, desmai)
  • ἐσκόροδος eskorodos tenon ( Attic tormos σκόρθος skorthos tornos slice,lathe)
  • Εὐδαλαγῖνες Eudalagines Graces Χάριτες (Attic Εὐθαλγῖνες Euthalgines)
  • κάναδοι kanadoi 'jaws' nom. pl. (Attic γνάθοι gnathoi, PIE *genu, 'jaw') (Laconian καναδόκα kanadoka notch (V) of an arrow χηλὴ ὀϊστοῦ)
  • λαίβα laiba shield ( Doric λαία laia , λαῖφα laipha ) ( Attic aspis )
  • λάλαβις lalabis storm (Attic lailaps)
  • ὁμοδάλιον homodalion isoetes plant (θάλλω thallô bloom)
  • ῥουβοτός rhoubotos potion ( Attic rhophema ) rhopheo suck,absorb rhoibdeô suck with noise.

Macedonian in Classical sources

Among the references that have been discussed as possibly bearing some witness to the linguistic situation in Macedonia, there is a sentence from a fragmentary dialogue, apparently between an Athenian and a Macedonian, in an extant fragment of the 5th century BC comedy 'Macedonians' by the Athenian poet Strattis (fr. 28), where a stranger is portrayed as speaking in a rural Greek dialect. His language contains expressions such as ὕμμες ὡττικοί for ὑμείς αττικοί "you Athenians", ὕμμες being also attested in Homer, Sappho (Lesbian) and Theocritus (Doric), while ὡττικοί appears only in "funny country bumpkin" contexts of Attic comedy.[70]

Another text that has been quoted as evidence is a passage from Livy (lived 59 BC-14 AD) in his Ab urbe condita (31.29). Describing political negotiations between Macedonians and Aetolians in the late 3rd century BC, Livy has a Macedonian ambassador argue that Aetolians, Acarnanians and Macedonians were "men of the same language".[71] This has been interpreted as referring to a shared North-West Greek speech (as opposed to Attic Koiné).[72]

Quintus Curtius Rufus, Philotas's trial[73].

Over time, "Macedonian" (μακεδονικός), when referring to language (and related expressions such as μακεδονίζειν; to speak in the Macedonian fashion) acquired the meaning of Koine Greek.[74]

Contributions to the Koine

Despite the Macedonians' important role in the formation of the Koine, Macedonian itself contributed few elements to the dialect, such as military terminology (διμοιριτης, ταξιαρχος, υπασπισται etc.) and, possibly, the suffix "-issa" which became productive in Medieval Greek.

See also


  1. ^  The Oxford English Dictionary (1989), Macedonian, Simpson J. A. & Weiner E. S. C. (eds), Oxford: Oxford University Press, Vol. IX, ISBN 0-19-861186-2 (set) ISBN 0-19-861221-4 (vol. IX) p. 153
  2. ^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (1976), Macedonian, USA:Merriam-Webster, G. & C. Merriam Co., vol. II (H - R) ISBN 0-87779-101-5


  1. ^ Eugene N. Borza (1992) In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon, p.94 (citing Hammond); G. Horrocks, Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers (1993), ch.4.1.
  2. ^ Michael G. Clyne, Sandra Kipp (2006). Tiles in a multilingual mosaic: Macedonian, Filipino and Somali in Melbourne. Pacific Linguistics. p. 21.  
  3. ^ The Cambridge ancient history, 3rd edition, Volume VI. Cambridge University Press. 2000. p. 730.,M1.  
  4. ^ a b c B. Joseph (2001): "Ancient Greek". In: J. Garry et al. (eds.) Facts about the world's major languages: an encyclopedia of the world's major languages, past and present. Online paper
  5. ^ Mallory, J.P. (1997). Mallory, J.P. and Adams, D.Q. (eds.). ed. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Chicago-London: Fitzroy Dearborn. pp. 361. ISBN 1-884964-98-2.  
  6. ^ A. Meillet [1913] 1965, Aperçu d'une histoire de la langue grecque, 7th ed., Paris, p. 61. I. Russu 1938, in Ephemeris Dacoromana 8, 105-232. Quoted after Brixhe/Panayotou 1994: 209.
  7. ^ a b Masson, Olivier (2003) [1996]. "[Ancient] Macedonian language". in Hornblower, S. and Spawforth A. (eds.). The Oxford Classical Dictionary (revised 3rd ed. ed.). USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 905–906. ISBN 0-19-860641-9.  
  8. ^ Hammond, N.G.L (1993) [1989]. The Macedonian State. Origins, Institutions and History (reprint ed. ed.). USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814927-1.  
  9. ^ Ahrens, F. H. L. (1843), De Graecae linguae dialectis, Göttingen, 1839-1843 ; Hoffmann, O. Die Makedonen. Ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum, Göttingen, 1906.
  10. ^ The Linguist List is classifying ancient Macedonian with Greek (all known ancient and modern dialects) under a Hellenic supertree.
  11. ^ Exceptions to the rule:
  12. ^ Greek Questions 292e - Question 9 - Why do Delphians call one of their months Bysios[1].
  13. ^ Albrecht von Blumenthal, Hesychstudien, Stuttgart, 1930, 21.
  14. ^ Olivier Masson, "Sur la notation occasionnelle du digamma grec par d'autres consonnes et la glose macédonienne abroutes", Bulletin de la Société de linguistique de Paris, 90 (1995) 231-239. Also proposed by O. Hoffmann and J. Kalleris.
  15. ^ a b A history of ancient Greek: from the beginnings to late antiquity, Maria Chritē, Maria Arapopoulou, Cambridge University Press (2007), p. 439-441
  16. ^ Greek Personal Names: Their Value as Evidence, Elaine Matthews, Simon Hornblower, Peter Marshall Fraser, British Academy, Oxford University Press (2000), p. 103
  17. ^ Epigraphical Database: SEG 42:624,1
  18. ^ Epigraphical Database: SEG 50:636
  19. ^ Epigraphical Database: SEG 24:622
  20. ^ Epigraphical Database: SEG 46:801
  21. ^ Epigraphical Database: SEG 48:847
  22. ^ Thucydides and Pindar: Historical Narrative and the World of Epinikian Poetry [2] by Simon Hornblower
  23. ^ Athens, bottom-IG I³ 89 -- Kalindoia-Meletemata 11 K31 -- Pydna-SEG 52:617,I (6) till SEG 52:617,VI - Mygdonia-SEG 49:750
  24. ^ Greek Personal Names: Their Value as Evidence [3] by Simon Hornblower, Elaine Matthews
  25. ^ Google [4] - Βερενικ- Athens:190 Egypt:155 Northern Greece:5 Syria: 1
  26. ^ Bila Brateadou
  27. ^ Phylomaga
  28. ^ Beroia — ca. 150-100 BC Laomaga[5] - Pydna early 2nd c. BC Lamaga[6]
  29. ^ Amphipolis SEG 49:855 B (2.8.)[7] -- Kassandreia SEG 49:722 (17.20.)[8] cf. Polybius, Histories, 5.65.2
  30. ^ A Thessalonian in Thasos Aliki — ca. 2nd c.AD[9]
  31. ^ Skydra Epigraphical Database
  32. ^ Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology > v. 1, page 83[10]
  33. ^ The Learned Banqueters III.106e-V III.106e-V
  34. ^ Delos[11]-Cyprus [12]-Alexandria[13]
  35. ^ Lete— ca. 350-300 BC[14] -- Amphipolis late 3rd/early 2nd c. BC B, 26 -- Amphipolis — ca. 300-275 BCAntigonos of Kallas
  36. ^ Amphipolis Epigraphical Database frg B.col I,2
  37. ^ Beroia Kynagidas Epigraphical Database
  38. ^ Thessalian νεβεύσασα[15]
  39. ^ Lete ca. 150 BC[16]
  40. ^ William Nickerson Bates, American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 34, pp. 44-46
  41. ^ late 3rd/early 2nd c. BC Amphipolis SEG 49:855 (A.[17] -- Kassandreia SEG 49:722 ([18]
  42. ^ Amphipolis Epigraphical Database frg B.col I,3
  43. ^ a b Blumenthal, Hesychstudien, Stuttgart, 1930.
  44. ^ Elimeia,skoidou [19] [20] -- Skoidia Roman-era Naxian hapax[21]
  45. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  46. ^ Beroia and a Thessalonian in Philippopolis — 2nd/3rd century AD[22]-[23]
  47. ^ line 4 Mygdonia — ca. 357-350 BC Meletemata 22, Epig. App. 4[24] -- Mt. Cholomon — 294-287 BC SEG 46:738 [25]
  48. ^ Eordea ~180 BC [26],12 Amphipolis-SEG 49:855 B,6 Meletemata 22, Epig. App. 12 ,col II 3,8[27])(Kassandreia-SEG 49:722 ,18)
  49. ^ O. Masson (1996).
  50. ^ Rhomiopoulou (1980).
  51. ^ Les anciens Macedoniens. Etude linguistique et historique by J. N. Kalleris
  52. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  53. ^ ARAE : Greek goddesses or spirits of curses ; mythology : ARAI
  54. ^ Pokorny
  55. ^ Poetae scenici graeci, accedunt perditarum fabularum fragmenta
  56. ^ Pokorny Query madh
  57. ^ Pokorny's dictionary
  58. ^ (Izela) Die Makedonen, Ihre Sprache und Ihr Volkstum[28] by Otto Hoffmann
  59. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  60. ^ Deipnosophists 14.663-4 (pp.1059-1062)
  61. ^ Alexandre le Grand dans Athénée de Naucratis (livre IV)
  62. ^ Athenaeus Deipnosophists 3.114b.
  63. ^ Deipnosophists 10.455e.
  64. ^ Pokorny[29],Gerhard Köbler[30]
  65. ^ Pokorny,Pudna
  66. ^ Zeitschrift der Deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft
  67. ^ The Dorians in Archaeology by Theodore Cressy Skeat[31]
  68. ^ Poetics (Aristotle)-XXI [32]
  69. ^ Otto Hoffmann ,Page 270 (bottom)
  70. ^ Steven Colvin, Dialect in Aristophanes and the politics of language in Ancient Greek, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 279.
  71. ^ Livy 31.29.15 (in Latin).
  72. ^ A. Panayotou: The position of the Macedonian dialect. In: Maria Arapopoulou, Maria Chritē, Anastasios-Phoivos Christides (eds.), A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2007. 433-458 (Google Books).
  73. ^ E. Kapetanopoulos, "Alexander’s patrius sermo in the Philotas affair", The ancient world 30 (1999) 117-128. PdforHtm
  74. ^ C. Brixhe, A. Panayotou, 1994, «Le Macédonien» in Langues indo-européennes, p. 208

Further reading

  • Brixhe C., Panayotou A. (1994) Le Macédonien in Bader, F. (ed.) Langues indo-européennes, Paris:CNRS éditions, 1994, pp 205–220. ISBN 227105043-X
  • Chadwick, J. The Prehistory of the Greek Language. Cambridge, 1963.
  • Crossland, R. A., "The Language of the Macedonians", CAH III.1, Cambridge 1982
  • Hammond, Nicholas G.L. "Literary Evidence for Macedonian Speech", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 43, No. 2. (1994), pp. 131–142.
  • Hatzopoulos, M. B. Le Macedonien Nouvelles Donnees et Theories Nouvelles in Ancient Macedonia, Sixth International Symposium, Volume 1, Institute for Balkan Studies (1999)
  • Kalleris, Jean. Les Anciens Macédoniens, étude linguistique et historique. Institut Francais d'Athénes, 1988
  • Katičić, Radoslav. Ancient Languages of the Balkans. The Hague; Paris: Mouton, 1976.
  • Neroznak, V. Paleo-Balkan languages. Moscow, 1978.
  • Rhomiopoulou, Katerina. An Outline of Macedonian History and Art. Greek Ministry of Culture and Science, 1980.
  • Die Makedonen: Ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum by Otto Hoffmann

External links


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