Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

Get access Subject: Language and Linguistics

General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis
Associate Editors: Vit Bubenik, Emilio Crespo, Chris Golston, Alexandra Lianeri, Silvia Luraghi, Stephanos Matthaios

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics (EAGLL) is a unique work that brings together the latest research from across a range of disciplines which contribute to our knowledge of Ancient Greek. It is an indispensable research tool for scholars and students of Greek, of linguistics, and of other Indo-European languages, as well as of Biblical literature.

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(497 words)

Author(s): Valerie Hannon Smitherman
Abstract Epanalepsis is a rhetorical device characterized by the repetition, for the sake of emphasis, of a word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses. Epanalepsis is a rhetorical device characterized by the repetition, for the sake of emphasis, of a word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses. The term is taken from the Greek epanálēpsis, which means ‘taking up again, resumption, repetition’. The term can be considered synonymous with anaphora (from the Greek anaphorá ‘carrying back’) and epanaphora.     Examples of this rhetorical figure can …
Date: 2013-11-01


(559 words)

Author(s): Alcorac Alonso Déniz
Abstract Epenthesis is the intrusion of a stop in a consonant cluster. Epenthesis is a cover term for the insertion of any vocalic or consonantal sound. Since vowel epenthesis is further known as anaptyxis, epenthesis can be restrictively used to refer to just the intrusion of a stop in a consonant cluster: cf. Lat. humerum > * homro > Spanish hombro ‘shoulder’. According to the Syllable Contact Law, at a syllable boundary a coda should be more sonorant than the following onset ( Vennemann 1988). Therefore, the [b] in hombro ([m.b]) is introduced to improve the syllable contact [m.r] of * homro…
Date: 2013-11-01

Epic Diction

(6,856 words)

Author(s): Christos Tsagalis
Abstract The aim of this entry is fourfold: (a) to give an overview of the basic characteristics of epic diction with emphasis on the Homeric Kunstsprache; (b) to offer a survey of current views and approaches with respect to the evolution of the Homeric language; (c) to discuss traditionality and innovation in Homeric diction; and (d) to offer a brief survey of the principal non-Homeric features of Hesiod’s language and present current views on its relation to the Homeric dialect.   The aim of this entry is fourfold: (a) to give an overview of the basic characteristics of e…
Date: 2013-11-01

Epichoric Alphabets

(9 words)

Abstract   See Local Scripts Bibliography  
Date: 2014-01-27

Epic Meter

(2,364 words)

Author(s): Gregory Nagy
Abstract This article provides linguistic explanations for the phenomena of epic Greek meter, taking into account not only rhythm but also melody. The genre of epic is treated as a historical contingency, not as a universal category. The definitive form of epic, viewed from the historical perspective of sources stemming from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE, is Homeric poetry. In ancient Greek song culture, the concepts of ‘epic’ and ‘meter’ (Metron; Metrics) can be narrowly described in terms of a chronological frame that coincides roughly with the lifetimes of Plato and Aristotle, who b…
Date: 2013-11-01

Epigram, Diction of

(2,535 words)

Author(s): Angel Martinez Fernandez
Abstract The epigram is in its origin an epigraphic text engraved on a monument, be it an epitaph, a dedicatory inscription on an ex-voto, or an explanatory legend on a piece of art. This primitive form of epigram became entrenched and grew, absorbing literary elements and creating its own tradition. During the Hellenistic era, the so-called literary epigram, generally composed to be delivered at a banquet, turned multiform in content, adding erotic, convivial, epideictic, exhortative, and satiri…
Date: 2013-11-01


(3,132 words)

Author(s): Silvia Ferrara
Abstract Epigraphy is the study of texts written on hard material, such as stone or bronze and other durable objects. In ancient Greece, inscriptions were always characterized by a high degree of regional variability and particular preferences in epigraphic styles. This entry surveys the role of written documents in Greek society, the development of alphabetic signs, their local variants, the classification of inscriptions into different categories (private, public, sacred, funerary), the synchro…
Date: 2014-01-22

Erasmian Pronunciation

(1,285 words)

Author(s): Matthew Dillon
Abstract Erasmian Pronunciation refers both to the specific ideas proposed by Erasmus (among others) in the 16th century for reforming the pronunciation of Ancient Greek (and Latin), as well as to the later adaptations of his conclusions, which modern linguistics broadly confirms, although modern pronunciation of Ancient Greek differs widely in practice.    The term ‘Erasmian Pronunciation’ has both a specific and a general meaning. Specifically, it refers to the views about correcting the contemporary methods of pronouncing Greek (and Latin) expr…
Date: 2013-11-01


(653 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract Eteocretans, literally ‘true Cretans’, is the ancient name given to a group of Cretan people speaking a non-Greek tongue. The six undisputed Eteocretan inscriptions (ca 650 (?) - 3rd or 2nd c. BCE) are written in the Greek alphabet but total 422 letters only. Moreover, we are able to isolate only a few of their ‘words’. This explains that their interpretation is difficult and that their linguistic relationship remains unknown despite several tentative identifications. ‘Eteocretans’, Eteókrētes, is the name given by the ancient Greeks to a group of Cretan people…
Date: 2013-11-01


(667 words)

Author(s): Yves Duhoux
Abstract Eteocypriot is the modern name given to a non-Greek language found mainly in Cyprus but also in Egypt. Its ca 20 inscriptions are written in the Cypriot ‘Greek’ (or ‘classic’) syllabary, which was deciphered at the end of the 19th c. Although the texts can be read, they are badly understood. Despite a good number of tentative identifications of Eteocypriot, its linguistic relationship still remains unknown. Eteocypriot is the modern name given to a non-Greek language found mainly in Cyprus but also in Egypt. The main source of its inscriptions is the kingdom of Amathus, on the So…
Date: 2013-11-01

Etymological Dictionaries: From Antiquity to the Byzantine Period

(2,347 words)

Author(s): Stefano Valente
Abstract Philosophical and grammatical studies on etymologies (or rather pseudo-etymologies) have contributed to the compilation of various erudite works devoted to this topic from the 5th c. BCE on. However, the first etymological dictionary seems to have been that compiled by Orion of Thebes (5th c. CE), which then constituted one of the major sources of Late Antique and Byzantine Etymologica (these latter having encyclopedic character rather than being strictly etymological dictionaries). Systematic studies on etymology (Etymology ( etumologίa), Ancient Theories of), i…
Date: 2013-11-01

Etymological Dictionaries: From the Renaissance to the 20th Century

(1,574 words)

Author(s): Martin Huld
Abstract An etymological dictionary, that is a dictionary whose principal aim is to provide an index of the historical origins of words in a particular language, must be distinguished from a dictionary with incidental etymologies. Examples of the latter type represent a continuing prescriptivist tradition from antiquity, which held that knowing a word’s origin would provide insight into its ‘true’ meaning and was thus an important element in the prescriptive aim of preventing misuse or decay of a language. It is from this prescriptivist meaning that the term etymology (Gk. étymo- ‘tr…
Date: 2013-11-01

Etymological Dictionaries: Theory of Greek Etymology

(1,569 words)

Author(s): Martin Huld
Abstract The word etymology is based on the Greek adjective étymos (- os, - on / - ē, - on) ‘true’ and - log-ía  (from leg-/log- ‘gather; say’) and originally referred to the ‘true’ or correct analysis of morphological components in Greek words. This practice was prescriptive in origin and is akin to such prescriptivist pronouncements as “The actual meaning of terrific is ‘causing terror’ and not ‘exceptional’.” Devoid of these prescriptive attitudes, the earliest etymology was what we would now call derivational morphology and only concerned itself with …
Date: 2013-11-01

Etymology (etumología), Ancient Theories of

(2,305 words)

Author(s): Alessandro Garcea
Abstract Ancient etymology is “the unfolding of words, by which their true meaning may be made clear” ( Schol. Dion. Thrax 14.23-24). It aims less at finding the meaning of a word than corroborating it. Literary tradition from Homer onwards analyzes words, especially proper names, as a form of encrypted knowledge about the world, which authors share with their public. Philosophers have been particularly interested in the natural vs. the conventional relationship between words and things, as Plato’s Cratylus clearly shows. Grammarians, for their part, interpreted etymology…
Date: 2013-11-01

Euphemism and Dysphemism

(2,177 words)

Author(s): Tiziana Pellucchi
Abstract Euphemism is a lexical phenomenon whereby certain words become subject to linguistic interdiction and are replaced, due to apotropaic fear of the taboo items to which they refer or to embarassment when dealing with unpleasant topics; such verbal dissimulation makes use of various formal and semantic devices. Euphemisms may be divided into three groups on the basis of their subject-matter: euphemisms of superstition, decency, and politeness. The counterpart of euphemism is dysphemism, the…
Date: 2013-11-01