Geography Pages


Ancient Greece - City-States and Ethnic Groups

map of Greece

Note : Several of the smaller states are not shown. The names of most of the islands have been omitted


Ancient Greek Dialects

map of Greek dialects

The distribution and dialects changed considerably over the centuries as the Greek language developed and people-groups moved into the region

The Mycenaeans, who spoke an early form of Greek, and used the writing system known as Linear B, had settlements at Mycenae, Tyrins, and other sites in southern Greece. At that time the main dialects were probably early forms of Aeolic (in the North) and Ionic (in the South)
At the time of the Dorian invasions (ca. 1,300 - 1,200 BC) invaders from the north moved into the region, and the Doric dialect became dominant
In the northwest, a group of blended dialects developed
Some of the Ionic-speaking population of the south fled eastwards, probably spending some time in Athens, but eventually settling on the coast of Asia Minor (what is now Western Turkey)

Grouping of Dialects

Aeolic Group
Asiatic, spoken in Asia Minor in the region of Troy
Boeotian, spoken in Thebes and its surrounding area
Lesbian, spoken on the island of Lesbos
Thessalian, spoken in Thessaly
Attic-Ionic Group
Attic, spoken in Athens and its surrounding area
Ionic, spoken in Ionia - the coast of Asia Minor, and the islands of the Aegean
Arcadian Group
Arcadian, closely related to Ionic, and spoken in the central Peloponnese - where the ancient population managed to hold out against the Dorians
Cypriot, spoken on the island of Cypus (in the Eastern Mediterranean - not shown on the map)
Pamphylian, spoken in Pamphylia on the southern coast of Asia Minor (Turkey)- not shown on the map
Doric Group
Argolic, spoken in the Argolid - the region of Myceneae and Tyrins
Coan, spoken on the island of Coos
Corinthian, spoken in Corinth and its surrounding area
Cretan, spoken on the island of Crete
Laconian, spoken in Sparta and the southern Peloponnese
Megarian, spoken in Megara and its surrounding area
Rhodian, spoken on the island of Rhodes
Theran, spoken on the island of Thera
Macedonian
Spoken in the northern Kingdom of Macedon
Northwestern Group
Elean, spoken in the region of Elis
Epirotic, spoken in the region of Epirus
Locrian, spoken in the region of Locris, with sub-groups Ozolian and Opuntian
Phocian, spoken in the region of Phocis

Go here for the History of the period
Go here for a brief History of the Greek Language

Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

Station 19
ENMU
Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated: June 6, 2010

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