In the 4th century, the Roman Empire was divided and the Eastern Roman Empire arose with Constantinople as the capital city. The official language of the Eastern Roman Empire was Latin, but Greek was the language spoken, the language of the Church and education. Latin is slowly displaced from every aspect of public life. Gradually, the word Romans came to mean ‘the Greeks of the Eastern Roman Empire’ and Romania was Byzantium. Continue reading Byzantine Period
The year 1453 as the end of the medieval period and the start of the Modern Greek period is only a conventional one. The historical periods in the development of the Greek language cannot be clearly defined, because the rate of internal renewal has been very conservative and the transitions between changes have been very smooth. Many elements in the Greek language are still unchanged from Ancient Greek. Continue reading Modern Greek
Diglossia, which started in Byzantine times, the vast difference between the spoken language of the people, which was the descendant of the Koine, and the archaic language of scholars, education, and the Church, continued well into the modern era.
At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of Greek Enlightenment, there were two different camps of Greek scholars: a. those who cultivated archaism and pinned on it their hopes for the nation’s cultural renaissance, and b. those fighting archaism and suggesting the establishment of the people’s language – or as close to it as possible – as the medium of education and literature. Those latter ones believed that archaism was actually an obstacle for the education of the people, since they could not understand the language of instruction. Continue reading The Language Issue
Ανδριώτης, Νικόλαος. 1995. Ιστορία της ελληνικής γλώσσας. Θεσσαλονίκη: Ινστιτούτο Νεοελληνικών Σπουδών.
[Andriotis, Nikolaos. 1995. History of the Greek Language. Thessaloniki: Institute of Modern Greek Studies.]
Horrocks, Geoffrey. 1997. Greek. A History of the Language and its Speakers. Essex and New York: Addison Wesley Longman.
Christidis, A-.Ph. 1996. “The Modern Greek Language and its History”. The Greek Language. Eds. A.-Ph. Christidis and Eleni Karatzola. Athens: Ministry of National Education and Religions, Directorate of International Relations in Education and Centre for the Greek Language.
Modern Greek dramaturgy was shaped by various factors. The struggle to establish the popular language (the demotic) in literature, translations of foreign classic and modern authors in a vivid, working language and the attempts of Greek playwrights to face and expose contemporary reality, either under the guise of comedy and satire, or under the new conditions of social drama, are the elements from which contemporary Greek drama has emerged. Comedy of manners, satirical revue and realistically expressed social drama have been the forms favoured by contemporary authors. Greek Comedy in its various forms as well as works aiming at social realism and pshychological drama succeeded in presenting a wealth of popular characters, a critique of situations and behaviour typical of the Greek bourgeoisie and a satire of political actuality.
Works originating from the 19th century were impressively staged anew during the 20th century, such as Vyzantios’ Babylonia, Chourmouzis’ comedies and Dimitrios Koromilas’ comic idylls. The scene of bourgeois drama was further enhanced with works by Grigorios Xenopoulos, Pantelis Horn and Spyros Melas. The 19th century Vasilikos by Antonios Matesis continues to be performed today in contrast to the works of Yiannis Kambysis. Continue reading Aspects of Modern Greek Drama