Arcadocypriot Greek

Arcadocypriot Greek
Region Arcadia, Cyprus
Era c. 1200 – 600 BC
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Linguist list
Glottolog None

Distribution of Greek dialects in Greek in the classical period.[1]
Western group: Central group:
Eastern group:

Arcadocypriot or southern Achaean was an ancient Greek dialect spoken in Arcadia in the central Peloponnese and in Cyprus. Its resemblance to Mycenaean Greek, as it is known from the Linear B corpus, suggests that Arcadocypriot is its descendant.


Proto-Arcadocypriot (around 1200 BC) is supposed to have been spoken by Achaeans in the Peloponnese before the arrival of Dorians so it is also called southern Achaean. The isoglosses of the Cypriot and Arcadian dialects testify that the Achaeans had settled in Cyprus. As Pausanias reported:

Agapenor, the son of Ancaeus, the son of Lycurgus, who was king after Echemus, led the Arcadians to Troy. After the capture of Troy the storm that overtook the Greeks on their return home carried Agapenor and the Arcadian fleet to Cyprus, and so Agapenor became the founder of Paphos, and built the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Palaepaphos (Old Paphos).[2]

The establishment happened before 1100 BC. With the arrival of Dorians in the Peloponnese, a part of the population moved to Cyprus, and the rest was limited to the Arcadian mountains.

According to John T Hooker, the preferable explanation for the general historico-linguistic picture is

"that in the Bronze Age, at the time of the great Mycenaean expansion, a dialect of a high degree of uniformity was spoken both in Cyprus and in the Peloponnese but that at some subsequent epoch the speakers of West Greek intruded upon the Peloponnese and occupied the coastal states, but made no significant inroads into Arcadia."[3]

Later developments

After the collapse of the Mycenaean world, communication ended, and Cypriot was differentiated from Arcadian. It was written until the 3rd century BC with Cypriot syllabary.[4] [5]

Tsan was a letter in use only in Arcadia until around the 6th century BC. Arcadocypriot kept many characteristics of Mycenaean, early lost in Attic and Ionic, such as the /w/ sound (digamma).





See also


  1. Roger D. Woodard (2008), "Greek dialects", in: The Ancient Languages of Europe, ed. R. D. Woodard, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 51.
  2. Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.5.1
  3. John T Hooker, Mycenaean Greece (Routledge Revivals). Routledge, 2014 ISBN 1317751221 p164
  4. Kypros, Salamis, c. 600 BC
  5. Kypros — Kourion ~320 BC
  6. Mortals and Immortals by Jean-Pierre Vernant
  7. Arkadia — Tegea — 4th century BC IG V,2 6 38
  8. Arkadia — Mantineiastoichedon. — 5th century BC
  9. LSJ
  10. Aristotle, Poetics, XXI


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 9/24/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.