Ancient Greek, a branch of the Indo-European language family, is a historically significant language that was spoken and written in the region of Greece, the Aegean, and in various colonies of the Greek world, from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It has a rich literary heritage that includes foundational texts in philosophy, science, poetry, and historiography, which have had a profound impact on Western culture.

The earliest form of Greek is documented in the Linear B script on clay tablets and various artefacts of the Mycenaean civilisation, dating from the 15th to the 13th century BCE. Following the collapse of the Mycenaean civilisation, Greece entered a period of reduced literacy, and few written records survive from this time. The Greek alphabet, derived from the Phoenician alphabet, emerged in the 8th century BCE. This period saw the creation of monumental works, including Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” and the works of Sappho, Herodotus, Sophocles, and many others. Classical Greek, particularly the Attic dialect, became the lingua franca of the Hellenic world.

Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, Koine Greek emerged as a common language throughout the Hellenistic world, blending elements of various Greek dialects. It was the language of the New Testament and many important early Christian texts. As the Roman Empire transitioned into the Byzantine Empire, Medieval or Byzantine Greek became the administrative and literary language, continuing to evolve through the medieval period.

Ancient Greek was divided into several dialects, including Ionic, Doric, Aeolic, and Attic, each with unique phonetic, lexical, and grammatical traits. Attic Greek, the dialect of Athens, formed the basis of Classical Greek. The Greek alphabet, which developed around the 8th century BCE, has been influential in the development of other alphabets, including the Latin and Cyrillic scripts. The vocabulary of Ancient Greek reflects a wide range of influences, including borrowings from Anatolian, Indo-European, and Semitic languages.