Greek is not a single language, but it had various dialects and evolved significantly over time. What form of Greek did the Romans who spoke classical Latin study? Was it contemporary for the purpose of interacting with Greeks or historical for the purpose of reading old literature? Did the Romans focus on a specific dialect or form (Attic, Homeric, Koine)?

Probably different Romans studied somewhat different things and anyone who studied Greek new a mixture of different forms. What I'm looking for is a big picture of what kind of Greek the Romans studied.

  • 2
    From the Hellenistic period onwards Attic was regarded as the sole classical and correct variety of Greek.
    – fdb
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 16:20
  • Marcus Aurelius wrote in Attic, so the presumption is they went for the highest prestige variety. Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 21:58

1 Answer 1

  1. Attic was the prestige language, especially for the literati.
  2. Homeric was an obligatory part of a proper education, to the point of memorization.
  3. Contemporary Greek dialects, including the Koine, were necessary for anyone working or travelling in the eastern half of the empire. (I don't know if any classical authors refer to their studies in Greek dialects.)
  4. Apart from the educated and the commercially focused, most Latin speakers did not bother to learn any Greek. After all, they knew that they were the master race!

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