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Arcadocypriot Greek
RegionArcadia, Cyprus
Erac. 1200 – 300 BC[citation needed]
Early forms
Greek alphabet
Cypriot syllabary
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Distribution of Greek dialects in Greece in the classical period.[1]

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.

In Cyprus the dialect was written using solely the Cypriot syllabary. The most extensive surviving text of the dialect is the Idalion Tablet.[2] A significant literary source on the vocabulary comes from the lexicon of 5th century AD grammarian Hesychius.


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).[3]

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.[4]

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 using the Cypriot syllabary.[5][6]

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).



Arcadian word English transliteration Meaning Other Greek dialects
ἀμφιδεκάτη amphidekatê 21st of the month ἡ μετὰ εἰκάδα ἡμέρα (ampheikas)(dekatê tenth)
ἄνωδα anôda up-side Attic ἄνωθε anôthe
ἄρμωλα armôla or ἀρμώμαλα armômala food seasoning Attic ἀρτύματα artymata; ἀρτύω artyo
ἄσιστος asistos nearest Attic ἄγχιστος anchistos
δάριν darin or dareir span of all fingers; see Ancient Greek units of measurement Attic σπιθαμή spithame, inch)
Ἑκατόμβαιος Hecatombaios epithet for Apollo in Athens and for Zeus in Gortys (Arcadia) and Gortyna, Crete
Ϝιστίαυ Wistiau Attic Hestiou, eponym genitive of Hestios; Cf.Hestia and gistia)
ϝοῖνος woinos wine Cypriot, Cretan, Delphic, Magna Graecian; Attic oinos
ζέλλω zellô "throw, put, let, cast" Attic βάλλω ballô
ζέρεθρον zerethron pit (Homeric, Attic βέρεθρον berethron; (Koine barathron)
θύρδα thyrda outside Attic ἔξω exô, thyra door; (Paphian θόρανδε thorande
ἴν in in, inside Attic en; Cypriot id.
κάθιδος kathidos water-jug Attic ὑδρία hydria; (Tarentine huetos)
κάς kas and Attic καί kai; Cypriotic id.
κίδαρις kidaris Arcadian dance (Athenaeus 14.631d.)[7] and Demetra Kidaria in Arcadia.
κόρϝα korwa girl Attic korê; Pamphylian name Κορϝαλίνα Korwalina
Κορτύνιοι Kortynioi (Kortys or Gortys (Arcadia))
κυβήβη kubêbê boot, shoe Attic hypodema
Λῆναι Lênai Bacchae (Lenaeus Dionysus, Lenaia festival
μωρίαι môriai horses, cattle
οὔνη ounê or ounei come on! Go! Attic δεῦρο, δράμε deuro, drame
πέσσεται pessetai it is cooked, roasted Attic ὀπτᾶται optatai
πος pos towards, into Attic προς pros; Cypriot id. !

ποσκατυβλάψη[8] poskatublapse (Attic proskatablapsei)

σίς[9] sis who, anyone Attic tis; Laconian tir; Thessalian kis; Cypr. sis (si se)



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. ^ Georgiadou, Anna (2015). "The Tablet of Idalion (ICS 217)". Kyprios Character. History, Archaeology & Numismatics of Ancient Cyprus.
  3. ^ Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.5.1 Archived 2008-01-26 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ John T Hooker, Mycenaean Greece (Routledge Revivals). Archived 2015-12-24 at the Wayback Machine Routledge, 2014 ISBN 1317751221 p164
  5. ^ Kypros, Salamis, c. 600 BC [1] Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Kypros — Kourion ~320 BC [2] Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Mortals and Immortals [3] Archived 2016-12-24 at the Wayback Machine by Jean-Pierre Vernant
  8. ^ Arkadia — Tegea — 4th century BC IG V,2 6 38 Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Arkadia — Mantineiastoichedon. — 5th century BC [4] Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "LSJ". Archived from the original on 2022-01-26. Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  11. ^ Aristotle, Poetics, XXI [5] Archived 2007-12-19 at the Wayback Machine


Further reading