Doric Greek

Doric or Dorian (Ancient Greek: Δωρισμός, romanized: Dōrismós) was an Ancient Greek dialect. Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern Peloponnese as well as in Sicily, Epirus, Southern Italy, Crete, Rhodes, some islands in the southern Aegean Sea and some cities on the south east coast of Anatolia. Together with Northwest Greek, it forms the "Western group" of classical Greek dialects. By Hellenistic times, under the Achaean League, an Achaean-Doric koiné language appeared, exhibiting many peculiarities common to all Doric dialects, which delayed the spread of the Attic-based Koine Greek to the Peloponnese until the 2nd century BC.[2] The only living descendant of Doric is the Tsakonian language which is still spoken in Greece today;[3] though critically endangered, with only a few hundred – mostly elderly – fluent speakers left.[4]

Doric Greek
RegionPeloponnese, Crete, Rhodes, Sicily, Italy
Erac. 800–100 BC; evolved into the Tsakonian language
Early form
Greek alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Distribution of Greek dialects in Greece in the classical period.[1]
Distribution of Greek dialects in Magna Graecia (Southern Italy and Sicily) in the classical period.

It is widely accepted that Doric originated in the mountains of Epirus in northwestern Greece, the original seat of the Dorians. It was expanded to all other regions during the Dorian invasion (c. 1150 BC) and the colonisations that followed. The presence of a Doric state (Doris) in central Greece, north of the Gulf of Corinth, led to the theory that Doric had originated in northwest Greece or maybe beyond in the Balkans. The dialect's distribution towards the north extends to the Megarian colony of Byzantium and the Corinthian colonies of Potidaea, Epidamnos, Apollonia and Ambracia; there, it further added words to what would become the Albanian language,[5][6] probably via traders from a now-extinct Illyrian intermediary.[7] In the north, local epigraphical evidence includes the decrees of the Epirote League, the Pella curse tablet, three additional lesser known Macedonian inscriptions (all of them identifiable as Doric),[8] numerous inscriptions from a number of Greek colonies, etc.. Furthermore, we also have plenty of local coins and names that assist us in our study of the northern Doric dialects. Southern dialects, in addition to numerous inscriptions, coins, and names, have also provided much more literary evidence through authors such as Alcman, Pindar, Archimedes of Syracuse, and many others, all of whom wrote in Doric. Last, we also have ancient dictionaries, such as the one from Hesychius of Alexandria, whose work preserved many dialectal words from throughout the Greek-speaking world.