BIG Greek Lie 2

BIG Greek Lie 2 - The Koine Language is Greek

(Modern Greeks are victims of their own making)

By Risto Stefov

[NOTE: Our apologies to the Greek people if they find these articles offensive. Our objective here is NOT to create tension between the Macedonian and Greek people but rather to highlight the problem that exists within the Greek State and its institutions. As long as the Greek State denies our existence as Macedonians with rights and privileges, we will continue to publish these types of articles.]

In BIG Greek lie # 1 we showed that there were no "Ancient Greeks" since the word "Greek" was not coined until after the Roman conquests, approximately 600 years after the establishment of the City States and approximately 150 years after they were conquered by the Macedonians. In a similar manner we will show that the Koine language was not exclusively Greek as Greece would have us believe.

The Koine language made its way into Macedonia a little before Philip II's time. Poorly worded and misspelled inscriptions written in Koine were found in the Macedonian capital which indicates that the language was not well understood and was just making its way there. The roots of the Koine language may have started in one of the more progressive City States, most probably Athens, but by the time it made its way to the Eastern Mediterranean, it had become the language of administration and commerce, common to all Mediterranean nations.

In Macedonia, Koine was strictly the language of the educated and was used by the court administrators and the international merchants.

By the time Koine arrived in Macedonia it was already the "lingua franca" of administration and commerce in the Eastern Mediterranean world.

Koine in those days was like English is today. In Europe for example, counties have their own languages which they use to communicate at home, but internationally they use English to communicate with other countries.

Alexander the Great was the first to take Koine out of the Mediterranean world to Asia, Africa and other worlds he conquered. The real heroes for Koine's success were Alexander's successors the Antigonids, Selucuseds and the Ptolemies. It is well known that the Ptolemies did not only insist on using Koine but they refused to learn any other language including those of the people they ruled. Cleopatra VII was the only Macedonian sovereign from the Ptolemaic dynasty who broke the Ptolemaic rule and learned several languages including Egyptian.

The Koine language was so deeply rooted in the old Macedonian empires that even after they were conquered by the Romans it continued to flourish. Koine was spoken by Roman intellectual even in Rome. Almost all ancient literary works were written in Koine

Let's not forget that throughout the Macedonian and Roman periods Koine, in spite of its popularity with the educated and elite, it remained a language of Administration and commerce. Koine was never a language of the common people.

While Koine served its purpose in the administrative and commercial circles, other languages, languages of the people, simultaneously also flourished in parallel but in their oral form until they were later codified by Christianity.

After the Roman empire split into East and West, Koine again resurfaced and replaced Latin as the administrative language of the Eastern or Pravoslav empire. Koine remained active and served the administration and commerce of the Pravoslav world for over a millennium.

Interestingly, Koine also became the administrative and commercial language of the Ottoman Empire and continued to exist in a commercial and administrative capacity during Ottoman rule as it did during Pravoslav rule. .

By Islamic law, Muslims were not allowed to travel outside of their domain, handle public funds or speak foreign languages. The Ottomans employed Christians to administer foreign affairs, banking and trade with the outside world. And yes you guest it, the Christians continued to employ the Koine language throughout Ottoman rule as they did during Pravoslav rule..

The keepers of the Ottoman administrative and commercial services as well as the rulers of the Christian world inside the Ottoman empire were known as the Phanariots. The Phanariots were the Christian educated and professionals middle class or the bourgeoisie of the Ottoman world. They were people from various nationalities from every corner of the Eastern world. They were the clerics, the translators (dragoman), the merchants and the captains of ships and of industry and they all spoke Koine. They were called Phanariots because they lived in a district of Tsari Grad (Constantinople or Istanbul) known as the Phanar.

In the 19th century, during the Ottoman decline, the Phanariots were much in favour of toppling the Ottoman administration. The idea was to overthrow the Ottoman Sultan and his Muslim rule and replace it with Christian rule. Unfortunately, the Great Powers did not favour the idea and it failed. After that, the Phanariots worked closely with the Great Powers to establish the Greek Kingdom.

Even though the people of the newly established Greek Kingdom were of many different ethnicities including Albanians, Vlahs, Slavs, Turks, etc, each with a unique language and culture, the Great Powers instilled upon them the idea that they were the descendents of the ancient people who lived in that region over two millenniums ago.

After nearly a decade of contemplation as to which language to use, Greek authorities finally decided to adopt the Koine language as the liturary language of their new nation. They disregarded all vibrant and living peoples' languages in favour of the ancient administrative and commercial Koine.

Unfortunately, after two millennium of evolution, the modern version of Koine contained many foreign elements and proved distasteful to the Greek purists who wanted a pure language which was close to those of the ancient City States.

After nearly a century of using Koine, the purists finally got their chance to replace it. Their new choice was an old dead Attic language used by the ancient Athenians 2,500 years ago. The Greeks called their new language the Catharevoussa for its linguistic purity.

Unfortunately, this language had been dead for two thousand years and the Greek literary world which was used to the bastardized impure Koine, found it very difficult to understand and impossible to express emotion. Its use was finally terminated in the 1970's in favour of the bastardized Koine (Dimotiki).

For those Greeks who insist that all ancient Greeks spoke a dialect of the same language, here are some simple and common everyday words in English, Ancient Attic and Modern Koine;

English / Catharevoussa (Ancient Attic) / Dimotiki (Koine)

Horse / Ipos / Alogo

Donkey / Onos / Gaidaros

Hen / Ornitha / Kota

Goat / Ega / Gida (Katsika)

Kid (baby goat) / Erifi / Katsiki

Bread / Artos / Psomi

THE TRUTH: The Koine language belongs to all the Eastern Mediterranean people and not just modern Greece.

Modern Greece took the Koine language, which by right belongs to all the Eastern Mediterranean people, for itself and now calls it Greek.

Just because Greece adopted Koine as the literary language for its modern nation, it does not make it exclusively Greek. Koine evolved as the language of administration and commerce in the entire Eastern Mediterranean and as such belongs to all the people in the Eastern Mediterranean world.

If anyone should claim credit for Koine's effectiveness and long survival it should be the ancient Macedonians who insisted on using it for centuries.

You can contact the author at rstefov@hotmail.com

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