HistoryCivilizationTravellingIn FocusGallery
CivilizationCivilization in ByzantiumLanguage in Byzantium

Language in Byzantium

Late Antiquity (324-565)
Dark Antiquity (565-867)
Middle and Late Byzantine periods (867-1430)

Images on this page

Autograph of Georgios Gemistos Plethon
Original manuscript (autograph) of the Byzantine scholar Georgios Gemistos Plethon, early 15th century, Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.

PreviousUpNext The Language in the Middle and Late Byzantine periods (867-1430)

Autograph of Georgios Gemistos Plethon
Early 15th century

In the 10th century the features of the modern dialects were already fully formed, while the prestige of the 'koine', the official language, gradually lessened, as large parts of the Byzantine state came under Frankish control.

As a result, many loan-words were introduced from Italian (mainly in the vocabulary of arts and crafts, and that of navigation) and French (mainly in the vocabulary of feudal law and land-tenure). At the same time, the spoken form of the language was used in writing more widely than before.

The fact that the surviving texts do not show prominent dialectal features suggests that a common language was created; this spoken form of the language existed in parallel with the local dialects and was used in the large urban centres of Byzantium -- among them Thessalonike and Serrhai -- by the constantly moving merchants, administrators and military officials.

See Also
Civilization - Language in Antiquity
From the Archaic period to Alexander III
The traditional Macedonian dialect
The Ionic presence
The Attic influence
Travelling - Byzantine Macedonia

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.