- Albio Cesare Cassio
In spite of being spoken in areas so far away from each other, Arcadian (written in the Greek alphabet) and Cypriot (written in a special syllabary) were two closely related ancient Greek dialects, hence the modern appellation “Arcado-Cypriot.” They descended directly from Mycenaean, some archaic vocabulary is unique to Homer, Mycenaean, and Arcado-Cypriot, and various other features set them apart from all the other Greek dialects.
Arcado-Cypriot is a modern name used for two ancient Greek dialects, Arcadian and Cypriot, which share in a number of peculiarities—both archaisms and innovations, the latter being of central importance for the reconstruction of an earlier Arcado-Cypriot unity (which was not recognised in antiquity). Obviously, beside numerous similarities, there are remarkable differences between Arcadian and Cypriot.
It is likely that both dialects, neither of which seems to have given rise to literary texts, descend directly from Mycenaean, hence the frequently used label of “Achaean” dialects. In archaic and classical times Arcadian was spoken by a population inhabiting central Peloponnese (see Arcadia), the Arcadians being surrounded by speakers of Doric dialects, while Cypriot was spoken by the Greek population of the island of Cyprus, on which Phoenician and some indigenous languages were also used (see Eteocypriot).1 The likeliest way to explain the remarkable similarities between these geographically very distant dialects is to admit that the Mycenaean ancestors of both populations lived in the Peloponnese in the late 2nd millennium bce and at some point were obliged to flee foreign invasions. Some of them took refuge in the mountainous central region of the Peloponnese (Arcadia), while others migrated to Cyprus (see dialects, greek, prehistory). It is hardly accidental that the places where most Cypriot Greek inscriptions were found are Marion and Paphos, in the westernmost part of the island.
Arcadian is known from glosses and alphabetic inscriptions (mainly official documents: temple regulations, decrees, etc.), the earliest of which go back to the beginning of the 5th century bce. With the passage of time, some archaic traits disappeared, and in Hellenistic times the dialect was more and more influenced by the surrounding Doric dialects and the koine. Cypriot Greek was written with a syllabary ultimately derived, like linear B, from Linear A; we now have more than 1,000 syllabic inscriptions (very short and of private nature with the exception of the Idalion bronze tablet and a handful of other documents; see Figure 1).2 The syllabary (of which a special variant is attested in Paphos) was in use mainly from the 8th to the late 4th century bce (but a very early inscription with the genitive of a personal name, o-pe-le-ta-u = Ὀφέλταυ is dated to c. 1050–950 bce ).3 From the late 4th century bce, the Greek alphabetic system prevailed; however, the syllabary was still used (along with the alphabet) as late as the first part of the 2nd century bce, in a small number of dedicatory inscriptions at the sanctuary of the Nymph at Kafizin.4 We also have a high number of dialect glosses. In what follows, alphabetic forms belong to Arcadian and transcribed syllabograms to Cypriot. Note that many details of Cypriot phonology and morphology are obscured by the numerous ambiguities of the syllabic script.
It is remarkable that some Greek nouns, verbs, and particles are rarely found outside Homer (and later poets) and Arcado-Cypriot, as in the case of ἰδέ (“and”) (= καί, κάς, ka-se elsewhere; Cypriot i-te = ἰδέ); the Homeric epithet of Hermes, ἐριούνης means “excellent runner” and must be linked to a unique root attested in Cypriot and Arcadian glosses (e.g., Hesych. o 1785 οὔνη· δεῦρο. δράµε. Ἀρκάδες (in Arcadian, οὔνη means “here, run”). Homeric οἶος (“alone”) (< οἶϝος, cf. Avestan aēuua-, same meaning) is otherwise found only in Mycenaean o-wo-we (= οἰϝώϝης “with a single ear [= handle]” and in Cypriot, dat. o-i-wo-i (“alone”).5 Apparently, Arcado-Cypriot continued to use some extremely archaic vocabulary that had become obsolete in the rest of the Greek-speaking world. Note, however, that new discoveries can change the picture: δέατοι (“it seems”) is often found in Arcadian inscriptions, and δέατ'(ο) “seemed” is found only once in Homer (Od. 6. 242). Although this is universally regarded as an Arcado-Cypriot feature in Homer, δέαται has surfaced in a (Hellenistic!) inscription in Asiatic Aeolic.6po-to-li-se (= πτόλις city) is amply attested in Cypriot, but only πόλις in Arcadian inscriptions (yet Πτόλις, name of the citadel of Old Mantinea, is a plausible conjecture in Paus. 8. 8. 4). No explanation of initial πτ- is really convincing. Mycenaean has the personal name po-to-re-ma-ta = Πτολεµάτας; πτ- is also attested in Thessalian (assimilated ττολίαρχος, name of an official). Πτόλις (“city”) and πτολίπορθος (“destroyer of cities”) are frequently found in Homer.
The presence in Arcado-Cypriot of inherited phonology and morphology is remarkable, although in many cases, archaisms and innovations are inextricably intertwined. The retention of inherited [a:] (e.g. ἄ̄µατα/a-ma-ta days < *Heh2m-; Homeric ἤµατα) is attested in all dialect groups except Attic-Ionic; also in common with other dialects is the retention of [w], virtually in all positions, especially in the earliest inscriptions, e.g. ϝίσϝοις (“equal”) dat. plur., κάταρϝος (“cursed”), we-pi-ja (“words”) (= ϝέπια < ϝέπεα, ϝοικίας houses). A notable feature of Arcado-Cypriot is a special development of the old labiovelars gw, kw, gwh (still alive and well in Mycenaean) before front vowels, a development apparently older than the one found in all the other dialect groups, in which these Indo-European phonemes are rendered with stops (e.g. πέντε/πέµπε “five” < *penkwe, τῆλε/πήλυϊ “far” < *kwēl-). As a matter of fact, before front vowels, Arcadian uses a special sign that, in all likelihood, was meant to render affricate sounds, while Cypriot has an [s]. In an inscription from Mantinea, 5th century bce, and in the newest one published by Carbon and Clackson, c. 500–450 bce , we find the outcome of the old labiovelars written with a special grapheme < ϟ >, e.g. ϟις = Attic τις (“somebody”) (< k wi-), εἴ ϟε = Att. εἴτε (“or”) (< -k we), ὀϟελός = Att. ὀβελός (“skewer”) (< *-gwel-; origin of ὀ- unclear).7 In Arcadian glosses, < ζ > appears as the outcome of gw- before [e] (Hesych. ε 597 ἔζελεν· ἔβαλεν “he/she threw” and ζ106 ζέλλειν· βάλλειν “to throw,” both < *gwelh1-); and in Cypriot τις (“somebody”) is written si-se (= σις): the sibilant is confirmed by a gloss of Hesych. σ 552 σί βόλε; ·τί θέλεις; Κύπριοι (“the Cypriots”) say σί βόλε; for “what do you want?” (σί < kwíd).8 It is highly probable that the special Arcadian sign < ϟ > found in the oldest inscriptions represented [dz] and [ts] (> [s] in Cypriot), and that these developments were chronologically earlier than the stops found in the other dialect groups.9 In later inscriptions, however, we find the familiar < τ > < δ > and < θ >.
Various important developments are in common with other dialects, although variations and contradictions tend to be soft-pedalled in handbooks. It is often stated that in Arcadian, the outcome of the IE resonants [n̥], [m̥], [r̥] is not [a] and [ra]/[ar] as in Attic-Ionic and Doric, but [o], in agreement with Aeolic: Arcadian δέκο (<-m̥) (“ten”) = Att. δέκα, ἐνϝότοι (< *h1nu̯n̥t-) ϝέτει (“in the ninth year”) (Att. ἐνάτῳ), πανάγορσις (< *-h2gr̥tis, probably -ᾱ́- with Wackernagel’s lengthening) (“festival”), Att. πανήγυρις. Yet in Arcado-Cypriot, [a] developments are not lacking: τριακάσιοι (“The Τhree Hundred”; -κασι- < *-ḱm̥ti-), ϟεσϟάρο̄ν̣ “four” (gen. plur.) < IE *ku̯etu̯r̥-; Cypriot dat./loc. te-ka-to-i (before 500 bce )= δεκάτοι/-τῳ “tenth” with -κατ- <ḱm̥t-), cf. Att. δεκάτῳ.10 In Arcado-Cypriot, oscillations between [a] and [o] as outcomes of vocalic liquids and nasals are far more frequent than in any other dialect.
In other cases, too, archaisms and innovations are inextricably intertwined, as in the use of ἰν + acc. = Att. εἰς + acc., e.g., ἰν δᾶµον = εἰς δῆµον (“to the people”), i-ta-ti-o-ne (= ἰν τὰν θιόν) = att. εἰς τὴν θεὸν (“to the goddess”) (on ti-o see below).11 ἰν < ἐν is an Arcado-Cypriot innovation, but ἐν + acc. (also attested in other areas, Northwest Greek, Boeotian, Thessalian) is more archaic than εἰς + acc., cf. Latin in patriam (“to the fatherland”). There is also a special development [e] > [i] between [m] and [n], µίνονσαι (“staying”) (fem. plur., Att. µένουσαι), mi-no-ta-mo = Μινόδᾱµος (pers. name), att. Μενέδηµος. As a rule [e] becomes [i] before a back vowel in Cypriot (ti-o “god” = θιός < θεός) but not in Arcadian.12
Word-internal and final ti assibilate to si as in Mycenaean and Attic-Ionic: εἴκοσι (same in Att., < -ḱm̥ti) (“twenty”), εἰ δ' ἂν ... ἐφευρίσκωνσι (-νσι < -nti) (“if they find something more”), e-ke-so-si (= ἕξονσι), Att. ἕξουσι (“they will have”). Also the modal particle ἄν is the same as in Attic-Ionic.13 Hence Arcado-Cypriot κάς, ka-se = καί, probably < *kati, with assibilation and apocope.14 This is the same with πός, po-se < ποτί (“toward”). In Cypriot, final and intervocalic [s] tended to become [h] with the passing of time, with various exceptions and chronological problems: po-ro-ne-o-i (“that they may consider”) (subj.) = φρονέωhι (Attic φρονῶσι), to-po-e-ko-me-no-ne | po-se | to-ro-wo (“[land] that reaches the river”) (= τὸ(ν) ποἑχόµενον πὸς τὸ(ν) ῥόFο(ν) (= Att. τὸν προσεχόµενον πρὸς τὸν ῥοῦν).15 This is almost unknown to Arcadian, but note εἰ δὲ πὸς τᾶι οἰκίαι µὴ πόεστι κᾶπος (“if there is no garden adjacent to the house”) (= Att. εἰ δὲ πρός τῇ οἰκίᾳ µὴ πρόσεστι κῆπος), with πόεστι < πόσεστι.
Moreover Arcado-Cypriot simplifies -ss- to -s- precisely in the same instances as Att.- Ion. (e.g. µέσος “middle” < IE *medhi̯o- etc.).16 But differently from the latter, Arcadian keeps a nasal before an [s] if it is the outcome of Greek-internal developments (sifflante forte, like -si <-ti/*-tsi), e.g. τοῖς πολιτεύονσι (Att. πολιτεύουσι) (“to those who are citizens”).
A remarkable archaism in common with Mycenaean but unattested in the other dialects is the -τοι ending of the 3rd pers. sing. pres. middle, for example, ἔ[σ]ετοι (“will be”) Att. ἔσται; ἂν δέ τις ... φᾶτοι (“if one says”); ke-i-to-i (“she lies”) (Att. κεῖται): the -τοι ending is older than the familiar -ται one.17 The feminine participle of the verb “to be” appears with the old zero-grade of the suffix as ἔασα < ἔασσα <*h1sn̥tih2 vs. full grade ἐοῦσα, οὖσα, ἔοισα etc. attested in other dialects again in agreement with Mycenaean (a-pe-a-sa “absent women” = Att. ἀποῦσαι).18 This archaism is also found in Messenian, and has recently surfaced also in (Hellenistic!) East Aeolic.19
In common with Thessalian, Boeotian, and Elean the subjunctive of the thematic forms shows the simple lengthening of the thematic vowel (εἰ δ’ ἂν καταλλάσσε̄, probably “should he exceed”), not < -ηι > (= -ῃ in literary texts; either lengthening of -ει, or remodelling of -η after -ει), familiar from Attic-Ionic.
Some Arcado-Cypriot active thematic infinitive forms show a remarkable affinity with their Ion.-Att. counterparts, e.g. -ην endings (φέρην “bring,” with a long vowel more open than the one of Attic φέρειν, both < *-e-hen: in Arcado-Cypriot open vowels (<η>, <ω>) are the outcome of the contractions of *e-e and *o-o); yet we find short endings at Tegea (ἀπέχεν “remove” = Att. ἀπέχειν; Doric influence); -εναι is the ending of athematic actives (ἀνθῆναι= Att. ἀναθεῖναι, both < *-the-enai), but the interpretation of Cypriot to-we-na-i (= δόϝεναι) is highly controversial.20
Other peculiarities are: Athematic inflection of verba vocalia: Arcadian ἀδικήµενος (= Att. ἀδικούµενος) “suffering injustice,” ποίενσι (Att. ποιοῦσι) “they do,” κύενσαν (Att. κυοῦσαν) “pregnant woman”; Cypriot uncertain. In Arcadian ἐς is the anteconsonantal form of ἐξ (also found in other dialects), e.g. ἐσδοτῆρες = ἐκδοτῆρες “those who contract out”: there are “short” accus. plural of the thematic declension, in common with Thessalian and some Doric dialects, from -ονς + consonant with elimination of [n], τὸς ἐσγόνος (“the descendants”) att. τοὺς ἐκγόνους. In Arcadian the locative of the -o- stems is used for the dative singular, e.g. τᾶι Θεσµοφόροι (“to (Demeter) Thesmophoros”), but with oscillations (Cypriot unclear). The dat. plural is in -οις, not -οισι. There are special pronouns ὀνί, ὄνυ, Cypriot o-nu (“he”), gen. τῶννυ (“of them”), νυ probably being the enclitic particle found in Homer; το̃νυ (“of him”) was found in an archaic Cretan inscription, SEG 27:631, probably a pre-Dorian remnant. The preposition ἀνά appears in Arcado-Cypriot as ὀν, also found in Thessalian and East Aeolic; ὀν is often raised to ὐν, and “he/she dedicated” appears in Cyprus in three different shapes, a-ne-te-ke, o-ne-te-ke, u-ne-te- ke.
The -ευς nouns (ἱερεύς etc.) show -ής in the nom., (φονε̄́ς = Att. φονεύς “killer,” ἱερής = Att. ἱερεύς “priest”) and -ήν in the acc. (ἱερε̄́ ν “priest” in Arcadian, not certain in Cypriot). If -ήν is old, with -ēn < *-ēm by “Stang’s Law,” nomin. -ής was backformed on the accusative.21
In Arcado-Cypriot, a final -o can appear as -υ (pronounced [u], not [y]) in a number of cases: ἐγένοντυ = ἐγένοντο (“they became”), ke-no-i tu = γένοιτο “may happen”), possibly ἀπύ = ἀπό (“from”) (not certain because Mycenaean a-pu seems to be an independent variant).22 The old (already Mycenaean -ᾱο gen. of the -ᾱς (Att. -ης) nouns appears in Arcado-Cypriot as -αυ, Ἀλεξιάδαυ “(son) of Alexiadas,” Μιλτιάδαυ “(son) of Miltiadas,” na-si-o-ta-u “(son) of Nasiotas,” o-pe-le-ta-u = Ὀφέλταυ “of Opheltas.” At Tegea -αυ was transferred to the fem. nouns (τᾶς ἐργωνίαυ “of the contract,” τᾶς ζαµίαυ “of the penalty”).23 However the change -o > -υ was far from systematic, e.g. δύϝο “ten,” δύϝο “two” (neither in Cypriot), αὐτό “that,” (also Cypriot a-u-to). Probably the o > u change started early but in limited environments, and may have “acquired a wider distribution at a later stage, when the two dialects were already separated.”24
In Cyprus, a special thematic genitive written -o-ne is found, e.g. o-na-si-lo-ne (“of Onasilos”). It is probably a Cypriot innovation, with no convincing explanation. A special syntactical feature of Arcado-Cypriot, also interesting for its possible link with Mycenaean, is the use of the dative/locative instead of the genitive with prepositions meaning “from”: ἀπὺ τοῖ ἱεροῖ (Att. ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱεροῦ) “from the shrine,” ὑπὸ τοῖ Ἀπόλλωνι (Att. ὑπὸ τοῦ ᾽Απόλλωνος) “from Apollo,” e-xe-to-i wo- i-ko-i (= Att. ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου) “from the house”; note in Mycenaean pa-ro da-mo (da-mo probably representing dat. damōi or loc. damoi) “from the dāmos” (would have been παρά + gen. in Att.-Ion).25
In sum, in spite of some features in common with Attic-Ionic and Aeolic, Arcado-Cypriot presents a number of lexical and morphological archaisms clearly linkable to Mycenaean, which, along with many other peculiar developments, set this dialect group remarkably apart from all the other ones.
- Egetmeyer, Markus. Le dialecte grec ancien de Chypre. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010.
- Masson, Olivier. Les Inscriptions chypriotes syllabiqes. Paris: Editions de Boccard, 1983.
- Schwyzer, Eduard. Dialectorum graecarum exempla epigraphica potiora, Leipzig, Germany: Hirzel, 1923.
- Buck, Carl Darling. The Greek Dialects, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955.
- Carbon, Jan-Mathieu, and James P. T. Clackson. “Arms and the Boy: On the New Festival Calendar from Arkadia,” Kernos: Revue internationale et pluridisciplinaire de religion grecque antique 29 (2016): 119–158.
- Dubois, Laurent. Recherches sur le dialect arcadien, I: Grammaire. II: Corpus dialectal. III: Notes-Index-Bibliographie. Louvain-La Neuve, Belgium: Peeters, 1986.
- Dunkel, George E. Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme. Band 1: Einleitung, Terminologie, Lautgesetze, Adverbialendungen, Nominalsuffixe, Anhänge und Indices. Band 2: Lexikon. Heidelberg, Germany: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2014.
- Lejune, Michel. Phonétique historique du mycénien et du grec ancien. Paris: Klincksieck, 1972.
- Steele, Philippa M. Writing and Society in Ancient Cyprus. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- Thumb, Albert. Handbuch der griechischen Dialekte. 2. erweiterte Auflage von A. Scherer, Heidelberg, Germany: C. Winter, 1959.
1. Philippa M. Steele, A Linguistic History of Ancient Cyprus (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
2. Olivier Masson, Les Inscriptions chypriotes syllabiques (Paris: Editions de Boccard, 1983), no. 217.
3. Markus Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancien de Chypre (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010), 376.
4. T. B. Mitford, The Nymphaeum of Kafizin (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1980); Steele, A Linguistic History of Ancient Cyprus, 235 ff.
5. A complete (and probably overabundant) list can be found in Ruijgh, L'élément achéen dans la langue épique (Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1957), 111f., with previous bibliography.
6. Philipe Gauthier, “Nouvelles Inscriptions de Claros,” Revue des Études Grecques 112, no. 1 (1999), 1–36.
7. The newest one, c. 500–450 bce, is published by Jan-Mathieu Carbon and James P. T. Clackson, “Arms and the Boy: On the New Festival Calendar from Arkadia,” Kernos, Revue internationale et pluridisciplinaire de religion grecque antique 29 (2016). Eduard Schwyzer, Dialectorum graecarum exempla epigraphica potiora (Leipzig, Germany: Hirzel, 1923), no. 661.
8. See Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancien, § 558.
10. Carbon and Clackson, “Arms and the Boy.”
11. Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancien, § 692.
12. Albert Thumb and Albert Scherer, Handbuch der griechischen Dialekte, 2. erweiterte Auflage (Heidelberg, Germany: C. Winter, 1959), 120.
13. See George E. Dunkel, Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln und Pronominalstämme. Band 1: Einleitung, Terminologie, Lautgesetze, Adverbialendungen, Nominalsuffixe, Anhänge und Indices. Band 2: Lexikon (Heidelberg, Germany: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2014), 2. 34 f.
14. Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancient, § 573.
15. Î‘. Morpurgo Davies, “Problems in Cyprian Phonology and Writing,” in The History of the Language in Cyprus, ed. Jacqueline Karageorghis and Oliver Masson (Larnaca, Cyprus: Pierides Foundation, 1988), 99–130.
17. Helmut Rix, Historische Grammatik des Griechischen (Darmstadt, Germany, 1992), § 277.
19. Schwyzer, Dialectorum graecarum, no. 73; René Hodot, Le dialecte éolien d'Asie (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1990), 28.
20. Is [w] a glide? and if not, does it belong to the ending or to the root? See Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancient, § 655.
21. Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancient, § 526.
22. Dunkel, Lexikon der indogermanischen Partikeln, 2. 72.
23. Dubois, Recherches sur le dialect arcadien, § 55b.
24. A. Morpurgo Davies, “Mycenean, Arcadian, Cyprian and Some Questions of Method in Dialectology,” Μυκηναϊκά, Bullétin de Correspondence Hellenique Suppl. 25 (1992), 415–432, 427f.; see also Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancient, § 34.
25. Dubois, Recherches sur le dialect arcadien, § 125.