The scholars have always been wandering, why the Ancient Greek (Attic dialect) is so different from Koine “Greek”, to that extent that you might call them different languages!
The Koine language shaped up, after the Classical Era and everything started as an human intervention (not natural evolution) after an order of Ptolemy II, the emperor. He thought would be a good idea to create an universal language for the entire empire, whose center was Alexandria.
From place to place, Ancient “Greeks” including the Hellenic Era spoke differently. Namely, the language took another form; it obtained a particular form called a dialect. In Sparta, they had the Doric dialect, in Athens, the Attic and elsewhere another dialect.
Many languages and dialects were spoken within the empire and Alexandria in Egypt was already the cultural center of the Empire in about 281 BC. Ptolemy II (309 BC-246 BC) wanted an universal language to be used only for diplomatic , literature, science and religious purposes.
Thus he assigned Aristeas, an Athenian scholar, to create the grammar of the new language for this kind of needs of the Empire! Aristeas (and the scholars who were assisting him) used the Attic dialect (which was used in Athens) as basis for the new language eliminating the Attic idiosyncrasies. The Spartan Doric, however, was excluded from it.
So, this new standardized Hellenic language, (called Koine or Common) was very different from the spoken one at that point that some scholars call it New Artificial Language. Simple people in those times don’t spoke this new invented language, but they spoke a different language with diffrent dialects!
This new language was far from perfect. First it was an written language, created on paper without the means to be spoken. Native people and non-native encountered difficulties reading it since there was no way to separate words, sentences and paragraphs and especially because they encountered too many made-up words and grammatical rules. In addition, they were unable to express their feelings and the right intonation. The system of paragraphs, sentences, and some symbols like ~ . ; ` ’ ! , were the late results of continuous improvement and enhancement of the language with the contribution of many scholars from all over the World.
The Hellenic city states did engage in considerable commerce with other civilizations such as Phoenecians, Etruscans, Hitties, Egyptians, Persians, Jews etc., and as a fact "citizens" only formed a minority of the total residents of the city states, with the rest composed of foreigners or slaves!
There were a few alphabets employed by various City States, and these alphabets included letters specific to the sounds of their particular dialect, that weren’t used by other City States . There were 2 main categories, the Eastern and the Western alphabets. The first official alphabet omitted all letters not in use any longer ( sampi, qoppa, digamma also known as stigma in “Greek” numbering) and it presented a 24-letter alphabet for the new Koinē language. However, the inclusion and use of small letters took place over a period of many centuries after the standardization of Koinē.
After the new language was completed with its symbols, the Jews of Egypt felt that it was an opportunity for them to translate their sacred books into Koine since it was one of the languages that the Jews of Diaspora use. So on the island of Pharos, by Alexandria’s seaport, 72 Jewish rabbis were secluded and isolated as they translated their sacred books (Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim, etc.) from Aramaic and Hebrew to the Koinē , the newly created language. This is known as the Septuagint translation. Even the Jews spoke and wrote the Koine and also use Hellenic coins, but these facts don’t make them “Greek “ or Hellenes ! Balkans and Asia Minor were not Hellenized linguistically, in spite of the Hellenic colonies and “Hellenized” elites!
The Koinē “evolved”, and in about 2 to 3 centuries it became the language that Biblical scholars call Biblical “Greek”. In fact, only those who have studied the Attic dialect can understand the difference between the Septuagint “Greek” and the “Greek” of the New Testament.
The 3 Synoptic Gospels were written in Koinē with the insertion of some Semitic grammatical concepts (i.e. the Hebrew genitive) and invented words (i.e. epiousios).
Ancient Koine, (which has its roots in ancient Attica), was popularized by Alexander the Great when he made it his international language of trade and commerce for his vast Empire. In Classical Hellenic Era even the Elite of Thracians, Egyptians, Macedonians, Persians, Illyrians, Epiriotes etc were integrated in that culture, but they were not linguistically and culturally Hellenes! Their Elites had Hellenic knowledge of linguistic, cultural and military references, that's true and that's it, because the simple populations don’t have it!!
And this is showed very well by the fact that later Romans didn't identify these populations as Hellens!
During the Roman Empire the Latin language (that was the official administration/ governing language) spread to a great extent in the cities of Eastern Roman Empire, and only in Constantinople and some provinces close to it, a form of the Koine language predominated over the Latin of Old Rome.
According to the early Christian sacred scritpures, Paul (Saul of Tarsus; New Testament), Romans 15:19.), preached his newly founded Christian religion in Durrachium (Albanoi). The cities of Shkoder (Scodra), Vlore (Aulon, Avlonya) and Preveza (Nicopolis), became dioceses of the first Christian bishops of Illyricum. But the Illyrians were very hostile to Christianity and the Illyrian (Albanian) origin emperors Decius and Diocletian ruthlessly persecuted the followers of St.Paul from Tarsus. In 311 AD, extinto nomene Christianorum, the 'name of Christianity vanished' from Epirus and Dalmatia. However, after Constantine's (Illyrian origin) declaration of Christian belief as the imperial religion of Romans, the Catholic bishops established their churches in Praevalis (High Albania) and Macedonia. St.Jerome (Hieronumus) from Dalmatian city of Stridon, translated the Koine Christian scriptures into vulgar Latin.
In the 4-th century AD, as the Empire became Christianized, the term "Hellene" fell into disuse and became redefined by common convention to include people who still worshipped the old gods and studied philosophy in hopes of resisting the new faith of Christianity!
In the final years of the 4-th century AD, Emperor Theodosius I [379-395] made Christianity the sole state religion after subduing the rebellion of an "Hellene" usurper, a westerner named Eugenius. After Theodosius critical decision, less people were willing to call themselves "Hellenes"! For centuries more, the word "Hellene" remained in bad repute, associated with outlawed religious ideas and disloyalty to the state. Koine speakers found the identity of "Romaioi" in place of "Hellene" to be a safe refuge in changing times.
In the 5-th century AD, the Armenians (annexed to the Empire as late as 387 AD ) acquired their own alphabet and began building up a literature of translations from the Classical Hellenic records and the Syriac which strengthened their feelings of national identity. The dominance of Aramaic dialects, of which Syriac is a member, extended throughout Syria, Palestine and Egypt when another element of the population of Empire consisted of Arabs (like the Nabataeans of Petra and the Palmyrenes).
In Egypt, Alexandria was an Hellenic city, but it was officially described as being ad Aegyptum, not in Aegypto, an intrusion into an alien country and Coptic was the language of Egyptian Christianity, while Koine was identified with the alien hierarchy that was imposed by the imperial government. Setting aside the Jewish colony, the bulk of the population continued to speak Egyptian (Coptic) that was gaining ground so by the 6-th century, even some official acts were published in the native tongue. The Koine, Coptic and Aramaic elements would thus have been on a footing of near parity. Compared to the spread of Latin in Gaul and Spain, it must be admitted that the artificial Koine language had made very limited progress between the 3 century BC and the 6-th century AD. This was no doubt due to the fact that Hellenization was centred only and exclusively on cities!
During the 6th century, the Byzantine Empire grew in size and Armies of Emperor Justinian I brought what is now Italy, and parts of North Africa and Spain into the Empire
The strongest ethnographic changes that the Empire witnessed after the 6-th century, started happening a few decades after Justinian's death.
In an oft-quoted passage John of Amida (also known as John of Ephesus) records that in 581: " An accursed people, called Slaonians (Slavs), overran the whole of Empire, and captured the cities, and took numerous forts, and devastated and burnt, and reduced the people to slavery, and made themselves masters of the whole country, and settled in it by main force, and dwelt in it as though it had been their own. By 586, they took the western Peloponnese, Attica and part of today southern Epirus and penetrated to Osum river valley”
Another source, the so-called Chronicle of Monembasia, states that: “ In the year 587-8 the Turkic Avars , with whom the Slavs were usually allied captured all the cities of Empire, Attica and Euboea, and after expelling and destroying the native peoples, they dwelt there. Those who were able to escape their murderous hands were scattered here and there. Thus, the citizens of Patras moved to the district of Reggio in Calabria, the Argives to the island called Orobe, the Corinthians to the island of Aegina”
Justinian II himself moved a great multitude of Slavs (110,000-200,000 ) from Peloponnese to Bithynia and Cappadocia (odiern Turkey) in the 760s AD. Armenians had started immigrating in the 6-th century in Cappadocia and other parts of eastern Asia Minor close to their original homeland, in Thrace, in the region of Pergamon etc. It is impossible to give even a rough approximation of their numbers. Unlike the Slavs, however, the Armenians quickly rose to prominent positions, even to the imperial throne, and dominated the military establishment throughout the Middle Byzantine period.
Constantinople, like all great capitals, was a melting-pot of heterogeneous elements: all seventy-two tongues known to man were represented in it! Another foreign element was provided by military units which in the 6-th century consisted either of barbarians (Germans, Huns, and others) or some of the sturdier provincials like Isaurians, Illyrians and Thracians. Syrian, Mesopotamian and Egyptian monks, who spoke little or not at all Koine, thronged to the capital to enjoy the protection of the Empress Theodora. The ubiquitous Jew earned his living as a craftsman or a merchant. Constantinople had been founded as a centre of latinity in the east and still numbered among its residents many Illyrians, Italians and Africans whose native tongue was Latin as was that of the Emperor Justinian himself. Furthermore, several works of Latin literature were produced at Constantinople, like Priscian's famous Grammar, the Chronicle of Marcellinus and the panegyric of Justin 11 by the African Corippus.
The Empire also possessed a foothold on the southern shore of the Crimea, while the high tableland of the Crimean peninsula was inhabited by Goths.
About Illyrian /Albanian identity in those times:
The written sources mention the Illyrians in Christian History of Euagri (Euagr II, 18) when it talks about Byzantium’s war against the Avars in the year 584, and sources don’t make mention of inhabitants or Slavic clans established in those areas! During those invasions the majestic remotness of Albanian 'White Hills' reinforced the cultural isolation of its people. This outlying mountains of Albania acted always as a natural bulwark and the Adriatic coast below them as a rampart against any foreign invasion. Albanians were the last and the most virile European nation of clans, preserving their doughty love of patriarchal freedom and the extraordinary degree of dignity. During the invasions both Illyrians and Thracian populations mix together and found refuge in the barren hills of Epirus, Thessaly, western Macedonia, Albanian alps and the Adriatic coast. And this is the reason why the early medieval Albanians emerged from the chaos of collapsing western Roman empire as the descendants of the ancient tribes of Dardanes, Albanoi, Paeones, Epiriotes (a.k.a. Molossian) who inhabited Illyria , and as the descendants of Thracians. This fact is showed very well by the recent genetic (DNA) researches and surveys as:
1- "HLA Class I Polymorphism in the Albanian Population"
2- “Survey of anthropological features of the Illyrians"
3- “Haplogroup E3b1a2 as a Possible Indicator of Settlement in Roman Britain by Soldiers of Balkan Origin" Steven C. Bird .
4- "Paleo-mtDNA analysis and population genetic aspects of old Thracian populations from South-East of Romania" etc
Only later during the era of Flavius Heraclius Augustus (575 - 641 AD) that was a Byzantine Emperor of Armenian descent (not hellen), a form of Koine was adopted and preserved replacing the latin, by the Orthodox Church as language of liturgy.
In the 9-th century, after the invasion of Avars and Slavs, all the Balcans was overun by the Turkic Bulgars who were completely Slavicized and Christianized in 865. The medieval Arabs believed that the Caucassian peoples were descendants of Banu Kureish, and the Nordic Sakaliba (Slavs), as well as the Turkic Bashgurd (Bashkirs) and Bulgars were descendants of the giant Yemenites of Ad.
The confusion, the fog created from Byzantine Orthodoxy (that wasn’t interested in national conscience or history) and its numerously artificially elaborated “koine” language was based only on some scholastic concepts (reflected in the language) and ‘covered’ by ‘divine mystery’. We must consider the fact that the educated people of Medieval Era had the conscience of a subject of the Eastern Roman Empire, and they did not considered themselves “Greeks” or Hellens, in it's modern concept of ethnic distinctiveness! The religious elite of the Byzantine Empire had no idea that they were Byzantines, but they regarded themselves as the authentic continuators of the Roman world, not Hellenic! Only educated persons in the East could speak a form of Koine, just as all educated persons in the West spoke Latin, but ordinary people and several populations “ruled” by Byzantine Empire spoke neither!
In antiquity as in the Middle Ages the plateau areas of Asia Minor was sparsely populated and urban life was relatively undeveloped there. The ethnic composition of the plateau had undergone changes for seven hundred years before Justinian's reign. It was a confusing mosaic of native peoples as well as immigrant enclaves of long standing, such as the Celts of Galatia, Thracians, Romans, Persians, Egyptians, Jews who had been planted in Phrygia and elsewhere during and after the Hellenistic period. It appears that many of the indigenous dialects languages were still spoken in the Early Byzantine period: Phrygian was still in existence, since it appears in inscriptions as late as the 3 century AD, Celtic in Galatia, Cappadocian farther east. The unruly Isaurians, who had to be pacified by force of arms in about 500 AD and many of whom drifted all over the Empire as professional soldiers and itinerant masons, were a distinct people speaking their own dialect, often to the exclusion of Koine.
Chronicle of Monembasia describes the activity of the Emperor Nicephorus I in the Peloponnese: “He built de novo the town of Lacedaemon (Sparta) and settled in it a mixed population, namely Kafirs, Thraksians, Armenians, southern Italians and others, gathered from different places and towns, and made it into a bishopric.” Surely, neither the Kafirs (generic term for converts from Islam) nor the Armenians would have contributed to the hellenization of Laconia! The emperor's purpose was simply to implant a Christian population and set up a bishopric, no matter what ethnicity it was!
In the Translatio Militiae, the Anonymous Latin author states that the Byzantines had lost their courage and their learning. In another passage the Ancient “Greeks” are praised for their military skill and their learning, by which means the author draws a contrast with contemporary Byzantine people, who were generally viewed as schismatic people.
By the end of 1057 the Byzantine Empire entered a long period of decline and for 4 centuries the government, social order and economy suffered irreparable damage and the weakened empire would be further shattered by Christian and Muslim invaders.
In the late 12th and early 13th century, Byzantium was faced with economic, social and political crisis and under the pressure of the Normans, Byzantine rule and control had collapsed in the northwest Balkan peninsula.
After Constantinople was conquered during the 4-th Crusade in 1204, the peninsula was divided among the Crusaders. The Latin Empire held Constantinople and Thrace, while the rest was divided into the Kingdom of Thessalonica, the Principality of Achaea, and the Duchy of Athens.
The Venetians controlled the Duchy of the Archipelago in the Aegean, and the Despotate of Epirus was established as one of the three Byzantine successor states! Athens and the northern Peloponnese remained in Crusader hands.
It is wrongly stated that by shedding, however painfully, its principal non-Koine-speaking elements, such as the Syrians, Egyptians, Illyrians, Thracians etc the Empire had become more “homogeneous”. It is also wrongly asserted that the non-Hellens were gradually assimilated or Hellenized through the agency of the Church and the army etc. The critical reader may be advised to treat such generalizations with a measure of caution!
Was Hellenization a conscious aim of the imperial government, and if so, how was it implemented and with what success?
And if it succeeded in the Middle Ages, why had it not done so in Antiquity under conditions of a more settled life and a higher civilization?
The formulation of the above questions does not correspond to the Byzantine way of thinking.
Most Byzantine Emperors would list neither Augustus, Pericles nor Alexander the Great among their ancestors, but Constantine the Great and Justinian, and the Christian emperors of Constantinople!
An inhabitant of that era in Thessaly would have referred to himself as a Romanoi (a name already current in the 6-th century AD), but he could have been an Italic Roman, Illyrian, Thracian, Macedonian, Epiriotes, Egyptian, Armenian, Jew, Arab, Turkic Bulgarian as well as a Slavic Serb.
People identified themselves with their village, their city or their province much more than they did with the Empire. This is well showed in The History written in 1079-1080, Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates, refer to the Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium. The Arvanitaes / Albanians still present in modern ”Greece” have been known by the names: Arbanuer, Arbnor, Arbënesh, Arbresh, Arbëresh. Source: "Albanians", Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium 1. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press. Also we learn about Albanians in their native land as the Arbanites of Arbanon, from the daughter of Emperor Alexius I Comneus (1081-1118), Anna Comnena which describes in her account (Alexiad 4 which is a book written in 1148 ) of the troubles caused in the lands of modern Albania by the Normans during the reign of her father Alexius I.
The Byzantine historian Skylitzes wrote that the people "who had just bent their heads in slavery, strongly sought freedom. The people of Ohrid were ready to arm themselves and to rise against Byzantium immediately after the fall of the town to Byzantine authority". Likewise, in his letters Theophylact of Ohrid often emphasized and stressing that the province of Macedonia was always faced with "the ghost of war", as "the barbarians never stopped thinking about their glorious times."
The same holds true of other regions whose dwellers called themselves by the names of their respective provinces, for example Paphlagonians, Illyrians, Epiriotes or Thraksians (after the Thraksian 'theme' in western Asia Minor).
Since, therefore, there was no notion of “Greekness” in the Byzantine Empire, it is hard to see how there could have been “Hellenization”!!
Yet the cultural uniformity which the Byzantine church and the state pursued through Religion and language was not sufficient to erase distinct identities - nor did it aim to. The Bogomilean and Paulician religious movements were particularly strengthened after the death of Alexis I Comnenus (1118). (Paulicianism emerged as a sect in Western Armenia in the 7th century; its essence is represented by the dualism of God: a god of good and a god of evil.)
In 1231, the pope Gregory IX prohibited the reading of Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina (a.k.a. Avicene) and Aristotle's works calling them as 'corrupted by Saracens'. Additionally, the popularity of para-Manichean and semi-Christian 'heresies' which radiated from the Balkans inspired many charismatic heriesiarchs who renounced the papal tyranny and degeneracy of Christendom. The Cathari and Paterens were widespread in the Mediterranean borderland between the Pyrenees and Rhodope mountains. It is hard to believe that Byzantines were not affected by these anti-Catholic movements, or about the influence of Theophiles (Bogomilci) and Paterenes.
In the late 12th century Bogomilism had spread throughout Balkans; not difficult to achieve, since Bogomilism was anti-feudal in nature, preaching equality and democracy in poverty, living a modest and simple life and disobedience to Byzantine authorities.
Before the Turkish conquest of the Balkans, a number of the worshippers of this church grew closer to official Orthodox Byzantine doctrine, while others, upon the arrival of the Turks, accepted Islam.
Nicetas Choniates wrote that the emperor Manuel Comnenos protected the religious rights of 'Saracens'(Arabs) and Turks in the capital of eastern Roman empire. The “sufi-ghazis” or “akhis” were able to establish their hospices and even mosques in pre-Islamic Constantinople and Venice.
The Roman-Catholic crusaders in 1204, were outraged that the Byzantine emperors tolerated a construction of small mosques and Muslim lodges in Constantinople. Geoffrey of Vinsauf wrote in his 'Chronicle of Crusades' that “It would have been even right to have razed the city to ground because it was corrupted by new mosques, which its perfidious emperor allowed to be built that he might strengthen the alliance with the Turks”
The Byzantines had no tradition of actively propagating their “own culture” or of actively combating foreign people or foreign elements in their society, simply because they were a mix of different foreign people and cultures. In the Christian part of Europe the only men and sometimes women taught to read and write were monks, nuns and bishops. Many kings and dukes were able only to sign their names on charters, and at the end of 14-th century ability to read the Bible was restricted exclusively to the tonsured clerical orders and scholares. Most Christianized Europeans were serfs, poor craftsmen and plebeians. In 1400, more than ninety-nine percent of the Christian population of Europe was illiterate.
William of Tyre, a historian of the Crusades, described the Byzantine people as a brood of vipers, like a serpent in the bosom or a mouse in the wardrobe evilly requite their guests, highlighting the strained relations between ethnic groups that inhabited the area as a result of the Crusades and the Schism.
Is false and inaccurate to call the Byzantine Empire a "Greek Empire", when in fact it was an commonwealth of religions, ethnicities etc and were the non-“hellens” who gave the greatest contribution in its progress!
Clifton R. Fox: “The phrase "Byzantine Empire" was coined and popularized later by French scholars such as Montesquieu, an influential figure of 18-th century intellectual life. From the obsolete name "Byzantium," Montesquieu used the word "Byzantine." The word "Byzantine" denoted the Empire and connoted its supposed characteristics: dishonesty, dissimulation and decadence. The English scholar Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire treated the Empire after the sixth century as an epic of unrelieved degradation and corruption”.
The terms “Byzantine Empire” was introduced in the English-speaking literature by Sir George Finlay in 1851, in his book "History of Greece, from its Conquest by the Crusaders to its Conquest by the Turks".
The Byzantine Empire was anything but politically stable and during the 1000 years of its existence it experienced 65 revolutions and the abdication or assassination of 60 emperors.
After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the establishment of Ottoman rule (that was a multi-linguistic Empire) in the Balkans, Koine was resurfaced and found its way into the Ottoman administration. It was spoken by a rich multi-ethnic Christian educated middle class people called Phanariotes based in Istanbul. The Phanariotes (including Romanian, Albanian (Ghika dinasty), Wallachian, Serbian, Moldavian, Vlach and Christian Turks) were a little multi-ethnic group of Christians belonging to the rich and educated Ottoman middle class. They were the high ranking Church clergy, the Ottoman bankers, the sea captains, the language interpreters and the traders who did business for the Ottoman Empire outside of Ottoman territories. The Ottoman domination itself enhanced the linguistic Turkification of large parts of Asia Minor and even parts of Balkans, like Thrace and Aegean and Mediterranean islands.
In the medieval Christian Europe, the change of religion was not a great theological dilemma for the majority of common people, who did not regard Islam and Christianity as two totally disparate religious doctrines. For the mass of the Christianized Europeans, Islam and Christianity, like Orthodoxy and Catholicism, or later the 'Papism' and Protestantism were rather two different systems of religious observance.
Britain and France in the early 19th century desperately needed an ally in the Balkans to protect their precious interests from Russia.
The switch from Romaios back to Hellene flowed from the politics of modern nationalism. “Greeks” needed Western European help to liberate themselves from the Ottomans, and they were not likely to attract assistance if the Western peoples thought of Greeks as "Byzantines." However, if the “Greeks” were imagined as the children of Plato and Pericles, then the sympathies of educated Westerners, steeped in the Classical tradition, would be with “Greece”!
In 1829 when “Greece” became a state, for the first time, the majority of people living in Epirus and Morea at the time spoke Albanian, Turkish, Vlach, Slav etc. Athens itself, the cradle of the ancient civilization, was nothing more than an Albanian village. “Greece” struggled for years to find an identity until one was created for it by its British and French philhellene patrons which fabricate a mythical past with a false lineage stretching back to the Ancient Greeks and initiated a denationalization and assimilation process.
“The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers" by Misha Glenny: "The ethnic mix of the Greek-speakers of the Ottoman Empire (“Greek” was often learned as a second language by wealthier non-“Greek” people) was as diverse as any in the Ottoman Empire, possibly more. The islands and the seafarers from the coastal regions were distinguished by their peculiar ethnicity, many were of mixed Albanian-Greek origin. (P. 23)”
Trevelyan, British History in the 19th Century: "Canning (a British politician, 1812-1862) had planned to head off Russia's advance, not by direct opposition, but by associating her with England and France in a policy of emancipation, aimed at erecting national States out of the component parts of the Turkish Empire. Such States could be relied upon to withstand Russian encroachment on their independence, if once they were set free from the Turk. The creation of the Kingdom of Greece was the immediate outcome of Canning's policy". (P. 372)
So this fake “Greek nation” was created for the first time in history in 1829, through intensive and violent propaganda campaigns that began to assimilate the various ethnicities making “Greeks” out of Albanians, Vlachs, Slavs, Macedonians, Turks etc. This new country it was made to act as a barrier to Russia and accomplish the political desires and agendas of the 19th century Western Great Powers. “Greece” was created to prevent Russia from accessing Mediterranean waters, from spoiling Britain's back yard. “Greece” did its job very well in serving as a "guard dog" for Britain so it was rewarded with neighbours population and lands. Even the name "Hellene" was revived in order to create a national image which rejected the "Byzantine" past (nonetheless, many people in rural areas of “Greece” still use the term Romanoi, Vlach and Arvanites/Albanians interchangeably)!
It is well known from historical sources that in 1333 Smyrna was a city in ruins, while the 1390 was the date of the fall of the last Byzantine bastion in Asia Minor! In a recent academic study Ms. Anagnostopoulou informs us that in 1520 in the villayet of Aydin the Christian population amounted to just 0.9% of the total population, increasing by the end of the same century to 1.55%. Even as late as 1717 the city of Smyrna had 19 mosques, 18 synagogues and just 2 Orthodox churches!
The migration of Orthodox Christians into the villayet of Aydin took place after 1840, following the publication of the Tanzimat – a decree promulgated by the Sultan to the effect that both Christian and Muslim were now free to leave the feudal estates. And those data makes quiet clear that the christian population of Asia Minor before 1840 wasn’t “greek” at all, but they were just Christianised multiethnic populations and most of them were Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Arabs, Mongols etc!
Absurdly after the Treaty of Lausanne in July 1923, and after the population exchanges with Turkey, most of the Arvanites/Albanian Chams (of muslim faith) were part of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey when it was well known that they were Ethnic Avanites/ Albanian Chams not Turks!! By classifying the west coastal Chams Arvanites as "Turks" rather than Arvanites/ Albanians, “Greek” historians and politicians have manipulate the history and justify the confiscation of Cham-owned land, much of which was given to Multi-Ethnic pseudo-greeks refugees from Turkey during the population exchanges in 1923 ! The property of several of the Ethnic Arvanites Chams feudal lords was confiscated in order to permit Multi-Ethnic pseudo-greeks to invade and settle in the Chameria area inhabited by centuries only by Albanians!
Constantinos Svolopoulos, professor of Modern History at the University of Athens states that: “The compulsory exchange of populations was not proposed, and insisted on, by the Turkish government, but by the Greek government of Eleftherios Venizelos. Since the Turkish government was opposed to the exchange, there was a widespread feeling within the Greek government that 500,000 Turks from northern Greece should be forcibly removed from their homes and taken to somewhere on the Turkish coastline. This idea was abandoned because of the very poor impression it would have made on the Europeans. In the end the Turkish government was obliged to consent to the Greek proposal for a compulsory exchange of populations.”
(Source:”The Compulsory Exchange of Populations Between Greece and Turkey: the Settlement of Minority Questions at the Conference of Lausanne, 1923, and its Impact on Greek-Turkish Relations.")
John A. Petropulos, a professor of history in Amherst College (Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Vol.2, 1976, pp. 135-160.): “Venizelos wanted the population exchange for both domestic and international reasons. Furthermore, his reasons for supporting the exchange derived from the needs of the Greek state rather than the needs of the refugees. In particular, these were "the national security and internal development of the Greek state”." (p. 144) Venizelos 'used the refugee problem to secure foreign economic assistance for what become a major economic programme.' (p. 150) He discusses how the Greek state 'invoked' the refugee problem successfully to obtain highly concessional international loans. He also adds that this environment of 'upheaval' enabled a radical land reform program."
How can “Greece” declared itself homogenous consisting of “100% pure Greeks”?
There was a conscience of membership to an ethnicity that wasn’t Hellenic and haven’t to do with religion, and it was this element that the ruling empires during history were attempting to suppress it. People kept up with their own heritage and culture through different means, and the nationalist movements were only the results of their growing consciences of the membership to an ethnic group. Ethnicity is an essential orientation to the past, is a tie to the collective origin, is a "social construction of primordiality”, and focusing only on written accounts is not a proper way to draw conclusions about it!
“The Balkans, Nationalism, War and the Great Powers" by Misha Glenny: “The Koundouriotes, for example, the most powerful maritime family on the island of Hydra, who led a substantial faction during the war (of independence) were of Albanian origin'. (P. 25)
…As it is clearly obvious the Greek nation had many divisions and diversities within that had to be addressed before they could start telling the world that they are the descendents of the ancient Hellenes. Unfortunate though it may be, the modern-day “Greek” has more in common genetically with the Albanians, the Latin speaking Vlachs and the Turks than with 'Plutarch's men”.
Simon Mcllwaine “The Strange Case of the Invisible Minorities” Institutional Racism in the Greek State, International Society for Human Rights, British Section, Dec 1993: "Modern Greek identity is based on an unshakable conviction that the Greek State is ethnically homogenous. This belief, has entailed repeated and official denial of the existence of minorities which are not of “pure” Hellenic origin. The obsession with Greek racial identity involves the distortion of the history of the thousands of years when there was no such thing as a Greek nation state." … “Indeed Hammond points out that the Albanian role in the resistance to the Turks, and in the formation of the Greek nation, was significant . Greece, while denying the presence of ethnic and religious minorities within its borders, tries to convince the world that the Orthodox people living in its neighboring countries are ethnic Greeks. But this is not true. Albanians settled in Athens, Corinth, Mani, Thessaly and even in the Aegean islands. In the early 19-th century, the population of Athens was 24 % Albanian, 32 % Turkish, and only 40 % Greek. The village of Marathon, scene of the great victory in 490 B.C., was, early in the 19-th century, almost entirely Albanian”
C.M. Woodhouse: "It is a striking fact that the leading defenders of Greek liberty at this time were largely Non-“Greek”. Koundouriotis was descended from the Albanians of Greece, and spoke Greek only with difficulty. His principal colleague was John Kolettis, a Vlach who had been Ali Pasha's court doctor at Ioannina. One of the few leaders who maintained resistance far to the north of the Gulf of Corinth was the Souliote, Marko Botsaris, whose followers were largely Albanian. By a strange chance, it happened that 2 of the Turkish commanders-in-chief during the war, Khurshid Pasha and Muhammad Rehid Pasha (known to the Greeks as Kiutahi), were by birth Orthodox Christians, who had been converted to Islam for the sake of career in the Sultans service."
Rev. Richard Burgess says what he saw and heard, when travelling in Albania and Epirus in 1835:
"Marco's father was assasinated at the battle of Paeta, by the old traitor Gogos, at the instigation of Ali Pasha; but Marco first appeared as a leader in 1811, at the head of Chimariote Schypetari... he sung of arms, and accompanied his fine voice with the Albanian guitare... although of diminutive statute, yet when his blue eyes caught fire, and his long hair floated in the wind, when upon his shaven brow there fell a ray of the sun as he sat like the shepard bou, the expression of his features was so remarkable and animated, that he might, have been taken for the descendant of these Pelasgi, sons of Phaeton, who spread the art of civilisation throught Epirus”. ( from: Compendio della Storia del Risorgimento Della Grecia dal 1740 al 1824. Compilato da M.P.C. Italia 1825)
Suliote Marko Botsari that was Arvanites / Albanian, created and published a very original book, the first Albanian – Greek Dictionary, that was taken to France by Pouqueville, and is still in France presently!
If the Suliots were not Albanians, than why did their leader Marko Botsari wrote an Greek-Albanian Dictionary?
If “Greek” language was widespread everywhere and was more “famous” and “used”, why did the heroes of 1821 speak Albanian and not “Greek”?
Anthropologist Roger Just: “Most of the 19-th century "Greeks” who had so recently won their independence from the Turks, not only did not call themselves Hellenes (they learned this label later from the intellectual nationalists); they did not even speak Koine by preference, but rather Albanian, Slavonic, or Vlach dialects.”
Aristidh Kolias, "Arvanites and the origin of the greeks": “Arvanites never lost their Albanian identity and this is showed by the fact that they want in 1899 to create a Greek-Albanian Confederate, but other so called “greeks” didn’t accepted, because they knew that Albanians would made up the majority of population!”
Greek historian Panayotis Kayas says: “"In every period, Greek political and social leaders believed that Greece should have a 'National Ideology' for the country to survive. In this manner, the Greek nation would be kept prepared at all times for any immediate struggle, and no one would be able to show opposition to the unsolved problems for fear that he would be branded as a traitor to his country. In short, 'Megali Idea' is the soul of Greek domestic and foreign policy. Everything apart from the 'National Objective', government, education, development, could wait.”
National identities were invented by the theoretical thinkers of the western Renaissance, and mainly used after the French Revolution to combat theocracy and feudalism, systems which characterized the social structure of the various empires. Concepts such as multinational state with “Greek” ethnic consciousness were and are a stark contradiction!!
So what language did the vast majority of the so-called "Greek people" speak then?
The language and the identity before the creation of “Greece” like a “nation” was a language and an identity of its own, not an amorphous mass of people inside the Ottoman Empire. Arvanites/ Albanians had the perception of their own language, their own ethnicity and also of others. They had no clear knowledge of history, but they had a clear knowledge of their traditions, customs, legends, popular culture etc inherit from their grand- grandfathers. Bilingualism existed but it was a great difference between the maternal language and the other languages of the neighbouring village, county, or of the Emperial Administration its self. The culture and heritage of people is not only the written culture, but is its oral folklore, legends, traditional art etc!!
Tsakonia is a corrupt form of the ancient Dorian dialect spoken in Arkadia which originates from the Dorian era in Ancient Greece (400BC) and has lasted in the area, in and around Leonidio, for centuries. The impassable mountains of Tsakonia had protected the Tsakonika dialect from intruders for centuries after the collapse of the ancient world. Tsakonia, one of the ancient homelands of Dionysus, remained pagan until the end of the first millennium, long after the Christian converts. There once was a time when the Bible would be translated into Tsakonika for the villagers who totally ignored standard Koine.
Some words in Tsakonika dialect obviously not connected to Koine:
Tsupra(tsakonika) = Cupa,Tsupa(alb) = kopela(gr) = Girl
Koropi = Kefali(gr) = Head
Belegri = Orxis(gr) = "Balls"
tsurulia = Palia rouha(gr) = Old Clothes
tsi poun = C'ben,ts ' bun(alb) = ti kaneis(gr) = What' ya doin
bohos = Skoni(gr) = Dust
Bukaka = vatraxos(gr) = Frog
Bua = Bua(albanian) = Nero(gr) = Water
Ije = Uje(alb) = Nero(gr) = Water
Kue = Skilos(gr) = Dog
Katsula = Gata(gr) = Cat
Onou = Gaidaros(gr) = Donkey
Kabazia = Paidia(gr) = Guys
Aridia = Podia(gr) = Legs
Baka = Barku(alb) = Koilia (gr) = Belly
Hlepura = Lepura (alb) = Lagos (gr) = Rabbit
It seems that Tsakonika dialect resembles more with Albanian than this “ Greek” Koine Language and specially in the pronunciation!
Even the diabolic artificial incorporation of the Ancient Greek words in the body of the Modern Greek language has not ‘escaped’ not seen by the public attention.
Katharevousa "the purified one" was adopted by the new “Greek” State as the official language of “Greece” and was renamed "Greek Koine" but it was an invented new form of language created during the 19th century by pseudo-Greek nationalist leader Adamantios Korais (1748–1833), trying to make the modern “greeks” more “greek”, by eliminating from their vocabulary the Turkish and foreign words that kept them chained to their degeneracy.
Its use was finally terminated in 1976 when the “Greek” parliament voted to make the bastardized Dimotiki the official language.
Ancient Greek is extremely hard to learn for today “greeks”. Why ?
Because there is not a logical continuity, on the evolution of the language that died out. Ancient “greek” language had several infinitives; in Modern, the infinitive of verbs has been replaced by a periphrastic subjunctive. Ancient had a complex participial system; Modern has a simpler one.
There are 2 modern theories, one is that there was once Greco-Armenian that later split into Greek and Armenian respectively, the other is that the languages of the Balkans all fell into one group including Thracian, Phrygian, proto-Armenian and proto-Greek before each group migrated South and East with the exception of Thracians. Its belived that today Greek and Armenian Languages are related to each other! The personal names found in the contemporary Greek literary and epigraphic texts suggest that the language of the Scythians and the Sarmatians (who spoke a dialect of Scythian according to Hist. 4.117 Herodotus) belonged to the Northeast Iranian branch.
Example: “Re" is the Greek (Yassou re Tikanis re) is equivalent of Eastern Armenian "Ara" or "Apeh". "Parea" means "good company”, "Para" in Russian means "a couple, friend". In Armenian "Barev" or "Parev" mean “Good day!= greating”
There is no "Re" word in Ancient Greek! In ancient Greek, "thing" is "pragma-πράγμα", "Phile" is the 3 person of the Singular grammatical form and it means nothing else than "friend".
Those Koine words that you can find in every language, are called development words, and they are being used by high levels speakers, and the scientists, the teologists, the diplomats, the linguists etc, that agreed to use some of its words for filling the gap that progress was asking. When we study a language they are not taken in consideration! It's only the basic words of the language and especially their roots that are used to determine a language.
Etymologists and linguists believe that New “Greek” Language is not naturally developed, but is mostly an artifictial language. No other language in Europe has this handicap, only New Greek Language and Esperanto! There are dramatic changes in grammar compared to Old Greek (especially the classical one) for example: the loss of the Dative Case, the Optative Mood, the Infinitive, the Dual Number, and the most important of all, the Participles. The lost of Infinitive and the lost of Participle has no explanation because the Mood of the Verbs is hardly changed during the time. Where are the famous compound words(of classical greek) with 3 or more words and multiple meaning in new “greek” languge? The language of New “Greek” Testament (which has more stresses, accents and breathings) is totally different from modern Greek!
This are essential things that make the difference. The evolution of the language is undergone certain rules, and if these rules are broken that means that we are talking about a different language. Language developed as part of rhythmic chants used by work crews in early human communities. People would chant to generate a rhythm for often laborious work, and this chanting kind of co-evolved both music and language. Different chants lead to different meanings, which lead to language, and the evolution of an independent natural language is not just a matter of few centuries! Any society as sophisticated as even tribal groups have laws with leaders that do everything from invent them to interpret them and pass judgement on them. The articles, possessions, tools and art uncovered point to organization and the conveyance of ideas. This cannot be accomplished without language.
The outcome is that today in “Greece” there are many variations in speech; of course not to the point of people not understanding each other, but still there is divergence in the Greek spoken tongue.
Presently, the speech in various areas of Greece differs from each other and sometimes an untrained ear might have difficulty understanding the local speech.
Pontic ( was formed in Anatolia and other Asian countries), Marioupolitan (close to Pontic, spoken by remaining communities of the Black Sea), Palladarian (mix of modern “greek” with Aeolic and Doric elements) etc are very good examples of the mix of different dialects that have nothing to do with the continuity of the Classical Koine language, let alone the Ancient one!!
For those today “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 Dimotiki:
English ------ Ancient Attic ------ Dimotiki
Horse ------ Ipos -------- Alogo
Donkey----- Onos ------- Gaidaros
Hen ------ Ornitha -------- Kota
Goat ---- Ega -------- Gida (Katsika)
Kid (baby ------ Erifi -------- Katsiki
Bread ---- Artos -------- Psomi
We often read in books about the so called mythical “Greek gods” but have we ever stopped to think what makes these deities “Greek”? Are they “Greek” because they originated where modern Greece is today? Are they “Greek” in a national sense? How are they “Greek”?
The word “Greek” before the word “gods” implies that there is a relationship between “Greek” and “gods” which wrongly means that in some way these gods belong to “Greece” or the “Greeks”. But since these “gods” are associated with other Mediterranean people such as the Macedonians, Paeonians, Illyrians, Thracians, Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Lycians, Paphlagonians, Cappadocians, Cilicians, Picidians, Pamphylians and others, in a similar manner, who also celebrated and believed in them, then one is led to believe that these gods must not be exclusively connected to Ancient Greece and the “Greeks”!
The question is how?
Microsoft’s Encarta encyclopedia under the heading “Greek Mythology” had an explanation but this explanation did not enforce the idea that the so called “Greek gods” were actually “Greek”. According to Encarta, mythology in written form appeared for the first time in the literary works of Hesiod and Homer around the 8-th century BC. Homer, as we know, produced the famous works the “Iliad” and “Odyssey” and Hesiod produced the poems “Theogony”. Both authors in their respective works talk about the various tales and legends associated with ancient deities. Hesiod, however, according to Encarta, takes a step further and introduces a larger number of myths that include deities that are not mentioned by Homer. Hesiod, in “Theogony”, who talks about the creation of the world, the birth of the gods as well as their adventures, never once mentions “Greek” or any other name derived from this word!
Similarly, Homer in his works the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”, considered to be reliable sources for the so called “Greek Mythology” and the “Greek gods”, never once mentions the word “Greek” or any other name derived from this word!
So again, how are these so called “Greek gods” “Greek”? Perhaps the authors who wrote about them were from the region where modern Greece is today?
We can see that the vast majority of works about the so-called “Greek mythology” and the “Greek gods” were in fact written by NON-GREEKS or by authors of unknown origin/ethnicity.
If the authors who wrote about them were not “Greek” then perhaps the legends of the so called “Greek gods” originated somewhere in the lands of modern Greece?
Unfortunately, that is not true either. According to Herodotus, many of the elements of the so called “Greek myths” associated with the “Greek gods” were borrowed from foreign religions, mainly from the Pelasgeans (who lived in the lower Balcans) who in turn borrowed them from the Egyptians, who borrowed from Sumerians, Babylonians etc.
Herodotus: "From what parents the gods are derived or whether they were in existence from all time, and what they are like in shape, the Greeks do not know till this day when I write these lines" (Book II, 53).
Clearly the Helens did not have a clue about the stories that they stole from Pelasgians. If the Greeks had no thorough understanding about these myths and legends, how could they claim them as their own?
In the the following photos is a list of deities and major mythical figures commonly incorrectly referred to as “Greek gods” and “Greek mythical figures” who are believed to be of non Hellenic origins;
From the tables of the photos, we can see that a large number of deities and important mythical figures have purposely or unwittingly been misrepresented. Clearly they are not of Hellenic origins.
And finally, perhaps the so called “Greek gods” were “Greek” because they were exclusively celebrated by the ancient people who lived south of Mount Olympus where modern Greece is today?
That too, is not true. The mythical gods, referred to as the “Greek gods”, were common to most ancient Mediterranean nations and cultures. They were as much universal to the ancient world as different Religions are universal to our modern world. The Ancient “Greek gods” were not Hellenic at all! In fact, referring to them as “Greek gods” would be a myth in itself. It is more appropriate, truthful and precise to call them Mediterranean Gods than it is to call them “Greek gods”. After all, they were celebrated, revered and feared by many more nations of the Mediterranean basin!
Some people who still believe that the Modern “Greeks” are the descendents of the Ancient ones would pretend that these are coincidences. Some other would pretend that those must be related with the similarities within the IE languages.
Some other people will called anachronisms that are the result of modern scholarship! Denying it just to defend your thesis shows an irrational approach from your side, typical for stupid nationalist nazi discourses!
The truth prevails after all always.