Related Searches


Ancient Macedonian language

For the unrelated modern Slavic language, see Macedonian language.

Ancient Macedonian was the language of the ancient Macedonians. It was spoken in Macedon during the 1st millennium BC. Marginalized from the 5th century BC, it was gradually replaced by what became the "common" Koine Greek dialect of the Hellenistic Era. It was probably spoken predominantly in the inland regions away from the coast. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language probably related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear: possibly a dialect of Greek; a sibling language to Greek; or a close cousin to Greek and perhaps related to Thracian and Phrygian. Some linguists use the term Hellenic to refer to ancient languages which are more closely related to Ancient Greek than to any other known IE language but whose ancestry cannot be determined with any greater accuracy. Under this classification system, the ancient Macedonian language would be Hellenic but may or may not also be Greek.

Knowledge of the language is very limited because there are no surviving texts that are indisputably written in the language, though a body of authentic Macedonian words has been assembled from ancient sources, mainly from coin inscriptions, and from the 5th century lexicon of Hesychius of Alexandria, amounting to about 150 words and 200 proper names, similar to standard Greek, but a small minority might not be easily reconciled with standard Greek phonology.

The Pella curse tablet, a text written in a distinct Doric Greek idiom, found in 1986, dated to between mid to early 4th century BC, has been forwarded as an argument that the ancient Macedonian language was a dialect of North-Western Greek, part of the Doric dialects (O. Masson, 1996). Before the discovery it was proposed that the Macedonian dialect was an early form of Greek, spoken alongside Doric proper at that time (Rhomiopoulou, 1980).

[[Image:pellatab.jpg|thumb|400px|right|The Pella curse tablet (Greek katadesmos): from Prof. Radcliffe G. Edmonds III, Bryn Mawr College]


From the few words that survive, only a little can be said about the language. A notable sound-law is that the Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirates (/bʰ, dʰ, gʰ/) appear as voiced stops /b, d, g/, (written β, δ, γ), in contrast to all known Greek dialects, which have unvoiced them to /pʰ, tʰ, kʰ/ (φ, θ, χ) with few exceptions.

  • Macedonian δάνος dánοs ('death', from PIE *dhenh2- 'to leave'), compare Attic θάνος thános
  • Macedonian ἀβροῦτες abroûtes or ἀβροῦϜες abroûwes as opposed to Attic ὀφρῦς ophrûs for 'eyebrows'
  • Macedonian Βερενίκη Bereníkē versus Attic Φερενίκη Phereníkē, 'bearing victory'
  • Macedonian ἄδραια adraia ('bright weather'), compare Attic αἰθρία aithría, from PIE *h2aidh-
  • Macedonian βάσκιοι báskioi ('fasces'), Attic φάσκωλος pháskōlos 'leather sack' , from PIE *bhasko
  • According to Herodotus 7.73 (ca. 440 BC), the Macedonians claimed that the Phryges were called Brygoi before they migrated from Thrace to Anatolia (around 1200 BC).
  • According to Plutarch,Moralia Macedonians use 'b' instead of 'ph',while Delphians use 'b' in the place of 'p'.
  • Macedonian μάγειρος mágeiros ('butcher') was a loan from Doric into Attic. Vittore Pisani has suggested an ultimately Macedonian origin for the word, which could then be cognate to μάχαιρα mákhaira ('knife', *magh-, 'to fight')

The same treatment is known from other Paleo-Balkan languages, e.g. Phrygian brater, Illyrian (and Elean, North-West dialect, by exception) bra but Attic phrater and phratra all from PIE *bhrater- brother. Since these languages are all known via the Greek alphabet, which has no signs for voiced aspirates, it is unclear whether de-aspiration had really taken place, or whether β, δ, γ were just picked as the closest matches to express voiced aspirates.

If γοτάν gotán ('pig') is related to *gwou ('cattle'), this would indicate that the labiovelars were either intact, or merged with the velars, unlike the usual Greek treatment (Attic βοῦς boûs). Such deviations, however, are not unknown in Greek dialects; compare Doric (Spartan) γλεπ- glep- for common Greek βλεπ- blep-, as well as Doric γλάχων gláchōn and Ionic γλήχων glēchōn for common Greek βλήχων blēchōn.

A number of examples suggest that voiced velar stops were devoiced, especially word-initially: κάναδοι kánadoi, 'jaws' (*genu-); κόμβους kómbous, 'molars' (*gombh-); within words: ἀρκόν arkón (Attic ἀργός argós); the Macedonian toponym Akesamenai, from the Pierian name Akesamenos (if Akesa- is cognate to Greek agassomai, agamai, "to astonish"; cf. the Thracian name Agassamenos).

In Aristophanes' The Birds, the form κεβλήπυρις keblēpyris ('red-cap bird') is found, showing a Macedonian-style voiced stop in place of a standard Greek unvoiced aspirate: κεβ(α)λή keb(a)lē versus κεφαλή kephalē ('head').


Due to the fragmentary attestation various interpretations are possible. The discussion is closely related to the reconstruction of the Proto-Greek language. The suggested historical interpretations of Macedonian include:

  • an Indo-European language which is a close cousin to Greek and also related to Thracian and Phrygian languages, suggested by A. Meillet (1913) and I. I. Russu (1938), or part of a Sprachbund encompassing Thracian, Illyrian and Greek (Kretschmer 1896, E. Schwyzer 1959).
  • an "Illyrian" dialect mixed with Greek, suggested by K. O. Müller (1825) and by G. Bonfante (1987).
  • various explicitly Greek scenarios:
    • a Greek dialect, part of the North-Western (Locrian, Aetolian, Phocidian, Epirote) variants of Doric Greek , suggested by N.G.L. Hammond (1989) and O. Masson (1996).
    • a northern Greek dialect, related to Aeolic Greek and Thessalian, suggested among others by A.Fick (1874) and O.Hoffmann (1906).
    • a Greek dialect with a non-Indo-European substratal influence, suggested by M. Sakellariou (1983).
    • a NW Doric Greek dialect with a Phrygian influence on a par with the Anatolian substratum on Pamphylian Greek (C.Brixhe, A.Panayotou 1994).

Indo-European close to Greek

Some linguists (e.g. A. Meillet) consider Macedonian an Indo-European language in its own right, close to Greek but perhaps not of unambiguously Greek stock, and treat it as other poorly attested languages as Thracian and/or Phrygian of some geographical proximity. Those who look towards "Thraco-Phrygian" (as I. I. Russu, 1938) do so sometimes, at the cost of unwarranted segmentations such as that of Ἀλέξανδρος into †Ἀλε- and †ξανδ-. The name is attested as early as the Mycenaean Greek period (c. 1600 -1100 BC) next to the feminine a-re-ka-sa-da-ra (𐀀𐀩𐀏𐀭𐀅𐀨, Classical Greek Ἀλεξάνδρα). Schwyzer and others hypothesize that linguistically Macedonian was between Illyrian and Thracian, a kind of intermediary language linking the two, in the sense of a dialect continuum or Sprachbund, since a genetic Thraco-Illyrian unity is highly uncertain and cannot be proven on grounds of the surviving evidence. In 1999, A. Garrett has surmised that Macedonian may at an early stage have been part of a dialect continuum which spanned the ancestor dialects of all south-western Indo-European languages (including Greek), but that it then remained peripheral to later areal processes of convergence which produced Greek proper. He argues that under this perspective sound-change isoglosses such as the deaspiration of voiced stops may be of limited diagnostic value, while ultimately the question of whether Macedonian belongs or does not belong to a genetic union with Greek is moot.

Vladimir I. Georgiev places Greek and Macedonian on a common branch of an IE family tree; this branch he groups together with Phrygian and Armenian to form a grouping termed "Central" Indo-European. Similarly, Eric P. Hamp assumes a common branch of Greek plus Macedonian, with the next larger unit formed together with Armenian and termed "Pontic South Indo-European".

Hellenic language

Some linguists have proposed calling the common Greek-Macedonian group together "Hellenic". A "Hellenic" group comprising Greek and Macedonian is also suggested as a possibility by Brian Joseph and has been adopted in the classification scheme used by the LINGUIST List.

A number of the Macedonian words, particularly in Hesychius' lexicon, are disputed (i.e., some do not consider them actual Macedonian words) and some may have been corrupted in the transmission. Thus abroutes, may be read as abrouwes (αβρουϝες), with tau (Τ) replacing a digamma (F). If so, this word would perhaps be encompassable within a Greek dialect; however, others (e.g. A. Meillet) see the dental as authentic and think that this specific word would perhaps belong to an Indo-European language different from Greek.

Greek dialect

Another school of thought favours Macedonian as an explicitly Greek dialect. Those who favour a purely Greek nature of Macedonian as a northern Greek dialect are numerous and include early scholars like H. Ahrens, O. Hoffmann or A. Fick. A recent proponent of this school was Professor Olivier Masson, who in his article on the ancient Macedonian language in the third edition of the Oxford Classical Dictionary tentatively suggested that Macedonian was related to North-Western Greek dialects:
In our view the Greek character of most names is obvious and it is difficult to think of a Hellenization due to wholesale borrowing [...]The small minority of names which do not look Greek [...] may be due to a substratum or adstratum influences (as elsewhere in Greece).Macedonian may then be seen as a Greek dialect, characterized by its marginal position and by local pronunciations. Yet in contrast with earlier views which made of it an Aeolic dialect [...] we must by now think of a link with North-West Greek [...] We must wait for new discoveries, but we may tentatively conclude that Macedonian is a dialect related to North-West Greek.
As to Macedonian β, δ, γ = Greek φ, θ, χ, Claude Brixhe suggests that it may have been a later development: The letters may already have designated not voiced stops, i.e. [], but voiced fricatives, i.e. [], due to a voicing of the voiceless fricatives [] (= Classical Attic []). Brian Joseph sums up that "[t]he slender evidence is open to different interpretations, so that no definitive answer is really possible", but cautions that "most likely, Ancient Macedonian was not simply an Ancient Greek dialect on a par with Attic or Aeolic". In this sense, some authors also call it a "deviant Greek dialect."

Macedonian in Classical sources

Among the references that have been discussed as possibly bearing some witness to the linguistic situation in Macedonia, there is a sentence from a fragmentary dialogue, apparently between an Athenian and a Macedonian, in an extant fragment of the 5th century BC comedy 'Macedonians' by the Athenian poet Strattis (fr. 28), where a stranger is portrayed as speaking in a rural Greek dialect. His language contains expressions such as ὕμμες ὡττικοί for ὑμείς αττικοί "you Athenians", ὕμμες being also attested in Homer, Sappho (Lesbian) and Theocritus (Doric), while ὡττικοί appears only in "funny country bumpkin" contexts of Attic comedy.

Another text that has been quoted as evidence is a passage from Livy (lived 59 BC-14 AD) in his Ab urbe condita (31.29). Describing political negotiations between Macedonians and Aetolians in the late 3rd century BC, Livy has a Macedonian ambassador argue that Aetolians and Macedonians were "men of the same language". This has been interpreted as referring to their common North-West Greek speech (as opposed to Attic Koiné).

Quintus Curtius Rufus, Philotas's trial.

Over time, "Macedonian" (μακεδονικός), when referring to language (and related expressions such as μακεδονίζειν; to speak in the Macedonian fashion) acquired the meaning of Koine Greek.

Adoption of the Attic dialect

As southern Greek influence increased, Macedonians increasingly began to adopt the Attic dialect in its emergent koine form. It is estimated that ancient Macedonian became supplanted in official discourse by the 4th century BC.

James L. O'Neil's (University of Sydney) pointed out : Beside Pella curse tablet three other, very brief, 4th century inscriptions are also indubitably Doric. These show that a Doric dialect was spoken in Macedon, as we would expect from the West Greek forms of Greek names found in Macedon. And yet later Macedonian inscriptions are in Koine avoiding both Doric forms and the Macedonian voicing of consonants. The native Macedonian dialect had become unsuitable for written documents (Pella curse tablet#Dating and significance)

Greek Epigraphy

The below list includes only those regions and elements that may be related or have been written by Macedonians before 350 BC.Early evidence from coastal cities dates back to 600-550 BC in Central Macedonia (Sane,Therme) ~ 550 BC East Macedonia (Neapolis) and 5th c.BC West side(Pydna).There is also a Carian inscription found in Therme 6th c. BC.

Macedonian words in epigraphy

  • Macedonian onomasticon : the earliest massive epigraphical documents are, the second Athenian alliance decree with Perdiccas II (~417-413 BC), the decree of Kalindoia,~335-300 BC) and seven curse tablets of the 4th c.BC bearing mostly names.
  • Macedonian sound-law : it is restricted to names and one epithet of Artemis.
    • Berenika priestess of Demetra ca. 350 BC is the oldest evidence.However it never turned into Pherenike in Macedon or Egypt.On the contrary Attic Pherenik- became Berenik- ; hence popular Athenian name Berenikides after 3rd c.BC.
    • Bila Brateadou (Attic Phile , Doric Phila Prateadou or Phrateadou (Aigai ca. 350-300 BC.
    • Phylomaga (Attic Phylomache) (Methone,Pieria ca. 350-300 BC).
    • Lamaga , Laomaga (Attic Laomache)


  • ἄγημα ágēma, 'vanguard, guards' (4 times only in Macedon ~ 200 BC ) (Attic ἄγω ágô lead,drive PIE *ag-)
  • ἀρχικερδέμπορος archikerdemporos president of guild of merchants (hapax)(Kerdemporos epithet of Hermes Orph.H.28.6 .
  • Βλουρεῖτις Bloureitis epithet of Artemis. (Skydra 106 AD, hapax).LSJ: Φιλωρεῖτις Philôreitês Artemis Agrotera (Huntress), Gazoreitis (from Gazoros, north of Kerkini lake), Bloureitis (fond of mountains). phil- + oros , ouros mountain.
  • Δάῤῥων Darrhôn minor god of healing
  • ἐδέατρος edeatros as archedeatros; 'taster', (Attic thaliarchos) Ptolemy I Soter first edeatros appointed by Alexander (See Athenaeus) (3 inscriptions, all related to late Ptolemies)
  • ἑταῖροι hetairoi , companion cavalry after 350 BC (Attic hetaîroi, comrades) PIE *swe-t-aro < suffixed form of *swe)
  • κότθυβος kotthubos non-metallic armour. (Amphipolis - ca.200 BC, hapax). (Cf.Attic kosumbos, fringe, hairnet) (Hesych. κοσύμβη kosumbe Cretan small shield, ἀνάδεσμα, anadesma, bandage, ἐγκόμβωμα, enkomboma, outward ornamental garment, Egyptian περίζωμα perizoma girdle. About the military decree of Amphipolis, see Phalanx, last paragraph.
  • Κυναγίδας Kynagidas epithet of Herakles. (Mycenaean Gk. Kynagitas attested in Linear B as ki-na-ke-ta, Attic kynegos, Doric kynagos Hunter) attested in 14 inscriptions of various places in Macedonia from 4th century BC to 2nd century AD. Κυναγὼ Kynago epithet of Artemis, attested twice. (Protectors of Hunters). Oldest inscription in Beroea — ca. 350-300 BC (spelled in one inscription, Kounagidas)
  • κνῖμα or κνίμα knima (line 17 see trakylion below ).
  • Macedonian months , of which Dystros and Gorpiaios have no apparent etymology.
  • νεύω neuo pray (Thessalian nebeuo) (Attic euchomai) (Attic neuo nod,wink). Attested as feminine past participles in Berenika's archineusasai women and Alexandra Argaiou, Kala Thea neusasa.
  • παπᾶ papa, an expression like "ouch" (Attic papae, Locrian papa, Greek demotic apapa)
  • πελιγᾶνες peligânes Macedonian senators, (wiki peliganes)
  • πυρόκαυσις pyrokausis (9 times in 2 inscriptions ~200 BC ) (additional draft,military recruitment per family. Each family provided one soldier.
  • σάρισσα sárissa (σάρισα sarisa attested hapax with one s in the military decree of Amphipolis), a long pike used by the Macedonian phalanx (Theophrastus, Polybius; etymology unknown – Blumenthal reconstructs *skwrvi-entia- to a root for 'cut', but this is speculative; perhaps (Attic σαίρω sairô to show the teeth, grin like a dog, esp. in scorn or malice), (σαρόω-ῶ saroô sweep clean, wipe out, sarôsis sweeping away, sarôtron broom), (sarônis an old hollow oak)
  • σκοῖδος skoidos administrator,secretary,quaestor (Elimeia-late 4th-mid. 3rd c. BC) PIE *skei- 'to cut, split' cf. Greek schizo 'to split', schedos 'riddle', schediazo improvise Lithuanian skedzu 'make thin, separate, divide',Latin scindere 'to split', Gothic skaidan, O.E. sceadan 'to divide, separate'.LSJ skoidion 'hat' dialectical for skiadion.
  • συνοπλᾶνες synoplânes co-fighters (2nd/3rd c.AD) (singular: συνοπλὰν synoplan or σύνοπλας synoplas) (Attic synoploi, synoplos) syn- + hoplon hoplites
  • τρακύλιον trakylion ((..the pathway between the two trakylia...rivers..mountains..))
  • ὑπασπισταὶ hypaspistai (the ones under shield , hypo- + aspis) (wiki Hypaspists) (6 times in Macedon)
  • Ψευδάνωρ Pseudanôr epithet of Dionysus, (wiki Pseudanor)

Macedonian influence on Koine

The phrase of Athenaeus (3.122.a) makedonizontas t' oida pollous tôn Attikôn dia tên epimixian (I am also aware of many Attic authors using Macedonian because of the admixture) may refer to Macedonian vocabulary or rather speaking in forms of Koine.Various words of Attic changed their meaning in Hellenistic period;some of them due to Macedonian influence.

  • παρεμβολή parembolê (Attic insertion) (Macedonian encampment,barracks) a word attested as military camp 6 times in Epigraphy and 2 times in New Testament.Phrynichus calls it δεινῶς Μακεδονικὸν very Macedonic.Parembole was also the name of various Hellenistic toponyms.(wiki Parembole)
  • ῥύμη rhumê (Attic rush,onset,flux) (Macedonian lane, alley, street) a word attested with the second meaning 3 times in Epigraphy and 2 times in New Testament.

Hesychius Glossary

The below words of unknown date, out of the single Hesychius manuscript, are marked as Macedonian.For the words of Macedonian Amerias, see Glossary of Amerias.Terms that occur in epigraphy are transferred above.

  • ἄβαγνα abagna 'roses amaranta (unwithered)' (Attic ῥόδα rhoda , Aeolic βρόδα broda roses).(LSJ: amarantos unfading.Amaranth flower. (Aeolic ἄβα aba 'youthful prime' + ἁγνός hagnos 'pure, chaste, unsullied) or epithet aphagna from aphagnizo 'purify'.If abagnon is the proper name for rhodon rose, then it is cognate to Persian bāġ , 'garden' , Gothic bagms 'tree' and Greek bakanon 'cabbage-seed'.Finally, a Phrygian borrowing is highly possible if we think of the famous Gardens of Midas , where roses grow of themselves (see Herodotus 8.138.2 , Athenaeus 15.683)
  • ἀβαρκνᾷ abarknai κομᾷ † τὲ Μακεδόνες Text Corrupted (komai ? , ἄβαρκνα abarkna hunger, famine.
  • ἀβαρύ abarú 'oregano' (Hes. ὀρίγανον origanon) (LSJ: βαρύ barú perfume used in incense, Attic βαρύ barú 'heavy') (LSJ amarakon sweet Origanum Majorana)(Hes. for origanon ἀγριβρόξ agribrox, ἄβρομον abromon , ἄρτιφος artiphos, κεβλήνη keblênê)
  • ἀβλόη , ἀλογεῖ abloē , alogei Text Corrupted †<ἀβλόη>· σπένδε Μακεδόνες [<ἀλογεῖ>· σπεῖσον Μακεδόνες] spendô)
  • ἀβροῦτες or ἀβροῦϜες abroûtes or abroûwes 'eyebrows' (Hes. Attic ὀφρῦς ophrûs acc. pl., ὀφρύες ophrúes nom., PIE *bhru-) (Lithuanian bruvis , Persian abru) (Koine Greek ophrudia , Modern Greek φρύδια frydia)
  • ἀγκαλίς ankalis Attic 'weight, burden, load' Macedonian 'sickle' (Hes. Attic ἄχθος ákhthos , δρέπανον drépanon, LSJ Attic ἀγκαλίς ankalís 'bundle', or in pl. ἀγκάλαι ankálai 'arms' (body parts), ἄγκαλος ánkalos 'armful, bundle', ἀγκάλη ankálē 'the bent arm' or 'anything closely enfolding', as the arms of the sea, PIE *ank 'to bend') (ἀγκυλίς ankylis 'barb' Oppianus.C.1.155.)
  • ἄδδαι addai poles of a chariot or car,logs (Attic ῥυμοὶ rhumoi) (Aeolic usdoi ,Attic ozoi ,branches,twigs) PIE , branch
  • ἀδῆ adē 'clear sky' or 'the upper air' (Hes. οὐρανός ouranós 'sky', LSJ and Pokorny Attic αἰθήρ aithēr 'ether, the upper, purer air', hence 'clear sky, heaven')
  • ἄδισκον adiskon potion,cocktail (Attic kykeôn )
  • ἄδραια adraia 'fine weather, open sky' (Hes. Attic αἰθρία aithría, PIE *aidh-)
  • Ἀέροπες Aeropes tribe (wind-faced) (aero- + opsis(aerops opos, Boeotian name for the bird merops)
  • ἀκόντιον akontion spine or backbone,anything ridged like the backbone:ridge of a hill or mountain (Attic rhachis) (Attic akontion spear,javelin) (Aeolic akontion part of troops)
  • ἀκρέα akrea girl (Attic κόρη korê , Ionic kourê ,Doric/Aeolic kora ,Arcadian korwa , Laconian kyrsanis (Ἀκρέα , epithet of Aphrodite in Cyprus,instead of Akraia , on the heights ).
  • ἀκρουνοί akrounoi 'boundary stones' nom. pl. (Hes. ὃροι hóroi, LSJ Attic ἄκρος ákros 'at the end or extremity', from ἀκή akē 'point, edge', PIE *ak 'summit, point' or 'sharp')
  • ἀλίη alíē 'boar or boarfish' (Attic kapros) (PIE *ol-/*el- "red, brown" (in animal and tree names)(Homeric ellos fawn , Attic elaphos deer , alkê elk)
  • ἄλιζα aliza (also alixa) 'White Poplar' (Attic λεύκη leúkē , Thessalian alphinia, LSJ: ἄλυζα , aluza globularia alypum) (Pokorny Attic ἐλάτη elátē 'fir, spruce', PIE *ol-, *el- , P.Gmc. and Span. aliso 'alder')
  • ἄξος axos 'timber' (Hes. Attic ὓλη hulê) (Cretan Doric ausos Attic alsos grove little forest. (PIE *os- ash tree(OE.æsc ash tree),(Greek.οξυά oxya,Albanian ah,beech),(Armenian. haci ash tree)
  • ἀορτής aortês, 'swordsman' (Hes. ξιφιστής; Homer ἄορ áor 'sword'; Attic ἀορτήρ aortēr 'swordstrap', modern Greek αορτήρ aortír 'riflestrap'; hence aorta) (According to Suidas: Many now say the knapsack ἀβερτὴ abertê instead of aortê . Both the object and the word [are] Macedonian.
  • Ἀράντιδες Αrantides Erinyes (in dative ἀράντισιν ἐρινύσι)(Arae name for Erinyes, arasimos accursed , araomai invoke,curse,pray or rhantizô sprinkle,purify.
  • ἄργελλα argella 'bathing hut'. Cimmerian ἄργιλλα or argila 'subterranean dwelling' (Ephorus in Strb. 5.4.5) PIE *areg-; borrowed into Balkan Latin and gave Romanian argea (pl. argele), "wooden hut", dialectal (Banat) arghela "stud farm") ; cf. Sanskrit argalā 'latch, bolt', Old English reced "building, house", Albanian argësh "harrow, crude bridge of crossbars, crude raft supported by skin bladders"
  • ἀργιόπους argiopous 'eagle' (LSJ Attic ἀργίπους argípous 'swift- or white-footed', PIE *hrg'i-pods < PIE *arg + PIE *ped)
  • Ἄρητος Arētos epithet or alternative of Herakles (Ares-like)
  • ἀρκόν arkon 'leisure, idleness' (LSJ Attic ἀργός argós 'lazy, idle' nom. sing., ἀργόν acc.)
  • ἀρφύς arhphys (Attic ἱμάς himas strap,rope),(ἁρπεδών harpedôn cord, yarn; ἁρπεδόνα Rhodes, Lindos II 2.37).
  • ἄσπιλος aspilos 'torrent' (Hes. χείμαῤῥος kheímarrhos, Attic ἄσπιλος áspilos 'without stain, spotless, pure')
  • βαβρήν babrên lees of olive-oil (LSJ: βάβρηκες babrêkes gums, or food in the teeth, βαβύας babuas mud )
  • βαθάρα bathara pukliê (Macedonian), purlos (Athamanian) (unattested; maybe food, atharê porridge , pyros wheat)
  • βίῤῥοξ birrhox dense,thick (LSJ: βειρόν beiron )
  • γάρκα garka rod (Attic charax ) (EM: garkon axle-pin ) (LSJ: garrha rod )
  • γόλα gola or goda bowels,intestines (Homeric cholades ) PIE: ghel-ond-, ghol-n•d- stomach; bowels
  • γοτάν gotan 'pig' acc. sing. (PIE *gwou- 'cattle', (Attic βοτόν botón ' beast', in plural βοτά botá 'grazing animals' ) (Laconian grôna sow female pig, and pl. grônades ) (LSJ: goi , goi, to imitate the sound of pigs ) ( goitasheep or pig )
  • γυλλάς gyllas kind of glass (gyalas a Megarian cup)
  • γῶψ gôps pl. gopes macherel (Attic koloios ) (LSJ: skôps a fish ) (Modern Greek gopa bogue fish pl. gopes)
  • δαίτας daitas caterer waiter (Attic daitros
  • δάνος danos 'death', (Hes. Attic thánatos θάνατος 'death', from root θαν- than-) ,PIE *dhenh2- 'to leave, δανoτής danotês (disaster,pain) Sophocles Lacaenae fr.338
  • δανῶν danōn 'murderer' (Attic θανών thanōn dead ,past participle)
  • δάρυλλος darullos 'oak' (Hes. Attic δρῦς drûs, PIE *doru-)
  • δρῆες drêes or δρῆγες drêges small birds (Attic strouthoi ) (Elean δειρήτης deirêtês , strouthos, Nicander.Fr.123.)(LSJ: διγῆρες digêres strouthoi , δρίξ drix strouthos)
  • δώραξ dôrax spleen , splên (Attic θώραξ thôrax chest,corslet
  • ἐπιδειπνίς epideipnis Macedonian dessert
  • Ζειρηνίς Zeirênis epithet or alternative for Aphrodite (Seirênis Siren-like)
  • Ἠμαθία Êmathia ex-name of Macedonia,region of Emathia from mythological Emathus (Homeric amathos êmathoessa, river-sandy land , PIE *samadh. Generally the coastal Lower Macedonia in contrast to mountainous Upper Macedonia.For meadow land (mē-2, m-e-t- to reap) ,see Pokorny.
  • Θαῦλος Thaulos epithet or alternative of Ares (Θαύλια Thaulia 'festival in Doric Tarentum , θαυλίζειν thaulizein 'to celebrate like Dorians' , Thessalian Ζεὺς Θαύλιος Zeus Thaulios, the only attested in epigraphy 10 times, Athenian Ζεὺς Θαύλων Zeus Thaulôn, Athenian family Θαυλωνίδαι Thaulônidai
  • Θούριδες Thourides Nymphs Muses (Homeric thouros rushing, impetuous.
  • ἰζέλα izela wish, good luck (Attic agathêi tychêi) (Doric bale , abale,Arcadian zele ) (Cretan delton agathon ) or Thracian zelas wine.
  • ἴλαξ ílax 'the holm-oak, evergreen or scarlet oak' (Hes. Attic πρῖνος prînos, Latin ilex)
  • ἰν δέᾳ in dea midday (Attic endia , mesêmbria) (Arcadian also in instead of Attic en)
  • κἄγχαρμον kancharmon having the lance up τὸ τὴν λόγχην ἄνω ἔχον (Hes. ἄγχαρμον ancharmon ἀνωφερῆ τὴν αἰχμήν <ἔχων> Ibyc? Stes?) having upwards the point of a spear)

(κἄ , Crasis) kai and,together,simultaneously + anô up (anôchmon hortatory password)

  • κάραβος karabos
    • Macedonian 'gate, door' (Cf. karphos any small dry body,piece of wood (Hes. Attic 'meat roasted over coals'; Attic karabos 'stag-beetle'; 'crayfish'; 'light ship'; hence modern Greek καράβι karávi)
    • 'the worms in dry wood' (Attic 'stag-beetle, horned beetle; crayfish')
    • 'a sea creature' (Attic 'crayfish, prickly crustacean; stag-beetle')
  • καρπαία karpaia Thessalo-Macedonian mimic military dance (see also Carpaea) Homeric karpalimos swift (for foot) eager,ravenous.
  • κίκεῤῥοι kí[k]erroi 'pale ones (?)' (Hes. Attic ὦχροι ōkhroi, PIE *k̂ik̂er- 'pea') (LSJ: kikeros land crocodile)
  • κομμάραι kommarai or komarai crawfishes (Attic karides)(LSJ: kammaros a kind of lobster, Epicharmus.60, Sophron.26, Rhinthon.18:-- also kammaris , idos Galen.6.735.) (komaris a fish Epicharmus.47.)
  • κόμβοι komboi 'molars' (Attic γομφίοι gomphioi, dim. of γόμφος gomphos 'a large, wedge-shaped bolt or nail; any bond or fastening', PIE *gombh-)
  • κυνοῦπες kynoupes or kynoutos bear (Hesychius kynoupeus, knoupeus ,knôpeus)(kunôpês dog-faced) (knôps beast esp. serpent instead of kinôpeton , blind acc. Zonar (from knephas dark)(if kynoutos (knôdês knôdalon beast)
  • λακεδάμα lakedáma ὕδωρ ἁλμυρὸν ἄλικι ἐπικεχυμένον salty water with alix , rice-wheat or fish-sauce.(Cf. skorodalmê 'sauce or pickle composed of brine and garlic'). According to Albrecht von Blumenthal, -ama corresponds to Attic ἁλμυρός halmurós 'salty'; Cretan Doric hauma for Attic halmē; laked- is cognate to Proto-Germanic *lauka leek ,possibly related is Λακεδαίμων Laked-aímōn, the name of the Spartan land.
  • λείβηθρον leíbēthron 'stream' (Hes. Attic ῥεῖθρον rheîthron, also λιβάδιον libádion, 'a small stream', dim. of λιβάς libás; PIE *lei, 'to flow'); typical Greek productive suffix -θρον (-thron) (Macedonian toponym , Pierian Leibethra place/tomb of Orpheus)
  • ματτύης mattuês kind of bird (ματτύη mattuê a meat-dessert of Macedonian or Thessalian origin) (verb mattuazo to prepare the mattue) (Athenaeus)
  • παραός paraos eagle or kind of eagle (Attic aetos , Pamphylian aibetos) (PIE *por- 'going, passage' + *awi- 'bird') (Greek para- 'beside' + Hes. aos wind) (It may exist as food in Lopado...pterygon)
  • περιπέτεια peripeteia or περίτια peritia Macedonian festival in month Peritios. (Hesychius text περί[πε]τ[ε]ια )
  • ῥάματα rhamata bunch of grapes (Ionic rhagmata,rhages Koine rhôgmata,rhôges , rhax rhôx)
  • ῥοῦτο rhouto this (neut.) (Attic τοῦτο touto)
  • ταγόναγα tagonaga Macedonian institution,administration (Thessalian ταγὸς tagos commander +ἄγω agô lead)

Other Sources


A number of Hesychius words are listed orphan; some of them have been proposed as Macedonian

  • ἀγέρδα agerda wild pear-tree (Attic ἄχερδος acherdos.
  • ἀδαλός adalos charcoal dust (Attic αἴθαλος aithalos , ἄσβολος asbolos)
  • ἄδδεε addee imp. hurry up ἐπείγου (Attic thee of theô run )
  • ἄδις adis 'hearth' (Hes. ἐσχάρα eskhára, LSJ Attic αἶθος aîthos 'fire, burning heat')
  • αἰδῶσσα aidôssa (Attic aithousa portico, corridor ,verandah, a loggia leading from aulê yard to prodomos)
  • βάσκιοι baskioi 'fasces' (Hes. Attic δεσμοὶ φρῡγάνων desmoì phrūgánōn, Pokorny βασκευταί baskeutaí, Attic φασκίδες phaskídes, Attic φάσκωλος pháskōlos 'leather sack', PIE *bhasko-)
  • βίξ bix sphinx (Boeotian phix) , (Attic sphinx)
  • δαλάγχα dalancha sea (Attic thalatta) (Ionic thalassa)
  • δεδάλαι dedalai package, bundle (Attic dethla, desmai)
  • ἐσκόροδος eskorodos tenon (Attic tormos σκόρθος skorthos tornos slice,lathe)
  • Εὐδαλαγῖνες Eudalagines Graces Χάριτες (Attic Εὐθαλγῖνες Euthalgines)
  • κάναδοι kanadoi 'jaws' nom. pl. (Attic γνάθοι gnathoi, PIE *genu, 'jaw') (Laconian καναδόκα kanadoka notch (V) of an arrow χηλὴ ὀϊστοῦ)
  • λαίβα laiba shield (Doric λαία laia , λαῖφα laipha ) (Attic aspis )
  • λάλαβις lalabis storm (Attic lailaps)
  • ὁμοδάλιον homodalion isoetes plant ( θάλλω thallô bloom)
  • ῥουβοτός rhoubotos potion (Attic rhophema ) rhopheo suck,absorb rhoibdeô suck with noise.

Political controversy

Though no scholar connects Ancient Macedonian to the Slavic Modern Macedonian language, the classification of the language has come to have political overtones in the Macedonia naming dispute and the Macedonian language naming dispute.

See also


Further reading

  • Die Makedonen: Ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum by Otto Hoffmann
  • Babiniotis, G. "Ancient Macedonian: The Place of Macedonian among the Greek Dialects", Macedonian Hellenism, edited by A.M. Tamis. Melbourne, 1990, pp. 241–250.
  • Brixhe C., Panayotou A. (1994) Le Macédonien in Bader, F. (ed.) Langues indo-européennes, Paris:CNRS éditions, 1994, pp 205–220. ISBN 227105043-X
  • Chadwick, J. The Prehistory of the Greek Language. Cambridge, 1963.
  • Hammond, Nicholas G.L. "Literary Evidence for Macedonian Speech", Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 43, No. 2. (1994), pp. 131–142.
  • Katičić, Radoslav. Ancient Languages of the Balkans. The Hague; Paris: Mouton, 1976.
  • Neroznak, V. Paleo-Balkan languages. Moscow, 1978.
  • Rhomiopoulou, Katerina. An Outline of Macedonian History and Art. Greek Ministry of Culture and Science, 1980.

External links

Search another word or see unwitheredon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature