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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

For the first thousand years after the end of the classical period, documentary papyri constitute the most important source of information on the development of the Greek language; they are also important for our understanding of Latin, but less so. Greek phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary underwent major changes between the classical and Byzantine periods. These changes are known primarily through the mistakes made by writers of papyrus documents, who would have liked to write in a more classical Greek but (unlike the authors of literary texts) often did not have the education to do so. This article describes these changes in detail, with the probable dates of each, and also examines the language of Latin papyri and ostraca. Sample documents in each language are analysed, with translations into their classical equivalents.

Keywords: Greek language, Latin language, documentary papyri, Latin papyri, Greek koinê, letters, ostraca

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