Cicero's Greek pronunciation

By rothbard, in 'Ancient Greek', Nov 5, 2017.

  1. rothbard Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    London
    Does anyone have any idea what kind of pronunciation an educated Roman of the first century BC or AD, say Cicero or Pliny, would have used when speaking Greek? Is it thought to resemble more the reconstructed pronunciation of Ancient (Attic) Greek, or the contemporary Koine Greek one? (See here).
    Wilahelmaz likes this.
  2. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    I think it unlikely for them using anything else than the contemporary Greek pronunciation. It was difficult for the peoples of the past to use a non-contemporary pronunciation for any literary/dead-form (of) language, usually possible only if they consciously were keeping antiquated orthography as well (and Romans did that sometimes, like in the declension of "equus", where in nominative singular "ecus" would do pronunciation wise, just like they did quum -> cum after the quom-> quum evolution).

    This would have been only possible if Greeks themselves for didactic/recitation purposes kept a form of antiquated pronunciation (just for these purposes), like, for instance, a more melodic accent used to recite Homer than what would the accent be at that time and so on.

    So, I don't bring any real data into this discussion, but from my studies of the ancient pronunciations this is how I would (at least) assess the thing.
  3. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    So, Cicero probably spoke Greek with the pronunciation of a contemporary Greek person, and just a cute Latin accent in addition. ;)
    Godmy likes this.
  4. Godmy A Monkey

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Bohemia
    :D
  5. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    in orbe lacteo
    Reminds me of the story of how the ambassadors sent to Tarentum after they attacked a Roman ship were mocked by the crowd for their bad pronunciation of Greek. When this mocking went too far that was the start of the Pyrrhic War. But this is before Rome had really had much contact with the Greeks (other than their colonies in Italy, like Tarentum) or anywhere outside of Italy, so probably by Cicero's time people were much better at pronouncing Greek.
    Pacifica likes this.

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