Macedonian, the language of the ancient Macedonians, either a dialect of Ancient Greek or a separate Hellenic language, was spoken in the kingdom of Macedonia during the 1st millennium BC and belongs to the Indo-European language family. It gradually fell out of use during the 4th century BC, marginalized by the use of Attic Greek by the Macedonian aristocracy, the Ancient Greek dialect that became the basis of Koine Greek, the lingua franca of the Hellenistic period.[4]

The surviving public and private inscriptions found in Macedonia indicate that there was no other written language in ancient Macedonia but Ancient Greek,[5][6] and recent epigraphic discoveries in the Greek region of Macedonia, such as the Pella curse tablet, suggest that ancient Macedonian might have been a variety of North Western Ancient Greek.[7] Other linguistic evidence suggests that although Ancient Greek was the language of literacy, the vernacular was a separate language, although closely related.[8][9]

Due to the fragmentary attestation of this language or dialect, various interpretations are possible.[10][page needed] Suggested phylogenetic classifications of Macedonian include:[11]

A Greek dialect, part of the North-Western (Locrian, Aetolian, Phocidian, Epirote) variants of Doric Greek, suggested amongst others by N.G.L. Hammond (1989) Olivier Masson (1996), Michael Meier-Brügger (2003), Johannes Engels (2010), and Hatzopoulos (2011).[12][13][14][15][16]
A northern Greek dialect, related to Aeolic Greek and Thessalian, suggested among others by A.Fick (1874) and O.Hoffmann (1906).[12][17]
An aberrant form of Greek, with borrowings from Illyrian and Thracian.[18]
A Greek dialect with a non-Indo-European substratal influence, suggested by M. Sakellariou (1983) and Hatzopoulos (2011).[19]
A sibling language of Greek within Indo-European, according to a scheme in which Macedonian and Greek are the two branches of a Greco-Macedonian subgroup (sometimes called "Hellenic")[20] suggested by Joseph (2001), Georgiev (1966),[8] and Hamp & Adams (2013).[21]
An Indo-European language that is a close cousin to Attic Greek and also related to Thracian and Phrygian languages, suggested by A. Meillet (1913) and I. I. Russu (1938),[22] 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).[citation needed]


From the few idiomatic words that survive, only a little can be said about special features of the language.[citation needed] A notable sound-law is that the Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirates (/bʰ, dʰ, gʰ/) sometimes appear as voiced stops /b, d, g/, (written β, δ, γ), whereas they are generally unvoiced as /pʰ, tʰ, kʰ/ (φ, θ, χ) elsewhere in Greek.[23]

Macedonian δάνος dánοs ('death', from PIE *dhenh2- 'to leave'), compare to Attic θάνατος thánatos
Macedonian ἀβροῦτες abroûtes or ἀβροῦϝες abroûwes compare to Attic ὀφρῦς ophrûs for 'eyebrows'
Macedonian Βερενίκη Bereníkē compare to Attic Φερενίκη Phereníkē, 'bearing victory' (Personal name)
Macedonian ἄδραια adraia ('bright weather'), compare to Attic αἰθρία aithría, from PIE *h2aidh-
Macedonian βάσκιοι báskioi ('fasces'), compare to Attic φάσκωλος pháskōlos 'leather sack', from PIE *bhasko
According to Herodotus 7.73 (c. 440 BC), the Macedonians claimed that the Phryges were called Bryges before they migrated from Thrace to Anatolia (around 8th–7th century BC).
According to Plutarch, Moralia[24] 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', < PIE *magh-, 'to fight')[25]

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 Laconian Doric (the dialect of Sparta) γλεπ- glep- for common Greek βλεπ- blep-, as well as Doric γλάχων gláchōn and Ionic γλήχων glēchōn for common Greek βλήχων blēchōn.[26]

A number of examples suggest that voiced velar stops were devoiced, especially word-initially: κάναδοι kánadoi, 'jaws' (< PIE *genu-); κόμβους kómbous, 'molars' (< PIE *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 head', the name of a bird, perhaps the goldfinch or redpoll) is found,[27] showing a Macedonian-style voiced stop in place of a standard Greek unvoiced aspirate: κεβ(α)λή keb(a)lē versus κεφαλή kephalē ('head').

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.[28] 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.

A. Panayotou summarizes some features generally identified through ancient texts and epigraphy:[29]

Occasional development of voiced aspirates (*bh, *dh, *gh) into voiced stops (b, d, g) (e.g. Βερενίκα, Attic Φερενίκη)
Retention of */a:/ (e.g. Μαχάτας), also present in Epirotic[30]
[a:] as result of contraction [a:] + [ɔ:]
Apocope of short vowels in prepositions in synthesis (παρκαττίθεμαι, Attic παρακατατίθεμαι)
Syncope (hyphairesis) and diphthongization are used to avoid hiatus (e.g. Θετίμα, Attic Θεοτίμη; compare with Epirotic Λαγέτα, Doric Λαογἐτα).[30]
Occasional retention of the pronunciation [u] οf /u(:)/ in local cult epithets or nicknames (Κουναγίδας = Κυναγίδας)
Raising of /ɔ:/ to /u:/ in proximity to nasal (e.g. Κάνουν, Attic Κανών)
Simplification of the sequence /ign/ to /i:n/ (γίνομαι, Attic γίγνομαι)
Loss of aspiration of the consonant cluster /sth/ (> /st/) (γενέσται, Attic γενέσθαι)


Ancient Macedonian morphology is shared with ancient Epirus, including some of the oldest inscriptions from Dodona.[31] The morphology of the first declension nouns with an -ας ending is also shared with Thessalian (e.g. Epitaph for Pyrrhiadas, Kierion[32]).

First-declension masculine and feminine in -ας and -α respectively (e.g. Πεύκεστας, Λαομάγα)
First-declension masculine genitive singular in -α (e.g. Μαχάτα)
First-declension genitive plural in -ᾶν
First person personal pronoun dative singular ἐμίν
Temporal conjunction ὁπόκα
Possibly, a non-sigmatic nominative masculine singular in the first declension (ἱππότα, Attic ἱππότης)


M. Hatzopoulos summarizes the Macedonian anthroponymy (that is names borne by people from Macedonia before the expansion beyond the Axios or people undoubtedly hailing from this area after the expansion) as follows:[33]

Epichoric (local) Greek names that either differ from the phonology of the introduced Attic or that remained almost confined to Macedonians throughout antiquity
Panhellenic (common) Greek names
Identifiable non-Greek (Thracian and Illyrian) names
Names without a clear Greek etymology that can't however be ascribed to any identifiable non-Greek linguistic group.

Common in the creation of ethnics is the use of -έστης, -εστός especially when derived from sigmatic nouns (ὄρος > Ὀρέστης but also Δῖον > Διασταί).[29]

The toponyms of Macedonia proper are generally Greek, though some of them show a particular phonology and a few others are non-Greek.
Main article: Ancient Macedonian calendar

The Macedonian names of about half or more of the months of the ancient Macedonian calendar have a clear and generally accepted Greek etymology (e.g. Dios, Apellaios, Artemisios, Loos, Daisios), though some of the remaining ones have sometimes been considered to be Greek but showing a particular Macedonian phonology (e.g. Audunaios has been connected to "Haides" *A-wid and Gorpiaios/Garpiaios to "karpos" fruit).

Macedonian onomastics: the earliest epigraphical documents attesting substantial numbers of Macedonian proper names 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 century BC bearing mostly names.[34][35]

Octadrachm of Alexander I of Macedon, early 5th century B.C.

Stater of Perdiccas II of Macedon, mid to late 5th century B.C.

The Pella curse tablet, 4th century B.C.

Binding spell, 4th century B.C., Oraiokastro[36]

Funerary stele, with an epigram on the top, mid 4th century B.C., Vergina

About 99% of the roughly 6,300 Macedonian-period inscriptions discovered by archaeologists were written in the Greek language, using the Greek alphabet.[37] The Pella curse tablet, a text written in a distinct Doric Greek dialect, found in 1986 and 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 dialect group.[38]
Hesychius Glossary

This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. Please improve this article by removing excessive or inappropriate external links, and converting useful links where appropriate into footnote references. (April 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

A body of idiomatic 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, though the number of considered words sometimes differs from scholar to scholar. The majority of these words can be confidently assigned to Greek albeit some words would appear to reflect a dialectal form of Greek. There are, however, a number of words that are not easily identifiable as Greek and reveal, for example, voiced stops where Greek shows voiceless aspirates.[39] Specific words and consonant shifts are, however, present in most dialects of most languages.

⟨†⟩ marked words which have been corrupted.

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'.[40] If abagnon is the proper name for rhodon rose, then it is cognate to Persian باغ 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 (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-) (Serbian obrve, Lithuanian bruvis, Persian ابرو 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 *H₂ó-sd-o- , 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, Epirotan ἀδρία, 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, of the heights). Epithet of a goddess from an archaic Corcyraic inscription (ορϝος hιαρος τας Ακριας).
ἀκρουνοί akrounoi 'boundary stones' nom. pl. (Hes. ὃροι hóroi, LSJ Attic ἄκρον ákron '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)[41] (Homeric ellos fawn, Attic elaphos 'deer', alkê elk)
ἄλιζα aliza (also alixa) 'White Poplar' (Attic λεύκη leúkē, Epirotan ἄλυζα, 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 հացի hac’i 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[42] 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"
ἀργι(ό)πους 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[43]
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) (goita sheep 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[44]
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.[45] Generally the coastal Lower Macedonia in contrast to mountainous Upper Macedonia. For meadow land (mē-2, m-e-t- to reap), see Pokorny.[46]
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)[47] 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 kíkerroi 'chick-peas' [48] (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,[26] -ama corresponds to Attic ἁλμυρός halmurós 'salty'; Cretan Doric hauma for Attic halmē; laked- is cognate to Proto-Germanic *lauka[49] 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)[50]
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 + ἄγωagô lead)

Other sources

αἰγίποψ aigipops eagle (EM 28.19) (error for argipous? maybe goat-eater? aix ,aigos + pepsis digestion) (Cf.eagle chelônophagos turtle-eater)[51]
ἀργυρὰσπιδες argyraspides (wiki Argyraspides) chrysaspides and chalkaspides (golden and bronze-shielded)[52]
δράμις dramis a Macedonian bread (Thessalian bread daratos)(Athamanian bread dramix. (Athenaeus)[53]
καυσία kausia felt hat used by Macedonians, forming part of the regalia of the kings.
κοῖος koios number (Athenaeus[54] when talking about Koios, the Titan of intelligence; and the Macedonians use koios as synonymous with arithmos (LSJ: koeô mark, perceive, hear koiazô pledge, Hes. compose s.v. κοίασον, σύνθες) (Laocoön, thyoskoos observer of sacrifices, akouô hear) (All from PIE root *keu[55] to notice, observe, feel; to hear.
πεζέταιροι pezetairoi (wiki Pezhetairoi), Hetairidia, Macedonian religious festival (Attic πεζοί,πεζομάχοι) (Aeolic πέσδοι)[56]
Πύδνα Púdna, Pydna toponym (Pokorny[57] Attic πυθμήν puthmēn 'bottom, sole, base of a vessel'; PIE *bʰudʰnā; Attic πύνδαξ pýndax 'bottom of vessel') (Cretan,Pytna[58] Hierapytna, Sacred Pytna[59]
σίγυνος sigynos spear (Cypriotic sigynon) (Illyrian sibyne) (Origin: Illyrian acc. to Fest.p. 453 L., citing Ennius) (Cyprian acc. to Herodotus and Aristotle[60] Il. cc., Scythian acc. to Sch.Par.A.R.4.320 (cf. 111)
σφύραινα sphuraina, hammer-fish sphyraena (Strattis,Makedones (fr. 28) – (Attic.κέστρα, kestra) (cestra, needle-fish (modern Greek fish σφυρίδα, sfyrida)
ὐετής uetês of the same year Marsyas (Attic autoetês, Poetic oietês)
χάρων charôn lion (Attic/Poetic fierce, for lion, eagle instead of charopos, charops bright-eyed)[61]


A number of Hesychius words are listed orphan; some of them have been proposed as Macedonian[62]

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.

Macedonian in Classical sources
Further information: Greek historiography

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 ὑμεὶς ἀττικοί "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.[63]

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, Acarnanians and Macedonians were "men of the same language".[64] This has been interpreted as referring to a shared North-West Greek speech (as opposed to Attic Koiné).[65] In another passage, Livy states that an announcement was translated from Latin to Greek for Macedonians to understand.[66]

Quintus Curtius Rufus, Philotas's trial[67] and the statement that the Greek-speaking Branchidae had common language with the Macedonians.[68]

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.[69]
Contributions to the Koine
Further information: Ancient Macedonians

As a consequence of the Macedonians' role in the formation of the Koine, Macedonian contributed considerable elements, unsurprisingly including some military terminology (διμοιρίτης, ταξίαρχος, ὑπασπισταί, etc.). Among the many contributions were the general use of the first declension grammar for male and female nouns with an -as ending, attested in the genitive of Macedonian coinage from the early 4th C BC of Amyntas III (ΑΜΥΝΤΑ in the genitive; the Attic form that fell into disuse would be ΑΜΥΝΤΟΥ). There were changes in verb conjugation such as in the Imperative δέξα attested in Macedonian sling stones found in Asiatic battlefields, that became adopted in place of the Attic forms. Koine Greek established a spirantisation of beta, gamma and delta, which has been attributed to the Macedonian influence.[70] Other adoptions from the ancient Macedonian include the simplification of the sequence /ign/ to /i:n/ (γίνομαι, Attic γίγνομαι) and the loss of aspiration of the consonant cluster /sth/ (> /st/) (γενέσται, Attic γενέσθαι), for example as in a Koine inscription from Dura-Europos from the 2nd or 3rd century AD: "τον Χριστὀν μνἠσκεστε".[citation needed]
See also

Ancient Greece
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek dialects
Government of Macedonia (ancient kingdom)
Hellenic languages
History of Macedonia (ancient kingdom)
Phrygian language
Proto-Greek language
Thracian language


^ The Oxford English Dictionary (1989), Macedonian, Simpson J. A. & Weiner E. S. C. (eds), Oxford: Oxford University Press, Vol. IX, ISBN 0-19-861186-2 (set) ISBN 0-19-861221-4 (vol. IX) p. 153
^ Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged (1976), Macedonian, USA:Merriam-Webster, G. & C. Merriam Co., vol. II (H–R) ISBN 0-87779-101-5


Macedonian at MultiTree on the Linguist List
B. Joseph (2001): "Ancient Greek". In: J. Garry et al. (eds.) Facts about the World's Major Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World's Major Languages, Past and Present.
Blažek, Václav (2005). "Paleo-Balkanian Languages I: Hellenic Languages"
Eugene N. Borza (1992) In the Shadow of Olympus: The Emergence of Macedon, p. 94 (citing Hammond); G. Horrocks, Greek: A History of the Language and its Speakers (1993), ch.4.1.
Joseph Roisman; Ian Worthington (7 July 2011). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. John Wiley & Sons. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-4443-5163-7. "Many surviving public and private inscriptions indicate that in the Macedonian kingdom there was no dominant written language but standard Attic and later on koine Greek."
Lewis, D. M.; Boardman, John (2000). The Cambridge ancient history, 3rd edition, Volume VI. Cambridge University Press. p. 730. ISBN 978-0-521-23348-4.
Sarah B. Pomeroy, Stanley M. Burstein, Walter Donlan, Jennifer Tolbert Roberts, A Brief History of Ancient Greece: Politics, Society, and Culture, Oxford University Press, 2008, p.289
Vladimir Georgiev, "The Genesis of the Balkan Peoples", The Slavonic and East European Review 44:103:285-297 (July 1966)
"Ancient Macedonian is closely related to Greek, and Macedonian and Greek are descended from a common Greek-Macedonian idiom that was spoken till about the second half of the 3rd millennium BC. From the 4th century BC on began the Hellenization of ancient Macedonian."
Eric Hamp & Douglas Adams (2013) "The Expansion of the Indo-European Languages", Sino-Platonic Papers, vol 239.
B. Joseph (2001): "Ancient Greek". In: J. Garry et al. (eds.) Facts about the world's major languages: an encyclopedia of the world's major languages, past and present. Online paper
Mallory, J.P. (1997). Mallory, J.P.; Adams, D.Q., eds. Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Chicago-London: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 361. ISBN 1-884964-98-2.
Masson, Olivier (2003) [1996]. "[Ancient] Macedonian language". In Hornblower, S.; Spawforth A. The Oxford Classical Dictionary (revised 3rd ed.). USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 905–906. ISBN 0-19-860641-9.
Hammond, N.G.L (1993) [1989]. The Macedonian State. Origins, Institutions and History (reprint ed.). USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814927-1.
Michael Meier-Brügger, Indo-European linguistics, Walter de Gruyter, 2003, p.28,on Google books
Roisman, Worthington, 2010, "A Companion to Ancient Macedonia", Chapter 5: Johannes Engels, "Macedonians and Greeks", p. 95:"This (i.e. Pella curse tablet) has been judged to be the most important ancient testimony to substantiate that Macedonian was a north-western Greek and mainly a Doric dialect".
Hatzopoulos, M. B. (2011). "Macedonia and Macedonians". In Lane Fox, Robin J. Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Macedon, 650 BC – 300 AD. Leiden: Brill. p. 44. ISBN 978-90-04-20650-2.
Ahrens, F. H. L. (1843), De Graecae linguae dialectis, Göttingen, 1839–1843 ; Hoffmann, O. Die Makedonen. Ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum, Göttingen, 1906.
W.B. Lockwood, "A panorama of Indo-European languages", Hutchinson University Library, London, p.6
Hatzopoulos, M. B. (2011). "Macedonia and Macedonians". In Lane Fox, Robin J. Brill's Companion to Ancient Macedon: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Macedon, 650 BC – 300 AD. Leiden: Brill. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-90-04-20650-2.
B. Joseph (2001): "which could more properly be called Hellenic" This terminology may lead to misunderstandings, since the "Hellenic branch of Indo-European" is also used synonymously with the Greek branch (which contains all ancient and modern Greek dialects) in a narrower sense. Online paper
Eric Hamp & Douglas Adams (2013) "The Expansion of the Indo-European Languages", Sino-Platonic Papers, vol 239.
A. Meillet [1913] 1965, Aperçu d'une histoire de la langue grecque, 7th ed., Paris, p. 61. I. Russu 1938, in Ephemeris Dacoromana 8, 105-232. Quoted after Brixhe/Panayotou 1994: 209.
Exceptions to the rule:

ἀρφύς arhphys Macedonian (Attic ἁρπεδών harpedôn cord, yarn)
βάγαρον bagaron (Attic χλιαρόν chliaron 'warm') (cf. Attic phôgô 'roast') (Laconian)
βώνημα bônêma speech (Homeric, Ionic eirêma eireo) (cf. Attic phônêma sound, speech) (Laconian)
κεβλὴ keblê Callimachus Fr.140 Macedonian κεβ(α)λή keb(a)lē versus Attic κεφαλή kephalē ('head')
κεβλήπυρις keblēpyris ('red-cap bird'), (Aristophanes Birds)
κεβλήγονος keblêgonos born from the head, Euphorion 108 for Athena, with its seed in its head Nicander Alexipharmaca 433.
πέχαρι pechari deer (Laconian berkios) Amerias
Ὑπερβέρετος Hyperberetos Cretan month June, Macedonian September Hyperberetaios (Hellenic Calendars) (Attic hyperpheretês supreme, hyperpherô transfer,excel)

Greek Questions 292e – Question 9 – Why do Delphians call one of their months Bysios [1].
Česko-jihoslovenská revue, Volume 4, 1934, p. 187.
Albrecht von Blumenthal, Hesychstudien, Stuttgart, 1930, 21.
Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, κεβλήπυρις. Retrieved on 2013-07-21.
Olivier Masson, "Sur la notation occasionnelle du digamma grec par d'autres consonnes et la glose macédonienne abroutes", Bulletin de la Société de linguistique de Paris, 90 (1995) 231–239. Also proposed by O. Hoffmann and J. Kalleris.
A history of ancient Greek: from the beginnings to late antiquity, Maria Chritē, Maria Arapopoulou, Cambridge University Press (2007), p. 439–441
Packard Institute epigraphic database Archived 2007-11-21 at the Wayback Machine.
Eric Lhote (2006) Les lamelles Oraculaires de Dodone. Droz, Geneve.
Roberts, E.S., An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy vol. 1 no. 237
Greek Personal Names: Their Value as Evidence, Elaine Matthews, Simon Hornblower, Peter Marshall Fraser, British Academy, Oxford University Press (2000), p. 103
Athens, bottom-IG I³ 89 – Kalindoia-Meletemata 11 K31 – Pydna-SEG 52:617,I (6) till SEG 52:617,VI – Mygdonia-SEG 49:750
Greek Personal Names: Their Value as Evidence [2] by Simon Hornblower, Elaine Matthews
SEG 49-750. Oraiokastro. Defixio, Classical period – Brill Reference
Anson, Edward M. (2010). "Why Study Ancient Macedonia and What This Companion is About". In Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian. A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. Oxford, Chichester, & Malden: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 17, n. 57, n. 58. ISBN 978-1-4051-7936-2.
"...but we may tentatively conclude that Macedonian is a dialect related to North-West Greek.", Olivier Masson, French linguist, “Oxford Classical Dictionary: Macedonian Language”, 1996.
J. P. Mallory & D.Q Adams – Encyclopedia of Indo-European culture, Chicago-London: Fitzroy Dearborn. pp. 361. ISBN 1-884964-98-2
Les anciens Macedoniens. Etude linguistique et historique by J. N. Kalleris
"Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
"ARAE: Greek goddesses or spirits of curses; mythology: ARAI". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
"Pokorny". 1967-03-27. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
Poetae scenici graeci, accedunt perditarum fabularum fragmenta. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
"Pokorny Query madh". Archived from the original on 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
"Pokorny's Dictionary". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
(Izela) Die Makedonen, Ihre Sprache und Ihr Volkstum [3] by Otto Hoffmann
Aleksandar Mikić, Origin of the Words Denoting Some of the Most Ancient Old World Pulse Crops and Their Diversity in Modern European Languages (2012) [4]
"Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
"Deipnosophists 14.663-4 (pp. 1059–1062)". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
Kalleris, p. 238–240
Kalleris, p. 108
Athenaeus Deipnosophists 3.114b.
Deipnosophists 10.455e.
Pokorny [5][permanent dead link], Gerhard Köbler "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
Kalleris, p. 172–179, 242
"Pokorny,Pudna". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
Zeitschrift der Deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
The Dorians in Archaeology by Theodore Cressy Skeat. 1994-06-13. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
Poetics (Aristotle)-XXI [6]
Kalleris, p. 274
Otto Hoffmann, p. 270 (bottom). Retrieved 2013-02-03.
Steven Colvin, Dialect in Aristophanes and the politics of language in Ancient Greek, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 279.
Livy, The History of Rome, 31.29.15, on Perseus
A. Panayotou: The position of the Macedonian dialect. In: Maria Arapopoulou, Maria Chritē, Anastasios-Phoivos Christides (eds.), A History of Ancient Greek: From the Beginnings to Late Antiquity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 433–458 (Google Books).
Livy, The History of Rome, 45.29, on Perseus
E. Kapetanopoulos. "Alexander’s Patrius Sermo in the Philotas Affair", The Ancient World 30 (1999), pp. 117–128. (PDF or HTM)
Quintus Curtius Rufus, Historiae Alexandri Magni, VII.5.33, (Loeb edition, Latin), (John C. Rolfe, English translation)
C. Brixhe, A. Panayotou, 1994, «Le Macédonien» in Langues indo-européennes, p. 208

George Babiniotis (1992) The question of mediae in ancient Macedonian Greek reconsidered. In: Historical Philology: Greek, Latin, and Romance, Bela Brogyanyi, Reiner Lipp, 1992 John Benjamins Publishing)

Further reading

Brixhe, Claude & Anna Panayotou, “Le Macédonien”, Langues indo-européennes, ed. Françoise Bader. Paris: CNRS, 1994, pp 205–220. ISBN 2-271-05043-X
Chadwick, John, The Prehistory of the Greek Language. Cambridge, 1963.
Crossland, R. A., “The Language of the Macedonians”, Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 3, part 1, Cambridge 1982.
Hammond, Nicholas G.L., “Literary Evidence for Macedonian Speech”, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 43, No. 2. (1994), pp. 131–142.
Hatzopoulos, M. B. “Le Macédonien: Nouvelles données et théories nouvelles”, Ancient Macedonia, Sixth International Symposium, vol. 1. Institute for Balkan Studies, 1999.
Kalléris, Jean. Les Anciens Macédoniens, étude linguistique et historique. Athens: Institut français d'Athènes, 1988.
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.
Die Makedonen: Ihre Sprache und ihr Volkstum by Otto Hoffmann

External links

The speech of the ancient Macedonians, in the light of recent epigraphic discoveries
Jona Lendering, Ancient Macedonia web page on
Greek Inscriptions from ancient Macedonia (Epigraphical Database)
Heinrich Tischner on Hesychius' words ISO639-3, entry for Ancient Macedonian (XMK)

Modern Greek Literature

Retrieved from ""
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

Ancient Greece

Science, Technology , Medicine , Warfare, , Biographies , Life , Cities/Places/Maps , Arts , Literature , Philosophy ,Olympics, Mythology , History , Images

Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire

Science, Technology, Arts, , Warfare , Literature, Biographies, Icons, History

Modern Greece

Cities, Islands, Regions, Fauna/Flora ,Biographies , History , Warfare, Science/Technology, Literature, Music , Arts , Film/Actors , Sport , Fashion



Greek-Library - Scientific Library




Hellenica World