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Greek The Universal Language

As English is today, Greek was the universal language from about 300 BC to AD 200 which is where a notation is made on the Biblical Timeline with world history. All throughout the history of the world one particular kingdom or nation would rise to become the dominant force in the known world. Once this particular kingdom or nation became significant above all others, they would usually transmit their culture, laws, religious beliefs, political systems and language to the people that were subjected to their power. Ancient Egypt, Persia and Rome were great powers who did this in the past and so were the ancient Greeks.

Ancient epichoric variants of the Greek alphabet from Euboea, Ionia, Athens and Corinth

The Greeks were not a significant world power until the time of Alexander the Great. After King Alexander conquered much of the known world Greek ideology, thought, religious beliefs and its language spread all throughout the world. This process was known as Hellenism, and many kingdoms and empires were affected by this process.

Once news arrived back home of Alexander’s conquest many Greek citizens started to resettle into the various lands that he had conquered. When they arrived, they brought with them their culture, history and way of life. The Greeks had controlled key aspects of the Ptolemaic dynasty introduced Greek to the Egyptians, the Seleucid rulers brought the Greek way of life to the Syria-Mesopotamia and Antioch and the Attalid Dynasty made sure the inhabitants of India and Pergamum were exposed to Greek.

The Greek language had become so influential and dominant in the ancient world that many ancient writers created many of their religious texts and great works in the Greek language. The Jews translated the Tanakh into Greek and called it the Septuagint. The Christians also used Greek to write the New Testament. Arabians, Persians and Indians all wrote down a vast amount of information in the Greek language. Many ancient libraries were filled with Greek manuscripts between 300 B.C. to around 200 A.D. Koine Greek was the type of Greek dialect that was common in ancient times.

When Greek leaders had conquered or taken a region, they would deport some of the educated citizens from these regions back to Greece. Or to other parts of their empires so that they could learn how to speak, read and write Greek. The language began to fuse with other cultures and for at least a thousand years people throughout the known world thought of Greek as a language for the highly educated members of society. Even the Romans were influenced by the use of Greek since it had remained popular during the glory days of the Roman Empire. As with all things, the Greek language began to decline, and it no longer remained relevant especially after the Western Roman Empire had fallen to the barbarians.

Many Greek documents and information were lost when Western Rome declined, and most of western society went into a state of illiteracy and ignorance. Soon western society was able to reconnect with its enlightened past from the Crusades, expanded trade with the foreign world and the Renaissance. Greek culture, philosophy and language were revived once again. Though Greece is no longer a relevant part of the modern world, the legacy that they have left behind has shaped and influenced all of contemporary western society.