chapter  Seven
3 Pages

Koinonia: a historical note*

WithPatrick de Maré

By “Greece” or “Hellas”, the classic world, is meant all lands occupied in antiquity by peoples speaking a dialect known as “Koine”, literally “common”, not the classical Greek of Herodotus and Theucydides, but the vernacular of spoken Greek, a sort of carthorse of a language, homely, belonging to everybody because it belonged to no one. It was spoken during the time of which Shelley wrote:

The period which intervened between the birth of Pericles (495 bc) and the death of Aristotle (322 bc), undoubtedly whether considered in itself or with reference to the affect that it has produced upon the subsequent discoveries of civilised man, is the most memorable in the history of the world. (Shelley, 1939, quoted in Livingstone, 2005, p. 251)