Aeolic (pronounced /iːˈɒlɪk/) or Aeolian (/iːˈoʊlɪən/) Greek (also known as Lesbian or Lesbic Greek) is a linguistic term used to describe a set of rather archaic Greek sub-dialects
, spoken mainly in Boeotia (a region in Central Greece), in Lesbos (an island close to Asia Minor) and in other Greek colonies.
The Aeolic dialect shows many archaisms
, in comparison to the other Greek dialects (i.e. Ionian-Attic, Doric, Northwestern and Arcado-Cypriot), as well as many innovations.
Aeolic Greek is most widely known for being the language of the writings of Sappho
and Alcaeus of Mytilene. Aeolic poetry, the most famous example of which being the works of Sappho, mostly uses four classical meters known as the Aeolics, which are: Glyconic (the most basic form of Aeolic line), Hendecasyllabic verse, Sapphic stanza and Alcaic stanza (the latter two so named after Sappho and Alcaeus respectively).
In Protagoras (dialogue) 341c of Plato, Prodicus labelled the Aeolic dialect as barbarian
, while referring to Pittacus of Mytilene:
he didn't know to distinguish the words correctly, being from Lesbos, and having been raised with a barbarian dialect
The Aeolic dialect might, in the time of Socrates and Plato
, sound so strange to the Athenians, as to be termed
, from an exclusive pride in the Attic literary style, barbaros