Welcome to Modern Greek

Modern Greek has its roots in Classical, Hellenistic, and Byzantine Greek and is spoken by about 13 million people, primarily in Greece and Cyprus but also in many places around the world to which Greeks have immigrated. Toronto has a sizeable population of Greek speakers, as does the United States, Great Britain, and Australia.

Modern Greek has a rich literature, and C. P. Cavafy is one of the best-known modern poets who wrote in Modern Greek. Below is a prose translation of his 1927 poem "In the Year 200 B.C.: 'Alexander, son of Philip and the Greeks, except the Lacedaemonians —'":

We can very easily imagine how they were indifferent in Sparta about this inscription. "Except the Lacedaemonians," naturally. The Spartans were not used to being led and ordered about like valuable servants. Besides, a panhellenic expedition, without a Spartan king as commander, would not appear to them as noteworthy. Ah, certainly "except the Lacedaemonians." That too is a stand. Understood.

So, except the Lacedaemonians, at Granicus; and then at Issus; and in the final battle, where the formidable army that the Persians gathered at Arbela with the hope of victory, and yet was swept away.

And for this wonderful panhellenic expedition, victorious, brilliant, famous and glorified as no other, the incomparable: we were born — a new great Greek world.

We, the Alexandrians, the Antiocheans, the Seleucians, and the numerous Greeks of Egypt and Syria, and of Media and Persia, and all the others. With the extended dominions, with the varied action of the adaptations of thought. And our common Greek language we carried up into the heart of Bactria, up to the people of India.

Is there a point in talking of Lacedaemonians now!