Friday, 13 July 2012

Isolated speech-communities and the Greeks, Part 2: Boeotians near Behistun

Diodorus Siculus, 17.110.4-5:
ἐνταῦθα δὲ μείνας ἡμέρας ἑπτὰ καὶ προσαναλαβὼν τὴν δύναμιν τριταῖος εἰς τοὺς Κέλωνας προσαγορευομένους ἧκεν, ἐν ᾧ μέχρι νῦν διαμένει γένος Βοιώτιον, κατὰ μὲν τὴν Ξέρξου στρατείαν ἀνάστατον γεγονός, μεμνημένον δ’ ἔτι τῶν πατρίων νόμων· ὄντες γὰρ οὗτοι δίφωνοι τῇ μὲν ἑτέρᾳ διαλέκτῳ ἐξωμοιώθησαν τοῖς ἐγχωρίοις, τῇ δ’ ἑτέρᾳ πλείστας τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν λέξεων διετήρουν καὶ τῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων ἔνια διεφύλαττον. 
[5] τέλος δὲ προσμείνας ἡμέρας <μέν τινας> ἀνέζευξε καὶ παρεγκλίνας τὴν ὑποκειμένην ὁδὸν θέας ἕνεκεν ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν ὀνομαζομένην Βαγιστάνην, θεοπρεπεστάτην τε χώραν οὖσαν καὶ πλήρη καρπίμων δένδρων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἁπάντων τῶν πρὸς ἀπόλαυσιν ἀνηκόντων.

There [Sambana] he remained for seven days and, proceeding with the army, came on the third day to the Celones, as they are called. There dwells here down to our time a settlement of Boeotians who were moved at the time of Xerxes's campaign [cf. Hdt.6.119], but have not forgotten their ancestral customs [cf. 19.19.2]. They are bilingual and speak like the natives in the one language, while in the other they preserve most of the Greek vocabulary, and they maintain some Greek practices.
[5] After a stay of some days he resumed his march at length and diverging from the main road for the purpose of sight-seeing he entered the region called Bagistane, a magnificent country covered with fruit trees and rich in everything which makes for good living.


Next, Alexander went on to a land with enormous herds of horses [6; cf. Arrian 7.13.1]. Then in Ecbatana of Media, he staged a dramatic festival and constant drinking parties [7]. Hephaestion drank very much, fell ill, and died [8].

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