The Greek language is derived from the ancient Phoenician language. The adaptation of Phoenician into the Greek probably began in the 9th century BC. From this old language, the Greeks took the forms and names of the signs, their order in the alphabet, and the direction in which the script is written.
The Greek language has passed through five phases since the second millennium BC: Ancient Greek, from the 14th to 12th centuries BC; Archaic Greek, until 800 BC, which included the language of the Homeric epics; the Classical Greek of Athens, Sparta, and Ionia, until around 400 BC; the Hellenistic of Greece and Asia Minor, 4 BC to 4 AD; and Modern Greek, with its common and scholarly vernaculars.
Hellenistic Greek, also known as New Testament Greek since it was the language that the Gospels and other books of the New Testament were first written in, was a particularly important language in the Roman Empire. Because of the great influence that the New Testament has had throughout the world that Greek names are evidenced in cultures throughout the world.
The word-forms of Classical Greek still have a great influence within the world's technical and scientific vocabulary. Today, Modern Greek is spoken in Greece and in Cyprus.