It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records.
The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic and many other writing systems.
Although Greek has undergone morphological and phonological changes comparable to those seen in other languages, never since classical antiquity has its cultural, literary, and orthographic tradition been interrupted to the extent that one can speak of a new language emerging.
Greek speakers today still tend to regard literary works of ancient Greek as part of their own rather than a foreign language.
According to one estimation, "Homeric Greek is probably closer to demotic than 12-century Middle English is to modern spoken English." Greek is spoken by about 13 million people, mainly in Greece, Albania and Cyprus, but also worldwide by the large Greek diaspora.
Although its morphological categories have been fairly stable over time, morphological changes are present throughout, particularly in the nominal and verbal systems.
The major change in the nominal morphology since the classical stage was the disuse of the dative case (its functions being largely taken over by the genitive).
The Greek language holds an important place in the history of the Western world and Christianity; the canon of ancient Greek literature includes seminal works in the Western canon such as the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey.
Greek is also the language in which many of the foundational texts in science, especially astronomy, mathematics and logic, and Western philosophy, such as the Platonic dialogues and the works of Aristotle, are composed; the New Testament of the Christian Bible was written in Koiné Greek.