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The Koine (pronounced koi-nay) was a dialect of the Greek language common in the Hellenistic and Roman eras. "Koine" means, literally, "common"; it is this common Greek tongue that was used in the various Hellenistic kingdoms left behind after the death of Alexander the Great, and it became the lingua franca of Asia and the eastern Roman Empire.

The Koine was different from the classical Attic Greek used by the great Athenian philosophers and playwrights of Athens' golden age in the 4th century BCE; this difference is comparable to the linguistic drift between Chaucer's English and Shakespeare's English.

Likewise, medieval Byzantine Greek was as different from the Koine as modern English is to Shakespeare's.