The yellow signs you will see on the side of the roads and on deviations, while traveling in Greece, lead to historical and archaeological sites. Not all of them are written in both Greek and English. You may need to be able to read the site names, particularly if you want to visit places and spots off the beaten track. Quite often there is a time adjective that indicates the chronological period during which the monument was built. Προϊστορικός(pro+istoriKOS) means pre+historic, μυκηναϊκός(mikinaiKOS) means Mycenean, αρχαίος(arHEos) means ancient and βυζαντινός(vizantiNOS) means byzantine.
GREEK YOU ALREADY KNOW
It is easy to remember the Greek word for prehistory, because the English one derives from it. Its first compound is the prefix pre-, in Greek pro-, and the second history from the Greek word ιστορία. The Greek word αρχαίος is familiar to English speaking persons from the word achaeo+logy, archaeo+metry, etc. The words μυκηναϊκός, μινωικός, ελληνιστικός, ρωμαϊκός, βυζαντινόςindicate names of historical eras familiar. These words are familiarto you from the relevant English words: Mycenaean, Minoan, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine.
The most common nouns that indicate the category of the historic site are the following. Τάφος, νεκροταφείο, οικισμός, κάστρο, μονή, ναός.
Thewordοοικισμόςis familiar to you, because English words that begin with eco- as their first compound come from the Greek word οοίκοςor ηοικία, the house. The word exists both in masculine and in feminine grammatical gender. Thereafter οοικισμόςis a place with many houses, a settlement.
The word τοκάστροis similar to the English word castle. The word ημονήmeans the monastery, τομοναστήρι(monaSTEEri) in Greek. The first compound of the word monastery / μοναστήρι, both in Greek and in English, is the word μόνη(moni), which means alone. A monastery is the place where the persons live in isolation from the community leading an ascetic and lonely life away from the crowds.
Οναόςis the Ancient Greek name for the church, still in use today. The word οτάφοςis familiar to English speaking persons from the word epitaph (epi+taphos). It means the grave. Τονεκροταφείοis the place where people are buried, the cemetery. The first compound of this word, νεκρο-, is familiar to you from the word necropsy. Τhe second compound is οτάφος. After the word ναόςusually follows either the word Αγίου / Αγίας / Αγίων. They all mean Saint. The first one is the adjective in the masculine grammatical gender, the second oen the feminine grammatical gender and the third one the Genitive plural of both words.
Greek word Pronunciation Meaning
Οπροϊστορικός oproistoriKOS prehistoric
Ομυκηναϊκός o mikinaiKOS Mycenaean
Ομινωικός οminoiKOS Minoan
Οαρχαίος oarHEos ancient (masculine grammatical gender)
Ηαρχαία EEarHEa ancient(feminine grammatical gender)
Ο ελληνιστικός, -η oelinistiKOS, -EE hellenistic
Ο ρωμαϊκός, -ή oromaiKOS, -EE roman
Οβυζαντινός ovizantiNOS byzantine (masc. gram. gender)
Ηβυζαντινή EEvizantiNEE byzantine (femin. gram. gender)
Οναός onaOS the temple, the church
ΗΜονή EEmoNEE the monastery
ΟΆγιος oAyios Saint (male)
ΗΑγία EEaYEEa Saint (female)
Ηοικία EEiKEEa thehouse
Οοικισμός oikiSMOS thesettlement
Τονεκροταφείο tonekrotaFEEo the cemetery
Οτάφος oTAfos the grave
Here are some examples of common signs to historic places. Can you read them loud?
Προϊστορικόςοικισμός = prehistoric settlement
Μυκηναϊκοίτάφοι = Mycenaeangraves
Ναός του Αγίου Δημητρίου = SaintDemetrioschurch
Ελληνιστική οικία = Hellenistichouse
Ρωμαϊκό νεκροταφείο = Romancemetery
Βυζαντινός ναός= byzantine church
i (ill), ee (beer), e (ever), o (organ), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.