The English spoken today by a native of London may sound very different to that spoken by, for example, a New Yorker, an Australian or a Glaswegian, though each of them will – more or less, and perhaps with some effort – be able to make sense of what the other says. Ancient Greek, too, showed considerable regional variations, with the important difference for us (as readers, rather than speakers, of the language) that, while English for the most part follows a standard system of spelling, in Greek, variations were written as well as pronounced. Thus, where an Athenian would say (and write, if he could write) theoi when referring to ‘the gods’, a Spartan would say sioi; to a Spartan, amera was the day, selana the moon: an Athenian would have said he−mera and sele−ne−, and so on.