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How To Say ‘I Love You’ In Ancient Greek

Wondering how to say ‘I love you’ in Ancient Greek? You’re in the right place.

Saying ‘I love you’ can be both scary and exciting and even more so in a new language!

If you want to know how to say ‘I love you’ in Ancient Greek, then read on.

How To Say ‘I Love You’ In Ancient Greek

As Ancient Greek was spoken from 1500 BC to 300 BC, today there are no native Ancient Greek speakers so it’s hard to say exactly what the people of Ancient Greece would have said to say ‘I love you’ to their partners or family.

It’s also worth noting that in Ancient Greece, a lot of people didn’t marry for love so they may not have felt the same love that we do today for our husbands/wives or boyfriends/girlfriends.

The most common ways to tell someone that you love them in Ancient Greek are:

EnglishAncient GreekPronunciation
I love youΣε φιλώSe feelo
I love youΣε αγαπώSe agapo

‘Σε φιλώ’ (se feelo) is the most common translation for ‘I love you’ in Ancient Greek. This version tends to refer to a virtuous love. 

Ancient Greek literature shows that it can be used with anyone you love and hold affection for. It could be used with friends, family members and also husbands/wives.

This phrase does also exist in Modern Greek however it has a different meaning. In Modern Greek it means ‘I kiss you’. 

In Modern Greek, the phrase ‘Σε αγαπώ’  (se agapo) also exists and is the most common way to say ‘I love you’ to a partner, however it has a slightly different meaning in Ancient Greek. 

In Ancient Greek, ‘Σε αγαπώ’  (se agapo) refers to a more pure, idealistic love than the phrase in Modern Greek. In Modern Greek, ‘Σε αγαπώ’  (se agapo) indicates a more romantic love. 

Different Forms Of Love In Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek philosophers actually identified 4 different forms of love.

  • Storge (στοργή) – familial love, for example, the love of a parent for a child.
  • Philia (φιλία) – friendly/platonic love, for example, the love between 2 friends. 
  • Eros (ἔρως) – romantic love, for example, the love between 2 people who are in love.
  • Agape (ἀγάπη) – divine love, this is the highest form of love and is defined as ‘the love of God for man and of man for God’. 

Please note that other types of love have also been defined but the above 4 are the main ones. 

These phrases should come in handy whether you’ve got a love interest who is interested in Ancient Greek or whether you’re just curious. 

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