Most poems focused on myths, legends that were part folktale and part religion. At the beginning of Greek literature stand the works of Homer; the Iliad and the Odyssey.
The Greek language arose from the proto-Indo-European language; roughly two-thirds of its words can be derived from various reconstructions of the tongue.
A number of alphabets and syllabaries had been used to render Greek, but surviving Greek literature was written in a Phoenician-derived alphabet that arose primarily in Greek Ionia and was fully adopted by Athens by the fifth century BC.
After the 3rd century BC, the Greek colony of Alexandria in northern Egypt became the center of Greek culture.
Greek poetry flourished with significant contributions from Theocritus, Callimachus, and Apollonius of Rhodes.
Theocritus, who lived from about 310 to 250 BC, was the creator of pastoral poetry, a type that the Roman Virgil mastered in his Eclogues.