The Greek language changed considerably between the classical period of the fifth century B.C.E. and late antiquity. By the late Hellenistic and Roman periods, accents rarely indicated pitch (a musical tone) to Greek speakers, but rather signified stress (presumably emphasis and volume). Likewise, in Greek speech vowel quantities (long and short vowels) lost their oral and aural significance, no longer indicating differences in sound (phonetics) or in time quantity (long vowels having originally taken more time to enunciate than short vowels). This disconnected the literature of Greek poetry from the spoken language, since meter was dependent on the phonetic and quantitative differences between long and short vowels. Through much of the Roman period most literate Greeks still understood the significance of vowel quantity in Greek meter, but by the fourth century C.E. this comprehension had declined by a considerable degree. The Life of Avercius indicates a hagiographer whose knowledge of Greek quantitative meter was substantially less than that reflected in the original text of the Avercius inscription and thus must have been written at a much later date.