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Greek in Italy

Greek in Italy is an AHRC-funded research project based in the Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge. The project will run from January 2014 – December 2017.

 

The Project

In the course of the first millennium BC Greek sailors, traders and colonists visited and settled in the Italian peninsula in increasing numbers. The southern half of Italy became known as ‘Big Greece’, both by Romans (Magna Graecia) and Greeks (Megalē Hellas). Greek settlements in Italy are attested from the 8th century BC onwards, and there is evidence for Greek trade from even earlier. Greeks brought with them urban living, religion and wine drinking, the alphabet and its associated uses. Some cities of Italy, including Naples, Rhegium and Tarentum, remained Greek speaking even under Roman rule.

Substantial archaeological and textual discoveries in the last three decades have opened up our knowledge of the Greeks in Italy and the native societies they encountered, but there has been no complete study of the impact made by Greek on indigenous languages - this project aims to fill this gap. We will consider the nature and outcomes of contact between Greeks and speakers of the various native languages of ancient Italy, investigating the changes on the languages themselves, and relating linguistic interactions to social and political factors.

 

Our Aims

  • To understand the nature and long-term effects of language contact between Greek and other languages of Ancient Italy.
  • To understand the spread of the Greek alphabet among non-Greek speaking communities.
  • To investigate the nature of the Greek spoken in towns in Southern Italy, and compare this with developments in the rest of the Greek world.
  • To integrate issues of linguistic contact and linguistic borrowing into the discourse of archaeologists, historians and other scholars working on Greek colonization in Italy, and to promote dialogue between linguists and other scholars.

 

Find Out More

You can find out more about the members of the project on the “Members” page.

You can also follow our blog to find out more about our work and hear about upcoming talks and events: www.greekinitaly.wordpress.com.

Or follow us on Twitter: @GreekInItaly

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Pilkington Teaching Prize 2017

Feb 23, 2017

The Faculty congratulates Dr Ingo Gildenhard, who has been awarded one of the University's Pilkington Prizes in recognition of the outstanding quality of his teaching.

Greek Play 2016 Videos now on line

Feb 07, 2017

Highlights and a full length video of the Cambridge Greek Play 2016, a double bill of Antigone and Lysistrata, are now available to view on line.

Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets

Jan 05, 2017

21-22 March 2017. This conference, the second in the Understanding Relations Between Scripts series, focuses on the development of alphabetic writing systems in the later second and earlier first millennia BC.

'The Impact of the Ancient City': PhD Studentship

Dec 02, 2016

Applications are invited for a 3-year fully-funded PhD studentship in the context of the ERC Advanced Grant project, 'The Impact of the Ancient City', supervised by Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill.

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