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Professor James Clackson

Professor James Clackson

Professor of Comparative Philology

Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics, Jesus College

Jesus College, Cambridge, CB5 8BL
Office Phone: 01223 339415 (College)

Research Interests

I have wide interests in the history of the Latin and Greek languages, ancient sociolinguistics and bilingualism, the languages and epigraphy of the ancient Mediterranean and comparative Indo-European studies. I have particular interests in the historical sociolinguistics of Latin; the other ancient Languages of the Italian peninsula especially Sabellian and Etruscan; and the history of the Armenian language. I am currently Principal Investigator of the AHRC funded project ‘Greek in Italy’. I am editor of the oldest scholarly journal devoted to the general study of language and languages that has an unbroken tradition,Transactions of the Philological Society.

Research Supervision

Current and former research projects supervised include: a study of the ways in which Greek expresses the agent after a passive verb; a re-examination of the stop system of Indo-European using recent work in phonetics; dialects of Indo-European and the development of the verbal system; the interaction of Latin, Greek and Gaulish in Southern France; the language of ancient curse tablets, especially bilingual formulae; the Oscan language in Southern Italy; Sabine glosses in ancient texts; the Latin of Roman Britain; registers of language use in ancient Greek; Greek borrowings in Etruscan; Latin borrowings in Punic; and individual studies of the language of several Latin and Greek literary authors.

Key Publications

Language and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

(editor) A Companion to the Latin Language (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Indo-European Linguistics (Cambridge, 2007).

(with Geoff Horrocks) The Blackwell History of the Latin Language (Oxford, 2007, corrected paperback edition 2010).

(ed. with A. Boud'hors, C. Louis and P. Sijpesteijn) Monastic Estates in Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt (American Society of Papyrologists, 2009).

(ed. with Birgit Anette Olsen) Indo-European Word Formation (Copenhagen, 2004).

(ed. with Torsten Meißner) Nominal Composition in Indo-European Languages (=Transactions of the Philological Society  Vol. 100, nos. 2-3. 2002).

The Linguistic Relationship between Armenian and Greek (Oxford, 1994).

Upcoming events

The Roman and Islamic City in North Africa

Sep 29, 2017

McDonald Institute, seminar room

Nudity and Adornment in Greek and Indian Art

Oct 17, 2017

Cast Gallery, Museum of Classical Archaeology

Recitativo: Fragments - after Lucretius and Negri

Oct 20, 2017

Cast Gallery, Museum of Classical Archaeology

Big Saturday at the Museum of Classical Archaeology

Oct 21, 2017

Cast Gallery, Museum of Classical Archaeology

Incredible India: Sanskrit Myths and Truths

Oct 21, 2017

Room G.19, Faculty of Classics/Museum of Classical Archaeology

Upcoming events

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Postgraduate Open Day Saturday 18 November 2017

Sep 22, 2017

Details of the 2017 Faculty of Classics Postgraduate Open Day are now available online:

Major archaeological discovery near Orchomenos in Boeotia, central Greece

Sep 12, 2017

A monumental Mycenaean rock-cut chamber tomb came to light this summer at Prosilio near Orchomenos in Boeotia, central Greece, during the excavations conducted there by the Ministry of Culture & Sports of Greece/Ephorate of Antiquities of Boeotia and of the British School at Athens/University of Cambridge

Interamna Lirenas goes LIVE!

Aug 21, 2017

Follow the students of the Faculty of Classics as they excavate the Roman theatre at Interamna Lirenas.

Roman Britain

Aug 07, 2017

Faculty statement concerning ethnic diversity in Roman Britain

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