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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

RSS Feed Latest news

Applications invited for Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship Scheme 2018

Nov 16, 2017

We are keen to support high quality applications that intersect with research already being undertaken or developed in the Classics Faculty.

Archaeologists uncover rare 2,000-year-old sundial during Roman theatre excavation

Nov 08, 2017

A 2,000-year-old intact and inscribed sundial has been recovered by students of the Faculty of Classics...

'Mary Beard brings her passion for classics to Front Row' BBC Two

Oct 24, 2017

BBC Two's 'Front Row', hosted by Mary Beard: “I am very pleased to have been trusted with an episode of Front Row - and to be able to share some of the spotlight with some Greeks, Romans and other stars.” Available to watch now.

Kenyon Medal awarded to Joyce Reynolds

Sep 28, 2017

The Kenyon Medal in 2017 has been awarded to Joyce Reynolds FBA for her lifetime's contribution to the research and study of Roman epigraphy.

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