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Faculty of Classics

 

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

Latest news

Ancient Greek ‘pop culture’ discovery rewrites history of poetry and song

8 September 2021

New research into a little-known text written in ancient Greek shows that ‘stressed poetry’, the ancestor of all modern poetry and song, was already in use in the 2 nd Century CE, 300 years earlier than previously thought.

Roman York beneath the streets: Research Associate

17 August 2021

The Faculty invites applications for a Research Associate on the new AHRC funded Roman York beneath the streets project. The closing date is Monday 20 September 2021. See here for more details .

Open letter on anti-racism: a response from the Faculty Board of Classics

16 July 2021

The response to the Open Letter on anti-racism, together with an action plan outlining the Faculty’s strategy, is now available online. Read here for more details

Martin Millett elected as President of the Society of Antiquaries of London

7 July 2021

Professor Martin Millett FBA, Laurence Professor of Classical Archaeology and Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, has been elected as President of the Society of Antiquaries of London (2021-24). Founded in 1707, the Society of Antiquaries of London is an educational charity that promotes the understanding of the human past and...