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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

New gift to further support Joyce Reynolds Awards

15 June 2021

The Faculty is enormously grateful to Karen and Peter Ventress for their generous gift to further support our efforts to encourage more diversity among students studying Classics at Cambridge. Karen and Peter have made a gift of £40k to fund a further studentship under the banner of the Joyce Reynolds Awards . The Awards...

Laurence Professorship of Classical Archaeology

14 June 2021

The Board of Electors to the Laurence Professorship of Classical Archaeology invite applications from those whose work falls within the general field of the Professorship to take up appointment on 1 October 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. Further information is available at: http://www.hr.admin.cam.ac.uk/...

It is with immense sadness that the Faculty reports that Elizabeth (Lisa) French passed away yesterday in Cambridge, 10 June 2021. She was 90.

11 June 2021

Lisa read Classics at Newnham College, Cambridge (1949-1952). In 1961 she was awarded her doctorate from University College London on The Development of Mycenaean Terracotta Figurines . She became a leading expert of Mycenaean pottery and figurines, forging a distinguished career in the archaeology of the Bronze Age Aegean...

Student led teaching awards 2021

24 May 2021

The Faculty is proud to announce that Torsten Meissner and Mark Darling have been recognised for the excellence of their teaching by the Student Union in this year's Student-Led Teaching Awards. Dr Meissner has won the second prize (Highly Commended) in the category "Lecturer". Dr Darling has won the second prize (Highly...