Laurence Seminar 2016: Migration, Mobility and Language Contact

On the 27th and 28th May, the E Caucus and the Greek in Italy project are hosting the Laurence Seminar 2016, a yearly conference at the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge.

This year, our theme is Migration, Mobility and Language Contact in Italy and the Western Mediterranean.

Over the past decade, language contact has become a key theme in ancient linguistics. However, ‘contact’ within Classics has sometimes been lacking, with linguists not always making full use of historical and archaeological work on migration, population, military history and social networks. And, while linguists have considered the roles of some groups such as scribes in language contact and language change, the linguistic impact of other prominent and mobile groups such as soldiers, slaves, freedmen and craftsmen have been neglected.

The Laurence Seminar 2016 invites linguists, archaeologists, historians and epigraphists to reflect on the role of these groups in population movement, demographic change and language contact, especially in Republican and early Imperial Italy. In particular, this one-day workshop seeks to find areas cross-over and potential for future collaborations on linguistic and cultural contact between emerging scholars in different Classical disciplines.

All members of the Classics Faculty are very welcome to attend (including undergrads – please come along!). The programme will be as follows:

ostia 2.jpg

Friday 27th May

All sessions will be held in the Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Room G.21.

14.00-14.30: Introduction and welcome – James Clackson and the ‘Greek in Italy’ team


Session 1: Mobility within Italy

Chair: Geoff Horrocks

14.30-15.00: Elena Isayev (University of Exeter): Elusive Migrants of Ancient Italy

15.00-15.15: Questions and discussion

15.15-15.45: Daniele Maras (Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia): Inter-Ethnic Mobility in Pre-Roman Etruria: The Contribution of Onomastics

15.45-16.00: Questions and discussion

16.00-16.30 TEA AND COFFEE


Session 2: Orthography and Migration

Chair: Nick Zair

16.30-17.00: Livia Tagliapietra (University of Cambridge): The Oscan inscriptions in the Greek alphabet: a contextualisation of variant spellings

17.00-17.15: Questions and discussion

17.15-17.45: Karen Tikkanen (University of Gothenburg): Archaic Spelling Reforms: dealing with the Sabellian vowel shift. The origin, spread and aftermath of <í> and <ú>

17.45-18.00: Questions and discussion


Saturday 28th May

10.00-10.30 TEA AND COFFEE


Session 3: ‘Italians’ and ‘Greeks’

Chair: John Penney

10.30-11.00: Nicholas Zair (Cambridge): The mobile Mamertini

11.00-11.15: Questions and discussion

11.15-11.45: Francesco Rovai (University of Pisa): The ‘Italian’ community at Delos: Epigraphic sources and linguistic perspectives

11.45-12.00: Questions and discussion

12.00-14.00 LUNCH


Session 4: Italians in the Roman Empire

Chair: Katherine McDonald

14.00-14.30 Olivia Elder (University of Cambridge) Roma Multilinguis: Populations and Languages in the city of Rome

14.30-14.45: Questions and discussion

14.45-15.15: Jonathan Prag (University of Oxford): Roman Imperialism and Migration, Mobility and Language Contact in Italy and the Western Mediterranean

15.15-15.30: Questions and discussion

15.30-16.00 Rachel Mairs (University of Reading): Interpreters in the Roman Army

16.00-16.15: Questions and discussion

16.15-45: Discussion and closing remarks (over TEA AND COFFEE)

I’ll post photos and reflections from the conference at some point next week. Very much looking forward to seeing some of you there, and many thanks to all our speakers.

Image: painting of the Isis Giminiana, Porta Laurentina. Vatican Museums.

[Updated to add: You can now read a blog post by James Clackson about the conference over on the Greek in Italy project blog.]

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