Reblogged: Learning the alphabet

This morning the blogosphere has obligingly brought me the answer to a question I couldn’t answer yesterday. Natalia Elvira Astoreca, of the CREWS project in Cambridge, has written a blog post on the different ways that people learn the alphabet in modern Europe. A colleague asked me a question about this at my talk yesterday, which I…

Mauss, Oscan and translation problems

I mentioned over here that there were some mentions of Oscan in Marcel Mauss’s The Gift, and also that there were some problems with some of the English translations of this essay. I thought I’d expand on this year, in case anyone happens to be reading The Gift and wants to know a bit more about…

Ancient languages and John Wilkins’s Real Character

I mentioned that at Geoff Fest last week I gave a paper on the “reception” of Oscan – mainly consisting of mentions of Oscan in slightly unexpected contexts from the sixteenth century onwards. One of those instances was in An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language, written by John Wilkins in 1668. Wilkins was a…

Venetic seminar week 2

This week at the Faculty of Classics, we held the second Venetic seminar (summed up by one attendee as “Close Encounters of the Venetic Kind”). We tackled a few more of the shorter inscriptions as a warm up, including one of the dedicatory styluses from Este – you can see a selection of these in…

Venetic seminar week 1

Yesterday we had the first of two introductory seminars on Venetic. The high point was, of course, the excellent cake by Anna Judson, shown here with Anna holding it up next to a picture of the inscription itself for comparison. As you can see, it was both tasty and highly accurate! Epigraphy-themed cakes have become…

The CREWS project

Everyone interested in ancient languages and scripts should follow the CREWS project blog. CREWS (which stands for Contexts of and Relations between Early Writing Systems) is a major new ERC-funded project hosted at the Faculty of Classics, Cambridge, run by my excellent colleague Pippa Steele. To quote from her introduction to the project: The aim of…

Seneca, Cicero and the Doctor

One of the odd things when you learn Latin is that you start to see it everywhere. It’s so embedded into Western culture, that you need look no further than your own pocket to find some Latin (assuming you have a couple of coins in your pocket, that is). But what’s even weirder is that…