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…

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…

Was there non-Roman literature in Ancient Italy?

Fairly regularly, someone will ask me: was there Oscan (or Venetic or Etruscan or South Picene) literature? Or, sometimes a bit more aggressively, someone asserts that there definitely wasn’t an Oscan literary culture and therefore that Oscan-speakers and their societies were just less advanced than the Greeks and/or Romans. It’s not that I think this…