wilkins of fish

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…

crews-8-cropped

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…

Theatre at Pompeii - reworked by the Romans, but built by Oscan-speakers

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…