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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter investigates how epigraphy informs our understanding of the linguistic landscape of Italy and the Roman West. While Greek and Roman writers identify some of the different languages spoken around the Mediterranean, for most languages, epigraphy provides the only concrete evidence that they ever existed, since the advent of Latin and Roman expansion led to the widespread extinction of all previous spoken varieties. Although it is incomplete, the epigraphic record provides evidence for a wide diversity of languages in Italy, including the islands, the Iberian Peninsula, Gaul, and North Africa, both before and during Roman expansion.

Keywords: inscriptions, languages, Oenotrian, Lusitanian, Celtiberian, Gaulish, Italic languages, Oscan, Umbrian, Etruscan, Phoenician, Punic, Neo-Punic, Tabula Cortonensis, alphabets, linguistics, Italy, Roman provinces

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