CONF: Multilingualism from Alexander to Charlemagne

Multilingualism from Alexander to Charlemagne: cross-cultural themes and

29th-30th May 2009 at the Faculty of Classics Organised by the Classical
and Indo-European Linguistics Caucus, Faculty of Classics, University of
Cambridge (Alex Mullen and Patrick James).

Over the last decade, multilingualism has become a major research focus in
the study of the ancient world. Our aim is to take a thematic and
interdisciplinary approach to issues raised by the growing number of
studies. As we bring together linguistic and archaeological evidence our
primary concern will be the implications of language contact for our
understanding of multiculturalism from Antiquity and into the Medieval

Friday 29th May 2009
Registration: 8.30-11.30

9.30-11.00 [Speakers and chairs only] Introduction and round-table session
on methodology (particularly the practice of interdisciplinarity and the
application of modern bilingualism theory to the study of ancient
languages) Alex Mullen (Lumley Research Fellow, Magdalene College,

Issues in the nature and interpretation of evidence for bilingualism
Chair: Pippa Steele

Dr Alderik Blom (Katharine Jex-Blake Fellow in Celtic Studies, Girton
College, Cambridge) ‘Multilingualism and ritual language’

Professor Rosanna Sornicola (Professor of Linguistics, Department of Modern
Philology, University of Naples Federico II) ‘Multilingualism in Sicily and
Southern Italy in the Early Middle Ages: issues in the nature and
interpretation of the evidence’

Micro and macro-communities and regional variation
Chair: Eleanor Dickey

Dr Oliver Simkin (Research Associate, the Greek Lexicon Project, Faculty of
Classics, Cambridge) ‘Language contact in Ancient Spain: direct and
indirect evidence’

Dr Trevor Evans (Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer in Ancient Cultures,
Macquarie University, Australia) ‘Complaints of the natives in a Greek
dress: the evidence of the Zenon Archive for a Greek-Egyptian

The function of languages in multilingual societies
Chair: Patrick James

Dr James Clackson (Senior University Lecturer, Faculty of Classics,
Cambridge) ‘Stable and unstable bilingualism’

Professor Andrew Wilson (Professor of the Archaeology of the Roman Empire,
School of Archaeology, Oxford) ‘Punic and Latin inscriptions in Roman North
Africa: function and display’

Reception: the Museum of Classical Archaeology, Faculty of Classics

Saturday 30th May 2009
Bilingual education and literacy
Chair: (t.b.c.)

Professor Scott Bucking (Associate Professor of Ancient Mediterranean
Studies, DePaul University, Chicago, USA) ‘Archaeology, papyrology, and the
study of Greek-Coptic education in late antique Egypt’

Dr Pádraic Moran (Research Officer, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and
Celtic, Cambridge) ‘Multilingualism and the Medieval Irish learned

The linguistic and cultural implications of translation
Chair: Robert Crellin

Professor Coulter George (Assistant Professor of Classics, University of
Virginia, USA) ‘Expressions of time in the Septuagint and the New

Professor David Langslow (Professor of Classics, Department of Classics and
Ancient History, Manchester) ‘Typologies of translation techniques in
situations of language contact’

Continuity and change in the East and West after 500 AD
Chair: Geoff Horrocks

Dr Bert Vaux (University Lecturer in Linguistics, Department of
Linguistics, Cambridge) ‘Linguistic manifestations of Greek-Armenian
contact in Late Antiquity and Byzantium’

Dr Paul Russell (Reader in Celtic, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and
Celtic, Cambridge) ‘Habes linguam Latinam? Non tam bene sapio: a view from
the early-medieval West’

Multilingualism and multiculturalism

Professor Robin Osborne (Professor of Ancient History, Faculty of Classics,
Cambridge) ‘Cultures as languages and languages as cultures: reflections
from Classical Athens’

This conference has been made possible by the generous funding of the
following bodies: Faculty of Classics; The Greek Lexicon Project;
Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic.

Further updated information and our registration form can be found at

Please address any questions to Alex Mullen or Patrick

From the Italian Press

Assorted items of interest which may or may not make it to the English-reading press:

A pair of 5th/4th century B.C. burials found during sewer construction in Canosa:

From the same period come similar finds from Castellaneta; the site is clearly much larger, but there aren’t any funds to excavate, apparently:

A second century A.D. necropolis of some 300 burials from the Piana del Sole-Castel Malnome; apparently already found by tombaroli:

A story about some guy who discovered the thing he was using in his garden as a trough or whatever for these past number of years was actually a fourth century Roman sarcophagus:

The first century (A.D.) Roman Villa at Pincio, which includes first century (B.C.) mosaics, will be restored by this fall:

Some purloined Apulian (?) items recovered over forty years ago are going on display; interesting comments at the end of the piece about how the lack of provenance presents difficulties for researchers:

An Italian woman was arrested at the airport in Florence with some antiquities from Herculaneum and the Villa Soria at Torre del Greco:

Some tombaroli were apprehended in Enna:

The Sanctuary of Minerva at Breno is open to the public until the end of September:

They’ve reopened some of the rooms in the Baths of Diocletian:

A sort of touristy thing on the House of the Surgeon at Rimini:

Interesting treasure-hunt-in-the-museum idea: