LJ404 Languages and Writing Systems of the Ancient Mediterranean (Italy)

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2022
Extent and Intensity
1/0/0. 3 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Taught in person.
prof. PhDr. Daniela Urbanová, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
prof. PhDr. Daniela Urbanová, Ph.D.
Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jitka Erlebachová
Supplier department: Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Tue 13:00–13:50 A24
The course is intended for all students of the Faculty of Arts, especially for students of all specialisations studied on the Institute of Classical Studies.
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
there are 8 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
The main objective of the course is to inform the students about the languages of ancient Italy during the 1st millennium BC with a particular emphasis on the archaic epigraphic testimonies.
Learning outcomes
At the end of the course the students will be able to recall and characterize various languages spoken in Ancient Italy in the second half of 1st millenium BC. They will be able to recognize the various epigraphical testimonies of Latin, Faliscan, Etruscan, Umbrian, South-picenian, Oscan and Venetic languages. They will be able to read the original texts and comment on their main paleographical features, as well as to discuss their contents in a wider context of the writing traditions in ancient Italy.
  • 1. The place of Latin among Indo-European languages.
  • 2. Languages in ancient Italy during the 1st millennium BC; their geographic distribution and degree of indigenity.
  • 3. The beginnings of writing in Italy; the spread of the Greek alphabet, adoption by the Etruscan civilization and transmission to other societies in Italy.
  • 4.-5. The question of Etruscan language (Indo-European elements, the degree of indigenity); written testimonies, introduction into the system and examples.
  • 6. Other ancient Italian non-Indo-European languages.
  • 7.-8. Classification of the so-called palaeo-Italian Indo-European languages and the relationships between them.
  • 9. Other Indo-European languages of ancient Italy.
  • 10. Different layers of Latin vocabulary: Indo-European, Mediterranean substratum, adstrata; loan words in Latin; word-formation from the proto-latin substratum; specific sources of Latin vocabulary: agriculture, pastoralism, cult etc.
  • 11. The question of dialects of the early Latin; position of Rome in archaic Latium; the question of multilingualism in the centres of southern and middle Italy; the degree of interconnection.
  • 12.-13. The oldest Latin epigraphic sources.
  • 14.-15. The characteristics of the Archaic Latin based on the reading of the archaic epigraphic material and literary fragments.
    required literature
  • URBANOVÁ, Daniela and Václav BLAŽEK. Národy starověké Itálie, jejich jazyky a písma (Populations of Ancient Italy, their languages and scripts). Brno: Host, 2008. 328 pp. ISBN 978-80-7294-292-3. info
  • PULTROVÁ, Lucie, Daniela URBANOVÁ, Marie MALÁ and Jiří ŠUBRT. Archaická latina (Archaic Latin). 1. vydání. Praha: Nakladatelství Karolinum, 2006. 82 pp. učební texty. ISBN 80-246-1165-1. info
    recommended literature
  • PISANI, V. Le lingue dell`Italia antica oltre il latino. Roma, 1964. info
  • VINE, B. Studies in Archaic Latin Inscriptions. Innsbruck, 1993. info
  • BURIAN, Jan and Pavel OLIVA. Civilizace starověkého Středomoří. 1. vyd. Praha: Svoboda, 1984. 549 s. info
  • PROSDOCIMI, A. L. and M. PANDOLFINI. Alfabetari e insegnamento della scrittura in Etruria e nell`Italia antica. Firenze, 1990. info
    not specified
  • WACHTER, R. Altlateinische Inschriften. Bern, 1987. info
  • RAMAT, A. G. and P. RAMAT. Le lingue indoeuropee. Roma, 1993. info
  • VETTER, E. Handbuch der italienischen Dialekte. Heidelberg, 1953. info
  • MEISER, G. Lautgeschichte der umbrischen Sprache. Innsbruck, 1986. info
  • CRISTOFANI, M. Introduzione all`etrusco. Firenze, 1991. info
Teaching methods
Lectures with presentations.
Assessment methods
Active participation, final written exam. Written examination consisting of 5 questions focusing on the basic notions of the discipline. Minimum pass level 75 %.
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.
Teacher's information
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2020, Spring 2021.
  • Enrolment Statistics (recent)
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