Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Languages of Sicily

On pg. 478 I mention that beside Greek Sicily was possibly home to Sicel and Elymian at the time of the Roman conquest. I didn't mention Sicanian or Punic. Sicanian, the language of the Sicani of central Sicily, is known from graffiti from Montagna di Marzo (near Piazza Armerina, late 6th–5th cent. BCE) and possibly Gela. It is impossible to say whether Sicanian survived until the 3rd century BCE. Punic, the language of the Carthaginian colonists, was of course well established in Sicily—conflict between Rome and Carthage over Sicily was at the heart of the First Punic War. We have about 40 texts from Motya (present-day Mozia near Marsala) from between 600–400 BCE and so-called Neo-Punic inscriptions are found from as late as the the 1st cent. BCE (Favignana, Grotta Regina near Capo Gallo, Palermo).

For a nice sketch of the evidence for the non-Greek languages of pre-Roman Sicily see the appendix, Die vorgriechischen Sprachen Siziliens (pp. 331–349) in

Willi, Andreas. 2008. Sikelismos. Sprache, Literatur und Gesellschaft im Griechischen Sizilien (8.–5. Jh. v. Chr.). Basel: Schwabe.

For Neo-Punic inscriptions see

Jongeling, Karel. 2008. Handbook of Neo-Punic Inscriptions. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.

No comments:

Post a Comment