Texts written in Latin, Greek and other languages provide ancient historians with their primary evidence, but the role of language as a source for understanding the ancient world is often overlooked. Language played a key role in state-formation and the spread of Christianity, the construction of ethnicity, and negotiating positions of social status and group membership. Language could reinforce social norms and shed light on taboos. This book presents an accessible account of ways in which linguistic evidence can illuminate topics such as imperialism, ethnicity, social mobility, religion, gender and sexuality in the ancient world, without assuming the reader has any knowledge of Greek or Latin, or of linguistic jargon. It describes the rise of Greek and Latin at the expense of other languages spoken around the Mediterranean and details the social meanings of different styles, and the attitudes of ancient speakers towards linguistic differences.Read more
- Presents ancient languages in the context of ancient history, making linguistic discoveries and insights available to ancient historians
- Linguistic jargon is avoided: readers can understand the material without having a previous understanding of linguistics
- Accessible to readers from many disciplines such as classics, theology, medieval history and Near Eastern studies
Reviews & endorsements
'… this is a work with a clear aim and a lot of coherence; it will serve its purpose as an excellent introduction to a vast subject.' Staffan Wahlgren, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
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- Date Published: April 2015
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521140669
- length: 218 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 11 mm
- weight: 0.37kg
- contains: 9 b/w illus. 3 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. The linguistic ecology of the Mediterranean
2. States of languages / languages of states
3. Language and identity
4. Language variation
5. Language, gender, sexuality
6. The languages of Christianity
Conclusion: dead languages?
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