Saturday, 6 June 2009

Language, Text & Power

An exciting new research initiative hosted by the Classics Department of the University of Reading! The main objective of our research initiative is to promote innovative forms of inquiry into the languages of the Ancient World. Language is central to both how the ancient world worked and how power-relations were negotiated and enforced; it is also the primary medium through which how we learn about the ancient world today. And while a lot of attention has been given in recent scholarship to visual and material culture, scholars have neglected the central role of language in all human cultures, something which the ancient Greek and Roman world illustrates particularly well: why, for example, did the Romans of the imperial age build monuments inscribed in Latin in the Greek East where they could be sure that hardly anybody would be able to read these texts? Why did Greek remain the lingua franca of the Eastern Roman empire? Which language would we speak if the Carthaginians had won the Punic Wars? How did the Greeks and Romans conduct trade with neighbouring people, people whose languages sounded so irritating to the Greek ear that they referred to their speakers as barbaroi (people who say ‘bar bar‘ all the time)? Language as a means of communication is central to all these questions and many more!

For more information visit the homepage at, the blog at or join the group on Facebook

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