Claudia Paparella, a third-year PhD student in the Department of Classics' Ancient History stream, has won the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for International Students.
Jointly funded by the Province of Ontario and the University of Toronto, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship program recognizes excellence in graduate studies at publicly-assisted universities.
The scholarship supports Claudia’s dissertation project, titled “Indigenous Languages and Identities in the Making of Roman Italy.” The project abstract can be found below.
This project traces the social history of indigenous Italian languages and their entanglement with the Roman imperial expansion in Italy between the 7th and 1st century BCE. From the first arrival of the Greek alphabet in Italy in the 8th century BCE, Italian indigenous populations developed writing systems according to their own specific linguistic needs. Over time, writing and language progressively became a wider component of cultural identity and distinction. In the 4th century BCE, this trajectory was disrupted by early encounters between Italic peoples and expanding Roman imperial power, which started imposing Latin over indigenous languages. However, non-Latin languages continued to be used for several more centuries, not disappearing before the beginning of the Imperial period. Inscriptions are the only means through which it is possible to systematically come into contact with indigenous languages. Their study makes it possible to understand where, when, and in which contexts indigenous people accepted or resisted the use of the imperial language of Latin. Literary and archaeological sources have been able to provide only partial accounts of the consequences of the encounters between Rome and Italian indigenous people. Conversely, the inscriptional evidence, which this project studies, tells a more accurate and nuanced story of acculturation and resilience. Thus, by investigating language shift through this evidence, this project aims both to provide new perspectives on the "Romanization" processes and enrich our broader understanding of the impact of empire and state formation on key cultural markers like language.