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Article

Benjamin Fortson

The Sabellic language (see Sabelli) spoken in central and southern Italy, attested in several hundred inscriptions from the 6th centurybce through the mid-1st centuryce. Specific varieties (e.g., Paelignian, Marrucinian, Vestinian) have been distinguished, though the material is too scanty to glean much information about regional differentiation.Most Oscan inscriptions are written in the native Oscan alphabet; the Greek and Latin alphabets are also found, the former in the south, the latter in some later material. Around the mid-4th centurybce, the Oscan alphabet was modified to indicate more differences among vowels, resulting in the so-called Oscan national alphabet. Few inscriptions postdate the Social War. The material encompasses many genres, including dedicatory inscriptions, epitaphs, leges sacrae, inscriptions on public works, curse tablets, and coin legends. Among the most notable texts are the Tabula Bantina (recording a statute), the Cippus Abellanus (containing an agreement between Abella and Nola concerning a shared sanctuary of Hercules), a lex sacra from Agnone with a lengthy list of deities, various curse tablets from Cumae exhibiting archaic Italic poetic features, the so-called iúvila dedicatory inscriptions from Capua, a lengthy epitaph from Corfinium of both poetic and religious interest, and the eítuns-inscriptions from Pompeii that appear to be military notices put up during the Social War.

Article

H. Kathryn Lomas

Teanum Apulum (modrtn S. Paolo), in central Italy, a *Daunian city, originally called Teate. It was on the borders between Daunian and Frentanian territory and shows signs of Oscanization (see OSCANS) by the 4th century bce, notably in issues of coins with *Oscan legends. It fought against Rome in the Second Samnite War (see SAMNIUM), but became an ally in 318 bce and remained loyal thereafter. The Daunian city was fortified with an 11-km. (7-mi.) earth rampart and is similar to *Arpi in size and structure. A Roman aqueduct and temple have been discovered.

Article

John Penney

Sabellic (or Sabellian) is the name given to a group of languages in ancient Italy, including Oscan and Umbrian, that belongs to the Italic branch of Indo-European (see italy, languages of for the use of “Italic” as a label for this group alone). An alternative name, still widely employed, is Osco-Umbrian, but the less cumbersome label Sabellic is increasingly to be found. It is based on what seems to have been the native term for the peoples of this linguistic community (see SABELLI): an element sab-/saf- may be recognized in such names as Samnium (Oscan safinim) and Sabini. (It is clear from recorded glosses and from personal names that the Sabini spoke a form of Sabellic, but there are virtually no inscriptions that can be assigned to them, apart from an unintelligible text on a vase from Poggio Sommavilla.) An older usage, still employed by some scholars, reserves the label Sabellic for the so-called minor dialects, such as Paelignian and Volscian.

Article

Larinum  

Elizabeth Robinson

Larinum (modern Larino, Molise) was a city located on the eastern edge of Samnium on the southern border of the territory of the Frentani, and on the northern border of Daunia (see Daunians) (Fig. 1). The ethnic affiliation of the city is disputed by ancient authors (Caes. B Civ. 1.23; Livy 22.18.8, 22.24.1, 27.43.10; Plin. HN 3.11.103, 3.11.105; Pompon. 2.65; Ptol. Geog. 3.1; Steph. Byz. 413 lines 16–17), but it is clear that the pre-Roman inhabitants of Larinum spoke Oscan and shared cultural traits with their various neighbors.The earliest evidence of human activity at Larinum is a series of prehistoric tombs dating to the 9th centurybce. Later, in the 7th or 6th centurybce, a defensive earthwork agger and fossa may have been built at the site. Traces of the first stone houses at Larinum likely date as early as the 5th centurybce, and a new fortification wall with some stretches built in polygonal masonry was erected in the late 4th or early 3rd centurybce.

Article

John Penney

There is no evidence for any form of writing in Italy before the arrival of Greek colonists in the 8th century bce. The Euboean alphabet brought by settlers at Pithecusae (mod. Ischia) and Cumae was borrowed by the Etruscans, who acted as intermediaries for the spread of writing throughout much of the peninsula. Only in southern regions adjacent to other Greek settlements was the Greek alphabet again borrowed directly, as in Lucania (for writing Oscan see Sabellic languages) and the Sallentine peninsula (with some modifications, for writing Messapian). Greek cities, of course, continued to write in the Greek alphabet throughout antiquity.An alphabet learnt as such (the theoretical alphabet) may contain more letters than are used in practice. So a number of 7th-century Etruscan abecedaria (written-out alphabets) adhere to the Greek model and include letters such as b, d, or o that are not found in texts: abcdevzhθiklmnsopśqrstuṡφχ.