Orthographic Traditions and the Sub-elite in the Roman Empire

This page is about my book, Orthographic Traditions and the Sub-elite in the Roman Empire, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2023. It is Open Access and you can download it for free here. It will contain corrections (other than typos) and updates to the book. So far I haven't dared look very closely, but if you notice any mistakes or have suggestions, please email me at (naz21[apud]cam[dot]ac[dot]uk).

This book makes use of digital corpora to give in-depth details of the history and development of the spelling of Latin. It focusses on sub-elite texts in the Roman empire, and reveals that sophisticated education in this area was not restricted to those at the top of society. Nicholas Zair studies the history of particular orthographic features and traces their usage in a range of texts which give insight into everyday writers of Latin: including scribes and soldiers at Vindolanda, slaves at Pompeii, members of the Praetorian Guard, and writers of curse tablets. In doing so, he problematises the use of 'old-fashioned' spelling in dating inscriptions, provides important new information on sound-change in Latin, and shows how much can be gained from a detailed sociolinguistic analysis of ancient texts.

last updated June 2023