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Linguistic Characteristics of Inscriptions of Roman Celeia and its Surroundings

as a Source for the Study of Romanization in the Celeian Area


Julijana Visočnik

The title refers to a PhD thesis, which was finished in February 2007, to provide a basis for a corpus of the Ro-
man inscriptions from Celeia and its territory – they are ca. 500 - which is to be finished in the near future.
The southernmost Norican town of Celeia, which became municipium in the time of the emperor Claudius (muni-
cipium Claudium Celeia), was in the pre-Roman period one of the most important centres of the Celtic Taurisci. It
became the administrative centre for a broad area of southern Noricum, thus acquiring the role of fons et origo for
its Romanization.

Map of the Celeian region. Composition of inhabitants within the town according to names. Composition of inhabitants in ager according to names.

The precise division of the names into three big groups (tria/duo nomina, names with peregrine filiation, and single names) is necessary for the transparency of certain Romanization aspects. The collected
names document the intertwining of the Latin (Roman) and autochthonous habit of name giving, which illuminates an interesting way of melting the two cultures. The group tria/duo nomina can be fur-
ther subdivided into:
- names with imperial gentilicia; Tria/duo nomina in the town and in ager –similarities and differences.

- names with pseudogentilicia; Town Ager

- names with other Italic gentilicia;


- two-part names, which combine two names but these are not family and personal
names proper.
Two points are evident: first, Italic immigrants primarily settled down in the town; and
second, pseudogentilicia are more typical for the ager than the town. The distribution
of the Italic gentilicia indicates which Italic families were active in the colonization of
the Celeian area: Albinii, Pompeii, Varii, Cassii, Rufii, Matii, Petronii, and others. Immi-
grants, whose arrival implied Romanization, mostly came from northern Italy: Aqui-
leia, Tergeste, etc.
The names with the s.c. peregrine filiation are divided according to the source of
individual component parts (Latin, Celtic). Single names occur throughout all periods;
the social status of an individual inhabitant depends on the period. In the town Latin
names prevail, in ager Celtic; the share of Greek names is the same in both.
As expected, a larger proportion of Roman citizens in the town indicates that the
town was romanized sooner and more comprehensively.

C(aius) Iulius Vepo, donatus


civitate Romana viritim
et inmunitate ab divo Aug(usto),
vivos fecit sibi et
5 Boniatae Antoni fil(iae), coniugi
et suis.

CIL III 5232, funerary monument for Caius Iulius Vepo as an example of early Romanization of this area.

CIL III 143671. Urn for Valerius and his family as an example of an inscription containing numerous mistakes.
This inscription is an exception; generally such inscriptions contain only one (or possibly two) linguistic errors.

The inscriptions in Celeia are written in Vulgar Latin; its numerous characteristics are evident mostly in phonetics, orthography, and morphology. These peculiarities are often perceived as errors, while
actually they are valid as deviations from the accepted norms of classical Latin. A distinction can be made between two types of errors: the first are s.c. technical errors; the second are of the linguistic na-
ture, and occurred under the influence of the spoken language; these are found primarily in the inscriptions commissioned by ordinary people. As expected, more such errors occur in the inscriptions from
the Celeian surroundings.
The analysis of the vocabulary, linguistic peculiarities, and names in the inscriptions of Celeia confirms the important role played by the town in promoting the Romanization in southern Noricum. The
process of acculturation became particulary intensive after the annexation of Noricum to the Roman Empire ca 15 BC, when Latin rapidly spread from northern Italy to Celeia and from there to the coun-
tryside, at first along the main roads and later into the remote, difficult-to-reach parts of Celeian ager. Both, the Italic immigrants and the local elite, played an important role in this development.

References:
LAZAR, I. 2002, Celeia. - In: M. Šašel Kos, P. Scherrer (eds.), The Autonomous Towns of Noricum and Pannonia. Noricum, Situla 40, 71-101. Julijana Visočnik
Institute of Archeology
ŠAŠEL, J. 1970, Celeia. - In: RE Suppl. XII, 139-148 (= Opera Selecta, Situla 30, Ljubljana 1992, 583-587). Scientific Research Centre of the SASA
VISOČNIK, J., Linguistic Characteristics of Inscriptions of Roman Celeia and its Surroundings as a Source for the Study of Romanization in the Celeian Area. Ljubljana 2007. (Unpublished PhD thesis, in Slovene, Novi trg 2, P. O. Box 306,
SI-1001 Ljubljana, Slovenia
with relevant bibliography) julijana.visocnik@zrc-sazu.si