Latin in Egypt

T. V. Evans

in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571451
Published online November 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191750540 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

 Latin in Egypt

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  • Archaeology of the Near East
  • Egyptian Archaeology


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This article discusses the function and character of Latin in Roman Egypt. Within the multilingual speech community of Roman Egypt the Latin language played a minor role. Greek was employed by the Romans as a spoken and written lingua franca. As far as we can judge from scattered and heterogeneous remains, the use of Latin was much more limited. Nevertheless, as a language of power and identity it had the potential to appear in many places. Its employment has considerable socio-linguistic significance. In addition, the Egyptian finds provide important information on bilingualism and non-standard varieties of the language.

Keywords: Latin language; Roman Egypt; Greek; bilingualism

Article.  5221 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology of the Near East ; Egyptian Archaeology

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