Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Campania is a region in Southern Italy. As of 2018, the region has a population of around 5,820,000 people, making it the third-most-populous region of Italy. Located on the Italian Peninsula, with the Mediterranean Sea to the west, it includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of the region. Campania was part of Magna Græcia. During the Roman era, the area maintained a Greco-Roman culture; the capital city of Campania is Naples. Campania is rich in culture in regard to gastronomy, architecture and ancient sites such as Pompeii, Oplontis, Aeclanum and Velia; the name of Campania itself is derived from Latin, as the Romans knew the region as Campania felix, which translates into English as "fertile countryside" or "happy countryside". The rich natural sights of Campania make it important in the tourism industry along the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri; the original inhabitants of Campania were three defined groups of the Ancient peoples of Italy, who all spoke the Oscan language, part of the Italic family.
During the 8th century BC, people from Euboea in Greece, known as Cumaeans, began to establish colonies in the area around the modern day province of Naples. Another Oscan tribe, the Samnites, moved down from central Italy into Campania. Since the Samnites were more warlike than the Campanians, they took over the cities of Capua and Cumae, in an area, one of the most prosperous and fertile in the Italian Peninsula at the time. During the 340s BC, the Samnites were engaged in a war with the Roman Republic in a dispute known as the Samnite Wars, with the Romans securing rich pastures of northern Campania during the First Samnite War; the major remaining independent Greek settlement was Neapolis, when the town was captured by the Samnites, the Neapolitans were left with no other option than to call on the Romans, with whom they established an alliance, setting off the Second Samnite War. The Roman consul Quintus Publilius Filo recaptured Neapolis by 326 BC and allowed it to remain a Greek city with some autonomy as a civitas foederata while aligned with Rome.
The Second Samnite War ended with the Romans controlling southern Campania and additional regions further to the south. Campania was a full-fledged part of the Roman Republic by the end of the 4th century BC, valued for its pastures and rich countryside, its Greek language and customs made it a centre of Hellenistic civilization, creating the first traces of Greco-Roman culture. During the Pyrrhic War the battle took place in Campania at Maleventum in which the Romans, led by consul Curius Dentatus, were victorious, they renamed the city Beneventum, which grew in stature until it was second only to Capua in southern Italy. During the Second Punic War in 216 BC, Capua, in a bid for equality with Rome, allied with Carthage; the rebellious Capuans were isolated from the rest of Campania. Naples resisted Hannibal due to the imposing walls. Capua was starved into submission in the Roman retaking of 211 BC, the Romans were victorious; the rest of Campania, with the exception of Naples, adopted the Latin language as official and was Romanised.
As part of the Roman Empire, with Latium, formed the most important region of the Augustan divisions of Italia. In ancient times Misenum, at the extreme northern end of the bay of Naples, was the largest base of the Roman navy, since its port was the base of the Classis Misenensis, the most important Roman fleet, it was first established as a naval base in 27 BC by Marcus Agrippa, the right-hand man of the emperor Augustus. Roman Emperors chose Campania as a holiday destination, among them Claudius and Tiberius, the latter of whom is infamously linked to the island of Capri, it was during this period that Christianity came to Campania. Two of the apostles, St. Peter and St. Paul, are said to have preached in the city of Naples, there were several martyrs during this time; the period of relative calm was violently interrupted by the epic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 which buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. With the Decline of the Roman Empire, its last emperor, Romulus Augustus, was put in a manor house prison near Castel dell'Ovo, Naples, in 476, ushering in the beginning of the Middle Ages and a period of uncertainty in regard to the future of the area.
The area had many duchies and principalities during the Middle Ages, in the hands of the Byzantine Empire and the Lombards. Under the Normans, the smaller independent states were brought together as part of the Kingdom of Sicily, before the mainland broke away to form the Kingdom of Naples, it was during this period that elements of Spanish and Aragonese culture were introduced to Campania. After a period as a Norman kingdom, the Kingdom of Sicily passed to the Hohenstaufens, who were a powerful Germanic royal house of Swabian origins; the University of Naples Federico II was founded by Frederick II in the city, the oldest state university in the world, making Naples the intellectual centre of the kingdom. Conflict between the Hohenstaufen house and the Papacy, led in 1266 to Pope Innocent IV crowning Angevin Dynasty duke Charles I as the king. Charles moved the capital from Palermo to Naples where he resided at the Castel Nuovo. During this period, much Gothic architec
Old Italic script
Old Italic is one of several now-extinct alphabet systems used on the Italian Peninsula in ancient times for various Indo-European languages and non-Indo-European languages. The alphabets derive from the Euboean Greek Cumaean alphabet, used at Ischia and Cumae in the Bay of Naples in the eighth century BC. Various Indo-European languages belonging to the Italic branch used the alphabet. Faliscan, Umbrian, North Picene, South Picene all derive from an Etruscan form of the alphabet; the Germanic runic alphabet may have been derived from one of these alphabets by the 2nd century AD. The Etruscan alphabet originated as an adaptation of the Western Greek alphabet used by the Euboean Greeks in their first colonies in Italy, the island of Pithekoussai and the city of Cumae in Campania. In the alphabets of the West, X had the sound value, Ψ stood for; the earliest Etruscan abecedarium, the Marsiliana tablet which dates to c. 700 BC, lists 26 letters corresponding to contemporary forms of the Greek alphabet which retained digamma and qoppa but which had not yet developed omega.
Until about 600 BC, the archaic form of the Etruscan alphabet remained unchanged, the direction of writing was free. From the 6th century, the alphabet evolved, adjusting to the phonology of the Etruscan language, letters representing phonemes nonexistent in Etruscan were dropped. By 400 BC, it appears that all of Etruria was using the classical Etruscan alphabet of 20 letters written from left to right: An additional sign, in shape similar to the numeral 8, transcribed as F, was present in both Lydian and Etruscan, its origin is disputed. Its sound value was /f/ and it replaced the Etruscan digraph FH, used to express that sound; some letters were, on the other hand, falling out of use. Etruscan did not have any voiced stops, for which B, C, D were intended; the B and D therefore fell out of use, the C, simpler and easier to write than K, was adopted to write /k/ displacing K itself. Since Etruscan had no /o/ vowel sound, O disappeared and was replaced by U. In the course of its simplification, the redundant letters showed some tendency towards a semi-syllabary: C, K and Q were predominantly used in the contexts CE, KA, QU.
This classical alphabet remained in use until the 2nd century BC when it began to be influenced by the rise of the Latin alphabet. The Romans, who did have voiced stops in their language, revived B and D for /b/ and /d/, used C for both /k/ and /g/, until they invented a separate letter G to distinguish the two sounds. Soon after, the Etruscan language itself became extinct; the Osci adopted the archaic Etruscan alphabet during the 7th century BC, but a recognizably Oscan variant of the alphabet is attested only from the 5th century BC. Ú came to be used to represent Oscan /o/, while U was used for /u/ as well as historical long */oː/, which had undergone a sound shift in Oscan to become ~. The Nucerian alphabet is based on inscriptions found in southern Italy, it is attested only between the 6th and the 5th century BC. The most important sign is the /S/, shaped like a fir tree, a derivation from the Phoenician alphabet; the Alphabet of Lugano, based on inscriptions found in northern Italy and Canton Ticino, was used to record Lepontic inscriptions, among the oldest testimonies of any Celtic language, in use from the 7th to the 5th centuries BC.
The alphabet has 18 letters, derived from the archaic Etruscan alphabet: The alphabet does not distinguish voiced and unvoiced occlusives, i.e. P represents /b/ or /p/, T is for /t/ or /d/, K for /g/ or /k/. Z is for /ts/. U /u/ and V /w/ are distinguished. Θ is for /t/ and X for /g/. There are claims of a related script discovered in Glozel; the alphabet of Sanzeno, about 100 Raetic inscriptions. The alphabet of Magrè, east Raetian inscriptions. Alphabet of Este: Similar but not identical to that of Magrè, Venetic inscriptions. Inscribed abecedarium on rock drawings in Valcamonica. 21 of the 26 archaic Etruscan letters were adopted for Old Latin from the 7th century BC, either directly from the Cumae alphabet, or via archaic Etruscan forms, compared to the classical Etruscan alphabet retaining B, D, K, O, Q, X but dropping Θ, Ś, Φ, Ψ, F. The South Picene alphabet, known from the 6th century BC, is most like the southern Etruscan alphabet in that it uses Q for /k/ and K for /g/, it is: ⟨.⟩ is a reduced ⟨o⟩ and ⟨:⟩ is a reduced ⟨8⟩, used for /f/.
The Old Italic alphabets were unified and added to the Unicode Standard in March, 2001 with the release of version 3.1. The Unicode block for Old Italic is U+10300–U+1032F without specification of a particular alphabet. Writing direction varies based on the language and the time period. For simplicity most scholars use left-to-right and this is the Unicode default direction for the Old Italic block. For this reason, the glyphs in the code chart are shown with left-to-right orientation. Euboean alphabet Negau he
Rimini is a city of 150.590 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the coast between the rivers Marecchia and Ausa, it is one of the most famous seaside resorts in Europe, thanks to its 15-kilometre-long sandy beach, over 1,000 hotels, thousands of bars and discos. The first bathing establishment opened in 1843. An art city with ancient Roman and Renaissance monuments, Rimini is the hometown of the famous film director Federico Fellini as well. Founded by the Romans in 268 BC, throughout their period of rule Rimini was a key communications link between the north and south of the peninsula, on its soil Roman emperors erected monuments like the Arch of Augustus and the Tiberius Bridge that they mark the beginning and the end of the Decumanus of Rimini and, while during the Renaissance, the city benefited from the court of the House of Malatesta, which hosted artists like Leonardo da Vinci and produced works such as the Tempio Malatestiano.
The main monuments in Rimini are: the Arch of Augustus. In the 19th century, Rimini was one of the most active cities in the revolutionary front, hosting many of the movements aimed at Italian unification. In the course of World War II, the city was the scene of clashes and bombings, but of a fierce partisan resistance that earned it the honour of a gold medal for civic valor. In recent years it has become one of the most important sites for trade fairs and conferences in Italy; the total approximate population of the Rimini urban area is 225,000 and the provincial population is 330,000. Rimini is the most populous centre of the Romagna Riviera, the second largest city by the number of inhabitants in the entire region, the twenty-eighth largest city in Italy. For ecclesiastical history, see Roman Catholic Diocese of Rimini The area was part of the Etruscan civilization until the arrival of the Celts, who held it from the 6th century BC until their defeat by the Umbri in 283 BC. In 268 BC at the mouth of the Ariminus, the Roman Republic founded the colonia of Ariminum.
The city was involved in the civil wars but remained faithful to the popular party and to its leaders, firstly Gaius Marius, Julius Caesar. After crossing the Rubicon, the latter made his legendary appeal to the legions in the Forum of Rimini. Ariminum was seen as a bastion against invaders from Celts and as a springboard for conquering the Padana plain; as the terminus of the Via Flaminia, which ended here in the surviving prestigious Arch of Augustus, Rimini was a road junction connecting central and northern Italy by the Via Aemilia that led to Piacenza and the Via Popilia that extended northwards. Remains of the amphitheater that could seat 12000 people, a five-arched bridge of Istrian stone completed by Tiberius are still visible. Galla Placidia built the church of Santo Stefano. It's understood that Rimini is of roman origins from the fact, divided by two main streets, the Cardo and the Decumanus. Crisis in the Roman world was marked by destruction caused by invasions and wars, but by the testimony of the palaces of the Imperial officers and the first churches, the symbol of the spread of Christianity that held an important Council of Ariminum in 359.
When the Ostrogoths conquered Rimini in 493, besieged in Ravenna, had to capitulate. During the Gothic War, Rimini was retaken many times. In its vicinity the Byzantine general Narses overthrew the Alamanni. Under the Byzantine rule, it belonged to part of the Exarchate of Ravenna. In 728, it was taken with many other cities by Liutprand, King of the Lombards but returned to the Byzantines about 735. Pepin the Short gave it to the Holy See, but during the wars of the popes and the Italian cities against the emperors, Rimini sided with the latter. In the 13th century, it suffered from the discords of the Ansidei families; the city became a municipality in the 14th century, with the arrival of the religious orders, numerous convents and churches were built, providing work for many illustrious artists. In fact, Giotto inspired the 14th-century School of Rimini, the expression of original cultural ferment; the House of Malatesta emerged from the struggles between municipal factions with Malatesta da Verucchio, who in 1239 was named podestà of the city.
Despite interruptions, his family held authority until 1528. In 1312 he was succeeded by Malatestino Malatesta, first signore of the city and Pandolfo I Malatesta, the latter's brother, named by Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, as imperial vicar of Romagna. Ferrantino, son of Malatesta II, was opposed by his cousin Ramberto and by Cardinal Bertrand du Pouget, legate of Pope John XXII. Malatesta II was lord of Pesaro, he was succeeded by Malatesta Ungaro and Galeotto I Malatesta, uncle of the former, lord of Fano and Cesena. His son Carlo I Malatesta, one of the most respected condottieri of the time, enlarged the Riminese possessions and restored the port. Carlo died childless in 1429, the lordship was divided into three parts, Rimini going to Galeotto Roberto Malatesta, a Catholic zealot who turned out to be inadequate for the role; the Pesarese line of the Malatestas tried, in fact, to take advantage of his weakness and to capture the city, but Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Carlo's nephew, only 14 at the time, intervened to save it.
Galeotto retired to a convent, Sigismondo obtain
Salerno is an ancient city and comune in Campania and is the capital of the province of the same name. It is located on the Gulf of Salerno on the Tyrrhenian Sea; the city is divided into three distinct zones: the medieval sector, the 19th century sector and the more densely populated post-war area, with its several apartment blocks. Human settlement at Salerno has a vibrant past, dating back to pre-historic times; the site has been one of the most important and strategic ports on the Mediterranean sea, yielding a rich Greco-Roman heritage. It was Principality of Salerno, in the early Middle Ages. During this time, the Schola Medica Salernitana, the first medical school in the world, was founded. In the 16th century, under the Sanseverino family, among the most powerful feudal lords in southern Italy, the city became a great centre of learning and the arts, the family hired several of the greatest intellectuals of the time. In 1694, the city was struck by several catastrophic earthquakes and plagues.
After a period of Spanish rule which would last until the 18th century, Salerno became part of the Parthenopean Republic. In recent history the city hosted Victor Emmanuel III, the King of Italy, who moved from Rome in 1943 after Italy negotiated a peace with the Allies in World War II, making Salerno the home of the "government of the South" and therefore provisional government seat for six months; some of the Allied landings during Operation Avalanche occurred near Salerno. Today Salerno is an important cultural centre in Italy. A patron saint of Salerno is Saint Matthew, the Apostle, whose relics are kept here at the crypt of Salerno Cathedral; the area of what is now Salerno has been continuously settled since pre-historical times, as the discoveries of Neolithic mummy remains documents.. The Oscan-Etruscan city of Irna, is situated across the Irno river, in what is today the quarter of Fratte; this settlement represented an important base for Etruscan trade with the nearby Greek colonies of Posidonia and Elea.
It was occupied by the Samnites around the 5th century BC as consequence of the Battle of Cumae as part of the Syracusan sphere of influence. With the Roman advance in Campania, Irna began to lose its importance, being supplanted by the new Roman colony of Salernum, developing around an initial castrum; the new city, which lost its military function in favour of its role as a trade center, was connected to Rome by the Via Popilia, which ran towards Lucania and Reggio Calabria. Archaeological remains, although fragmentary, suggest the idea of a lively city. Under the Emperor Diocletian, in the late 3rd century AD, Salernum became the administrative centre of the "Lucania and Bruttii" province. In the following century, during the Gothic Wars, the Goths were defeated by the Byzantines, the Salerno returned to the control of Constantinople, before the Lombards invaded the whole peninsula. Like many coastal cities of southern Italy, Salerno remained untouched by the newcomers, falling only in 646.
It subsequently became part of the Duchy of Benevento. Under the Lombard dukes Salerno enjoyed the most splendid period of its history. In 774 Arechis II of Benevento transferred the seat of the Duchy of Benevento to Salerno, in order to elude Charlemagne's offensive and to secure for himself the control of a strategic area, the centre of coastal and internal communications in Campania. With Arechis II, Salerno became a centre of studies with its famous Medical School; the Lombard prince ordered the city to be fortified. In 839 Salerno declared independence from Benevento, becoming the capital of a flourishing principality stretching out to Capua, northern Calabria and Apulia up to Taranto. Around the year 1000 prince Guaimar IV annexed Amalfi, Sorrento and the whole duchy of Apulia and Calabria, starting to conceive a future unification of the whole southern Italy under Salerno's arms; the coins minted in the city circulated in all the Mediterranean, with the Opulenta Salernum wording to certify its richness.
However, the stability of the Principate was continually shaken by the Saracen attacks and, most of all, by internal struggles. In 1056, one of the numerous plots led to the fall of Guaimar, his weaker son Gisulf II succeeded him. In 1077 Salerno soon lost all its territory to the Normans. On 13 December 1076, the Norman conqueror Robert Guiscard, who had married Guaimar IV's daughter Sikelgaita, besieged Salerno and defeated his brother-in-law Gisulf. In this period the royal palace of Castel Terracena and the cathedral were built, science was boosted as the Schola Medica Salernitana, considered the most ancient medical institution of European West, reached its maximum splendour. At this time in the late 11th century, the city was home to 50,000 people. Salerno played a conspicuous part in the fall of the Norman Kingdom. After the Emperor Henry VI's invasion on behalf of his wife, the heiress to the kingdom, in 1191, Salerno surrendered and promised loyalty on the mere news of an incoming army.
This so disgusted the archbishop, Nicolò d'Aiello, that he abandoned the city and fled to Naples, which held out in a siege. In 1194, the situation reversed itself: Naples capitulated, along with most other cities of the Mezzogiorno, only Salerno resisted, it was pillaged, much reducing its importance and prosperity. Henry had his reasons, though, he had e
The Lucanians were an Italic tribe living in Lucania, in what is now southern Italy, who spoke an Oscan language, a member of the Italic languages. The Lucani spoke a variety of the Umbrian-Oscan language, like their neighbours, the Samnites, who had absorbed the Osci in the 5th century BC; the few Oscan inscriptions and coins in the area that survive from the 4th or 3rd century BC use the Greek alphabet. Around the middle of the 5th century BC, the Lucani moved south into Oenotria, driving the indigenous tribes, known to the Greeks as Oenotrians and Lauternoi, into the mountainous interior; the Lucanians were engaged in hostilities with the Greek colony of Taras/Tarentum, with Alexander, king of Epirus, called in by the Tarentine people to their assistance, in 334 BC, thus providing a precedent for Epirote interference in the affairs of Magna Graecia. In 331, treacherous Lucanian exiles killed Alexander of Epirus. In 298, Livy records, they made alliance with Rome, Roman influence was extended by the colonies of Venusia and above all Roman Tarentum.
Subsequently, the Lucanians suffered by choosing the losing side in the various wars on the peninsula in which Rome took part. They were sometimes in alliance with Rome, but more engaged in hostilities, during the Samnite wars; when Pyrrhus of Epirus landed in Italy in 281, they were among the first to declare in his favor, after his abrupt departure they were reduced to subjection, in a ten-year campaign. Enmity continued to run deep; the country never recovered from these disasters, under the Roman government fell into decay, to which the Social War, in which the Lucanians took part with the Samnites against Rome, gave the finishing stroke. In the time of Strabo the Greek cities on the coast had fallen into insignificance and, owing to the decrease of population and cultivation, malaria began to obtain the upper hand; the few towns of the interior were of no importance. A large part of the province was given up to pasture, the mountains were covered with forests, which abounded in wild boars and wolves.
List of ancient Italic peoples Lucanian painted tombs at Paestum
Old Latin known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin, refers to the Latin language in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of Classical Latin. It is descended from the Proto-Italic language; the use of "old", "early" and "archaic" has been standard in publications of Old Latin writings since at least the 18th century. The definition is not arbitrary, but the terms refer to writings with spelling conventions and word forms not found in works written under the Roman Empire; this article presents some of the major differences. The earliest known specimen of the Latin language appears on the Praeneste fibula. A new analysis performed in 2011 declared it to be genuine "beyond any reasonable doubt" and dating from the Orientalizing period, in the first half of the seventh century BC; the concept of Old Latin is as old as the concept of Classical Latin, both dating to at least as early as the late Roman Republic. In that period Cicero, along with others, noted that the language he used every day the upper-class city Latin, included lexical items and phrases that were heirlooms from a previous time, which he called verborum vetustas prisca, translated as "the old age/time of language".
During the classical period, Prisca Latinitas, Prisca Latina and other idioms using the adjective always meant these remnants of a previous language, which, in the Roman philology, was taken to be much older in fact than it was. Viri prisci, "old-time men", were the population of Latium before the founding of Rome. In the Late Latin period, when Classical Latin was behind them, the Latin- and Greek-speaking grammarians were faced with multiple phases, or styles, within the language. Isidore of Seville reports a classification scheme that had come into existence in or before his time: "the four Latins", they were Prisca, spoken before the founding of Rome, when Janus and Saturn ruled Latium, to which he dated the Carmen Saliare. The scheme persisted with little change for some thousand years after Isidore. In 1874, John Wordsworth used this definition: "By Early Latin I understand Latin of the whole period of the Republic, separated strikingly, both in tone and in outward form, from that of the Empire."Although the differences are striking and can be identified by Latin readers, they are not such as to cause a language barrier.
Latin speakers of the empire had no reported trouble understanding Old Latin, except for the few texts that must date from the time of the kings songs. Thus, the laws of the Twelve Tables from the early Republic were comprehensible, but the Carmen Saliare written under Numa Pompilius, was not entirely. An opinion concerning Old Latin, of a Roman man of letters in the middle Republic, survives: the historian, read "the first treaty between Rome and Carthage", which he says "dates from the consulship of Lucius Junius Brutus and Marcus Horatius, the first consuls after the expulsion of the kings". Knowledge of the early consuls is somewhat obscure, but Polybius states that the treaty was formulated 28 years before Xerxes I crossed into Greece. Polybius says of the language of the treaty "the ancient Roman language differs so much from the modern that it can only be made out, that after much application by the most intelligent men". There is no sharp distinction between Old Latin, as it was spoken for most of the Republic, Classical Latin, but the earlier grades into the later.
The end of the republic was too late a termination for compilers after Wordsworth. Bell, De locativi in prisca Latinitate vi et usu, Breslau, 1889, sets the limit at 75 BC. A definite date is impossible, since archaic Latin does not terminate abruptly, but continues down to imperial times." Bennett's own date of 100 BC did not prevail but rather Bell's 75 BC became the standard as expressed in the four-volume Loeb Library and other major compendia. Over the 377 years from 452 to 75 BC, Old Latin evolved from being comprehensible by classicists with study to being read by scholars. Old Latin authored works began in the 3rd century BC; these are complete or nearly complete works under their own name surviving as manuscripts copied from other manuscripts in whatever script was current at the time. In addition are fragments of works quoted in other authors. Numerous inscriptions placed by various methods on their original media survive just as they were except for the ravages of time; some of these were copied from other inscriptions.
No inscription can be earlier than the introduction of the Greek alphabet into Italy but none survive from that early date. The imprecision of archaeological dating makes it impossible to assign a year to any one inscription, but the earliest survivals are from the 6th century BC; some texts, that survive as fragments in the works of classical authors, had to have been composed earlier than the republic, in the time of the monarchy. These are listed below. Notable Old Latin fragments with estimated dates include: The Carmen Saliare (chant put forward in classical times as