Classics Summer School

Classics Summer School in Celtic and Venetic

Five-Day Intense Study Course in Early Celtic and Venetic in North Italy. 29 August 2016 to 02 September 2016.

North Italy is a crucial area for the study of ancient languages in western Europe. We find here the earliest evidence of a Celtic language: these are the so-called Lepontic inscriptions starting as early as the 7th century BC. Although the Romans clearly associated North Italy with Celtic peoples, and therefore called it ‘Cisalpine Gaul’, it was a very cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic area, and as a result there was an enormous degree of cultural and linguistic interaction between the inhabitants. Apart from Etruscan, Greek and Latin influences on the native languages of North Italy, we also find Celtic influences on other languages. Languages provide us with an insight into people’s identities, on migration and the cultural interaction. The so-called Ligurian language also provides us with a problem: was it a Celtic language, as some scholars argue, or an independent Indo-European language?

The aim of the Summer School is to provide a concise comprehensive course of Celtic and Venetic in ancient Italy and to provide an introduction to the linguistic situation in the area. In this five-day Summer School, participants will be introduced to the pre-Roman languages of ancient North Italy, notably the Celtic languages (‘Lepontic’, ‘Gaulish’, 7th-1st century BC), and will also have the opportunity to explore Venetic in north-east Italy. There are also some more enigmatic languages, like Camunic – for some also a Celtic language – and Raetic. The study of these languages will be accomplished through the study of the surviving inscriptions. These inscriptions will be studied in-depth in their original scripts.

The Summer School will also address problems of Indo-European reconstruction as well as questions of regional linguistics. An important focus will be on language contacts and their consequences. A series of evening lectures will complement the course, providing insights into various aspects of ancient Celtic history, culture, language, as well as into modern Celtic cultures.

Prerequisites: Previous knowledge of the languages is not necessary, though some knowledge of ancient/foreign languages is desirable. A basic skills session on linguistics and the history and archaeology of North Italy on the first day will provide a foundation to the course.

Teaching provision: there will be a series of lectures on the languages of ancient North Italy during the daytime, including interactive seminars aiming at reading, understanding and interpreting the available ancient texts in Celtic and Venetic. In addition, there will be a series of evening lectures by a number of renowned scholars. For the 31st August, we plan an excursion to CAWCS, the University of Wales’ Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, and the National Library in Aberystwyth.

Learning aids: participants will be provided with teaching aids and a selection of recent scholarly articles (in English).

Location: You will be based at UWTSD’s Lampeter campus which is located at the heart of a Welsh-speaking community.


  • Workshop and Full-Board Accommodation: £580 (five days of lectures, seminars, and evening lectures, including excursion to Aberystwyth, together with 6 nights’ full board in en-suite single rooms with breakfast, lunch and dinner from Sunday evening, 28th August to Saturday morning, 3rd September 2016)
  • Workshop with Lunches & Dinners: £350 (workshop and excursion, together with lunch and dinner from Monday, 29th August to Friday, 2nd September 2016)
  • Workshop Only: £240 (including excursion)


Provisional Schedule:

Summer School Lecturer: Dr Alexander Falileyev (Aberystwyth) is a comparative linguist and specialist in Celtic languages. Dr Falileyev is the author of numerous monographs, such as The Celtic Balkans (Aberystwyth 2013), In search of the Eastern Celts (Budapest 2014) and the Dictionary of Continental Celtic Place-Names (Aberystwyth 2010).

Provisional guest speakers include:

Professor John Koch (CAWCS), a specialist on the languages, literatures and civilisations of the early Celtic peoples from prehistory through the early Middle Ages. His recent interdisciplinary project resulted in the five-volume Celtic Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia and An Atlas for Celtic Studies.

Dr Simon Rodway (Aberystwyth University) specialises in Celtic philology and Medieval Welsh. He has published, for example, Dating Medieval Welsh Literature (Aberystwyth 2013) and ‘Celtic - Definitions, Problems and Controversies’ (in In Search of Celtic Tylis in Thrace (III C BC), 2010).

Professor Dafydd Johnston (CAWCS) is the director of University’s Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) and chief editor of the journal Studia Celtica. He is a specialist for medieval Welsh poetry and has published among others two ground-breaking thematic collections, Medieval Welsh Erotic Poetry (1991) and Poets’ Grief (1993).

Andrew Hawke (CAWCS) is the managing editor of the Dictionary of the Welsh Language.

Gwen Davies (UWTSD) lectures on the modern Welsh language and will provide an introduction to Welsh.

Dr Ralph Häussler (UWTSD) is a specialist on the Celts in North Italy and on Celtic religion across the Keltiké and has published widely on this topic, for example Becoming Roman? Diverging Identities and Experiences in Ancient Northwest Italy (2013).


Summer School Organisation: Dr Ralph Häussler, School of Classics, UWTSD, Lampeter, SA48 7ED, Wales, U.K. (

Contact and Booking: Jo Price:

Application form

Minimum number of participants: 10

All information above is subject to change.