Notes on the inscriptions of Delos: the Greek transliteration of Latin names
- Latin onomastics,
- Latin-to-Greek transliterations,
- spoken Latin,
- bilingual community
Between the 2nd and 1st century BC the island of Delos was the destination of a massive immigration of freemen, freedmen, and slaves coming from Italy for economic purposes. As a consequence, a large amount of Latin onomastic material is preserved in the Greek-written inscriptions. This paper analyses the accommodation of the Latin names into the Greek orthography, trying to illustrate the complex overlap of four different criteria of transliteration: the standardised graphemic correspondences, and the phonetically-based transcriptions entailing – respectively – Latin speech, Greek speech, and Greek-Latin bilingual speech. The investigation will focus in particular on the phonetic value of Latin short i and u. Finally, some alleged Sabellic features will be discussed, calling their relevance into question.