Looking up the word dives, divitis ‘rich’ (often contracted to dis, ditis) in the Oxford Latin Dictionary, I found the etymology “Pelignian des, deti, cogn. w. DIVVS…” Pelignian was new to me; on investigation I learned that the Paeligni were an Italic people east of the Romans and that their towns were Corfinium (slated to be the new capital of Italy if the good guys had won the Social War) and Sulmo (Ovid’s birthplace), but none of my print references mentioned their language. Now, the Wikipedia page has a fairly thorough discussion, saying the “dialect closely resembled the Oscan of Lucania and Samnium, though presenting some peculiarities of its own, which warrant, perhaps, the use of the name North Oscan” and quoting a number of inscriptions… but the Wiki page is based on the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, and I have a feeling more may have been learned since then. Do any of you know more about this? Is Pelignian still thought to be a dialect of Oscan? I always wanted to know more about Oscan and Umbrian (having a romantic attachment to the anti-Roman side in those wars), but it’s one of those things I never got around to.


  1. Looks like Paelignian is grouped with Oscan.
    See Michael Weiss’s outline:
    I.C.1.a.i and page 10 note 9.
    That inscription with “des, deti” is the longest Paelignian we have. 9 (Saturnian?) lines or so? FYI:
    which I contributed.

  2. Well spotted. I didn’t know about this either. The OCD isn’t any help: all it says is “Their language greatly resembled *Oscan.”

  3. Thanks, Angelo! Here’s the Pelignian bit from your Wiki page:
    (10) Paelignian (final verse in an inscription on a stone from Corfinium, 1st century B.C.)
    lifar dida uus deti hanustu herentas
    In Latin orthography:
    Līfar dida(t) uūs deti hanustō herentās.
    ‘May Liber grant you … (good?) will ….’ (meanings of deti and hanustu unknown)

  4. I asked some classicists as got two references:
    Salvucci, Claudio R. A Vocabulary of Oscan: Including the Oscan and Samnite Glosses
    Rafael Jiménez Zamudio, Estudio del dialecto peligno y su entorno lingüístico (1986).
    The first was described as not very extensive, the other as comprehensive.
    There’s also something from 1904 by Buck, but that’s about it.

  5. Thanks!

  6. Lots in Italian and German. General references include:
    Marinetti, Anna. (1991 repr.) Lingue e dialetti nell’Italia antica. Popoli e civiltà dell’Italia antica 6.2.
    Poccetti, Paolo. 1979. Nuovi documenti italici. A complemento del manuale di E. Vetter.
    Prosdocimi, Aldo. (1993 repr.) Lingue e dialetti nell’Italia antica. Popoli e civiltà dell’Italia antica 6.1.
    Rix, Helmut. 2002. Sabellische Texte. Heidelberg.
    Untermann, Jürgen. 2000. Wörterbuch des Oskisch-Umbrischen. Heidelberg.
    Vetter, Emil. 1953. Handbuch der italischen Dialekte.
    von Planta, Robert. 1892-97. Grammatik der oskisch-umbrischen Dialekte. Strassburg.
    C. D. Buck, A Grammar of Oscan and Umbrian (1995 repr.) remains very useful.

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