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If the history of the Empire highlights just a handful of such striking and truly exceptional cases of elevation to the highest ranks of imperial office, the same cannot be said of the lower imperial ranks which were often occupied by recently Latinized peoples from the provinces, who had moved great distances from their original homeland to integrate not only into the now Roman civilization of their own provinces, but also to move within the cultural and social circles of the entire Empire. Significant in this respect is Millar’s (1984:132) observation that ‘both equestrian and senatorial careers generally show a marked absence of geographical specification [.

23 alberto varvaro Although the effects of the substrate prove very difficult to verify, except in the case of lexis, this does not automatically imply, however, that the many and very different languages that once coexisted alongside Latin in Roman times did not have any effect on the latter. At the same time, this implies the rather banal, though often forgotten, fact that most Latin-speaking families had at some point in their history changed language, with all the consequent implications this had for speakers.

Although Latin clearly must have displayed regional variation, as confirmed by the large number of metalinguistic testimonies to this effect, Latin textual scholars have always been aware of the problem that texts from before the 14 Adams (2007:685–87) has collected and studied an impressive body of such examples with his survey of over fifty textual references between the second century bc and the fifth century ad. 15 By contrast, one only has to think of how many early Italo-, Gallo- or Ibero-Romance texts can be readily localized in the same way.

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64-gun Ship LE FLEURON by Gerard DELACROIX

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