The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages is the first comprehensive reference work treating all of the languages of antiquity. Clear and systematic in its approach, the Encyclopedia combines full linguistic coverage of all the well documented ancient languages, representing numerous language families from around the globe. Each chapter of the work focuses on an individual language or, in some instances, a set of closely related varieties of a language. Providing a full descriptive presentation, each of these chapters examines the writing system(s), phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon of that language, and places the language within its proper linguistic and historical context. The Encyclopedia brings together an international array of scholars, each a leading specialist in ancient language study. While designed primarily for linguistic professionals and students, this work will prove invaluable to all whose studies take them into the realm of ancient language.

• An authoritative reference work on the ancient languages of the world - the first of its kind • Makes widely accessible much generally inaccessible knowledge • Comprehensive, thorough and systematic - the languages are treated in a uniform and coherent way


1. Introduction Roger D. Woodard; 2. Sumerian Piotr Michalowski; 3. Elamite Matthew W. Stolper; 4. Hurrian Gernot Wilhelm; 5. Urartian Gernot Wilhelm; 6. Afro-Asiatic John Huehnergard; 7. Egyptian and Coptic Antonio Loprieno; 8. Akkadian and Eblaite John Huehnergard and Christopher Woods; 9. Ugaritic Dennis Pardee; 10. Hebrew P. Kyle McCarter, Jr.; 11. Phoenician and Punic Jo Ann Hackett; 12. Canaanite Dialects Dennis Pardee; 13. Aramaic Stuart Creason; 14. Ge’ez (Aksum) Gene Gragg; 15. Old South Arabian Norbert Nebes and Peter Stein; 16. Ancient North Arabian M. C. A. Macdonald; 17. Indo-European Henry M. Hoenigswald and J. P. T. Clackson; 18. Hittite Calvert Watkins; 19. Luvian H. Craig Melchert; 20. Palaic H. Craig Melchert; 21. Lycian H. Craig Melchert; 22. Lydian H. Craig Melchert; 23. Carian H. Craig Melchert; 24. Attic Greek Roger D. Woodard; 25. Greek Dialects Roger D. Woodard; 26. Sanskrit Stephanie W. Jamison; 27. Middle Indic Stephanie W. Jamison; 28. Old Persian Rüdiger Schmitt; 29. Avestan Mark Hale; 30. Pahlavi Mark Hale; 31. Phrygian Claude Brixhe; 32. Latin J. P. T. Clackson; 33. Sabellian Rex E. Wallace; 34. Venetic Rex E. Wallace; 35. Continental Celtic Joseph F. Eska; 36. Gothic Jay H. Jasanoff; 37. Early Northwest Germanic Jan Terje Faarlund; 38. Classical Armenia J. P. T. Clackson; 39. Etruscan Helmut Rix; 40. Early Georgian Kevin Tuite; 41. Ancient Chinese Alain Peyraube; 42. Old Tamil Sanford B. Steever; 43. Mayan Victoria R. Bricker; 44. Epi-Olmec Terrence Kaufman and John Justeson; 45. Reconstructed Ancient Languages Don Ringe.


‘I have taken my time over reviewing this title simply because I found it so fascinating that I kept being sidetracked into other languages … One thing that any broad-ranging reference book compiled to rigorously applied standard criteria does is to put the familiar into a new perspective: so the chapters on Latin and Greek treat those two ‘major\'‘languages in the same way as the others and allow, in fact encourage, genuinely comparative study … the level of detail given in this handbook will satisfy many requirements … academic in the best sense.‘

– Reference Reviews

‘Every serious library should have a copy in its reference collection, and many serious scholars will enjoy dipping into it and finding out just how linguistically diverse the ancient world really was.‘

– Bryn Mawr Classical Review