The Project

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Introduction

Lexicon Leponticum (LexLep) is a web-based, interactive platform based on the MediaWiki open source application. The aim of LexLep is to provide an edition of the Cisalpine Celtic epigraphic corpus and an interactive online etymological dictionary of the Lepontic and Cisalpine Gaulish languages that is freely accessible for all users.

LexLep was created in the project P21706 "An interactive online etymological dictionary of Lepontic", funded by FWFFonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, the Austrian Science Fund, and directed by David Stifter.

The contributors are:

LexLep team 2011, from left to right: front A. Adaktylos, E. Lettner, M. Vignoli, Ch. Dezi; back M. Schwarz, M. Braun, D. Stifter

Project history and objectives

The project started with two distinctive objectives:

  1. to design a web-based interactive frame-work program to host etymological dictionaries and lexicons of Indo-Europaean and other languages;
  2. to construct an etymological dictionary of the Lepontic language entitled Lexicon Leponticum (LexLep).

Combined in a single project, the results of LexLep present both scholarly and technological innovations.

In the experimental phase 1 of the project, Sept. 1, 2009–Feb. 12, 2010, the technical possibilities of the website were tested and the system MediaWiki was adapted to the requirements of the lexicon. The technical work was undertaken by Marcel Schwarz and Martin Braun. The conceptual groundwork, carried out in particular by Martin Braun, consisted mainly in developing the formal structures and routines that enable the automatised functions of the lexicon. The primary goal of Eva Lettner during this time was to compile a basic list of Lepontic inscriptions. At the end of phase 1, the experimental version of the lexicon was deleted.

At the beginning of phase 2 in February 2010, the system was recreated from scratch and the basic data about the archaeological objects carrying the inscriptions, the inscriptions themselves, and the dictionary headwords was entered in the database. Against initial expectations, technical questions still cropped up, and Martin Braun had to constantly apply his ingenuity to refining and advancing the technical backbones of the site. With the start of 2011, two new colleagues joined the project team, Mag. Michela Vignoli and Chiara Francesca Dezi, and two other colleagues added further support (Anna Adaktylos from Jan. 24–Feb. 28; Mag. Corinna Scheungraber from May–June); Eva Lettner left the project.

All objects had been entered into the database by the end of July 2010. Entering the inscriptions was finished in February 2011, under the responsibility of Martin Braun. Pages for the words were set up by Michela Vignoli, and filled in by herself and David Stifter. Chiara Dezi was in charge of filling the bibliography, and of adding further support in adding content to the site. Finally, Anna Adaktylos and Corinna Scheungraber checked the entries on the site for grammatical correctness. The entering of fundamental data to LexLep was finished by the end of June 2011, which also marked the official end of the initial project as funded by the FWF.

In March 2012, the Celtic Research Trust (Isle of Man) dedicated money to LexLep which opened the way for the continuation of phase 2 in July 2012. The main tasks were a revision and formal streamlining of the entire site – correcting errors and bringing the site into a formally consistent shape. This work was carried out by Michela Vignoli with the assistance of Martin Braun. In December 2012, Corinna Salomon added further support to the team. The inscription and word pages were revised and filled with up-to-date information, and received a user-friendly layout.

For phase 3 of the LexLep project (March 2020–May 2022), funding was acquired via an APART-fellowship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The two-year project CCeLL – Cisalpine Celtic Language and Literacy, led and conducted by Corinna Salomon, involved the re-examination and documentation of objects and inscriptions, and the updating of the pages with current, first-hand data. In the course of the project, the entries for 177 inscriptions and their associated pages were revised, completed and augmented by a commentary and full list of references. 75 documents and specimens of seven coin types in 18 repositories were examined, and new photographs of 61 documents were made available on LexLep. 32 inscriptions were added to the corpus.

Phase 4 commenced in June 2023. During the two-year Marie Skłodowska Curie fellowship CLINIAR - Celtic Language and Identity in Northern Italy and the Alpine Region at Maynooth University, with mentoring from David Stifter, Corinna Salomon will proceed with the revision of LexLep, including autopsies and the completion of the entries, as well as the expansion of the content of pages devoted to general information about the languages, script, history and archaeology of Celtic Northern Italy.

The envisaged adaptation of MediaWiki to the requirements of an interactive etymological lexicon has been satisfactorily achieved within the first iteration of the project. The system was continuously refined, and it is now able to achieve astonishing results. LexLep allows broad access to data about archaeological objects from culturally Celtic regions which bear inscriptions written in North Italic Script and/or containing Cisalpine Celtic language material, their find places and current locations, the in­scrip­tions themselves, and two dictionaries: a non-standardised dictionary of attested forms, and a standardised list of attested morphemes. In addition, a comprehensive bibliography is provided. The work on the content of LexLep is ongoing; the site is continuously updated with new inscriptions, references, data, and research results.

Conferences

Cisalpine Celtic Literacy – International symposium, Maynooth University/online, 23th–24th June 2022.

Presentations

  • David Stifter, 'Lexicon Leponticum', 10 September 2009, at 5. Deutschsprachiges Keltologensymposium, Universität Zürich, 7–10 Sept. 2009.
  • David Stifter, 'Lexicon Leponticum', 20 November 2009, at the Tionól of the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 20–21 Nov. 2009.
  • Eva Lettner, 'Das Lepontische – neue Ansätze in der Bearbeitung einer kontinentalkeltischen Sprache', 21 November 2009, at 2. Österreichische Studierendenkonferenz der Linguistik, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Wien, 21-22 Nov. 2009.
  • David Stifter, 'Lexicon Leponticum', 5 December 2009, at 37. Österreichische Linguistiktagung, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Salzburg, 5–7 December 2009.
  • Michela Vignoli, 'Eine ausgestorbene Sprache wird vernetzt!', 12 April 2011, at FameLab 2011 (Vorentscheidung Wien), Technische Universität Wien, 12 April 2011.
  • David Stifter, 'Lexicon Leponticum', 3 November 2011, at Oxford Celtic Seminar, Jesus College, University of Oxford.
  • David Stifter, 'Keltische Schriftsysteme. Die lepontische Schrift: Entwicklung in Interaktion', 8 May 2012, at Modi scribendi circum mare Mediterraneum – Schriftsysteme rund ums Mittelmeer (6. Jenaer Maikolloquium), Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, 8–9 May 2012.
  • David Stifter, 'New Issues in Ancient Celtic Palaeography', 25 May 2012, at Celtic Spring in Copenhagen. Workshop for Roots of Europe – Language, Culture, and Migrations, University of Copenhagen, 23–25 May 2012.
  • David Stifter, 'Lexicon Leponticum and the Celtic Languages of Northern Italy', 8 September 2015, at First AELAW Training School, Jaca, 7-12 September 2015.
  • David Stifter, 'Lepontic', 6 September 2016, at Second AELAW Training School: Languages and Epigraphies of Italy, Verona, 5–8 September 2016.
  • David Stifter, 'The Celtic Epigraphic Evidence', 14 March 2017, at Runic Inscriptions and the Early History of the Germanic Languages, University of Southern Denmark Odense.
  • David Stifter & Simona Marchesini, 'Italo-Celtic child burials in the Seminario Maggiore di Verona', 25 April 2017, at From invisible to visible: new data and methods for the archaeology of infant and child burials in pre-Roman Italy, Trinity College Dublin, 24–25 April 2017.
  • David Stifter, 'Ancient Celtic Epigraphy and its Interface with Classical Epigraphy', at the XVth International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, Universität Wien, 25–30 August 2017.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Resistance is Futile: How Open Science is transforming Celtic Studies research' (panel discussion), 24 May 2018, at Fast Forward into the Past: Celtic Studies 2.0, Universität Wien, 24–25 May 2018.
  • David Stifter & Corinna Salomon, 'MediaWiki in Academic Online Publications – Asset or Drawback?', at Academia and Wikipedia: Critical Perspectives in Education and Research, Maynooth University, 18 June 2018.
  • David Stifter, 'Cisalpine Celtic', 13 March 2019, at Lenguas y escrituras paleoeuropeas: retos y perspectivas de estudio. Coloquio internacional AELAW, Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología Rome, 13‒15 March 2019.
  • David Stifter, 'Pre-Roman Epigraphic Cultures: Gaulish and Italo-Celtic (and Ogam)', 8 September 2020, at International Training School. The Epigraphic Text. Text, Theory, Practice. Computerization and Digitization, Alteritas, Verona, 7‒11 September 2020.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Lexicon Leponticum – An Online Dictionary of Cisalpine Celtic', 17 June 2021, at the 11th Conference of the International Society for Historical Lexicography and Lexicology, Universidad de La Rioja/online, 16–18 June 2021. (watch on youtube)
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Lexicon Leponticum, Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum, and Semantic Media-Wiki as a DH tool’, 7 September 2021, at the Digital Italy seminar, University of Durham/online.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Cisalpine Celtic Language and Literacy', 26 November 2021, at the Tionól of the School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies/online, 26–27 November 2021.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Lexicon Leponticum newsreel 2022', at the CSANA Conference, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 31 March–1 April 2022.
  • David Stifter, 'Keltische Namenkunde', at Hauptseminar 'Onomastik', Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, 16 May 2022.
  • David Stifter, 'Aktuelle Forschungen zu altkeltischen Personennamen', at Forschungskolloquium 'Onomastik', Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Dialekte und Sprachvariation (IZD), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, 16 May 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Early Runic text types and the models for Runic literacy', at the Ninth International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions: Functions of Runic Literacy 200 to 1500 AD – Text types and historico-cultural contexts, Akademie Sankelmark, 14–19 June 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'New readings and interpretations of Cisalpine Celtic inscriptions in Lexicon Leponticum', at Cisalpine Celtic Literacy, Maynooth University/online, 23–24 June 2022.
  • David Stifter, 'Again on the functions of the letter san in Cisalpine Celtic', at Cisalpine Celtic Literacy, Maynooth University/online, 23–24 June 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Cisalpine Celtic Language and Literacy – project results and outlook', at the Poznań Celtic Studies Symposium IV, Centre for Celtic Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University, 5–7 July 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Celtic Revival in the Iron Age – The resurgence of Cisalpine Celtic literacy in the 2nd and 1st c. BC under Roman stimulus', at the XVI Congressus Internationalis Epigraphiae Graecae et Latinae, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, 29 August–2 September 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'New Cisalpine Celtic inscriptions in Lexicon Leponticum', at the Third European Symposium in Celtic Studies, University of Pavia, 7–9 September 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Keltische (und rätische) Onomastik in der Schweiz', at the 15. Tagung des Arbeitskreises der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Namenforschung: Namenforschung und Altertumskunde, Universität Zürich, 7–9 October 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon & Martin Braun, 'Semantic MediaWiki for digital editing: Lexicon Leponticum and Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum', at the ENCODE Conference: Encoding across Languages and Technologies, Universitet i Oslo, 14 October 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Marstrander revisited: early Celtic writing systems and the Runic script', at ScriptandSound 5, Fevik, 25–28 October 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Thermoluminescence dating of the inscribed pot PD·2 artebuθzbroχθui from Ptuj', at the 10th International Colloquium of the Societas Celto-Slavica, University of Leipzig, 26–29 October 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Mapping North Italic inscriptions: the distribution of the linguistic and alphabetic evidence', at the St. Petersburg Indo-European Department of the Institute of Linguistic Studies research seminar special session: Texts and maps (St. Petersburg/online), 19 November 2022.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'What is Cisalpine Celtic?', at the Celtic Studies Association of North America Conference, VirginiaTech/online, 17 March 2023.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Plosive orthography in the archaic Lepontic alphabet', at the XVIIth International Congress of Celtic Studies, Universiteit Utrecht, 24 July 2023.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Lexicon Leponticum', at the workshop Digital Palaeography between Manuscripts and Epigraphy, University of Maynooth/Royal Irish Academy, 15 November 2023.

Publications

  • David Stifter, 'Lepontische Studien: Lexicon Leponticum und die Funktion von san im Lepontischen', in: Akten des 5. Deutschsprachigen Keltologensymposiums, Zürich, 7.–10. September 2009, ed. Karin Stüber, Thomas Zehnder & Dieter Bachmann (= Keltische Forschungen, Allgemeine Buchreihe A1; Wien 2010), 359–374.
  • David Stifter, 'Lenition of *s in Gaulish?', in: The Sound of Indo-European. Phonetics, Phonemics and Morphophonemics, ed. Benedicte Nielsen Whitehead, Thomas Olander, Birgit Anette Olsen & Jens Elmegård Rasmussen (Copenhagen 2012), 523–544.
  • David Stifter, 'Schwund von auslautendem s als westeuropäische areale Erscheinung', Die Sprache 49,2 (2010/2011), 187–193.
  • David Stifter, [Review of Graham R. Isaac, Studies in Celtic Sound Changes and their Chronology (= Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft 127; Innsbruck 2007)], Journal of Celtic Linguistics 14 (2012), 111–130.
  • David Stifter, 'Keltische Schriftsysteme', Historische Sprachforschung 128 (2015 [2016]), 236–259. (download online)
  • David Stifter, 'Metrical systems of Celtic traditions', in: Grammarians, Skalds and Rune Carvers I, ed. Robert Nedoma & Michael Schulte (= NOWELE 69,1; Amsterdam 2016), 38–94. (buy online)
  • David Stifter & Simona Marchesini, 'Inscriptions from Italo-Celtic burials in the Seminario Maggiore (Verona)', in: From Invisible to Visible. New Methods and Data for the Archaeology of Infant and Child Burials in Pre-Roman Italy and Beyond, ed. Jacopo Tabolli (= Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 149; Nicosia 2018), 143–154.
  • David Stifter, 'Ancient Celtic Epigraphy and its Interface with Classical Epigraphy', in: Sprachen – Schriftkulturen – Identitäten der Antike. Beiträge des XV. Internationalen Kongresses für Griechische und Lateinische Epigraphik. Wien, 28. August bis 1. September 2017. Fest- und Plenarvorträge, ed. Petra Amann, Thomas Corsten, Fritz Mitthof & Hans Taeuber (= Tyche Supplementband 10; Wien 2019), 97‒123.
  • David Stifter, 'The early Celtic epigraphic evidence and early literacy in Germanic languages', in: Runic Inscriptions and the Early History of the Germanic Languages, ed. Robert Nedoma & Hans Frede Nielsen in collaboration with Alexandra Holsting, Elisabeth Dalby Kristiansen & Michael Schulte (= NOWELE 73,1; Amsterdam 2020), 125‒154.
  • David Stifter, Cisalpine Celtic. Language ‒ Writing ‒ Epigraphy (= AELAW Booklet 8; Zaragoza 2020).
  • David Stifter, 'Cisalpine Celtic', in: Palaeoeuropean Languages and Epigraphic Cultures. Challenges and New Perspectives. Proceedings of the International Conference "Palaeoeuropean Languages and Epigraphic Cultures. Challenges and Research Approaches" (Rome, March 13–15, 2019), ed. F. Beltrán Lloris, B. Díaz Ariño, M. J. Estarán Tolosa & C. Jordán Cólera (= Palaeohispanica 20; Zaragoza 2020), I 335–365.
  • David Stifter, review of Filippo Motta, Studi celtici. A cura di Andrea Nuti, Pisa: Pisa University Press 2020, in: Studia Celtica Fennica 18 (2022), 1–5.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Cisalpine Celtic varia I', in: North American Journal of Celtic Studies 6.2 (2022), 178–186.
  • Corinna Salomon, 'Cisalpine Celtic varia II', in: Celtica 35 (2023), 22–32.
  • David Stifter, 'Continental Celtic sources', in: Handbook of Celtic Linguistics, edited by Jospeh F. Eska, Silva Nurmio, Palgrave forthc.
  • David Stifter, 'Continental Celtic scripts', in: Handbook of Celtic Linguistics, edited by Jospeh F. Eska, Silva Nurmio, Palgrave forthc.
  • David Stifter, 'Celtic inscriptions', in: Epigraphy, edited by Kaja Harter-Uibopuu. forthc.
  • David Stifter, 'Die Kelten ‒ Das Zeugnis der Sprachen', in: Hallein, ed. Holger Wendling, forthc.

Collaboration and impact

  • Since 2013, Martin Braun and Corinna Salomon have been involved in the development, creation and upkeep of the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum, a digital edition of the Raetic epigraphic corpus, which is modelled on LexLep.
  • On behalf of LexLep, David Stifter was part of the Management Committee of AELAW - Ancient European Languages and Writings, ISCH COST Action IS1407 supported by the European Union, active from April 13, 2015 to April 12, 2019.
  • In 2014–2015, David Stifter served as an expert consultant for the revision and expansion of the Old Italic subset of the Unicode character set, culminating in a consultation meeting on July 11, 2015 at Glasgow University.
  • The character set of LexLep was incorporated into the Italica Vetus font created by David Perry in 2017.
  • David Stifter and Corinna Salomon are external collaborators of Coline Ruiz-Darasse's project Recueil informatisé des inscriptions gauloises at the University of Bordeaux. RIIG aims at digitising all Gaulish inscriptions.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to numerous colleagues in academia and heritage management for their support and their help with development and data collection: