|Extinct||possibly the 6th century A.D.|
The Roman province of Galatia
Galatian is an extinct Celtic language once spoken in Galatia in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) from the 3rd century BC up to at least the 4th century AD, although ancient sources suggest it was still spoken in the 6th century. Galatian is a member of the Continental Celtic language family, contemporary with and closely related to the Gaulish language.
Of the language only a few glosses and brief comments in classical writers and scattered names on inscriptions survive. Altogether they add up to about 120 words, including place and personal names. Scattered vocabulary terms mentioned by Greek authors include άδάρκα (adarca), a type of plant, αδες (ades) "feet", βαρδοί (bardī), "singing poets, bards", μάρκα (marca), "horse" and τριμαρκισία (trimarcisia), "three-horse battle group".
The attested Galatian personal names are similar to those found elsewhere in the ancient Celtic-speaking world. Many are compound names containing common Celtic roots such as *brog-, "country, territory" (cf. Old Irish mruig, Welsh and Breton bro; cognate with Latin margo and Gothic marka), *epo-, "horse" (Old Irish ech, Welsh eb- [in ebol "pony" and the compound ebrwydd "swift"]), *māro- (cf. Gaulish -māros, Old Irish mór, Welsh mawr, Breton meur) "great", and *rigo-, "king" (cf. Gaulish -rīx/-reix, Irish rí, Welsh rhi; cognate with Gothic -reiks, Latin rēx). Examples include:
- Άδιατόριξ (Adiatorīx)
- Βιτοριξ (Bitorīx)
- Βρογιμάρος (Brogimāros)
- Κάμμα (Cāmmā)
- Δομνείων (Domneiū)
- Έπόνη (Eponī)
- Ολοριξ (Olorīx)
- Σμερτομάρα (Smertomārā)
- Τεκτομάρος (Tectomāros)
Tribal names include Ambitouti (Old Irish imm-, Welsh am "around"; Old Irish tuath, Welsh tut, "tribe"), Ριγόσαγες (Rigosages, "King-Seekers"; cf. Irish saigid "to go towards, to seek out", Welsh haedu, verbal suffix -ha "seeking"), and Τεκτόσαγες (Tectosages, cf. the related Volcae Tectosages tribe of Gaul) "Travel-seekers" (Old Irish techt, "going, proceeding", Welsh taith, "journey, voyage").
Attested divine names include βουσσουριγίος (Bussurīgios) and Σουωλιβρογηνός (Suolibrogēnos), both identified with Greek king of the gods Zeus, and Ούινδιεινος (Uindieinos), perhaps the tutelary god of the Tolistobogiian town Ούινδια (Uindia).
Attested place names include Acitorīgiāco ("[Settlement of] Acitorīx"; compare Acitodunum in Gaul), Άρτικνιακόν (Articniācon, "[Settlement of] Artiknos" ["Bear-son"]), Δρυνέμετον (Drunemeton; <Proto-Celtic *dru- "oak" or, simply, "great"; cf. Old Irish druí, Welsh dryw [<*dru-wid-s], "druid, wise man" [literally "greatly wise"], Old Irish neimed, Welsh nyfed "holy place, [sacred] grove"), the meeting place of the Galatian tetrarchs and judges, and Ούινδια (Uindia; Old Irish finn, Welsh gwyn [masc.], gwen [fem.] "fair, white").
Survival into Late Antiquity
Lucian of Samosata records in circa AD180 that the prophet Alexander of Abonoteichus was able to find Celtic-speaking interpreters for his oracles in Paphlagonia (immediately northeast of Galatia).
The physician Galen of Pergamon in the late 2nd century AD complained that the commonly spoken Greek of his day was being corrupted by borrowings of foreign words from languages such as Galatian.
In the 4th century St. Jerome (Hieronymus) wrote in a comment to Paul the Apostle's Epistle to the Galatians that the Galatians spoke the same language as the Treveri (whose capital was Trier, where Jerome had settled briefly after studying in Rome).
In the 6th century AD, Cyril of Scythopolis suggests that the language was still being spoken in his own day when he related a story that a monk from Galatia was temporarily possessed by Satan and unable to speak; when he recovered from the "possession", he could respond to the questioning of others only in his native Galatian tongue.
- Koch, John T. (2006). "Galatian language". In John T. Koch. Celtic culture: a historical encyclopedia. Volume III: G—L. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 788. ISBN 1-85109-440-7. "Late classical sources—if they are to be trusted—suggest that it survived at least into the 6th century AD."
- Freeman, Philip, The Galatian Language, Edwin Mellen, 2001, p. 15-18.
- Delamarre, Xavier, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental, Errance, coll. « Hespérides », 2003.
- Freeman, Philip, The Galatian Language, Edwin Mellen, 2001, p. 23-64.
- Lucian, Alexander, 51: "He [Alexander] often gave oracles to barbarians if anyone asked a question in his [the questioner's] native tongue, whether Syrian or Celtic, as he [Alexander] easily found strangers in the city of the same origin as the questioners."
- Freeman, Philip, The Galatian Language, Edwin Mellen, 2001, p. 10.
- Galen, De Differentia Pulsum, 8.585: "...three words from Cilicia, four from Syria, five from galatia, and six from Athens".
- Freeman, Philip, The Galatian Language, Edwin Mellen, 2001, p. 10-11.
- St. Jerome [Hieronymus], Comentarii in Epistolam ad Galatos, II:3: "Galatas excepto sermone Graeco, quo omnis oriens loquitur propriam linguam eamdem pene habere quam Treviros."
- Freeman, Philip, The Galatian Language, Edwin Mellen, 2001, p. 11.
- Cyril of Scythopolis, Vita S. Euthymii, 55.
- Freeman, Philip, The Galatian Language, Edwin Mellen, 2001, p. 11-12.
- Delamarre, Xavier (2003). Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental. Paris: Errance, coll. « Hespérides ». ISBN 2-87772-237-6.
- Freeman, Philip (2001). The Galatian Language: A Comprehensive Survey of the Language of the Ancient Celts in Greco-Roman Asia Minor. Lewiston, New York: Mellen Press. ISBN 0-7734-7480-3.
- Weisgerber, L. (1931). Galatische Sprachreste. In Natalicium Johannes Geffcken zum 70. Geburtstag 2. Mai 1931 gewidmet von Freunden, Kollegen und Schülern, 151–75. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.