Make your own free website on
Picene language
Italic mapPicenes lived on Adriatic coast of Central Italy, and were a non-Indo-European nation who spoke an unknwn language. Some inscriptions in original Picene were found which prove the language is far from being Italic or Illyric. Picenes worshipped the woodpecker as a sacred animal, and that's why were given such a name (as picus means a woodpecker in Latin). Some believe that happened because Italics could not pronounce their own tribal names.

Picenes suffered strong Umbrian influence, and their language finally became more Italic than not. Later inscriptions in South Picene show exact Umbrian features. But also it is interesting for its supposed phonological and lexical ties with Illyrian and Thracian languages, as well as some close words with Venetic which are not yet proved. The most considerably hypothesis is that this region was an object of expansion from Balkans, and many different peoples settled here mixing with previos pouplation. But the sounds in South and North Picene have quite a lot differences, and that makes us say these two were of different origin.

In fact, there is still very few information, and we will welcome any additional data about Picene. After Picenes were assimilated by Romans and Umbrians in the 2nd century BC, the language disappeared completely.