Etruscan language

The language of the Etruscans, like the people themselves, has remained somewhat mysterious and has yet to lớn be fully understood. The alphabet used a western Greek script, but the language has presented difficulties to scholars because it is unrelated khổng lồ contemporary Indo-European languages và the surviving examples of it are largely limited to very short inscriptions, the majority of which are proper names. Letters, pronunciation, general sentence structure và many proper nouns are generally understood, but the meaning of many more words which can not be inferred from context, loan words in other languages, & appearance in parallel texts, etc. remain the biggest stumbling blochồng lớn fully deciphering the language. What is clearer from the vast number of surviving inscriptions is that a limited literacy was relatively common, including amongst women, & was widespread over the whole of Etruria.

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Origins & Sources

Etruscan was a relatively isolated language not connected with the Indo-European languages of Italy, and with only two known related languages considered to have sầu derived from the same common parent source. These are Raetic, spoken in the alpine region north of Veromãng cầu, và the language spoken on Lemnos before Greek, both with very limited surviving text examples, and the latter probably derived from Etruscan traders. It seems that the 1st-century BCE historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus was entirely justified in claiming that the Etruscans were "a very ancient people resembling no other either in language or customs" (Heurgon, 1). Etruscan was spoken throughout Etruria, that is western central Italy from Rome in the south to the Po River Valley in the north where the Etruscans founded colonies.

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There are over 13,000 individual examples of Etruscan text, which cover the major period of the civilization from the 8th khổng lồ 1st century BCE.

There are over 13,000 individual examples of Etruscan text, which cover the major period of the civilization from the 8th lớn 1st century BCE. Most are from Etruria itself, but there are additional sources from southern và northern Italy, Corsica, & North Africa. The texts take the khung of, mostly short and often fragmentary, inscriptions on pottery and metal or stone tablets. One of the most important & useful are the three gold sheet tablets from Pyrgi, the port of Cerveteri, which had the same information (albeit in a different context) in both Etruscan and the Phoenician alphabet. Discovered in the foundations of a temple and dating lớn c. 500 BCE, it describes a dedication of a sacred area lớn Astarte & was probably once pinned khổng lồ the temple wall.

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Artworks và such everyday objects as mirrors, weapons and armour, especially those left as votive offerings at sanctuaries are another source. A typical example of these short snippets of text is the following from a small terracotta flask:


Aska mày eleivana, mini mulvanike mamarce velchana

(I am an oil bottle & Mamarce Velchana donated me)

Pottery, funerary urns và wall paintings in tombs frequently carry short inscriptions, too. Unfortunately, there are very few surviving extensive sầu written records and no books written by the Etruscans in their own language, although it is known that the Etruscans did create books made of folded linen pages (liber linteus), và those extracts which bởi vì survive sầu point khổng lồ a rich Etruscan literature. One example, with around 1500 words, the longest surviving text, survives indirectly & incompletely as the binding of an Egyptian mummy in the National Museum of Zagreb. It described various ritual procedures và ceremonies dictated by the calendar used in the Etruscan religion.


Chuyên mục: literature