RegionVal Camonica
Erafirst millennium BC[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3xcc

The Camunic language is an extinct language that was spoken in the 1st millennium BC in Val Camonica, a valley in the Central Alps. The language is sparsely attested to an extent that makes any classification attempt uncertain - even the discussion of whether it should be considered a pre–Indo-European or an Indo-European language has remained indecisive.[2] Among several suggestions, it has been hypothesized that Camunic is related to the Raetic language from the Tyrsenian language family,[3][4] or to the Celtic languages.[5]


Alphabet of Sondrio

The extant corpus is carved on rock. There are at least 170 known inscriptions, the majority of which are only a few words long. The writing system used is a variant of the north-Etruscan alphabet, known as the Camunian alphabet or alphabet of Sondrio. Longer inscriptions show that Camunic writing used boustrophedon.

Its name derives from the people of the Camunni, who lived during the Iron Age in Valcamonica and were the creators of many of the stone carvings in the area. Abecedariums found in Nadro and Piancogno have been dated to between 500 BC and 50 AD.[citation needed]

The amount of material is insufficient to fully decipher the language. Some scholars think it may be related to Raetic and to Etruscan,[3][6] but it is considered premature to make such affiliation.[7] Other scholars suggest that Camunic could be a Celtic or another unknown Indo-European language.[5][8]


Glyph Tibiletti Bruno 1992[9] Zavaroni 2004[10] Martinotti 2009[11]
- A -
Αα A A
Αα A -
Ββ B B (V?)
Ββ B B (V?)
Δδ - D
h D (?) -
Εε E E
Εε E E
Εε E E
Ϝϝ V -
Γγ G K (G?)
Γγ G -
h H J (ii/h/η?)
- H -
Ιι I I
Ιι I I
- K K (G?)
Λλ L L
Λλ L L
Μμ M M
Μμ M M
Νν N N
Νν N N
Ϙϙ O Φ (Q?)
- P -
Ππ P P
Ρρ R R
Ρρ R R
Ξξ S χ
Σσς S S
Σσς S S
Χχ T T
Ττ T T
- T I
Ψψ Θθ -
- Θθ Θθ
- TS - Ϸϸ -
Φφ TS - Ϸϸ χ
Υυ U - W U
- U - W U
Ζζ Z χ
Ζζ Z χ


See also


  1. ^ Camunic at MultiTree on the Linguist List
  2. ^ Angelo Martinotti: Le iscrizioni preromane, in U. Sansoni, S. Gavaldo (editors), Lucus rupestris. Sei millenni d’arte rupestre a Campanine di Cimbergo, "Archivi" vol. 18, Esine 2009, pp. 324–337.
  3. ^ a b Schumacher, Stefan (2000). "Camunic: Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe". Blackwell Reference Online. doi:10.1002/9781405166294. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  4. ^ M. G. Tibiletti Bruno. 1978. Camuno, retico e pararetico, in Lingue e dialetti dell'Italia antica ('Popoli e civiltà dell'Italia antica', 6), a cura di A. L. Prosdocimi, Roma, pp. 209–255
  5. ^ a b Markey, Thomas (2008). Shared Symbolics, Genre Diffusion, Token Perception and Late Literacy in North-Western Europe. NOWELE.
  6. ^ M. G. Tibiletti Bruno. 1978. Camuno, retico e pararetico, in Lingue e dialetti dell'Italia antica ('Popoli e civiltà dell'Italia antica', 6), a cura di A. L. Prosdocimi, Roma, pp. 209–255. (Italian)
  7. ^ Eska, Joseph F.; Wallace, Rex E. (2011). "Script and Language at Ancient Voltino". In Rocca, Giovanna (ed.). Alessandria. Rivista di glottologia. Atti del Convegno Internazionale. Le lingue dell’Italia antica. Iscrizioni, testi, grammatica. Die Sprachen Altitaliens. Inschriften, Texte, Grammatik. In memoriam Helmut Rix (1926-2004). Vol. V. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso. pp. 93–113.
  8. ^ Diether Schürr: Zur Doppelinschrift von Voltino. Studi Etruschi 72, 2006 [2007], p. 335-346.
  9. ^ Maria Grazia Tibiletti Bruno, Gli alfabetari, Quaderni camuni n° 60, 1992, p. 307. (Italian)
  10. ^ Adolfo Zavaroni, Iscrizioni camune Archived 2007-10-23 at the Wayback Machine, 2004. (Italian)
  11. ^ Angelo Martinotti, Le iscrizioni preromane in Lucus rupestris, 2009, p. 325. (Italian)