The Cippus Perusinus, a stone tablet bearing 46 lines of incised Etruscan text, one of the longest extant Etruscan inscriptions. 3rd or 2nd century BC.
Native toAncient Etruria
RegionItalian Peninsula
Extinctafter 50 AD[1]
  • Etruscan
Etruscan alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3ett

Etruscan (/ɪˈtrʌskən/ ih-TRUSK-ən)[3] was the language of the Etruscan civilization in the ancient region of Etruria,[a] in Etruria Padana[b] and Etruria Campana[c] in what is now Italy. Etruscan influenced Latin but was eventually completely superseded by it. The Etruscans left around 13,000 inscriptions that have been found so far, only a small minority of which are of significant length; some bilingual inscriptions with texts also in Latin, Greek, or Phoenician; and a few dozen purported loanwords. Attested from 700 BC to AD 50, the relation of Etruscan to other languages has been a source of long-running speculation and study, with it mostly being referred to as one of the Tyrsenian languages, at times as an isolate and a number of other less well-known theories.

The consensus among linguists and Etruscologists is that Etruscan was a Pre-Indo-European[4][5][6] and Paleo-European language,[7][8] closely related to the Raetic language that was spoken in the Alps,[9][10][11][12][13] and to the Lemnian language, attested in a few inscriptions on Lemnos.[14][15]

The Etruscan alphabet is similar to the Greek one. Therefore, linguists have been able to read the inscriptions in the sense of knowing roughly how they would have been pronounced, but have not yet understood their meaning.[16] A comparison between the Etruscan and Greek alphabets reveals how accurately the Etruscans preserved the Greek alphabet. The Etruscan alphabet contains letters that have since been dropped from the Greek alphabet, such as the digamma, sampi and qoppa.[17]

Grammatically, the language is agglutinating, with nouns and verbs showing suffixed inflectional endings and some gradation of vowels. Nouns show five cases, singular and plural numbers, with a gender distinction between animate and inanimate in pronouns.

Etruscan appears to have had a cross-linguistically common phonological system, with four phonemic vowels and an apparent contrast between aspirated and unaspirated stops. The records of the language suggest that phonetic change took place over time, with the loss and then re-establishment of word-internal vowels, possibly due to the effect of Etruscan's word-initial stress.

Etruscan religion influenced that of the Romans, and many of the few surviving Etruscan-language artifacts are of votive or religious significance.[citation needed] Etruscan was written in an alphabet derived from the Greek alphabet; this alphabet was the source of the Latin alphabet, as well as other alphabets in Italy and probably beyond. The Etruscan language is also believed to be the source of certain important cultural words of Western Europe such as military and person, which do not have obvious Indo-European roots.

History of Etruscan literacy

Drawing of the inscriptions on the Liver of Piacenza; see haruspex

Etruscan literacy was widespread over the Mediterranean shores, as evidenced by about 13,000 inscriptions (dedications, epitaphs, etc.), most fairly short, but some of considerable length.[18] They date from about 700 BC.[19][1]

The Etruscans had a rich literature, as noted by Latin authors. Livy and Cicero were both aware that highly specialized Etruscan religious rites were codified in several sets of books written in Etruscan under the generic Latin title Etrusca Disciplina. The Libri Haruspicini dealt with divination by reading entrails from a sacrificed animal, while the Libri Fulgurales expounded the art of divination by observing lightning. A third set, the Libri Rituales, might have provided a key to Etruscan civilization: its wider scope embraced Etruscan standards of social and political life, as well as ritual practices. According to the 4th-century AD Latin writer Maurus Servius Honoratus, a fourth set of Etruscan books existed, dealing with animal gods, but it is unlikely that any scholar living in that era could have read Etruscan. However, only one book (as opposed to inscription), the Liber Linteus, survived, and only because the linen on which it was written was used as mummy wrappings.[20]

By 30 BC, Livy noted that Etruscan was once widely taught to Roman boys, but had since become replaced by the teaching of Greek, while Varro noted that theatrical works had once been composed in Etruscan.[2]


The date of extinction for Etruscan is held by scholarship to have been either in the late first century BC, or the early first century AD. Freeman's analysis of inscriptional evidence would appear to imply that Etruscan was still flourishing in the 2nd century BC, still alive in the first century BC, and surviving in at least one location in the beginning of the first century AD;[2] however, the replacement of Etruscan by Latin likely occurred earlier in southern regions closer to Rome.[2]

In southern Etruria, the first Etruscan site to be Latinized was Veii, when it was destroyed and repopulated by Romans in 396 BC.[2] Caere (Cerveteri), another southern Etruscan town on the coast 45 kilometers from Rome, appears to have shifted to Latin in the late 2nd century BC.[2] In Tarquinia and Vulci, Latin inscriptions coexisted with Etruscan inscriptions in wall paintings and grave markers for centuries, from the 3rd century BC until the early 1st century BC, after which Etruscan is replaced by the exclusive use of Latin.[2]

In northern Etruria, Etruscan inscriptions continue after they disappear in southern Etruria. At Clusium (Chiusi), tomb markings show mixed Latin and Etruscan in the first half of the 1st century BC, with cases where two subsequent generations are inscribed in Latin and then the third, youngest generation, surprisingly, is transcribed in Etruscan.[2] At Perugia, monolingual monumental inscriptions in Etruscan are still seen in the first half of the 1st century BC, while the period of bilingual inscriptions appears to have stretched from the 3rd century to the late 1st century BC.[2] The isolated last bilinguals are found at three northern sites. Inscriptions in Arezzo include one dated to 40 BC followed by two with slightly later dates, while in Volterra there is one dated to just after 40 BC and a final one dated to 10–20 AD; coins with written Etruscan near Saena have also been dated to 15 BC.[2] Freeman notes that in rural areas the language may have survived a bit longer, and that a survival into the late 1st century AD and beyond "cannot wholly be dismissed", especially given the revelation of Oscan writing in Pompeii's walls.[21]

Despite the apparent extinction of Etruscan, it appears that Etruscan religious rites continued much later, continuing to use the Etruscan names of deities and possibly with some liturgical usage of the language. In late Republican and early Augustan times, various Latin sources including Cicero noted the esteemed reputation of Etruscan soothsayers.[2] An episode where lightning struck an inscription with the name Caesar, turning it into Aesar, was interpreted to have been a premonition of the deification of Caesar because of the resemblance to Etruscan aisar, meaning 'gods', although this indicates knowledge of a single word and not the language. Centuries later and long after Etruscan is thought to have died out, Ammianus Marcellinus reports that Julian the Apostate, the last pagan Emperor, apparently had Etruscan soothsayers accompany him on his military campaigns with books on war, lightning and celestial events, but the language of these books is unknown. According to Zosimus, when Rome was faced with destruction by Alaric in 408 AD, the protection of nearby Etruscan towns was attributed to Etruscan pagan priests who claimed to have summoned a raging thunderstorm, and they offered their services "in the ancestral manner" to Rome as well, but the devout Christians of Rome refused the offer, preferring death to help by pagans. Freeman notes that these events may indicate that a limited theological knowledge of Etruscan may have survived among the priestly caste much longer.[2] One 19th-century writer argued in 1892 that Etruscan deities retained an influence on early modern Tuscan folklore.[22]

Around 180 AD, the Latin author Aulus Gellius mentions Etruscan alongside the Gaulish language in an anecdote.[23] Freeman notes that although Gaulish was clearly still alive during Gellius' time, his testimony may not indicate that Etruscan was still alive because the phrase could indicate a meaning of the sort of "it's all Greek (incomprehensible) to me".[24]

At the time of its extinction, only a few educated Romans with antiquarian interests, such as Marcus Terentius Varro, could read Etruscan. The Roman emperor Claudius (10 BC – AD 54) is considered to have possibly been able to read Etruscan, and authored the Tyrrhenika, a (now lost) treatise on Etruscan history; a separate dedication made by Claudius implies a knowledge from "diverse Etruscan sources", but it is unclear if any were fluent speakers of Etruscan.[2] Plautia Urgulanilla, the emperor's first wife, had Etruscan roots.[25]

Etruscan had some influence on Latin, as a few dozen Etruscan words and names were borrowed by the Romans, some of which remain in modern languages, among which are possibly voltur 'vulture', tuba 'trumpet', vagina 'sheath', populus 'people'.[26]

Maximum extent of Etruscan civilization and the twelve Etruscan League cities.

Geographic distribution

Inscriptions have been found in northwest and west-central Italy, in the region that even now bears the name of the Etruscan civilization, Tuscany (from Latin tuscī 'Etruscans'), as well as in modern Latium north of Rome, in today's Umbria west of the Tiber, in the Po Valley to the north of Etruria, and in Campania. This range may indicate a maximum Italian homeland where the language was at one time spoken.

Outside Italy, inscriptions have been found in Corsica, Gallia Narbonensis, Greece, the Balkans.[27] But by far the greatest concentration is in Italy.


Tyrsenian family hypothesis

Main article: Tyrsenian languages

Tyrrhenian language family tree as proposed by de Simone and Marchesini (2013)[15]

In 1998, Helmut Rix put forward the view that Etruscan is related to other extinct languages such as Raetic, spoken in ancient times in the eastern Alps, and Lemnian,[28][1] to which other scholars added Camunic language, spoken in the Central Alps.[29][30] Rix's Tyrsenian language family has gained widespread acceptance among scholars,[31][32][33][34] being confirmed by Stefan Schumacher,[9][10][11][12] Norbert Oettinger,[13] Carlo De Simone,[14] and Simona Marchesini.[15]

Common features between Etruscan, Raetic, and Lemnian have been found in morphology, phonology, and syntax, but only a few lexical correspondences are documented, at least partly due to the scant number of Raetic and Lemnian texts.[35][36] On the other hand, the Tyrsenian family, or Common Tyrrhenic, is often considered to be Paleo-European and to predate the arrival of Indo-European languages in southern Europe.[37][7] Several scholars believe that the Lemnian language could have arrived in the Aegean Sea during the Late Bronze Age, when Mycenaean rulers recruited groups of mercenaries from Sicily, Sardinia and various parts of the Italian peninsula.[38] Scholars such as Norbert Oettinger, Michel Gras and Carlo De Simone think that Lemnian is the testimony of an Etruscan commercial settlement on the island that took place before 700 BC, not related to the Sea Peoples.[34][39][40]

Archeogenetic studies

A 2021 archeogenetic analysis of Etruscan individuals, who lived between 800 BC and 1 BC, concluded that the Etruscans were autochthonous and genetically similar to the Early Iron Age Latins, and that the Etruscan language, and therefore the other languages of the Tyrrhenian family, may be a surviving language of the ones that were widespread in Europe from at least the Neolithic period before the arrival of the Indo-European languages,[41] as already argued by German geneticist Johannes Krause who concluded that it is likely that the Etruscan language (as well as Basque, Paleo-Sardinian and Minoan) "developed on the continent in the course of the Neolithic Revolution".[42] The lack of recent Anatolian-related admixture and Iranian-related ancestry among the Etruscans, who genetically joined firmly to the European cluster, might also suggest that the presence of a handful of inscriptions found at Lemnos, in a language related to Etruscan and Raetic, "could represent population movements departing from the Italian peninsula".[41]

Superseded theories and fringe scholarship

For many hundreds of years the classification of Etruscan remained problematic for historical linguists, though it was almost universally agreed upon that Etruscan was a language unlike any other in Europe. Before it gained currency as one of the Tyrrhenian languages, Etruscan was commonly treated as a language isolate. Over the centuries many hypotheses on the Etruscan language have been developed, most of which have not been accepted or have been considered highly speculative since they were published. The major consensus among scholars is that Etruscan, and therefore all the languages of the Tyrrhenian family, is neither Indo-European nor Semitic,[43] and may be a Pre–Indo-European and Paleo-European language.[7][8] At present the major consensus is that Etruscan's only kinship is with the Raetic and Lemnian languages.[43][44]

Pre-Greek substrate hypothesis

The idea of a relation between the language of the Minoan Linear A scripts was taken into consideration as the main hypothesis by Michael Ventris before he discovered that, in fact, the language behind the later Linear B script was Mycenean, a Greek dialect. It has been proposed to possibly be part of a wider Paleo-European "Aegean" language family, which would also include Minoan, Eteocretan (possibly descended from Minoan) and Eteocypriot. This has been proposed by Giulio Mauro Facchetti, a researcher who has dealt with both Etruscan and Minoan, and supported by S. Yatsemirsky, referring to some similarities between Etruscan and Lemnian on one hand, and Minoan and Eteocretan on the other.[45][46] It has also been proposed that this language family is related to the pre-Indo-European languages of Anatolia, based upon place name analysis.[37] The relationship between Etruscan and Minoan, and hypothetical unattested pre-Indo-European languages of Anatolia, is considered unfounded.[43][44]

Anatolian Indo-European family hypothesis

Some have suggested that Tyrsenian languages may yet be distantly related to early Indo-European languages, such as those of the Anatolian branch.[47] More recently, Robert S. P. Beekes argued in 2002 that the people later known as the Lydians and Etruscans had originally lived in northwest Anatolia, with a coastline to the Sea of Marmara, whence they were driven by the Phrygians circa 1200 BC, leaving a remnant known in antiquity as the Tyrsenoi. A segment of this people moved south-west to Lydia, becoming known as the Lydians, while others sailed away to take refuge in Italy, where they became known as Etruscans.[48] This account draws on the well-known story by Herodotus (I, 94) of the Lydian origin of the Etruscans or Tyrrhenians, famously rejected by Dionysius of Halicarnassus (book I), partly on the authority of Xanthus, a Lydian historian, who had no knowledge of the story, and partly on what he judged to be the different languages, laws, and religions of the two peoples. In 2006, Frederik Woudhuizen went further on Herodotus' traces, suggesting that Etruscan belongs to the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European family, specifically to Luwian.[49] Woudhuizen revived a conjecture to the effect that the Tyrsenians came from Anatolia, including Lydia, whence they were driven by the Cimmerians in the early Iron Age, 750–675 BC, leaving some colonists on Lemnos. He makes a number of comparisons of Etruscan to Luwian and asserts that Etruscan is modified Luwian. He accounts for the non-Luwian features as a Mysian influence: "deviations from Luwian [...] may plausibly be ascribed to the dialect of the indigenous population of Mysia."[50] According to Woudhuizen, the Etruscans were initially colonizing the Latins, bringing the alphabet from Anatolia. For historical, archaeological, genetic, and linguistic reasons, a relationship between Etruscan and the Indo-European Anatolian languages (Lydian or Luwian) and the idea that the Etruscans initially colonized the Latins, bringing the alphabet from Anatolia, have not been accepted, since the account by Herodotus is no longer considered reliable.[34][41][51][52][53][54]

Other theories

The interest in Etruscan antiquities and the Etruscan language found its modern origin in a book by a Renaissance Dominican friar, Annio da Viterbo, a cabalist and orientalist now remembered mainly for literary forgeries. In 1498, Annio published his antiquarian miscellany titled Antiquitatum variarum (in 17 volumes) where he put together a theory in which both the Hebrew and Etruscan languages were said to originate from a single source, the "Aramaic" spoken by Noah and his descendants, founders of the Etruscan city Viterbo.

The 19th century saw numerous attempts to reclassify Etruscan. Ideas of Semitic origins found supporters until this time. In 1858, the last attempt was made by Johann Gustav Stickel, Jena University in his Das Etruskische durch Erklärung von Inschriften und Namen als semitische Sprache erwiesen.[55] A reviewer[56] concluded that Stickel brought forward every possible argument which would speak for that hypothesis, but he proved the opposite of what he had attempted to do. In 1861, Robert Ellis proposed that Etruscan was related to Armenian.[57] Exactly 100 years later, a relationship with Albanian was to be advanced by Zecharia Mayani,[58] a theory regarded today as disproven and discredited.[59]

Several theories from the late 19th and early 20th centuries connected Etruscan to Uralic or even Altaic languages. In 1874, the British scholar Isaac Taylor brought up the idea of a genetic relationship between Etruscan and Hungarian, of which also Jules Martha would approve in his exhaustive study La langue étrusque (1913).[60] In 1911, the French orientalist Baron Carra de Vaux suggested a connection between Etruscan and the Altaic languages.[60] The Hungarian connection was revived by Mario Alinei, Emeritus Professor of Italian Languages at the University of Utrecht.[61] Alinei's proposal has been rejected by Etruscan experts such as Giulio M. Facchetti,[62][63] Finno-Ugric experts such as Angela Marcantonio,[64] and by Hungarian historical linguists such as Bela Brogyanyi.[65] Another proposal, pursued mainly by a few linguists from the former Soviet Union, suggested a relationship with Northeast Caucasian (or Nakh-Daghestanian) languages.[66][67] None of these theories has been accepted nor enjoys consensus.[43][44]

Writing system


Main article: Etruscan alphabet

The Orator, ca. 100 BC, an Etrusco-Roman bronze sculpture depicting Aule Metele (Latin: Aulus Metellus), an Etruscan man of Roman senatorial rank, engaging in rhetoric. The statue features an inscription in the Etruscan alphabet

The Latin script owes its existence to the Etruscan alphabet, which was adapted for Latin in the form of the Old Italic script. The Etruscan alphabet[68] employs a Euboean variant[69] of the Greek alphabet using the letter digamma and was in all probability transmitted through Pithecusae and Cumae, two Euboean settlements in southern Italy. This system is ultimately derived from West Semitic scripts.

The Etruscans recognized a 26-letter alphabet, which makes an early appearance incised for decoration on a small bucchero terracotta lidded vase in the shape of a cockerel at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ca. 650–600 BC.[70] The full complement of 26 has been termed the model alphabet.[71] The Etruscans did not use four letters of it, mainly because Etruscan did not have the voiced stops b, d and g; the o was also not used. They innovated one letter for f (𐌚).[69]


Writing was from right to left except in archaic inscriptions, which occasionally used boustrophedon. An example found at Cerveteri used left to right. In the earliest inscriptions, the words are continuous. From the 6th century BC, they are separated by a dot or a colon, which might also be used to separate syllables. Writing was phonetic; the letters represented the sounds and not conventional spellings. On the other hand, many inscriptions are highly abbreviated and often casually formed, so the identification of individual letters is sometimes difficult. Spelling might vary from city to city, probably reflecting differences of pronunciation.[72]

Complex consonant clusters

Speech featured a heavy stress on the first syllable of a word, causing syncopation by weakening of the remaining vowels, which then were not represented in writing: Alcsntre for Alexandros, Rasna for Rasena.[69] This speech habit is one explanation of the Etruscan "impossible" consonant clusters. Some of the consonants, especially resonants, however, may have been syllabic, accounting for some of the clusters (see below under Consonants). In other cases, the scribe sometimes inserted a vowel: Greek Hēraklēs became Hercle by syncopation and then was expanded to Herecele. Pallottino regarded this variation in vowels as "instability in the quality of vowels" and accounted for the second phase (e.g. Herecele) as "vowel harmony, i.e., of the assimilation of vowels in neighboring syllables".[73]


The writing system had two historical phases: the archaic from the seventh to fifth centuries BC, which used the early Greek alphabet, and the later from the fourth to first centuries BC, which modified some of the letters. In the later period, syncopation increased.

The alphabet went on in modified form after the language disappeared. In addition to being the source of the Roman and early Oscan and Umbrian alphabets, it has been suggested that it passed northward into Veneto and from there through Raetia into the Germanic lands, where it became the Elder Futhark alphabet, the oldest form of the runes.[74]


The Etruscan corpus is edited in the Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum (CIE) and Thesaurus Linguae Etruscae (TLE).[75]

The Pyrgi Tablets, laminated sheets of gold with a treatise both in Etruscan and the Phoenician language, in the Etruscan Museum in Rome

Bilingual text

The Pyrgi Tablets are a bilingual text in Etruscan and Phoenician engraved on three gold leaves, one for the Phoenician and two for the Etruscan. The Etruscan language portion has 16 lines and 37 words. The date is roughly 500 BC.[76]

The tablets were found in 1964 by Massimo Pallottino during an excavation at the ancient Etruscan port of Pyrgi, now Santa Severa. The only new Etruscan word that could be extracted from close analysis of the tablets was the word for 'three', ci.[77]

Longer texts

According to Rix and his collaborators, only two unified (though fragmentary) long texts are available in Etruscan:

Some additional longer texts are:

Inscriptions on monuments

Tumulus on a street at Banditaccia, the main necropolis of Caere

The main material repository of Etruscan civilization, from the modern perspective, is its tombs, all other public and private buildings having been dismantled and the stone reused centuries ago. The tombs are the main source of Etruscan portables, provenance unknown, in collections throughout the world. Their incalculable value has created a brisk black market in Etruscan objets d'art – and equally brisk law enforcement effort, as it is illegal to remove any objects from Etruscan tombs without authorization from the Italian government.

The magnitude of the task involved in cataloguing them means that the total number of tombs is unknown. They are of many types. Especially plentiful are the hypogeal or "underground" chambers or system of chambers cut into tuff and covered by a tumulus. The interior of these tombs represents a habitation of the living stocked with furniture and favorite objects. The walls may display painted murals, the predecessor of wallpaper. Tombs identified as Etruscan date from the Villanovan period to about 100 BC, when presumably the cemeteries were abandoned in favor of Roman ones.[91] Some of the major cemeteries are as follows:

Inscriptions on portable objects


See Votive gifts.

One example of an early (pre-fifth century BC) votive inscription is on a bucchero oinochoe (wine vase): ṃiṇi mulvaṇịce venalia ṡlarinaṡ. en mipi kapi ṃi(r) ṇuṇai = “Venalia Ṡlarinaṡ gave me. Do not touch me (?), I (am) nunai (an offering?)." This seems to be a rare case from this early period of a female (Venalia) dedicating the votive.[95]


A speculum is a circular or oval hand-mirror used predominantly by Etruscan women. Speculum is Latin; the Etruscan word is malena or malstria. Specula were cast in bronze as one piece or with a tang into which a wooden, bone, or ivory handle fitted. The reflecting surface was created by polishing the flat side. A higher percentage of tin in the mirror improved its ability to reflect. The other side was convex and featured intaglio or cameo scenes from mythology. The piece was generally ornate.[96]

About 2,300 specula are known from collections all over the world. As they were popular plunderables, the provenance of only a minority is known. An estimated time window is 530–100 BC.[97] Most probably came from tombs.

Many bear inscriptions naming the persons depicted in the scenes, so they are often called picture bilinguals. In 1979, Massimo Pallottino, then president of the Istituto di Studi Etruschi ed Italici initiated the Committee of the Corpus Speculorum Etruscanorum, which resolved to publish all the specula and set editorial standards for doing so.

Since then, the committee has grown, acquiring local committees and representatives from most institutions owning Etruscan mirror collections. Each collection is published in its own fascicle by diverse Etruscan scholars.[98]


A cista is a bronze container of circular, ovoid, or more rarely rectangular shape used by women for the storage of sundries. They are ornate, often with feet and lids to which figurines may be attached. The internal and external surfaces bear carefully crafted scenes usually from mythology, usually intaglio, or rarely part intaglio, part cameo.

Cistae date from the Roman Republic of the fourth and third centuries BC in Etruscan contexts. They may bear various short inscriptions concerning the manufacturer or owner or subject matter. The writing may be Latin, Etruscan, or both. Excavations at Praeneste, an Etruscan city which became Roman, turned up about 118 cistae, one of which has been termed "the Praeneste cista" or "the Ficoroni cista" by art analysts, with special reference to the one manufactured by Novios Plutius and given by Dindia Macolnia to her daughter, as the archaic Latin inscription says. All of them are more accurately termed "the Praenestine cistae".[99]

Rings and ringstones

Among the most plunderable portables from the Etruscan tombs of Etruria are the finely engraved gemstones set in patterned gold to form circular or ovoid pieces intended to go on finger rings. Around one centimeter in size, they are dated to the Etruscan apogee from the second half of the sixth to the first centuries BC. The two main theories of manufacture are native Etruscan[100] and Greek.[101] The materials are mainly dark red carnelian, with agate and sard entering usage from the third to the first centuries BC, along with purely gold finger rings with a hollow engraved bezel setting. The engravings, mainly cameo, but sometimes intaglio, depict scarabs at first and then scenes from Greek mythology, often with heroic personages called out in Etruscan. The gold setting of the bezel bears a border design, such as cabling.


Etruscan-minted coins can be dated between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC. Use of the 'Chalcidian' standard, based on the silver unit of 5.8 grams, indicates that this custom, like the alphabet, came from Greece. Roman coinage later supplanted Etruscan, but the basic Roman coin, the sesterce, is believed to have been based on the 2.5-denomination Etruscan coin.[102] Etruscan coins have turned up in caches or individually in tombs and in excavations seemingly at random, and concentrated, of course, in Etruria.

Etruscan coins were in gold, silver, and bronze, the gold and silver usually having been struck on one side only. The coins often bore a denomination, sometimes a minting authority name, and a cameo motif. Gold denominations were in units of silver; silver, in units of bronze. Full or abbreviated names are mainly Pupluna (Populonia), Vatl or Veltuna (Vetulonia), Velathri (Volaterrae), Velzu or Velznani (Volsinii) and Cha for Chamars (Camars). Insignia are mainly heads of mythological characters or depictions of mythological beasts arranged in a symbolic motif: Apollo, Zeus, Culsans, Athena, Hermes, griffin, gorgon, male sphinx, hippocamp, bull, snake, eagle, or other creatures which had symbolic significance.

Functional categories

Wallace et al. include the following categories, based on the uses to which they were put, on their site: abecedaria (alphabets), artisans' texts, boundary markers, construction texts, dedications, didaskalia (instructional texts), funerary texts, legal texts, other/unclear texts, prohibitions, proprietary texts (indicating ownership), religious texts, tesserae hospitales (tokens that establish "the claim of the bearer to hospitality when travelling"[103]).[104]


In the tables below, conventional letters used for transliterating Etruscan are accompanied by likely pronunciation in IPA symbols within the square brackets, followed by examples of the early Etruscan alphabet which would have corresponded to these sounds.[105][106]


The Etruscan vowel system consisted of four distinct vowels. The vowels o and u appear to have not been phonetically distinguished based on the nature of the writing system, as only one symbol is used to cover both in loans from Greek (e.g. Greek κώθων kōthōn > Etruscan qutun 'pitcher').

Before the front vowels ⟨c⟩ is used, while ⟨k⟩ and ⟨q⟩ are used before respectively unrounded and rounded back vowels.

Front Back
unrounded rounded
Close i
Open e


Table of consonants

Bilabial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m
Plosive p
c, k, q
Affricate z
Approximant l
Rhotic r

Etruscan also might have had consonants ʧ and ʧʰ, as they might be represented in the writing by using two letters, like in the word prumaθś ('great-nephew' or 'great-grandson'). However, this theory is not widely accepted.

Absence of voiced stops

The Etruscan consonant system primarily distinguished between aspirated and non-aspirated stops. There were no voiced stops. When words from foreign languages were borrowed into Etruscan, voiced stops typically became unvoiced stops; one example is Greek thriambos, which became Etruscan triumpus and Latin triumphus.[108] Such a lack of voiced stops is not particularly unusual; it is found e.g. in modern Icelandic, in Scottish Gaelic, and in most Chinese languages. Even in English, aspiration is often more important than voice in the distinction of fortis-lenis pairs.

Syllabic theory

Based on standard spellings by Etruscan scribes of words without vowels or with unlikely consonant clusters (e.g. cl 'of this (gen.)' and lautn 'freeman'), it is likely that /m, n, l, r/ were sometimes syllabic sonorants (cf. English little, button). Thus cl /kl̩/ and lautn /ˈlɑwtn̩/.

Rix postulates several syllabic consonants, namely /l, r, m, n/ and palatal /lʲ, rʲ, nʲ/ as well as a labiovelar fricative /xʷ/, and some scholars such as Mauro Cristofani also view the aspirates as palatal rather than aspirated but these views are not shared by most Etruscologists. Rix supports his theories by means of variant spellings such as amφare/amφiare, larθal/larθial, aranθ/aranθiia.


Etruscan was an agglutinative language, varying the endings of nouns, adjectives, pronouns and verbs with discrete endings for each function. It also had adverbs and conjunctions, whose endings did not vary.[109]


Etruscan substantives had five cases—nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, and locative—and two numbers: singular and a plural. Not all five cases are attested for every word. Nouns merge the nominative and accusative; pronouns do not generally merge these. Gender appears in personal names (masculine and feminine) and in pronouns (animate and inanimate); otherwise, it is not marked.[110]

Unlike the Indo-European languages, Etruscan noun endings were more agglutinative, with some nouns bearing two or three agglutinated suffixes. For example, where Latin would have distinct nominative plural and dative plural endings, Etruscan would suffix the case ending to a plural marker: Latin nominative singular fili-us, 'son', plural fili-i, dative plural fili-is, but Etruscan clan, clen-ar and clen-ar-aśi.[111] Moreover, Etruscan nouns could bear multiple suffixes from the case paradigm alone: that is, Etruscan exhibited Suffixaufnahme. Pallottino calls this phenomenon "morphological redetermination", which he defines as "the typical tendency ... to redetermine the syntactical function of the form by the superposition of suffixes."[112] His example is Uni-al-θi, 'in the sanctuary of Juno', where -al is a genitive ending and -θi a locative.

Steinbauer says of Etruscan, "there can be more than one marker ... to design a case, and ... the same marker can occur for more than one case."[113]

Nominative/accusative case
No distinction is made between nominative and accusative of nouns. The nominative/accusative could act as the subject of transitive and intransitive verbs, but also as the object of transitive verbs, and it was also used to indicate duration of time (e.g., ci avil 'for three years').[109]
Common nouns use the unmarked root. Names of males may end in -e: Hercle (Hercules), Achle (Achilles), Tite (Titus); of females, in -i, -a, or -u: Uni (Juno), Menrva (Minerva), or Zipu. Names of gods may end in -s: Fufluns, Tins; or they may be the unmarked stem ending in a vowel or consonant: Aplu (Apollo), Paχa (Bacchus), or Turan.
Genitive case
The genitive case had two main functions in Etruscan: the usual meaning of possession (along with other forms of dependency such as family relations), and it could also mark the recipient (indirect object) in votive inscriptions.[109]
Pallottino defines two declensions based on whether the genitive ends in -s/-ś or -l.[114] In the -s group are most noun stems ending in a vowel or a consonant: fler/fler-ś, ramtha/ramtha-ś. In the second are names of females ending in i and names of males that end in s, th or n: ati/ati-al, Laris/Laris-al, Arnθ/Arnθ-al. After l or r -us instead of -s appears: Vel/Vel-us. Otherwise, a vowel might be placed before the ending: Arnθ-al instead of Arnθ-l.
According to Rex Wallace, "A few nouns could be inflected with both types of endings without any difference in meaning. Consider, for example, the genitives cilθσ 'fortress (?)' and cilθl. Why this should be the case is not clear."[109]
There is a patronymic ending: -sa or -isa, 'son of', but the ordinary genitive might serve that purpose. In the genitive case, morphological redetermination becomes elaborate. Given two male names, Vel and Avle, Vel Avleś means 'Vel son of Avle'. This expression in the genitive become Vel-uś Avles-la. Pallottino's example of a three-suffix form is Arnθ-al-iśa-la.
Dative case
Besides the usual function as indirect object ('to/for'), this case could be used as the agent ('by') in passive clauses, and occasionally as a locative.[109] The dative ending is -si: Tita/Tita-si.[110] (Wallace uses the term 'pertinentive' for this case.)[109]
Locative case
The locative ending is -θi: Tarχna/Tarχna-l-θi.[115]
Plural number
Nouns semantically [+human] had the plural marking -ar : clan, 'son', as clenar, 'sons'. This shows both umlaut and an ending -ar. Plurals for cases other than nominative are made by agglutinating the case ending on clenar. Nouns semantically [-human] used the plural -chve or one of its variants: -cva or -va: avil 'year', avil-χva 'years'; zusle 'zusle (pig?)‐offering', zusle-va 'zusle‐offerings'.[109]


Personal pronouns refer to persons; demonstrative pronouns point out English this, that, there.[116]


The first-person personal pronoun has a nominative mi ('I') and an accusative mini ('me'). The third person has a personal form an ('he' or 'she') and an inanimate in ('it'). The second person is uncertain but some scholars, such as the Bonfantes, have claimed a dative singular une ('to thee') and an accusative singular un ('thee').[117]


The demonstratives, ca and ta, are used without distinction for 'that' or 'this'. The nominative–accusative singular forms are: ica, eca, ca, ita, ta; the plural: cei, tei. There is a genitive singular: cla, tla, cal and plural clal. The accusative singular: can, cen, cn, ecn, etan, tn; plural cnl 'these/those'. Locative singular: calti, ceiθi, clθ(i), eclθi; plural caiti, ceiθi.


Though uninflected for number, adjectives were inflected for case, agreeing with their noun: mlaχ 'good' versus genitive mlakas 'of (the) good...'[109]

Adjectives fall into a number of types formed from nouns with a suffix:


Adverbs are unmarked: etnam, 'again'; θui, 'now, here'; θuni, 'at first' (compare θu 'one'). Most Indo-European adverbs are formed from the oblique cases, which become unproductive and descend to fixed forms. Cases such as the ablative are therefore called adverbial. If there is any such widespread system in Etruscan, it is not obvious from the relatively few surviving adverbs.

The negative adverb is ei (for examples, see below in Imperative moods) .


The two enclitic coordinate conjunctions ‐ka/‐ca/‐c 'and' and -um/‐m 'and, but' coordinated phrases and clauses, but phrases could also be coordinated without any conjunction (asyndetic).[109]


Verbs had an indicative mood, an imperative mood and others. Tenses were present and past. The past tense had an active voice and a passive voice.

Present active

Etruscan used a verbal root with a zero suffix or -a without distinction to number or person: ar, ar-a, 'he, she, we, you, they make'.

Past or preterite active

Adding the suffix -(a)ce' to the verb root produces a third-person singular active, which has been called variously a "past", a "preterite", a "perfect." In contrast to Indo-European, this form is not marked for person. Examples: tur 'gives, dedicates' versus tur-ce 'gave, dedicated'; sval 'lives' versus sval-ce 'lived'.

Past passive

The third-person past passive is formed with -che: mena/mena-ce/mena-che, 'offers/offered/was offered'.

Imperative mood

The imperative was formed with the simple, uninflected root of the verb: tur 'dedicate!', σ́uθ 'put!', trin 'speak!' and nunθen 'invoke!').

The imperative capi 'take, steal' is found in so‐called anti‐theft inscriptions:

mi χuliχna cupe.s. .a.l.θ.r.nas .e.i minipi c̣api... (Cm 2.13; fifth century BC)
'I (am) the bowl of Cupe Althr̥na. Don’t steal me!'[109]

Other modals

Verbs with the suffix ‐a indicated the jussive mood, with the force of commanding, or exhorting (within a subjunctive framework).

ein θui ara enan
'No one should put/make (?) anything here (θui).'

Verbs ending in ‐ri referred to obligatory activities:

celi . huθiσ . zaθrumiσ . flerχva . neθunσl . σucri . θezeric
'On September twenty six, victims must be offered (?) and sacrificed (?) to Nethuns.'[109]


Verbs formed participles in a variety of ways, among the most frequently attested being -u in lup-u 'dead' from lup- 'die'.

Participles could also be formed with ‐θ. These referred to activities that were contemporaneous with that of the main verb: trin‐θ '(while) speaking', nunθen‐θ '(while) invoking', and heχσ‐θ '(while) pouring (?)'.[109]


Typical of SOV agglutinative languages, Etruscan had postpositions rather than prepositions, each governing a specific case.[109]


Etruscan is considered to have been a SOV language with postpositions, but the word order was not strict and the orders OVS and OSV are, in fact, more frequent in commemorative inscriptions from the archaic period, presumably as a stylistic feature of the genre.[118] Adjectives were usually placed after the noun.[119]


Borrowings from Etruscan

Only a few hundred words of the Etruscan vocabulary are understood with some certainty. The exact count depends on whether the different forms and the expressions are included. Below is a table of some of the words grouped by topic.[120]

Some words with corresponding Latin or other Indo-European forms are likely loanwords to or from Etruscan. For example, neftś 'nephew', is probably from Latin (Latin nepōs, nepōtis; this is a cognate of German Neffe, Old Norse nefi). A number of words and names for which Etruscan origin has been proposed survive in Latin.

At least one Etruscan word has an apparent Semitic/Aramaic origin: talitha 'girl', that could have been transmitted by Phoenicians or by the Greeks (Greek: ταλιθα). The word pera 'house' is a false cognate to the Coptic per 'house'.[121]

In addition to words believed to have been borrowed into Etruscan from Indo-European or elsewhere, there is a corpus of words such as familia which seem to have been borrowed into Latin from the older Etruscan civilization as a superstrate influence.[122] Some of these words still have widespread currency in English and Latin-influenced languages. Other words believed to have a possible Etruscan origin include:

Main article: List of English words of Etruscan origin

from arēna 'arena' < harēna, 'arena, sand' < archaic hasēna < Sabine fasēna, unknown Etruscan word as the basis for fas- with Etruscan ending -ēna.[123]
from balteus, 'sword belt'; the sole connection between this word and Etruscan is a statement by Marcus Terentius Varro that it was of Etruscan origin. All else is speculation.[124]
from Latin mercātus, of obscure origin, perhaps Etruscan.[125]
from Latin mīles 'soldier'; either from Etruscan or related to Greek homilos, 'assembled crowd' (compare homily).[126]
from Middle English persone, from Old French persone, from Latin persōna, 'mask', probably from Etruscan phersu, 'mask'.[127]
from Latin satelles, meaning 'bodyguard, attendant', perhaps from Etruscan satnal.[128] Whatmough considers Latin satteles "as one of our securest Etruscan loans in Latin."[129]

Etruscan vocabulary


Main article: Etruscan numerals

Much debate has been carried out about a possible Indo-European origin of the Etruscan cardinals. In the words of Larissa Bonfante (1990), "What these numerals show, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is the non-Indo-European nature of the Etruscan language".[130] Conversely, other scholars, including Francisco R. Adrados, Albert Carnoy, Marcello Durante, Vladimir Georgiev, Alessandro Morandi and Massimo Pittau, have proposed a close phonetic proximity of the first ten Etruscan numerals to the corresponding numerals in other Indo-European languages.[131][132][133]

The lower Etruscan numerals are:[134]

  1. θu
  2. zal
  3. ci
  4. huθ
  5. maχ
  6. śa
  7. semφ
  8. cezp
  9. nurφ
  10. śar

It is unclear which of semφ, cezp, and nurφ are 7, 8 and 9. Śar may also mean 'twelve', with halχ for 'ten'.

For higher numbers, it has been determined that zaθrum is 20, cealχ/*cialχ 30, *huθalχ 40, muvalχ 50, šealχ 60, and semφalχ and cezpalχ any two in the series 70–90. Śran is 100 (clearly < śar 10, just as Proto-Indo-European *dḱm̥tom- 100 is from *deḱm- 10). Further, θun-z, e-sl-z, ci-z(i) mean 'once, twice, and thrice' respectively; θun[š]na and *kisna 'first' and 'third'; θunur, zelur 'one by one', 'two by two'; and zelarve- and śarve are 'double' and 'quadruple'.[44]

Core vocabulary

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Sample texts

From Tabula Capuana: (/ indicates line break; text from Alessandro Morandi Epigrafia Italica Rome, 1982, p.40[154])

First section probably for March (lines 1–7):

...vacil.../2ai savcnes satiriasa.../3...[nunθ?]eri θuθcu
vacil śipir śuri leθamsul ci tartiria /4 cim cleva acasri halχ tei
vacil iceu śuni savlasie...
m/5uluri zile picasri savlasieis
vacil lunaśie vaca iχnac fuli/6nuśnes
vacil savcnes itna
muluri zile picasri iane
vacil l/7eθamsul scuvune marzac saca⋮

Start of second section for April (apirase) (starting on line 8):

iśvei tule ilucve apirase leθamsul ilucu cuiesχu perpri
cipen apires /9 racvanies huθ zusle
rithnai tul tei
snuza in te hamaiθi civeis caθnis fan/10iri
marza in te hamaiθi ital sacri utus ecunza iti alχu scuvse
riθnai tu/11 l tei
ci zusle acun siricima nunθeri
eθ iśuma zuslevai apire nunθer/i...

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ Etruria: modern Tuscany, western Umbria, northern Latium.
  2. ^ Etruria Padana: modern Veneto, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna.
  3. ^ Etruria Campana: some areas of coastal Campania


  1. ^ a b c d Rix, Helmut (2004). "Etruscan". In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 943–966. ISBN 978-0-521-56256-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Freeman, Philip (1999). "The Survival of the Etruscan Language". Etruscan Studies. 6 (1): 75–84. doi:10.1515/etst.1999.6.1.75. S2CID 191436488.
  3. ^ Bauer, Laurie (2007). The Linguistics Student's Handbook. Edinburgh.
  4. ^ Massimo Pallottino, La langue étrusque Problèmes et perspectives, 1978.
  5. ^ Mauro Cristofani, Introduction to the study of the Etruscan, Leo S. Olschki, 1991.
  6. ^ Romolo A. Staccioli, The "mystery" of the Etruscan language, Newton & Compton publishers, Rome, 1977.
  7. ^ a b c Haarmann, Harald (2014). "Ethnicity and Language in the Ancient Mediterranean". A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean. pp. 17–33. doi:10.1002/9781118834312.ch2. ISBN 978-1-4443-3734-1.
  8. ^ a b Harding, Anthony H. (2014). "The later prehistory of Central and Northern Europe". In Renfrew, Colin; Bahn, Paul (eds.). The Cambridge World Prehistory. Vol. 3. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 1912. ISBN 978-1-107-02379-6. Italy was home to a number of languages in the Iron Age, some of them clearly Indo-European (Latin being the most obvious, although this was merely the language spoken in the Roman heartland, that is, Latium, and other languages such as Italic, Venetic or Ligurian were also present), while the centre-west and northwest were occupied by the people we call Etruscans, who spoke a language which was non-Indo-European and presumed to represent an ethnic and linguistic stratum which goes far back in time, perhaps even to the occupants of Italy prior to the spread of farming.
  9. ^ a b Schumacher, Stefan (1994) Studi Etruschi in Neufunde ‘raetischer’ Inschriften Vol. 59 pp. 307–320 (German)
  10. ^ a b Schumacher, Stefan (1994) Neue ‘raetische’ Inschriften aus dem Vinschgau in Der Schlern Vol. 68 pp. 295-298 (German)
  11. ^ a b Schumacher, Stefan (1999) Die Raetischen Inschriften: Gegenwärtiger Forschungsstand, spezifische Probleme und Zukunfstaussichten in I Reti / Die Räter, Atti del simposio 23–25 settembre 1993, Castello di Stenico, Trento, Archeologia delle Alpi, a cura di G. Ciurletti – F. Marzatico Archaoalp pp. 334–369 (German)
  12. ^ a b Schumacher, Stefan (2004) Die Raetischen Inschriften. Geschichte und heutiger Stand der Forschung Archaeolingua. Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft. (German)
  13. ^ a b Norbert Oettinger, Seevölker und Etrusker, 2010.
  14. ^ a b de Simone Carlo (2009) La nuova iscrizione tirsenica di Efestia in Aglaia Archontidou, Carlo de Simone, Albi Mersini (Eds.), Gli scavi di Efestia e la nuova iscrizione ‘tirsenica’, Tripodes 11, 2009, pp. 3–58. (Italian)
  15. ^ a b c Carlo de Simone, Simona Marchesini (Eds), La lamina di Demlfeld [= Mediterranea. Quaderni annuali dell'Istituto di Studi sulle Civiltà italiche e del Mediterraneo antico del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche. Supplemento 8], Pisa – Roma: 2013. (Italian)
  16. ^ Rogers, Henry (2009). Writing systems: a linguistic approach. Blackwell textbooks in linguistics (Nachdr. ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publ. ISBN 978-0-631-23464-7.
  17. ^ Rogers, Henry (2009). Writing systems: a linguistic approach. Blackwell textbooks in linguistics (Nachdr. ed.). Oxford: Blackwell Publ. ISBN 978-0-631-23464-7.
  18. ^ Bonfante 1990, p. 12.
  19. ^ Bonfante 1990, p. 10.
  20. ^ Van der Meer, L. Bouke, ed. Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis (= Monographs on antiquity, vol. 4). Peeters, 2007, ISSN 1781-9458.
  21. ^ Freeman, Philip. Survival of Etruscan. p. 82: "How much longer may have Etruscan survived in isolated rural locations? The answer is impossible to say, given that we can only argue from evidence, not conjecture. But languages are notoriously tenacious, and the possibility of an Etruscan survival into the late 1st century A.D. and beyond cannot be wholly dismissed. Oscan graffiti on the walls of Pompeii show that non-Latin languages well into the 1st century A.D., making rural survival of Etruscan more credible. But this is only speculation..."
  22. ^ Leland (1892). Etruscan Roman Remains in Popular Tradition.
  23. ^ Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae. Extract: ‘ueluti Romae nobis praesentibus uetus celebratusque homo in causis, sed repentina et quasi tumultuaria doctrina praeditus, cum apud praefectum urbi uerba faceret et dicere uellet inopi quendam miseroque uictu uiuere et furfureum panem esitare uinumque eructum et feditum potare. "hic", inquit, "eques Romanus apludam edit et flocces bibit". aspexerunt omnes qui aderant alius alium, primo tristiores turbato et requirente uoltu quidnam illud utriusque uerbi foret: post deinde, quasi nescio quid Tusce aut Gallice dixisset, uniuersi riserunt.’ English translation: ‘For instance in Rome in our presence, a man experienced and celebrated as a pleader, but furnished with a sudden and, as it were, hasty education, was speaking to the Prefect of the City, and wished to say that a certain man with a poor and wretched way of life ate bread from bran and drank bad and spoiled wine. "This Roman knight", he said, "eats apluda and drinks flocces." All who were present looked at each other, first seriously and with an inquiring expression, wondering what the two words meant; thereupon, as if he might have said something in, I don't know, Gaulish or Etruscan, all of them burst out laughing.’ (based on Blom 2007: 183.)
  24. ^ Freeman. Survival of Etruscan. p. 78
  25. ^ For Urgulanilla, see Suetonius, Life of Claudius, section 26.1; for the 20 books, same work, section 42.2.
  26. ^ Ostler, Nicholas (2009). Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin and the World It Created. London: HarperPress, 2009, pp. 323 ff.
  27. ^ A summary of the locations of the inscriptions published in the EDP project, given below under External links, is stated in its Guide.
  28. ^ Rix, Helmut (1998). Rätisch und Etruskisch. Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Innsbruck: Innsbruck.
  29. ^ "Camunic : Encyclopedia of the Languages of Europe : Blackwell Reference Online". Archived from the original on 2018-07-23. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  30. ^ 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)
  31. ^ Baldi, Philip Baldi (2002). The Foundations of Latin. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-3-11-080711-0.
  32. ^ Comrie, Bernard (15 April 2008). Mark Aronoff, Janie Rees-Miller (ed.). Languages of the world, in "The handbook of linguistics". Oxford: Blackwell/Wiley. p. 25.
  33. ^ Woodard, Roger D. (2008). The Ancient Languages of Europe. Cambridge University Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-139-46932-6.
  34. ^ a b c Wallace, Rex E. (2010). "Italy, Languages of". In Gagarin, Michael (ed.). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 97–102. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-517072-6. Etruscan origins lie in the distant past. Despite the claim by Herodotus, who wrote that Etruscans migrated to Italy from Lydia in the eastern Mediterranean, there is no material or linguistic evidence to support this. Etruscan material culture developed in an unbroken chain from Bronze Age antecedents. As for linguistic relationships, Lydian is an Indo-European language. Lemnian, which is attested by a few inscriptions discovered near Kaminia on the island of Lemnos, was a dialect of Etruscan introduced to the island by commercial adventurers. Linguistic similarities connecting Etruscan with Raetic, a language spoken in the sub-Alpine regions of northeastern Italy, further militate against the idea of eastern origins.
  35. ^ Simona Marchesini (translation by Melanie Rockenhaus) (2013). "Raetic (languages)". Mnamon – Ancient Writing Systems in the Mediterranean. Scuola Normale Superiore. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  36. ^ Kluge Sindy; Salomon Corinna; Schumacher Stefan (2013–2018). "Raetica". Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum. Department of Linguistics, University of Vienna. Retrieved 26 July 2018.
  37. ^ a b Mellaart, James (1975), "The Neolithic of the Near East" (Thames and Hudson)
  38. ^ de Ligt, Luuk (2008–2009). "An 'Eteocretan' inscription from Prasos and the homeland of the Sea Peoples" (PDF). Talanta. XL–XLI: 151–172. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  39. ^ Carlo de Simone, La nuova Iscrizione ‘Tirsenica’ di Lemnos (Efestia, teatro): considerazioni generali, in Rasenna: Journal of the Center for Etruscan Studies, pp. 1–34.
  40. ^ Robert Drews, The End of the Bronze Age: Changes in Warfare and the Catastrophe of ca. 1200 B.C, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995, p. 59, ISBN 978-0-691-04811-6.
  41. ^ a b c Posth, Cosimo; Zaro, Valentina; Spyrou, Maria A. (24 September 2021). "The origin and legacy of the Etruscans through a 2000-year archeogenomic time transect". Science Advances. 7 (39). Washington DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science: eabi7673. Bibcode:2021SciA....7.7673P. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abi7673. PMC 8462907. PMID 34559560.
  42. ^ Krause, Johannes; Trappe, Thomas (2021) [2019]. A Short History of Humanity: A New History of Old Europe [Die Reise unserer Gene: Eine Geschichte über uns und unsere Vorfahren]. Translated by Waight, Caroline (I ed.). New York: Random House. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-593-22942-2. It's likely that Basque, Paleo-Sardinian, Minoan, and Etruscan developed on the continent in the course of the Neolithic Revolution. Sadly, the true diversity of the languages that once existed in Europe will never be known.
  43. ^ a b c d Bellelli, Vincenzo; Benelli, Enrico (2018). "Aspetti generali. 1.2 Lingua e origini". Gli Etruschi - La scrittura, la lingua, la società (in Italian). Rome: Carocci editore. pp. 18–20. ISBN 978-88-430-9309-0.
  44. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Belfiore, Valentina (May 2020). "Etrusco". Palaeohispanica. Revista sobre lenguas y culturas de la Hispania Antigua (in Italian) (20): 199–262. doi:10.36707/palaeohispanica.v0i20.382. ISSN 1578-5386. S2CID 243365116.
  45. ^ Facchetti 2000.
  46. ^ Facchetti 2002, p. 136.
  47. ^ For example, Steinbauer (1999), Rodríguez Adrados (2005).
  48. ^ Beekes, Robert S. P."The Origin of the Etruscans"Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine. In: Biblioteca Orientalis 59 (2002), 206–242.
  49. ^ Woudhuizen, Frederik Christiaan (2006). The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples (PDF). Rotterdam: Erasmus Universiteit. p. 139.
  50. ^ Woudhuizen 2006 p. 86
  51. ^ Barker, Graeme; Rasmussen, Tom (2000). The Etruscans. The Peoples of Europe. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-631-22038-1.
  52. ^ Turfa, Jean MacIntosh (2017). "The Etruscans". In Farney, Gary D.; Bradley, Gary (eds.). The Peoples of Ancient Italy. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 637–672. doi:10.1515/9781614513001. ISBN 978-1-61451-520-3.
  53. ^ De Grummond, Nancy T. (2014). "Ethnicity and the Etruscans". In McInerney, Jeremy (ed.). A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 405–422. doi:10.1002/9781118834312. ISBN 978-1-4443-3734-1.
  54. ^ Shipley, Lucy (2017). "Where is home?". The Etruscans: Lost Civilizations. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 28–46. ISBN 978-1-78023-862-3.
  55. ^ Stickel, Johann Gustav (1858). Das Etruskische durch Erklärung von Inschriften und Namen als semitische Sprache erwiesen. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.
  56. ^ Gildemeister, Johannes. In: ZDMG 13 (1859), pp. 289–304.
  57. ^ Ellis, Robert (1861). The Armenian origin of the Etruscans. London: Parker, Son, & Bourn.
  58. ^ Mayani, Zacharie (1961). The Etruscans Begin to Speak. Translation by Patrick Evans. London: Souvenir Press.
  59. ^ Shipley, Lucy (2023). The Etruscans: Lost Civilizations. Reaktion Books. pp. 183, 251. ISBN 978-1-78023-862-3. Even into the 1960s, new language links were proposed and disproven: Albanian as Etruscan [...] This discredited idea was put forward in Z. Mayani, The Etruscans Begin to Speak (London, 1962).
  60. ^ a b Tóth, Alfréd. "Etruscans, Huns and Hungarians". Archived from the original on March 2, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2010.
  61. ^ Alinei, Mario (2003). Etrusco: una forma arcaica di ungherese. Il Mulino: Bologna.
  62. ^ "Giulio Mauro Facchetti" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  63. ^ Facchetti, Giulio M. "The Interpretation of Etruscan Texts and its Limits" (PDF)[permanent dead link]. In: Journal of Indo-European Studies 33, 3/4, 2005, 359–388. Quote from p. 371: ‘[...] suffice it to say that Alinei clears away all the combinatory work done on Etruscan (for grammar specially) to try to make Uralic inflections fit without ripping the seams. He completely ignores the aforesaid recent findings in phonology (and phoneme/grapheme relationships), returning to the obsolete but convenient theory that the handwriting changed and orthography was not consolidated'.
  64. ^ Marcantonio, Angela (2004). "Un caso di 'fantalinguistica'. A proposito di Mario Alinei: 'Etrusco: una forma arcaica di ungherese'." In: Studi e Saggi Linguistici XLII, 173–200, where Marcantonio states that "La tesi dell’Alinei è da rigettare senza alcuna riserva" ("Alinei's thesis must be rejected without any reservation"), criticizes his methodology and the fact that he ignored the comparison with Latin and Greek words in pnomastic and institutional vocabulary. Large quotes can be read at Melinda Tamás-Tarr "Sulla scrittura degli Etruschi: «Ma è veramente una scrittura etrusca»? Cosa sappiamo degli Etruschi III". In: Osservatorio letterario. Ferrara e l’Altrove X/XI, Nos. 53/54 (November–December/January–February 2006/2007), 67–73. Marcantonio is Associated Professor of Historical Linguistics and Finno-Ugric Studies at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" (personal website Archived 2015-02-14 at the Wayback Machine).
  65. ^ Brogyanyi, Bela. "Die ungarische alternative Sprachforschung und ihr ideologischer Hintergrund – Versuch einer Diagnose". In: Sprache & Sprachen 38 (2008), 3–15, who claims that Alinei shows a complete ignorance on Etruscan and Hungarian ["glänzt er aber durch völlige Unkenntnis des Ungarischen und Etruskischen (vgl. Alinei 2003)"] and that the thesis of a relation between Hungarian and Etruscan languages deserves no attention.
  66. ^ Robertson, Ed (2006). "Etruscan's genealogical linguistic relationship with Nakh–Daghestanian: a preliminary evaluation" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
  67. ^ Starostin, Sergei; Orel, Vladimir (1989). "Etruscan and North Caucasian". In Shevoroshkin, Vitaliy (ed.). Explorations in Language Macrofamilies. Bochum Publications in Evolutionary Cultural Semiotics. Bochum.
  68. ^ The alphabet can also be found with alternative forms of the letters at Omniglot.
  69. ^ a b c Bonfante 1990, chapter 2.
  70. ^ "Bucchero". Khan Academy. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  71. ^ Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, p. 55.
  72. ^ Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, p. 56.
  73. ^ Pallottino 1955a, p. 261.
  74. ^ Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, pp. 117 ff..
  75. ^ Massimo Pallottino, Maristella Pandolfini Angeletti, Thesaurus linguae Etruscae, Volume 1 (1978); review by A. J. Pfiffig in Gnomon 52.6 (1980), 561–563. Supplements in 1984, 1991 and 1998. A 2nd revised edition by Enrico Benelli appeared in 2009; review by G. van Heems, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2010.01.05 Archived 2013-10-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  76. ^ a b Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, p. 58.
  77. ^ Robinson, Andrew (2002). Lost languages : the enigma of the world's undeciphered scripts. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 170. ISBN 0-07-135743-2.
  78. ^ "Sarcophagus of Laris Pulenas, Known as "The Magistrate"; 3/4 view of proper left, Head".
  79. ^ "Ancient Roman sarcophagi".
  80. ^ Roncalli, F. (1996) "Laris Pulenas and Sisyphus: Mortals, Heroes and Demons in the Etruscan Underworld," Etruscan Studies vol. 3, article 3, pp. 45-64.
  81. ^ Cataldi, M. (1988) I sarcofagi etruschi delle famiglie Partunu, Camna e Pulena, Roma.
  82. ^ Brief description and picture at The principle discoveries with Etruscan inscriptions Archived 2007-07-03 at the Wayback Machine, article published by the Borough of Santa Marinella and the Archaeological Department of Southern Etruria of the Italian government.
  83. ^ Jean MacIntosh Turfa (13 November 2014). The Etruscan World. Routledge. pp. 363–. ISBN 978-1-134-05523-4.
  84. ^ Robinson, Andrew (2002). Lost Languages: The enigma of the world's undeciphered scripts. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-07-135743-2.
  85. ^ "One of the most significant Etruscan discoveries in decades names female goddess Uni". SMU Research. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  86. ^ Warden, P. Gregory (1 January 2016). "The Vicchio Stele and Its Context". Etruscan Studies. 19 (2): 208–219. doi:10.1515/etst-2016-0017. S2CID 132587666.
  87. ^ Maggiani, Adriano (1 January 2016). "The Vicchio Stele: The Inscription". Etruscan Studies. 19 (2): 220–224. doi:10.1515/etst-2016-0018. S2CID 191760189.
  88. ^ Maggiani, A. and Gregory, P. G. Authority and display in sixth-century Etruria: The Vicchio stele Edinburgh 2020
  89. ^ Bonfante 1990, p. 28.
  90. ^ van der Meer, B. "The Lead Plaque of Magliano" in: Interpretando l'antico. Scritti di archeologia offerti a Maria Bonghi Jovino. Milano 2013 (Quaderni di Acme 134) pp. 323-341
  91. ^ Some Internet articles on the tombs in general are:
    Etruscan Tombs Archived 2007-05-13 at the Wayback Machine at
    Scientific Tomb-Robbing, article in Time, Monday, Feb. 25, 1957, displayed at
    Hot from the Tomb: The Antiquities Racket, article in Time, Monday, Mar. 26, 1973, displayed at
  92. ^ a b Refer to Etruscan Necropoleis of Cerveteri and Tarquinia, a World Heritage site.
  93. ^ Some popular Internet sites giving photographs and details of the necropolis are: Cisra (Roman Caere / Modern Cerveteri) at
    Chapter XXXIII CERVETRI.a – AGYLLA or CAERE., George Dennis at Bill Thayer's Website.
    Aerial photo and map Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine at
  94. ^ A history of the tombs at Tarquinia and links to descriptions of the most famous ones is given at [1] on
  95. ^ Amann, Petra (5 November 2019). "Women and Votive Inscriptions in Etruscan Epigraphy". Etruscan Studies. 22 (1–2): 39–64. doi:10.1515/etst-2019-0003. S2CID 208140836.
  96. ^ For pictures and a description refer to the Etruscan Mirrors article at
  97. ^ For the dates, more pictures and descriptions, see the Hand Mirror with the Judgment of Paris article published online by the Allen Memorial Art Museum of Oberlin College.
  98. ^ Representative examples can be found in the U.S. Epigraphy Project site of Brown University: [2] Archived 2007-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, [3] Archived 2006-09-04 at the Wayback Machine
  99. ^ Paggi, Maddalena. "The Praenestine Cistae" (October 2004), New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in Timeline of Art History.
  100. ^ Murray, Alexander Stuart; Smith, Arthur Hamilton (1911). "Gem § Etruscan Gems. In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 11 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 566.
  101. ^ Beazley Archive Archived 2011-05-27 at the Wayback Machine.
  102. ^ Ancient Coins of Etruria.
  103. ^ Mattingly, Harold; Rathbone, Dominic W. (2016). "Tessera". Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Classics. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199381135.013.6302. ISBN 978-0-19-938113-5.
  104. ^ Rex Wallace, Michael Shamgochian and James Patterson (eds.), Etruscan Texts Project,
  105. ^ "Etruscan alphabet and language". Omniglot. Retrieved 2023-11-06.
  106. ^ Rogers, Adelle (2018). "Theories on the Origin of the Etruscan Language". Purdue University. Retrieved November 6, 2023.
  107. ^ Agostiniani (2013), p. 470: "We believe that for the Archaic period, the /a/ was a back vowel (as in French pâte)".
  108. ^ J.H. Adams pp. 163–164.
  109. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Wallace, Rex E. (2016). "Language, Alphabet, and Linguistic Affiliation". A Companion to the Etruscans. pp. 203–223. doi:10.1002/9781118354933.ch14. ISBN 978-1-118-35274-8.
  110. ^ a b Bonfante 1990, p. 20.
  111. ^ Bonfante 1990, p. 19.
  112. ^ Pallottino, Massimo (1955). The Etruscans. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books. p. 263. LCCN 56000053. OCLC 1034661909.
  113. ^ Etruscan Grammar: Summary at Steinbauer's website.
  114. ^ Pallottino, Massimo (1955). The Etruscans. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books. p. 264. LCCN 56000053. OCLC 1034661909.
  115. ^ Bonfante 1990, p. 41.
  116. ^ The summary in this section is taken from the tables of the Bonfantes (2002) pp. 91–94, which go into considerably more detail, citing examples.
  117. ^ Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, pp. 91–94.
  118. ^ Wallace, Rex. 2008. Zikh Rasna: A manual of the Etruscan language and inscriptions. Ann Arbor, New York: Beech Stave Press. P. 95. Cited in: Rogers, Adelle, "Theories on the Origin of the Etruscan Language" (2018). Open Access Theses. 27-28.
  119. ^ Wallace, Rex. 2008. Zikh Rasna: A manual of the Etruscan language and inscriptions. Ann Arbor, New York: Beech Stave Press. P.52-53. Cited in: Rogers, Adelle, "Theories on the Origin of the Etruscan Language" (2018). Open Access Theses. P.27-28.
  120. ^ The words in this table come from the Glossaries of Bonfante (1990) and Pallottino. The latter also gives a grouping by topic on pages 275 following, the last chapter of the book.
  121. ^ "The Etruscan Language : CSA". Archived from the original on 2015-06-02. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  122. ^ Theo Vennemann, Germania Semitica, p. 123, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2012.
  123. ^ Breyer (1993) p. 259.
  124. ^ Donaldson, John William (1852). Varronianus: A Critical and Historical Introduction to the Ethnography of Ancient Italy and to the Philological Study of the Latin Language (2 ed.). London, Cambridge: J. W. Parker & Son. p. 154. Breyer (1993) pp. 428–429 reports on an attempt to bring in Hittite and Gothic connecting it with a totally speculative root *-lst-.
  125. ^ "market - Origin and meaning of market". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  126. ^ "military – Origin and meaning of military". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  127. ^ American Heritage Dictionary, New College Edition, p. 978
  128. ^ "satellite - Origin and meaning of satellite". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  129. ^ Whatmough, M. Studies in Etruscan loanwords in Latin PhD thesis, University College London. 2017. p.251.
  130. ^ Bonfante 1990, p. 22.
  131. ^ Carnoy, A. (1952). "LA LANGUE ÉTRUSQUE ET SES ORIGINES". L'Antiquité Classique. 21 (2): 289–331. doi:10.3406/antiq.1952.3451. JSTOR 41643730.
  132. ^ Morandi, A., Nuovi lineamenti di lingua etrusca, Erre Emme (Roma, 1991), chapter IV.
  133. ^ Pittau, M., "I numerali Etruschi", Atti del Sodalizio Glottologico Milanese, vol. XXXV–XXXVI, 1994/1995 (1996), pp. 95–105. ([4])
  134. ^ Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, p. 96.
  135. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, p. 111.
  136. ^ Brown, John Parman. Israel and Hellas. Vol. 2. Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter. 2000. p. 212 (footnote nr. 39). ISBN 3-11-014233-3
  137. ^ Thomson De Grummond, Nancy (1982). A Guide to Etruscan Mirrors. Florida: Archaeological News. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-943254-00-5.
  138. ^ Sassatelli, Giuseppe, ed. (1981). "Collezione Palagi Bologna". Corpus speculorum Etruscorum: Italia. Bologna - Museo Civico. 1 (in Italian). Vol. 1. Rome: L'Erma di Bretschneider. pp. 57–58. ISBN 978-88-7062-507-3.
  139. ^ Massarelli, Riccardo (University of Perugia): "Etruscan lautun: A (very old) Italic loanword?'". Poster presented at the Second Pavia International Summer School for Indo-European Linguistics. 9–14 September 2013. [5]
  140. ^ van der Meer, B. "The Lead Plaque of Magliano" in: Interpretando l'antico. Scritti di archeologia offerti a Maria Bonghi Jovino. Milano 2013 (Quaderni di Acme 134) p. 337
  141. ^ Bonfante & Bonfante 2002, p. 106.
  142. ^ Cassius Dio Roman History 56,29,4
  143. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Pallottino, Massimo (1955). The Etruscans. Penguin Books. pp. 225–234. OCLC 1061432.
  144. ^ a b c d e f g Meer, L. Bouke van der (2007). Linen Book of Zagreb. Peeters. p. 42. ISBN 978-90-429-2024-8.
  145. ^ Turfa, Jean MacIntosh. Divining the Etruscan World: The Brontoscopic Calendar and Religious Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2012. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-139-53640-0.
  146. ^ Thomson de Grummond, Nancy. Etruscan Myth, Sacred History, and Legend. UPenn Museum of Archaeology, 2006. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-931707-86-2.
  147. ^ Turfa, Jean MacIntosh. Divining the Etruscan World: The Brontoscopic Calendar and Religious Practice. Cambridge University Press, 2012. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-139-53640-0.
  148. ^ Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis. The Linen Book of Zagreb: A Comment on the Longest Etruscan Text. By L.B. VAN DER MEER. (Monographs on Antiquity.) Louvain: Peeters, 2007. pp. 171–172
  149. ^ a b Van Der Meer, Bouke (2015). "Some comments on the Tabula Capuana". Studi Etruschi. 77: 149–175.
  150. ^ Facchetti, Giulio M. Frammenti di diritto privato etrusco. Firenze. 2000
  151. ^ van der Meer, B. "The Lead Plaque of Magliano" in: Interpretando l'antico. Scritti di archeologia offerti a Maria Bonghi Jovino. Milano 2013 (Quaderni di Acme 134) p. 337
  152. ^ Facchetti, Giulio M. Frammenti di diritto privato etrusco. Firenze. 2000
  153. ^ Tarabella, Massimo Morandi (2004). Prosopographia etrusca. L'Erma di Bretschneider. ISBN 88-8265-304-8
  154. ^ Alessandro Morandi Epigrafia Italica Rome, 1982, p.40


Further reading



Lexical items