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Old Italic
Marsiliana tablet.svg
An inscription from the Marsiliana tablet, around 700 BC
Script type
Alphabet
Directionright-to-left script, left-to-right Edit this on Wikidata
Related scripts
Parent systems
Phoenician
Child systems
Runic
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Ital (210), ​Old Italic (Etruscan, Oscan, etc.)
Unicode
Unicode alias
Old Italic
U+10300–U+1032F[1]
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and ⟨ ⟩, see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

The Old Italic scripts are a family of similar ancient writing systems used in the Italian Peninsula between about 700 and 100 BC, for various languages spoken in that time and place.[citation needed] The most notable member is the Etruscan alphabet, which was the immediate ancestor of the Latin alphabet currently used by English and many other languages of the world. The runic alphabets used in northern Europe are believed to have been separately derived from one of these alphabets by the 2nd century AD.[citation needed]

Origins

The Old Italic alphabets clearly derive from the Phoenician alphabet, although the precise chain of cultural transmission is unknown.[citation needed] Some scholars argue that the Etruscan alphabet was imported from the Euboean Greek colonies of Cumae and Ischia (Pithekoūsai) in the Gulf of Naples in the 8th century BC; this Euboean alphabet is also called 'Cumaean' (after Cumae), or 'Chalcidian' (after its metropolis Chalcis).[2] The Cumaean hypothesis is supported by the 1957–58 excavations of Veii by the British School at Rome, which found pieces of Greek pottery indicating that contacts between the Etruscan city of Veii and the Greek colonies of Cumae and Ischia have existed ever since the second half of the 8th century.[2] Other scholars posit a different hypothetical Western Greek alphabet that was even older than those attested to have given rise to the Etruscan letters.[2] Whatever the case, the Etruscans added the c, the q and the combination of vh or hv (for /f/) in order to spell sounds that did not exist in Ancient Greek.[3] The development and usage of their own Greek-derived alphabet arguably marked the end of the Villanovan culture and ushered in the Etruscan Orientalising period.[3]: 19 

As the Etruscans were the leading civilization of Italy in that period, it is widely accepted that they spread their alphabet across the peninsula, and the other Old Italic scripts were derived from theirs.[3] Scholars provide three reasons: Etruscans and non-Etruscans had strong contacts in the 8th and 7th centuries, surviving inscriptions from other languages appear later (after the end of the 8th century) than the earliest Etruscan ones (first amongst the Umbrians, Faliscans, Latins, and Sabines to the south, in the 6th century also in the Po Valley and amongst the Cisalpine Celtic, Venetic and Raetic tribes), and the letters used in these texts are evidently based on the Etruscan version of the Western Greek alphabet.[3] However, some of them, including the Latin alphabet, retained certain Greek letters that the Etruscans themselves dropped at a rather early stage.[citation needed]

The Old Italic alphabets were used for various different languages, which included some Indo-European ones (predominantly from the Italic branch, but also in Gaulish and probably in inscriptions interpreted as Proto-Germanic) and some non-Indo-European ones (such as Etruscan itself).[citation needed]

Alphabets related to Etruscan

The following table shows the ancient Italic scripts that are presumed[by whom?] to be related to the Etruscan alphabet. Symbols that are assumed to be correspondent are placed on the same column. Many symbols occur with two or more variant forms in the same script; only one variant is shown here. The notations [←] and [→] indicate that the shapes shown were used when writing right-to-left and left-to-right, respectively.

Warning: For the languages marked [?] the appearance of the "Letters" in the table is whatever one's browser's Unicode font shows for the corresponding code points in the Old Italic Unicode block. The same code point represents different symbol shapes in different languages; therefore, to display those glyph images properly one needs to use a Unicode font specific to that language.

Phoenician
Letter [←]
Phoenician aleph.svg
Phoenician beth.svg
Phoenician gimel.svg
Phoenician daleth.svg
Phoenician he.svg
Phoenician waw.svg
Phoenician zayin.svg
Phoenician heth.svg
Phoenician teth.svg
Phoenician yodh.svg
Phoenician kaph.svg
Phoenician lamedh.svg
Phoenician mem.svg
Phoenician nun.svg
Phoenician samekh.svg
Phoenician ayin.svg
Phoenician pe.svg
Phoenician sade.svg
Phoenician qoph.svg
Phoenician res.svg
Phoenician sin.svg
Phoenician taw.svg
Value ʾ b g d h w z y k l m n s ʿ p q r š t
Western Greek [4] [5]
Letter [→]
Greek Alpha 03.svg
Greek Beta 16.svg
Greek Gamma archaic 1.svg
Greek Delta 04.svg
Greek Epsilon archaic.svg
Greek Digamma oblique.svg
Greek Zeta archaic.svg
Greek Eta archaic.svg
Greek Theta archaic.svg
Greek Iota normal.svg
Greek Kappa normal.svg
Greek Lambda 09.svg
Greek Mu 04.svg
Greek Nu 01.svg
Greek Omicron 04.svg
Greek Pi archaic.svg
Greek San 02.svg
Greek Koppa normal.svg
Greek Rho pointed.svg
Greek Sigma normal.svg
Greek Tau normal.svg
Greek Upsilon normal.svg
Greek Chi normal.svg
Greek Phi archaic.svg
Greek Psi straight.svg
Value a b g d e w zd h i k l m n o p s k r s t u ks
Transcription Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ϝ Ζ Η Θ Ι Κ Λ Μ Ν Ξ Ο Π Ϻ Ϙ Ρ Σ Τ Υ X Φ Ψ
Etruscan - from 7th century BC [6][7]
Marsiliana [←]
EtruscanA-01.svg
EtruscanB-01.svg
EtruscanC-01.svg
EtruscanD-01.svg
EtruscanE-01.svg
EtruscanF-01.svg
EtruscanZ-01.svg
EtruscanH-02.svg
EtruscanTH-03.svg
EtruscanI-01.svg
EtruscanK-01.svg
EtruscanL-01.svg
EtruscanM-01.svg
EtruscanN-01.svg
Greek Xi archaic grid.svg
Greek Omicron 04.svg
EtruscanP-01.svg
EtruscanSH-01.svg
EtruscanQ-01.svg
EtruscanR-01.svg
Greek Sigma Z-shaped.svg
EtruscanT-01.svg
EtruscanV-01.svg
EtruscanX-01.svg
EtruscanPH-01.svg
EtruscanKH-01.svg
Archaic (to 5th c.) [←]
EtruscanA-01.svg
EtruscanC-01.svg
EtruscanE-01.svg
EtruscanF-01.svg
EtruscanZ-01.svg
EtruscanH-02.svg
EtruscanTH-03.svg
EtruscanI-01.svg
EtruscanK-01.svg
EtruscanL-01.svg
EtruscanM-01.svg
EtruscanN-01.svg
EtruscanP-01.svg
EtruscanSH-01.svg
EtruscanQ-01.svg
EtruscanR-03.svg
EtruscanS-02.svg
EtruscanT-01.svg
EtruscanV-01.svg
EtruscanX-01.svg
EtruscanPH-01.svg
EtruscanKH-01.svg
EtruscanF-02.svg
Neo (4th to 1st c.)[←]
EtruscanA-01.svg
EtruscanC-01.svg
EtruscanE-01.svg
EtruscanF-01.svg
EtruscanZ-01.svg
EtruscanH-01.svg
EtruscanTH-01.svg
EtruscanI-01.svg
EtruscanL-01.svg
EtruscanM-02.svg
EtruscanN-02.svg
EtruscanP-01.svg
EtruscanSH-01.svg
EtruscanR-04.svg
EtruscanS-02.svg
EtruscanT-02.svg
EtruscanU-02.svg
EtruscanPH-02.svg
EtruscanKH-02.svg
EtruscanF-02.svg
Value a k e v ts h th i k l m n p sh k r s t u s ph kh f
Transcription a c e v z h θ i k l m n p ś q r s t u φ χ f
Oscan - from 5th century BC [8]
Letter [←]
Oscan A3.svg
Oscan B1.svg
Oscan C1.svg
Oscan D1.svg
Oscan E1.svg
Oscan F2.svg
Oscan Z1.svg
Oscan H1.svg
Oscan I1.svg
Oscan K2.svg
Oscan L2.svg
Oscan M1.svg
Oscan N1.svg
OscanP-01.svg
Oscan R1.svg
Oscan S1.svg
Oscan T2.svg
Oscan U1.svg
Oscan F3.svg
Oscan U3.svg
Oscan I2.svg
Value a b g d ɛ v ts x? i k l m n p r s t o: f o e
Transcription A B G D E V Z H I K L M N P R S T U F Ú Í
Lepontic - 7th to 5th century BC
Letter [?][→] 𐌀 𐌄 𐌅 𐌆 𐌈 𐌉 𐌊 𐌋 𐌌 𐌍 𐌏 𐌐 𐌑 𐌓 𐌔 𐌕 𐌖 𐌗
Value
Transcription A E V Z Θ I K L M N O P Ś R S T U X
South Picene - from 6th century BC
Letter [?][→] 𐌀 𐌁 𐌂 𐌃 𐌄 𐌅 𐌇 𐌉 𐌊 𐌋 𐌌 𐌍 𐌏 𐌐 𐌒 𐌓 𐌔 𐌕 𐌖 𐌚 𐌞 𐌝 𐌟
Value
Transcription A B G D E V H I K L M N O P Q R S T U F Ú Í *

Etruscan alphabet

Main article: Etruscan alphabet

Various Indo-European languages belonging to the Italic branch (Faliscan and members of the Sabellian group, including Oscan, Umbrian, and South Picene, and other Indo-European branches such as Venetic) originally used the alphabet. Faliscan, Oscan, Umbrian, North Picene, and South Picene all derive from an Etruscan form of the alphabet.[9][10]

Alphabet of Nuceria

Segni alfabeto nucerino.PNG

The Nucerian alphabet is based on inscriptions found in southern Italy (Nocera Superiore, Sorrento, Vico Equense and other places). It is attested only between the 6th and the 5th century BC. The most important sign is the /S/, shaped like a fir tree, and possibly a derivation from the Phoenician alphabet.[citation needed]

The alphabets of Este (Venetic), Magrè and Bolzano/Bozen-Sanzeno (Raetic), Sondrio (Camunic), Lugano (Lepontic)
The alphabets of Este (Venetic), Magrè and Bolzano/Bozen-Sanzeno (Raetic), Sondrio (Camunic), Lugano (Lepontic)

Missing from the above table:

Rhaetic alphabets

The alphabet of Sanzeno (also, of Bolzano), about 100 Rhaetic inscriptions.[citation needed] The alphabet of Magrè (near Schio), east Raetian inscriptions.[citation needed]

Venetic alphabet

Alphabet of Este: Similar but not identical to that of Magrè, Venetic inscriptions.[citation needed]

Camunic alphabet

Inscribed abecedarium on rock drawings in Valcamonica.[citation needed]

Latin alphabet

Main article: History of the Latin alphabet

Duenos inscription, 6th century BC
Duenos inscription, 6th century BC

21 of the 26 archaic Etruscan letters were adopted for Old Latin from the 7th century BC, either directly from the Cumae alphabet, or via archaic Etruscan forms, compared to the classical Etruscan alphabet retaining B, D, K, O, Q, X but dropping Θ, Ξ, Ϻ, Φ, and Ψ.[citation needed]

𐌀 𐌁 𐌂 𐌃 𐌄 𐌅 𐌆 𐌇 𐌉 𐌊 𐌋 𐌌 𐌍 𐌏 𐌐 𐌒 𐌓 𐌔 𐌕 𐌖 𐌗
A B C D E F Z H I K L M N O P Q R S T V X

South Picene alphabet

Further information: South Picene language

The South Picene alphabet, known from the 6th century BC, is most like the southern Etruscan alphabet in that it uses Q for /k/ and K for /g/. ⟨.⟩ is a reduced ⟨o⟩ and ⟨:⟩ is a reduced ⟨8⟩, used for /f/.[11]

Unicode

Main article: Old Italic (Unicode block)

The Old Italic alphabets were unified and added to the Unicode Standard in March 2001 with the release of version 3.1. The Unicode block for Old Italic is U+10300–U+1032F without specification of a particular alphabet (i.e. the Old Italic alphabets are considered equivalent, and the font used will determine the variant).[12]

Writing direction (right-to-left, left-to-right, or boustrophedon) varies based on the language and even the time period. For simplicity most scholars use left-to-right and this is the Unicode default direction for the Old Italic block. For this reason, the glyphs in the code chart are shown with left-to-right orientation.[13]

Old Italic[1][2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+1030x 𐌀 𐌁 𐌂 𐌃 𐌄 𐌅 𐌆 𐌇 𐌈 𐌉 𐌊 𐌋 𐌌 𐌍 𐌎 𐌏
U+1031x 𐌐 𐌑 𐌒 𐌓 𐌔 𐌕 𐌖 𐌗 𐌘 𐌙 𐌚 𐌛 𐌜 𐌝 𐌞 𐌟
U+1032x 𐌠 𐌡 𐌢 𐌣 𐌭 𐌮 𐌯
Notes
1.^ As of Unicode version 14.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also

References

  1. ^ Old Italic (PDF) (chart), Unicode.
  2. ^ a b c Banti, Luisa (1973). Etruscan Cities and Their Culture. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 193. ISBN 9780520019102. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Wallace, Rex E. (2015). "Chapter 14: Language, Alphabet, and Linguistic Affiliation". A Companion to the Etruscans. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. p. 309. ISBN 9781118354957. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  4. ^ Adolf Kirchhoff (1877). Studien zur Geschichte des griechischen Alphabets. Berlin: Dümmler. p. 102. OL 24337090M.
  5. ^ Kirchhoff 1877, p. 168.
  6. ^ Giuliano Bonfante (1983). The Etruscan language. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 64. ISBN 0719009022. OCLC 610734784. OL 19629507M.
  7. ^ Herbert Alexander Stützer (1992). Die Etrusker und ihre Welt. Köln: DuMont. p. 12. ISBN 3770131282. LCCN 94191271. OCLC 611534598. OL 1198388M.
  8. ^ Carl Darling Buck (1904). A grammar of Oscan and Umbrian. Boston: Ginn. p. 22. OL 7118142M.
  9. ^ "What Is the Indo-European Family of Languages?". ThoughtCo.
  10. ^ Fortson, Benjamin W. (2004). Indo-European language and culture : an introduction (PDF). Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub. ISBN 1405103167.
  11. ^ Stuart-Smith, Jane (2004). Phonetics and Philology: Sound Change in Italic. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-925773-6.
  12. ^ The Unicode Consortium (16 May 2001), "7.10 Old Italic (new section)", Unicode Standard Annex #27, The Unicode Standard, Version 3.1.
  13. ^ Jenkins, John; Everson, Michael (16 August 1997), "E.Processing", Proposal for encoding the Etruscan script in ISO/IEC 10646

Further reading