Etruscan language

Formerly spoken in



The Etruscan language - also called Etruscan - is an especially epigraphic traditional, extinct language. It was spoken by the Etruscans from the 9th century BC to the 1st century AD in the then province of Etruria.

Etruscan texts come from Etruria, Campania, Lazio, Falerii ( field of Faliscans ), Veii, Cerveteri ( Caere ), Tarquinia and their environment, but also from areas outside Italy, with whom the Etruscans established diplomatic and trade contacts, such B. later Gallia Narbonensis, but also Corsica, Sardinia and the Carthaginian North Africa. The northernmost inscription is located in Austria near the Guffert. The texts can be translated to today only in fragments.

Etruscan was written in a variant of the old Italic alphabet (see Etruscan writing).

  • 4.1 Etruscan name
  • 4.2 Some of number words
  • 5.1 German
  • 5.2 English
  • 5.3 Italian
  • 5.4 French
  • 5.5 Dutch
  • 5.6 Russian

Known lyrics

Apart from the inscriptions that are found on many devices and objects, such as pottery and mirrors on grave walls and on coffins and on fibulae ( quite short, often only with a name of the deceased consisting ), the main texts obtained are as follows in Etruscan language:

  • The Zagreb mummy wrappings (Latin Liber linteus, a linen book )
  • The clay tablet of Capua (Latin tabula capuana )
  • The Cippus of Perusia (Latin Cippus Peru sine )
  • The gold plates of pyrgi
  • Four inscriptions on lead plates
  • The bronze plaque of Cortona (Latin tabula Cortonensis )
  • The Golden Book

Linguistic classification

The genetic affiliation of the Etruscan to a language family is still unclear, although there have been attempts a connection to Indo-European and non-Indo languages. A relationship of Etruscan with the pre-Greek language Lemnian on the Aegean island of Lemnos BC spoken until the invasion of Athens in the 6th century could be detected. A connection to the Rhaetian language was adopted in the Alpine region for both languages. From this we can deduce a tyrsenische language family.

Due to the linguistic connection with the Lemnian the hypothesis could be supported that the Etruscans immigrated from Asia Minor agäisch - room; However, a reverse migration direction can not be excluded a priori; in this case, the Etruscan was an indigenous language of Italy. However, there is in the distribution area of the Etruscan evidence of a linguistic substrate, which could be responsible for the said connection with the Rhaetian.

Steinbauer attempts to establish a connection between the Etruscan language and the Indo-European Lemnian over Western Anatolia similarities. Woudhuizen has been particularly concerned with the relations with the Anatolian language Luwian.

Among the attempts to bring the Etruscan with other languages ​​and language families in conjunction, the following theories are:

  • Hebrew language: 16th Century
  • Italic languages: L. Lanzi (1789 ), E. Lattes (1869 ), W. Corssen (1874 /75) and W. Deecke (1882 )
  • Finno -Ugric languages ​​: Wilhelm Deecke (1875 ), Martha J. (1913 )
  • Armenian Language: Sophus Bugge (1886 )
  • Caucasian Languages ​​: A. Trombetti (1909 ), V. Thomsen
  • Indogermanoid: Paul Kretschmer (1925 )
  • Indo-European languages: E. Goldmann (1929 /30; 1936), E. Vetter ( 1937)
  • Turkic languages ​​: Wilhelm Brandenstein (1937 )
  • Albanian language: Z. Mayani (1961 )
  • Hittite language: V. Georgiev ( 1962/63/79 )
  • Ancient Greek Language: A. I. Charsekin (1963 )
  • Hungarian Language: M. Alinei (2003)
  • Luwian language: F. C. Woudhuizen (2008)
  • Dravidian languages ​​: S. Konow:
  • Basque language: V. Thomsen
  • Egyptian language: V. Wanscher.

Even fewer compounds can be prepared for macro Nostra family of the tables, with certain similarities between different language families (among the Indo-European, the African, Asian and Uralic language family ) should be explained.



After Helmut Rix (→ literature ), one can distinguish the following in Etruscan case ( V stands for a vowel in the following ):

The plural is in the nouns by the suffix - marked (V ) r or -χva/-cva/-va/-ua. The plural marker is located in front of the Kasusmarker.


There are Etruscan no personal endings, also the number (singular or plural) of the subject is not marked.

Ame is, for example, " I am, you are, he / she / it is; we are, you are, they are. "

Verbal nouns are formed by :-u ( result ), θ ( simultaneity ), as ( prematurity ) ,-e ( infinitive ).


About 200 Etruscan words are more or less interpreted the meaning of the remaining approximately 300-400 words is still unclear. The interpretations of the individual researchers are partly still far apart and should be viewed critically. Some Etruscan words with secured meaning:

Part of the Etruscan vocabulary consists of " etruskisierten " words from other languages ​​, such as the Italic languages ​​, Greek, Persian, Punic and Others

Etruscan name

The Etruscans used alongside its own name and those of Italian, Greek and other Indo-European languages.

Some examples of purely Etruscan name:

Some of number words

(after Pfiffig 1969)