Lemnian language

Formerly spoken in

Aegean languages ​​, tyrsenische language family

  • Lemnian



For the Lemnian language there from antiquity sparse written records dating from the 6th century BC by the Greek island of Lemnos in the northern Aegean. You will be counted according to geographical criteria to the Aegean languages. As of ancient writers the names Tyrsener ( Tyrrhenians ) tyrsenisch ( Tyrrhenian ) for both inhabitants of Lemnos, as well as with respect to Italy ( specifically: Etruria ) are used, the question arises of the relationship. You will be supported by the Linguistics in the form of the newer theory of a language family tyrsenischen account that is assigned (as Westtyrsenisch both) the three languages ​​Lemnian (as Osttyrsenisch ), Etruscan and Rhaetic. This is done by card cogent similarities in the linguistic, which can not be due to chance or mere language contact. The discussion of the distribution channels of these languages ​​is still in full swing.


The Lemnian was first by the discovery of a grave stele known ( " Stele of Lemnos " ) .. The grave stele which dates from the 6th century BC, were found in 1884 or 1885 in the village of Kaminia, as spolia from a church wall near the ancient necropolis. Kaiminia is located near the archaeological site of the 3rd millennium in Poliochni. More than a hundred very short inscriptions in the form of graffiti and Dipinti were found in Efestia and Chloi on Lemnos, an isolated Graffiti in Myrina (found in 1960, Beschi 1992-1993, 269 with fig.5 ). In 2009 another stone inscription was discovered in this language in the ancient theater of Efestia.


The origin of the alphabet, in which the inscriptions are written Lemnian is controversial. After Carlo de Simone is descended from the Etruscan alphabet and should have been brought from Italy to Lemnos. Melanie Malzahn and Luciano Agostiniani argue, however, that it is an independent derivation of a Greek alphabet. The linguistic relationship of Lemnian with the Etruscan Etruscan and Rhaetic Rätische remains unaffected by this issue Tyrsenische languages. While the context of the Lemnian is almost universally explained by the Etruscan through the adoption of a westward migration, there are now also pleading for the adoption of an origin of Lemnian from the area of Italy around the eighth century or a little later ( De Simone, Oettinger, Eichner ). The archaeological findings can be seen but none of it (charging ).

The thesis that the home region of the Etruscan language suspected in the Aegean Sea with western Asia Minor, as it was already present in the ancient world (see below) remains unaffected, since a westward migration of the later Etruscan and Rhaetians by several centuries earlier (12th - 11th century may have taken place BC).

Observations in ancient literature

Already in Homer in the Odyssey, there are notes on non- Greek inhabitants of the island: " ... because Hephaestus is no longer in this country, but he has already gone away to Lemnos to the Sintiern with rough language" (8, 293-294 )

To 510 BC conquered Athens by Miltiades the island, and in the period following the Lemnian is not attested. From 450 BC Attic Klerouchen settle on the island of Greek.

In the Aeneid of Virgil is believed that the Etruscans came forth from Troy. This is supported by linguistic evidence, which the Lemnian and the Etruscan language Luwian closely into the Anatolian language, so you can connect to the north-west Asia Minor.

Characteristics and proximity to the Etruscan

The sound system is not completely identical with the Etruscan, but fell to an early age that both languages ​​use only four vowel letters of the Greek alphabet:

There are also parallels with the consonants:

On the stele, the formulas find mav śialχveis avis ( other reading: sialχveiz aviz ), the original text has: ... ΣΙΑΛΧFΕΙΖ: ΆFΙΖ; and avis śialχvis ( other reading: aviz sialχveiz, the original text has: ΆFΙΖ: ΣΙΑΛΧFΙΖ ) "(? seventy ) at the age of forty years (?) " or " at the age of forty years (?) ", both of which are amazing with the Etruscan Syntagma Avils maχs śealχls -c ( " at the age of forty-five (?) years " ) or with the Etruscan. Decade number word form śealχls " forty " matches.

The forms mav or maχ could instead ( as is represented by some Etruscologists ) as number words for " five " be interpreted as number words for " four " because the Luwian word maua "four" means in the Anatolian language. After rereading of the text by Heiner Eichner, however, would come (without the Kasusandung -s or -z also grammatically incorrect ) number word mav in elimination of this. The forms śialχv [e ] is or sealχls were previously rather than alternatively translated as number words for " forty " with " sixty ".

The vocabulary of Lemnian is still so little known that the alternative relies on the previously backed interpretations of the Etruscan.

Even grammatical similarities could be identified, so that one starts from a common Urstufe, as the Ur - Etruskolemnisch (DH Steinbauer ) or proto - Tyrsenisch (on the back is also the Rhaetian; H. Rix ) was called.

A recently expressed theory that the Etruscans or other coming from Italy language support Lemnos had settled in the 9th or 7th century BC, from Italy, is not by finds and not (yet? ) Is too little by linguistic evidence (Carlo de Simone, Norbert Oettinger, Heiner Eichner ).