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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Etruscans.

Etruscan, a Mediterranean language, is attested by more than 10,000 inscriptions, on various objects, written in a phonetic alphabet similar to the Greek alphabet. The most important texts are fragments of a sacred book, of which some 1,200 words have been preserved, that were written on the wrappings of a mummy now housed at the National Museum in Zagreb. Other important texts are an inscription of 300 words on a tablet found at Capua and a dedicatory inscription with a parallel text in Phoenician found at Pyrgri. Also known are 60 glosses preserved in works by classical and early medieval authors, loanwords in Latin, and numerous toponyms (seeTOPONYMY).

The meaning of approximately 150 Etruscan words has been established. Etruscan, whose historical relation to other languages is unclear, most closely resembles the language of an inscription on a stele found on the island of Lemnos. Attempts by such scholars as V. Georgiev to prove a relationship between Etruscan and the Hittite-Luwian languages have been criticized by specialists.


Kharsekin, A. I. “Ob etrusskom iazyke.” In the collection Tainy drevnikh pis’men. Moscow, 1976. (Translated from English, German, French, and Italian.)
Pallottino, M. “Problema etrusskogo iazyka.” Ibid.
Pallottino, M. Testimonia linguae Etruscae, 2nd ed. Florence, 1968.
Pfiffig, A. J. Die etruskische Sprache. Graz, 1969.
Georgiev, V. Etruskische Sprachwissenschaft, vols. 1–2. Sofia, 1970–71.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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