New Etruscan Text Found.

A Phys.org story says:

Archaeologists translating a very rare inscription on an ancient Etruscan temple stone have discovered the name Uni—an important female goddess.

The discovery indicates that Uni—a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother goddess at this particular place—may have been the titular deity worshipped at the sanctuary of Poggio Colla, a key settlement in Italy for the ancient Etruscan civilization.

The mention is part of a sacred text that is possibly the longest such Etruscan inscription ever discovered on stone, said archaeologist Gregory Warden, professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, main sponsor of the archaeological dig.
[…]

Warden said it will be easier to speak with more certainty once the archaeologists are able to completely reconstruct the text, which consists of as many as 120 characters or more. While archaeologists understand how Etruscan grammar works, and know some of its words and alphabet, they expect to discover new words never seen before, particularly since this discovery veers from others in that it’s not a funerary text.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Etruscan, and I hope this does provide new material beyond the goddess’s name. Thanks, Trevor!

Comments

  1. Eli Nelson says:

    Finding a new Etruscan text is exciting. I wonder though if the evidence really does make it clear that “Uni” is the name of a goddess. I feel like it would be difficult to distinguish an unfamiliar name and an unfamiliar common noun, and while the article makes it sound like the name is some huge and definite discovery, the actual quoted professor refers to “the possible presence in the inscription of the name of Uni.”

  2. Speaking of Etruscan: Anyone know what happened to Paleoglot?

  3. Trond Engen says:

    Warden said it will be easier to speak with more certainty once the archaeologists are able to completely reconstruct the text, which consists of as many as 120 characters or more. While archaeologists understand how Etruscan grammar works, and know some of its words and alphabet, they expect to discover new words never seen before, particularly since this discovery veers from others in that it’s not a funerary text.

    Let’s hope, but it’s a tweet.

    Eli Nelson: Finding a new Etruscan text is exciting. I wonder though if the evidence really does make it clear that “Uni” is the name of a goddess.

    Uni is known since Antiquity as the Etruscan equivalent of Juno and Hera, just as Tina was equated with Jupiter and Zeus. But it seems to be very early in the dechiffering. I think they’ve scanned the text cursory for familiar words just to get a quick idea of what it’s about. The real work will begin by identifying morphology and break it down into words and sentences. Then they’ll look for familiar words and build out from there to attach meaning to the sentences.

    Sili: Speaking of Etruscan: Anyone know what happened to Paleoglot?

    Overheated and went up in a cloud of vitriol?

  4. Eli Nelson says:

    @Trond Engen: Oh, thanks for explaining. I misread “names” in the article title as meaning “gives a name to” rather than the intended meaning “mentions the name of.”

  5. Trond Engen says:

    Me too at first, but it seemed annoyingly hyperbolic with just three letters lifted from the text without context, so I went reading.

  6. Did the Etruscans have goddesses that weren’t female?

  7. Tina (also Tinh, Tins, Tinia) is male and equated with Zeus and Juppiter.

    But otherwise male names seems to end in -e, in nom/acc at least, so I’m not sure what that form actually is.

  8. I think Rodger is pointing out that a word could have been deleted from “an important female goddess” without affecting the meaning significantly.

    This is super-exciting stuff. I hope that Larissa Bonfante can leverage it into a new and expanded edition of her book.

  9. a word could have been deleted — or goddesses could have been shortened to god. I’m so used to gender-neutral ‘occupation’ names by now that I didn’t even notice there was a redundancy.

  10. Trond Engen says:

    I think it’s an editing error, stopping halfway between godess and female deity.

  11. Jim (another one) says:

    “Speaking of Etruscan: Anyone know what happened to Paleoglot?”

    That was the first thing I thought of too. I went and checked and there have been no new posting since late July of 2014, and only a few before that for the entire year. He probably did go up in a cloud of vitriol.

    “Did the Etruscans have goddesses that weren’t female?”

    Maybe they were just gender fluid. There is nothing new under the sun.

  12. How odd and lovely to see this piece of news show up on your blog! Definitely a big deal in my neck of the woods, but one I’d only seen on local websites up to now. BTW, whoever wrote “female goddess” was probably translating “divinità femminile,” which turns up a lot in reference to the story and makes perfect sense in Italian.

  13. Thanks, that sounds very plausible.

  14. marie-lucie says:

    “divinità femminile,” = French (une) “divinité féminine” = “female deity”

    Une divinité, a grammatically feminine word in both French and Italian, can refer to a divine figure of either sex, like English “deity”.

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