Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 862 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
NUMISMATICS. locality (see below). Niebuhr attempted on slender grounds (Rom. Hist., ed. 3 [Eng. trans.], i. p. 41) to distinguish between the Tvppgvoi and the Tusci in order to accept the strongly supported tradition of a Lydian origin for the " Tyrrhenes " (see below), while rejecting it for the " Tuscans," but no one has since attempted to maintain the distinction (Dittenberger, Hermes, 1906, p. 85, footnote, regards the form in -flaw; as a " Graecized form of a local name " equivalent to Tusci), and we now know enough of the morphology of Etruscan names to recognize Tur-s-co- and Tur-s-eno- as closely parallel Etrusco-Latin stems, cf. Venu-c-ius: Venu-senus both from Etr. venu (Schulze, Lat. Eigennamen, p. 405) and Ras-ena: Ras-c-anius (ibid. p. 92); or Voluscus, Volscus: Volusenus (where the formative suffixes in each word are Etrusco-Latin whether the root be the same or not). But the analysis of the names cannot be entirely satisfactory until the first syllable of Etrusci—in Greek writers sometimes "Erpouo'KOC, e.g. in Strabo—ed. Meineke—has been explained. 2. The extent of territory over which this language was spoken varied considerably at different epochs, but we have only a few fixed points of chronology. From two separate sources, both traditional and probably sound (Dion. Hal. i. 26, and Plutarch, Sulla, 7; cf. Varro, quoted by Censorinus c. 17. 6), we should ascribe the first appearance of the Etruscans in Italy to the 12th century B.C. The intimate connexion in form between the names Roma, Romulus and the Etruscan gentes rumate, rumulna (Romatia, Romilia, &c.), and the fact that many of the early names in Rome (e.g. Ratumenna, Capena, Tities, Luceres, Ramnes) are characteristically Etruscan, justifies the conclusion that the foundation of the city, in the sense at least of its earliest fortification, was due to Etruscans (Schulze, p. 58o). The most likely interpretation of Cato's date for the Etruscan "foundation" of Capua is 598 B.C. (Conway, Italic Dialects, pp. 99 and 83). In 524 B.C. (Dion. Hal. vii. 2) the Etruscans were defeated by Aristodemus of Cumae, and in 474 by Hiero of Syracuse in a great naval battle off Cumae. Between 445 and 425 (It. Dial. 1.c.) they were driven out of Capua by the Samnites, but they lingered in parts of Campania (as far south as Salernum) till at least the next century, as inscriptions show (ib. pp. 94 if., 53), as at Praeneste and Tusculum (ib. p. 310 ff.) till the 3rd century or later. In Etruria itself the oldest inscriptions (on the stelae of Faesulae and Volaterrae) can hardly be later than the 6th century B.C. (C. Pauli, Altital. Forsch. ii. part 2, 24 ff.) ; the Romans had become dominant early in the 3rd century (C.I.L. xi. i passim), but the bulk of the Etruscan inscriptions show later forms than those found in the old town of Volsinii destroyed by the Romans in 28o B.C. (C. Pauli, ib. 127). In the north of Italy we find Etruscan written in two alphabets (of Sondrio and Bozen) between 300 and 150 B.C. (id. ib. pp. 63 and 126). The evidence of an Etruscan linen book wrapped round a mummy (see below) seems to suggest that there was some Etruscan colony at Alexandria in the period of the Ptolemies. At least one Etruscan suffix has passed into the Romance languages, -iOcr or -ita in Etr. lautniOa (from lautni " familiaris," or "libertus "), and Etr.-Lat. Iulilta, which became Ital. -etta, Fr.-Eng. -ette. 3. Finally must be mentioned the remarkable pre-Hellenic epitaph discovered on the island of Lemnos in 1885 (Pauli, Altital. Forsch. and 2), the language of which offers remark-able resemblances to Etruscan, especially in the phrase .ialxveiz aviz (? = "fifty years old "); cf. Etr. cealxus avils (? " twenty years old ") ; and the pair of endings -ezi, -ale in consecutive words; cf. Etr. larOiale hulxniesi; the style of the sculptural figure has also parallels in the oldest type of Etruscan monuments. The alphabet of this inscription is identical (Kirchhoff, Stud. Griech. Alphab., 4th ed., p. 54) with that of the older group of Phrygian inscriptions, which mention King Midas and are therefore older than 62o B.C. With this should be combined the fact that a marked peculiarity of the South-Etruscan alphabet ('j`=f, but earlier = the Greek digamma) has demonstrably arisen out of 4=q) on Phrygian soil, see Class. Rev. xii., 1898, p. 462. Despite the reasonable but not unanswerable difficulty of Kretschmer (Einleitung in d. Geschichte d. griech. Sprache, 1896, p. 240), the weight of the evidence appears to be distinctly in favour of the Etruscan character of the language, and Pauli's view is now generally accepted by students of Etruscan; hence the inclusion of the inscription in the Corpus Inscc. Etruscarum. 4. The first attempt to interpret Etruscan inscriptions was made by Phil. Buonarroti (Explic. et conject. ad monum. &c., Florence, 1726), who, as was almost inevitable at that epoch, tried to explain the language as a dialect of Latin. But no real study was possible before the determination of the alphabet by Lepsius (Inscc. Umbr. et Oscae, Leipzig, 1841), and his discovery that five of the Tables of Iguvium (q.v.), though written in Etruscan alphabet, contained a language akin to Latin but totally different from Etruscan, though some of the non-Italic peculiarities of Etruscan had been already pointed out by Ottfried Muller (Die Etrusker, Breslau, 1828). The earliest inscriptions, e.g. the terra-cotta stele of Capua of the 5th century B.C., are written in "serpentine boustrophedon," but in its common form of the 3rd century B.C. the alphabet is retrograde, and has the following nineteen letters: )#Qre ,IKi imgetvt8 a; • c, e, v, z, h, 1, m, n. p, s', r, s, t, u, x, f On older monuments )f ='k occurs as an archaic form of c ; 9 =q; pd, a sibilant of some kind; and C = , this last mostly in foreign words. In the earlier monuments the cross-bars of e and v and h have a more decidedly oblique inclination, and s is often angular (2). The mediae b, g, d, though they often occur in words handed down by writers as Etruscan, are never found in the Etruscan inscriptions, though the presence of the mediae in the Umbrian and Oscan alphabets and in the abecedaria shows that they existed in the earliest form of the Etruscan alphabet, 0 is very rare. The form t (earlier Nt)=/ in south Etruscan and Faliscan inscriptions should also be mentioned. Its combination with H h shows. that it had once served to denote the sound of digamma just as Latin F. The varieties of the alphabet in use between the Apennines and the Alps were first examined by Mommsen (Inschriften nord-etruskischen Alphabets, 1853), and have since been discussed by Pauli (Altitalische Forschungen, 1885–1894, esp. vol. iii., Die Veneter, p. 218, where other references will be found, see also VENETI). s. The determination of the alphabet was followed by a large number of different attempts to explain the Etruscan forms from words in some other language to which it was supposed that Etruscan might be akin; Scandinavian and Basque and Semitic have been tried among the rest. These attempts, how-ever ingenious, have all proved fruitless; even the latest and least fanciful (Remarques sur le parente de la langue etrusque, Copenhagen, 1899; Bulletin de l'Academie Royale des Sciences et des Lettres de Danemark, 1899, p. 373), in which features of some living dialects of the Caucasus are cautiously compared by Prof. V. Thomsen (as independently by Pauli, see § 12), is at the best premature, and as tc the numerals probably misleading. Worst of all was the effort of W. Corssen (Die Sprache der Etrusker, 1875), in whom learning and enthusiasm were combined with loose methods of both epigraphy and grammar, to revive the view of Buonarroti. The only solid achievement in the period of Corssen's influence (1860–1880) was the description of the works of art (tombs, vases, mirrors and the like) from the different centres of Etruscan population; Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria (1st ed., 1848; 2nd, 1878) contributes something even to the study of the language, because many of the figures in the scenes sculptured or engraved bear names in Etruscan form (e.g. usils, " sun "; or " of the sun," on the templum of Placentia; (ujlun.t, " Bacchus "; tuxulxa, a demon or fury; see Dennis, Cities, 2nd ed., frontispiece, and p. 354)• 6. The reaction against Corssen's method was led first by W. Deecke, Corssen and die Sprache der Etrusker (1876), Etruskische Forschungen (1875–1880), and continued by Carl Pauli at first jointly with Deecke and afterwards singly with greater power (Etruskische Studien, 1873), Etr. Forschungen u. Studien (Gottingen-Stuttgart, 1881-1884), Altitalische Studien (Hanover, 1883–1887); Altitalische Forschungen (Leipzig, 1885–1894). Of the work achieved during the last generation by him and the few but distinguished scholars associated with him (Danielsson, Schaefer, Skutsch and Torp) it may perhaps be said that, though the positive knowledge yet reaped is scanty, so much has been done in other ways that the prospect is full of promise. In the first place, the only sound method of dealing with an unknown language, that of interpreting the records of the language by their own internal evidence in the first instance (not by the use of imaginary parallels in better known languages whose kinship with the problematic language is merely assumed), has been finally established and is now followed even by scholars like Elia Lattes, who still retain some affection for the older point of view. By this means enough certainty has been obtained on many characteristic features of the language to bring about a general recognition of the fact that Etruscan, if we put aside its borrowings from the neighbouring dialects of Italy, is in no sense an Indo-European language. In the second place, the great undertaking of the Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum, founded by Carl Pauli, with the support of the Berlin Academy, conducted by him from 1893 till his death in tool, and continued by Danielsson, Herbig and Torp, for the first time provided a sound basis for the study in a text of the inscriptions, edited with care and arranged according to their provenance. The first volume contains over four thousand inscriptions from the northern half of Etruria. Thirdly, the discoveries of recent years have richly increased the available material, especially by two documents each of some length. (1) The 5th-century stele of terra-cotta from S. Maria di Capua already cited, published by Buecheler in Rhein. Museum, lv., 1900, p. 1) and now in the Royal Museum at Berlin, is the longest Etruscan inscription yet found. Its best preserved part contains some two hundred words of continuous text, and is divided into paragraphs, of which the third may be cited in the reading approved by Daniels-son and Torp, and with the division of words adopted by Torp (in his Bemerkungen zur etrusk. Inschr. von S. Maria di Capua, Christiania, 1905), to which the student may be referred. " isvei tule ilucve, an prig laruns ilucuOux, nun: tiOuaial xues xaOc(e) anulis mulu rizile, ziz riin puiian acasri, ti-m an tule, leOam sul; ilucu-per prig an ti, ar vus; to aius, nunfleri." (2) The linen wrappings of an Egyptian mummy (of the Ptolemaic period) preserved in the Agram museum were observed to show on their inner surface some writing, which proved to be Etruscan and to contain more than a thousand words of largely continuous text (Krall, " Die etruskischen Mumienbinden des Agramer. Museums," Denkschr. d. k. Akad. d. Wissenschaften, 41, Vienna, 1892). The writing has probably nothing to do with the mummy as it is on the inner surface of the bands, and these are torn fragments of the original book. The alphabet is of about the 3rd century B.C. 7. From the recurrence of a number of particular formulae with frequent numerals at intervals, the book seems to be a liturgical document. Torp has pointed out that the two documents have some forty words in common, and, with Lattes (" Primi Apprenti sulla grande iscriz. Etrusca," &c., in Rendic. d. Reale Inst. Lomb., serie ii. vol. xxxviii., 1900, p. 345 ff.), has shown that both contain lists of offerings made to certain gods (among them Suri, LeOam, and Calu) ; and Skutsch (Rhein. Mus. 56, 1901, p. 639) has added a plausible conjecture as to the occasions of the offerings, based on the phrase "flerxva neOunsl " " Neptuni statua" (or " statuae pars") ; Torp has made it very probable that the words vac) (or vacil) and nun, which recur at regular intervals in both, mean " address," " recite," " pray," or the like, preceding or following spoken parts of the ritual. 8. Along with the growth of the material, some positive increase in knowledge of the language has been attained. Independently of the work done upon particular inscriptions, such as that whic h has just been described, a considerable addition has come from the elaborate study of Latin proper names already mentioned by Prof. W. Schulze of Berlin (Zur Geschichte lateinischer Eigennamen, Berlin, 1904), which has incidentally embodied and somewhat extended the points of Etruscan nomenclature previously observed. The chief results for our purpose may be briefly stated. It will be convenient to use the following terms: (1) praenomen=personal name of the individual. e.g. Vel or Lar of a man, Lar*i or Oana of a woman. (2) nomen=family name. father. e.g. Hanusa (in Latin spelling Hannossa) or Pultusa (also Pultus) of a man; Hanunia of a woman. All these are commonly in the " nominative " (as the examples just quoted from Schulze, pp. 316-327) in sepulchral inscriptions. Besides these, we have certain other descriptions used in forms which may be called a " genitive-dative " case, or a " derivative possessive " Adjective. These may be entitled: (5) paternum (a) =praenomen of father, used generally after the nomen of son or daughter. e.g. arnOal " of Arne." more commonly simply ar, so is for Laris-al, to which clan " son," often abbreviated c, and sex or sec (abbrev. s) daughter," are sometimes added. paternum (b) =nomen of father, used only after the praenomen of a daughter (e.g. Oana velOurnas, " Thana daughter of Velthurna "), to which sex " daughter," often abbreviated s, is sometimes added. (6) maternum (a) = nomen of mother. e.g. pumpunial, " of Pumpuni " (in Lat. form Pomponia) ; alfnal " of Alfnei (Lat. Alfia) ; hetarias, " of Hetaria." maternum (b)= cognomen of mother. e.g. vetnal, " of Vetui," or " of Vetonia," hesual, " of Hesui." maternum (c) =agnomen of mother. e.g cumeruniai, " of Cumerunia," i.e. " of a daughter of the cumeru-family." (7) maritale—(i.) nomen, or (ii.) cognomen, or (iii.) agnomen of husband, used directly after the nomen of the wife, the word puia, " wife," being often added. e.g. (i.) larOi cencui larcnasa, " Larthia Cenconia, wife of a Largena "; (ii.) larOia pulfnei spaspusa, " Larthia Pulfennia, wife of a Spaspo "; this form being the same as that used for the agnomen of a man (see above)—(iii.) hastia cainei leusla, " Hastia Caia, wife of a son of a Leo "; and with a longer and possibly not synonymous form of suffix. Oania titi latinial.fec hanuslisa, ThaniaTitia, daughter of Latinia, wife of a Hanusa "—these secondary derivatives in -sla, &c., being an example of what is called genetivus genetivi, a characteristic Etruscan formation, not confined to this feminine use. These examples will probably enable the reader to interpret the eat mass of the names on Etruscan tombs. It should be added F) that no clear distinction can be drawn between the use of the cognomina and the nomina, though it is probable that in origin the cognomen came from some family connected. with the gene by marriage; and (2). that the praenomen generally comes first, but sometimes second (especially when both nomen and praenomen are added in the genitive to the name of a son or daughter). 9. The examples given illustrate also the few principles of in-flexion and word-formation that are reasonably certain, for example, the various " genitival " endings. Those in -s and -1 are also found in dedications where in Latin a dative would be used: e.g. (mi) Oupl8af alpan turce " (hoc) deae Thupelthae donum dedit," where turce shows the only verbal inflection yet certainly known; cf. amce, " was," arce, " made," ziiacnuce, " held the office of a Zilax," lupuce, " passed away." More important are the formative principles which the proper names display. Endings -a, -u, -e and -na are common in the " Nominative "—and in Etruscan there appears to be no distinction between this case and the Accusative— of men's names; the endings -i, -nei, -nia and -unia are among the commonest for women's names. But no trace of gender has yet been observed in common nouns or adjectives. Nor is it always easy to distinguish a " Case " from a noun-stem. The women's names corresponding to the men's names in -u are sometimes -ui, some-times -nei, sometimes longer forms (ves-acnei, beside ves-u, hanunia from hanu). And the so-called Genitives can themselves be inflected, as we have seen. The form neOunsl " of Neptune," may even have swallowed up the nominatival -s of the Italic Neptunus. to. In view of the protracted discussion as to the numerals and the dice on which the first six are written, it should be added that only the following points are certain: (i) that max=one; (2) that the next five numbers are somehow represented by ci, Bu, huD, sa and zal; (3) and the next three somehow by cezp-, sem4-and muv; (4) that the suffix -alx- denotes the tens, or some of them, e.g. cealxbeside ci (? 50 and 5) ; (5) that the suffix -z or -s is multiplicative (es(a)ls from zal). It is almost certain that zal must mean either 2 or 6, and of these a stronger case can, perhaps, be made for the latter meaning. Zathrum appears to be the corresponding ten (? 6o). Skutsch's article in Indogerm. Forschungen, v. p. 256, remains the best account. In close connexion with the numerals on sepulchral inscriptions appear the words ril, " old, aged," avils, " annorum, or " aetatis," and tivr, " month " (from tiv, `moon "). n. Schulze has shown (e.g., p. 410) that a large number of familiar endings (e.g. those which when Latinized become -acius; -alius, -annius, -arius, -asius, -alius, -avus, -avius, -ax, and a similar series with -o-, -ocius, &c.), and further those with the elements, -lno-,-lino-, -enna, -eno-, -tern-, -turn-, -tric-, &c., exhibit different methods by which nomina were built up from praenomina in Etruscan. Finally it is of considerable historical importance to observe that a great mass of the praenomina used for this purpose are clearly of Italic origin, e.g. Helva, Barba, Vespa, Nero, Pedo, from all of which (and many more) there are derivatives which at one stage or other were certainly or probably Etruscan. It is this incorporation of Italic elements into the Etruscan nomenclature—itself a familiar and inevitable feature of the pirate-type of conquest and settlement, under which many women who bear and nurse and first name the children belong to the conquered race—that has entrapped so many scholars into the delusion that the language itself was Indo-European. 12. So far the language has been discussed without any reference to ethnology, But the facts stated above in regard to the extension of the language in space and time are clearly adverse to the hypothesis that it came into Italy from the north, and fully bear out Livy's account (v. 33. 11) that the Etruscans of the Alpine valleys had been driven into that isolation by the invasion of the Gauls (beginning about 400 B.C.). And the accumulating evidence of a connexion with Asia Minor (see e.g. above §3) justifies confidence in the unbroken testimony of every Roman writer, which cannot but represent the traditions of the Etruscans themselves, and the evidence of similar traditions from the Asiatic side given by Herodotus (i.97) to the effect that they came to Italy by sea from Lydia. Against this there has never been anything to set but the silence of " the Lydian historian Xanthus " (Dion. Hal. i. 28; cf. 3o) who may have had many excellent reasons for it other than a disbelief of the tradition, and of whom in any case we know nothing save the vague commendation of Dionysius. And it is not merely the miscellanies of Athenaeus (e.g. xii. 519) but the unimpeachable testimony of the Umbrian Plautus (Cistellaria, 2. 3. 19), singularly neglected since Dennis's day, that convicts the Etruscans of an institution practised by the Lydians and other non-Indo-European peoples of Asia Minor, but totally repugnant to all the peoples among whom the Etruscans moved in their western settlement. The reader may be referred to Dennis's introductory chapter for a very serviceable collection of the other ancient testimony as to their origin.. In the present state of our knowledge of the language it is best to disregard its apparent or alleged resemblances to various features of various Caucasian dialects pointed out by Thomsen (see above) and Pauli (Altit. Forsch. ii. 2, p. 147 ff.), and to acquiesce in Kretschmer's (op. cit. p. 408) non liquet as to the particular people of Asia Minor from whom the Etruscans sprang. But meanwhile it is clear that such evidence as has been obtained by epigraphic and linguistic research is not in any sense hostile but distinctly favourable to the tradition of their origin which they themselves must have maintained.
End of Article: NUMISMATICS
NUMISMATICS (Lat. numisma, nomisma, a coin; from th...

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.