Neuerscheinung — Recently published


Fred C. Woudhuizen



A Word for Word Commentary to and Translation of the Longest Etruscan Text


2013. 210 pp. € 40,-. ISBN 978-3-85124-231-7

(Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft, Neue Folge, Band 5)


Recent studies on the longest extant Etruscan text, the Liber linteus (formerly known as Agramer Mumienbinde)—written in ink on linen secondarily cut into strips in order to be used for the mummification of a 40 year old Egyptian lady, the mummy having been acquired by the museum of Zagreb already in the 19th century AD—by Bouke van der Meer (2007) and Valentina Belfiore (2010) have decisively pointed out that the parts of the text which have been preserved or are plausibly emendable on the basis of the repetitive nature of the text provide us with reliable working material.

In my monograph entitled Etruscan as a Colonial Luwian Language, which appeared as IBK Sonderheft 128 in 2008, I have argued at length on the basis of a painstaking treatment of the most important Etruscan inscriptions at hand, and while even using a highly repetitive section from the text of the Liber linteus, that the Etruscan language is etymologically related to that of the members of the Luwian language group as attested for the period from the Early Iron Age to Classical era, Luwian hieroglyphic, Lycian, and Lydian. This endeavor all in all had a bearing on a total amount of ca. 250 phrases, which, thanks to the etymological connection, could be translated word for word for the first time since the rediscovery of the Etruscan language in early modern times, more than half a millennium ago.

This working hypothesis, which was further elaborated by the treatment of some more texts in my contribution to Talanta 42-43 (2010-2011) 215-234, entailing some 30 phrases in sum, can now be put to the ultimate test by applying it to the text of the Liber linteus in its entirety—in so far this is well preserved or emendable, of course, which amounts to some 380 phrases in sum and therefore, if the hypothesis turns out to be valid, allows us to more than double the number of phrases translated thus far!

As the etymological relationship of Etruscan with the aforesaid members of the Luwian language group turns out to be particularly effective in the heart and core of the language, its grammar, typified, like that of its IE Anatolian counterparts, by introductory particles with enclitic forms of the pronoun of the 3rd person attached to them, I can, after 32 years of hard labor, finally say: “Je tiens mon affaire!”. But it is, of course, up to the scholarly world to pass final judgment in this matter.


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Institut für Sprachen und Literaturen der Universität Innsbruck

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