23 Oct 2007

TLE 58: A reader challenge

Hey, fellow readers. I have a challenge for you. I want you to look at the following entertaining versions of a single inscription indexed by Massimo Pallotino as TLE 58.

D'Aversa, La lingua degli etruschi (1979), p.116:
mini kaisie θannursiannaś mulvannice

Agostiniani, Le "iscrizioni parlanti" dell'Italia antica (1982), p.201:
mini kaisie θanurśiannaś mulvannice

Georgiev, La lingua e l'origine degli Etruschi (1979), p.65:
mini kaisie θannur(s) sianna mulvanice

Olzscha, Interpretation der Agramer Mumienbinde (Klio, Beiheft 40) (1939), p.43:
mini kaisie θannursi annat mulvannice

Wow! Who knew that the academic mutilation of history could be so much fun? And as usual, there are no clear pictures of this object easily accessible to the general public. Too bad for you. So the challenge for you, the hapless reader, is to piece together which if any of the above versions of the same inscription are the right one. Write your answers with justifications in the commentbox. Good luck! Hehe.


  1. My first guess would be D'Aversa 1979. First of all, I have no knowledge of Etruscan. All four agree on mini kaisie. Three agree on θannur. Three agree on an s rather than a ś. Everyone agrees on ianna. Everyone agrees on mulvannice, only disagreeing on the number of n's, and three agree on two.

    So looking purely at a "mixture of experts", I think the consensus is mini kaisie θannursiannaś mulvannice. I'm probably wildly wrong. :)

  2. Yes, it's fun to guess but also unscientific. The point of my rant here is that these experts are being unfair to us readers by making it very difficult to find clear photos of the actual artifacts to empower us to verify their claims. (I think that's the whole point: to coast along and never be challenged by students.) By taking away the power of the people to easily verify this information, academic accountability (and for that matter, credibility) weakens. The whole original purpose of public libraries to distribute information to the masses then becomes a sick farce.

    As for the correct interpretation of the inscription, θannursiannaś is most likely two words. However the difficulty here is that it can be segmented in different ways, either Θannursi Annaś "for Thanura of Anaina" where Thanura is a goddess' name and Anaina is a last name attested elsewhere (in inscriptions TLE 880, TLE 881, TLE 882 and CIE 4689), or Θannur siannaś (sianś is attested in inscriptions TCort xx and TLE 619). The use of double 'nn' however is highly unusual for Etruscan inscriptions.