2 Dec 2009
Let's retire Bronze Age Mediterranean phonology for a while and talk about Etruscans and their deities again. On page 57 of The religion of the Etruscans (2006), Erika Simon explains to us that Etruscan Artume ~ Aritimi, the goddess of hunt and lady of the moon reknowned for her superior archery, is directly taken from Greek Artemis ( ) and that the cult extends back to the Neolithic. This description of her origin is ridiculously brief and, to add, ridiculously vague as it oversteps many millennia and distinct cultures in a single sentence. It doesn't seem to trouble her that the vowels have changed radically (eg. Greek epsilon to Etruscan u) since she doesn't explain any of it at all. That vowel change is a rather unavoidable detail if she wishes to make her published words stand the test of time. Down the rabbit hole we go, Alice...
I'll get straight to the chase and solve one riddle that obscures the problem above. I've come to realize that the purported Artume ~ Aritimi alternation in Etruscan is one of many modern myths created by idle theorists. Artume is sufficiently attested as the one and only Artemis in ET AH S.4 and ET Vs S.6. Her name appears to have been carelessly confused with that of a separate etymon however, an Etrurian city which the Etruscans called Aritim and which in Latin is called Arretium. Despite this knowledge, we've hardly solved the vowel change riddle yet.
If we only assess the problem from within the specialized bubble of the narrow Etruscan field, internal -u- before bilabial m can easily be explained away as a reduced form of original *-e-. This happens many times in Etruscan and so it would seem the problem is solved, right?
On a Minoan Linear A artifact (HT Wc 3024.a), John Younger transcribes the symbols as A-RA-TU-ME replete with a picture of an archer. To confirm, Raison & Pope on page 150 in Corpus transnuméré du linéaire A explains further: "Sept impressions de sceau sur le pourtour, dont une, semble-t-il, oblitérée délibérément (archer de profil gauche faisant la génuflexion, 112 de Levi)." Translated into English, it reads: "Seven seal impressions on the perimeter, where one, it seems, obliterated deliberately (archer facing left bending at the knees, 112 of Levi)."
If Younger's transcription is sound, I can't help but wonder now about Artemis and the Keftian connection.