2 Feb 2010

Etruscan citynames

I've been meaning to get to work on this for some time but I've finally slapped together a map labelled with the names of Etruscan cities as the Etruscan themselves would have called them based on what I have in my database. All the names have been standardized to Old Etruscan phonotactics, so I write, for example, Pupuluna instead of the later variant Fufluna. It's not my final draft but it'll do for now. Perhaps others have suggestions on what else I might include? Bon apétit.


  1. I notice there are a lot of city names that end in -na. What kind of suffix is that?

  2. The suffix -na has a pertinentive meaning like 'pertaining to', 'of', 'belonging to' or 'part of'.

  3. So, from the top of the map down, we have:


    So, after removing the "na" (and consulting Glen's Etruscan dictionary), we get:

    Felsi- (possibly from an extension of *fel "to devote")
    Cleusi- (Cleusina = gentilicum)
    Pherus- ?
    Pupulu- (related to the diety Pupuluns/Fufluns)
    Vetalu- (likely related to an Italic form of PIE *wetelos (year-old/yearling lamb)
    Velsi- (Vels = male praenomen)
    Tarkhu- (Tarchun/Tarquin gentilium)

    Similarly, a few of the other names might be explained:

    Aritim ?
    Capava (should be CapUva!) (rel. to "cap" (sarcophagus)?)
    Cisra ?
    Curtun (Curte = male praenomen)
    Nula ?
    Sveiam (Sveia = male praenomen)
    Veia ?
    Velathera (rel. to Vel (male praenomen)?)
    Velkh ?
    Visal ?

    Does this look about right? Have I missed anything? (I'm sure I have, but I'm not sure WHAT'S missing!)

  4. Hey Casey,

    Don't worry about 'missing anything'. I haven't come across any definitive text so far on the topic of Etruscan citynames so it seems this is one nagging mystery with plenty of room for discussion and exploration. There's a lot of history to scour through here as well so it's only human to miss something.

    "Capava (should be CapUva!)"

    Ah but not necessarily. Old Etruscan *Capava becomes *Capuva then finally in Late Etruscan *Capva (TLE 890: Capue 'in Capua').

    Note the derivative Capuvane 'in Campania' (TLE 572) with a distinct second syllable -pu- still affirmed before being deleted in Capvanes 'Capavanie [gentilicium]' (TLE 15). As for the final pièce de resistance, compare this latter family name with the variant seen in CIE 4283, Capevanes, fully intact with front vowel -e-!

    All these forms can best be explained with an earliest form *Capava.

  5. PS. I have to really get off my arse and update my current dictionary pdf. Apologies.

  6. Awesome! Etruscan dictionary update! ^.^

    Um, I know I've kinda asked this before, but, uh, is it possible you could make a kind of basic grammar section in the dictionary sometime, or even a separate grammatical summary? Even, say, including the derivational and conjugational endings as entries in the dictionary would be, really, really handy.
    I'm just throwing this idea in the ring again because I've recently tried working on translating a Hurrian text (R.S. 15.30 + 15.49 + 17.387, a.k.a. Hurrian Hymn no. 6, the earliest nearly-complete piece of written music), and I found that when authors included the umpteen-hundred suffixes in the glossary, either mixed in with the roots or in their own section, it made for much easier reference!
    Not trying to be pushy - just a thought!

  7. You're absolutely right and I remember this suggested before. I just need to get it done but I'm such a lazy person. ;o)