Re: [tied] Picene

From: erobert52@...
Message: 14824
Date: 2002-08-30

In a message dated 29/08/02 11:35:49 GMT Daylight Time,
sciarretta@... writes:

> Actually, for the Etruscans I follow the Erodotean migrationist
> thesis, as the majority of the linguists including Rix do, I don't
> know Pfiffig,

Ambros Josef Pfiffig "Die etruskische Sprache", Graz: Akademische
Druck- & Verlagsanstalt, 1969. Compared with many other works on
Etruscan the contrast is striking. You get analysis and facts instead
of opinions and conjecture. Everything he says is justified with
reference with real inscriptions. There is no sleepwalking into
IE categories of grammar, and mostly he manages not to rehash other
people's mistakes. He clearly places Etruscan in the context of the
historical and social realities which surrounded it; for example he
realises that the extensive IE influence in the area of proper names
says nothing about Etruscan's true nature.

It is Pfiffig's analysis of the grammar and lexis of the language
which is especially sober and thorough, but his position on Etruscan
origins, for what it's worth, is that Etruscan ethnogenesis occurred
in Italy, and comprised a Tyrrhenian component, pre-IE immigrants from
the "east", and an (also recently immigrant) Italic component. I
wouldn't have put it exactly like that myself.

> I just think that the toponymy of the Etruria can be explained without
> the need of the Etruscan language itself, that is to say, it is more
> ancient than the arrival of the Tyrrhenians-Etruscans

I think that must be right. I look forward to seeing what you have to
say about place names in S├╝dtirol/Alto-Adige and Trentino. My own
feeling is that the Raetic language, attested as it was mostly in
river valleys relatively accessible from the south, was a temporary
and intrusive phenomenon, associated with a previous Etruscan
military expansion and leaving little lasting trace except maybe the
odd village called Toscana.

> I think I have found a correspondence with some phonetic features of
> the (Southern) Etrurian place-names. That would fit the notion of
> such Pelasgians wandering in the Western Mediterranean and
> particularly in Etruria during the Bronze age.

I have a problem, however, with using words like Pelasgian because
we cannot be sure exactly who might be meant. The ancients are not
renowned for their grasp of geography. While it is clear that there
were some people around in Italy who were distinct from the
Tyrrhenians, and whom some people called Pelasgian, I don't see how
these can be tied up easily with any other ethnic group that might
have existed or come from elsewhere, like the Aegean or the Greek
mainland. The same problem exists with the word "Lydian" in a
non-Anatolian context. When does it mean "Etruscan" and when
doesn't it?