Re: [tied] Picene

From: erobert52@...
Message: 15123
Date: 2002-09-05

In a message dated 02/09/02 17:33:55 GMT Daylight Time,
sciarretta@... writes:

> There is evidence in the classical sources
> that the Umbri lived also on the northern side of the Appennines, in
> today's Romagna, so maybe previously (before the Etruscan, and then
> the Gaulish colonization) also in the region where the ''Villanovian''
> villages were found.

This sounds reasonable enough to me.

> > There are grammatical features and
> > lexical material in Etruscan that are reminiscent of certain languages
> > of the Caucasus whose peoples have also shown an inclination for tower
> > building.
> Which is this material for you ? Etruscan ci 'two' = Urartean ki(g) ?

I think you mean 'three', but yes, and much much more. As this subject
is outside the scope of the list, I shall write to you off-list about
the extensive evidence for Etruscan's connection both with
Hurro-Urartian and the related modern Nakh-Daghestanian languages.

> I am also convinced of this. About the Etruscan borrowings, what I
> have found in the toponymy is (I quote myself):
> To a Latin /p, t, c/ may correspond either /f, th, ch/ or /p, t, c/.
> The place-names showing the first spelling (Caere/cheizra, Sutrium/
> shuthri, Tarquinia/tarchna, Volci/velch) have been reconstructed from
> a "Pelasgian" shift, namely *b,d,g>p,t,k. The place-names showing the
> second spelling (Cortona/curtun, Clusium/clevsi, Telamon/tlamu,
> Tarquinia/tarchna, Capena/capna, etc.) have instead been reconstructed
> from original (IE) *p,t,k.
> Can you suggest what this could mean ? I think this is a key problem
> to better understand the stratification of languages in Etruria, the
> relationship between Italic, ''Pelasgian'' and Etruscan, and the
> origins of Etruscan itself.

At least Shuthri and Tarchna from the first group seem like native
Etruscan names to me ("Place of the graves" and "rocky"), and if so,
they would not have been reconstructed from IE.

> > Can you recommend any works on Ligurian?
> The material is so scarse and speculative that I don't think there
> are entire books. I'm aware only of the book [edited] by V. Pisani, Le
> lingue dell' Italia antica oltre il latino, Torino, 1964. ...
> There's a chapter on Ligurian and its problem.

Excellent. I shall have another look at this.

> > If I understand you correctly, you think [the Picenes] were
> > pre-Italic (there's that dreadful affix pre- again!)
> Exactly, pre-Italic. From my point of view, this would explain the
> toponymy that is clearly IE but not Osco-Umbrian, who spread out later
> from the Appennines. A 'Picene' language has been coined for a series
> of inscriptions (VI-IV sec.), including the famous 'stele di
> Novilara', that has been also interpreted as showing a "colonial"
> Greek language. These texts have not been translated, but the dominant
> archeological point of view decided that the Piceni were the
> counterpart of the Etruscans on the Adriatic, i.e., implicitly or
> explicitly saying they were a remnant of a pre-IE ('before the IE
> arrival') population.

And yet, according to genetic data there is no evidence for this;
in fact the exact opposite. Cavalli-Sforza et al. "History and
Geography of Human Genes" says "The pole opposite that of the
Ligurians, in the third P[rincipal] C[omponent], corresponds to
another important pre-Roman Italic population of the early Iron Age,
the Picenes." So one could speculate that the Ligurians were the
"pre-" (i.e. "before-") Italic population and Piceno represented
the point of entry / homeland for the Italic peoples. On the other
hand we can't translate the Novilara stele, so why would that be?

> The Illyrian language was not unique, but at least three languages can
> be identified. The most northern is close - or identical - to Venetic,
> and then, for some phonetic aspects, to Latin. The central shared
> something with Osco-Umbrian. The southern branch yielded in Italy the
> Messapic. Like this latter, it is possible that the carriers of the
> Italic branch came from Illyria also (or - who knows - spread from
> Italy to Illyria, since the Umbri were already in Etruria in the
> Bronze age if the Pelasgians found them and gave them their particular
> ethnical name).

This sounds much more plausible than the usual story. Venetic is now
thought to be much more closely related to Latin than previously
thought, and "Illyrian" is so little attested that it may have more to
do with the Italian side of the Adriatic than the Albanian side. The
nationalist agenda on both sides has maybe been obscuring the truth?