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The Origins of the Etruscans

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Victoria Liss
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« on: October 14, 2010, 01:20:15 pm »



This civilization flourished on the territory which is nowadays central Italy (from Po River to Naples) and besides the Greek one, was the most influential for Romans.

The Etruscans are still shrouded in mystery, even if there is a lot of data regarding their life, dances, or other habits, due to Roman writings and many archaelogical discoveries (frescoes, tombs, settlements and others).

Women were equal to men, a fact that shocked the "civilized" Greeks and Romans: they did not change their name after marriage, wore elegant clothes, participated in dances and sports. Women of high hierarchy had bronze boxes adorned with inscriptions, so they knew how to read.

The Etruscans had a perfected technique of processing bronze and iron. The Etruscan mystery is in connection to their unknown origin: where did they come and what language did they speak? All that is known is that their language was not Indo-European and knowing more about their language would dissipate their enigma.

Herodotus, the Greek historian of the 5th century BC, said that Etruscans came from Lydia, an ancient kingdom from present-day Turkey. Indeed, tombs discovered in ancient Lydia are extremely similar to those of the Etruscans.

A recent DNA analysis showed that cattle in central Italy seem indeed to have originated in modern Turkey and Middle East. As there is no link between these cattle and others from other European regions, they must have entered the peninsula by sea.

Rome is known to have been funded by Etruscans and the legend of its foundation points to the Lydian theory: they were survivors of the Troy war and Troy was located on the Asia Minor, inside the Lydian territory. But the Lydian theory has a weak point: the Lydian language was
Indo-European.

But in the first century BC, Dionysos of Hallikarnas said the Etruscans came from nowhere, being the natives of Italy, before the invasion of the Indo-Europeans, that brought the Latin language in the peninsula. In this case, the theory of their relativeness with the Basque should stand, even if the probability that Indigenous pre-Indo-European people could have survived the massive Indo-European invasion for so long and even dominate after is relatively low.

What is certain is that the Etruscans were registered by history as appearing around 800-750 BC in Tuscany, the Italian region that was named after the Tuscans (Etruscans).

The Tyrrhenian Sea could also have a name with Etruscan roots. In fact, Etruscans were not only farmers, but also skilled sailors, who traded with the Greeks and Cartagena and the God of the Sea, Neptunus, was important in their religion.

The sailing abilities support not just the Lydian theory, but also that of the "People of the Sea", seafaring raiders that were at war with the Egyptians in the 12th century BC. Their civilization was centered in Crete (now an island in southern Greece) and this people spoke a non-Indo-European language.

There are significantly increasing proofs that match the Crete and Minoan civilization to Atlantis and its decline to a huge ancient tsunami. Etruscans were good riders and maintained a well instructed army, but Romans conquered their city-states one by one between 358-265 BC. These city-states were at war themselves and this lack of unity eased the Roman conquest.

In 87 BC the Etruscans were given the same rights as the Romans and this eased their assimilation.

There are over 10,000 Etruscan inscriptions known by now, most of them short. But except about 200 words known to be human names, the meaning of the others is hard to decode.
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Where-Did-the-Etruscans-Originated-54317.shtml
A paradoxical thing is that their language is very easy to read, as they borrowed and adapted the Greek alphabet in the eighth-seventh centuries BC, but it is almost impossible to understand their texts. Their language seems not to belong to any known group. A bilingual document like that used Champollion to decode the Egyptian hieroglyphs would help.
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2010, 01:21:58 pm »

Gene Study Shows Ties Long Veiled in Europe
By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: April 10, 2001

 

The richest archaeological site to be found in years is the human genome. Its deep strata reach back to almost any date of interest. And although the only data it records are who is related to whom, this information can be leveraged into a vivid and otherwise unattainable account of the movement of different groups as people spread out across the globe.

From studying the present day population of the Orkneys, a small archipelago off the northeast coast of Scotland, geneticists from University College, in London, have gained a deep insight into the earliest inhabitants of Europe.

Of the medley of peoples who populated Britain, neither the Anglo-Saxons nor the Romans ever settled the distant Orkneys. The Romans called the islands' inhabitants picti, or painted people. The Celtic-speaking Picts dominated the islands until the arrival of the Vikings about A.D. 800. The islanders then spoke Norn until the 18th century when this ancient form of Norse was replaced by English, brought in with Scottish settlers after the Orkneys were transferred to Scotland in 1468.

Are the present day Orcadians descended from Picts, Vikings or Celts? Dr. James F. Wilson, himself an Orcadian, and Dr. David Goldstein analyzed the Y chromosomes of Orkney men and found they could distinguish a genetic signature typical of present-day Norwegians. The finding, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that the Vikings left a genetic mark on the islands, as well as their language and place names.

The geneticists could also distinguish a set of genetic markers associated with men who bore newer surnames, meaning ones associated with the Scottish settlers. This set of markers closely resembled one found in Welsh and Irish men, suggesting that all were descended from the same population. Where did that population come from?

Britain's first inhabitants are thought to have arrived in the Paleolithic era around 10,000 years ago. Later, whether by invasion or cultural diffusion, the Celtic language was established. Then, some 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, farming technology appeared in Britain.

Lacking ancient DNA from a pre- farming British population, Dr. Goldstein and Dr. Wilson chose to compare the common genetic signature of the Welsh, Irish and Scots with the next best thing, the DNA of the Basques who live in northern Spain. The Basques, because they speak an unusual, non-European language and are genetically distinct from other Europeans, have long been assumed to be descended from the continent's first modern human inhabitants.

Dr. Goldstein said he and his colleagues found the same genetic signature in Basque men, suggesting that the Scots, Irish, Welsh and Basques all derive from the same, possibly very homogeneous, population that inhabited Europe in Paleolithic times. This finding implies that the Celtic language must have arrived in Britain largely by cultural diffusion, displacing the original, presumably Basque-type language spoken by the first settlers.

These arguments are based on the male, or Y, chromosome and apply only to men. The study of mitochondrial DNA, a genetic element bequeathed solely in the female line, tells a different story. Women from Scotland, Wales and Ireland show no sharp genetic difference from women in the rest of northern Europe. "The implication is that somewhere along the line," Dr. Goldstein said, "whether willingly or unwillingly, females from the continent joined the population in Britain and swamped out the earlier genetic complement from the maternal side."

The women could have been captured, bought or traded. Or the genetic analysis could be reflecting the ancient custom of women's moving from their own villages to join their husbands in theirs, a tradition that could have continued despite the watery barriers between Britain and the continent.
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/10/health/10GENE.html
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2010, 01:22:18 pm »

But in the first century BC, Dionysos of Hallikarnas said the Etruscans came from nowhere, being the natives of Italy, before the invasion of the Indo-Europeans, that brought the Latin language in the peninsula. In this case, the theory of their relativeness with the Basque should stand, even if the probability that Indigenous pre-Indo-European people could have survived the massive Indo-European invasion for so long and even dominate after is relatively low.

What is certain is that the Etruscans were registered by history as appearing around 800-750 BC in Tuscany, the Italian region that was named after the Tuscans (Etruscans).

The Tyrrhenian Sea could also have a name with Etruscan roots. In fact, Etruscans were not only farmers, but also skilled sailors, who traded with the Greeks and Cartagena and the God of the Sea, Neptunus, was important in their religion.

The sailing abilities support not just the Lydian theory, but also that of the "People of the Sea", seafaring raiders that were at war with the Egyptians in the 12th century BC. Their civilization was centered in Crete (now an island in southern Greece) and this people spoke a non-Indo-European language.

There are significantly increasing proofs that match the Crete and Minoan civilization to Atlantis and its decline to a huge ancient tsunami. Etruscans were good riders and maintained a well instructed army, but Romans conquered their city-states one by one between 358-265 BC. These city-states were at war themselves and this lack of unity eased the Roman conquest.

In 87 BC the Etruscans were given the same rights as the Romans and this eased their assimilation.

There are over 10,000 Etruscan inscriptions known by now, most of them short. But except about 200 words known to be human names, the meaning of the others is hard to decode.

A paradoxical thing is that their language is very easy to read, as they borrowed and adapted the Greek alphabet in the eighth-seventh centuries BC, but it is almost impossible to understand their texts. Their language seems not to belong to any known group. A bilingual document like that used Champollion to decode the Egyptian hieroglyphs would help.


atlants always settled on beaches so they were decimated by successives floods everywhere they landed. then wars obliterated them
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2010, 01:22:52 pm »

http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/bronze/nytheory.htm

Theory of Language Formation
       The efforts of Edo Nyland in translating ancient inscriptions have resulted in the development of a controversial theory on the origin of languages.  The main hypotheses and theory are shown as follows: [also see Linguistics & Human Migrations & Language]

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

       Hypothesis 1: The Saharan language was the language of the peoples living in the Sahara during the last Ice Age.  They had created the first true civilization on earth, possibly centered on lake Chad. As a result of deglaciation, starting about 16,000 bce., resulting in ever expanding desertification, these tribes were forced to flee for their lives, creating an exodus culminating between 7,000 and 3,500 bce (see Climate).  These refugees created four main secondary civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley and Anatolia.


       Hypothesis 2: Portions of the Saharan language is still spoken as Dravidian in India (170 million speakers), as Ainu on the island of Hokkaido (18,000 speakers in 2005) and as Basque in Euskadi, Spain (800,000 speakers in 2005). Basque is likely the closest resembling the original language of the exodus.


       Hypothesis 3: The people of the exodus from the Sahara brought with them a matrilineal organized society, the nature based Goddess religion and the first highly developed language, maintained by very strong oral traditions.


       Hypothesis 4: As a result of several major advances in a number of fields such as agriculture, metallurgy, domestication of the horse and camel, astronomy etc. the female-based religion was weakened and male domination arrived ca 3,000 bce. in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Anatolia, and about 1,500 bce. in India. The newcomers brought along learned priesthoods who proceeded to invert all aspects of the old religion, society, language, legends etc. A new language was invented for each large area and placed under the control of a king, e.g., Sumerian and Akadian in Mesopotamia, Old Egyptian in Egypt, Sanskrit and Hindi in India, Hebrew in Palestine, Hittite and Luvian in Anatolia etc. All these were the product of formulaic distortion and scholarly manipulation of the original Saharan language. The Bible repeats the command to distort the original language in Genesis 11:7.


       Hypothesis 5: These newly created languages were then introduced to the local populations by taking young boys into residential schools and forcing the new order onto them, where they were often brutally treated. The purpose was to destroy the old religion and language and the traditional oral teaching of wisdom, religion and legends, replacing it with a patriarchal vision of the world and civilization. They almost succeeded. The hidden sentences in the invented words can be decoded ) with the use of the Basque dictionary and a simple formula (see Saharan).


Theory:


       Nyland (2001) proposed that all highly developed languages on earth (except possibly Chinese) might have been developed from the original Saharan language, which in itself was also scholarly enhanced from the Neolithic substratum. There exists no "family" of Indo-European or Semitic languages. There are no Indo-European or proto-Indo-European languages.  All these unstable languages were invented by scholars. Only Saharan has remained relatively unchanged and is now spoken as Basque.

 

[Please also see Evolution of Human Languages and The Indo-Europeans and the Concept of Language Families]

 

 

Bibliography

 

==========================================

For further detail, please refer to:

 

 

          Nyland, Edo.  2002.  Odysseus and the Sea Peoples: A

               Bronze Age History of Scotland  Trafford Publ., Victoria,
               B.C., Canada.  307 p.   [see abstract & summary].
 
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2010, 01:23:23 pm »



The Pyrgi Lamellae

Rough Translation:

This temple and (this) statue have been dedicated to Uni / Astarte. Thefariei Velianas, head of the community, donated it for the worship of our peoples. This gift of this temple and sanctuary and the consecration of its boundaries during his three year term in the month of Xurvar(June?) in this way, and in Alsase (July?) this record together with the divinity/statue shall thus be buried by order of the Zilach that the years may outlast the stars.
http://www.mysteriousetruscans.com/language.html
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2010, 01:23:46 pm »

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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2010, 01:24:15 pm »

Since the Etruscans left no literary works behind, each fragment of their language found on various artifacts is valuable. The longest Etruscan text known to date is the Liber Linteus of Zagreb a linen cloth found wrapped around a mummy containing approximately 1200 words. All lines are oriented from right to left but occasionally a word was broken off and the rest of this word placed above the line, from left to right. A similar sample of Etruscan writing is the Tile of Capua, which has sixty-two engraved lines utilizing the same process of Bustrophedic as the Liber Linteus. The word bustrophedic stems from Greek “buos” (ox) and “stroph” (multitude), and is used to describe ancient writing that went alternatively from right towards left or from high to low and vice versa. One of the most remarkable remnants of Etruscan language is the three famous inscribed gold foils called The Pyrgi Lamellae. The most important part of this trilogy is the bilingual pair, one foil in Etruscan and another in Phoenician, which both record the dedication to a Goddess called Astarte in Phoenician and Uni in Etruscan. Lacking full and varied texts, scholars attempting to compile a vocabulary have had to work with bits and pieces. Despite the discovery of over 10,000 inscriptions, only 200 useful words have been identified. (rm.it; Hamblin, 40-43)
http://www.domspe.org/etruscans/language.html

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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2010, 01:25:11 pm »



Etruscan settlements were frequently built on a hill

they began with a pomerium or sacred ditch.
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2010, 01:25:40 pm »

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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 01:26:00 pm »


http://www.domspe.org/etruscans/obsession.html

Etruscans believed that death was the journey to the afterlife and had a fear that the neglected dead may become malevolent; therefore, tombs were constructed with particular care, solidity, and lavishness. Thus, the dead would take pleasure in their last dwelling, enjoy their afterlife, and chose not to haunt the living. The Etruscans were fond of decorating their sarcophagi with sculptures of humans in natural poses. In particular, the Sarcophagus of the Spouses depicts a couple lounging on a dining couch. It is uncertain if it actually contained the joint remains, but it idealizes the epitome of nuptial bliss. The practice of cremation was quite common and decorative cinerary or burial urns were often used to store remains. The styles of urn range from biconical (vase shaped), to miniature hut style to the canopic style with human figures or heads on their lids. The sarcophagi and urns would be laid in the tomb with other burial items necessary for the afterlife. (Adams, 198; Bloch, 157; Spivey, 92)

http://www.domspe.org/etruscans/obsession.html


Quote
The Etruscans "believed that every race had a set span of time to run and that they themselves had been allotted ten saecula, a period of unequal length, which was based upon the life-span of the longest living survivor, starting at the end of the previous saeculum.…The Etruscans believed their first saeculum had begun sometime during the eleventh or tenth century B.C." They were quite correct. Eventually a new order emerged with Etruscans holding posts under the Roman government and many turning to religious administration. By the first century BC, Etruria was just another part of the Roman Empire and her future lay with the power of Rome. She was gone almost as fast as she had risen. Etruscan culture rapidly flourished for the span of a millennium; and accomplished what many cultures take many millennia to do. In a sense, the Etruscans are much like our own American culture excluding the whole disappearance fact. We are the youngest country in the world and were given little expectation for success at our humble beginning. The rapid growth of our contemporary American nation along with the melting pot of cultures, peoples, and ideas has led us to the pinnacle of civilization and a major world power. In addition, we certainly share a similar lack of morals, economic ideals, and the tendency to copy our contemporaries. The Etruscans, as mysterious as they may be, are a quite familiar breed and the essence of their elusive culture certainly continues in spirit. Joie de vivre! (UPenn; Macnamara, 17).
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« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 01:26:17 pm »

The origin of the Etruscan population is still unclear and is being constantly investigated by scholars on cultural, linguistic and genetic grounds.  Several major authors of the Roman Empire, such as Livy, Cicero and Horace called them as Tusci  or Tursci  (1).  These names are in good agreement with  Tur-Osc, discussed in the previous chapter. There are several indicators pointing to the Asiatic origin of the Etruscan population. Their language is known to be non-Indo-European and many similarities have been found with both the Altaic –especially with Turkish- as well as the Uralic languages (2).

  Recently a serious genetic research has been published by a group of Italian scientists. They have investigated several bone samples from the Etruscan remains and came up with the following conclusions (3):

   Etruscan sites appear to have rather homogeneous genetic characteristics. Their mitochondrial haplotypes are very similar, but rarely identical, to those commonly observed in contemporary Italy and suggest that the links between the Etruscans and eastern Mediterranean region were in part associated with genetic, and not only cultural, exchanges. The Etruscans show closer relationships both to North Africans and to Turks than any contemporary population. In particular, the Turkish component in their gene pool appears three times as large as in the other populations.

  Since the Turkish population originated –to a large extent- from Central Asia, it can be claimed that the Etruscans too came to Italy from Asia, through the Alp Mountains in the north of Italy. Their early settlements were on a high plateau named Valcamonica, where they left many marks in the form of petroglyphs (see Chapter 6 and 7). A further sign for their Uighur origin is the name of the Alp Mountains. Alp means “tall and formidable” in Turkish. There are several proper names starting with Alp; such as Alpaslan, Alpagut, Alperen, Alper and Alp-Er-Tunga.

http://www.astroset.com/bireysel_gelisim/ancient/a9.htm
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« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2010, 01:26:50 pm »



Contacts with the Etruscans and Celts

Around the 5th century BC, the Etruscans, already widespread in the Po Valley, had contacts with the alpine populations. Traces of influence of this culture persist in camunian alphabet, which made over two hundred entries, and that is very similar to the North Etruscan alphabets, and in the same rock art.[2] Around the 3rd century BC, arrived in Italy the Gauls Celtic who, coming from transalpine Gaul, settled in the Po Plain and came in touch with the camunian population: it testifies to the presence, among the stone carvings of Valcamonica of figures of deities Celtic which Kernunnos.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camunni




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« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 01:28:39 pm »



Luca Giarelli / CC-BY-SA 3.0
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