The spread of Etruscan writing is a fascinating topic, which offers an engaging insight into how, between the 7th and the 1st century b.C., the Etruscan language and culture found their way across the shores of the Mediterranean sea through conquest and the, direct and mediated, trade of goods and ideas.
Although the Etruscan language can now be read with the relative ease, its understanding remains unclear, especially in terms of the specific meaning of its words, which bear no close or direct relationship with any of the better known ancient languages. Understanding the Etruscan language has so far proved a challenge, essentially due to the limited availability of longer texts, this has contributed to cloaking the Etruscans and their language in a shroud of mystery. In this respect, the long-running debate over the origins of this people was further fuelled by a language that contemporaries also regarded as archaic and unintelligible.
The recent discovery of Etruscan epigraphs at Lattes, Montpellier – attesting to the continued presence of possibly Etruscan traders on French soil – the discovery of the Tabula Cortonensis, the third longest inscription in the Etruscan language, which was found at Cortona in recent years as well as the progress made in the study of the Etruscan language since the latest specific exhibition on this subject (dating back over thirty years), prompted the Louvre Museum, the Museum of Lattes and the MAEC, bound by long-standing scientific relationships, to stage an exhibition titled “Gli etruschi maestri di scrittura, società e cultura nell’Italia antica” which focuses on the latest research findings on the subject and the progress made in the study of syntax and grammar through a new interpretation or presentation of a wide range of epigraphs, some of which are unseen before.
The exhibition will further explore other aspects of writing, including the different writing media and techniques, how the alphabet was taught and passed from generation to generation, the attested literary usages as well as the (sometimes adventurous) story of some of the longest surviving texts as the linen book of Zagreb, the Tabula Cortonensis, the Tabula Capuana, the Cippus Perusinus, the Pyrgi tablets.
Even Sara Lovari attended the international exhibition dedicated to the Etruscan writing, creating ad hoc works and a site-specific set-up within the MAEC Palazzo Casali. Below is a gallery of the exhibition project: