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Etruscan Culture


The Etruscans and their civilization has long disappeared from Europe, but their legacy lives on in many ways, even though their many contributions are often unrecognized for their proper origin. Why were they important, when we hear so little about them in our history books? Long before the Rome was founded and grew into a major power, Etruscans ruled a large portion of Italy and the surrounding seas and were one of the 3 major naval powers of the Mediterranean Sea. They were famous for their architectural innovations, metal works and technology, as well as their fine artistic skills. The Etruscans have also given us many cultural terms, which we still use today, that are often thought to be from Latin. Their descendants are part and parcel of the people of Italy along with several others, like the Latins, who gave Italians and many others their language. Among the most important contribution to Rome, besides building the city, is to be found in many Roman customs, the alphabet, symbols and customs of monarchy that came from the Etruscans. As a language and a culture they were unique in Europe, because unlike much of Europe in Roman and modern times, they were not speakers of Indo-European languages and their customs also were different.

The Etruscan's name

Various old languages have called Etruscans by different names. The Romans called them Tursci or Etrusci. In Attic Greek they were called Tyrrhenians. The related name Teresh was used by the Egyptians who also knew them as "Sea People" which attacked Egypt. That was the ancient source of "turas or tursa" that became Etruscan. In 1214BC they attacked Egypt in alliance with several other related tribes. The researchers of Etruscan believe that because of the context of its use, "thuras" was some sort of a plural suffix indicating membership in a collective group and/or family. That may have ties to the ancient Hurrian language of the Near East, where "tarsua" referred to "fellow men" (i.e. compatriot, countrymen). Similarly, in Hungarian "társa-ság" represents the collective, the society, while "törzs" means a tribe, similar to Etruscan "tursa" that later became Tu(r)sci, Tusci or Etrusci.

According to the Dutch historian R.S.P Beeks in his article "The origin of the Etruscans", the Etruscans called their own people "Meχ-lum", while their land or territory was called "Ras-na". Professor Alinei believes that the suffix "-lum" is a collective concept like the English suffix "-ness or -ship", or a Hungarian suffix "-lom". They organized into 12 city alliances to form a league, which could be considered to be like a country or a mini empire. In Etruscan they called these leagues a "Mech". In Hungarian a province is also called a "Megye". (*ch>gy~dy is common) According to prof. Alinei, Meχ is also a valid native name of the Etruscan people, and according to him, that name is related to Megy-er, the old royal tribe of the Hungarians, which much later became the collective native designation Magyar, used nowadays for all Hungarians. Beeks writes that this name is probably related to other similar ethnic names, such as the Anatolian Mis-ian who were neighbors and allies of the Trojans.

Pre Etruscan Origins and Genetic types

DNA analysis of Etruscan remains has revealed their links to the northern Anatolia, where Troy was located. The latest genetic finds in a few isolated towns in Tuscany have shown closer genetic ties to ancient Anatolia among the living population, unlike what is common in the rest of Italy. That points to their earlier home, before their coming to Italy. The latest mitochondrial DNA study in 2013 indicates that the Etruscan women are linked to the Neolithic population of the Central Europe, the Carpathian Basin where today major population are ethnic Hungarians. These types in today's Italy are uncommon. The archeologist Hugh Hencken writes that during the Bronze Age, this area of Central Europe was the most technically advanced, causing an explosion of population. Many of that population migrated eastward in search of lands with rich mineral resources, while fewer also went toward west European regions. Under various tribal names. They also crossed into Anatolia and the "Greek" territories. Around 1200BC, due to famine in their homeland, from the northern Anatolia they moved to the northern Italy. In Italy they were the people associated with the old and new Villanovan Culture.

There is a tendency today to think that before the arrival of the Etruscans, Europe and Italy could only be populated by proto Indo-European speaking people. This is based on the information from a period in history after the Etruscans, Romans and Greeks learned to write, allowing us to evaluate the languages of the region. Etruscans were indeed different from all the other people of Italy. Even prof. Alinei claims that the protoform of the Etruscan language came from the Carpathian Basin, with origins from the horse riding Kurgan people, who invaded from the east in the 4th millennia BC. However there were perhaps other non Indo-European language types in Europe even before then, which are scantily documented. The German periodical "Gegenbaurs Morphol Jahrb." from 1988; 134(1):53-7, penned by S. Hummel, includes an interesting statement about the Etruscan language and its type in the early Europe.

"The suffixes of the nominal declension in the Old Canary and Etruscan languages are very similar to the corresponding elements of the Sumerian and Ural-Altaic tongues. Also many words of funeral and generally cultic provenance are derived from common roots in these languages. So one may assume that the Indo-European tongues of (West) Europe overlaid a common substratum of Ural-Altaic type (agglutinative type?) which was alive still in the time of Megalithicum."

The Finnish linguist Kalevi Wiik (1932-2015), has suggested a controversial theory and he also created an atlas of ancient Europe, which displays a chronological displacement and withdrawal from Central Europe of the western FU people over time and an expansion of the Indo-European languages in their place. The FU hunters were displaced by agriculturalists from Anatolia who mixed with locals, that also influenced many of their languages. These new languages are often ascribed to solely Indo-European, even though it's not at all certain that they were only Indo-European nor is it certain that all older languages were replaced. In fact, in grammar, phonetics, and vocabulary Sumerian is closer to Etruscan, Finno-Ugor and Altaic languages than to Indo-European. The explanation for this could be that proto-Sumerians were not indigenous to Southern Mesopotamia, but came there from the north. Perhaps they came from Anatolia just like the farmers that influenced Central Europe. Their legend of the "great flood" and its details certainly implies this.

Etruscan cities

Etruscan cities were typically strongly fortified, walled cities, built upon difficult to access peaks for protection. Some have survived to our time, with minor changes to their original names. Like other Etruscan cities, these normally had a sewer system and water distribution that collected water in the mountains and brought it to their cities through aqueducts. Many consider Rome to be originally an Etruscan city, because it has all of the typical characteristics of an Etruscan city, and also because it was surrounded by much older Etruscan settlements. Several of Rome's early kings (or governors) were known to be Etruscans, as well as the names of the customs and regalia of its early rulers. It only seems obvious then, that with such a close symbiotic connection, Rome itself was probably Etruscan, just like its surroundings. The traditional legendary builders of Rome, the heroes Romulus and Remus, as well as the legend type and their names aren't Latin, nor are they similar to other Indo-European languages or legends but are very similar to Hungarian and Turkic traditional legends.

Romulus och Remus...

 The Etruscans founded many cities on the Italian peninsula; some of the major ones are shown on the map below.

The Etruscans founded many cities on the Italian peninsula

It has been proposed by the Italian Mario Alinei that some of these city names are quite understandable even today in modern Hungarian. He listed the translation of the following cities: Felsi-na (upper place), Hu: felsö; Alsi-na (lower place) Hu: also; Vels-na (central/inner) Hu: belsö. The suffix "-na" is a locative suffix, added to names to indicate them to be a place, such as a city or town, or just a specific location.

Etruscan Leagues and Government

The Etruscans never united as a single nation, but typically formed alliances in groups of 12, between their neighboring major cities. These leagues had a rotating ruler, possibly called a "Zilat". Their political system was a theocracy. At the height of Etruscan power in Italy were three competing Etruscan leagues. The later Romans adopted many of the Etruscan symbols of kingship such as the golden crown, scepter, the "toga palmata", the "sella curul-is" (throne) and the symbol of the state, the "fasces". Even the term "curia" meaning the court, assembly, governing council, was derived from Etruscan and is still used today by the Catholic Church. These are associated to Turkic "kurultai", which was the gathering of tribes and Hungarian kurul>király later became the name for the king, from the leader of all the tribes. Some believe that even Kurulus Magnus, who is better known to the English speakers as Charlamagne, derived the name from the same Hunnic source, since in early Hunnic tribes the title of a prince was "kur, kir, chur" while "aul" meant a tribe or clan. Attila previously was the king of most of the Germanic people.

Germanic people

sella is Latin for chair +kur-ul (ruler?) Hungarian & Assyrian kurul > király is king

curia in Hungarian and Turkic ser- is a sacred conclave of leaders of the tribes.
fasces from Etruscan fashe Hungarian "feyse", Sumerian "paše" is an ax
toga is the shroud/clothing worn Hungarian "tak-ar" to cover, "tak-ách"weaver

Türkic generic "ton/toŋ" dress, clothing.

Besides the "king", if we can truly call him that, there were several other leading offices of state referred to today with the Latin term "magistrate". These had different functions, which are not understood for certain. However, Prof Alinei claims to have broken the code and now has defined them. In the following, the Etruscan letter C is pronounced as a "K” while Z is unvoiced and most likely pronounced as a "TS" that first became CH and later a "GY", pronounced somewhat like "dy" in Hungarian.

 in Hungarian

I myself don't particularly like the explanation "horse-man” or knight to be the source of a "king or ruler", especially since the Etruscan word for horse is usually called "tamna" rather than "lau", but it could mean "lead man", leader as in "*ala + *kume” found in Ugrian and in Turkic. Cante may also be tied to Türkic Kengu “king” shows up on the Late Antique Central Asian coins in Türkic runiform script, like on Athrikh (Afrosiab, 305-? AD) coin: etruszkkult3  From the Türkic root kön - “sun”, not the Türkic kun/kün ~ English kin, as suggested by IE philologists, and with the Türkic suffix -gu it makes kengu “of the sun”, “descended from sun”.

Origins and History of the Etruscans and Pelasgians

Because the Etruscans had such a key role in the development of the early Roman civilization, and were later absorbed into the Roman society, in the past their alien origin has not been favored. For a very long time they were seen as mysterious indigenous people, whose written language and unique culture was unknown and unlike any other Europeans. Some classical writers such as the Greek Dionysus of Halicarnassus (60 BC – after 7 BC), argued that the Etruscans were the original people of the Italian peninsula, which was contradicted by most others of his time.

Early Greek historians of the 5th century associated the Etruscans, whom they called Tyrrhenians, with the pre Greek Pelasgian population of the early Greece and North West Anatolia. Most of the Greeks claim that the island of Lemnos was also Pelasgian, and Thucydides (ca 460 – ca 400 BC) relates them to the Etruscans. Dionysius of Halicarnassus wrote about the Pelasgian migration from Thessaly in Greece to the Italian Peninsula, where they made themselves masters of some of the Umbrian lands. The Etruscans that were called Tyrrhenians were also mentioned by Herodotus (ca 484–ca 425 BC) to have migrated from Lydia in Anatolia to the land of the Umbri. He called their leader Tyrhenos. According to Strabo, the Pelasgians of Lemnos and Imbros followed Tyrrhenus to the Italian Peninsula. Many believe that these groups were just branches of linguistically related people. The Lemnos stele proves that it was indeed inhabited by Etruscan-like people, as well as the Anatolian Kumdanli inscription, near lake the Askania, known today as Lake Burdur, it called them Tyrhaneans. The name Pelasgi, according to some, means "sea man", but using Etruscan it can mean "destroyer, bad" based on the word "pelias". Combining the concepts it could become a pirate, which was often what the Greeks called the Etruscans or Pelasgians. This is just my proposed guess to the elusive meaning of the name.

The Bible is fairly accurate, when the Etruscans are listed as one of the seven sons of Japheth, in the company of Gomer (Cimmerians), Madai (Medes), Javan (Ionians), Tubal (Tiberian), Meshech (Moschian), Tiras (Tyrhanean), Magog (who is also called the prince of Meshech & Tubal? and he is an ancestor of the of Eastern European Scythians). According to Herodotus, the Ionians of Greece were also Pelasgians. Europeans recently have claimed that these are ancestors of the Indo-Europeans from a time before the Indo-European was a widespread language family, but there is no credible proof of that. The Moschians were an iron-working Tiberians of the southeastern portion of the Black Sea (R.Graves: Sumerian tibir “smith”). The Etruscans were certainly not Indo-European and neither were their kin, like the Pelasgians, Ionians, and Misians. The Medes claimed to descend from the Mother Goddess Medea (R.Graves). There is no evidence that relates them to the Iranians except their historic association. All of these "nations" were racially Caucasian, but not Indo-European in language. Meshech, Tiras and Ionians therefore were related to the Etruscans. There is no evidence that even one of these were originally Indo-European-speaking folk, but they are shown to be interrelated to each other. For instance take the Scythians.

According to prof. Alinei's proposed theory, the Scythians and "Kurgan" people, who invaded central Europe in the 5th, 4th and 3rd millennia BC, no longer should be viewed as Indo-European at all, (see kurgan-hypothesis) but predecessors of an early proto-Hungarian (Ugrian) group and other western Turkic (Ogur) type linguistic groups. They were the first who domesticated horse in Turkestan, according to the most recent archeology, and they have given much of horse terminology to the Europeans. Besides the horse, there are many Turkisms in some of the Indo-European languages, not generally acknowledged or known. Therefore, the Kurgan people couldn't have been Indo-Europeans (IE) as was previously claimed, since there are no common terms for horses among the Indo-European languages. In the Kurgan culture however, the horse played a leading role as an economic base, a food and drink source, and as a form of transportation.

The Etruscans probably weren't present on the Italian peninsula until the start of the early Vilanova Culture, which included their many technical innovations including introduction of a horse. According to archeologists, like Hugh Hencken, president of the Archeological Institute of America from 1952 to 1955, they came from an area of the Carpathian Basin (old Hungary), where similar archeological artifacts were found. Lawrence Barfield (1935-2009) called this area of Europe the "heartland of technology at the end of the Bronze Age". Hugh Hencken has claimed their origin was from the area of Hungary due to the similar type of Urn burial customs and metallurgy which originated from there (see Chernykh E. "Steppe Metallurgy"), and the bronze and iron working technology they brought from there, as well as their equestrian customs. Hugh Hencken [1968, 612, 614] also claimed that originally the Tyrrsenoi came from the north and some settled on the Lydian coast before the Lydians came to Anatolia (Turkey) and then fled several hundred years later to Italy, because of a long lasting famine.

He also believes that the Etruscans were part of the people who attacked Egypt under the confederation known by the Egyptians as the “Sea People”. They were probably driven by a need to find a new home, when they turned to piracy to survive. The Etruscans were named by the Egyptians by their actual later known name, as “T(w)r(w)s" [Mernpetah, 1214BC].

According to the Victory Stele found near Thebes, Egypt, the Sea Peoples also destroyed the Hittite kingdom, and consisted of the following peoples or tribes:

1. Shardana "Sardinians?” However references claim that Shar means 10 in Etruscan and the Danoi of Greece were a branch of the Pelasgians. Sardes was also a place name in Anatolia near the old homeland of the early Etruscans. The Sardinian language of today isn't related to Etruscan, so that they couldn't be Etruscan, unless their language and or people were replaced, while leaving the old name of the island.

2. Lukka "Lycians", were a mixture with Etruscan, since the Greeks believed they were related to them. It was a mixed language, which was less than 20% Indo-European with a large substrate of local native origin. It shares some vocabulary with Etruscan.

3. Meshwesh "Mis-ians" who, according to Beekes, are the ancient Anatolian Etruscans. The Bible knows them as "Mesh-ech", who were allies of the Trojans.

4. Teresh "Tyrhaneans", who are also Etruscans found in Anatolia, Greece and Italy (Tuscany) and Spain (Tarsus and Tartessus). They are known as "Tiras" in the Bible.

5. Ekwesh "Acheans" were early Greeks mentioned by Herodotus.

6. Shekelesh "Siculs", who were also in southern Italy, but came there from Phrygia in Asia Minor, and known as the "shakalasha". The Hungarian Székely's use of the Siculs name maybe coincidental, however their sacred mountain in Transylvania is called Hargita, which is like a place name Gargitha in Anatolia, in the early Etruscan territory.

That early time was a period of diaspora for the early Etruscans tribes, who settled in several regions in Europe and the Near East. In France the city of Paris is supposedly derived from them as well as the British legend of Brutus, who was claimed to be the first king of Britain that lead his people from Troy, according to Gottfrey of Monmouth ( c. 1095 – c. 1155 ). Some of the Celtic tribes were Etruscans’ neighbors in Italy, and they conquered some of the Etruscan territory. Perhaps the Celts had also absorbed some Etruscan traditions and people, and then spread the legends as their descendants moved west. The presence of the Celts in Anatolia as the Galatians of the Bible is a known fact, but it may also have some relation to the Etruscans.

The Dutch Beeks claims the presence of Etruscans in northern Italy from before 1200BC. According to one classical historian Varro (116BC - 27BC), the Italic Etruscan state was first founded in 1044BC, however even in that case they had to be around as independent tribes hundreds of years earlier. The Etruscans were associated with the so called early and later Villanovan Culture in Italy (12 century BC onwards), which derived from the Urn field Culture (13 century BC to 750 BC) starting from Central Europe, in the Carpathian Basin.

Early Greek historians described the Pelasgians of the early Greece as related to the Etruscans. The Pelasgians founded many of the major cities in the early Greece. Thuscydides (ca 460 – ca 400 BC) mentions the Pelasgic settlements beneath the Acropolis in Athens and claims that Greece was of recent date and was preceded by the Pelasgians. Homer (late 8th or early 7th century BC) wrote that there were also Pelasgian settlements in Asia Minor. Herodotus (ca 484–c. 425 BC) mentions that Hellas (Greece) was formerly known as Pelasgia. Along with several other areas of Greece, the famous "Greek" oracle of Dodona was also known to be the residence of Pelasgians. Some place names in Greece also have non-Greek origins that were often Pelasgian or Etruscan. For example:

For example:

The Etruscan link with the Pelasgians therefore is quite likely. A systemic collection and analysis of the non-Indo-European words in the Greek language, which could shine more understanding of its early history, to my knowledge has not been assembled and researched. What is acknowledged is miniscule, whereas the language does have a large number of loanwords from a variety of sources. These loans into Greek are routinely incorrectly cited as being Greek in origin. Usually, a comparison of Etruscan to non-Indo-European languages is quite rare, even though Etruscan is acknowledged to be non-Indo-European.

the Homeland of the Etruscans

 Historic Timeline

  • 3000 BC Kurgan invasions from the edge of the Eastern Europe

  • 2000 BC at the end of the Bronze Age the ancestors of the old Urn field culture in Central Europe reached from the Carpathian Basin the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, and some crossed over to Anatolia. According to American archeologist Hugh Henken, their culture was related to that found in the Carpathian basin: Urn burial, bronze working, and various animal types like the Central European horse and horse riding. Alinei believes that they were one of the later descendants of the so called "Kurgan culture" that invaded central Europe from the east, where they are tied to the Pit Grave culture near the Ural Mountains, who in his opinion spoke Hungarian and Turkic vernaculars.

  • 1600 BCThe Pelasgian relatives of the Etruscans inhabited Greece prior to the Greek invasion from the north. A few claim that by then Etruria had already existed in the northern Italy. According to the archeologist Hugh Hencken, there were two separate Etruscan-Villanovan invasions by sea into Italy, one on the Adriatic Sea side, and the other on the Tyrrhenian Sea side of the Italian peninsula.

  • 12th or 13th century BC Estimated time of the Trojan War between the Achean Greeks and/or their Phrygian cousins against the native nation of the Trojans, probably fought for unhindered control over profitable trade routes to the Black Sea, guarded by Troy and their European kin. The other mythical explanation about abduction of Helen of Troy seems hardly more than a romanticized excuse fit for legends. The allies of Troy included the Mysians, who were related to the Etruscans.

  • 1214 BC The EgyptianMernpetah lists names of the Sea People alliance members that attacked Palestine and Egypt. This alliance included Etruscans, Pelasgians and Misians, they are named on a Victory Stella near Thebes, Egypt.

  • 1200 BC A major famine in the Hittite Empire. Herodotus states that a great famine was a cause for the Tyrsenoi migration from Lydia. According to Beekes, Hittites were defeated by the Etruscans. The Assyrians called the conquerors of the Hittites "muski", which gives credence to the theory that they were Etruscan-Misians.

  • 1180 BC The Etruscan-Pelasgians-Misian alliance, called Sea People overran Palestine and was only beaten back with difficulty by Ramses III of Egypt, the first pharaoh of the 12th dynasty. Many of the "Sea People" settled in Palestine and ruled over it. The Pelasgians gave their name to the Palestine area.

  • c.1000BC The first use of iron in Italy was found in Etruscan territory.

  • 9th century BC Founding of the city Tarquinia, named after Tarquin, the son of the legendary Tyrrhenus who lead Etruscans to Italy, but whose name is also found in Greece and Anatolia. In Tarquinia, Italy, appeared a boy Tages with serpent-like legs, he taught Etruscans divination and reading a will of the deities along with their many sacred tenets.

  • 753 BC The supposed foundation of Rome, whose first king was Romulus. Rome had at least two early monarchs of Etruscan origin, Tarquinius Priscus and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. Even the first monarch of Rome, known as the legendary Romulus is also unlikely to be Latin.

  • 750 - 600 BC Greek colonies in Italy strongly influence the urbanized Etruscans.

  • c. 700 BC - c. 500 BCThe Etruscan city of Acquarossa flourishes. Earliest written traces of the Etruscan language written using Phoenician and early Greek alphabets.

  • 616 BC Tarquinius Priscus was one of the Etruscan "kings" or rulers of early Rome.

  • 539 BC AnEtruscan and Carthaginian alliance expels Greeks from Corsica.

  • c. 508 BC Lars Porsenna, the Etruscan king of Chiusi, laid siege to Rome and contributed to the end of the Roman elected monarchy, that later became a republic where all leaders held elective positions, and all periods were ruled by the conclave (senate) of the aristocracy, at best presided by an elected leader. That was a Turkic and Hungarian tradition, where Kengu, Chanyu, Khan, Kagan “king” was elected for life as a head of a confederation or tribal union.

  • c. 500 BC Etruscan Acquarossa is destroyed and definitively abandoned. It is presumed to have been absorbed by a larger Etruscan city-state.

  • 474 BC Etruscan fleet defeated by the Syracuse navy, whose tyrant was Hiero, at the battle of Cumae.

  • c. 470 BC An Etruscan tomb of the Dead Man is constructed at Tarquinia.

  • 437 BC - 435 BC Rome defeats Etruscan Veii in the Veientine war; the Etruscan king Lars Tolumnius is killed.

  • 396 BC Rome sacks the Etruscan town of Veii after a ten-year siege. The Celts use this to their advantage by defeating an Etruscan army at the battle of Melpum. Afterwards the Celts settle all over the Po Valley.

  • 394 BC Etruscan Volsinii and their ally Sappinum unsuccessfully attacked Rome.

  • 391 BC Senones besieges the Etruscan city of Clusium.

  • 384 BC Syracuse attacks the ports of the Etruscan city of Cerveteri.

  • 356 - 307 BC Roman prisoners are sacrificed in the forum of the Etruscan city of Tarquinia.

  • ca 350 BC Paintings of the Etruscan Francois tomb at Vulci.

  • 325 BC - 300 BC Etruscan tomb of the Reliefs is constructed at Cerveteri.

  • 298 BC An Etruscan army including forces from Volterra is defeated by the Romans.

  • 294 BC A Roman army led by L. Postimius Megellus defeats an army from Etruscan Volsinii.

  • 284 BC Etruscan Volsinii with an army of Gauls attacks Arretium.

  • 280 BC The Romans conquer the Etruscan cities of Tarquinia, Volsinii, and Vulci.

  • 273 BC Rome conquers the Etruscan town of Cerveteri.

  • 264 BC Etruscan Volsinii is sacked by the Romans, its residents relocated to Bolsena.

  • 90 BC The former Etruscan city of Vulci is downgraded to a Roman municipium.

  • ca 80 BC Sulla's campaigns incorporate Etruscan Chiusi into the Roman Republic.

  • 54 BC The Roman emperor Claudius wrote a history of the Etruscans in 20 books, now lost, based on sources still available in his day.

  • It is very unfortunate that the surviving history of the Etruscans was written by their adversary, the Romans, it naturally didn't include many details about their early history. The Etruscan's own rich, native literature has not survived, because it was destroyed on purpose.


The custom of Gladiatorial "sports" was Etruscan in origin; however it was totally perverted by the Romans to be a public spectacle rather than a religious rite. It became more for entertainment for the living rather than for the dead. To the Etruscans it was a ceremonial act to honor a prominent deceased leader. This was a way to help send the deceased to the afterlife, with a guardian and a servant. Such customs which included sending servants with the deceased rulers were very common among the Sumerians, Cimmerians and Scythians who all buried servants and sometimes even family members with their rulers for the purpose of accompanying them in their afterlife. (The tradition of sports events associated with festivities I believe was described for Scythians and Cimmerians, is recorded for Turkic people, and still continues to this day, as far as I know, in Tatarstan and surrounding polities. Etruscans were a part of that inheritance. Festivities had nothing to do with Tengrian religion, and probably predated it. With the advent of the organized religions, they could be adopted for religious context. Funerals was one such instance of traditional solemnizations where the religious themes could be imposed)

The Greek version of the Cimmerian duels to the death claimed that the Cimmerian royal family was paired off and fought to the death, upon hearing that the Scythians had conquered their lands. This was so that they could be buried in their homeland, along the river Tyras along with their ancestors, rather than moving away.

Even more than a millennia after the end of the Etruscan civilization it is echoed in the story from the early Hungarian Chronicles about the death of a prominent Hungarian leader, called Lehel, who was captured following a failed campaign in Germany. The legend claims that, after being captured he was lead in front of the German Emperor and due to his prominent position was asked for his last wish, before being killed. Lehel then requested his carved elephant tusk horn so he could blow it one last time, but when he received it, he jumped in front of the Emperor and dashed it on his head, killing him instantly. He then said that, now he is ready to die, because he has a worthy servant in the afterlife.

The Fasces as the state symbol

The Latin symbol of the "fasces", a double headed ax embedded in a bundle of wooden rods also originates from the Etruscan "fashe" which also became the symbol of the Roman state. This unfortunately also became a symbol of the later Italian fascists. The explanation of this could be that since the symbol of Etruscan chiefs was the miniature ax that they carried with them, while an alliance of the tribes used one ax bundled by many staffs signifying their alliance. Much later in history we have a similar explanation of the same idea, when the old Bulgarian king Kurbat called his sons together and asked them not to break up upon his death the old Volga Bulgar state amongst themselves, because together they are strong, but separated they will fall. He illustrated this by being unable to break a bunch of arrows together, signifying the strength of the tribal confederacy, while easily breaking a single arrow, a symbol of a single tribe. Unfortunately the sons did not follow his advice, which caused a loss of their kingdom.

Women's place in Etruscan society

Romans and Greeks often criticized Etruscans because of their egalitarian attitude toward women, which is also reflected in many Scythian, Uralic, Altaic and Sumerian customs, in contrast to the Indo-European and Semitic patriarchal customs past and present. Traditions of these egalitarian societies gave great freedom and leadership positions to women, where they could even be rulers, warriors, and military leaders, treated with no prejudice over men. Whether the Etruscans had female rulers, we don't know. They also gave prominence to various goddesses who were very rare in proto-Indo-European societies and usually were borrowed later from other preceding native people they replaced. In their art, Etruscan women w ere often illustrated alongside their men, enjoying all the amenities and not treated any different than the men were. The Romans and Greeks were offended by such unheard of freedoms and egalitarian customs toward women and called such women with vile names. The Latin name for Etruscans "tuscus" for example was retained as a derogatory term in Spanish in the form of "tosco", with the meaning of "vulgar".

Etruscan woman portrayed at a banquet.

Etruscan woman portrayed at a banquet. 

Burial Customs

According to the American Archeologist Hugh Hencken, the early Etruscan Urn burial customs were similar to the early Urn field culture in the Carpathian basin, from there they spread to other parts of Europe. The remains of families were typically buried together in semi-subterranean homes which were lavishly decorated and included ashes of multiple generations of relatives. Sarcophaguses often represented individuals enjoying life at their prime. I strongly believe that they believed in an afterlife.

The Etruscan Calendar

It also appears that the Etruscans gave the term "calendar" and some names of the months to that calendar.

1) January perhaps from (i)Ani the god of the sky.
2) February from Februs the god of initiation, the underworld
3) March is Velcitna,
4) April is perhaps from Aber-as is the name of the lower level clans.
5) May is Ampile
6) June is from (i)Uni (Juno), the chief goddess and wife of the chief god Tin. This also corresponds to Umai, a consort of the Turkic Tengri ~ Tin/Uni = Tengri/Umai.
-----------------Summer Solstice, the longest day June 21-------------------------

7) July was called Turan, also a mother goddess often likened to Venus
8) August was called Ermi, after The god Hermes,
9) September was called Celi, after Cel the earth and birth mother goddess.
10) October Chosfer

11) November ?
12) December is supposedly Mas-an
--------Winter Solstice, shortest day Dec 21 ---------------------------------

Religion and Myth

We are left with very little information about the Etruscan religion except some late foreign comments about them. The extensive written Etruscan libraries and books were lost and destroyed. What we think we know about their religion is based on false comparisons and conjectures that try to make Etruscan gods comply with Greco-Roman characteristics. You might say that these comparisons are often based on ignorance and arrogance. In fact there were many native gods which were uniquely different from the Greco-Roman mythology even though time tended to assimilate common traits or at least to associate them on purely superficial basis. Etruscan religion was codified, organized and documented in several lost volumes on different religious aspects, procedures, and rituals.

According to the legends, the tenets of the Etruscan religion were introduced by a non-human prophet who arose from a plowed field. He was a young boy with serpent-like legs, with a great knowledge and a wisdom of an old man. When the plowman reported his presence to the governor, the various "lucomo" governors came to see and hear his teachings and recorded them in writing. After he was finished he disappeared. References claim that he was a grandson of the chief god called Tin. His name is recorded as Tages. Since one of the ideas we have introduced here was that the Etruscan language was similar to Uralic and Altaic, we can use that theory to try to interpret it using Turkic Teng-ri or Sumerian Ding-ir . This can mean a divinity or in the case of Turkic it has a literal meaning of sky. So perhaps "Ta(n)g-es" referred to a heavenly being (-s was an Etruscan adjectival suffix). Etruscan religion had several native deities as well as shared deities with the Romans and Greeks. Such native deities as Tin (chief god), Ani (sky god), Usil (sun god), AuKil (dawn), Turan (Venus), Vol-tuma (afterlife) (Turkic tuma is tomb,Hungarian töm=stuff into a cavity; tem-et=burry), Cel (earth, birth), Min-erva (wisdom goddess), Nethune (water god) and others originated from them.

The Etruscan word for god is "aes" and when combined with the name of their chief god "tin", we have "aes-tin" which is equivalent to the "one god" of the Hungarians "ös/is-ten" that has further links in the Near East. The "ae" could be pronounced as a single phoneme "ö". There have also been claims that the term for the plural gods in Etruscan "aes-ar" could be related to the Egyptian god of afterlife and also the ancestor cult called "Ashur", which became Osiris in Greek. The "-ar" suffix however in Etruscan was simply a plural suffix, but not in Egyptian.

Uni (Juno=yuno), was the chief goddess and the wife of Tin. Among the early Etruscan customs, Maria Bonghi Jovino (Italian) has noticed that many sacred objects made from deer antlers are tied to the earliest Etruscan cults. According to her view, such offerings made of antlers, originally were not for Janus Saturnus, but the prominent goddess Uni. Professor Alinei called her a goddess of "fate" Uni with the female deer "ene" a source of her name. He compares this to the Hungarian cult of the heavenly female stag "eneh or ünö" associated with the ancestral legend of a female-stag whose male counterpart was the giant storm god "Nemere" (Nimrod). Their legendary offspring were the twins, Hunor and Magor, the mythical ancestors of the Huns and Magyars. Illustrations of the heavenly stagg is found from Europe to the borderlands of China.

Ani was the god of beginnings and the sky, whose name is similar to the high god of the Sumerians called AN. The many close ties of the Etruscans, with the Near East could be the source of these similarities, however this is also a valid derivation of the FU "*säŋe", where the lead "s" is deleted in Hungarian and Sumerian, while "ng=ŋ" becomes n or g, so that Hungarian "_ég" and Sumerian "_an_" are both valid derivations. Perhaps Turkic converted *s to a t, so that it become "teng+ri" for the sky.(Lakó & Rhédei, A Magyar szókészlet FU elemei, Bp 1972, Vol I, p. 139) It is important to mention that in Etruscan the word "an" has also been interpreted as air over the world, light, clear. Its main meaning is "air".

Cathe is often illustrated as the rising sun over the sea and is just one aspect of the sun god. This image represents the rising (In Hungarian *kel- =arise, ford, that is also used for the rising or fording of the sun in "kell-et"=east, arising sun. This is also related to the name of the Keltic people according to their own definition of the name.

Usil was another sun god, or another aspect of the sun. The risen sun with characteristic heat and bright light maybe the source of his name. There is also the possibility that his name is linked to the Latin sol for sun, however "zal, sal" also represents shining in Etruscan, while saluc was a star. These words are both found in Uralic ćel-ke, Altaic čil-âlı=shining, and Sumerian zal-ag with the meanings of shining and star. It appears that Latin borrowed this as sol, from Etruscan.

The goddess au-Kél was similar to the Roman Aurora, who renews herself every morning and flies across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun. The key words here are to arise and resurrection as well as rebirth. The word is found in Uralic *kälä and Altaic *kela and Sumerian gal-am (climb up). Even Celtic has the meaning of "Ceilt-each" or easterner, the place of rising. The meaning of the prefix "au" isn't recognized.

The Roman god Neptune was the god of fresh water and the sea which derives from Etruscan. The Etruscan name was Neth-un, and originally was a god of fresh water probably of springs. His name is not from Latin since Neth means water in Etruscan. Hungarian nedv wet, moisture; nátha is the head cold that is the source of a runny nose.

The goddess Cel "Kel" was the earth-mother goddess. Slight variations of her name are found in Sumerian (Ki =place,land ) to Finno_Ugrian (*kil'e=place) (Hungarian hely=place), Altaic (guli=dwelling) and Dravidian ( *kâl =place). Its meaning is earth, place, country. In FU mythology she is called the chief goddess "Kal-tes".

Thes-an was the Etruscan goddess who also symbolized the dawn.

Lar-an was the Etruscan version of the god of war, who was known as Mars by the Romans. Since Etruscan has many examples of the "n" becoming an "l", we can compare the name to "ner" or "nar", which happens to coincide with the Sumerian god of war known as Ner-Gal which meant the great-victor. Hungarian "ñer" also means to win. Gal is great or powerful.

Several Greek deities were also adapted and worshiped by the Etruscans. The Greek mythological element appear mostly in various legendary heroes and demigods and their exploits, such as Hercle (Hercules), Apulu or Aplu (Apollo), Atunis (Adonis) the lover of Turan.

Artemis was also worshiped by the Etruscans as "Artuma", but Artemis originally was a Thracian and Scythian goddess that the Greeks adopted. To the Greeks she was the goddess of the hunt as well as birth, and the protector of girl's purity. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, her Scythian name was "Artim-paz". The name Artum has a similar sounding word in both Turkic "ärdäm" and Hungarian "érdem" meaning virtue.(é pronounced like a) The Scythian Artim-paz probably refers to the "head of virtuousness" possibly referring to virginity, chastity? Unfortunately we don't know the Etruscan word for head, and for most body parts to verify this. The additional ending paz, may refer to the Türkic "bash" or head and also FU "*paŋe" head (Hungarian "fö" =head, main,chief).

Etruscans were highly religious, and according to the early Christians perhaps even superstitious people, because they viewed most natural phenomena as being messages from the gods. Anybody can point a finger at anybody else, since a religion is a mysticism, of a particular version. The so called "priests" of the Etruscans were not just spiritual teachers but they were also the scientists and engineers of their civilization. The two fields had not separated yet. According to the early Roman Catholic Church, the late Etruscans were reviled as a mother of superstition. That was the proclaimed reason of the Christians given for destroying their extensive literature. They had different types of priests or shamans, some of whom were famous for their fortune telling. Like shamans, they saw messages from the gods in many natural events, like the lightning, flights of birds, the liver of sacrificial animals and the like. Due to many similarities in Etruscan, Sumerian and Ugrian terminology, I have included a comparison table of the Etruscan deities for all three. Some of these may be coincidental similarities, but strangely, they appear to be quite similar in sound and in function.

Etruscan Divinities & concepts

Ugrian and or Turkic

Equivalent Sumerian word

TIN =supreme god;
TAGE=god born as a boy, to teach men, the son or grandson of TIN

*sanke ~ teng = sky, god
(s>t in Ob Ugrian)
(also Turkic tengri)

DIN-gir =god, divinity.
(ğir 2 =a flash, ?lightning)

_ ANI =sky god, god of beginnings (#s/blk) > yan-us>January

*tanke =sky, god/Ugric
tengri =sky, god/Turkic

_AN =sky, chief god, high

_UNI =supreme mother goddess, goddess of fate (Juno >June)

Hu: ÜNÖ =mythical guide and mother in form of a hind. ENÉH =wife of Nimrod, the ancestress.
Turkic, Hittite ani=mother, inak=cow

NUMA =goddess of the cosmos
num=rise, nim=high

RIL (*l >r) =spirit

FU: *leile =breath, spirit
Hungarian lél, lélek

(en) LIL =god of air, atmosphere, spirit

ASE=breath, wind, soul,?spirit; AIS=god

FU: *iche=breath, wind, soul
Hungarian szél=wind, sze-lem, iz =spirit; Chuvash sel =wind

ZI =breath, wind, spirit-soul

CATHE sun god, shown as sunrise over the sea. (fording the waters)

FU: *kuthe =sunrise, morning, Hungarian *th>l

GAL=get up, arise + UTU=sun,time

US-IL =sun god, the risen sun

FU: *äse =to heat, become very hot + *al-(me)=lift, rise
Hungarian: izó +(em)-el

IZI =fiery
IL=to lift, elevate.

TIV =moon god
LUSNA =moon goddess (Luna)

Hungarian *t>d HÓD the moon, HAV=month

ITI & ID =month, moon
GI=night + ID=moon

XUR =time
SATRES (Saturn) is the god of time?

kwor-es=sun god, time god/Ug
Hungar kor and idö=time

KUR=the rising sun, time;
UTU=sun & time god, UD= time
GAR 4 =early

au-KÉL =aurora, dawn,
THES-an =goddess of dawn, childbirth

FU: *koje =dawn,
FU: *kälä=arise,ford
FU: Kal-Thes=chief goddess

GAL-AMA =great mother goddess

CEL =mother earth (Gaia)

FU: *kil'a =place, town
Hungarian hely=place, town; hol=where.
Turkic: guli,kil =dweling, yir=earth

GAL-ama=great mother goddess
KI_ =place, earth, where

CUL-su=demones of the underworld.
CALU =god of the underworld

*kul =a demon, devil
kul-ater=devil, king of demons. Hungarian golyho=an evil ghost

GALA =demons of the underworld.

VOL-TUMA =god of the afterlife, underworld (*P >V)

*pels =inside, inner +
*tume =to stuff into, to burry.

ki-TUM =cemetery, burial place

TURAN goddess of love, health, fertility.

UG: *torem = creator god , the source of all life.
Hu: TEREMTÖ=creator
Turkic: TÜRÜM=genesis ?

DARAMAH = enKI the magician of the gods, the wiseman of the gods, and co-creator of man.

ARTUME goddess of night and death, hunt, protector of girls. (see TUM =stuff into, "burry")

Scythian Artim-paz)
Hungarian & Turkic érdem=virtue

*ERET > ERES' (KI-GAL) =queen of the underworld.

ATUNS god of resurrection, consort of

Hu: -TÁM-ad =resurrects
Hu: DAMACHEK=god of resurrection in Székely legend.

TAMUZ / DUMUZI god of resurrection, consort of Inana.

MEN-eRVA =goddess of wisdom and the arts

FU: *miñe=young wife/woman,
*arwe=ripen,value, understand, to reason.

MUN-uš =woman
EREš 5= knowing

CATHA = war,
LAR-an =god of war (*N > L)

*kunta > *xont =war, army Hungarian had,háboru=war
Hungarian nyerö=victor

GUD-bir=war; GUD=warrior
NER-gal=war god "the great victor”

MANIA =guardian of the underworld

man-ala, man-o=demons of the underworld.

MA =earth, land?

ZERI =rite, ceremony

*sharne=magic, incantation Hungarian/Turkic SER- =ritual, assembly of tribal leaders

ZUR =pray, sacrifice, offering

NETH-un =water & moisture god (Neptune )

* ńorε =wet ; Hu: ñir
Hungarian nedv=moisture

Sumerian ŋar-im =pool, pond
Egyptian net=collection of water

FUFLUNS, PACHA (Bacchus?) wild nature, spring, fertility, wine

? Hu: ?having sex


SATRES (Saturn) the god of time



SELVA (Sylvanus) the god of woodlands

Turk yeSIL =green?,
Hungarian ZÖLD=green?


KAR-UN (Charon??) the demon of death
CUR=decomposition due to heat?

Hungarian KÓR=sickness, desease (also in Welsh)


HORT-A the goddess of agriculture.
MARIS god of fertility, agriculture

Hungarian KER-t =garden, fence in, encircle=ker-it

KIRI 6=orchard

NORTIA the goddess of fate and fortune



VELCHANS, SETHLANS (Vulcan) the blacksmith of the gods, fire, forge



HERCLE (Hercules) represents strength, ?water.

Hungarian ERÖ strength,
ÖR = guard;
Turkic OUR, UUR=protect

URU 16=strong, mighty
URU =guard, protect + GAL=big, powerful

FEBRU-US god of initiation, purification & ?the dead.



Even the Roman origin myth of the twin boys called Romulus and Remus raised by a female wolf, they founded Rome, it is believed they were Etruscans. The names Romulus and Remus are not Latin and they cannot be explained by Indo-European languages. The legend of the boys being raised by the wolf (böri) reminds me of the Hunnic and Turkic tradition of the female royal wolf "asena" and numerous similar legends. Various canines are traditionally the totem animals and names of some Turkic tribes.

It is believed, by Beekes, that the name of the Etruscan hero Tarchon is to be tied to the high god, the god of war and storm and lightning, called Tarhun(t) of the Hittites, who were the neighbors of the Meonia, Masas and or Mysi in Anatolia. Tarchonis an Etruscan religious hero, who with his father Telephos led the Etruscans to settle the Italian peninsula. Perhaps because of this, these settlers remembered their leader "Telephos", which in Hungarian is called "telepes", and means a settler. Naturally that could be just a coincidence, which I leave to the reader to decide.

Tarchunt could be understood in Hungarian as "*t>d dörgö" that means thunderer, which is an apt name for a storm god. Supposedly the voiced stops, like b, d, g did not exist in proto Hungarian, which would have used p, t, k instead, resulting in something like tarku. At the same time Turkic "Tarxan" and Hungarian "Tarján/Targyan" are archaic titles of nobility, a local sovereign prince, which in Hungarian also became a tribal name "Tarján". Herodotus wrote that he was a mythical ancestor of the Scythians, by the name "Targi-tarus". (prince of the tribe) In Parthian-Scythian, his name was shortened to "Tura", as the legendary ancestor of the Parthians.

Etruscan Writing and Literature

The earliest Etruscan writing is from around 700BC. There is evidence that there was a large body of Etruscan historical literature, law, drama and religious works in the past. Perhaps even musical notation, although there is no evidence of that left. An Etruscan playwright known as Volnius is also recorded, although none of his works survived. The Romans admired the rich literary culture of the Etruscans. They often sent their sons to study in their schools. Besides many written texts in grave goods and illustrations, Etruscan-like texts have been found on the island of Lemnos, near Anatolia, while a very famous text was found in Egypt, written on the mummy linens. Apparently the Etruscan cloth "book" known today as the "Liber Linteus" was at one time cut up and used for bandages for an Egyptian mummy. Unfortunately most of the extensive literature of the Etruscans was destroyed in the 4th century AD during the reign of Emperor Honorius (394-408 AD)by the book-burning Christians. However, there are many shorter texts found on stone and metal objects as well as inside family The Etruscan Alphabetcrypts. Libraries with books are easily burned, however there are still around 6000 or more Etruscan inscriptions found today. Unfortunately, most of these tend to be short funerary inscriptions. Since many archeological sites have not been explored yet, we can hope that longer texts may have survived.

The Etruscan Alphabet

The source of the Etruscan alphabet is believed to be an early form of Greek and Phoenician alphabets, not to be compared with the later classical Greek alphabet. These over time have changed. I would categorize its features as runic-type engraved letters. Hungarian, Turkic, and Germanic runiform alphabets seem to share a considerable amount of common symbols with Etruscan, but in most cases with different phonetic values. This is not at all uncommon, because even the Latin alphabet has quite a few variations used by different languages. For example, depending on the language that uses it, the sound of the letter C may be completely different. Therefore, when comparing similar symbols, don't expect them to perfectly line up! Also note that not all symbols are depicted in the following table.

all symbols are depicted in the following table a

all symbols are depicted in the following table b


The Etruscan culture was very vibrant and rich, with extensive literature, art and science. In Italy, Etruscans introduced many technical innovations, and through their extensive trade they introduced their products and innovations throughout the Mediterranean. From England to Greece, many legends talk of them. Besides giving literacy to the early Latins, founding Rome and many cities of the ancient Italy, they gave the Romans and the rest of us some of their cultural words and numerous traditions. We see their influence in many areas, yet in many ways they are still not well known, and because of that, they remain mysterious to us. Their language is still only partially understood and different scholars explain differently some of their vocabulary. For those interested in what is known about the characteristics, vocabulary, and syntax of basic Etruscan, I have summarized my findings in an article on the Etruscan language. I am not a scholar of Etruscology, therefore I am relying on the available Etruscan references written by established experts. This is not my own invention. I cannot vouch for what others have claimed. I say this because I expect to be rebuked for the material presented here, which cannot be free of errors. This is a work in progress.

Fred Hamori 

1.Mario Alinei "Etrusco: Una forma arcaica di Ungherese ", Mulino 2003
2.Mario Alinei "Ösi Kapocs", Allprint 2005

3.Mario Alinei "Interdisciplinary and linguistic evidence for Paleolithic continuity of Indo-European, Uralic and Altaic populations in Eurasia, with an excursus on Slavic ethnogenesis" 2003.

4.R.S.P Beekes, "The Origin of the Etruscans", Amsterdam, 2003

5.Silvia McAlister -Castillo, Mississippi U, 1999; http://etruscans1.tripod.com/Language

6.Giuliano and Larissa Bonfante, "The Etruscan Language", Manchester, 1983

7.Lakó György, Rédei Károly; "A magyar szókészlet finnugor elemei", Budapest 1978
8.Lakó György,"Proto FinnUgor Sources of the Hungarian phonetic stock",Budapest 68
Robert Graves, "The White Goddess", New York 1966.
10.The Pennsylvania State Sumerian Dictionary. http://psd.museum.upenn.edu/epsd1/index.html
11.John Halloran, "Sumerian Lexicon", http://www.sumerian.org/sumerian.pdf
12.Coloman-Gabriel Gostony,
"Dictionaire D'Étymologie Sumérienne et Grammaire Comparée", Paris 1975.

13.Samuel Noah Kramer, "Sumerian Mythology", Philadelphia, 1944.

14.Norm Kisamov, "Türkic Substrate in English", http://www.federatio.org/joes/EurasianStudies_0413s1.pdf

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