New perspectives on the Cippus Perusinus



The Cippus Perusinus is one of the most important Etruscan inscriptions, discovered in the city of Perugia in 1822 (Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum 4538 = Etruskische Texte Pe.8.4). It is one of the longest Etruscan texts with more than a hundred words that record a contract regarding land property between two families from two different Etruscan cities: the Velthina family from Perugia and the Afuna family from Chiusi. The text reads as follows:

euḷạt · tan  na · larezụḷ / ame vaχr lautn · velθinaś · e/śtla afunaś sleleθ caru / tezan fuśleri tesnś teiś / raśneś ipa ama hen naper / XII velθinaθuraś araś pe/raś cemul mlescul zuci en/esci epl tularu / auleśi · velθinaś arznal cl/enśi · θii · θil · ścuna · cenu · e/plc · felic larθalś afuneś / clen · θunχulθe / falaś · χiem · fuśle · velθina / hinθa · cape · municlet · masu / naper · zranc · zl  θii falśti v/elθina · hut · naper · penezś / masu · acnina · clel · afuna vel/θinam lerz inia intemame/r · cnl · velθina · zia śatene / tesne · eca · velθinaθuraś θ/aura helu tesne raśne cei / tesnś teiś raśneś χimθ śp/elθ uta ścuna afuna mena / hen · naper · ci cnl hareutuśe / velθinaś / atena zuc/i enesci · ip/a śpelane/θi · fulumχ/va śpelθi / reneθi · eśt/ac · velθina / acilune · / turune · śc/une · zea · zuc/i · eneści · aθ/umicś · afu/naś · penθ/a · ama · velθ/ina · afunạ / θuruni ein / zeri unacχ/a · θil θunχ/ulθl · iχ · ca · / ceχa ziχ/e

The city of Perugia has one of the largest corpus of Etruscan inscriptions (ca. 1.000 inscriptions), the majority are funerary texts engraved on travertine urns (“urne perugine”), discovered in chamber tombs of Hellenistic period. Two fantastic examples are the tomb of Cai Cutu with 48 inscribed urns, found at Monteluce necropolis and now exhibited in the Museum, and the Volumni hypogeum at Palazzone necropolis (in situ), where the members of these two families of Perugia were buried, the first one of servile origin and the second one, from an aristocratic gens.

A recent conference held in the National Archeological Museum of Umbria (Perugia, 15-2-2019), where the cippus is preserved, has brought together some of the best experts in Etruscan Language and Epigraphy: Daniele F. Maras, Jean Hadas-Lebel, Riccardo Massarelli, Luca Rigobianco and Gilles van Heems. The meeting was organized by two members of AELAW team: Enrico Benelli (CNR) and Valentina Belfiore (Polo Museale dell’Abruzzo) and it opened to new and fresh perspectives and interpretations on Etruscan linguistics and history. The discussion was focused on the syntactic and morphological analysis (Maras, Belfiore, van Heems and Rigobianco), the meaning of the word tezan (Hadas-Lebel and Massarelli) and the institutional and social implications (Benelli).



Doctor V. Belfiore speaks at the Perugia Archeological Museum.