Etruscan was spoken in the area of Tuscany (Italy), where the Etruscan civilization was as its height in the 6th century BC. The language is known from about 10,000 inscriptions, mainly short epitaphs and decdications.
Conjugate a Etruscan Verb
Latin language replaced the Etruscan language as the Roman empire gained more power. Etruscan may still have been spoken as late as the 4th century AD.
The Etruscan or North Italic script is another of the alphabets derived from the Phoenician. In this it parallels the early forms of Greek and Roman alphabets, and, indeed, several of the characters resemble them closely. But, unlike the Greek and Roman scripts, which continue in use today, the Etruscan alphabet went out of use.
At the height of Etruscan civilization, Etruscan traders travelled northwards to the shores of the Baltic Sea in search of amber. So it was that these traders carried the letters far and wide into central and northern Europe. But during the struggles for the mastery of Italy, the Romans progressively defeated the Etruscans, and finally subdued them. Much of Etruscan magic and geomancy was absorbed into Roman usage, but the Etruscan alphabet was not. However, its use in trade is likely to have influenced the evolution of the runes, and some of the earliest forms of runes are almost indistinguishable from this North Italic script. Although it is known that magic was an everyday part of life in the Etruscan civilization, the meanings of the letters of the alphabet are not known. This is unfortunate as these would give us the key to the relationship between the Runic and the Etruscan alphabets.
- Bonfante, Giuliano et Larissa. The Etruscan language. Manchester University Press. Oxford, 1983.