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Copyright 1996 by H. T. Bryer




Archaeologists have no problem rationalizing a continuum of material culture running from the earlier iron age civilizations of central Italy until they first encounter traces of an Etruscan presence (c.750 B.C ) in the form of inscriptions in what they perceive to be an utterly different language. A language alien not only to all of the Italic and Indo-European languages that surrounded it, but alien to every language ever known to have existed on this planet.

If the primary language that the Etruscans spoke was so utterly different and freakish why then did the elite families of Rome send their young men to Caere in Etruria for their education? The Roman historian Livy, speaking of an earlier period plainly stated this fact:

"I have text which prove that it was the usual custom in those days to instruct young Romans in Etruscan letters just as today they are instructed in Greek Letters."

This statement from Livy would seem to indicate that the Etruscans were skilled teachers of the Latin language and literature.

If the Etruscans were not native Latin speakers (besides their secret language which was jealously guarded and only spoken when secrecy necessitated it when in the presence of aliens) then why do the dialects that are spoken in present day Tuscany present characteristics that are closer to Latin than any that are spoken in other Romance territories? It is also interesting to note that a Tuscan dialect gave rise to the Italian literary language.

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