mt_ignoreThe inscriptions are to be seen on the stringers above the tomb entrances at Orvieto necropolis, Italy. These were created by the Etruscan (better said "Venetic") graphemes - most likely in the 6th Century BC. The archaic town of Orvieto, previously called Urbs Vetus (Old Town), decorated the surface of the rock plateau like an open face sandwich. The cliff below the elevated "table land" had been perforated like a piece of Swiss Cheese by the ancient residents and so there are, in fact, two towns. Both of these we find half way between Florence and Rome at the convergence of the Rivers Chiani and Tevere. There was a ring of burials, reputedly below the cliffs around the city, of these sites two survive - Crocifisso del Tufo and Cannicella. česky deutsch

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(Translated into English by Petr Jandáček)

Orvieto
Orvieto, Provincie Terni, Umbria. Credit - Mary Beale

Historians believe that Orvieto was one of twelve Etruscan cities, which together formed an urban confederation. In the year 264 B.C. there was an insurrection of slaves in Orvieto, which was suppressed by Romans in the end. The surviving residents were forced to resettle to the contemporary town of Bolseno 14 km distant. In the course of construction of a road in 1830 at the foot of the Orvieto Hill a burial site was discovered.

Research was initiated in 1872. Subsequent investigation continued in 1960-66 under the guidance of the archeologist - M. Bizzarri. In literature this locality is known under the name Crocifisso del Tufo (The Tufo Cross). That is to say named after a near-by chapel with a "Tufo Cross" from the 6th Century AD. The cemetery is also misnamed on the web as "Crocefisso del Tufo".

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Excavation work in the middle of the 19th Century. (Lavori di scavo ad Orvieto a meta ottocento, G. Dennis, 1978).

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Map of Orvieto. The Crocifisso del Tufo necropolis at the upper left, Cannicella at lower right (for the time being without discovery of inscriptions).


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Crocifisso del Tufo in a bird\'s view ... Credit: Opaxir

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… in a top view … Credit: Slbeggy1

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... and from the eyeview. Only a part was unearthed. The remainder is still under ground.

Surprising oddness is the uniformity of all the tombs,their relative standard size 3x2x2 metres and rectangular appearance in comparison with other Etruscan tombs. The graves or "cells" in today\'s cemeteries are rather mutually dissimilar, individually unique and hardly two are alike. Exceptions are military cemeteries and the like.

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A drawing of Crocifisso del Tufo. It is being reported that the necropolis was established in the 6th Century BC.
Credit: Ben O\'Donnell

On a segment of the schema we see that some tombs are double-chamberred, larger. Were there for this unique feature some architectural requirements? Why were the tombs ere while buried in? Why do some have inscriptions and others do not? There are many questions.

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Interiors of the tombs at Crocifisso del Tufo.

On the doorframe of one of the oldest tombs at the entrance to the necropolis there is a chiseled original inscription reffered to in the book by R. Hess (1973, page 222) and also on the web.

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The doorframe with an inscription
Credit: William s. Thayer

For a decipherment of the inscription we need, in the first place, to know the phonemic value of each grapheme, so that we could do the basic reading. Also we have to understand the words thusly composed from the graphemes.

We find ourselves in a situation as if we were to read a Greek text written in a Cyrillic Russian and we do not know either. But, let us not despair. To our disposition we have following alphabets - or better said - phonetic values of graphemes, which were generated by others.

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So called "Etruscan" Alphabet - presented in literature.

For the sake of comparison here we present yet another alphabet. It is the consequence of an inscription decipherment on a Stele from Lemnos and it was created by Antonin Horak (1991). The Stele from Lemnos is a gravestone inscribed with Proto-Slavonic (ancient "Etruscan") graphemes found not in Italy, but on the Island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea near the village of Kaminia. The similarity of the graphemes from Lemnos and the "Etruscan" is very demanding of our attention. Another mystery, over which experts are for decades scratching their heads. They have reasons to ask “What do the graphemes on the Stele from Lemnos have in common with those in Italy?” If only on Lemnos it was a single inscription example but not so! There are many, additionally on ceramic pot shards, and that means that the creators of the inscriptions were residents of Lemnos. Every Czech reader will recognize in the name "Lemnos" a Hellenic mutation of "Lomnice" (or "Lomna" etc.) (in English Stone Quarry) and in the word "Kaminia" he/she discerns the words “Kamenice”, “Kamnja” etc., all variants of Slavonic origin and meaning the village of stonecutters.

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Phonetic values of Proto-Slavonic graphemes on The Stele from Lemnos according to Horak (1991, Page 113).

On the basis of the analysis of 125 texts Horak came to the finding that there do exist several variants of the so called "Etruscan" alphabet, which differ in certain letters. Without the knowledge of these differences we could not read some of these texts.

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Balkan variant of this alphabet


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Italic variant of this alphabet

After this 101-lecture in Venetic alphabets look at the case on the detailed picture. The similarity between the inscription and the Italic variant of the alphabet is big.

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Detail of a lintel (supporting trabecula situated over an opening in walling)

Conspicuous is especially the grapheme "Ž`". Horak wrote about it in these words:

image037.pngthe grapheme „ž“ is acrophonically derived from „žěno“ (external female genitals), the sign was used in Italy,

image039.pngthe grapheme „ž“ of contemporary Eastern Cyrillic depicting also „žěno“ and also acrophonically derived,

ja.png Grapheme for yolk (of an ox).


What is acrophony? In the stone age there were no schools where adults or children would learn to read and write. People, therefore, sketched some object with few lines in a simplified way. Today, we would say they created a sign or a grapheme. Subsequently, from a word for such an object, the people took the first syllable and this syllable gave sound to the sign (grapheme). Simple and brilliant! Let us suppose that today we would draw a simplified ox yoke and from the Czech word for this ox yoke, which is "jařmo" (Russian "jarmó\'", Croatian & Serbian "jarma", and similar in other Slavonic languages), we would take out the syllable "ja-" and sound-out the sketch which symbolizes the ox yolk. In the stone age people proceeded similarly – see Ventris table sign nr. 57. Neolithic people even had signs (graphemes) for pure vowels. Surprisingly not like a syllable but as a speech sound. For example for the pure vocal “A” (short pronunciation) a sign for an oil-lamp called “alpan” was used (see Ventris table sign nr. 8). For the vocal “Á” (long pronunciation) the word “ámbara” was used Ventris table sign nr. 25-a2. Ámbara is a shoulders-stick for load like chinise peasants are using.
Later-on, instead of a whole syllable, people used the initial speech sound (phoneme) only. Such an example is just the sign “Ž”.
With such created signs neolithic people could write any type of idea. In the beginning the writings were primitive, but with stepped up evolution of grammar and lexical embellishment people could record thoughts better and better. Constantly more and more experts are bowing to the paradigm that writing was created in the stone age by Proto-Slavs and that the designated Indo-European language group is in fact a misunderstanding, because its foundation is specifically Proto-Slavic. (PaleoSlavic)

я Grapheme for a Horse Collar

The text we shall therefore re-write according the Italic variant using the Latin alphabet. It is read from right to left, but to be in our comfort zone we will immediately transcribe it into our left-to-right conventional mode.

M I V E L Ž A E S L A J S E

This notation differs from Horak\'s transcription. According to Horak, the third grapheme from the end is a "D" followed by a "Č" and the inscription reads:

MI V Ě LŽAĚ SLADČĚ
("WE in here LAY SWEETLY")

"Sleep Sweetly" inscriptions we find in cemeteries even today. But Horak had at his disposition, evidently, only the reproduction, which is depicted in his book. That explains his interpretation, because in the reproduction we indeed perceive a "D", which is a bit placed below the level of the line. It is, however, an illusion generated by the parts of the letters J,S & E. Horak explains it thusly that the stonecutter planned poorly the dimensions of the text and that he ran out of place at the end of the line. Indeed, the photograph here published proves that Horak had an inferior reproduction at his disposal. The text should read:

MI V Ě ` LŽAE SLAJŠE
We in here (the tomb) lay sweeter

SLAJŠE (sweeter) is the second degree (comparative) of Slovenian adjectival form of "sladko" (sweet). The Slovenian graduation goes like this: sladko-slajše–najslajše, in Czech: sladký-sladší-nejsladší, in English: sweet-sweeter-sweetest. The interpretation: "We in this tomb lay sweeter" begs the question: In comparison to whom?. Perhaps the answer is -

MI VELŽAE SLAJŠE
We Velsians (residents) are sweeter

Because we “Velžae” (Velsians) are sweeter, we do lay in the tomb sweeter? Again, compared to whom are the Velsians sweeter? Is the answer "With those who lay in the tomb." correct? Taken strictly logically, the inscription would be tautological (always true), if the author considered both meanings. It appears as if the inscription is intentionally of double meaning.
The double meaning rests in the sense of beeing "pleasured in sweets", therefore to be deliberately deceitful. The Slovenian (Venetic) author of the inscription lamented perhaps about some insincerity or treason. The same transferred meaning for "sweet" continues in contemporary Slavic languages. In Serbo-Croatian "slagati" means "to falsify". In Russian the derived meaning „сладкий“ means "insincere". In English "Saccharine Sweet" has a similar devious meaning.

Double meaning of Venetic (Etruscan) texts congruently found out both Bor (1988) and Horak (1991). They too perceived that some texts were deliberately written in double meaning. Thus both Italic and Balkan Venets had delighted in word-play or they were driven to it by circumstances. These may have been anagrams or palindromes. An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word (or words of a phrase) to produce a new word or phrase, using all the orginal letters exactly once (George Bush=He bugs Gore). You use a palindrom where forward or backward reading of the message is the same. Napoleon may have said "ABLE WAS I ERE I SAW ELBA", reads same from right to left. Horak in his book several times emphasized that the Etruscan elites did not know how to read and write and delegated such clerical work to their Slavic slaves. For that reason the Slavic Veneti dared to create such inscriptions.

Slovenian inscription in "Etruscan" in Italy?
Is that not an oxymoron? Or a coincidence? The original deciphering of "Etruscan" writing belongs to the Slovenian Matej Bor (1913 - 1993). Before him no one succeeded in understanding it. One of the researchers of "Etruscan" writing (but also of Linear A and Linear B) was the earlier-mentioned Antonin Horak (1918 - 2004). One of his hypotheses was that the so-called "Etruscan" writing was in fact Proto-Slavonic. To support the Slavinity thesis of the Neolithic population of Europe Horak presented analyses of more than a hundred inscriptions from Italy, the Balkan, Mediterranean region and Central Europe. Let us quote another two inscriptions from Horák, which allegedly occur in Crocifisso del Tufo.

MI ÍMA MÁR ČES VĚLÓ JE NÁS
I am taken in death yet there are many of us

MI LARÓ ÚR UŠ TAR VĚTĚ NÁS
I am struck by a curse already sacrifice devestates us

LARO = struck; word root "lar-" indicates chopping-striking-collision, lar-isa is an axe to chop stones, "lar-oja" is a hewn sculpture etc.; see also AH_Page 136 (abbreviation means quote from A. Horak, 1991, page 136)
UR = curse; in Old Slavic indicates "yield" in fact but under Etruscan influence it means "damnation or “curse" since the harvest had to be delivered to the Etruscans; AH_Page 136 there is reference to inscription "E URE" (them I curse) in the tomb of St. Mann (AH_Page 155) and on a ceramic strip from Cerveteri (AH_Page 178), whose author writes "ÚRĚ" (damnation).
TAR = sacrifice; abbreviated from total form "tar-bja", literally "tar-těbja” (“to immolate thee”) in other words "Blood Human Sacrifice", Russian "trébjá" of the same meaning ; see AH_Page 136. Translator’s (Jandáček) notice: This reminds Czech “je třeba” (“it is necessary”) or “potřeba” (“need”). Standing alone “třeba” has the meaning “eventually”, “possibly”.
VETE = devastate (destroy); pertinent to Old Czech "je po nas veta" (a veto is put on us, we came to the end point, we are fading) consequently also Latin "veto” (cancellation, dispproval), whereas in Moravian dialect with the prefix “z-“ (z-vetit se) it has opposite meaning “to get fit”. See AH_Page 136.
At Crocifisso del Tufo there are yet more Slavic inscriptions found, which I translated and added to those of Horak.

image045.jpg
M IMÁ MÁR ČES TRI ... S (depicted from right to left)

Credit: Giacomo Mazzuoli

M MAR IMA ČES TRI ???...... NÁS
me death takes, yet three ?? of us

Question-marks label damaged place in the inscription and the missing word could mean hundreds or thousands. Before the last letter "S" there perhaps was "NÁS" (us all) as in previous examples.

M = abbreviated form of "me" (first person) used in chiseling into stone or similarly on a lead plate from Magliana, see AH_Page 217.
"Shorthand" form of some "Etruscan" (Slavic) inscriptions indicates also Mojdl (2005, Page 51).

MAR = death, see AH_ Page 217

On the website of the Ministry Cultural Dedication and Archeological Overall Supervision of Tuscany (http://www.comune.firenze.it./soggetti/sat/tabula/scrittura.htm) the Italian authorities propose that the inscription is the name of the owner of the tomb "Avele Sipana" See the text on the photograph: "Iscrizione con il nome del possessore della tomba (Avele Sipana)." However, in writing it down as Avele Sipana the Italian archeologists or the authors of the web page left out without an explanation four letters without giving any justification (two first letters "NI", the eighth and the fifteenth "S").

An unambiguous translation and explanation of the inscription does not exist for the time being. Temporarily I deciphered it as "Ni a Veleš`sipa nas." Perhaps it means "Not a single Veleš-resident does hawk at us.” or “But the Veleš residents do not hawk at us.” where “to hawk at” has the meaning “leave in the lurch” in Czech. Perhaps in Venetian language as well. Contemporary Czech double negative – i.e. emphasizing negation rather than dual logical negation (discarding negative) - is a grammatical feature perhaps not applicable to the Venetian language.

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NI A VELEŠ SIPA NÁS
Credit: Ben O\'Donnell.

NI A VELEŠ SIPA NÁS
But Velžae do not (hawk at us) leave us in the lurch.

NI = no, isn\'t, neither
A = and, in spite of, oh, oh in, like, that way, in such a way
SIPA = Czech "sipat" (to evolve a hoarse and whisper voice), English “to wheeze”, Serbo-Croatian “sipavac” (asthmatic), or Serbo-Croatian “sipati” (strew-spill-pourout-feed out), Russian „сиплый“ (siplyj). In Czech the idiom “to cough at someone” (kašlat na někoho) is being used to express the transferred meaning that someone “leaves us in the lurch”. “Cough at” may have its origin exactly in common chronic lung illnesses of Paleo-Slavic stonecutters which was probably very common.

image053.jpg
MI A VELEŠ ČA CÁR SOĚ NÁS (depicted from left to right)
Credit: Angela Buer http://museums.angelabuer.com

MI A VĚLEŠ ČA CÁR SOĚ NÁS
We and Velsians whom the wizard fructifies/knifes (bites) us


ČA = what (AH Pages 137, , 150, 157, 160, 238, 270), how (AH_Page 185), after (AH_Page 217)
CAR = "wizard (sorcerer) – priest - master - ruler" derived from paleoarchaic "ar" = “master”, Russian “Czar” (originally wizard), see AH_Page 150).
SOĚ / SĚ = pronunciation “soje” or “sje” may represent "sow" as in stabbing seeds into the ground. In Czech “seje” (3rd inflexion case, singular), Serbo-Croatian “sejati” (sow, seed, drill). SOĚ / SĚ could hang together with Serbo-Croatian “zolja” (in English “wasp”), eventually with wasp stung. Transferred meaning of “sow” or “sting” (tumble) in several languages is “to have an intercourse”. The inscription would then witness sexual activities of Etruscan priests, who were not of Slavonic origin and belonged to the dominant ruling Etruscan rank. In context of Iguvian table 5a which witnesses extreme sexual habits of the Etruscans, we cannot rule this out. Also, human sacrifice was part of Etruscan priests activities. Probably they drank human blood what later passed into drinking ritual wine.

Who were these stonecutters?
If the inscription „NI A VELEŠ SIPA NÁS“ is read accurately (adequately) , and especially the letter "P", then we may conclude that the stonecutter may had come from the Balkans. Since it is in such a way that the Balkan "P" was written. The other letters are of Italic origin. The inscription is therefore a mix of Balkan and Venetic alphabet. On the other side the inscription „MI VELŽAE SLAJŠE“ is written in pure form of the Venetic (Paleoslav) alphabet - see for instance the letter „Ž“.
The scripts would therefore come from two different ethnic sources. This would also more accurately indicate the appearance of the pronoun „we“ on some inscriptions. It would stand for „We Balkanian and Velsian".

The inscriptions speak about Velžanians or Velšanians
Historians propose that near Orvieto there used to be a village of Velzna (in Venetian) / Volsini (in Latin). Perhaps there is a connection to the names of "Volsci" or "Vělsca", the last one being designation of the Umbrian sacerdocy (Horak 1991).
I found the word "vělsca" image062.png writen from right to left on Iguvian (or Eugubinian) disks revealed in the district of Scheggia in the year 1444 in a church, of which nothing remains. In the year 1456 these were transported to the city of Gubbio, which the Romans called Iguvium.

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Detail of lines 10 - 12 of the Iguvian disk 5a . „Vělscá“ is on the line # 11.
Translation to be found at the end of the article in Appendix.

There have been coins with similar inscription - "Velznani". Contemporary Slovenian language has the word "velznalc" which means "omniscient". Were the meetings in Fanum Voltumnae designated also as " omniscient "? Do we have two names -- Velzna and Fanum Voltumnae - for a single location? Some historians insist that Fanum Voltumnae was part of Velzna.
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Coin with the inscription „Velznani“.
Credit Adolfo Zavaroni.

Fanum Voltumnae
The leaders of Etruscans annually met in the Sanctuarium Fanum Voltumnae, where in the spring they discussed common interests and problems. About 300 meters from Orvieto starting with the year 2000 an archeological site (Campo della Fiera) is beeing excavated. In the year 2006 Simonetta Stoppani (the Chief Researcher from the University of Macerata) announced that they had discovered Fanum Voltumnae. But only a concrete inscription of some sort can absolutely confirm that. According to the report, by the end of the year 2006 no such inscription had been found. However, Stoppani is certain that the site had not yielded all the information yet. The search for Fanum Voltumnae had begun in the 15th Century. Historian Titus Livius ostensibly mentions it a total of five times but he did not precisely indicate its location. Archeologists and historians insist that the place was comparable to contemporary Vatican. But we do not have to believe everything. Namely, as it is proposed by non-Slavic archeologists and historians, since mostly they do not know a single Slavic language and therefore they are incapable to decipher Venetic inscriptions.

Autumn 398 BC
In Fanum Voltumnae an exceptional meeting of representatives of the 12 cities which formed the Etruscan Federation took place. They had to discuss an important plea. The Romans have laid a siege around the city of Veio, one of the twelve cities of the Etruscan Federation. The Veio citizens begged the Federation for help because they themselves were exhausted by this war. Alas, the Federation refused to help. Do the inscriptions above the tomb inlets at Crocifisso del Tufo refer to such stressful times? Two years later the Romans defeated Veio by cutting off their water supply.

Ring of burial sites
Information sources about Crocifisso del Tufo and Cannicella state around Orvieto there was a "ring of burial sites" there. Whereon this statement is beeing based on was not brought out.

Closing statements
Inscriptions at "Crocifisso del Tufo" provide us with unique evidence that there were Balkan and Italic Slavs in the province of Terni. In Orvieto at the minimum Slavs were present to the middle of the third Century BC till they were banished by the Romans to Bolseno.
Inscriptions are neither the names of the dead nor the names of the owners of the tombs as is promulgated by the Ministry of Culture and Archeological Supervision -Tuscany, but various short sentences. I have not an entire list of all inscriptions but those so far translated lead up to conviction that their content being an expression of social tensions either in the municipality or its environs.

Addendum
Transcription and translation of Iguvian text by Horak
Line # 10
Ě MÁNJÚ OĚŘJĚ A RVĚRJÚŘ PISÍ PUMPĚ
Their perversion ascertain and witness inscriptions of rite
Line # 11
VUŠ JĚ ŘĚK (ĚSU) NĚSKU ČĚ PURUŠ VĚLSCÁ
Again I am said (???) today those which superstitions Velsians
Line # 12
AŘ PÚJ RÁJI VRAJRÚ A JÍ IĚŘIJU PRĚ HÚBJA (lubja)
When I go to paradise with lady-love and her I trust for love

A colon at the end of the line prolongs the pronunciation of the previous pure vowel, they correspond today’s diacritic signs.

Sources
http://www.marybeale.com/journal/2005.html
http://spazioinwind.libero.it/popoli_antichi/Etruschi/Volsinii-archeo.html
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~classics/rome2005/updates/week3_4/oct3.html
http://blogs.nyu.edu/blogs/jlc559/jamie/
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Umbria/Terni/Orvieto/environs/Crocifisso_di_Tufo/home.html
http://www.canino.info/inserti/monografie/etruschi/etruschi_tuscia/orvieto/index.htm
http://www.comune.firenze.it./soggetti/sat/tabula/scrittura.htm
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~classics/rome2005/updates/week3_4/oct3.html
http://museums.angelabuer.com
http://www.etruscaphilologia.eu/nummi.htm
http://www.answers.com/topic/volsinii-1
Matej Bor: Die Sprache der Veneter, in J. Šavli, M.Bor: Unsere Vorfahren – Die Veneter, Wien, 1988.
G. Dennis , The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, vol. II , 40,1878.
Jan Kollár: Staroitalia slavjanská, Vídeň, 1853.
Robert Hess: Das etruskische Italien, Köln, 1973.
A. Horák: O Slovanech úplně jinak, Vizovice, 1991
A. Horák viz http://www.fdb.cz/lidi/32408-antonin-horak.html
L.Mojdl: Encyklopedie písem světa, Libri, Praha, 2005.
Fanum Voltumnae:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7028330.stm
http://www.comune.orvieto.tr.it/pdf/campo_fiera.pdf

Abreviations
AH_Page 136 = means quote from A. Horak, 1991, page 136.

Acknowledgement
The author thanks for valuable suggestions Robert Petrič and Petr Jandáček

Book order:
Antonín Horák: On Slavs The Very Other Way, Lípa, Vizovice, 1991
ISBN 80-285-0010-1
Only in Czech language available.
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