Neues zur Sprache der Stele von Lemnos (Erster Teil)
Heiner Eichner (University of Vienna, Institute of Linguistics,
Journal of Language Relationship, № 7, 2012 - p.9-32
This is the first stage of the author’s plan to investigate the Tyrsenian language family in greater detail than Stefan Schumacher and Helmut Rix could do in their pioneering sketches on Etruscan and Raetic. It consists of a new philological and linguistic study of the famous Lemnian stele. This stele is a relief stele (6th century BC) inscribed with eleven or twelve lines in the Lemnian alphabet. It represents our main piece of evidence for the ancient language of Lemnos, whose close similarity to Etruscan has long been recognized. To begin with here, a fresh attempt is undertaken to find out which line sequence on the right side (out of 3! = 6 possibilities) and on the front (out of 8! = 40 320 possibilities) is the correct one. The entirely new solution yields inter alia a coherent genealogy of one of the persons mentioned (the defunct Aker, son of Tavarza*, grandson of Hulaie) reaching back to his great-grandfather (Vanal*); a new Lemnian numeral aiz = Etruscan ez, instead of the rejected equation Lemnian *mav = Etruscan maχ; and the somewhat surprising perspective that the language may have come from Italy to Lemnos. Philological and etymological problems of the texts are discussed passim in detail, but a comprehensive study is reserved for a later time. This study also yields new results for Tyrsenian linguistic affinities in general.
Keywords: Etruscan language, Lemnos, Raetic language, Tyrsenian language family, Lemnian stele from Kaminia