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The Cippus Perusinus or Cippus of Perugia is a stone tablet discovered on the hill of San Marco, near Perugia, Italy, in 1822. The tablet bears 46 lines of Etruscan text exquisitely carved into it. Surprisingly well-preserved , the cippus is often assumed to be a text dedicating a legal contract between two Etruscan families; however there is severe doubt about the validity of such a translation when these translated values are carefully cross-referenced with the same words found in other Etruscan texts. Rather, an alternative and more likely view is that this is simply a tombstone for the deceased. As the lower part of the stone is roughly finished, it is likely that it was buried in the ground.

The date of the inscription is considered to be 3rd or 2nd century BCE. The Cippus is conserved in the National Archeological Museum of Perugia [1].

The Cippus of Perugia, 3rd or 2nd century BCE


Discussion of its translation

As with most Etruscan inscriptions, translations vary between translators. Work has been done to piece together the language and attentive analysis and crossreferencing will further knowledge of the Etruscan language.

Due to keywords, known from other texts, being used here such as <mena> "lays down" and <muni> "burial plot", it seems unlikely the common idea of a legal document is sensible. Upon taking time to study the other Etruscan inscriptions, this theory is debunked. This is likely a dedication to a deceased person and the phrase <Afunaš penθna ama> 'the Afuna are below' suggests that this cippus is nothing more than a tombstone, not a legal contract. (Note that <penθna> 'below' is connected to the particle <pen> meaning "below" as well as <cepen> meaning "here below". These words were used very often and <-na> is an adjectival ending.)

==The text==
Teurat tan-na larezu-l am-e vaχr.
Lautn Velθina-š, ešt-la Afuna-s, spel eθ car-u tezan,
By the freedman of the Velthina, for the family of Afuna, a grave [as] an OFFERING [was] made devoutly,
fušler-i tesn-š tei-š Rašne-š ipa am-a hen.
with ANIMALS for these noble Etruscans which are before [you].
Naper χi-i Velthinaθur-aš ar-aš,
Cups with NOUN from the Velthina family having been raised,
perašcem-ul mlesc-ul, zuci enesc-i ep-l, tular-u.
the grounds of the temple, with dedicatory incense from the priest, [were] encircled.
Aule-ši, Velθina-š Arnza-l, clen-ši,
For Aule, of Velthina (father) and Arnza (mother), for the son,
θi-i θi-l šcuna cen-u, epl=c feli=c Larθal-š Afuni-š,
with the water of waters holy [was] given, both by the priest and by PEOPLE of Larthal Afuni,
clan, θunχul θe fala-š.
[to] the son, a jug with water from the mountain.
Χi=em fušl-e, Velθina hinθa cap-e, muni=cle-t, mas-u,
And thus with ANIMALS, Velthina below in the tomb, in this plot, [was] buried,
naper šran=c zl, θi-i falš-ti.
as well as two cups [with] images, with water inside the mountain.
Veltina hut naper penez-š mas-u.
Velthina four cups underneath [were] buried.
Acnina cl-el Afuna, Velθina mler zin-ia.
The offerings of this Afuna, [for] Velthina [as] blessings were formed (from clay).
In temam-er cn-l Velθina zi-a šaten-e tesn-e,
These [things] the temple priests of this Velthina set down with the seated nobles,
Eca Velθinaθur-aš tHaura hel-u tesn-e Rašn-e ce-i.
This sepulchre of the Velthina family [was] lowered with these noble Etruscans.
Tesn-š tei-š Rašne-š χimθ, špel θuta šcu-na, Afuna men-a hen.
Those noble Etruscans entombed, [in] the grave [of] the holy clan, the Afuna rest before [you].
Naper ci cn-l har-e ut-uš-e.
These three cups with NOUN were used.
side b:
Velθina šatena zuci enesc-i ipa spelane-θi fulum-χva.
[For] the seated Velthina dedicatory incense which in the burial opening [are] the stars(?).
spel-θi, rene-θi.
in the grave [and] in the PLACE.
Esta=c Velθina, acil-un-e, tur-un-e, šcu-n-e.
And [for] the family Velthina, [it] was completed, was given and was sanctified.
Ze-a zuci enesc-i aθumi=cš.
[They] set down dedicatory incense to the sky.
Afuna-š penθ-na am-a.
The Afuna below are.
Velθina, Afun[a]θur, un-i ei-n zeri, una cla θi-l θunχulθ-l.
[By] the Velthina, [for] the Afuna family with a libation was brought [for] the rite, a libation of this water from the jugs.
Iχ ca ceχa ziχ-uχ-e.
Thus, this event was written.


  • Bonfante, Giuliano; Bonfante, Larissa (2002). The Etruscan Language: an Introduction. Manchester, University of Manchester Press. ISBN 0-7190-5540-7.  
  • Cristofani, Mauro, et al. (1984). Gli Etruschi: una nuova immagine. Firenze, Giunti Martello. ISBN.  
  • Cristofani, Mauro (1979). The Etruscans: A New Investigation (Echoes of the ancient world). Orbis Pub. ISBN 0-85613-259-4.  
  • Rix, Helmut (1991). Etruskische Texte. G. Narr. ISBN 3-8233-4240-1.   2 vols.

See also

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