# Etruscan numerals

Etruscan numerals for the number 106

The Etruscan numeral was used to represent numbers in the Etruscan script and was used by the Etruscans since the 6th century BC. Until the assimilation by the Romans in the 1st century BC. Used. Like the Roman numerals , the Etruscan numerals are also an additive numerals without a place value system and without a symbol for zero . It is based on a combined quinary- decimal or biquinary number system with the base numbers 5 and 10.

## Origin of numerals

Etruscan numerals for the number 63

Etruscan letters can be used since the 7th century BC. Prove, Etruscan numerals only about 100 years later. The number writing could have developed independently of other cumulative-additive decimal systems from the Mediterranean area. This is supported by the fact that the base numbers 5 and 10 were not used in any earlier number system . Alternatively, the Etruscan numerals could be derived from the Mycenaean linear B script . The correspondence of the numerals for 10000 is remarkable. However, there is no further similarity with regard to the numeric symbols used. Influences of Mycenaean Greece on the Etruscan culture are present, but do not affect the use of characters. In addition, the heyday of the Mycenaean settlements in southern Italy should be set so early that direct cultural contact with the Etruscans is improbable.

The Etruscan numeral symbols have some structural features in common with the acrophonic numerals of the early Greek numerals. Both numerical representations used the base numbers 5 and 10. There were also numerals for 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000. In the late 6th century BC. In southern Italy, early Greek numerals can be found epigraphically during cultural contact with the Etruscans. The Etruscan script developed from a western Greek alphabet of the Greek colonists in southern Italy. Thus the Etruscans could have adapted the number script from the Greeks. However, it is not yet possible to assign the Greeks or Etruscans the chronological priority in the development of the numerical script. It seems unlikely that the Etruscans and Greeks developed the number writing independently of one another.

## Etruscan numerals

The numerals for ½, 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 are evidenced by coin finds and grave inscriptions. The symbols for 5 and 50 correspond to the lower half of the characters for 10 and 100. The numerals for 1000 and 10000 are very rare and are not entirely certain. The symbols for 500 and 5000 could not yet be detected and should again result from the lower half of the characters for 1000 and 10000.

An indication for the indication of the numerical value 500 by a semicircle, which can be found as numerical indication on two inscriptions, is the later Roman spelling D. The rare symbol C for 100 was probably only used in the 3rd century. The Romans probably developed this numeral first, after which it was adopted into the Etruscan script.

About 200 numerical representations with numerical symbols and about 40 numerical words in phonetic transcription with letters have been handed down epigraphically . Grave inscriptions are mostly about the age of the deceased. From the 5th century BC BC coins with the denominations ½, 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 were minted in inconsistent spellings. On some pottery shards from containers there is information about the amount or the value of the contents.

## Number representation

In the Etruscan script, the letters were turned to the left, i.e. H. written from right to left. The Etruscans proceeded in the same way with the representation of numbers and arranged the digits from right to left with descending numerical value. They used the largest possible digits or the smallest possible number of numeric symbols. For example, 66 is the sum 50 + 10 + 5 + 1, in Etruscan digits ? + ? + ? + ?. This results in the spelling ???? from right to left.

When representing numbers, a subtraction rule was occasionally applied, as is known from the Roman numerals. If the number sign ? is placed in front of the number sign,, its numerical value 1 is subtracted from 10. This is to avoid writing several identical numerals in direct succession. Representations of the number 28 with ????? and ????? each with the meaning 10 + 10 + 10 - 1 - 1 have been handed down.

The ? was also put in front of the ?, so that the numerical value 50 - 10 is equal to 40, e.g. B. in the representation of the number 42 as ????. As with the Romans, the rule of subtraction was not applied consistently, as the Etruscan spellings of the numbers 38 as ???????, 39 as 42 and 42 as ?????? prove.

## Aftermath

The Romans took over in developing their written numerals apparently in addition to the number representation using the basic numbers 5 and 10, the Etruscan number symbols from 1 to 100, with them, so clockwise ruled the numbers not only reversed from left to right, but apparently the whole number representation 180 ° turned. For the number 50, the Etruscan arrow symbol ? was turned upside down, then ⊥ was written for it and later the well-known symbol L was used. From the Etruscan number symbol ⨂ for 1000 with the short spelling das, the early Roman character probably developed , from which the number symbol M for 1000 arose. Likewise, the Roman number symbol D for 500 is likely to have its origin in the corresponding Etruscan symbol. ${\ displaystyle \ infty}$

 Roman numeral Numerical value I. V X L. C. D. M. 1 5 10 50 100 500 1000

The number 66 was written in Roman numerals as LXVΙ, since 50 + 10 + 5 + 1 in Roman numerals corresponds to L + X + V + I. This number representation corresponds to a 180 ° rotation of the Etruscan spelling ????. The Etruscan number representation with the base numbers 5 and 10 and the Etruscan number symbols were also adopted almost unchanged by the Italians . B. from the Oskern , Umbrern and Faliskern .

## swell

• IPA AMA HEN NAPER ???
Which is 12 square meters here.
• SEMNI RAMTHA SPITUS LARTHAL PUIA AMCE LUPU AVILS ???? HUŚUR CI ACNANASA
Ramtha Semni was the wife of Larth Spitu, who died at the age of 22 and had three children.
• ANES ARNTH VELTHURU (S) CLAN LUPU AVILS ?
Anes Arnth, son of Velthur, died at the age of 50.
• ATNAS VEL LARTHAL CLAN SVALCE AVIL ?????
Vel Atnas, son of Larth, lived 63 years.
• METLI ARNTHI PUIA AMCE SPITUS LARTHAL SVALCE AVIL ?????? CI CLENAR ANACNAS ARCE
Arnthi Metli was the wife of Larth Spitu, she lived 64 years, had three children, she made (this grave).
Inscription in a burial chamber near Tarquinia from the 3rd century BC Chr.
• VELTHUR PARTUNUS ZILCH CECHANERI TENTHAS AVIL SVALTHAS ??????
Velthur Partunus, held the office of praetor with a sacred function, lived for 82 years.
• ROCKNAS LA (RIS) LETHES SVALCE AVIL ?? MURCE CAPUE TLECHE HANIPALUSCLE
Laris Felsnas, (son) of Lethe, lived 106 years, lived in Capua, fought (?) For (or against) Hannibal.
So-called. Hannibal inscription from a tomb near Tarquinia

## literature

Commons : Etruscan numeral  - collection of images, videos and audio files

## Individual evidence

1. Stephen Chrisomalis: Numerical Notation: A Comparative History , p. 95.
2. Stephen Chrisomalis: Numerical Notation: A Comparative History , pp. 96 and 103.
3. ^ Giuliano Bonfante, Larissa Bonfante: The Etruscan Language. An Introduction , pp. 97-98.
4. Stephen Chrisomalis: Numerical Notation: A Comparative History , p. 95.
5. Stephen Chrisomalis: Numerical Notation: A Comparative History , p. 96.
6. ^ Giuliano Bonfante, Larissa Bonfante: The Etruscan Language. An Introduction , p. 98.
7. Massimo Pittau: La Lingua Etrusca: Grammatica e Lessico , p. 76.
8. ^ Massimo Pittau: La Lingua Etrusca: Grammatica e Lessico , p. 107.
9. Massimo Pittau: La Lingua Etrusca: Grammatica e Lessico , p. 76.
10. ^ Giuliano Bonfante, Larissa Bonfante: The Etruscan Language. An Introduction , p. 98.
11. Stephen Chrisomalis: Numerical Notation: A Comparative History , p. 96.