The Lepontier lived in the first millennium BC in the area between the Gotthard massif and Lake Maggiore , today's Swiss cantons of Ticino and Graubünden and the Italian provinces of Novara and Verbano-Cusio-Ossola . Its capital was Oscella Lepontiorum , today's Domodossola . The current names Leventina (for the upper Tessintal) and the Lepontine Alps go back to the Lepontier .
It was a people who determined trade between the north ( Celts , Helvetians , Raetians , Rauriks ) and the south ( Etruscans ; later the Romans ). The Lepontians are probably a tribe that originally belonged to the Etruscan culture, but then mixed with the tribes of the Celtic immigrants.
In numerous inscriptions one found a language that was counted as part of the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family , Lepontic , but which also has influences from non-Indo-European languages of the Mediterranean region (cf. Pre-Indo-European substrate ). The Lepontians used the Etruscan alphabet for writing . The first written evidence in Switzerland comes from them, dating from around 600 BC. Were engraved on grave steles.
In Giubiasco one was necropolis of lepontii found. Finds that are assigned to the Lepontiers show rich grave goods, elaborately crafted belts, swords, artistically decorated bronze vessels and silver jewelry. Bird motifs are repeated on certain vessels and objects. The so-called soul birds are an indication of the Lepontier ideas of the afterlife.
- Simona Canevascini (Ed.): The Lepontier. Grave treasures of a mythical Alpine people between the Celts and Etruscans . National Museum Zurich , Zurich 2001, ISBN 3-908025-33-8 .
- Gianluca Vietti: Lepontier. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- Simonetta Biaggio Simona: I Leponti: testimonianze della popolazione preistorica del Cantone Ticino. (Italian) on e-periodica.ch (accessed on January 16, 2017).