Etruscans (was: minimal pairs)

Douglas G Kilday acnasvers at
Wed Mar 7 11:38:28 UTC 2001

Miguel Carrasquer Vidal (15 Feb 2001) wrote:

><Histo:r> itself may be interpreted as "knower" (it means "expert" in
>Attic), but also as "seer" (another Homeric meaning, besides "judge,
>referee" is "witness").  "One who sees/discerns well" may not be an
>inappropriate title for a judge or "overseer".  From the context on
>the stele, it seems clear to me that some kind of function/
>magistrature is meant (as I thought even before thinking of Greek
>(eu-)histo:r): it occurs as <seronaith evistho> and <evistho
>seronaith>, together with a PN in the locative: "judge [vel simile] in
>Seruna".  One doesn't expect an epithet in that context.

>But there's really nothing to be concluded as long as there's no
>confirmation of *eu-histo:r as the name of a magistrature, for
>instance in Phocaea or in Chalcidice.

I must admit the juxtaposition of a locative with <evistho> supports its
interpretation as an official title. We have from Musarna

[al]ethnas : arnth : larisal : zilath : tarchnalthi : amce (TLE 174)

and there is no dispute about the reading 'Arnth Alethnas, (son) of Laris,
(who) was the zilath in Tarquinii'. Similarly from Rubiera

... zilath misalalati amake (ET Pa 1.2)

'... was the zilath in Misalala'. At Tarquinii the expression

... zilc . thufi . tenthas . marunuch . pachanati ... (TLE 137)

uses the locative apparently to modify a magistratural adjective: '...
having filled the sole(?) maronic zilacate in Bacchan capacity ...' =
'having been the Bacchan maro' which is <maru pachathuras> 'maro of the
sons/followers of Bacchus' at Tuscania (TLE 190). Likewise there are several
instances of <zilct(h)i> 'in the zilacate'. Hence if Lemnian <evistho> does
refer to a magistrate, the locative <s'eronaith> could refer either to an
actual locality or (less likely IMHO) to the capacity in which the
magistrature was held.

As for my earlier objection to a title containing "good" or "well", and the
lack of attestation of *eu-histo:r as a Greek title, it is conceivable that
the Lemnians borrowed a Greek word which they understood as 'wise man' and
applied it to one of their own offices. Most Lemnians probably lacked
detailed knowledge of Greek and would have considered <evistho> to be


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