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The third longer Etruscan text ever found.

The Tabula Cortonensis, a bronze plate with Estruscan inscriptions broken in eight pieces (one missing), sized as a letter paper sheet, is the third longer Etruscan text after the Mummy of Zagabria and the Shingle of Capua. Unfortunately, the nature of its recent discovery doesn’t allows to go back to the place of origin of the    evidence.

The story has begun with the call made by a Calabrian carpenter to the local superintendence on October 12th, 1992. He told that he had found this object in September in the area of Piagge, Cortona, that he had taken the object for a few days thinking it was a piece of a gate and finally that he had delivered it to the Carabinieri police in a plastic bag, with other little evidencies at the presence of an official. He was accused of detriment against the State but the trial finished after two years with his discharge.

The Tabula is incised on both sides with Etruscan inscriptions of refined workmanship, realized with cold engraving or with the method of lost-wax casting.

In the total 40 lines and 206 words probably it depicts a business transaction of lands of the IIIrd-IInd century b.C. or an inherit arbitracion act about a protested inheritance. The most valid theory at the moment is that the Tabula Cortonensis tells about a transaction between the family Cusu (whith the member Petru Scevas) and a 15 people group.

In addition to this a series of numbers has been decoded (10: sar, 4: sa, 2: zal), maybe an amount of things or the extension of the plot of land. It is possible that it is the sales agreement of a plot of land sold by Petru Scevas and the Cusu to little landowners. On the Tabula Cortonensis there are three lists of names: the first represents the sellers, the second the buyers and the third the guarantors. The guarantors were the supreme magistrate and the sons and nephews of the two factions. This means that in the Etruscan oral law who safeguarded the regularity of the contract and the payments didn’t do it only for himself but also for his descendants, who had to assure the implementation of the contract in case of adversity or insolvency of the underwriter.

In that Age the acts were evidently transcribed on more precious material and preserved in the notary archives. The notarial origin of the Tabula is practically sure, as the weightlifting that summoned it confirms: it ends with a pinhead  that permitted to extract the plate from a series of them all conteined in boxes, that created a real card index, a notary archive.




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Luigi Giannelli 

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