Slavic and Etruscan cognates, Sarmatian and Albanian connection?
All of the words on this list are taken from the “Etruscan phrases” glossary by Mel Copeland, which can be found HERE. This is by no means a definite list as this glossary lists only 1600 words.
As we will see, plenty of the words can be easily labeled Indo-Europan, as they are common in many European languages. However, there are some that sound typically Slavic. The most interesting ones are marked in red.
- ANA (name) and ANIA (river,name) Name Ana is considered to come from Hebrew, via Greek, but Anya is a typically Russian and Polish diminutive of the same name. More on the name Anya here.
- BORIS (name, wind) – (BVRIS) Boris is almost exclusively a Slavic name. Wikipedia article about the name Boris : “Boris, Borys or Barys (Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian: Борис; Belarusian: Барыс) is a male name of Bulgarian origin. Nowadays, it is most widely represented in Russia (by the number of the name carriers), almost equally in Belarus, less in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Poland, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine.”
- KOTEV (name?) The author was in doubt if this is a given name. It is a Slavic last name though, like for example here. -EV suffix is typically Slavic.
Place and tribe names:
- RAS, RASA, RASNE, meaning Etruria, Etruscan. This is how the Etruscan actually called themselves. The first capital of Serbs in the early 6th century was Ras and the country was Raska. One of the official etymologies of this word means “a people, race” (Slavic – rasa) while the other comes from Etruscan ROS (RVS) (rural, hence Latin “rusticus”) However, in Bulgarian language the word “rusa” means “blonde” and it is used exclusively for hair. You can read more about it on the article on the city of Ruse, Bulgaria. This Bulgarian etymology explains why Slavs call Russians – Rusi (blonde-haired)
- TUTIN (to protect, to guard) – Tutin is a Serbian city in the above mention region of Raska.
- SEGETA (SEbETA) – crop, cornfield, field. Could this word be behind the etymology of so many toponyms in Pannonia, one of the most fertile parts of Europe? For example Szeged. (Serbian SEGEDIN)
- TURAN (Etruscan Aphrodite), TURIN, (people of). Compare with the capital of Albania – Tirana, with Tyrrhenian sea and possibly Torino. However, on Wikipedia article about Torino we read that it’s name comes from Taurini, “celto-ligurian-alpian people”. Etymology is explained by the Greek word “Tauros” – bull. Taurini people had also founded Taurunum, modern day Zemun, Serbia. Boii and Taurini coexisted with Etruscan in Italy, just like they coexisted in Pannonia. One of the suggested etymologies of Boii is also “bull”. So could it be the same people under two different names? Maybe, but this is how Etruscan called the Boii according to this glossary – VOIA (8VIA)
- SAVO – sand. Compare with the river Sava that flows trough Pannonian plane, one of the main sources for the river sand exploitation in Serbia to this date.
- ROM (RVM), ROMA, (RVMA). This is interesting because Serbs still use archaic, Etruscan form to call Romanians – Rumuni, and also there is a city called Ruma in Pannonia.
- PLANO (PLANV) – flat. Compare with Velika plana, a city in Serbia. (meaning Great Flatland)
- TVE – (two) – DVA (DVE)
- TRE – (three), TRETI (third) – Slavic TRI, TRECI
- CATRA (four) – Slavic CETIRI
- PET (five) – Slavic PET
- SESTO (sixth) – Slavic SESTO (sixth, in a neutral gender) (sest = six)
- STO (hundred) – Slavic STO
- EST – to be, Slavic JEST
- SIM (SVM)– I am, Slavic SAM (SYM)
- SOME – we are, Slavic SMO
- SUNT – they are, Slavic SU
- ME – me, Slavic MI, ME
- TI – you, Slavic TI
- VI – to you, Slavic VI (you, plural)
- NE – no, not, Slavic NE
- NI – nor, Slavic NI
- NOCIS (NVCIS) – night, Slavic NOC
- NES – nose, Slavic NOS
- NOS (NVS) – our, Slavic NAS
- PRE – before, in front, Slavic PRE
- KROVE (KRVFE) – blood, Slavic KRV (KRF)
- BERCA – barque, Slavic BARKA
- MAR – sea, Slavic MORE
- SOL – Sun, Slavic SOLNCE, SUNCE
- SEC, SEK – to cut, Slavic SECI
- PROSIKOREN (PRVSIKVREN) – they shall cut – PRESECI
- STO, STA – to stand, Slavic STOJATI, STAJATI
- ITIS – you go – Slavic IDI
- MOLAK (MVLAK) – gentle, to become soft, Slavic MLAK
- BRATER – brother, Slavic BRAT
- MATRA – mother, Slavic MATER
- SOCRI (SVCRI) – mother in law, Slavic SVEKRVA
- CAMAREM – of the chamber, Slavic KOMORA
- TAME – darken, Slavic TAMA
- SALE – hall, Slavic SALA
- SALT – jump, to leap, Slavic SALTO
- OS (VS) – mouth or bone, Slavic KOST – bone, USTA – mouth
- MOLA (MVLA) – grind, stear, Slavic MLETI (infinitive)
- OVELI (VFELI) – sheep, Slavic OVCE
- SOPA (SVPA) – he, she sleeps – Slavic SPI, SPAVA
- SOPES (SVPES) – you sleep – Slavic SPIS
- POP (PVP) – priest, Slavic POP
- SKAL – stairs, leaders, Slavic SKALI (Bulgarian)
- ARO (ARV) – to plow, Slavic ORATI
- TEP – warm, Slavic TOPLO
- MAC – I soften, Slavic MEK
- LOS (LVS) – light, Slavic SVET-LOST (bright-light)
As we saw, roughly a 5% of the words, (out of a 1600 sample) would be mutually understood between Slavs and the Etruscan. This can be explained by a common Indo-European root in most cases, but not in all, like in personal names mentioned above. The point of this text is not to claim that Etruscans were Slavs, but to suggest that there is a possibility of a contact that is not mentioned in the history books. If such a contact existed, our best bet would be tribes of Boii and Taurisci, but viewed as Sarmatians, and not as Gauls.
Etruscan language undoubtedly had a very a strong influence of Semitic languages, from the manner of writing from right to left, to many words like those on the Pyrgi tablets for example. On the other hand, some linguists have also proposed a connection with Albanian language. This is not unlikely judging from the name of the capital of Albania, as well as by the Tosk, Albanian skull cap which has been also found on the mural paintings of the Etruscan. Unfortunately I do not speak Albanian to be able to check these claims further, but the dictionary link is on the beginning of this page for anyone who would like to make a similar chart with the Albanian language.Herodotus actually does mention that a group of Etruscan (Tyrrheni) lived near the area of Crestonia, Macedonia.
“What language the Pelasgians spoke I cannot say definitely. But if one may judge by those that still remain of the Pelasgians who live above the Tyrrheni in the city of Creston—who were once neighbors of the people now called Dorians, and at that time inhabited the country which now is called Thessalia…” Hdt. 1.57.1
This Herodotus claim has not been taken seriously by modern historians, and yet we can make an imaginary triangle from Crestonia, Macedonia to Tirana, Albania and to Raska,Serbia, where many toponyms and traces of Etruscan culture and language survive to this day. Etruscan influence had to stretch much further than northern Italy, given the fact that they were a very developed civilization of seafarers who traded as far as North Africa south France and Spain, so why not consider Adriatic sea and Balkans in the same equation? But it is this seafaring component that excludes Albanians as possible native Etruscans. Almost every study on their language states that they do not possess native words in a seafaring dictionary, meaning that their homeland was a mountainous region rather then a sea-coast. One such example:
“Similarly, the Illyrian coast is not a likely source since Albanian has no inherited nautical or indigenous sea-faring terminology, and has instead supplemented this absence with subsequent borrowing from Latin or Greek or recent metaphorical lexical creations.” Albanian 101
This would mean that if there were indeed some Etruscan tribes on the territory of modern-day Albania they had to be assimilated in modern Albanian tribes at some later stage, while leaving the heritage in terms of language and culture. Also, modern day Albanians claim Illyrian heritage, and Illyrians and Etruscans are not the same people.
As for the Sarmatian connection, we know that Albanoi were one of the Sarmatian tribes, so could it be that Etruscan people and Sarmatians had coexisted in Balkans AND in Northern Italy, that is why the Boii were so easily accepted there, while Romans had to fight their way trough? This is all really just a hypothetical theory, but the fact is that some of the words on this list sound extremely Slavic, and that there are much more cognates between Slavic and Etruscan than Slavic and Latin, while most of the Latin cognates in fact come from Etruscan language. You can check a list of Slavic and Latin cognates here. There are also certain officially accepted similarities between the Etruscan, Thracian and Sarmatian tombs. In these tombs we see that Amazonian warriors were (of all things Celtic) a very popular motive in ancient Etruria. Not that this proves anything but it is quite interesting to point out. Here are just some examples: