origin of the Etruscan population is still unclear and is
being constantly investigated by scholars on cultural,
linguistic and genetic grounds. Several
major authors of
the Roman Empire, such as Livy, Cicero and Horace called them
These names are
in good agreement with
Tur-Osc, discussed in the previous chapter. There
are several indicators pointing to the Asiatic origin of the
Etruscan population. Their language is known to be
non-Indo-European and many similarities have been found with
both the Altaic –especially with Turkish- as well as the
Uralic languages (2).
serious genetic research has been published by a group of
Italian scientists. They have investigated several bone
samples from the Etruscan remains and came up with the
following conclusions (3):
appear to have rather homogeneous genetic characteristics.
Their mitochondrial haplotypes are very similar, but rarely
identical, to those commonly observed in contemporary Italy
and suggest that the links between the Etruscans and eastern
Mediterranean region were in part associated with genetic, and
not only cultural, exchanges. The Etruscans show closer
relationships both to North Africans and to Turks than any
contemporary population. In particular, the Turkish component
in their gene pool appears three times as large as in the
Turkish population originated –to a large extent- from Central
Asia, it can be claimed that the Etruscans too came to Italy
from Asia, through the Alp Mountains in the north of Italy.
Their early settlements were on a high plateau named
Valcamonica, where they left many marks in the form of
petroglyphs (see Chapter 6 and 7). A further sign for their
Uighur origin is the name of the Alp Mountains. Alp means
“tall and formidable” in Turkish. There are several proper
names starting with Alp; such as Alpaslan, Alpagut, Alperen,
Alper and Alp-Er-Tunga.
are also some interesting Etruscan artifacts which have been
the focus of interest and have created a lot of controversy
among scholars (4).
One of them is the Etruscan dice (left) found in Tuscany.
There are no numbers on the dice but short inscriptions in
Etruscan letters. Scholars have tried to decipher these
inscriptions and came up with different names for the numbers
from 1 to 6. J. Friedrich says
The inscriptions on the dice
-being without any doubt numbers from one to six- gave rise to
a large literature on this issue. But the order of these
numbers is still unclear.
Below we see three different interpretations of the Etruscan
dice. The one at the left is the interpretation of L. Bonfante
The central one is the interpretation of Selahi Diker
and the one on the right is my interpretation.
not interpret the letters as words standing for numbers, but
words standing for actions to be performed. This is because
carving letters is much more tedious and difficult than
carving numbers, logically. One would not choose to carve the
name of a number in place of the number itself. The assumption
that these words stand for numbers is a modern preconception
based on modern dices.
observation which I made was to identify the word “Gi”
written from right to left. This monosyllabic word is the
ancient form of “Giy”, which means “dress up” in Turkish. The
second two-letter word is read from right to left as “Ça” by
L. Bonfante and S. Diker. I read it from left to right as “Aç”
meaning “open” or “undress”. There are Etruscan inscriptions
which have been written in both directions. Such a system of
writing is called
boustrophedon, meaning “as the
ox ploughs”. In
this system the hand of the writer goes back and forth like an
ox drawing a plow across a field and turning at the end of
each row to return in the opposite direction.
commends have been deciphered the remaining monosyllabic words
could be easily identified as “Kal”, Kaç”, “Hült” and “Alt”.
These words are all words used still in modern Turkish, with
the exception of Hült. Kal
means “stay”, Kaç
means “run away, escape” and Alt means “under, below”.
Since we find opposite meanings on opposite faces of the dice,
it is obvious that Hült
stands for “over, above”, which is “Üst”
in modern Turkish.
H was probably aspirated and disappeared in modern Turkish. We
can see on the left how the six words are inscribed on the
dice. Since these words are certain commands to be performed,
it is quite possible that they had to be performed during a
wrestling contest. My guess is that at the start or during the
contest the dice was cast by one wrestler and he had to
perform the command appearing at the top side of the dice.
These are: Kal: “stay erect”,
Kaç: “run away”,
Alt: “stay below”,
Hült “stay above”,
and Gi: “dress”.
Etruscan wrestlers could also wrestle totally undressed as the
Etruscan wall painting below shows