One enduring mystery is the extinction of the Etruscan language in 50 AD.
The Etruscan language was the spoken and written language of the Etruscan civilization, in Italy, in the ancient region of Etruria (modern Tuscany plus western Umbria and northern Latium) and in parts of Corsica, Campania, Veneto, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna.
Attested from 700 BC to AD 50, the relation of Etruscan to other languages has been a source of long-running speculation and study, with it being referred to at times as an isolate, one of the Tyrsenian languages, and a number of other less well-known possibilities.
The last person known to have been able to read Etruscan was the Roman emperor Claudius (10 BC – AD 54), who authored a treatise in 20 volumes on the Etruscans, called Tyrrenikà (now lost), and compiled a dictionary (also lost) by interviewing the last few elderly rustics who still spoke the language.
A second enduring mystery is the total eradication of Etruscan literature in Europe.
The Etruscans had a rich literature, as noted by Latin authors. Livy and Cicero were both aware that highly specialized Etruscan religious rites were codified in several sets of books written in Etruscan under the generic Latin title Etrusca Disciplina.
However, only one book (as opposed to inscription), the Liber Linteus, survived, and only because the linen on which it was written was used as mummy wrappings.
The Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis is the longest Etruscan text and the only extant linen book, dated to the 3rd century BCE.
It remains mostly untranslated because of the lack of knowledge about the Etruscan language, though the few words which can be understood indicate that the text is most likely a ritual calendar.
The fabric of the book was preserved when it was used for mummy wrappings in Ptolemaic Egypt.
The mummy was bought in Alexandria in 1848 and since 1867 both the mummy and the manuscript have been kept in Zagreb, Croatia, now in a refrigerated room at the Archaeological Museum.
Could it be the Roman Empire narrative providentially borrowed the Etruscan language and rebranded it as Latin in the 2nd millennium?
The 200 Year Credibility Gap
A less charitable interpretation of the data suggests the entire Roman Empire narrative is creative fiction that incorporates convenient characters and available artefacts from Greek Republics scattered across Europe and around the Mediterranean Sea.
The 200 Year Credibility Gap suggests the concept of the Roman Empire was created in the 2nd millennium to validate and encapsulate the narrative of Jesus of Nazareth.
The providential borrowing of the Etruscan language by the Roman Empire implies the Etruscan language didn’t become extinct in 50 AD.
Etruscan became Vulgar Latin that was widely spoken in the Mediterranean region.
Vulgar Latin or Sermō Vulgāris (“common speech”) was a nonstandard form of Latin (as opposed to Classical Latin, the standard and literary version of the language) spoken in the Mediterranean region during and after the classical period of the Roman Empire.
Because of its nonstandard nature, Vulgar Latin had no official orthography.
Written Etruscan became Old Latin which then evolved into Classical Latin before devolving into Medieval Latin [and other languages] “around the year 900” AD.
The earliest known form of Latin is Old Latin, which was spoken from the Roman Kingdom to the later part of the Roman Republic period.
The Latin alphabet was devised from the Etruscan alphabet.
During the late republic and into the first years of the empire, a new Classical Latin arose, a conscious creation of the orators, poets, historians and other literate men, who wrote the great works of classical literature, which were taught in grammar and rhetoric schools.
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages…
Some scholarly surveys begin with the rise of early Ecclesiastical Latin in the middle of the 4th century, others around 500, and still others with the replacement of written Late Latin by written Romance languages starting around the year 900.
Vulgar Latin diverged into distinct languages beginning in the 9th century.
Support for this scenario comes from the Roman military camp at Lambaesis, Algeria.
Lambaesis (Lambæsis), Lambaisis or Lambaesa (Lambèse in colonial French), is a Roman archaeological site in Algeria, 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Batna and 17 miles (27 km) west of Timgad, located next to the modern village of Tazoult.
See: Artist impression of Lambaesis by Jean Claude Golvin
Unsurprisingly, Roman inscriptions are found at Lambaesis.
The most famous of these Roman inscriptions is the Latin text of a speech delivered by emperor Hadrian to his soldiers in 128 AD.
Lambaesis Inscription: the fragmentary text of a speech, delivered at the legionary base of Lambaesis by the emperor Hadrian to his soldiers.
… most scholars believe they are a verbatim report of the words actually spoken during an inspection tour in June and July 128…
Livius.org – The Lambaesis Inscription
According to the Roman Empire narrative Lambaesa was founded between 123 and 129 AD.
Lambaesa was founded by the Roman military.
The camp of the third legion (Legio III Augusta), to which it owes its origin, appears to have been established between AD 123-129, in the time of Roman emperor Hadrian, whose address to his soldiers was found inscribed on a pillar in a second camp to the west of the great camp still extant.
Hadrian was Roman emperor from 117 to 138.
Hadrian fell ill around this time; whatever the nature of his illness, it did not stop him from setting off in the spring of 128 to visit Africa. His arrival coincided with the good omen of rain, which ended a drought. Along with his usual role as benefactor and restorer, he found time to inspect the troops; his speech to them survives.
However, even Wikipedia believes this part of the Roman Empire narrative is wrong.
However, other evidence suggests it was formed during the Punic Wars.
The First Punic War (264–241 BC) was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was largely a naval war.
The Second Punic War (218 BC – 201 BC) is most remembered for the Carthaginian Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps. His army invaded Italy from the north and resoundingly defeated the Roman army in several battles, but never achieved the ultimate goal of causing a political break between Rome and its allies.
The Third Punic War (149–146 BC) involved an extended siege of Carthage, ending in the city’s thorough destruction.
This is no surprise as the North African narrative displays the classic symptoms of the 100 Year Credibility Gap when Rome establishes provinces exactly 100 years apart.
146 BC – Africa; modern day Tunisia and western Libya; home territory of Carthage; annexed after the destruction of Carthage in the Third Punic War.
46 BC – Africa Nova (eastern Numidia – Algeria), Julius Caesar annexed eastern Numidia and the new province called Africa Nova (new Africa) to distinguish it from the older province of Africa, which become known as Africa Vetus (Old Africa).
Furthermore, the North African narratives displays symptoms of the 200 Year Credibility Gap when Trajan and Hadrian found new military bases at the beginning of the 2nd century AD.
Timgad was a Roman-Berber city in the Aurès Mountains of Algeria.
It was founded by the Emperor Trajan around AD 100.
In Alexandria [Egypt] coins of Trajan and Hadrian are buried deep beneath the debris layer associated with the Arabian Horizon of 637 CE.
Antinopolis [Egypt] was founded by emperor Hadrian.
Overall, the evidence from Lambaesa suggests the Roman Empire narrative providentially borrowed Hadrian’s visit to North Africa from the era of the Roman Republic.
In other words:
Hadrian’s Lambaesis speech was spoken in the language of the Roman Republic: Etruscan.
The young Italian scholar Licinio Glori from Rome did indeed astonish the world in November 1957 with the announcement that he had succeeded in translating almost a tenth of the ten thousand or so Etruscan inscriptions that have come down to us.
Etruscan, in Glori’s opinion, is ‘the first-born child in the Indo-European language family, whose mother-tongue has been lost’.
It Began In Babel – Herbert Wendt and James Kirkup – 1958
Among Indo-European languages, Lithuanian is extraordinarily conservative, retaining many archaic features otherwise found only in ancient languages such as Sanskrit or Ancient Greek.
The rest [as they say] is History: Misattribution, misdirection, misdating and mirroring…