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Etruscan font

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The Etruscans, the predecessors of the Romans, inhabited Etruria in what is now modern Tuscany and parts of Umbria (central Italy). They flourished for roughly 900 years before being absorbed into the Roman Empire along with all other Italic peoples.

Their written language comes to us in the form of over 11,000 inscriptions (the oldest of which, I'm told, is the 8th-century-B.C. Marsilian Tablet). The Etruscan alphabet is derived from the Greek alphabet (probably the Chalcidian variant), and two forms are generally recognized: Early Etruscan (circa 700 B.C.) and Classical Etruscan (400 B.C. and later). The former comprised 26 letters, the latter 23. Classical Etruscan, in its final form, numbered only 20 letters: 4 vowels and 16 consonants. Etruscan was usually written right to left (the opposite of English), but occasionally appears in boustrophedon style (i.e., the direction alternates with each line, right-to-left/left-to-right—much like ancient Greek). Incidentally, the Greeks plowed their fields in this fashion, so it must have made sense. Go figure.

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