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|Created||2nd century BC|
|Present location||MAEC, Cortona|
The Tabula Cortonensis (sometimes also Cortona Tablet) is a 2200-year-old, inscribed bronze tablet of Etruscan origin, discovered in Cortona, Italy.It may record for posterity the details of an ancient legal transaction which took place in the ancient Tuscan city of Cortona, known to the Etruscans as Curtun. Its 40-line, two-sided inscription is the third longest inscription found in the Etruscan language, and the longest discovered in the 20th century. While the discovery was made in October 1992, the contents were not published until seven years later, in 1999. The delay was due to the tablet's having been brought to the police by someone who claimed to have found it at a construction site. When provided to the police, the tablet had been broken into seven fragments, with the original right bottom corner missing. Investigators believed that, if the existence of the tablet were not initially disclosed, it would have been easier to ascertain whether the tablet had really been found at that location (examination of the construction site did not reveal any other Etruscan remains) and possibly locate the missing portion.
The tablet is thought by some scholars, notably Larissa Bonfante and Nancy de Grummond, to be a notarized record of the division of an inheritance or sale of real estate. Reference is made on the tablet to a vineyard (cf. lines 1 and 2: vinac), cultivated land (line 2: restm-c), and an estate located in the territory of Lake Trasimeno (cf. lines 35 and 36: celti nɜitisś tarsminaśś).The lake lies east of Cortona in modern-day Western Umbria.
In addition to the references to land, the tablet includes several references relating to table furnishings. The tablet includes words that appear to refer to plates (line 3: spante, a loan word from Umbrian) and salt (line 9: salini, also the Latin word for salt cellar, as well as 'a number of linguistically similar words such as the various forms of larisal). Additionally, several words (pav, clθii, zilci, atina, larz) that appear on the tablet have been found inscribed on Etruscan plates, drinking cups, or wine jugs or jars.
The tablet measures 50 centimetres (20 in) by 30 centimetres (12 in), and is about between 2 millimetres (0.079 in) and 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick.[ citation needed ]
When discovered, the tablet had been broken into multiple pieces, of which only seven have been found.The missing portion is believed by Etruscanists to contain only names and not details of the estate.
The text contains thirty-four known Etruscan words and an equal number of previously unattested Etruscan words. Moreover, a new alphabetic sign Ǝ (a reversed epsilon) is present on the tablet. This implies that, at least in the Etruscan dialect spoken in Cortona where this letter exclusively appears, the letter Ǝ marks a different sound from that of the letter E.The inscription dates ca. 200 B.C.
The following transcribes the special reversed epsilon as ɜ:
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