Slavic interpretation Etruscan inscriptions for mul*
Author: Igor Pirnovar

Comparing Slavic and the interpretations of Etruscologists

I was shocked, but not surprised, when a few years ago for the first time, in a book Etruscan Art by Nigel Spivy, I read how the Etruscologists interpret the word mulvanica. First the fact that one should find this explanation in a book about art rather than in a book that deals with the Etruscan language is rather bizarre, but more importantly, the way this issue is handled without much broader linguistic consideration or perhaps knowledge, further raises ones suspicions about integrity of the work done by the linguists -Etruscologists on the Etruscan language. Here is what they say (pay special attention to the bloated language they use, completely void of any linguistic substance):

The earliest Etruscan inscriptions, in fact, are mostly found on on drinking vessels and metal jewelry, and mostly relate to the protocol of gift exchange:
Etruscan English
Mi mulu ... I was given by ...
Mini muluvanice ...       I am the gift of ...
the scratched formulae of these "speaking objects" enunciate the patterns of reciprocal obligation and endowment among Etruscan aristocrats in the early seventh century BC. ...
Consequently you can find the word muluvanica among the following entries Etruscologists collected as well as made up, in almost every Etruscan dictionary they wrote.
Etruscologists' fabrication of the mul... words for their dictionary
Etruscan English
mul-, mul-a, mul-i, mul-u, mul-une, mul-veni, mul-eni-ke, mul vani-ce, mul-ve-ne-ke, mul-vunu-ke, mul-uvani-ce to offer, to dedicate as an ex-voto (votive=zaobljubljen)
In the above the entries mul-, mul-a, mul-i are made up by Etruscologists, in accordance with the Indoeuropean grammatic "asterisk" rule, so they could claim they have a pattern for the stem mul-. Needless to say, based on what they found in inscriptions, they have no grounds for any of their conclusions, and particularly for the mul-, mul-a, mul-i concoctions, nor for their word generations, as well as explanations. Indeed, should they provide evidence that they can consistently use these patterns, this would make their choice a reasonable one. However, so far they failed to convince us of just that. All they have is their exuberant imagination incited by their wishful thinking, they could hide the obvious solution Slavic languages provide.

As I have already said, the above deduction of the Etruscologists was groundless, nevertheless, rather logical, but would hold only if Veneti were not living next-door to the Etruscans and, as many inscriptions suggest, indeed among them. In the Venetic and Slavic languages the words in question actually mean precisely what one would expect on the inscriptions such as these, especially when found in exactly the circumstances and the environments as those in which they were discovered. Therefore, it is only natural to explore these Venetic or Slavic options. Hence, the following is a table of possible meanings of the word mulvanica and its siblings, derivatives, and lookalikes in the Slovene language.

Slovene meanings for mulu...
Etruscan Slovene English
mulu moliti: molu, moli, molila, molimo, molmo, molite, molijo, ... to pray, to ask (I pray, you pray, he/she/it prays, ...
mulu malo: mali, mala, malo, malu, ... litle, small: (masculine, fem, neutr) ...
muluana molitev, (muluane=molitve) the prayer, (muluane=of/for a prayer)
muluve moleč, molitev: molitve, molitvi, ...praying, the prayer, of the prayer, to the prayer ...
muluveneke molitvenik: molitvenika, molitveniku ... the altar, of the altar, to the alatr, ...
van van, ... the heaven, ...
vanica, vanice vanica, vanice ... the heavenly drink, the libation: of the the heavenly drink, of the libation, ...
u-vani-ka, u-vani-ca v vanu ki/ko/čain the heaven in which, or where
mulu-vanice malo vanice a little of the heavenly drink
muluvanica obredna pijača, pijača (medica, žganje, pivo, vino) ceremonial drink, drink (beverage, brandy, beer, vine)
Following is a table of most of the Etruscan inscriptions which contain the string "mul..." or are in some way related to the word mulvanica and its derivatives. Some inscriptions have more than one possible solution (translation), separated by a semicolon, others have no translation at all, since I could not find it reliably or consistently with current understandings and dictionaries. If I found a solution the Etruscologists gave us, I separated it from mine by a red line.

Let's keep in mind, that my translations are just an attempt to show the current state of affairs in still ongoing research. In the future better solutions may be found, indeed proving some of the current ones to be inadequate or false.


The translation table - inscriptions with the word mul...
Word Inscriprion
mula[ mi.aranO.mula[---]s

You pray early - "zgodaj moliš /prosiš"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)
mulenike mi.avileS.titeS.[ ]Xsie.mulenike; Igor-ERR:[ ]Xsie=muXsie

Call for his life you should at the altar - "Klicat k življenju mu moral bi pri molitveniku"
Translated by Etruscologists:
I (belong to) Avile Tite [...]uchsie dedicated (me) - "Sem (last) Avile Tite podaril me je [...]uchsie"
Etruscan Slovene English Etruscologists
mi jaz, mi, jaz sem I, to/for/from me, I am I, me
avileS življenje, živeči, živiš life, one who's alive, you live avile = Aulus
titeS klicati, klicani call, called tite = name(M), family name
muXsie morati, moči, mogel/mohel must, would, can, ... muX = to fold
mulenike molitvenik, božji napoj altar, magic potion (he) dedicated (me)
muleO a[ ].aleOnas.SeOreSa.neSs.sacn[ ].clensi.muleO.svalasi .zilaXnuce.lupuce.munisuleO.calu.avils.75.lupu

... departed living sole not starting the cleansing prayer, unbounding the life, the pilling when Thunder god swears / judges over the sinful life of 75 shells (years) - "... šla od nas duša živa, še ni začela čiščenja molitve odvijanje življenja, ob lupljenju ko bog Muni zaklel/razsodil grešno živel 75 lupin"
Etruscan Slovene English Etruscologists
aleOnas odšel od nas; ojti, iti - (Rus:ujehat) He/She went away from us
SeOre, SeOreSa živa duša, še orje, deluje living sole name
-re=(M), -ra=(F)
neSs ne, še ni no, not yet
sacn[ ] začni; posrkaj - poljubi; vtakni v vrečo to start / begin; suck, love; to put into a sack
clensi očisti, operi to clean, to purify
muleO moliti, molil to pray, prayed
svalasi svalki, zvalki, zaviti, zvaljati the rolls, to roll, to roll up
zilaXnuce življenje, življenju, živečemu the life, to/for the life, to the living
lupuce, lupu olupil; lepo; jedro, olupljeno notranjščino (jajca, duše, sadeža) peel; nice; kernel, core of the stone shell
munisuleO, munisvleO, municleO, municlet, municlat meni zakleti; od boga Muni (groma) zaklet - (Muni=Htt:Storm god) my curse; cursed by god Muni (Thunder); - (Muni=Htt:Storm god)
calu kalil, blatil, mazal, grešil; umazan< to smear, smear up; to sin; dirty
avils življenje, živel; oživel (dušo); uničil, ubil life, to live, to revive; destroy / kill
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)
mlaX.Oanra.calus.cecnia.,r,ii)ca .lurcac.eO.turit.neslman. rivaX.leScem.tnuc.asi.Suris .eisteis.evitiuras.mulsle. mlaX.ilaXe.tins.lursOtev .huviOun.luOsOsal.aBrsnaces
mulsuna vl.tite.mulsuna
mulu mi.hirumesi.mulu

pray my (poor) sick one pray - "mi bolehni (hirajoči) moli/l"
mulu mi.licineSi.mulu.hirsunaieSi

Let the prayer help the sick - "Naj mi ozdravi molitev boleče / onemogle"
mulu mi.mulu.licinSei.velXainaSi

  • Let's pray for healing to our majestic master; - "Molimo za ozdravitev k našemu velčanstvu";
  • Lets lick a little our majestic master - "Malo lizali/zdravili naše velčanstvo"
mulu mi.mulu.kaviiesi

in prayer pierce (let's pierce a little) - "Mi malo/z molitvijo luknjaj"
mulu mi.mulu.laricesi

  • Let's pray to the ghosts; - "Moli mi k strahovom";
  • Let's pray for the hounting to begin; - "Molimo, da bi strašilo"
  • You did reign (haunt / guard) some - "Si mi malo gospodoval/strašil/čuval"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)
mi.mulu.laricesi.p[ ]spunaiesi.clinsi.velOurusi .lar-s.ruvries
mi.mulu.laricesi.p--l---spunaiesi. clinsi.velOurusi .lar-s.ruvries

Let's pray to the ghost, and fulfil in a chant our majestic master's constable spirit - "moli mi k strahovom, izpolnjujoč zaklinjanja velikaševemu duhu biriča"
mulu mi.mulu.larisale.velXainasi

  • Let's pray to the haunting of our majestic master; - "Molimo k strahovom velič anstva našega";
  • Our majestic master has reigned over us for a while - "so mi/nam malo gospodovali naši velikaši"
mulu mi.mulu.mlac.mi.zavena

  • You barely pray, hey you, on the outside; - "Vi zunaj mlahavo mi molite";
  • It's a bit wet outside - "Zunaj je malo vlažno / mlačno"
mulu mi.larOiale.melacinasi.mulu
mulu mi.mulu.araOiale.OanaXvilus.prasanaia

I prayed and feared the questions of the God of all gods - "Sem molil in se bal (garal) Boga vseh bogov vprašanj"
mulu mi.mulu.avi[ ]aX.m[l]akasi
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

I pray to the lord / master and live moderately - "Molim gospodu in živim skromno (mlahavo)"
mulu mi.venelusi.aXesi.mulu.emini.evrtun

  • The departing to the underworld pray to [...]; - "V onstranstvo odhajajoči [aXesi=?] molijo [evrtun=?]";
  • The magic potion (bear) always (evrtun=every turn) a bit quenches my thirst - "Tudi mene pivo/napoj vedno malo poteši"
mulu mi.venelusi.haOilnasi.mulu

  • The departing to the underworld prays to the all mighti; - "V onstranstvo odhajajoči k našemu silnemu moli";
  • Drink the magic potion and to the all mighti pray - "Popij napoja in k našemu silnemu moli"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

While wantons ate, Tantalus fed them with the food meant for a delicate prayer. - "Ko jedla je rulja, Tantal pital jih s hrano za tankočutno molitev"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

Three horns (rams) loudly (alerted) guard the (preparation of) magic potion (brandy) - "Trije ovni/rogovi budno/glasno pazijo medice"
muluaniX mi.aXu.muluaniX
muluevneke mine.viku.muluevneke.arpaS.kamaia
mulune mi.murs.arnOal.veteS.nufreS.laris.vete.mulune.laOia .petruni.mulune

The dead earned the shelter of eternal Nefrtiti's spirit and the prayer of the master of souls still caught in their prayers in their stone shells. - "Mrtvi si pridobi večne Nefretite duha zavetje in moliltve gospodarja v kamnite lupine ujetih duš moliltve"
muluvace mi.Oancvilus.kanzina.venel.muluvace.Setiu.uOuv.teOun .vuvze

When the God of all gods (OanXvil) opens the underworld, throw the libation brandy, into the funeral fire so the god Tesun may take it. - "Ko mi Bog vseh bogov (OanXvil) odpre onstranstvo, napoj sveti vsuj v ogenj, da ga pogrebni plamen (bog Tesun) vzame"
muluvana mi.hanFinasi.avhircinasi.muluvana
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)
[a]veleS.feluskeS.tuSnutal[a][ ] .hirumina.phersnalaS; - Palottino

[a][a][ ].panal.aS.minimul.u.; - Bor

Avleš Beluskeš, is asleep here. He ruled until he passed away. When in heaven, may the troubles of the mind clear up - "Avleš Beluskeš spi tu. Vladal je, dokler ni preminil. V nebesih (vanu) ko (bo) tegobe uma naj se zjasnijo." (Translated by M. Bor)
Translated by Etruscologists (Palottino) :
Of Avele Feluske, [son of] Tusnute and of [...] panalaš Hirumina Phersnalaš dedicated to me - "Avele Feluske, [sin] Tusnute in [...] [ panalaš ?] Hirumina Phersnalaš mi je podaril"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

  • Give me the magic potion (brandy), so divas intoxicate us; - "Daj mi medice, da nas vile opojijo";
  • Give me the magic potion (brandy), so life / death intoxicates us; - "Daj mi medice, da življenje / smrt opoji nas"

Translated by Etruscologists:
I am the gift of Aulus Vibenna - "Jaz sem darilo Aulusa Vibenne"
muluvanice [mini.mulu]vanice.[la]rice.hvuluves

Give me the brandy to say thanks (to toast) to the master (good master's spirit) - "Daj mi medico v zaahvalo gospodovi duši"
muluvanice [mini.mul]uvanice.larice.k[
muluvanice laris.velkasna[].menervas
muluvanice mi.aranO.ramuOaSi.veStiricinala.muluvanice

  • You earned the Ram's comfort 'in four beginnings' of the magic potion; - "Zaslužil ovna tešiti 'v 4-ih začetkih' božjega napoja";
  • You early comfort the Ram in four jars of the magic potion - "Zgodaj rama tešite v 4-ih posodah božanskega napoja"
m[uluv]anice mini.m[uluv]anice.mamarce.apuniie
This inscription is from: [Latium - vas, Lavinium / 8390]
(compare with next)
  • Fill up my intoxicating brandy; - "Medice omamljujoče mi napolnite";
  • Fill my brandy up to the mark; - "Medice do roba / oznake mi napolnite";
  • Fill up my brandy, I've got money - "Medice mi napolnite, imam denar"
muluvanice mini.muluvanice.mamarce.apuniie.venala
From: the book Etruscan Civilization by Sybille Haynes (p:69/Tle:34)
(compare with previous)
  • Fill up my intoxicating brandy for the next world; - "Medice omamljujoče za v onstranstvo mi napolnite";
  • Fill my brandy for the next world up to the mark; - "Medice do roba / oznake za v onstranstvo mi napolnite";
  • Fill up my brandy for the next world, I've got money - "Za v onstranstvo medice mi napolnite, imam denar"
Translated by Etruscologists (Palottino) :
Mamarce Apuniie geve me to Venai (here the verb muluvanice from the root mul- is used) - "Mamarce Apuniie me je dal Venai-ju (tukaj je uporabljen mul- kot koren glagola dati)"
Author's comment: If you care to look just one entry above this one in the table, (the inscription from: [Latium - vas, Lavinium / 8390], you'll notice there is no word "venala" there, so the meaning of the comment: "(here the verb muluvanice from the root mul- is used)" becomes rather problematic.
muluvanice mini.mulvanice.mamarce.quOaniie[

  • Give me intoxicating brandy [quOaniie=?]; - "Daj mi medice, omamljujoče [quOaniie=?]";
  • Give me brandy up to the mark [quOaniie=?]; - "Daj mi medice do roba / oznake [quOaniie=?]";
  • Give me brandy, I ve'got plenty of money; - "Daj mi medice imam dovolj denarce"
  • Give me brandy, I ve'got money shekels; - "Daj mi medice imam denarce [quOaniie=srebrnike (šekle)]"
muluvanice mini.muluvanice.piana.veleOnice

Give me the magic potion, her majesty's drunk (NOTE: pun / a play on words) - "Meni božanskega napoja, je pijana 'velikanka' (besedna igra)"
muluvanice mini.Spurie.utaS.muluvanice

Give me the consolatory (vivifying) magic potion for my hurting (empty) stomach - "Daj mi utehe (na tešče) oživljajoče (vzbujajoče) medice"
muluvanice mini.muluvanice.pisna.perkena
mini.muluvanice.tetana.vel .kasnas.veleliiasi

Give me the brandy for the departing majesty, who's very late - "Daj mi medico za zapuščajočega zelo kasni velikaš"
muluvanice mini.muluvanice.venalia.s.lapinaS.e.n.mipi.capi.n[unar]

(1)Pour in magic potion with froth, but don't drink a drop; (2) To me "honey-brandy", but finish me drop by drop (slowly) - "(1) Nalij mi medice s peno in ne popij niti kapljice"; "(2) Meni medice, nato me pa daj po kapljicah"
muluvanice mini.muluvanice.vhlakunaie.venel; Igor-ERR:nuluvanice=muluvanice
muluvanice mini.nuluvanice.lariS.leOaieS

Give me brandy, master's gone / sleeping - "Day mi medice, gspodar je onemogel / legel"
muluvanice mini.usile.muluvanice.mi.amu

Give me the drink of our (beloved) God of the Sun ... - "Daj mi medice (ljubega) Boga Sonca ..."; "Mi vsislijo nebeškega napoja / medice ..."
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

  • Give me the magic potion brandy for the next world, for which I payed; - "Daj mi strupa plačane medice";
  • Give me the magic potion brandy for the next world, so I drink it - "Daj mi strupa da popijem medice"
muluvanice velOur.tulumneS.pesnu.zinaie.mene.mul[uvanice]

Majesty, when loudly song you sing, my glas of magic potion is empy - "Veličanstvo glasno ko zapoješ pesem sprazni se moja kupica napoja"
muluvanike mini.[muluv]anike.[ ][
muluvanike min[i].muluvanik[e].venel.rapaleS.laiven[
muluvanike mini.spuriaza.muluvanike.kuritianaS

Burn the stimulant on the altar - "Mi spodbujevalca na molitveniku zažigaš"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

  • Give me the magic potion to toast to the divas and the God of all gods; - "Daj mi napoja da trčimo vilam in Bogu vseh bogov" ;
  • Let's pray to the divas and the God of all gods; - "Molim k onstranstvu vilam in Bogu vseh bogov"
muluvenice ]e.muluvenice.avil[l]e.a.cvil.nas
(same as above but damaged)

  • Give me the magic potion to toast to the divas and the God of all gods; - "Daj mi napoja da trčimo vilam in Bogu vseh bogov" ;
  • Let's pray to the divas and the God of all gods; - "Molim k onstranstvu vilam in Bogu vseh bogov"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)
mi.larOia.OarnieS.[ ]uXulni.muluvuneke

  • To/About spirit / ghost you lament [...] soothsayer to altar; - "Mi duhu / duši tarnaš ... učeni/vedeževalec oltarja";
  • To/About spirit / ghost you lament [...] have some magic potion - "Mi duhu / duši tarnaš ... gurni medice"

Translated by Etruscologists:
I (belong to) Larth Tharnie [...] Uchulni dedicated (me) "Sem (last) Larth Tharnie [...] Uchulni podaril me je Uchulni"
mulvanice ]ermenaie.mulvanic[e
mulvanice mini.spuriaza.[ ]rnas.mulvanice.alSaianasi

Let me stimulate (to spur) [ early ] the magic potion [or the shining one ? ] - "meni spodbujevalca [ rano / zasluženo ] medico [ ali svetlosti ]"
mulvanice [larO.velXa]s.[velOur]us.cla[n.ravnOus]c.ap[ronal--]i .acalusve[.]sa-cn[ ].mulv[va]ice.Xam.papac.marcO.svlisva
.s[ ]nai.c.Outa[.]venO[ ]Oavi-lm
mulvanice i.tan.mul.vanice[

Yust go to bed, don't even smell the brandy - "Le spat pojdi, medice ne povohaj"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

  • Give me the brandy, master is singing; - "Daj mi medice, gospodar prepeva";
  • Give me the brandy, master is drunk - "Daj mi medice, gospodar se je opil"
mulvanice mine.mulvanice.karcuna.tulumneS

Empty up the glass of heaven's drink - "izprazni (eksni) mi kozarec medice"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

  • Fill up my intoxicating brandy majesty; - "Meni medice omamljujoče vekikaš"
  • Fill up my brandy, up to the mark (I've got money) majesty - "Meni medice do roba / oznake vekikaš"
  • Fill up my brandy, I've got money majesty - "Meni medice imam denar vekikaš"
mulvanice mini.mulvanice.velOur.qurtiniie

  • Fill up the quart with the magic potion; - "Medice, zvrhaj (well turned) kvatro (kriglo)";
  • A quart of Rasenian (Russian) brandy - "Medice kvatro (kriglo) rasenske"
mulvannice mini.kaisie.OannursiannaS.mulvannice

Give me the magic potion of our protector the shining Tinia (Jupiter) - "Meni siječega Tinija (ovna) zaščitnika medice"; "Meni marelice zaščitnika pijače (ovna) obredne medice"
mulvenas mi.larice.mulvenas.SuOi
mulvenece ]ikanas.mine.mul.venece
mulvenece mi.mulvenece.puterescia.ruOiaX.puzne.qaXu

Though it's late, pour in the magic potion fellow-countryman (Rasen) anyway - "Zlij / stresi mi nebeškega napoja rojak (Rusjak / Rasen) ceprav pozno bo"
mulveneke mini.mulveneke.velOur.pupliana

  • The majesty pured the brandy over my ashes; - "Veliki mi je medico vlil na pepel";
  • The majesty drank my brandy - "Medico mi je popil velikaš"
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)
cauOas.tuOiu.avils.+lxxx+[cs]Oial.OlacO .hevnavil.neSlman.murina[s] .mene.mlaO.cemarni.tuOi .tiu.XimOm.crcOial.OlacO .marinl .meni.tla.aBrs.cialaOX .cmOmavisX.eca.cepen.tuOiuOu .XiXuie.vrheSni .mulveni .eOz[itu].ciamar
mulvenice [mini.m]ulvenice.vhlreneh[
Click to enlarge (Kliknite za povečano)

The majesty ploughed me, taking the manure from the altar of Aphrodite - "Me veljak naš oral, vzel gnojila z oltarja Afroditinega"

Translated by Etruscologists:
I am the fibula of Arath Velavesna, given by Manurke Tursikana - "Jaz sem broška Aratha Velavesna, ki jo je podaril Manurke Tursikana"
mulvunice mi.rahO.pi.anae.amavunice;Ig:amavunice=mulvunice

Go easy on the magic potion - "Po malem (na rahlo) pij božji napoj"
mulvunuke mini.mulvunuke.laris.numenaS

Master intended brandy for me - "Gospod mi je namenil božanskega napoja"


Legend of symbols in Etruscan transcripts

Reading Etruscan transcripts is simple. A look at the table of symbols, at the end of this paragraph should suffice. Otherwise, a short narrative here, may straighten out a wrinkle or two. The only important thing to know is that the capital letter "O" represents a symbol with many meanings, namely it can be the read as Greek "theta"="th", which may have been seen by Etruscans sometimes as either "t" or "s" or sometimes simply as English letter "o". The later, namely, the simple "o" version, being an addition of Slovenian scholars to the Etruscologists way of reading. The capital letter "S" is for the english sound "sh", as in English word "shell", i.e. Slavic letter "Š". The capital letter "X" is used for either velars k, g, h, or palatal ch and for Greek khi. Square brackets "[ ], [...], [--a-]" usually indicate a damaged and missing text. A single square bracket means everything to the right of it (an open bracket "[") - may appear only at the end of the text, or to left of it (a closed bracket "]" - may appear only at the beginning of a text)

Symbols used in my Etruscan transcripts
Symbol Interpretation
"O" (capital o)th, t, s, o
"X" (capital x)k, g, h, ch
"S" (capital s)sh, (š)
"]" (R-bracket)missing / damaged text to the left of the inscription
"[" (L-bracket)missing / damaged text on the right of the inscription
" [ ] (brackets)"missing / damaged text between [ ]
" - " (dash)missing a single character
"x" (lower case x)missing a single character
"." (dot)delimiter between words
";" (semicolon)end of inscription - start of a comment
" " (space)ignore all spaces




Main Menu ; (Home)       Main Menu (Home)


©2005 Igor H. Pirnovar
Last Updated: