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Iguvine Tables
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Iguvine Tables

The Iguvine Tables were a series of seven bronze tablets discovered at Iguvium, contemporary Gubbio, in Italy in the year 1444. The earliest tablets were probably written in the 3rd century BC in the native Umbrian alphabet, the latest in the 1st century BC in the Latin alphabet.

The tablets contain religious inscriptions that memorialize the acts and rites of the Atiedian Brethren, a group of 12 priests of Jupiter with important municipal functions at Iguvium. They are written in the Umbrian language, one of the Italic languages, a not-too-distant relative of Latin. They shed light on the grammar of this ancient dead language, and also on the religious practices of classical paganism. They appear to be written in an accentualual metre, similar to the Saturnian metre that is encountered in the earliest Latin poetry.

Here is a sample of their language and content, from Tablet I:

Dei Grabouie
orer ose persei ocre fisie pir
orto est
toteme Iouine arsmor dersecor
subator sent
pusei neip heritu.

Dei Grabouie
persei tuer perscler uaseto est
pesetomest peretomest
frosetomest daetomest
tuer perscler uirseto auirseto
uas est. . .

"Jupiter Grabovius, if on the Fisian mount fire has arisen, or if in the nation of Iguvium the owed preparations have been omitted, let it be as if they had been made."

"Jupiter Grabovius, if in your sacrifice there has been any flaw, any defect, any ritual violation, any fraud, any error, if in your sacrifice there is a flaw, either seen or unseen. . . "

Here is the entire text of Tablet VI:

teio subocau suboco
dei graboui
ocriper fisiu totaper iiouina
erer nomneper erar nomneper

fos sei pacer sei
ocre fisei tote iiouine
erer nomne erar nomne
arsie tio subocau suboco
dei grabouie
arsier frite tio subocau suboco
dei grabouie

di grabouie
tio esu bue peracrei pihaclu
ocreper fisiu totaper iiouina
irer nomneper erar nomneper

dei grabouie
orer ose persei ocre fisie pir orto est
toteme iouine arsmor dersecor subator sent
pusei neip heritu

dei crabouie
persei tuer perscler uaseto est
pesetomest peretomest
frosetomest daetomest
tuer perscler uirseto auirseto uas est

di grabouie
persei mersei esu bue peracrei
pihaclu pihafei
di grabouie
pihatu ocre fisiu pihatu tota iouina
di grabouie
pihatu ocrer fisier totar iouinar nome

nerf arsmo
veiro pequo
castruo frif
pihatu
futu fos pacer pase tua

ocre fisi tote iiouine
erer nomne erar nomne

di grabouie
saluo seritu ocre fisi
salua seritu tota iiouina
di grabouie
saluo seritu ocrer fisier totar
iiouinar nome
nerf arsmo
veiro pequo
castruo fri
salua seritu
futu fos pacer pase tua
ocre fisi tote iouine
erer nomne erar nomne

di grabouie
tio esu bue peracri pihaclu
ocreper fisiu totaper iouina
erer nomneper erar nomneper
di grabouie
tio subocau