Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Mary Niepokuj

Committee Member 1

John Sundquist

Committee Member 2

Olga Dmitrieva


Etruscan was a language once spoken in what is now Tuscany. The origins of both the Etruscan people and the Etruscan language have been debated for thousands of years. The languages of Lemnian and Raetic may be related to Etruscan, however very little is currently known about these two languages. The similarities between Raetic and Etruscan led to the ancient author Livy to claim that Raetic and Etruscan were related. The historian Herodotus had claimed that Etruscans and their language had originated in Anatolia. However, Dionysius of Halicarnassus claimed that the Etruscans were autochthonous to Italy. This debate has continued into the present day. This paper examines the various theories proposed for the origin of the Etruscan language. The methodologies and evidence provided by proponents of each theory are examined in order to gain insight into the reasons for the debate’s longevity.