1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Falisci

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

FALISCI, a tribe of Sabine origin or connexions, but speaking a dialect closely akin to Latin, who inhabited the town of Falerii (q.v.), as well as a considerable tract of the surrounding country, probably reaching as far south as to include the small town of Capena. But at the beginning of the historical period, i.e.-from the beginning of the 5th century B.C., and no doubt earlier, the dominant element in the town was Etruscan; and all through the wars of the following centuries the town was counted a member, and sometimes a leading member, of the Etruscan league (cf. Livy iv. 23, V. 17, vii. 17).

In spite of the Etruscan domination, the Faliscans preserved many traces of their Italic origin, such as the worship of the deities ]uno Quiritis (Ovid, Fasti, vi. 49) and Feronia (Livy xxvi. 11), the cult of Dis Soranns by the H irpi or fire-leaping priests on Mount Soracte (Pliny, Nat. Hist. vii. 2, IQ; Servius, ad Aen. xi. 78 5, 787), above all their language. This is preserved for us in some 36 short inscriptions, dating from the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C., and is written in a peculiar alphabet derived from the Etruscan, and written from right to left, but showing some traces of the influence of the Latin alphabet. Its most characteristic signs are- A

A H"»yZ1T/, l-lr, l't

As a specimen of the dialect' rnayibee quoted the words written round the edge of a picture on a patera, the genuineness of which is established' by the fact that they were written before the glaze was put on: “ foied vino-pipafo, cra carefo, ” i.e. in Latin “ hodie vinum bibam, cras' carebo ” (R. S. Conway, I talic Dialects, p. 312, b). This shows some of the phonetic characteristics of the Faliscan dialect, viz. z-1.

The retention of medial f which in Latin became b; 2. The representation of an initial Ind.-Eur. gh by f (foied, contrast Latin hodie); ' V ' f

3. The palatalization of 11+ consonant i into some sound denoted merely by i- the central sound of foiezi, .from fo-died; 4. The loss of final s, at all events before certain following sounds (cra beside Latin eras);

Other characteristics, appearing elsewhere, are: 5. The retention of the velars (Fal. cuando == Latin quando; contrast Urnbrian pan(n)n);

6. The assimilation of some final consonants to the initial letter of thenext Word: “ pretod de zenatuo sentential (Conway, lib. cit. 1321), i.e. “ praetor de senatus sentential ” (zenatuo for senatuor., an archaic genitive). For further details see Conway, ib. pp. 370 ff., especially pp. 384-385, where the relation of the names Falisei, Falerii to the local hero Halaesns (e.g. Ovid, Fasti, iv. 73) is discussed, and where reason is given for thinking that the change of initial f (from an Yxriginal bh or dh) into an initial h was a genuine mark of Faliscan dia ect. A

It seems probable that the 'dialect lasted on, though being gradually permeated with Latin, till at least 1 50 B.C. In addition to the remains found in the graves (see FALERII), which belong mainly to the period of Etruscan domination and give ample evidence of material prosperity and refinement, the earlier strata have yielded more primitive remains from the Italic epoch. A large number of inscriptions consisting mainly of proper names may be regarded as Etruscan rather than Faliscan, and they have been disregarded in the account of the dialect just given. It should perhaps be mentioned that there was a town Feronia in Sardinia, named probably after their native goddess by Faliscan settlers, from some of whom we have a. votive inscription found at S. Maria di Falleri(Conway, ib. p. 33 5). Further information may be sought from W. Deecke, Die Falisker (a useful but somewhat uncritical collection of the evidence accessible in 1888); E. Bormann, in C.I.L. xi. pp. 465 ff., and Conway, op. cit.

(R. S. C.)