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ATESTE TABLETS:  THE RELIGIOUS AND GRAMMAR LEGACY OF OUR ANCESTORS

by Vinko Vodopivec

Pot na Drenikov vrh 12, 1000 Ljubljana

Ateste tablets stem from the town of Atestino, today's Este in northern Italy near Padova, and they are kept in the Museo Nazionale Atestino.  They are the best-preserved written cultural reminders of the Veneti, which remain as a written source.  They reflect the way of thinking, the activity, and the religion of the Veneti, who had already formed their cult and community patterns.  The Atestine tables all have the same structure of writing and similar contents enabling a suitable comparison and a legitimate deduction about life in that time.  Atestine tables with their language, religious and sociologic message bear witness to the high culture of our ancient ancestors, the Veneti.

From the great number of Atestine tables, I selected the most complete and the best preserved ones, Es 23, Es 24, Es 25, and Es 26.  All of them have four essential parts:

the entry part,
the repetition part,
the appeal part,
the sorrow part, which is simultaneously an exceptional written record of the grammar forms of that time.

Based on a good knowledge of the Slovenian language and its dialects, the content is clear, the more so when also using other Slavic and Old Slavic languages.  Especially interesting is the repetition part, which is completely understandable to Slovenes; while in Romanic and Germanic languages as well as in Latin and Old Greek, it presents only a group of consonants.

The analysis of these Atestine tables indicates that previous reading of them was not scientific (cf. B. Grafenauer - in Comments to the History of Langobards of Paul Diacon and the evaluation of M. Snoj).  The mistakes, which may be the consequence of carelessness or made intentionally to prevent their understanding with the help of Slavic languages, can be noticed.


Page Created:  October 22, 2001
Page Updated:  October 22, 2001
ęCopyright 2001 Gary L. Gorsha