Trying to make out Etruscan seems a bit like trying to decipher a teenager: You can stare at all the text messages and slang in the world, but in the end, it all still sounds like Greekwell, if you borrowed the Greek alphabet and altered a few letters, then loaned those to the Romans, who later shaped the alphabet we use today. So it is with the Etruscans, the ancient inhabitants of Italy who left behind some 13,000 scripts (plus a few golden tablets and a magical papyrus) but whose language remains a puzzle. Its like a mystery novel, explains lecture sponsor Dr. Barbara Tsakirgis, chair of Vanderbilts Department of Classical Studies. Archaeologists and people who study language have been working for centuries trying to fully understand this language. Dr. Rex Wallace from the University of Massachusetts is in town to unravel all the particulars involved in cracking a code in desperate need of a Rosetta stone. And fear notthis is a lecture meant for the general public, so no Greek, Latin or archaeology necessary. Free, but reservations required: 862-8431.
Thu., Oct. 29, 7 p.m., 2009