Bucchero inkwell
Collections OnlineGregorian Etruscan MuseumRoom II

Bucchero inkwell

Cerveteri, Regolini Galassi Tomb (?)
late 7th cent. BC
height cm 16.5
cat. 20349

In the form of a small bottle with a narrow cylindrical neck, this inkwell is unique within the sphere of bucchero production in Cerveteri. Scratched around the body is a spelling book, while around the base ring is an alphabet, both in a left-to-right direction, contrary therefore to the archaic standard that will be adopted and maintained by Etruscan writing. We have here a real Etruscan primer, where the consonants commonly used in the spoken language are given in sequence and combined with the vowels (in the order i, a, u, e). The full Greek alphabetical sequence adopted in Etruscan writing is given in the ring at the base. It is complete with all the letters (the only one forgotten is the q) and includes the "dead" letters not used by the Etruscans, such as the b and the d, the Phoenician samech and the vowel o.