Hand of Irulegi: They found the oldest text in the Basque language, the ancestor of Basque

It is a historical discovery.. researchers Aranzadi Science Society Discover The oldest written text in the Basque language (which precedes Basque) on a hand-shaped bronze plate dating back to the first century BC and was found during the excavation of a house in an ancient town Aerolegy. The fragment—which contains a five-word inscription, the first of which is suryoniko—shows that, as has already been speculated in recent years, the Basques were literate and had their own graphic system derived from a variant of the Old-Spanish script.

for experts, It is the first document “undoubtedly written in Basque & rdquor;. While the ancient Spanish text of Mosaic andelosfrom a similar chronology, they spent 25 years debating what their language was, in the case of the hand of Eroligi, on the other hand, the indications seem Does not accept disputes. In addition to the fact that the first word (sorioneku) is understood in the current Basque language, the presence of the symbol T is sufficient to speak of a suitable writing system adapted from the Iberian language. There is no T symbol in the Iberian language, but it appears on two Basque coins from Navarre (ontikes and unambaate). Thus, it seems clear that the Basques used the Iberian semi-syllable, adapted it to their own language, including its own characteristics, and used it to write their language, Basque.

The ancient city of Eroligi

The place where the oldest written text in Basque (predecessor of Euskera) was discovered

To date, the oldest texts have been found in Vasconnik (ancestor of Basque) had met in the current Navarain the names of persons and gods that appear in Latin, usually Roman, inscriptions from the second and third centuries AD, but were simply words, not complete texts, and were written in Latin and with the Latin alphabet. The same thing happens with the names of cities or people that appear on Basque coins. Therefore, it can be said that Irulegi It is the oldest text (consisting of five words) written undoubtedly in the Basque language that have been found so far. Apart from the Irulegi inscription, the following inscriptions in Basque are some medieval texts, such as the 1415 letter from Martin de Zalpa And texts Lazarraga and Etxepare XV-XVI centuries.

History of the city of Eroligi

To understand the discovery at the hands of the Irulegi, it is necessary to go back 37 centuries and stand at the eastern border of the present Aranguren Valley, at a fairly high point (about 900 metres) with a wide view. The town settled around the castle area In the Middle Bronze Age, between 1600 and 1400 B.C., it expanded downhill for 1,200 years until it reached its greatest extent in the first century B.C., at which time it ended up with violent burning in the course of the Sertorian wars. Thanks to this attack, it has held up A frozen image of the end of the Iron Agewhere the material was released and sealed in the initial position under the adobe residue.

team of researchers from Aranzadi Science Society He has been investigating the past of Mount Eroliği since 2007. The first works were carried out until 2017 in the castle at the top of the mountain, from the Middle Ages. Since 2018 a team led by an archaeologist Mateen Eastran He is doing the archaeological investigation of the Iron Age town on the hill below the castle. These investigations are part of a doctoral dissertation being carried out at the Basque Public University / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, awarded with the assistance of UPV / EHU and within the GIZAPRE research group. All these interventions are promoted by the Valle de Aranguren City Council and have been supported by the Government of Navarre since 2018.

Between the period 2020-2022, an area of ​​370 square meters was excavated at Eroligi, where two houses and part of the main road came to light from the Late Iron Age, in the first quarter of the first century BC. these houses, Excavated June 18, 2021 A piece of bronze delivered to the Archaeological Deposit of the Government of Navarre, along with the rest of the materials, on 13 July. your registration It was not discovered until January 18, 2022when Carmen OsoaHe, restored by the government of Navarre, discovered some lettering on the piece that was later interpreted as a hand.

Bronze hand

The piece in question is a sheet of bronze with a patina of 53.19% tin, 40.87% copper and 2.16% lead, which is common in ancient alloys. The object is cut to represent a somewhat schematic but life-size figure of the right hand. The blade is smooth on the palm side, but on the dorsal side it has the shape of a nail, although those corresponding to the ring, middle and index fingers have not been preserved because of their fragility. The piece measures 143.1 mm in height, 1.09 mm in thickness and 127.9 mm in width, and has a weight of 35.9 grams. There is a hole of 6.51 mm in diameter on the wrist which was undoubtedly produced when the piece was mounted on a soft support, possibly made of wood.

The Irulegi hand is interpreted as a ritual and apotropaic inscription which will be located at the entrance to the house. Further, the use of the word suryoniko (lucky / happy) undoubtedly alludes to a personal, ritual and immaterial world.

To find similar items, you need to go to the Ebro Valley, where there are also three hand-shaped shards, the only ones in the Iberian world (Two in Huesca and one in Teruel). Another distant parallel is given by a piece of To whom, already in the Roman chronology and is also written on the reverse. It is an amulet symbol, which serves to ward off evil and attract good luck and is currently in the British Museum.

Another special component of Eroligi’s hand is that it is Written using two techniques: notch and pointillism. First you make some lines and then dots on them. There are some Roman cases in the West, but they are not seen anywhere else. Iberian reliefs are made of incision and Celtiberian They’re both done with punctuation, so finding both in the same piece is a hit It is something unique and exceptional.

The oldest text in the Basque language was discovered in a bronze piece in the shape of a hand at Eroligi

The implications of the discovery by Iroligi on the linguistic knowledge of the Basque language and its eventual relations with the Iberian language, as well as its anthropological, social or historical implications It must be addressed by new studies in the future. For now, Eroligi is reaching out to those who want to delve into the intriguing history of our ancestors.

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