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The Iguvine Tablets

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The Iguvine Tablets are a series of seven bronze tablets discovered at Iguvium (contemporary Gubbio), Italy, in the year 1444. They are also known as Eugubian tablets. The earliest tablets were probably written in the 3rd century BC in the native Umbrian alphabet, the latest in the 1st century BC in the Latin alphabet. They are situated on the Civical Museum. The tablets contain religious inscriptions that memorialize the acts and rites of the Atiedian Brethren, a group of 12 priests of Jupiter with important municipal functions at Iguvium. They are written in the Umbrian language, one of the Italic languages, a not-too-distant relative of Latin. They are by far the longest and most important document of the Umbrian language and also of all Osco-Umbrian family languages. They shed light on the grammar of this ancient dead language, and also on the religious practices of the ancient peoples of Italy, including the archaic religion of the Romans. Part of the last tablets, namely of tablet VI and VII appear to be written in an accentual metre, similar to the Saturnian metre that is encountered in the earliest Latin poetry. The complete text, together with a translation into Latin, was published in London in 1863 by Francis Newman and 1931 in a book by Albrecht von Blumenthal.