Richard Francis Burton.

Etruscan Bologna: a study online

. (page 2 of 14)
Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 2 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Ravennam, nunc Gallia Aurelia, Emilia a Romanis ducibus nomen
habet. Princeps metropolis Felsina primum a rege Thusco conditur.'
Livy has (Hist, xxxiii. 37) ' Dein (consules, viz. M. Claudius Marcellus
andL. Furius Purpureo) junctis exercitibus primum Boiorum agrum
usque ad Felsinam oppidum populantes peragraverunt. Ea urbs,
caeteraque castella et Boii fere omnes, praeter juventutem, quae prasdandi
causa in armis erat (tune in devias silvas recesserat), in deditionem
venerunt'(^- C. 556). ' Felsina ' then disappears from literature, and
the historian (lib. xxxvii. 34) speaks of Bononia as a ' colonia Latina,'
established after a Senatus Consult, by the Triumvirs, S. Valerius
Flaccus, M. Atilius Seranus and Valerius Tappus.



OLD BOLOGNA. 19

Apennines about Pistoja, and whose arms are
the Aposa affluent to the east, and the Ravona
westward. It was probably walled round, like
Etruscan cities generally ; the interior was divided
into ' insulse,' or ' regiones,' by main lines of street,
each with its own gate or gates ; and it is noticed
that the most ancient sepulchres are those nearest
the defences. Probably a considerable part was of
timber. Strabo (v. i. 7) tells us that Ravenna,
a city of the Thessalians, given over by these
Pelasgi to the Umbrians, was composed of wooden
edifices; 1 and Atria, Hat, or Hatri, which named
the Adriatic, preserves, according to the learned
Bocchi (' Importanza di Adria la Veneta '), memories
of similar constructions, the spoils of the oaks, which
in Virgil's day

On Padus' bank . . .
Uprear their heads, and nod their crests sublime.

. ix. 680-2.



Atop of the Etruscan city lay Bononia, whose name,
revived in Bononia Gessoriacum (Boulogne), has
been erroneously derived from the Boii. These
barbarians, about B.C. 350, ravaged the Etruscan

1 The French translators understand $i>Xo7ry/ SXi/, ' built wholly
on piles.'

C 2



20 THE WORKS OF MAN.

Federation of the Po, and finally bequeathed a
name to Bohemia. The Consular Via Emilia, the
Great North- Eastern, probably a successor of the
Etruscan highway, traversed the city from west to
east, as is proved by the trachytic slabs found some
three metres below the actual level ; a metalling
brought from the Euganean hills, and still showing
the wheel-rut. Bononia, larger than Felsina, was
smaller than Bologna, a hexagon, measuring about
two miles in circumference ; and the Via Emilia
still enables us to master the intricacy of the modern
city. This thoroughfare corresponded with the
Corso, which runs, roughly speaking, between the
two halves, northern and southern. Eastward the
main street radiates into four branches : the Via
Luigi Zamboni (old S. Donate) to the north-east ;
the Strade S. Vitale, Maggiore, and di S. Stefano,
the latter to the south-east ; while to the west there
are three spokes, the Strade delle Lamme and di S.
Felice, and the Via del ' Pradello.'



21



SECTION III.

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS OF ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES
AT BOLOGNA.

BEFORE proceeding to the cities and cemeteries of
this mysterious Etruscan race, it is advisable to spend
a few days amongst the museums of Bologna. The
two public are the R. Museo Archeologico dell'
Universita Bolognese, containing a collection which
in 1871 was exhibited in a house further down the
street ; now it occupies a room in the modern Univer-
sity, the old Palazzo Poggi. Here the most notice-
able article is the metal mirror, known from its
original owner as the Patera Cospiana, the 'gemma
Maffeiana/ which is described as a 'capolavoro di
glittica : ' hither also the ' Mamolo finds ' were trans-
ferred. The second and allow me to remark, en
passant, that the sooner Bologna combines the two
collections, royal and communal, the better is in the
old Archiginnasio, afterwards called the Scuole Pie,
from its Charity Schools, and now the Biblioteca del



22 THE WORKS OF MAN.

Comune. The frescoes and inscriptions, the court
and galleries, of this venerable edifice, which once
rang with every tongue of Europe and the nearer
East, are described by all the guide-books ; but none,
not even Cav. Gualandi, notice the collections of
1870-1. They are deposited in the Sale (iii. and iv.),
inscribed ' Scavi della Certosa,' of the Museo Civico,
which lie at the northern end of the grand cloister.

The arrangement is admirable. The walls of
Sala No. iii. are hung with large and detailed maps
and plans, illustrating the topography of the find,
which may be called the ' Certosa Collection.' The
merit of the discovery must be assigned to Cav.
Antonio Zannoni, ' Capo-Ingegnere Architetto ' of
the Municipality, who, guided by what seems archaeo-
logical instinct, began to excavate in 1869. Four
hundred tombs were opened in four years. All
the skeletons lay supine ; only six were irregularly
disposed, probably facing their homes we find the
practice noticed in Homer, and the beatulus of Per-
sius ' in portam rigidos calces extendit.' All the
rest were oriented with their feet towards the rising
sun, as the Jews fronted Jerusalem. Thus Laertius
tells us that the Greek liturgies ordered the face to
look eastwards, and Helianus reports an old law,



ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 23

which directed the head to be disposed westward :
we shall presently learn that this was also an
Umbrian custom ; and that it was perpetuated by the
Romans. A happy thought of Cav. Zannoni was
bodily to transport the skeletons, adult and infantine, 1
together with the remnants of coffins (arete), and
even the earth upon which they lay. Except only
the as rude, the fee of the ' griesly grim ' Ferryman,
grasped in the right hand, the funereal adjuncts
were placed on the left (north). These are Celebes,
amphorae, tazze, and unguentaria of glass or alabaster,
in fact, the multiform vases and pots for whose
names the curious reader will consult my friend and
colleague Mr. Dennis (' Cities and Cemeteries of
Western Etruria,' i., xciv., c.) ; together with can-
delabra, dice, and pebbles, the latter possibly
counters for play. The marriage-ring still clings to
the fleshless annular of the left hand : here is the
old superstition (Isidore) which made a vein run
from it to the heart, and which survives throughout
modern Europe. It is often of iron, 2 the servile

1 They are mostly feminine ; seven are adults and five are children.

2 The iron ring of the ' stern old Romans ' is still found amongst
the Sikhs ; and the strictest Moslems will not wear gold. Whilst the
Aryans generally call the ' fourth finger ' of the Book of Common
Prayer (vulgarly the third finger) ' annularis,' in Illyrian perstenjak,



24 THE WORKS OF MAN.

metal amongst the later Romans, who denoted
nobility by gold, and the plebeian by silver. The
more precious rings were rare at the Certosa. Prof.
Calori, ' Delia Stirpe che ha populata 1' antica necro-
poli alia Certosa di Bologna' (Bologna : 1873. Plate
ix.), a most valuable study kindly given to me by the
author, figures two of these skeletons : I shall offer
further remarks upon the collection when we visit
the spot.

A marking feature of this admirable trouvaille
is the number of ciste in bronze a cordoni; we
have here fourteen, whereas in 1871 Etruria
Circumpadana had yielded only seven (' Lettera
dell' Ing. Ant. Zannoni al Sig. Conte Comm.
Gian Carlo Conestabile.' Torino : Stamperia Reale,
Oct. 1 5th, 1873). All are of the same age, and
undoubtedly denote a splendid epoch. The cylin-
ders are two plates of thin bronze, flat bands alter-
nating with cords repousse-worked. The cover is
often a flat stone, and the lower band is sometimes
ornamented with leaves ; the horizontal rings num-

the Turanians, according to my learned friend Prof. Hunfalvy, of Pesth,
term it the ' finger without a name.' This is found in Chinese (Works of
Mencius), in Japanese, and in the Dravidian tongues ; for instance, in
Tamil, Telugu, and Canarese, it appears as andmika, ' anonymous,'
from the Sanskrit, ndma. The ' philological puzzle ' was lately dis-
cussed in the columns of the Pall Mall.



ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 25

ber fourteen or fifteen, and the bottom is also
composed of concentric circles. Feet are present
in some specimens, absent in others. The total
height averages 0^33 metre (=i foot 0*99 inch),
and the diameter 0*29 metre (= 11*42 inches) to
o - 4O metre (=i foot 375 inches). The ornaments
are mostly leaf-like borderings, near the upper edge ;




BRONZE CISTA, WITH STONE COVER.

winged masks at the junction of the ansez-, and,
on each of the three feet, appears in one specimen,
a satyr, demi-couchant, and holding a wine-skin and
a cup.

These artistic articles followed the rude big-
bellied urn of terra cotta, which contained the ashes



26 THE WORKS OF MAN.

of the dead, 1 even as the earthen tazza became the
bronze cup. It has been suggested that during the
owner's life they served for pixides or dressing-
cases ; and this is supported by the presence of the
ans&, which in one specimen represent a bull and a
ram. The cysts of Middle Etruria, and especially
those of Praeneste, were buried as ornaments : they
contained articles of toilette, sponges, unguentaria
and unguents, the little rouge-box, the white ceruse,
&c. The Bolognese cysts are said to have been
the produce of local art and industry ; yet a precisely
similar article, with handles and without feet, was
found at Granholz, near Bern, and is exhibited at the
Stadt Bibliotek of the Swiss capital. MM. Cave-
doni and Gozzadini infer from their simplicity that
they are more ancient than those of the Central Fed-
eration and of Latium, which cannot date beyond
the first half of the third century B.C. : the same
may be said of the bronze disks which served as
mirrors. I would further notice the resemblance of
shape with the kilindi or bark cylinder, in which
the Mnyamwezi stores and transports his valuables.
Another characteristic of this collection is the



1 At the Certosa at least one cyst was found not to contain human
bones.



ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 27

huge and highly ornamented stela or cippus, the pro-
totype of the humble headstone in the churchyards
of our villages : perhaps, also, the meta, or goal-





FIBUL^E FROM VILLANOVA (all half size).

a, Fibula with amber in setting, b, Amber beads, c, Glass beads, blue ground,
yellow enamel.

The bronze of these fibula showed

Copper 84*26

Tin 15-74



like shape, symbolised the end of man's exiguum
curriculum. From the learned studies of the late



28 THE WORKS OF MAN.

Count Giovanni da Schio, of Vicenza (' Sulle Iscri-
zioni ed altri monumenti Reto-Euganei.' Padova :
Angelo Sicca, 1853), of which I owe a copy to the
courtesy of his two sons, Counts Almerico and Al-
vise, we learn that the Euganeans used the obelisk-
shaped gravestone, whose legend usually began with
EJ^O (kic, heic ?). Thirty tombstones were found, a
monumental series unique in size and ornamenta-
tion ; and the largest and most remarkable of these
products of national art is thus described by Count
G. C. Conestabile ('Congres,' p. 271) : 'The height,
not including the base is about 2'io metres (=6 feet
10*68 inches) ; the breadth 1*26 metre (=4 feet
1*60 inch) and the thickness 0*30 metre (=11*81
inches). The bas-reliefs, raised hardly half-a-centi-
metre (=0*197 inch), are divided into four com-
partments to the front and three behind. Beginning
at the top, a hippocampus faces a Nereid holding
a fish : in the second zone the defunct, umbrella
in hand, rides a biga behind the auriga ; a winged
figure soars above him, and before the horses
marches a helmeted form, mantled about the reins,
with a torch in the right and a rudder (oar) in the
left hand. The third band contains two pugilists,
separated by a little tibicen, and flanked by the



ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 29

agonothetes (director of games), and a youth ; the
latter holds an unguentarium and another utensil for
the comfort of the combatants. In the lowest com-
partment a throned figure is approached by a person-
age accompanying a car, and by others with a basket
and various offerings apparently it is the Infernal
Deity receiving the defunct and his suite. The
reverse contains fewer figures : a feminine body,
ending in a double serpent's tail, hurls a rock ; a
charioteer urges his biga at speed, and in the lowest
a warrior, with lance and shield, faces a cloaked form.
These designs are separated, and mixed with orna-
ments of leaves, ivy stems, and waving lines.'

Count Conestabile, who would distribute the
dates of the several kinds of stela between the
third and the fifth or even the sixth century of
Rome, followed by Cav. Zannoni (loc. cit. p. 27), pro-
poses a four-fold division of the thirty tomb-stones.

1. Rough water-rolled natural blocks, still found
in the Reno bed ; menisci, lenticular, cylindrical,
ovoid, or spheroidal. The diameter ranges to
077 metre (=30*35 inches).

2. Long-ovoid and cylindrical stelae, with plain
faces, and sides converging below like termini,
artificially smoothed and flattened ; in fact, the



30 THE WORKS OF MAN.

menisci civilised, The bases were left, as usual,
unworked for planting in the ground, and one shows
the letters IAN or NAI.

3. The sculptured stela of the same shape, but
especially the horse-shoe. Of these splendid speci-
mens the tallest is 1*45 metre (=4 feet 9x38 inches)
by o'8o ( = 2 feet 7*50 inches) broad ; a segment of a
circle above, with the sides inclining inwards or de-
scending vertically. It is carved on one, perhaps on
both faces ; and here and there it preserves traces of
red paint, with which, possibly, the name was inscribed
(M. Hirschfeld). The vine and the ivy, both sacred
to Bacchus, 1 meander over the perimeter, enclosing,
as has been shown, a variety of figures ; and certainly
the most remarkable, when we remember how lately
the umbrella found its way into England, are the
personages holding it with the right hand a frequent
rilievo amongst Etruscans. The others, still repre-
senting funereal usages, are a panoplied warrior, with
lance at rest ; a battle-scene between a horseman

1 Hence the Latin saw: 'Vino vendibili suspensa hedera non opus
est ' (' Good wine needs no bush ') ; and the ivy-tuft still hangs over the
(Enopolium and the Thermopolium of I stria. It is not difficult to de-
tect the origin of the practice in the beauty of the plant upon the
borders of the Mediterranean : the rich purple clusters exactly re-
semble the currant-grape of the Peloponnesus, and the perfume of the
finely-veined leaf is still supposed to dissipate the fumes of wine.



ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 31

and a footman ; a feminine face and bust ending, not
in a fish, but in a double snake ; the winged Genius,
with a serpent in either hand ; the biga and triga ;
horse-races, and chariot-races ; the barded steed ;
the altar and basket ; the bark (Baris ?), with mast
and sail ; Charon, holding the oar in the left hand ;
sports with balls and lances ; the star ; the funereal
owl, the hippocampus, also a favourite ; the olive,
the myrtle, and the pomegranate ; and various other
herbs, flowers, lotus (?), and fruits. The signs of
archaism are the shallowness of relief; heavy pro-
portions ; angular movements in the figures ; im-
perfect forms, and indistinctness of details. In later
times the sculptor's hand became freer, his tool
worked with greater breadth, vivacity, and truth ;
and, finally, he arrived at individualism.

4. Spheres and spheroid stones, worked and pro-
longed in the rough where the parallelopipedon
base was intended for planting in the ground a
form very rare in Etruria Proper, the central region
between the Campanian and the Circumpadan.
Two globes of remarkable size are in this museum ;
perhaps they symbolised the head, neck, and
shoulders which lay below. A smaller ball, carved
with a little figure, was unearthed, as will after-



32 THE WORKS OF MAN.

wards appear, at Marzabotto ; and another, cut only
on one side, was taken from the Torricelli tombs.

The articles of pottery, not including fragments,
reach the goodly total of 810. These interesting
remains of home life were found with the skeletons,
as well as with the ashes, and they are divided by
Cav. Zannoni into four kinds :

1. The rude brown, black, and ash-coloured,
numbering 200.

2. The plain red (160).

3. The plain varnished black (150).

4. The painted and figured (300).

The latter again are either red figures on black
fields with violet accessories, or black on red with
violet and white, for flesh and tools. The former
belonged generally to the tombs, the latter to the
pyres. More than 50 bear inscribed marks. The
collector's chief enemy, both in pottery and in
bronze, is the general custom of breaking, sometimes
with great violence, the objects which accompany
the defunct : thus the ghost or ' material soul ' of a
man ate the Manitou, spirit or ghost of food, out
of the phantasm or ghost of a pot. So Propertius
(iv. 7> 33):

Hoc etiam grave erat, nulla mercede hyacinthum
Injicere, et fracto busta piare cado.



ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 33

Amongst modern Fetishists it is not held loyal
to take anything from the person of the dead, and
some advanced tribes, such as the people of the
Old Calabar River, allow houses, canoes, furniture,
weapons, boxes, and moveable wealth to fall to
pieces ; whilst others break them up and form a kind
of monument. It is here easy to see the connec-
tion with sacrifice, human and bestial.

Specimens of the CBS signatum were also found.
According to Pliny (xxxiii. 13) it was used in the
days of Servius Tullus king or dynasty but we
know from him (xxxiv. 13) that Numa had in-
stituted cerarii, or coppersmiths. The ces rude,
whose funereo-religious use continued to Imperial
ages, has four several shapes 1 at Villanova, the
Certosa, and Marzabotto ; and these, again, vary not
only in the amount of alloy, but in the nature of
the metal. Some have tin and zinc with lead ;
others only the last.

i. The rude inform or scoriform mass, ash-
coloured, and friable under the hammer, has 96*592
per cent, of copper; lead, 2-142; and the rest is
impure matter without zinc or tin.

1 The (zs grave appeared only in the fourth century of Rome.

D



34 THE WORKS OF MAN.

2. The cylindrical or virgated, with Jongitudinal
striae, 9177 ; tin, 8*22 \ of lead a trace, and no zinc.

3. The flat, or laminated like the fragment of
an ingot, has only 80*679; lead, 17-886; and tin,

i'435-

4. The discoid, more or less ovoidal, -possibly the

oboles of Plutarch (Vit. Nttmtz), whence came the
obolus. One disk (diam. 0*03 metre=ii8 inch)
engraved with three parallel lines, may be an ces
signatiim (?).

The following is the late Prof. Sgarzi's analysis of
the &s rude of Villanova (i), and of the stips votiva
of Vicarello (2), compared with the ess rude of Mar-
zabotto (3) (Prof. Missaglia) :

I. 2.

Copper . . 937) Copper . . 95-20)

\ 100-00 _. ' h 100-00

Tin . . 06-30] Tin . . 04-80)

3-

Copper . . 64-40 and 54-6 1 1
Lead . . . 32-53 38-00 h = 100-00
Accidental elements (trace) J

It will be seen that the bronze of Vicarello is the
ruder material, and probably more ancient, as it con-
tains the smallest quantity of alloy. Lead and tin
in increased proportions appear at the Certosa, and
even more at Marzabotto. That of Vicarello has
the zinc alloy of the Romans. And, whilst all the



ETRUSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 35

reputed bronzes found outside Italy, as the vase in
the museum of Bern, contain lead, here in some it
is present, and absent from others. Cav. Zannoni
(p. 46) suggests that the shapes are not accidental,
but arbitrary, to show the different monetary value,
which would vary with the quantity and the quality
of alloy.

The industry of the stone age is represented
by arrow-heads (elf-shots), axes (coins de foudre} ; 1
knives or scrapers, flakes artificially struck from the
core ; fictile disks in great numbers some of the
latter may have been used for the dress weights,
which will presently be described. In this part of
the collection there is nothing to notice. The bronze
weapons are fragments of a large round clypeus,
with gilt and engraved handle ; a galea ; three
knives, like those of Caserta and Matray in Rhsetia, 2

1 These glossopetrce or betuli, the ceraunicz similes securibus of
Pliny; the ceraunicz gemma of other writers, are so called in the Chan-
nel Islands and elsewhere. The Calabrese believe that these cuogni
di trtioni are the bolt itself (ceraunites, not anna heroum) : they strike
1 8 canne(each 2'2i metres) deep, and they mount I canna per annum,
when they reach the surface, and form most valuable talismans against
thunder. They are proved by being hung over the fire with a blue
thread, which must not burn. With this boorish superstition the axe
of the savage has been worn on the warrior's helm and on the royal
diadem. ,

2 At Matray, also written Matrai, a village on the northern slope
of the Brenner Mountain in the Tyrol, was found in 1845 the part of

D 2



36 THE WORKS OF MAN.

whence Freret and Heyne, Niebuhr, and Mommsen
would derive the original Etruscans ; one small
and two long narrow cuspides (lance-heads) ; a long,
heavy iron cutter, found in the grasp of a young
and vigorous male skeleton, bore signs of a wooden
scabbard, showing that the Etruscans were wiser in
this matter than we are.

Amongst the unexplained articles are cylinders,
shaped like dumb-bells, but ending in menisci, not in




THE DUMB-BELLS.



spheres, made of fine black clay, about o m. 8 cent.
( = 275 inches long), oftener plain, and sometimes

a procession in relief, illustrated by the late Count Giovanni da Schio,
to which allusion will presently be made. The rude art is held to
confirm the testimony of Livy (v. 33), of Pliny (iii. 24), and of Justin
(xx. 5), that Rhastia was conquered by and occupied by the Etruscans
when driven by the Gauls from their Padan settlements. Evidently
it may prove the reverse, and an emigration from north to south is
more credible than a movement vice versd.



ETRlfSCAN ANTIQUITIES AT BOLOGNA. 37

ornamented at both ends with five circles and the
mystic die. Of these as many as twenty, all un-
broken, were found in the wealthiest tombs ; and
Villanova yielded seventy-four. The 'Grotto of Isis'
(necropolis of Volci) has supplied similar articles ;
and Visconti figures (Mus. P. Cl. ii. pi. 17, 18) what
appear to be the same things in the hands of two
Egyptian statues. He suggests, first, that they
were emblems of the Agathodsemon ; secondly, that
they were pJialli. Others suppose them to have been
used in worshipping the Lampsacan god, and they
offer a superficial resemblance to certain emblems
well known in India. They are always found in
pairs, but no use for them has yet been defined.
In the Isis-grotto of Vulci, however, we see similar
shapes used by men jumping ; and the second table
of Count Schio's learned study represents two nude
pugilists contending with (leaden ?) halteres or
alteres l in their hands. I reminded Count Gozza-
dini of his cousin's publication. He replied, however,
that the resemblance could not be accepted, as
many of the clay cylinders were only 3 centimetres
(= i 'i 8 inch) long. But, these simulacra might, as
was the custom with the human figure, with weapons,

1 Quid pereunt stulto fortes altere lacerti ? (Martial, xiv. 44).



3 8 THE WORKS OF MAN.

and with other articles, have been reduced imita-
tions for the purpose of sepulture. The Lilliputian
agricultural implements of bronze in Sardinia, to
mention no other place, are supposed to be symbols
or religious emblems (Congres, p. 27).

Bronzes are numerous in the Archiginnasio ; but
of the 1 3 mirrors, of which one is white metal, none
are inscribed or figured. Besides situlce, there are
cenochoes (12), cullenders (n), simpiili (20), and
candelabra (30) : many show the forms familiar to
the peasant's cottage in the present day. Some
of the iron coffin-rails have bronze heads, like those
found at Salona. Professors Pucinotti and Casali
detected little zinc in bits of fused and worked
bronze of a candelabrum from Villanova (No. i),
the Certosa (2), and Marzabotto (3) :





i.


2.




Copper


9 l ' ll \


Copper .


86-45)


Tin .


v nn-88


Lead


6-85


Iron, trace


h -99 55


Tin


670,


Zinc,


J










3-






Copper


95 '93)






Tin .


. 04-07 L = lOO'OO






Iron, trace


J





The beaten bronze from Villanova (i), the


2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 2 of 14)