Richard Francis Burton.

Etruscan Bologna: a study online

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Certosa (2), and Marzabotto (3), gave the following
results :


I. 2.

Copper . 94-4 > Copper . 83754)

Tin . . 05*1 Tin . . 16-246)

Iron, trace


Copper 9 I> 3 2 ]

Tin o8'68 r = loo-oo

Zinc, trace )

The bone dice were numerous and of two
kinds, cubes (xvfi<;) and oblongs, the latter bear-
ing the ' canis,' (xuwv) or ' canicula,' the Greek
N.OVO.S or "vy (imio], and one ace at one short
end, and the deuce at the other. 1 In both the
concentric circlets varied from one to three, and
were coloured red or blue. The disposition of
the ' pips ' also completely distinguishes them from
the Roman dice, according to Cav. Zannoni, who
has forwarded his description to the eminent
Etruscologue, Prof. Ariodante Fabretti, for publi-
cation in the continuation of his great work. Thus
the correspondence from Twickenham, concerning

1 Lord Crawford (Athenceum, April n, 1874) remembering the
' damnosa canicula,' and the ' damnati canes ' the damned dogs of
the poets, hence derives the ' dog-luck of our modern slang speech.'
This is going deep for a proverbial saying which lies on the surface.
We might as well refer ' son of a doggess' to the offspring of Hecuba.
And if unto, the ace, is so condemned, how can we believe it to repre-
sent Sirius, the Canicula, sacred to Mercury or Hermes, the god of
good luck ?


the scheme of the marks, which appeared in the
' Athenseum ' (July 1874), is, to speak mildly, pre-
mature, and the ' hypothesis ' about Sig. Campanari
uncalled for. I expect great things from a scien-
tific illustration of these ' Lydian implements.'

One of the situlcz contained a light ligneous
matter, very porous and friable. Treated by Prof.
Adolfo Casali, it proved insoluble in water ; concen-
trated alcohol dissolved about one-sixth, and the
dissolution strongly troubled water, which left when
evaporated an orange-black sediment. The latter,
exposed to fire, burnt with a fuliginous flame
briefly, it appeared to a mixture of olibanum and
storax, serving like the incense still used in our

The amount of toilette articles was immense in
variety, if not in number ; of bronze fibula 200
articles, of silver 120 (two large and fine), and
of gold 2. They are, as usual, complicated and
multiform, and three had enamelled glass beads on
the needle. There were 150 bronze buttons ; 10
annilke; huge pins for the use of the ornatrix
(coiffeuse)', 7 gold rings; 10 silver, and 3 iron;
with sundry of paste, bone, and amber. The pen-
deloques are 20 of glass, mostly enamelled, and


50 of brown pottery. The earrings are of amber,
iron, silver, and gold (7 pairs and 3 odd of the
latter) : some weigh four-tenths of an ounce (13
grammes = 200^60 grains). The minute balls of
gold, which the Etruscans soldered with a mar-
vellous art, the elegant filigrane and granulated
work, are the despair even of the famous Castellani.
One is a serpent biting its own tail, and another a
leonine head. The pixis or dressing-case, rivetted
with plates of bone, stands on four feet, and
contains little cylinders of the same material. The
aryballa (perfume-holders) and unguentaria of
pottery, alabaster, and glass, coloured and en-
amelled, still contain rouge, which analysis proves
to be colcothar or crocus martis (oxide of iron),
locally called rosso Inglese or rossetto di Parigi.
The mirrors, all plain, number 13, including one
of white metal, probably copper and tin ; the front
disk is slightly concave, and none are of stone :
1 2 others are of bronze. The necklaces are chiefly
of glass, and of amber, concerning which long dis-
cussions took place at the Congress of Bologna.
The general opinion was that this semi-mineralized
gum came from the Baltic, and denoted an ancient
connection with the Phoenicians. One necklace had,


by way of pendant, a silex arrow-head, probably
a charm against the fiery tongue with which God
spoke to man a superstition far from extinct
amongst the highly-civilised, even in this day, when
the philosopher makes thunder and lightning in his

The gem of the collection is the splendid vase
(Sala No. iii.), which contained burnt bones, ashes,
and fragments of tissue ; it is a cone, truncated
below, about a foot high ; or, more exactly, 0*32
metres (=i foot O'6o), and in diameter a maximum
of 0*29 ( = 12*42 inches), and a minimum of 0*13
(= 5*12 inches). The archaic aspect, the variety
of subjects, the general composition, and the mar-
vellous execution of this find demand a full notice.
The bas-reliefs, repousse and chiselled work, cover-
ing the bulge, are divided into four horizontal
zones, which does not, however, exclude the unity
of the design a varied and pompous procession,
and the ceremonies of a great religious act ending
in a feast.

The first, or highest, zone shows the proces-
sion. Two horsemen and thirteen footmen, all with
couched lances, marching from right to left ; their
shields are four oval, five long-oval, and the rest


circular (clypei] ; and of their helms five are hemi-
spheres, with the apex which we still see in the
German pickelhaub, while the rest have depending
manes. A bird hovers over the horsemen, and four
bell-men, with the bronze tintinnabula so frequently
found in Central Etruria, bring up the rear of this
processional section.

The second band, the preparation for sacrificing
a bull and a ram, shows the advance, this time from
left to right, of the victimarii and the ministri with
the animals and the sacred utensils, followed by
three canephorce, vases on heads. Two of the
ministri support a pole or brancard, from which
hangs a situla (pail with handles) ; a third has
charge of a huge ox, over whose head floats a bird
like Progne ; whilst a victimary drags by the horns
a goat, sacred to Mars. 1 Two men escort a pair
of mules, whilst others carry different articles, such
as knives, vases, baskets (vannus mysticus ?), and
loads of wood. There are three quaint figures in
long robes (toga campestres ? without tunics ?), 2
and the gigantic pilei of the Spanish cardinals,
whom Mgr. de Me"rode described as coming to the

1 ' Hircum Marti victimant' (Apuleius, lib. vii.).

2 ' Primo sine tunica toga sola amicta fuerunt ' (A. Gellius).


QEcumenical Council in their canoes ; this part of
the composition ends with a big dog.

The third zone, which resumes the direction of
the first, displays the agricultural pursuits preced-
ing the preparations for the feast : a calf carried
on the shoulders of two slaves ; a pig drawn by a
third, and others following. In the centre of the
groups, acting the point de mire, appears the idea
which inspires the whole. At one end of a couch
(biclinium or anaclynteris], whose arms are adorned
with griffins' heads, sits a lyre-player, at the other a
performer on the syrinx, each backed by a small
boy in the nude. They wear the Img&pileus before
alluded to ; and between them hangs another sitnla.
Rural episodes on the right hare-hunting and bird-
netting with the varra, and on the left a peasant
carrying his primitive plough and driving his steers,
finish both ends of this third zone. Finally, the
fourth or lowest is filled with fantastic animals
five-winged chimseras, two quadrupeds, a stag, and
so forth.

' It would be impossible/ says Professor Count
J. Conestabile, 1 whose account differs in many points

1 Cav. Zannoni also looks upon it as representing not a funeral but
a procession; a ' Laudesis' (Dionysius, ii., p. 129) ; a Panathenaeum


from that of Cav. Zannoni (Scavi della Certosa, page
1 2) x 'to describe the multitudinous details of the
figures and articles upon this admirable composition ;
the marvellous care ; the finesse of execution in the
ornamentation of the armour, the tunics, and the
mantles ; and the minute exactness with which the
costumes are represented. Whilst the animals are
admirably drawn, the human beings show, in the
highest degree, an archaic, or rather, artistically
speaking, an infantine, type, in the prognathism, the
puffy cheeks, and the general stiffness of the move-
ments ; in the profiled position ; in the arrangement
of the dress, and in the absence of distinction be-
tween the latter and the forms which it covers. If
this archaism be really what it appears, original and

(Aristoph. Nub. v. 984), a Saltatio (Livy, i. xx), or an Armilustrum
(Plaut. Pseud, iii. 112).

1 '" Sur les De"couvertes de la Certosa de Bologne" (pp. 272-274)
in the Compte Rendu of the Congres Internationale k Bologne, 1821.'
The valuable volume printed by Fava and Garagnani at Bologna, 1873,
is now not to be bought there. I owe my copy to the kindness of my
excellent friend Prof. Gian Giuseppe Cavaliere Bianconi, of Bologna,
whose name in the world of letters is so well known. He was kind
enough to give me copies of his three studies (Bologna, 1862, 1868,
1874) on Marco Polo and the Rukh-bird (Degli Scritti di Marco Polo
e delF Uccello Rue, <&<:.), which supply much interesting matter con-
cerning the original edition of the great traveller. In his memoir en-
titled Esperienze intorno alia Flessibilita del Ghiaccio (Bologna, 1871),
he proves by the experiment that the flexibility of ice, as supported by-
Forbes, and its torsionability, do not depend upon ' regelation.'


not imitated, the vase may date from the third cen-
tury of Rome (B.C. 450), a period which we obtain
by comparison with other authentic antiquities, such
as the fragments of the Etruscan car in the museum
of Perugia, where the human figure is represented
with more cunning. Thus this rare vase would be
not only the most ancient of the artistic finds from
the Bologna necropolis, but would antedate, as a
witness to the art and industry of the people,
everything that has been discovered in Northern
Etruria.' The others with which it is compared
are the bronze vase with burnt bones from Valdi-
chiana ; another from Peccioli, and the silver gilt
situla of Chiusi.

I rejoice to add, that this unique situla will be
figured in facsimile by Cav. Zannoni in his forth-
coming volume, 'Gli Scavi della Certosa di Bologna.'
The work, which will illustrate the Circumpadan
Federation, so rich in olden civilisation, as ably
as the central and Campanian regions have been
treated by a host of writers, is to be concluded in
twenty-five issues, of which the first may be expected
daily (March i, 1875) ; the total will be 300 pages of
royal folio, with 150 tables and figures. The cost
to the author can hardly be less than 20,000 francs.


He is aided to a certain extent by the Municipality ;
but the learned public will not, I hope, allow his five
years of incessant labour, at hours snatched from
official work, to go unrewarded.

A large hall and its offset immediately adjoin
on the west the two Etruscan Salle. The floor is
covered, as well as the tables, with piles of remains
taken from hut and tomb. In due time they will
be thrown open to the world, classed by the in-
defatigable Cavaliere. Meanwhile, a line from the
courteous municipal authorities admits the student.
He will find much that merits his attention, such
as the pin-heads of glass enamelled with various
metals ; gold-leaf artistically beaten upon baser
metal ; a vast variety of articles in bronze and clay ;
and, finally, boars' tusks, perhaps used for amulets,
the custom of the modern Moslem.

Of the collection of Crania, under charge of the
celebrated Professor Calori, I propose to speak in a
future page.




THE Aria family, who will be noticed at Marzabotto,
have collected for two generations the Etruscan
antiquities found upon their property. But the most
interesting, not only for its antiquity, but also be-
cause it has been described with so much learning
and detail, 1 is from Villanova, the property of Count
Gozzadini. The village lies ' about eight kilometres
E.S.E. of Bologna,' in the parish of Santa Maria
di Casella, upon the banks of the I dice fiurnara, of
old a favourite site for tombs. The place, a mere
' metairie,' was long known to the peasantry as the

1 The first essay is entitled Di tin Sepolcreto Etrusco scoperto
presso Bologna, &c. (Bologna, Soc. tip. Bologn. 1855 a quarto with
8 plates). The second is a quarto with one plate: Intorno ad altre
settantuna tombe, &c. (Bologna, tip. all' Ancora, 1856) ; and the last is
La Ntcropole de Villanova (Bologna : Fava et Garagnani, 1870).
This learned volume was given to me by the author, and I owe the
copies of its illustrations to the kindness of Mr. Micklewright, of
Trieste. The conversion of metres into English figures is the work
of Mr. E. W. Brocks, British Vice-Consul, Trieste.


' Camposanto,' from the large bronze rings turned
up by their ploughs. Circumstances, which will
presently be alluded to, induce me to hold that the
so-called cemetery was part of a town, but there
are now no means of discussing the question
indeed, in these days the stranger will not visit
the site, all the diggings having been filled up.
On the other hand, the Count's cabinet is ad-
mirably arranged ; and this unique collection, which
may date from more than 3,000 years ago, is hos-
pitably shown to the traveller. The first find, a
' pot ' full of bones and ashes, was in May 1853, and
works were carried on regularly for two years, care-
fully superintended by the owner, aicfa, as he says,
by the Countess.

The area of excavation was an oblong, 74 metres
east and west (= 242*9 ft), by 27 (= 387 ft.) north
and south ; or 1,998 square metres (= 21,507 sq. ft).
Of the tombs, some had been destroyed by the ditch-
diggers, but a total of 193 were found unopened, in
the same state as left after the ' aeternum vale ! '
Six, of the same material as, but of different and finer
form than, the rest, and separated, as if for the dig-
nity of a higher race, by a clear space, yielded pecu-



liar articles, conjectured to denote an especial caste.
The others were divided from one another by little
more than a metre, but on the western edge, and cir-
cling towards the south, this interval increased and
distances became irregular. Here was found a conical
stone, about one foot broad at the base and nearly
two feet high, rising above the tombs : possibly,
it represented the Termes which consecrated the
limits. The depth varied from 0*30 metre (=ii'8i
inches) to i'4O metre ( = 4 ft. 7 inches) below the
actual surface. Fourteen skeletons, with crania
mostly brachycephalic, lay at length supine ; with
the feet turned eastward ; with the hands crossed
over the pelvis after the fashion of the ancient
Egyptians, and, as usual, with all the funereal
objects disposed on the left side, except the coin,
which was grasped in the right hand. Some few
were bent, like the mummies of Peru and the Brazil.
The sepulchres represent four distinct shapes, in
the following proportions :

1. Those built with pebbles and kistvaens (slabs of grit) . 28

2. pebbles only 21

3. kistvaens only 21

4. without kistvaens or pebbles . . .123

Total 193

On the walls of the collection-apartment are


drawings and illustrations of the first and most
interesting class of tombs, nearly of the natural size.
The following is a reduction.


They were originally subtumular or subterra-
nean, like all the sepulchres of the primitive Ita-
lians : the idea of sinking the sepulchre probably
was that the dead polluted the face of earth, sun,
and air, and should be relegated to the hypogaea

E 2


belonging to the infernal gods and manes. The
barrow, which consisted of the soil thrown up in
excavation, showed, on removal, rough slabs of plio-
cene grit or sandstone from the Apennines, over-
lying and projecting beyond the cylinders or quasi-
cylinders of water-rolled stones, built wholly without
mortar. Four were parallelograms of similar peb-
bles, measuring 2^69 metres ( = 8 feet 10 inches) each
way ; the walls rose perpendicularly to i "40 metre
(=4 feet 7 inches) ; and the top was not horizontal,
but sloped obliquely, with a depression of 076
metre (=2 feet 6 inches) to a central line of
pebbles ; they also contained many bronzes and
broken pottery. The cylinders varied in height from
076 metre to 1*50 metre (=4 feet n inches);
the maximum diameter was 1*42 metre (=4 feet
8 inches) ; and the lateral walls, composed of either
single or double strata of pebbles, averaged a metre.
In some of them the funereal objects were stored
without separation, others contained quadrangular
kistvaens of six unworked slabs, four uprights,
covered by a lid slightly concave at the top, and
projecting on all sides. The flooring was either a
flag or pebbles. The kistvaen also existed without
the pebbles. Finally, of 193 in this sepolcreto, 179


contained cremated, mixed up with 14 intact, skele-
tons. This proportion (100 : 7*82) is rather Greek
than Roman, and we find the system modified at the
Certosa and the Marzabotto cemeteries. The former,
out of 365, show 115 of adustion to 250 of inhuma-
tion (46 pyres to 100 tombs) ; and at the latter, again,
the cremated were in excess. Here, then, we have
a knotty point for study. Prof. Conestabile (' Revue
Arch.,' October 1874, p. 253) makes the prehistoric
peoples of Italy during the bronze age favour crema-
tion, not only for hygienic purposes, but as a kind of
sacrifice, and the Etruscans, during their national
existence, to prefer inhumation. De Jorio, an ex-
perienced excavator (' Metodo per rinvenire e fru-
gare i sepolcri,' etc., p. 154), tells us that the Hel-
lenes of Magna Graecia burnt ten for one inhumed,
and the Romans buried nine to one burnt. This,
however, is a subject which begins with Homer, and
its intricacy forbids all discussion.

Inside of each kistvaen was found one large
single-handed urna, cinerarium, or ossuarium (oo-ro-
615x73 or oo-ToSo^sTov) ; some few bore signs of a second
handle, which had been removed. I cannot but
regard this almost universal custom of confining the
dead to ceramic vases as an attempt to restore them


to the womb. All save three had the same shape,
probably characteristic of, and made purposely for,
the tomb ; mostly they were black, and they varied
in ornament and dimensions. The position ranged
between vertical (67), quite horizontal (44), and
inclined at an angle of 45 (17); this was inten-
tional, as pebbles were placed for supports. They
contained nothing but bones, veritable ' relics ; '
whereas the Romans and other races stored both
bones and ashes in the urna. The remains, which
were not quite calcined, showing that the furnace
had consumed about two-thirds of the skeleton,
formed a thin layer of some four inches. They
were chiefly carbonised skull-bones, fragments of
vertebrae, diaphyses of the longer limbs, and but few
teeth ; although Pliny (N. H. vii. 15) assures us that
these bones are the only part of the body which
resist the action of fire, and are not consumed with
the rest. As animal victims were also thrown
upon the pyre, a bit of equine rib was found in
one ossuary. Each receptacle was covered with
a concavo-convex clay disk, or with a large, deep,
single-handled cup, not purposely made. These lids
appeared to be tazze and patera, possibly used for
funereal libations, and for the aspersions of wine with


which the pyre-embers were extinguished. 1 The
urns were planted about O'io metre (=4 inches) in
the nigra favilla, a stratum of ashes which averaged
0*95 metre (=3 feet i inch) ; it yielded no large
fragments of charcoal, and only a few bone-splints
which had escaped the pious ' ossilegium.' Here
were gathered the * munera ' offered to the ghost ;
bronze and iron, glass and amber, bone and clay ;
together with the remnants of the grave-clothes ; of
the rent raiment of friends, and bones of various
beasts, the offals of the silicernium, which the
Romans called obba. The shells of two eggs 2 were
found ; one near the ossuary, the other in a cup.
Each receptacle was always girt by accessory pots,
possibly those used at the supper. In the kistvaens
they rarely exceeded eight ; but they were more

1 Virgil says (JEn. vi. 227) : ' Relliquias vino et bibulam lavere favil-
lam,' and Numa forbade wine to be used where water would suffice.
The relations, after circumambulating the pyre with naked feet and un-
girt waists, extinguished the fire, and the women nearest of kin gathered
the bones bit by bit, sprinkled them with milk, wine, and balm, shook
them in a linen cloth, and stored them in the ossuary.

2 Count Gozzadini quotes :

' Sed tibi dimidio constrictus cammarus ovo
Ponitur, exigua feralis coena patella.' Juv. v. 84.
' nisi centum lustraverit ovis.' Ibid. vi. 517.

and Ovid (Ars. Am. ii. 329) :

' Et veniat, quas lustret anus lectumque, locumque :
Praeferat et tremula sulphur et ova manu.'


numerous in those tombs which were composed of
pebbles and of earth. The richest showed a circular
heap of pottery, about 0*38 metre (= i foot 3
inches) high, by 1*50 metre (=4 feet n inches)
broad, and some numbering forty distinguishable
items. They had been 'entasses comme dans un
panier,' as Jorio said of the Magna Grsecian sepul-
chres (p. 154).

Of the ceramic remains at Villanova, Count
Gozzadini (' Di un Sepolcreto,' etc., tables ii. iii. and
iv.) gives 65 various designs, some of them wheel-
worked, and not a few elegantly turned, but all
wanting paint, and confirming the theory that the
Grecian art, imported with artificers by Demaratus
of Corinth, 1 was with the Etruscans an affair of
imitation. The two great divisions are the black
and the red ; but it is still doubtful whether the
former arises from the quality of the clay or from
the burning-process. The inside shows a paler line
of natural colour, and the fragments heated in the
furnace become ruddy. On the other hand, the

1 Circa B.C. 657. The well-known painted jars are most common
in Central Etruria, especially to the maritime cities and certain impor-
tant points like Clusium (Chiusi), where they were first imported.
Neither the port of Adria nor the land-route supplied the Eastern
Federation till a comparatively late day.



red pottery contains a central black diaphragm, also
unexplained ; it is limited on either side by lines of
brick-colour with a smaller diameter.

The late Professor Sgarzi thus analysed speci-
mens of the Villanova pottery (' Boll. d. corr. arch.,'
1837, p. 30):

Black figured

Red figured

Fine little

Fine little



black Tazza.

red Tazza.





4 8











Iron oxide





Azotised organic "I
matter . J





Water .










Totals .





Count Gozzadini, aided in this casse-tete by the
ingenuity of his wife, pieced together the crushed
fragments of funereal potteries, and found them to
be of the same form with three exceptions, namely,
red, unornamented dolia, surmounted by three pro-
tuberances about 34 centimetres (= r foot i inch)
high, and apparently serving as anscz. Of a hundred
only three had double handles, contrary to the custom
of the Greeks ; consequently, we should be careful
in applying to them Hellenic names. Another


curious form, previously found only in the Albano
necropolis, is the double cone joined at the base
of this more presently. The children's ossua-
ries averaged 19 centimetres (= 7*48 inches) ; the
adults' 39 centimetres (= I foot 3 inches). They
are mostly black, though a few are red ; the ansce
are of many and various shapes semi-elliptic,
twisted, rectilinear, and undulated. The surface is
either plain or adorned ; the characteristics are
hollow impressions (graffiti] upon soft paste, by a
tool with three, four, or even five equidistant points,
raised in cameo, and thus making parallel lines.
Other common decorations are
simple and double pyramids and

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