Richard Francis Burton.

Etruscan Bologna: a study online

. (page 5 of 14)
Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 5 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


FORMER FINDS. 81

Museum ; here also Sig. Marconi found a crescent-
shaped cutting-instrument. In 1866, below the
hills near the Ghiaie torrent, close to the village
of Bazzano, 22 kilometres west-north-west of Fel-
sina appeared ossuaries, fusiform rods, cylinders,
fibtila, stamped pottery, and other articles. At the
Comune di Liano, near the Via Emilia, in 1869,
ossuaries and bronzes, and shortly afterwards other
similar articles brought from the mountainous parish
of Riosto, distant 1 5 kilometres, became the property
of Dr. L. Foresti.

Finds were made inside the new and outside the
ancient city, at the Piazzale S. Domenico ; in the Via
di S. Petronio Vecchio ; in the Ca de' Tortorelli
(now Palazzo Malvasia) ; at the Pradello ; and in the
Arsenale Militare. The three latter are especially
interesting, because they disclose the remains of
Old Felsina to the broad daylight of the nineteenth
century ; they define the eastern, western, and
southern limits of what Pliny, describing the Padan
or eighth region of Italy, calls (N. H. iii. 20)
' Bononia Felsina vocitata cum princeps Hetruriae
esset' 1 And here I would warn my readers that

1 The translators, ' Bostock and Riley'(Bohn, 1855), remark (vol.
i. p. 241) upon the word Bononia: ' The modern Bologna stands on its



82 THE ABODES OF MAN.

Bologna is split, Etruscologically speaking, into two
camps. These, under Gozzadini, the man of science
and literature, everywhere see the necropolis and
the sepulchre. Those, headed by Zannoni, the man
of practice and experiment, find remains of house
and home where their opponents detect only the
long home. This difference will be especially
noticed when we visit Marzabotto.

The Tortorelli mine was struck in 1856 when
Count Ercole Malvasia was strengthening the found-
ations of the old palace (No. 262) to support new
buildings. The site is the Via Maggiore, doubtless
a section of the Via ^Emilia, outside the two chief
leaning towers, Asinelli and Garisanda. These
' donkeys' ears ' formed in the sixteenth century
the Ravennese gateway, which was probably added
to the city in the eleventh century. Of the ' Torr
dai Asnie ' I may remark that it is the seventeenth
tallest building in the civilised world only 2\
metres lower than St. Paul's. A local poet sings
of it as follows :

In sta Cittk al fra quel d' i Strazzarno

Ch' ha la Torr dai Asnie, e la Mozza indrito.

The Tortorelli excavations were directed and

site, and there are but few remains of antiquity to be seen.' A score of
years has brought with it many changes.



THE TORTORELLI FINDS. 83

described in detail by Count Gozzadini (' Di alcuni
antichi sepolcri felsinei,' vol. iv. pp. 74 et seq., in
the Neapolitan paper ' Giambattisto Vico,' 1857, and
in the opuscule ' Di alcuni sepolcri della necro-
poli felsinea, Bologna:' Fava e Garagnani, 1868).
Remains judged to be Roman were found at the
usual depth of two metres ; eight sepulchres, of
which three were intact, lay one metre below
their successors, and extended two metres in
depth, forming the normal total of five below the
actual surface. Judging from the known cemeteries
about Bologna, a small part of this mine has been
worked and much is still hidden underground.
The mortuary vases were eight ossuaries, some-
times set obliquely ; potoria, possibly, for the silicer-
nium; 1 the crater of purely Etruscan shape, and
the various tazze, cups, cup-covers, and accessories
of the tomb. Many were beautifully shaped, wheel-
made, hand-smoothed, polished not varnished, and
adorned with graffiti? The metals are represented

1 This mortuary feast, which survives in our cake and wine, con-
sisted of meat, bread, eggs, beans, lettuce, lentils, salt and cates, espe-
cially the mustacea and the crustula (Kirchm. de Funer., &c., p. 521).

2 The English reader, accustomed to our sense of this word
' scrawlings ' or ' scribblings ' on walls, &c. will note that in this paper
it also is used after the Italian fashion (graffito being opposed to
liscio, smooth) for denoting such marks as toolings on pottery.

G 2



8 4



THE ABODES OF MAN.



by a single piece of oxidised iron, arguing a higher
antiquity than the more distant tombs ; and by
many bronzes, crescent-shaped knives, fusiform
rods, fibula, nails, and an armilla : a bit of amber,
and part of the dorsal column of a young pike




THE MALVASIA CALVES.



(Exos Lucius, Linn.), which may have contributed
towards the banquet, were also picked up. The
most curious article is a stela, showing, in very flat
relief, two calves erect and facing gardant, each



THE PRADELLO FINDS. 85

with the near forehoof on the bracts of a caulis.
The shape is to the highest degree archaic, this
curious monument was presented by Count Ercole
Malvasia to the Archaeological Museum of the
Municipality.

At the Pradello (Pratello) on the opposite or
western side of Felsina, within the modern gate S.
Isaia, upon the properties Borghi Mamo and Casa
Grandi, appeared in 1873 certain rernains, which
Count Gozzadini judged, from a gold and figured
mirror, to be sepulchres (' Rapporto alia R. Deputa-
zione di stor. patria per la Romagna,' 1873), and
which Cav. Zannoni seems to have established as
huts (' Cenno sugli Scavi della Via del Pratello,'
etc. : Bologna, Gamberni e Parmeggiani, 1873).
The man of practice compares them with the five
capanne (hovels) of the ' Mamolo find ' to the south,
and with the 2 1 6 neolithic, and the 1 6 bronze-age
huts discovered by Cav. Concezio Rosa in the
Vibrata river valley, 1 which also yielded traces of
the early iron period.

1 This Abruzzian Valley extends from the Apennines at Montefiore,
or Civitella del Tronto, to the Adriatic. A description of the finds,
especially a fish-hook and lilliputian knives, will be found in pp. 25-27
of the Congrh. See also Prof. Capellini's L' eta della pietra nella Valle
della Vibrata. Quarto, three plates: Bologna, 1871.



86 THE ABODES OF MAN.

The 29 Bolognese huts, distant about a metre
from the road, mostly circular and some oblong,
occupied an area sunk one metre below the actual
road and 0*80 metre (=2 feet 7.5 inches) under the
ancient horizon, which may be called the virgin
soil. A few were isolated, others communicated by
passage or corridor 0*85 metre (=2 feet 9*5 inches)
wide, and a little raised above the level of the
flooring ; and the latter in both kinds showed either
dark grey earth, chiefly animal matter, contrasting
with the yellow calcareous soil, based on water-rolled
pebbles, sometimes in double layers, which suggest
that the pavement of the kistvaen was a mere
imitation of the house. Some of the hovel-founda-
tions had holes to admit the perpendicular supports
of the conical or the pent-shaped roofs ; and the
walls were probably wattle daubed with clay, the
adobe of which we shall presently see a specimen.
Two huts had steps descending from north to
south, and No. 25 seemed to be provided to the
west with that manner of porch which the man of
Central Africa loves. The earthen flooring carried
in depth from 0*45 metre (= i foot 57 inches) to
o - 8o metre ( = 2 feet 7.5 inches), and a section
showed a number of small strata, sometimes sepa-



THE PRADELLO FINDS. 87

rated by thin layers of sand. Each bed was a
conglomerate of remains. Amongst them, the
principal were the CBS rude, mostly ' scoriform,' then
the laminated and the cylindrical ; bronzes, fibulce,
plain and decorated ; women's ornaments ; and a
fine spear-head. The pottery, which composed most
of the conglomerate, was red, brown, and rarely
black ; a few bore graffiti, and some of the ansce
wore the semblance of equine heads. The makers'
marks appeared on many fictiles, whose forms were
either absolutely new, or resembled those of the Villa-
nova, Tortorelli, and Arnoaldi tombs. The clay
'dumb-bells' were not wanting, and there were 'pen-
deloques' (pendants) of the same material. A few
stone implements were found, and an extraordinary
quantity of split bones of beasts, especially the stag,
then the pig, sheep, goat, and ox. One cervine
horn bore the tally as still used by the rustic
world, and a handle was engraved with a rude
sketch of some quadruped ; there were also rings
and thin disks of deer-horn. Cav. Zannoni ends
his interesting letter to Prof. Calori with expressing
an opinion that the remains are those of the peo-
ples who had occupied, and who left their tombs
at, Villanova, Ca de' Bassi, Ca de' Tortorelli, S.



88 THE ABODES OF MAN.

Polo, the Scavi Arnoaldi, and other adjoining
sites. He leaves to that learned archaeologist the
task of determining the race. The general opinion
seems to be that these 29 huts were remains of
the oldest or Umbrian settlement.

' The ' Mamolo find ' precedes, in point of date,
the Pradello. It was worked in January- April
by Cav. Zannoni. The site is the Villa Bosi, out-
side the Porta S. Mamolo, or southern city gate,
extending towards the Aposa rivulet, which is
generally made the eastern limit of Felsina, and
at the base of S. Michele in Bosco, where the
Arsenale Militare all' Annunziata now stands.
When ditch-digging near the right bank of the
Aposa, and close to the modern ' road of circum-
vallation,' the labourers, at a horizon of about
three metres, came upon a huge doliform and
ansated urn containing the covered ossuarium of
coral-red clay a double precaution also noticed in
the Tortorelli finds. Prof. L. Calori examined
the bones, and judged them, from a tooth-fang, to
be those of a woman aged 3040. Cav. - Zannoni
transmutes the sepulchres into five hut foundations.
Here the yield is comprised in 26 gold earrings
of full size, 6 armillcE, including one of iron, a bronze



THE MAMOLO FINDS. 89

spillone (pin or bodkin) 0*38 metre (= i foot 2-96
inches) long ; fibiike with transverse sections of bone
and amber ; bits of amber ; glass or vitrified clay,
with spiral uniting bands, coloured, as usual, blue
or yellow ; and a quantity of fictile fragments,
vases, patera, urncz, and so forth. Count Gozza-
dini (' Intorno ad alcuni Sepolcri scavati nell' Ar-
senale Militare di Bologna.' Bologna : 1875), notices
5 tombs, of which only one was intact, and gives
illustrations of two remarkable amber necklaces, (i)
of 25 large spheroids, the largest in the centre,
like a modern ' riviere ;' and (2) also numbering 25.
In the latter the forms are very various ; some are
imitations of the bulla worn by patrician boys,
whilst others represent shells (Cyprcza, etc.), per-
haps worn as amulets. He also figures a dwarf
head upon a square base pierced with four holes;
an image, which he would attribute to Phtah (vulg.
Harpocrates) x ; a band with four heads which ap-
pears to be the Egyptian coiffure ; a fish-shaped
ornament, also of amber ; a pendant ; a wonderfully-
worked fibula with nine chimaeras courant, retro-
gardant, and baillant ; and two of the hatchet-

1 The direct operator, under the Creative Will, in framing the
universe.



90 THE ABODES OF MAN.

shaped bronze plates which have been supposed to
be gongs and bistouries.

The find in the Strada S. Petronio, near the Via
Maggiore, produced only one remarkable object,
but it is, perhaps, the most important of the whole.




This virile head, larger than life and cut in the
' molassa,' or common miocene sandstone of the
country, is of very archaic type. The sides are ab-
normally flat, the long hair is combed off the brow,
and the bearded chin is of Patagonian dimensions.
Its similarity with toreutic works on the banks of
the hill reminds us of Strabo's assertion (viii. i, 28)
touching the likeness of Egyptian and Tuscan art.
I have elsewhere suggested (' City of the Saints,'
p. 555), after observing at the 'Dugway Station' the



THE S. PETRONIO FIND. 91

untutored efforts of the white man in the Far West,
that ' rude art seems instinctively to take that form
which it wears on the bank of Nilus,' as babes
are similar all the world over. Dennis (i. Ixviii.)
also denies that the rigid and rectilinear Etruscan
style was necessarily imported from Egypt : ' Na-
ture, in the infancy of art, taught it alike to the
Egyptians, Greeks, and Etruscans, for it was not so
much art, as the want of art.' My observation was
presently confirmed to me by the graven images
of gods in Dahome and on the west coast of
Africa. Yet the discoveries made at Bologna have
fully justified the assertion of Strabo, an eye-witness;
and the evidences of intercourse between the races
now so far separated, not only explain a mystery but
lead to a highly interesting conclusion. The cosmo-
gonic system of the Etruscans has hitherto been
accepted with reserve. Professor L. Calori (' Delia
stirpe/ &c., p. 44), terms it ' Genesi Mosaica co-
rotta,' and, with C. Heyne and others, throws doubt
upon the accuracy of Suidas, a Greek of the later
ages (sub voce Tuppsvia) ; but the late excavations of
Mr. George Smith in Assyria distinctly prove that
the ' Creation and Fall of Man-myth ' extended
from the banks of the Nile as far as the Tigris and



92 THE ABODES OF MAN.

Euphrates ; and a cosmogony so widely diffused
would readily be introduced into Italy by an Oriental
race of immigrants, were they Lydians or Phoeni-
cians. Thus we may, upon this point at least,
rehabilitate Suidas versus C. Heyne, and explain
the 12,000 years' cycle of the old Etruscans. 1
Some writers, I observe, use Mr. George Smith's
discoveries to stultify ' Darwinism,' and to establish
the universality of a tradition consecrated by ' reve-
lation : ' future ages will admire this distortion of
fiction into fact.

1 Suidas is the only writer who relates that an anonymous Tuscan
related to him how the Creator decreed a cycle of 12,000 years, half of
which were assigned to the work of creation, and the rest to the dura-
tion of the world, the period of subversion, and perhaps of renovation,
for gods and men. In the first millenary the Demiurgus made heaven
and earth ; in the second the visible firmament ; during the third the
sea and waters ; in the fourth the great lights, sun, moon, and stars ;
in the fifth, birds, reptiles, and four-footed animals of the earth, air,
and sea ; and, finally, during the sixth, man. Here we have the germ
of the modern theory which would prolong into periods, even of untold
ages, what Genesis expressly asserts to be days, between 'Arab (Gharb
or sunset) and Bakar, dawn or morning. The duodecimality of the
Etruscan legend probably arises from a connection with the Zodiac :
for the latter, see the Zodiaco Etrusco (with plate) by the late Count
Giovanni da Schio : Padova, Angelo Sicca, 1856.



93



SECTION II.

FURTHER AFIELD. THE CERTOSA AND
CASALECCHIO.

WE have now seen, in the rich collections of Bologna
city, the art and industry of the Etruscan man, and
we shall find interest in an excursion to the sites
which yielded them : a long day may profitably be
spent in visiting the actual diggings. We will,
therefore, set out along the western line of the Via
Emilia, passing the Pradello, and issuing from the
S. Isaia or western gate.

The grand discovery of the Certosa (August
23, 1869) stimulated public curiosity, and Cav. Zan-
noni happily suggested (' fu millanteria, fu intuizione,
fu intimo presentimento ? ' ) that detached groups of
sepulchres would be found on alternate sides of the old
highway extending to the city walls. The Scavi
Benacci were begun in 1873, and early in 1875 I saw
nine tombs and places of cremation which had been
added to the 300 already laid open. As the ground is



94 THE ABODES OF MAN.

under cultivation, the exhausted trenches, after the
contents had been carefully sketched and measured
by the 'Capo Ingegnere Municipale' had been filled
up, per non dannificare il podere. The half-dozen
labourers received at the dead season 1*25 lire
per diem ; and at other times 1*50 to 2 lire. Four
distinct strata can be detected here and elsewhere,
the section showing well-marked lines : ist, and
highest, (Roman ?) mostly buried. 2ndly, buried
and burnt (Etruscan ?). 3rd, mostly burnt (Um-
brian ? Italic ?). 4th, and lowest, (protohistoric ?)
all burnt. The base of the rogus measured each
way no metre ( = 3 ft. 7*31 in.); the north of
the square was a roll of pottery, crushed by the
weight of superincumbent earth ; in the centre lay a
pot-cover, and to the east were the remnants of the
ossuary. A few yards further west were the Scavi
(of Cav. Francesco) De-Lucca ; two skeletons, with
skulls to the setting sun, had been disposed in the
bustum, some three metres under the modern level ;
and at the lowest horizon was the ustrinum. The
find which I witnessed was unusually rich ; pot-
tery with graffiti, a little iron, a quantity of broken
and rotten bronze, and a knife-blade, straight-edged
on one side, and on the other finely toothed. It was



THE CERTOSA AND CASALECCH1O. 95

probably a saw for cutting bones into objects of use
and ornament.

Hereabouts are the (Fondo Astorre) 'Arnoaldi
Diggings,' whence, about twenty years ago, an intact
skeleton, with a figured vase, placed as usual on the
left, was accidentally unearthed. Some forty-six
places of sepulture and cremation were at once dis-
covered in 1871-2, and, in 1873, silver-gilt fibula
were brought to light. On Dec. 4, 1873, two
bronze cysts, with raised rings, 1 were added to the
two bronze situla, and other vases also with cordoni
a sbalzo ; to two armillae, various fibulce, the usual
quantity of ess rude, and large and elegant potteries,
covered, like those of Villanova, with graffiti. Four
tombs were also exposed in the Predio Tagliavini,
near S. Polo, and a trench, measuring nearly fifty
square metres, run from the Arnoaldi towards the
Tagliavini diggings, was even more fortunate.

We now resume the high road to Florence, a fine
macadam, nescient of the ' pike ' : to the right or
north lies the railway, and beyond it, as far as the
eye can see, stretches a plain flat enough to cause
short sight in its inhabitants. The frequent villages

1 They have also lately been found in the tumulus of Monceau-
Laurent, Commune de Magny-Lambert (Burgundy), and at Hallstadt
Rev. Arch., 1873 : plates xii. no. i, and xiii. no. 8).



96 THE ABODES OF MAN.

and steepled churches which rise above the vine-
bearing elm and the poplars hedging the wheat-
fields, give this valley a thriving and a pleasing
aspect. To the left are the rib-ends of the Pe-
ninsula's dorsal spine, gently-swelling hills, either
clothed in oak-scrub or patched with clayey white,
denoting cultivation, and mostly crowned with villas
and temples. After some 1,200 metres from the
city gate we enter the huge Certosa, whose lofty
Campanile has long been our guide. Dating from A.D.
1335, it measures some two kilometres in circumfe-
rence. Fortunately it was reformed by Napoleon I.,
or its mines of antiquarian wealth would still lie
buried. Now it contains only two seculars, a 'guar-
dian' for the church, and a 'custodian' for the
churchyards. The latter acts as 'demonstrator' ; he is
the nephew of a M. Sibaud, a Frenchman, who made
the first find, but who did not know how to utilise
his discoveries. In 1835, when t\\&pronaos of the
Pantheon, which is still building, was begun, bronzes
and potteries were thrown up ; and M. Marcellino,
son of the old ' demonstrator/ presented in 1 840 a
bronze statuette to Dr. Venturoli, Conservator of the
Archiginnasio (Old University) Museum at Bologna.
When curiosity was thoroughly aroused (1870) the



THE CERTOSA AND CASALECCHIO. 97

relics were found by the present curator, Cav. Luigi
Frati, stowed away in two boxes. They consisted of
bronze fibula, fragments of simpula (ladles), a can-
delabrum very like the modern Italian, and similar
articles.' The pottery was comprised in a painted
tazza and pieces of a great celebe for mixing wine
and water, similarly adorned ; an amphora, a crater
(mixing-jar), and minor matters. After 1835 many
small finds rewarded the workmen.

At length, on August 23, 1869, when a tomb was
being dug somewhat deeper than usual, in the
cloister (No. 3) called ' Delle Madonne in Certosa';
the fossini, reaching three metres, came upon a
bronze cyst, of the form before figured, containing
burnt bones and a large silver fibula : both the
band-box and its alabaster balsamary were broken.
Cav. Zannoni at once repaired to the spot, and deter-
mined, with remarkable perspicacity, that the Campo
degli Spedali, the burial-place of pauper hospital-
patients, must contain an Etruscan cemetery : it pre-
sently proved to be the greatest necropolis found
about Felsina. The Sindaco and Giunta allowed
him to expend 50 lire, and thus began, under his
superintendence, the ' Scavi della Certosa,' now so

H



98 THE ABODES OF MAN.

famed throughout Europe, which show, perhaps, the
most splendid age of the life of Felsina.

As the plan proves, we have five great groups.
The largest (No. i) lies in the northern part of the
Campo degli Spedali, or eastern cloister ; No. 2 is




PLAN OF THE CERTOSA.
i, 2, 3, 4, Groups of sepulchres in the Campo Santo. 5, The church.

south of it ; Nos. 3 and 5 are all around and even
inside the church ; and No. 4 is in the Campetto
delle Gallerie. The discoverer presently suggested
that this necropolis, or rather this fivefold cemetery,



THE CERTOSA AND CASALECCHIO. 99

belonged only to the western regio of Felsina, and
formed items of, perhaps, ten groups scattered be-
tween the city and its furthest western point. 1 He
also suspected that the broad road, dividing the four
greater groups into two, was a suburban branch-
line of, or was perhaps, the primitive highway,
which ran a little south of its successor, the Via
^Emilia. He remarked also that the tombs and
pyres of the wealthy were the deepest ; and, sur-
rounded by open spaces, that they immediately
fronted the road, whilst the poor lay behind we
may see the same in England. How much the
ground has changed is proved by the diggings,
which show two distinct floodings and deposits of
the Reno River.

We have seen the Certosa collections in the
Museo Civico, and we have remarked how admirably
they demonstrate the home life, the warfare, the reli-
gion, the commerce, the luxury of northern Etruria
in the days of her highest development.

The sepulchres illustrate the two epochs called
further north ' bruna-old ' (cremation), and ' hauga-
old' (inhumation, or rather tumulation 2 ), the propor-

1 Sulle Ciste in Bronzo a Cordont, ec., ec. Bologna : OcL 15, 1873.

2 ' Haugr,' a cairn, is a Scandinavian word, which we have seen
preserved in the 'Hougue' of Guernsey.

H 2



THE ABODES OF MAN.



tions being respectively about 1:2. The depth of
the rogus and urna varies from o - 26 metre (= 10*24
inches) to 5 '8 3 metres (= 19 feet i'53 inches) ; of
the tomb between 1*21 metre (=3 feet ir64
inches), and 6' 13 metres (=20 feet 1*34 inches) :
in both cases computed from the ancient horizon,
which is i '3 7 metre (=4 feet 6 inches) below the
modern.

Cav. Zannoni (p. 23) offers the following plan:

Depth.



f in


1JJ


C Rude metals




o-




B


1


J Large-sized


. .


!(






E


( Figured




o-


.s








Marble












Cysts


I'


C M









Bronze Situla




W








Wells


3<




O
(/)


f


/ 1 st degree /


0-93






O


of


J 2nd .(


mean 2 '88


O"


L.


(


(3rd (


4-02




"S f S




1 1 st degree (


1-85




r < 2

I-C C { C/1


I of


2nd J


mean 2-83


r


3 "" O

PQ 1 fc


1


(3rd (


4'5S





Minimum.


Maximum.


O-26


2'OI


I 'O6


?J


O-26


271


I'll


I'll


I-98


>itula 1-16


3 '98


4-48


076


5-83


I '2 1


6,3



For the interment of the whole body were found
(p. 10) the four following arrangements, with their
proportions out of a total of 250 :

1. 83 rectangular unlined fosses of various size,
with the skeleton and the various articles almost
always deposited on the ground to the left.

2. 122 same kind of fosse, with rounded pebbles



THE CERTOSA AND CASALECCHIO. 101

thrown confusedly over the skeleton. 1 This total,
however, includes No. 4.

3. 45 fosses with long wooden coffin (Pliny, xiii.,
27), of which only fragments and nails remain. The
area was sometimes covered with earth.

4. The small fosse, with walls lined by un-mor-
tared pebbles. Here nothing is said about the kist-

vaen ; and Cav. Zannoni seems to allude to one
only (p. 14).

Cremated remains were disposed in three ways
(p. 10). Out of 1 15

I. 72 in bronze cysts and situlcz; in fictile pots


1 2 3 5 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 5 of 14)