Richard Francis Burton.

Etruscan Bologna: a study online

. (page 7 of 14)
Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 7 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


for all time, and it would naturally extend from the human eye to all
eyes.



TO MARZABOTTO, MISANELLO, AND MISANO. 123

in the Aria collection ; and the local theory is ' qu'ils
semblent se rapporter au culte de Amon-ra.'

Beyond the obelisk lies the original Etruscan
aqueduct of Misanello, said to have been found
30 metres (?) below the surface. There is a central
reservoir of hollowed stone, and three cut conduits
sufficed, as the fourth would have led up-hill : more-
over, in the latter direction there is a perennial pond,
which may date from Etruscan days. All are large
parallelopipedons of squared tufa. Upon the slopes
head-stone shaped boards, marked and numbered,
show where the sarcophagi were exhumed. The
graveyard is thus sharply demarked from the town,
which lay upon a higher level. The general as-
pect at once suggests that Misanello is the arx or
acropolis, probably an older foundation than Misano.
It has its temple, its aqueduct, and its necropolis in
fact, all the requisites of its social life.

During the visit of the Congress three tombs,
opened for the first time, yielded the skeletons of a
woman, round whose arm-bone ran a bracelet, and
that of a man armed with a sword. Concerning the
general collection we will speak afterwards ; here,
however, was made the discovery of the admirable
group and the amphora-bearing negro preserved in



124



THE ABODES OF MAN.



the Aria Museum. The warrior-god, armed with
a casque, whose front suggests the horns of Moses, 1
is offered a ritual patera, possibly for libations, by




the Diva potens Cypri, whose raiment, after the old
Italic fashion, decently and decorously descends to
her feet. 2 This group is 15 centimetres (= some 6

1 Dennis (ii. 105) notices a warrior-figure, more than a foot high,
whose ' helmet has a straight cockade on each side, almost like asses'
ears.'

2 Similarly the discoveries in Cyprus by General di Cesnola and
Mr. Lang are remarkable for the modesty and even ' respectability ' of



TO MARZABOTTO, MISANELLO, AND MISANO. 125

inches) high, and its evident imitation and adapta-
tion of Greek art renders it most valuable. The
negro is also no mean work. Prof. Count J. Cones-
tabile declares that in it ' 1'imi-
tation du vrai est absolument
obtenue d'une maniere magis-
trale.'

Near an ignoble pond rises
a tall bronze group of Mars and
Venus, a modern enlargement of
that found in the sarcophagus.
There are also sundry modern
antiquities scattered about the
ground ; and a third pool, sup-
plied by a spring from above,
here concludes the visitanda. Descending to the
plane of the present bank we reach the second
lakelet, an artificial water a few yards in diameter,
also fed from the upper heights. A central pile
of old stones forms a ' cavern/ which can be ap-
proached by a boat or by a bridge with wooden
rails, painted to resemble bamboo the whole in
most approved cockney style. Here are the sarco-

the statuary and the reliefs, where the reverse might have been ex-
pected.




126 THE ABODES OF MAN.

phagi removed from Misanello. They are upon the
surface, not sunk in it, as was the invariable custom
this is, perhaps, a necessary evil, in order to display
them without the necessity of digging out a large
area of ground. But the tombs have been disposed
pell-mell, without any regard for orientation, and,
worse still, the pieces have been put together in the
wildest way. Thus the columns belonging to other
buildings have been planted where the pent-shaped lid
of the sarcophagus positively forbade such ornamenta-
tion. As might have been expected, many a casual
visitor has carried away the impression that we have
here the origin of our truncated columns placed upon
gravestones, and thus the Congres (p. 225) actually
sketches '1'ancienne necropole de Marzabotto' on
the borders of the lake. The
effect is something of this kind,
and it forcibly suggests Pere La
Chaise, with its gravelled walks
and trim hedges.

Of the spheroids and lenti-
cular masses I shall speak in
another place they at least belong to the tombs.
We now leave the handsome eastern gates of
the park, and proceed south-eastward to the farm-




TO MARZABOTTO, MISANELLO, AND MIS AN O. 127

buildings of Misano (fundus Missanus or Mtsanus).
Thence the path, bending southwards, spans vine-
yards and wheat-fields, which were ankle-deep in
mud after the rainy morning of the Anthropological
visit. Here are three of the old pebble-built rain-




cisterns, two to the east and one to the west. We
are, doubtless, treading over the burial-place of the
old city, and the whole ' podere ' should be bought
by the State and thoroughly explored. Cav.
Zannoni would restore the form as above. It occu-
pied the isthmus formed by the Reno a site which



128



THE ABODES OF MAN.



the Etruscans seem always to have chosen when
possible. The shape was probably polyangular,
not square ; but the interior, we shall see, pre-
serves the ritualistic form, oriented towards the
cardinal points. The general style of single-arched
gateway may be restored after this fashion, as three




THE GATEWAY RESTORED.




Bossed and draughted stones.



layers of bossed stones have been found in situ.
The cuneiform system was apparently well known,
and we may believe that the early Romans borrowed
it, like the paved road, from the Etruscans. The



TO MARZABOTTO, MISANELLO, AND MISANO. 129

flat cuneiform arch (Dennis, i. 201) is essentially
Eastern. I found it in the ruined cities of the
Hauran, and traced it through Diocletian's Palace
(Spalato), to the Castle of Kirkwall. The official
city had, doubtless, large suburbs extending all
around it.

A glance up-stream discloses a noble Apennine
view, but we forget it in sorrow for the ravages of
the Reno, which is still in the habit of shifting its
thalweg. By prolonging the chief lines of inter-
secting street and road, we see that a large and
important section of the southern and western
enceinte, possibly half the city, has been eaten away
and engulfed in the wild torrent. The latter, of
course, has sunk many yards below the level of the
Etruscan days.

The first remains to the west are pebble founda-
tions of square and oriented cells, which have
provoked abundant discussion. Count Gozzadini
(' Congres,' p. 278), gallantly owning that he will be
glad to find himself in error, denies that they can
be huts (casupoli], for a variety of reasons, which, in
my humble opinion, do not appear convincing. He
objects to the small size of some cells, not exceeding
175 metre (= 68-90 inches) in length, by 1-50 metre

K



130 THE ABODES OF MAN.

(= 59*05 inches); but how many a Hindu hut,
Buddhist Vihara (monastery), and the lodgings in
Sepoys' ' Lines ' are not larger. And again, why
should not the smaller divisions have been com-
partments ? The depth of the foundation, a few
centimetres below the pebble pavement, would not
bear stable house-walls ; but again, why should
these not have been partitions (intercapedines) ?
Three arguments are drawn from the presence of
' funerary wells,' but this use of the silo is not
proven. Pieces of pottery, like those taken from
sepulchres, were found both in the cells and in the
wells ; but may they not also have been imbrices for
roofs and other purposes ? Finally, there were no
passages from cell to cell. I believe that they have
since been discovered : moreover, the walls are
mostly rased to their bases, and would not show the
threshold which, some two feet high, is still preserved
in the abominable town called Bonny (West Africa).
Professor Conestabile hesitates about delivering
a definitive opinion. On the other hand, the Abbe
G. Chierici offers the serious objection that in exca-
vations opened to the extent of 100 square metres,
the broken bones of animals appeared in abund-
ance, whilst those of human beings were utterly or,



TO MARZABOTTO, MISANELLO, AND MISANO. 131

some say, comparatively, absent. The remaining ob-
jects : a long iron sword 1 and scabbard, votive arms
and legs, idols, an as rude, bronze and iron frag-
ments, tiles and pottery, broken urns, bits of coloured
glass, worked stones and bones, might have be-
longed to a settlement of the living as well as to a
city of the dead. The tubes for conducting water,
and the little clay windows admitting light into the
roof, denote huts, not tombs : again, the situation as
regards the ' High Street,' from north to south, would
suggest that this space was included within the walls.
The Abbe notices the remarkable likeness of the
pebble foundations with the pre-historic, bronze-aged,
terramare, or pile-villages of Reggio, Modena, and
other parts of Italy. 2 Remarking that under the

1 This blade, which is much longer than the usual bronze weapon,
and lacks cross-piece, together with the iron lance-head, large and
willow-leaf shaped, were deposited in the Aria Museum, and excited
some discussion. M. Desor refers to the lances which Diodorus
Siculus placed in the hands of the Gauls, and like M. de Mortillet, com-
pares both weapons with those which had been found at La Tene, on
the battle-field of Tiefenau, and other places. Prof. Conestabile re-
plies that similar swords have been exhumed in Central Etruria.
Presently a sufficient collection of facts will enable us to determine
how far Etruscan art, original or imitated, may have extended north
of the Alps.

2 They are described in the Congrh (pp. 171-180). Older writers
held them to be ' Ustrina,' as if the dead were burned in water. Ac-
cording to the Abbe G. Chierici, the six terramare of Reggio, espe-
cially Sanpolo, the typical specimen which yielded articles of iron,

K 2



132 THE ABODES GF MAN.

pavement of Etruscan Misano a second stratum
appears at the depth of 070 metre (=2 feet 4*59
inches), and supports passages and houses with walls
of clay, still bearing the tubular impressions of rushes,
and wanting the bricks, the tiles, and the pottery so
common in the more civilised successor, he would
detect a still older settlement ; in fact, the first
colony of settled Etruscans who established them-
selves on the champ rase before walled villages were
invented.

From the pebble-cells, a few paces to the east
lead us across a hollow ; it was intended as a cutting
for the railway, which now runs in the Galleria di
Misano, a tunnel below. Here we find a truly
magnificent remnant of the ' High Street,' trending
from north to south, and probably meeting its eastern
and western intersector in the space beneath which
the Reno at present rolls. Seeing this fragment, we
can easily understand that the Romans borrowed
their paved roads, like their monuments, from the
Etruscans. These were the Plateae, Cardinalis and

had square and oriented constructions of pebbles and also ' funerary
wells ' ; they overlie the more ancient, bronze-aged pile-villages. He
adds an illustration of Castellarano (Congrts, p. 285). In Italy the
terramara or mariera is considered the third stage of the proto-
historic habitation, preceded by the cavern, and the/a/tf/?/te, or pile-
village proper.



TO MARZABOTTO, MISANELLO, AND MISANO. 133

Decumana, which divided the city into quarters and
regions, and which led to the Portse Decumanae,
where the loth Cohorts camped. A length of 300
(380 ?) metres has been opened, but of this only
some 1 20 feet remain for inspection. The breadth
of the thoroughfare is 14 metres, and the largest
slabs, which are mixed with pebbles, exceed a
square yard. The pavement shows no ruts, as if
the biga were confined to the outside of the enceinte
still the rule in many Dalmatian cities. The
broad central line is flanked by crepidines, path-
ways on either side, the conveniences so common in
Roman ' High Streets ;' and suggesting, as at Salona
and Damascus, triple gateways to the north and
south ; perhaps to the east and west. The deep
flank-drains have orifices to gather the rain-water,
and the middle is scientifically bombe". The two
bands of large, square detached blocks which, dis-
posed at regular intervals, run across the road, and
determine the trottoirs, are usually explained as
the cippi used for mounting horses when stirrups
were unknown ; and others remark that the spaces
allowed the passage of carriage wheels where no
ruts are to be found. I would look upon them
as the succedanea for bridges in muddy weather,



I 3 4 THE ABODES OF MAN.

resembling on a grand scale those of ancient Pompeii,
and the modern cities of the nearer East. The
same kind of ' unbuilded, unarched bridges ' are still
remarked by visitors to Albanian Skodra.

From this noble Platea Cardinalis, or Grande
Rue, a single line of secondary thoroughfare sets off
at a right angle to the west ; only a few feet now
remain unburied. The fragment is ten feet broad,
and in the middle appears a flag-covered conduit, 1
like those now existing in all the older Veneto-
Istrian towns, Muggia and Capodistria, for instance.
The modern fashion came from the ' Sea-Cybele,'
and it extended south as far as Albania. The
Eastern cross-street, of the same dimensions as
the High Street (14 metres), which led south to the
Morello tombs, and which, prolonged, would in-
tersect the main line in the Reno bed, has been
re-interred. I am not aware that any of the vici, or
smaller thoroughfares, have yet been uncovered.

And here I would utterly reject the theory of
Count Gozzadini (' Renseignements,' p. 7) : ' Ce ne
pourraient etre non plus les rues d'une ville tres-
antique, les deux grandes espaces, ou avenues, de 14
metres de largeur, qui semblent couper la necropole

1 I cannot be quite sure of this feature.



TO MARZABOJTO, MISANELLO, AND MISANO. 135

dans la direction des points cardinaux ; car on ne
peut pas supposer qu'une ville, aussi ancienne que
celle-ci, eut des rues aussi spacieuses et aussi bien
alignees. De telles avenues seraient au contraire fort
propres a faire des grandes divisions dans la necro-
pole, et a y donner acces ; comme cela a lieu dans
les champs cimeteriaux actuels.' The state of the
arts at Misano disproves this conclusion.

From the High Street, a hundred yards to the
north with easting, leads to the cemetery of Misano,
which lying, of course, outside, defined the limits
of the enceinte. Excavations are continued, but
economy sometimes reduces the number of hands to
two. The sarcophagi are placed upon the surface,
so as to be in sight, and we can only hope that
they will remain in situ. This Misano cemetery, as
it is now called, shows a great variety of shapes and
sizes ; single and double, large-square and small-
square, long-broad and long-narrow. The lids fit
into rims sunk in the border of the caisson ; they
are pent-shaped, with a shallow elevation ; none of
them have columns, while spheres and disks of
sandstone, some of very large size, are everywhere
exhumed.

At the end of the visit we descended the path



I 3 6 THE ABODES OF MAN.

down the stiff earth-cliff to the north-east, and fol-
lowed the leat taken from the Reno on the south-
east of the buried citv. This ' Canale del Molino '



formerly turned the wheel of a dwarf powder-manu-
factory ; the latter has been closed after sundry
explosions, some of which lodged human arms and
legs upon the poplar-trees of the adjacent avenue.
Close below the belvedere of the Aria farm-houses,
other monuments (Campuccelliera) have been found,
proving that the line of sepulchres was prolonged to
the north-east ; and although the now sunken Reno
is separated from the tall bank by an alluvial flat,
over which the railroad runs, we can see by the
water-lines, by the erosion, and by the dilapidation
of the tombs, that the stream once swung near, and
that even here there has been a considerable amount
of destruction.



137



SECTION IV.

CONCLUSIONS.

WE have now inspected the many objects rescued
from the kistvaen and the sarcophagus ; we have
visited the homes and the long homes of the Cir-
cumpadan Etrurians ; and we may venture upon a
little cautious generalisation.

The external shape of the sarcophagus at




Misanello and Misano is of two great varieties.
The first is the quadrangular coffin of tufa slabs,
numbering 4 to 6. The dimensions are, length
o'Qo metre (= 2 feet 11*43 inches) to 2*27 metres



138 THE ABODES OF MAN.

( = 7 feet, 5-37 inches) ; breadth, 0*57 metre
(= i foot IO'44 inches) to i'6o metre (= 5 feet 2^99
inches) ; height, 0*42 metre (= i foot 4^54 inches)
to 1*92 metre (=6 feet 3*59 inches) ; the thickness of
the walls is from 0*08 metre to 0^32 metre (= 3*15
inches to i foot o - 6o inch) ; the cover is gene-
rally of one, sometimes of two pieces ; and though
flat roofs are mentioned, I saw only the pent-
shaped.

The second kind is surmounted by a heavy
weight, which, under the pressure of earth, has




often broken through the lid, and has been found
inside the tomb. The upper gradient was crowned
by a cut stone, supposed, like the horse-shoe, to
represent the Homeric c-^aa ; the material was
mostly macigno or sandstone grit, and water-rolled



CONCLUSIONS. 139

pebbles ; the shape was either spheroid or lenticular,
and, in some cases, the diameter reached four feet.
Prof. Conestabile (' Congres,' p. 255) mentions, as a
third variety of sarcophagus, rectangular bases and
truncated columns, which suggested to him the
phallic steles so common in the necropoles of Central
Etruria, but he apparently did not see them. He
also includes amongst sepulchres the pebble-lined
wells, the ' caisses formees avec de grandes tuiles a
couvercle, fa9onne en faite ' (coffins formed by the
large tegulce] ; the pebble-tumulus and kistvaen, and
the pebble foundations before alluded to.

Incineration has prevailed at Marzabotto. Only
three or four out of 1 70 contained the whole skele-
ton, which was supported by a quantity of marl and
pebbles, and the presence of these articles did not
appear accidental. The other contents were the <zs
(r2t.dc, etc.], of which each individual had at least one ;
pottery, statuettes, weapons, bronzes, fibula ', mirrors,
and a variety of gold ornaments. Almost all the
sarcophagi had been violated, but one, which had
remained intact, yielded no less than 57 objects of
the precious metal. Besides these, there were pietre
dure of fine cutting and archaic Etruscan gems, e. g.
the carnelian scarabseus, with a walking Minerva,



140 THE ABODES OF MAN.

cuirassed and winged ; the more advanced, as the
engraved quartz, showing the heifer lo stung by the
gadfly, and the pasto ' tumble bug ' representing a
tailed man contending against a fabulous monster
that stands before him. As usual, amber and bone-
dice were abundant, and so were the ossuaries, and
the vases of plain and painted pottery. The bones
picked up in the necropoles and the settlements are
determined by Professors Cornalia and Rutimeyer
to be those of the Ursiis arctos, the Cants
familiaris (and palustris ?), the Felis Cattus, the
Mus Rattus (?), the Equus Caballus (and A sinus ?),
the Sus pahistris (and Scrofa ferus ?), the Cervus
(Elaphus and Capreohis), the Ovis Aries, the Capra
hircus (with two other varieties), and the Bos bra-
chyceros. The birds are chiefly the Bufo vulgaris,
and the Gallus domesticus this Indian bird sug"-

o

gesting by no means a remote date. The shells,
probably used for necklaces, are principally the
Pectunculus glycimeris (fossil) and the Cypr&a
tigris. So my friend, Professor, now Rector G.
Capellini, an ardent archaeologist, of whom more
presently, when exploring the cannibal Grotta del
Colombi, in the Island of Palmaria, found and figured
(plate 2, Fava e Garagnani, Bologna, 1873) a valve



CONCLUSIONS. 141

of the P. glycimeris, pierced near the apex, and a
Patella ccerulea, cut to form a ring. 1

The essential difference between the systems of
sepulture in Northern and in Central Etruria, is
that, whilst the latter built in the interior of hills and
upon plateaux adjoining the towns, the former laid out
their graveyards in our modern style. Fortunately
for students, we have thus three great monumental
series, which cannot be considered to be of the same
date ; whilst certain crucial points of resemblance,
for instance, the form, the system, and the ornamenta-
tion of the bronze fibula, and, briefly, the great lines
of art, suggest the peoples to be of one race.

It is now given to us to trace how ' fortis Etruria
crevit.' Villanova and the Certosa belong to Fel-
sina, whilst Marzabotto stands grandly alone. The
greater antiquity of the first-named is proved by the
absence of statuettes ; except the feminine idol with
birds, the archaic horses, and the symbolical or
conventional mannikins, raised upon the surface of

1 Similar shells have been discovered in the Perigord Caves. Rector
Capellini also brought from the Pigeon Grot large quantities of Ostrcea
edulis, Natica millepunctaia, Murex trunculus, Trochus titrbinatus,
Colnmella rustica, Patella Lusitanica, Helix (nemoralis, and singu-
lata), an undetermined Triton, and a Dentalium not belonging to the
existing Mediterranean species. It was probably brought to Spezia,
like the Silex, from some part of Tuscany.



142 THE ABODES OF MAN.

an ossuary. The ornaments are chiefly meanders,
disks, concentric circles, crosses, or circles containing
crosses ; and animals, ducks, geese, and serpents.
There is no goldsmiths' work ; the only iron ar-
ticles are some few ornaments, several lance-points,




MANNIKINS.



two hatchets (?), knife-blades and shovels (?) ; and
we must remember that the first kings of Rome
were in the early iron epoch. Lead-alloy is also
wanting in the ess rude, which is of a ruder type than
that of its neighbours. At Villanova there are no
bas-reliefs, no inscriptions, no styli for writing ; and
the cyst-shaped ossuary of bronze is supported by
plain unpainted pottery, generally black, and pro-
vided with handles of various forms. Thus the



CONCLUSIONS. 143

Congress was enabled to date Villanova from the
ninth and even the tenth century B.C., synchronous
with the early Etruscan epoch, or at the end of the
bronze and the beginning of the iron age. The
study of this period has served as guide to a host of
sepulchral discoveries in Switzerland and Franche-
Comte".

The general aspect of the Certosa shows the
greatest splendour of Etruscan art, a progress and
development which would place it several centuries
later ; Cav. Zannoni assigns it to about the fourth
century of Rome. The bronze contains more lead,
and an ess grave, apparently an as of uncial weight,
would fix the date after u.c. 537 (B.C. 216), the year
in which a decree of the Republic reduced the
weight of an as to an ounce.

Marzabotto is the latest of the three. Here we
have three inscriptions, two on pottery and one on
a silver fibula, besides three bronze writing-^/y/z.
The alloys consist of a greater proportion of lead,
about 36 : 100. The ces rude\?> abundant; there is
a large rectangular piece, perhaps the ess signatum *
(first century of Rome), bearing the trident and

1 It weighs, according to Count Gozzadini (p. 13, ' Renseignements '
etc.), 2,157 grammes ( = 4 Ibs. 12 oz. avoir., 45-14 grs.), and conse-
quently exceeds by 367 grammes (= 1202. avoir., 454-52 grs.) the



144 THE ABODES OF MAN.

the caduceus ; while the as grave is wanting. Iron
is much more common at Marzabotto than at
Villanova, the articles being chiefly keys, bracelets,
lance-heads, blades and scabbards of long knives,
daggers, or swords. A Greek inscription upon
a fragment of pottery, (xa^)PTAION EnOIE^(sv),
proves an advanced commercial intercourse. The
fibula are often novel and beautiful : for instance,
one represents a pair of tweezers ; another, in
silver, has a double spiral, and the lower end
reverted, reminding M. G. de Mortillet of Gallic
objects in the Museum of St. Germain. The
metal might be considered rare, yet a hundred
such ' bijous ' have been found at Marzabotto.
Gold, as well as silver, becomes more abundant,
denoting ideas of luxury and a social condition
which could appreciate the value of the material
and the beauty of the work ; often, indeed, both
were combined. Of this fact the necklace and
the pendants, supposed to form part of a feminine
collar (torques], figured by Count Gozzadini (' Di
ulteriori scoperte a Marzabotto,' plate xvi., No. n,
a, b, c ; xvii., Nos. 2 and 3), are sufficient proofs.

heaviest specimen cited in Mommsen's Monetary History. The ess
rude weighed from 10 to 24 grammes ( = 16933 to 406-40 grs. avoir.)


1 2 3 4 5 7 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryRichard Francis BurtonEtruscan Bologna: a study → online text (page 7 of 14)