The article deals with a group of vases of the Orientalising period from the area of Cerveteri, all from tombs, that show lines dividing a circle in half or in quadrants that appear in combination with alphabetiform sigla clearly related to such divisions. The latter signs might be interpreted according to an alphabetic reading as epsilon, theta or eta, but make very little sense as textual inscriptions, so that other explanations are required. A comparable case is provided by a tumulus of the Late Orientalizing at Cerveteri, the Tomba delle Ginestri (or delle Croci), where a single circle, divided into quadrants, appears in combination with a monumental inscription incised on the wall of a corridor running under the altar of the tomb. Remarkably, in one of the quadrants (upper left), a portion of the circular limit is missing. On the opposite side of the corridor is another example, again featuring a quadrant where part of the circle is missing (upper left) but also a quadrant where the circle is completely lacking (upper right). The specific meaning of these markings and those on the vases is not yet known and may never be, but they seem to show a similar system, most likely related to compass points. An idea of the way in which such diagrams may have functioned is vividly illustrated by the story of Olenus Calenus, the famous Etruscan seer who was called upon to interpret the meaning of a human head found on the Capitoline Hill in Rome during the reign of Tarquinius Superbus (Dionysius of Halicarnassus 4.60-61; Pliny, NH 28.15). When the Romans came to consult him, he drew a circle upon the ground, along with straight lines that represented north, south, east and west, and proceeded to point to places on the partitioned drawing to determine where the head was found. Similar rituals may have been practiced by Etruscans who marked surfaces on pottery and elsewhere with a cross bounded by a circle (or with other lines that diagrammed space). Such concepts are crucial for the treatment of sacred space according to the Etrusca disciplina, indicating that manipulation and combination of signs within a partitioned space could target complex meanings in a synthetic way.
|Titolo:||Rappresentazioni dello spazio "sacro" nella documentazione epigrafica etrusca di epoca orientalizzante|
BAGNASCO, GIOVANNA (Primo)
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore L-ANT/06 - Etruscologia e Antichita' Italiche|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||Ecole Française de Rome, Escuela Espanola de Arqueologia en Roma, ISCIMA-CNR|
|Tipologia:||Book Part (author)|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03 - Contributo in volume|