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Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria

by George Dennis

published by John Murray, Albemarle Street
London, 1848.

The text is in the public domain.


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p471 Chapter LVIII

PERUGIA. — PERUSIA.

The Cemetery.

Hic maxima cura sepulcris
Impenditur.

Prudentius.

Più che non credi son le tombe carche.

Dante.

The necropolis of Perusia offers a rich field for research; and of late years, since attention has been directed to excavations in Etruria, numerous tombs have been brought to light. This is principally owing to the archaeological zeal of the Cavaliere Vermiglioli, to whom it is also due that many of these sepulchres, fortunately for the student of antiquity, remain in statu quo, with all their urns, just as they were discovered.

Grotta de' Volunni.

First and foremost in magnitude and beauty, and rivalling in interest the most celebrated sepulchres of the land, is the "Tomb of the Volumnii," which no one who visits, or even passes through Perugia, should omit to see. It is easy of accomplishment, for the high-road to Rome passes the very door. It lies about two miles from Perugia, in the slope of a low eminence, which rises at the base of the p472lofty height on which the city stands. The keys are kept at a house hard by the tomb.

You descend a long flight of steps to the entrance, now closed by a door of wood: the ancient one, a huge slab of travertine, which was placed against it — a mere "stone on the mouth of the sepulchre," — now rests against rock outside. You enter — here is none of the chill of the grave, but the breath of the scirocco — you are in a warm, damp atmosphere; that is, in winter, when it is most visited; in summer it is of course cooler than the external air. On one of the door-posts, which are slabs of travertine, an inscription in Etruscan characters catches your eye; and so sharply are the letters cut, and so bright is the red paint within them, that you can scarcely credit this epitaph to have an antiquity of anything like two thousand years.1

Daylight cannot penetrate to the further end of the then; but when a torch is lighted you perceive yourself to be in a spacious chamber with a very lofty roof, carved into the form of beam and rafters, but with an extraordinarily high pitch; the slopes forming an angle of 45° with the horizon, instead of 20° are 25°, as usual.2 On this chamber open nine others, of much smaller size, and all empty, save one at the further end, opposite the entrance, where a party of revellers, each on a snow-white couch, with chapleted brow, torque-decorated neck, and goblet p473in hand, lie — a petrifaction of conviviality — in solemn mockery of the pleasures to which for ages they have bidden adieu.

There are seven urns in this chamber, five with recumbent figures of men, one with a female in a sitting posture, and one of a peculiar character. All, except the last, are of travertine, coated over with a fine stucco; they are wrought, indeed, with a skill, a finish, and a truth to nature by no means common in Etruscan urns. The inscriptions show them all to belong to one family, that of "Velimnas," or Volumnius, as it was corrupted by the Romans.3 Four of the urns are very similar, seeming to differ in little beyond the ages of the men, each of whom is reclining, in half-draped luxury, on his banqueting-couch; but here it is not sarcophagus or urn itself which represents the couch, as is generally the case; but the lid alone, which is raised into that form, hung with drapery, and supported by elegantly-carved legs, while the receptacle for the ashes forms a high pedestal to the couch. On the front of each of these ash-chests are four paterae, one at each angle, with a Gorgon's head in the centre — no longer the hideous mask of the original idea, but the beautiful Medusa of later art — with a pair out of serpents knotted on her head, and wings also sprouting from her brows.4

p474 The fifth male, who occupies the post of honour at the upper end of the feast, lies on a couch more richly decorated than those of his kinsmen, and on a much loftier pedestal. His urn is the grand monument of the sepulchre. In the centre is represented an arched doorway, and on either side sits, at the angle of the urn, the statue of a winged Fury, half draped, with bare bosom and a pair of snakes knotted over her brows. One bears a flaming torch on her shoulder; and the other probably bore a similar emblem, but one hand, with whatever it contained, has been broken off. They sit crosslegged, with almost but stern expression, and eyes turned upwards, as if looking for orders from on high, respecting the sepulchre they are guarding. The archway is merely marked with colour on the face of the monument, and within it are painted four females — one with her hand on the doorpost, and eyes anxiously turned towards the Furies outside — wishing, it would seem, to issue forth, but not daring to pass the threshold through dread of their stern gaolers. The whole scene has a mysterious, Dantesque character, eminently calculated to stir the imagination.

The sixth urn belongs to a female, who is distinguished from the lords of her family by her position; for she sits aloft on her pedestal like a goddess or queen on her throne; indeed, she has been supposed to represent either Nemesis, or Proserpine,5 an opinion which the frontlet on her brow, and the owl-legs to the stool beneath her feet p475are thought to favour. This is more probably, however, an effigy of the lady whose dust is contained by the urn, and whose name is inscribed on the lid. Why she is represented in this position, when it was customary for the Etruscan women to recline at banquets with the other sex, I do not presume to determine.6

The last urn is of a totally different character from the rest, yet not less interesting. You are startled on beholding, among these genuine Etruscan monuments, an urn of marble, in the form of a Roman temple, with a Latin inscription on the frieze; mr especially when from the character of its adornments you perceive it to be of no early date — apparently of Imperial times, or at least as late as the close of the Republic.7 But while you are wondering at this, your eye falls on the roof of the urn, and beholds, scratched in minute letters on the tiles, an Etruscan inscription, which you perceive at once to correspond with the Latin —

P . VOLVMNIVS . A . F . VIOLENS
CAFATIA . NATVS

The Etruscan, in Latin letters, would be "Pup. Velimna Au. Caphatial."8 That is, Publius Volumnius, son of Aulus, p476by a mother named Cafatia. So that here is a precise correspondence between the inscriptions, save the omission of "Violens, the Etruscans not having cognomina, or at least never using them in their epitaphs.9

p477 But look at the ceiling of this chamber. It is coffered in concentric, recessed squares, as in the tombs of Chiusi, and in the centre is an enormous Gorgon's head, hewn from the dark rock, with eyes upturned in horror, gleaming from the gloom, teeth bristling whitely in the open mouth,10 wings on the temples, and snakes knotted over the brow. You confess the terror of the image, and almost expect to hear

"Some whisper from that horrid mouth

Of strange unearthly tone;

A wild infernal laugh to thrill

One's marrow to the bone.

But, no — it grins like rigid Death,

And silent as a stone."

Depending by a metal rod from the lintel of the doorway, hangs a small winged genius of earthenware, and to its feet was originally attached a lamp of the same material, with a Medusa's head on the bottom. A similar lamp was suspended from the ceiling of the central chamber.

Step again into this chamber, and observe the pediment over the doorway you have just past. Here is a large disk or shield, with a head in relief in the centre, set round with scales — a head which some take to be that of Apollo, surrounded with laurel leaves, though the scales are as likely to represent solar rays;11 others, that of Medusa, on the scaly shield of Minerva.12

p478 On each side of the shield, and forming with it a sort of trophy, is a curved sword, like a cimetar, with a bird perched on the hilt13 — a figure doubtless of symbolical import, but not of easy explanation. Below, in the angles of the pediments, are two busts; one of a peasant bearing on his shoulder a pedum, or crooked staff, on which is suspended a basket; the stick terminating in a serpent's head. The face in the opposite angle is broken away, but the long flowing hair is still visible; and behind it is a lyre of elegant form, surmounted by a griffon's head. If the face on the shield be that of Apollo, these two busts may represent the same deity in his pastoral character, and as the god of music and poetry.14

In the pediment at the opposite end of this chamber, is a corresponding disk, or shield, but with solar rays, instead of scales. It is too much broken to enable you to perceive if there has been a head in the centre. As in each angle of the pediment is a large dolphin, in relief, it seems to represent the sun rising from the waves — an apt emblem of resurrection. On the wall below, on one side of the entrance to the sepulchre, was carved a demon of gigantic size; but its sex, attributes, and attitude are matters of mere speculation, for nothing of it is left beyond a vast open wing — but, ex pede Herculem. There was probably p479such a figure on each side of the doorway, placed there to guard the sepulchre.15

On each side of the entrance to the inner chamber, a crested snake or dragon projects from the rocky wall, darting forth its tongue, as if to threaten the intruder into this sanctuary —

Ardentesqe oculos suffecti sanguine et igni
Sibila lambebant linguis vibrantibus ora.

These reptiles are of earthenware, but their tongues are of metal; and it has been thought that on these tongues lamps were suspended16 — an unnecessary supposition. The place serpents hold in the mythology of the Etruscans, as emblems of the Furies and infernal demons, explains their presence here. Below one of these snakes, just above the level of the pavement, is an Etruscan inscription, which, being on a stratum of sand-stone, is unfortunately almost obliterated.

It remains to notice the side-chambers, of which there are eight, four on each side. They seem never to have been occupied, as no urns were found within them. Some of them are still unfinished. They were intended, it would seem, for a long race of posterity, but the family may have become extinct, or they may have been merely for pomp, just as a palace contains many superfluous chambers.17 The four inner rooms have, each a bench of rock, p480and two have Medusa's heads in shields on the ceiling, and a crested snake projecting from the wall above the sepulchral couch. In one of these tombs is an owl in relief in each corner, and a snake's head below it.

Besides the monuments now remaining in this tomb, certain articles in bronze have been found, such as ewers — a helmet — a fragment of a shield embossed with figures of lions and bulls — a pair of greaves beautifully moulded — a singular spear or rod with a number of moveable disks, which seem to have been rattled together.18 They are all to be seen in the Palazzone Baglioni hard by.

Before leaving this tomb we must say a word on the inscriptions. Those of the four gentlemen on similar urns are, taking them in the order of their arrangement,

1 — "Theprhi Velimnas Tarchis Caln."

2 — "Aule Velimnas Theprisa Nuphrunal Clan."

3 — "Larth Velimnas Aules."

4 — "Vel. Velimnas Aules."

The grand urn in the centre has,

5 — "Arnth Velimnas Aules."

And the lady is called,

6 — "Veilia Velimnai Arnthial."

It scarcely needs the analogy of the names to prove these of one family, the likeness in their effigies is obvious; yet the precise relation in which they stood to each other could only be set forth by the inscriptions. No. 1 seems the most venerable, the progenitor of the rest, and in his name "Thephri," in other inscriptions p481written "Thepri," an analogy may be traced to the Tiber, which flows beneath the walls of Perugia, and whose name is said to be Etruscan;19 just as the celebrated family of Volterra bore the name of the river Caecina. Thephri then will be equivalent to Tiberius. No. 2 appears to be his son,20 and the son of a lady of the Nuphruna family, and is certainly the father of the three other males — Larth, Velus, and Arnth Velimnas. No. 6 appears to be the daughter of No. 5, the gentleman who occupies the post of honour in this tomb, and she seems from her portrait to have reached "a certain age," and in spite of her nobility and wealth, never to have been married, for no matrimonial name is mentioned in her epitaph.

As for the gentleman in the temple, who could not be content with the fashions of his ancestors, he may be another son of No. 2; as his father's name was Aule; though the more modern style of his urn makes it probable that he was later by a generation or two than his kinsmen.

From the style of the sculpture, so superior to that generally found on Etruscan urns, from the painting also p482on the principal monument, which has all the freedom of those in the Pumpus tomb at Corneto, as well as from the style of the reliefs on the ceilings and walls of this sepulchre, there is no doubt that it is of late date, subsequent to the Roman conquest of Etruria, though before the native language and customs had been utterly absorbed in those of world-wide Rome.21

This interesting sepulchre was discovered in February, 1840. Fortunatly for the traveller it is the property of the Conte Baglioni, a relative of the venerable Vermiglioli, and a gentleman whose love of antiquity, and zealous research, are equalled by his good taste.

Let the traveller on no account fail to see the Grotta de' Volunni. If my description has failed to interest him, it is not the fault of the sepulchre, which, though of late date, is one of the most remarkable in Etruria. To me it has a more than common charm. I shall always remember it as the first Etruscan tomb I entered. It was soon after its discovery that I found myself at the mouth of this sepulchre. Never shall I forget the anticipation of delight with which I leapt from the vettura into the fierce canicular sun, with what impatience I awaited the arrival of the keys, with what strange awe I entered the dark cavern — gazed on the inexplicable characters in the doorway — descried the urns dimly through the gloom — beheld the family-party at their sepulchral revels — the solemn dreariness of the surrounding cells. The figures on the walls and ceilings strangely stirred my fancy. The Furies, with their glaring eyes, gnashing teeth, and ghastly grins p483— the snakes, with which the walls seemed alive, hissing and darting their tongues at me — and above all the solitary wing, chilled me with an undefinable awe, with a sense of something mysterious and terrible. The sepulchre itself, so neatly hewn and decorated, yet so gloomy; fashioned like a house, yet with no mortal habitant,22 — all was so strange, so novel. It was like enchantment, not reality, or rather it was the realisation of the pictures of subterranean palaces and spell-bound men, which youthful fancy had drawn from the Arabian Nights, but which had long been cast aside into the lumber-room of the memory, now to be suddenly restored. The impressions received in this tomb first directed my attention to the antiquities of Etruria.23

The Grotta de' Volunni was the first sepulchre discovered in the hill; but many others have been subsequently opened around it; in fact, the entire hill-slope is burrowed with them. Though none can compete in size or beauty with the Grotta de' Volunni, all are sufficiently interesting, not only because they still retain their urns, but because they prove many well-known Roman families to have been of Etruscan origin. A few have been placed under lock and key, and many others, which yet stand open, so many dark treasure-caverns of antiquity, merit a more careful preservation. The greater part are quadrangular chambers rudely hewn in the rock; of others it must be said, they "shape have none," for they are mere caves hollowed in p484the hill; one is in the form of a rude dome with beams slightly relieved. None show any of the internal decoration, so lavishly bestowed on the Grotta de' Volunni.

The monuments in them are all urns, or ash-chests, of travertine — no sarcophagi; for it does not appear to have been the custom at Perusia to bury the corpse entire. None of these urns equal those in the Grotta de' Volunni for beauty of execution, but many are of more varied character, though to him who has seen the Museums of Volterra Chiusi, few will appear of extraordinary interest. In one point, however, they are peculiar. Almost all are painted — reliefs as well as the figures on their lids — and the colours often retain their original brilliancy. The hues are black, red, blue, and purple. The reliefs are sometimes left white, or only just touched with colour, while the ground is painted a deep blue or black; and the ornaments, frontlet, necklace, torque, and bracelets, as well as the armour and weapons, are often gilt. Gay contrasts of colour were aimed at, rather than harmony or richness. In the Grotta de' Volunni, on the other hand, which is of a better period, or at least in a better taste, there are no traces of colour on the sculpture, except where the lips and eyes of one of the recumbent males are painted.24

I will notice the principal of these tombs, and touch on their contents.

Ipogeo de' Cesi. — The tombs of the "Ceisi" family — in Latin, Caesius — is very small, and has a low, domed ceiling. It contains seven urns. One bears the winged Scylla, with double fishes' tail, brandishing an ora over the heads of two warriors, whom she has entangled in her coils. In another is a battle between Greeks and Amazons. And there are several with a griffon as a device; one p485remarkable for having an eye in its wing. The griffon, be it observed, is still the crest on the arms of Perugia.25

Ipogeo de' Vezi. — This name is written "Veti" in Etruscan characters, and answers to the Vettius of the Romans. The tomb is very rudely hewn, and contains thirteen urns. In one of them was found, mingled with the ashes, a pair of gold earrings, in another, a mirror. The most remarkable is one which represents Thetis, with a spear, seated on a hippocampus, or sea-horse. The goddess is robed in purple, with a veil of the same hue; the beast is left white, but his feet and fins are gilt. The colouring is thrown out by a blue ground.26

Ipogeo de' Petroni. — "Petruni" or "Patruni" in Etruscan. This was a virgin tomb, with a dozen urns; several curious, and highly decorated with colour and gilding. Two bear a pair of figures, a married couple, reclining lovingly on the lid; in one case she has a patera, he a gilt vase in one hand, and a naked sword in the other — the only instance I remember of a weapon at these sepulchral banquets. On another is the oft-repeated subject of the sacrifice of Iphigenia, here represented in a double row of figures; in the upper, the maiden is being dragged to the altar to the music of the double-pipes and lyre; in the lower, a priest is pouring a libation on her head, and other figures are bringing fruit and various offerings to the shrine. Whether there were any resemblance between the fate of the deceased, and that of the daughter of Agamemnon, I know not, but I have observed that in almost every case, both in this necropolis and elsewhere, where this subject is represented, the figure on the p486lid is a female. Probably the Etruscan young ladies were as fond of old tales of woe, as those of modern days, and "The sorrows of Iphigenia" may have been as popular with them, as those of Werterº and Charlotte were with our grandmothers. Here is an urn with warriors marching to the assault of a tower — a round tower too! — men of Ulster, look to this! — behold a new bond of affinity between Etruria and the Emerald Isle — a fresh proof that the ancient people of Italy were worshippers of Baal or of Buddh; and pardon my common-place opinion that the scene may represent the "Seven before Thebes." One of the urns has a Latin inscription.27

Ipogeo degli Acsi. — In the name so spelt in Etruscan letters it is not difficult to recognise the Accius, or Axius, of the Romans.28 This is a large square tomb, whose roof has fallen in; it contains many urns. One has the sacrifice of Iphigenia, finely executed in high relief. Another bears the favourite scene of the death of Polites.29 The most singular urn in this tomb is one of cylindrical form, with a conical lid; it is said to have been coated with lead.

Ipogeo de' Fari. — Spelt "Pharu" or Pharus in Etruscan, and answering to the Barrus or possibly to the p487Varius of the Romans.30 It has eight urns, and six cinerary pots.

So many tombs are now open in this hill that it is not easy to know when you have seen all, as the entire slope is burrowed with them. In fact these sepulchral treasures accumulate almost too fast for the local antiquaries.31 Most of these tombs are without the protection of a door, and have no notice announcing the family to which they belong, which must be learned by an inspection of the urns within them.32

In the Palazzone Baglioni, which stands at the foot of this hill, is a small museum of antiquities, the fruit of the excavations made on the site. Many cinerary urns with inscriptions and painted reliefs — vessels of terra cotta, in great variety and abundance — one large vase of Greek form, with figures and flowers in high relief, painted, but not varnished — one vase only in the best Greek style — part of a curule chair of bronze — mirrors — coins — gold ornaments — a pair of curling-irons! — a case of bone, containing articles for the toilet — and the lamps, helmet, greaves, and fragment of the embossed shield, found in the Grotta de' Volunni.33

The hill which contains these sepulchres lies to the p488south of Perugia. Other tombs have been found elsewhere, near the new Campo Santo, and also close to the city-walls, where the Benedictine monks have made excavations. The necropolis of Perusia, however, may be said to be only just disclosed, and we may entertain the hope that further researches will prove it to be of an extent and interest commensurate with the ancient importance of the city.

Tempio di San Manno.

This tomb, or "temple," as it is called, lies at the hamlet of La Commenda, two miles from Perugia, on the road to Florence. You enter a mean building, and descend a flight of steps into a cellar, as you expect, but find yourself in a vault, lined with travertine masonry, very neat and regular, but uncemented.34 The vault is very similar to that in the Casa Cecchetti, at Cortona, and to the Deposito del Gran Duca, at Chiusi, but is much more spacious than either, being twenty-seven feet long, by half that in width, and about fifteen feet in height.35 About half way down the chamber, on either hand, is a recess, asl vaulted, in one of which stand, in the inner corners, two blocks of travertine, resembling altars, each having a groove or channel at the upper edge, as if to carry off the blood.36 It is this which has caused the vault to be regarded as a temple, though I think it more probably was a sepulchre, both from analogy37 and on account of its p489subterranean character.38 Moreover, the existence of an altar is in no way inconsistent with the supposition of a tomb, for the relation between tombs and temples is well known; and a shrine, where offerings might be made to the Manes, was not unfrequent in ancient sepulchres.39

The beauty, the perfection of the masonry in this vault, not to be excelled in modern times, might have given rise to doubts of its Etruscan construction, had not this put beyond all question by an inscription in that language in large letters, graven deep in the masonry, and extending, within the arch, from one end of the vault to the other. There are three lines, and the inscription, for length, may rival that in the Museum of Perugia.40 With such a proof as this, who can doubt that the Etruscans knew and practised the arch, — and who shall throw suspicion on the Etruscan construction of certain vaults and arches in sepulchres and gates in this land, merely on account of the perfection of the workmanship and excellent preservation of the monuments? This vault proves that such things may have been, and heightens the probability that certain of them were, of Etruscan origin.

This vault has been open for ages; indeed, it is among the best known of Etruscan sepulchres. Yet though applied to base purposes, it has received little injury; probably owing to the hardness of the travertine.


The Author's Notes:

1 The inscription on the doorpost seems to be a general epitaph to the tomb. It would be thus written in Latin letters — "Arnth Larth Velimnas Aruneal Phusiur Suthi Acil Phece." It seems to importantly that the sepulchre was made by the two brothers Arnth and Larth Velimnas. Of the rest of the inscription it were vain, in our present ignorance of the language, to give an interpretation; though analogies readily suggest themselves. The initial of the fifth and last words may possibly be a "Th."

2 The dimensions of this central chamber are 24 feet long, 12 wide, and about 16 high — i.e., 10 feet to the top of the cornice, and 6 in the pediment.

3 Müller (Etrusk. II p62) thinks the Volumna mentioned by Augustin (de Civit. Dei, IV.21) is identical with Voltumna, the celebrated goddess of Etruria; so also Gerhard, Gottheiten der Etrusker, p35. It is certain that this is a very ancient Italian name, and probably Etruscan. Varro (Ling. Lat. V.55) speaks of a "Volumnius" who wrote Etruscan tragedies, though Niebuhr (I. p135, Eng. trans.) says that the reading of the Florentine MS. — "Volnius" — is the correct one; and this is followed by Müller in his edition of Varro. A Lucia Volumnia is mentioned in the songs of the Salii (Varro, op. cit. IX.61). The wife of Coriolanus is well remembered. Liv. II.40. The goddess Velinia, who is said by Varro (V.71) to have derived her name from the lake Velinus, may have taken it from the same source.

4 The character of these heads is sufficient to prove the late date of the (p474)urns, for in the earlier works of art, whether Greek or Etruscan, the Gorgon was represented as fearfully hideous as the imagination of the artist could conceive her. See the wood-cuts at pages 244, 352. But in after times it became customary to represent her as a "fair-cheeked lass;" indeed, as extremes meet, it was believed that it was her marvellous beauty, not her hideousness, that turned beholders into stone. Serv. ad Aen. II.616.

5 Vermiglioli, Sepolcro de' Volunni, p42. Feuerbach, Bull. Inst. 1840, p120.

6 There is doubtless an analogy to the sitting female statue in the Museo Casuccini at Chiusi, and to the few others of similar character, mentioned above. See pp336, 337. She is robed in a long Ionic chiton reaching to her ankles. Her urn is precisely similar to that of her kinsmen.

7 This little temple-urn has regular isodomon masonry marked in the front, with a panelled door in the centre, and fluted pilasters somewhat of the Corinthian order at the angles. On the side and back are Roman emblems, such as boucrania or bulls' skulls, sacrificial vittae, paterae, prefericula; but the winged Medusa's heads in the pediments, and the sphinxes on the roof, as acroteria, mark rather an Etruscan character.

8 Vermiglioli (Sepolcro de' Volunni, p28) is in error in making this "Pui," (p476)for Puia — daughter. It is clearly "Pup," for "Pupli," or Publius. Cafatia, written "Caphate," or "Caphates" in Etruscan, is of frequent occurrence at Perugia. Lanzi thinks it bears an analogy to Capua. Sagg. II p358; cf. Bull. Inst. 1841, p16.

9 The Latin inscription on this urn has been pronounced a forgery by the author of "Etruria-Celtica," on no other ground than that it contradicts his fanciful theories of the identity of the Etruscan and Irish languages. "Velimnas," according to his interpretation, would mean "lamentations of women;" and when he finds a bilingual monument which shows it to be merely the Etruscan form of Volumnius, rather than renounce his theory, he attempts, in the most unwarranted manner, to ocm the obstacle by declaring the Latin inscription to be a fraud, and expresses his surprise that so intelligent a scholar, and able an antiquary as Vermiglioli, could be deceived by so clumsy and palpable a forgery, the form of the letters being quite sufficient to declare its modern origin. Etruria-Celtica, II. p239. An assertion so groundless, made too without a personal acquaintance with the monument, naturally excited the indignation of those whose honour was thus gratuitously impugned, and called forth from Cavaliere Vermiglioli the following well-merited rebuke, which I give in his own words:—

"Non ometteremo allora un qualche esame sulle troppo vaghe, arbitrarie, e nuove interpretazioni date alle epigrafi de' Volunni da Sir W. Betham, nella sua Etruria-Celtica, pubblicata in Dublino, 1842, e libro a noi cortesemente all' Autore donato; e che potrebbe segnare anche un' epoca assai rimarcabile ne' fasti delle letterarie stranezze. Noi stessi dovemmo fare delle grandi meraviglie, nel vedere come l' Autore di questa non nuova, ma speciosissima Etruria-Celtica, non avendo altro scampo da sosternersi ne' suoi paradossi, ed in tanti assurdi, si decise a proclamare falsa, e modernamente inventata l' epigrafe latina della urnetta marmorea bilingue, ed aggiungendo gentilezze a gentilezze, nutre facilmente qualche compassione per noi, che ci siamo così lasciati ingannare. Questo giudizio azzardato unicamente come a sostegno di assurdi chiarissimi, oltre esser falso, come mostreremo in altri tempi, offende gli scuopritori, ed i possessori eziandio di quell' insigne monumento, quelli che incopiarono l' epigrafe latina unitamente a tutte le epigrafi etrusche nello stesso istante del loro discuoprimento. — Giudizio, che non si legge in niun libro, in niuno scritto periodico che parlarono di quella tomba, e delle nostre esposizioni — giudizj inutili, per non dire mendicati sospetti, che niun ebbe mai fra tanti dotti, intelligenti, ed amatori italiani e stranieri, che visitarono e visitano frequentemente quel singolare oggetto e prezioso della veneranda antichità, che non mai vide il Sig. Betham; ma nel libro di Sir W. Betham, fra tante bizzarrie, potea esser anche questa. Gli studj archeologici per meritarsi il nome di scienza devono diffidare di tutto ciò che non vien loro dimostrato; ma la Tomba de' Volunni, i monumenti ivi collocati, rimasti sempre nella prima lor collocazione, e la piena lor integrità, (p477)ed il lor discuoprimento, di quali dimostrazioni andavano privi? Testimoni oculari in grandissimo numero ce vi si affollarono intorno penetrando impazienti, anche a fronte d' ogni tentata resistenza nell' ampio sotterraneo, e nello stesso giorno della sua apertura, quasi negli stessi istanti di essa, e tosto che se ne divulgò la voce nella città e nei luoghi vicini; onde alla nuova e classica scoperta fu data subito, ed all' istante una immediata, debita, e non mai sospetta pubblicità" — Scavi Perugini, 1843‑1844; cf. Bull. Inst. 1844, p144.

10 The eyes and teeth are either painted white, or are of white stone inlaid.

11 Vermiglioli, Sepolcri de' Volunni, p22. The sun is sometimes represented as a head in a disk set round with rays; as on a vase described in Ann. Inst. 1838, p270; Mon. Ined. Inst. II. tav. LV.

12 Feuerbach, Bull. Inst. 184, p119. This writer considers it to be rather (p478)the Moon, the symbol of night, in contradistinction to the solar rays, decidedly marked in the opposite pediment. So thinks Abeken, Ann. Inst. 1842, p57. There is no other instance in Etruria of a shield or disk in the pediment of a tomb; but such are found sculptured in this position on façades of the temple-tombs of Phrygia. See Steuart's Lydia and Phrygia.

13 Swords of this form are rare in ancient monuments. Such a one, however, is represented in the hand of a figure on a vase from Chiusi. Mus. Chius. tav. CLXX. See also Vol. I. p253 of this work.

14 Abeken (Ann. Inst. 1842, p59), who takes the Medusa's head here as a symbol of the Moon, sees in these figures, two Tritons, which correspond to the dolphins in the opposite pediment, — by no means a satisfactory explanation.

15 Like the two Charuns at the entrance of a tomb at Chiusi. Ut supra, page 375.

16 Vermiglioli, p16. Feuerbach, Bull. Inst. 1840, p119. In the Sepolcro de' Nasoni on the Flaminian Way, which, though of Roman times, has much of the Etruscan character, a serpent was painted on the wall almost in the same position as in this tomb of Perugia. For the meaning of serpents in tombs, see Vol. I. p221.

17 This is not the only sepulchre of this family discovered at Perugia, for another was opened in the last century, near the church of S. Costanzo, outside the walls, and not very far from this tomb. Vermiglioli, Sepolcro de' Volunni, p5; Iscriz. Perug. I. pp21‑23.

18 It has been supposed to be a musical instrument (Vermiglioli, Sep. Volunni, p21), but its being found in connection with armour and weapons, seems to mark it as of military use, and it was probably held upright, and shaken so as to rattle the plates together; and thus may have been an accompaniment to a band. A similar instrument, found in the neighbourhood of this tomb, and also in company with armour and weapons, had a small figure of a naked man dancing on the top of the rod.

19 Varro (Ling. Lat. V.29, 30) states that the name of the river was claimed both by the Etruscans and Latins, — by the former as being called after Thebris (the old editions have Dehebris) prince of the Veientes; by the latter as being named after Tiberinus, king of the Latins. Varro seems to incline to the Etruscan origin. See also Festus, s.v. Tiberis; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. III.500; VIII.72, 330.

Another Etruscan family of Perugia — Tins, Tinia — bears the same relation to the Tinia, a streamlet, the "Tiniae inglorius humor" of Silius Italicus (VIII.454), which falls into the Tiber, some miles below this city. It is now called the Topino. Cluver. II p700. Its ancient name is doubtless derived from the Etruscan Jove who was called Tina, or Tinia. See Müller, Etrusk. I p420.

20 Theprhisa has not the usual form indicative of the patronymic; the termination "sa" or "isa," being usually applied to females to mark the names of their husbands. Yet as it is also found attached to names, which, as in this case, are undoubtedly males, it can here hardly be other than the patronymic. See Müller, Etrusk. I p444. "Thephrisa" may be put for "Thephrisal," i. e. the son of Theprhsi, the filial relation being further expressed by the word "Clan." See Vol. I. p313.

21 Vermiglioli (p43) considers this tomb to be of the sixth or beginning of the seventh century of Rome, "or even as late as the days of the Empire." Micali (Mon. Ined. p154) judges from the style of art that the urns must be of the time of the Antonines. But Micali, as Dr. Braun has observed, generally puts his feet on a wrong date. Ann. Inst. 1843, p361.

22 This tomb is thought by Feuerbach to bear a resemblance to a temple; to me it has more analogy to a Roman house. The very arrangement of the chambers is the same. The doorway answers to the ostium; the central chamber to the cavaedium; the recesses on either hand to the alae; the inner chamber with the urns, to the tablinum; the other apartments around, to the triclinia, or cubicula.

23 For further notices of this tomb, see Vermiglioli's pamphlet — Sepolcro de' Volunni, with the book of plates; Bull. Inst. 1840, pp17‑19, Braun; pp116‑123, Feuerbach; 1841, pp12‑14; Ann. Inst. 1842, pp55, 59.

24 The painted scene of the souls in the doorway, described above, at page 474, is on the flat surface of the monument.

25 For notices of this tomb see Bull. Inst. 1843, pp18, 22. There is another tomb in this hill which seems to belong to the same family.

26 See Bull. Inst. 1843, pp19, 23; 1844, p136. Two other sepulchres of this family have been discovered here.

27 This inscription is L . PETRONIVS . L . F . NOFORSINIA . Most of the other inscriptions are singular in this respect, that the name Tite, or Titus, precedes that of Petruni, not as the praenomen, but as the nomen; e. g. — "Aule Tite Petruni," in which case it seems to answer to the gens in Latin names, though such a distinction has been supposed not to have existed among the Etruscans. In the same way, in others of these epitaphs of Perugia, we find a recurrence of an union between two names — such as "Vibi Alpha," "Acuni Casni," "Cestna Sminthi." Bull. Inst. 1841, pp15, 67. For notices of this tomb see Bull. Inst. 1843, pp18, 23; 1844, p136; 1845, pp106‑8.

28 This name is sometimes spelt "Achsi" in Etruscan.

29 Here there is a little variety. The young man kneeling on the altar, grasps the wheel also held by the woman, and the warrior rushes on to slay him, as usual; but behind the woman is a snake or dragon; and in a doorway at each end of the scene stands a Fury with a torch. A notice of this tomb is given in Bull. Inst. 1844, p140.

30 Vermiglioli thinks this name equivalent to the Farrus or Farrianus of the Romans (Muratori, p1462, 9; p422, 12). Bull. Inst. 1843, p19; cf. 24; 1844, p137.

31 In 1843, Vermiglioli says that though he had already published more than 500 Etruscan monuments with inscriptions, he had still above 140 waiting for publication. Bull. Inst. 1843, p21. Since that time their number has greatly increased.

32 Among these are the tombs of the following families — PetriCasni or CesinaSurniAnani (Annianus) — Luceti or LicetiUpelsiSuziPumpuni (Pomponius) — VusiLarcaniAprutiCaphate (Cafatius) — Acune (Aconius) — Varna (Varus) — Vipi (Vibius). Bull. Inst. 1844, pp137, et seq. A tomb of the Pumpuni family was also discovered here at the close of the last century, the urns from which are now in the Museum. A sepulchre of the family Velthurna, or Velthurnas (Volturnus) was opened near this city in 1822. Vermigl. Iscriz. Perug. I. pp262‑3.

33 Bull. Inst. 1841, p14.

34 The courses are from 12 to 18 inches in height, and the blocks vary in length, some being more than 6 feet, and one even 7 feet 9 inches. There are twenty-nine voussoirs in the vault.

35 The further end is open, or rather the original wall at this end, if there were one, has been destroyed and the vault lengthened out with brickwork of a much subsequent age. At the nearer end, the ancient masonry is preserved, but has been broken through to make the doorway by which you enter.

36 These recesses are 6 ft. 6 in. high; about 6 ft. deep, and rather less in width.

37 Similar altar-like masses exist in a sepulchre at Sovana, and also in the Grotta Cardinale and other tombs at Corneto.

38 Gori (Mus. Etrus. III. p81) and Passeri (ap. eund. III. p100) took it for a se. So also Abeken, Mittelitalien, p250. Ciatti, a native historian of Perugia, thought it was a prison for slaves.

39 The analogy and connection between temples and tombs is well established. The sepulchre was in fact the shrine of the Manes, who were regarded as gods. Virg. Aen. III.63, 305; IV.457; V.48. 86. Arnobius (adv. Nat. VI.6, 7) gives numerous proofs of the relation between temples and sepulchres, among the Greeks and Romans.

40 This inscription has been published by Buonarroti, p98, ap. Dempster, II; by Gori, Mus. Etrus. III. class. II. tav. V; Passeri, ap. eund. III. p107; and Lanzi, Saggio, II. p514.


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