(Continued from Finding structure in the Piacenza Liver despite academic claptrap - Part 2.)
Now, you may wonder what difference it makes that the 16 sections on the border can be cleverly reduced to 14 so that there are seven deities on either side. Some of you may have read much on these 16 regions of the sky and presumed that this was just a twin-doubling of the quadridirectional sky. So if you start with the almost-universal "4-direction model" of the cosmos, ancient philosophers might have decided to double that scheme to eight directions at some point. And then by doubling it again, we get the 16 directions that the Etruscans worshipped. Why then should we be entertaining my crazy insight above if it contradicts this one? The great thing about religious artifacts is that their symbolism is normally rich with layers and history. There would be no contradiction in believing that both ideas are correct at once, that 16 divisions are merely a quadrupling of an earlier 4-direction cosmos and that the 16 deities placed on the rim of the liver model were once 14 in number. You see, while the 16-direction cosmos simply originates from a general floorplan of the cosmos, the 14 original gods I suggest may stem from mythological tales instead. At some point, we might presume that these 14 gods were made to "fit" a 16-direction cosmos by tripling Tinia, the head god of the pantheon. Tripling him had the benefit of not only linking the divided skies with the existing pantheon, but it also cleverly made it clear the immense importance he was given over all other gods, as their leader.
The connection between the outer and inner 'houses' has its limits
I wish I didn't have to say something so obvious, but the rim which lists 16 gods is largely seperate from the inner regions of the Piacenza liver model. The outer regions really only pertain to the sky and this logically means that they pertain not to haruspicy itself but rather to other known forms of divination in Etruria, namely auspicy (i.e. the interpretation of the movement of birds for omens) and brontoscopy (i.e. the interpretation of lightning as omen). It is the inner regions that directly impact on haruspicy and probably have little bearing to the other forms of divination. Since the model cleverly combines all of these divination practices together into a cosmological model, Etruscologists are left to try to piece together how it all interrelates and how it's all different. In my view so far, the purpose of this model by its creator ended at combining these divinatory practices together into a single model as a brief artistic statement of how these practices are connected by way of uncovering the future, but we're no doubt asking too much of the model to provide us with signs of their interrelationships on top of this.
When Nancy De Grummond writes "There are an additional 24 houses (nos. 17-40) on the interior of the Liver and it is not certain exactly how these relate to the 16 regions.", it would appear that she's too mentally removed from the fundamental purpose and meaning of this artifact just as an autistic person is detached from the full meaning of his or her surroundings. Maybe that was a politically incorrect analogy for some of you but it gets my point across quickly.
To sum up then, we can just say that the outer regions are for auspicy and brontoscopy while the inner regions are for haruspicy. Simple? Good.
Usil and Tivr inscribed underneath are not part of the model!!!
There is a common assumption by current scholars that usils and tivr, two lonely words inscribed beneath the model, are to be counted along with the other regions on the top side of the model. Upon my own reflections on this artifact, I can now assert confidently that this is false. For one thing, if this were true, we'd expect that both words would be marked in the genitive, but only one is (usil-s) while the other is in the unmarked nominative case (tivr). This assumption is even more empty because it's only based on an older erroneous assumption that the word usil must mean "sun". To add to the dubiousness of that claim, the word came to first be connected with "sun" words in Indo-European like Sabine ausel (< PIE *séh₂wl̥) before it was realized that Etruscan just isn't an Indo-European language. Sadly, this lie is still propogated in modern books. The only "proof" offered in favour of this hypothesis are a couple of mirrors that show a man named Usil with an aura on his head (see pic), but of course an aura doesn't conclusively prove that this character is automatically a sun god (as opposed to, say, a god of sunset, god of light, god of a particular star, etc., etc., etc.). If this is all university academics can come up with, we need to start failing more students.
The fact is that the word cannot sensibly have that value in the Liber Linteus texts where we find the word and its derivatives in reasonable abundance. I feel safe in the value I've now given usil as "setting (of the sun, moon or stars)". If you pay attention to the results of my dictionary pdf, you may in fact have already figured out what the phrase tivr usils refers to. However for now, keep in mind that the line on the underside merely signifies an east-west line (the decumanus) that is meant to divide the top side of the artifact into two distinct halves of north and south. And to add historical intrigue, let's just musingly say that if you knew what that phrase meant, as I do now, you would see why it turns Etruscan haruspicy "upside-down", so to speak. Hehe. I'll explain more on this funny story later perhaps.
(Continue reading Finding structure in the Piacenza Liver despite academic claptrap - Part 4.)
 De Grummond, Etruscan Myth, Sacred History, and Legend (2006), p.49 (see link).
 A silly question on the side: Is there a connection between the isolationist, narrow-focus "ivory tower" mindset of university academics and the behavioural characteristics observed in autism spectrum disorders? I smell a thesis!
 Bonfante, Etruscan Life and Afterlife: A Handbook of Etruscan Studies (1986), p.224 (see link). See also De Grummond's commentary and drawing of the underside of the artifact in De Grummond, Etruscan Myth, Sacred History, and Legend, (2006), p.44 (see link).
 I already wrote my in-depth reasons as to why equating usil with "sun" is impossible in my March 2007 entry entitled Etruscan 'usil': It ain't the "sun".