10 Jan 2009
Today, I'm just making a brief note about yet another tiny detail that irks me about the common (mis)analysis of the Piacenza Liver (that is, the Etruscan artefact cast in bronze modelling a sheep's liver for the purposes of rather idiosyncratic divination, for those yet unfamiliar).
I notice that there are far too many books on Etruscan mythology that casually transcribe one of the inscriptions (as depicted above) on the object as "Tlusc Mar" without a modicum of explanation as to how it was reasoned that it should be read this way. Afterall, if this reading is correct, we need to have a damn good excuse as to why the third line is read before the second line, and furthermore, why a perfectly sane reading of "c" which conforms to the overall direction of the inscription is forfeited in favour of a reading of "m" which forces our line of vision to rotate more than 90 degrees. What the...?! The question I put forth to the world is: "Why has a less opaque reading of Tlusc Arc been so avoided?"
So while Larissa Bonfante et alia continue to publish their books with a historically distractive reading of "Tlusc Mar" or "Mar Tlusc" in them, I cringe each day wondering whether these assumedly learned people have simply overlooked this academic stain in the rug or whether the apparently glaring error is deliberate obfuscation for reasons well outside the hallowed domain of truth-seeking.
Things that make you go... hmmm...
 See Bonfante/Bonfante, The Etruscan Language (2002), p.174 (see link).