4 Dec 2008

Itching to crack the Piacenza Liver soon

Sorry that I've been busy, everyone. However I have a fresh entry just itching to be written about the Etruscan Piacenza Liver, a bronze model of a sheep's liver created for the ritualistic practice called haruspicy in order to divine the future. It's clear that this quirky practice originated from the Near East and there are similar Babylonian liver models fashioned many centuries preceding Etruscan civilization that I've compared on this blog before. The only tricky part is the fact that the Etruscan liver model and the Babylonian counterparts don't seem to coincide very nicely together aside from some general similarities. I've never found any author who has adequately explained the entire significance of this Etruscan artefact in ritual and mythology. Explanations are always vague with little to offer, not even a plausible theory.

That being said, after obsessing over it this past week, I noticed some new and interesting patterns that I want to share with everyone involving the mysterious interior sections marked with names of deities. While the outer border is plainly representive of the 16 directions of the cosmos, the inner sections seem to be connected to less well-known mythological structures or concepts that are important nonetheless to our understanding of Etruscan world-view. On one lobe of the liver there is a circular structure of six deities while on the other lobe there appears to be a mountain-like structure under which lie eight deities. Then there is a central flat section which doesn't seem to be connected to the two opposing, aforementioned structures as well as a fourth, the teardrop structure corresponding to the gall bladder which is allotted to four more deities.

My question is this: What do these structures signify and why are they placed in this way?

Well I think I have a lot to say on this now. Teehee! So stay tuned and in the meantime see if you readers can make sense of the Piacenza Liver inscriptions as pictured above.

1 comment:

  1. I won't be able to make sense of it myself, but look forward to reading your explanations!