6 Dec 2008

Solving the inner portions of the Piacenza Liver

As promised, I want to share some new ideas concerning the Piacenza Liver (see pic here). The Piacenza Liver is an Etruscan bronze model used for haruspicy (i.e. divination using sheep's livers) for those that aren't familiar with it. Despite the fact that this object was retrieved in 1877, the full meaning of this object and its relationship to Etruscan mythology remains an infuriating mystery. Perhaps I'm an impatient fellow but as far as I'm concerned, there are many mysteries that strike me as not being true mysteries, but rather artificial mysteries that our society holds onto like a security blanket against the "fear of the known" that presumably makes life more dull. As for me, I can't resist a good puzzle to solve, so to each one's own.

I'll just cut straight to the chase of my overall thoughts on this subject with a graphic here below:

Maybe this seems a little Dumezilian, however I notice that the inner portion of the artefact can be arranged into three equal parts that may relate to a tripartite world-view of celestial, earthy and infernal worlds. This would then imply that the wheel like structure of six portions may relate to the underworld while the deities next to the "mountain" on the other lobe of the liver may relate to the goings-on of the heavens. In the center, where we find the heroic demigod Heracle and an unknown deity named Methlumth (n.b. meθlum means "people"), priests may have prophecized more on matters of the physical, earthly world of humankind.

I have a lot more to say but chew on that for a while. I'll be back.


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