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View Full Version : Ancient Well sheds light on Etruscan and Roman civilization



Angela
31-08-14, 19:10
This find caused quite a stir:
http://www.psypost.org/2014/08/excavation-ancient-well-yields-insight-etruscan-roman-medieval-times-27142


Found in the well were some remarkably well preserved grape seeds. It will be very interesting to see if there is a relationship with the varieties currently used in the region of Siena for the making of some of our finest wines.

This site discusses them and provides a picture:
http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2012/ancient-grape-seeds-found-in-chianti

This is a very short video where at about 4 minutes you can see the location of the find:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoxM8M7P3pk

Dr. Hammond has published about the site in the past. Here she discusses the metal working in the area. I know metallurgy is a particular interest for some of us, so here it is:
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1015&context=etruscan_studies

I was also struck by the devotional nature of many of the deposits. Here is a picture of one:
6595 This tossing of votive offerings into water has a very long history. I once visited a place in Umbria called Clitunno which was a ritual place used by the Romans for such offerings. Even today, this area of springs and shallow ponds and lakes is a quite magical place. At least it was once I pulled my loud, mischievous children out of the tempietto and their father blessedly took them off for a gelato!:smile:

6593

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2167/2335435975_e601f954a3.jpg

The tempietto...
6594

Aberdeen
31-08-14, 21:30
Thanks, Angela. Lots of interesting information.

I remember reading about well offerings made by the ancient Celts, and the fact that it still happens in some parts of Ireland, although the locals won't talk about it. Obviously, it's a very ancient European tradition and one that some people still practice. I'd love to know more about how the ancient Etruscans viewed the offering they made, and the thinking behind the practice.

hope
02-09-14, 00:11
Good post, Angela. I have been reading, now and then online over the last 3/4 years, regarding digs and finds in the Etruscan sites.I remember one article in particular, regarding the finding of a depiction [ I think on lead ?] of a presumed goddess giving birth, found at a site near Florence. I remember this one in particular, not only for the sake of the find, also for the fact it had been found by a young man on his first ever official dig....lucky him.

hope
02-09-14, 00:25
Thanks, Angela. Lots of interesting information.

I remember reading about well offerings made by the ancient Celts, and the fact that it still happens in some parts of Ireland, although the locals won't talk about it. Obviously, it's a very ancient European tradition and one that some people still practice. I'd love to know more about how the ancient Etruscans viewed the offering they made, and the thinking behind the practice.
There are so many Holy wells here, Aberdeen..lol. I`m not sure about some that aren`t spoken about, the majority of them are quite well known and openly acknowledged. In fact I think Tobernalt well in Sligo even has it`s own web page.
Many of the wells are old. When the Church became established they just re-dedicated them to Saints and pushed aside the pagan element. Lots of people still go to many of the wells and usually flowers or prayer cards are left or in some places they still tie strips of rags to the trees near the well. At certain times of the year a service is held at some.

Aberdeen
02-09-14, 15:27
There are so many Holy wells here, Aberdeen..lol. I`m not sure about some that aren`t spoken about, the majority of them are quite well known and openly acknowledged. In fact I think Tobernalt well in Sligo even has it`s own web page.
Many of the wells are old. When the Church became established they just re-dedicated them to Saints and pushed aside the pagan element. Lots of people still go to many of the wells and usually flowers or prayer cards are left or in some places they still tie strips of rags to the trees near the well. At certain times of the year a service is held at some.

I can remember asking about a well in a small Irish village, one that was decorated with flowers. The local person who I asked about it said that it was probably just children playing, then said something like "We're not a lot of superstitious heathens here. We do live in the modern world." I don't know how typical that kind of response is. And I was sort of surprised that he didn't say that the Catholic Church invented the practice.

I've been looking online since reading your comment, and perhaps some people are more forthcoming about the subject.

Angela
02-09-14, 18:38
Old superstitious rituals are still practiced by a few very old people in my area. However, it's rare enough that it warranted a special news article a few years ago.
Magia in Lunigiana:
http://www.lunigiana.net/magia/magia1.htm

None of them, to my knowledge, involve holy wells. Much of it has to do with finding out whether the person has been "hexed" I guess you could say, by the mal'occhio or the evil eye. It's a very old belief, even mentioned in the Old Testament.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_eye

The ritual involves a bowl of water into which a few drops of olive oil are poured. The initiates "read" the pattern formed to determine if you've been affected. Protection against it comes from the wearing of talismans. It's very uncommon where I come from, but southern Italians still wear them. I've read speculations that the cornuto or horn is just a version of a phallus symbol, which is what the ancient Greeks and Romans wore. It was supposed to induce sexual thoughts that would distract the spirits coming your way. In the Middle East and even in Greece they seem to wear a blue eye pendant, blue eyes being held to be particularly malevolent.

This is a picture of them:
http://italyville.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/mano-cornuta2.jpg
6602
The fist symbol, in addition to sending the curse back to the source, also has a sexual connotation...it means "cuckold".

None of the rituals involve holy wells to my knowledge, but there are some in Sardegna, which retains old customs as well as old genes. :)
This is one such pozzo sacro:
https://www.google.com/search?q=holy+wells+in+Sardegna&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=a-wFVNmkB9POggSrooLICA&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&biw=1047&bih=468#facrc=_&imgdii=F7286Iyk5vzADM%3A%3BbAGOPUs4yzNjNM%3BF7286I yk5vzADM%3A&imgrc=F7286Iyk5vzADM%253A%3BCKsqjrbk_y9q7M%3Bhttp% 253A%252F%252Fwww.megalithic.co.uk%252Fa558%252Fa3 12%252Fgallery%252FCentral_Europe%252FItaly%252FSa rdinia%252FSa_Testa_Pozzo_Sacro_1.JPG%3Bhttp%253A% 252F%252Fwww.megalithic.co.uk%252Farticle.php%253F sid%253D6336293%3B700%3B525

One thing I didn't mention in terms of the devotional significance of water, springs, mainly, for the Etruscans and Romans is that they were associated with water nymphs or sprites, which then came to be associated with aqueducts. It was the Etruscans who taught the Romans how to construct aqueducts, along with so much else, and when the Romans came to build the very big ones, they were all dedicated to water deities, and devotional bas reliefs decorated most of the aqueducts and the underground water tunnels.
This is explained here by two British men who discovered the source of Trajan's aqueduct near Lake Bracciano.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiE0pi99z-A

Ed. Hope, it was a bas relief of a woman giving birth...the oldest depiction every found:
http://www.thehistoryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Etruscan-childbirth.jpg

hope
02-09-14, 21:07
Ed. Hope, it was a bas relief of a woman giving birth...the oldest depiction every found:
http://www.thehistoryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Etruscan-childbirth.jpg
Yes that is it Angela, this is indeed the piece I remember ...thank-you for the picture.

Yetos
02-09-14, 23:13
Angela you describe parts of a small briefing ritual, most times is ended with a yawning, or some symbols and spit in chest, or garlic, etc etc,
the secret is in transimiting something to the other, like yawning has some kind of relief to the person who yawns, so making him 3 times yawn you help him 'awake',
this ritual can be done only by some 'special gifted women', a kind of 'kill the evil eye', the jealous eye, the possesive eye, by words and sounds and moves,
it is like the tarantella dance rythm, which absorves the poison of a spider, etc etc.
some soft kinds of healing.

the holy wells has many meanings,
in ancient no coins to wells but 'hair comb' or personal objects, forgoten by nymphs, so the man who finds it, meet her, returning the comp.


coins to water means repetance, coins to water, ment money to the 'fairyman' (Haros) so us the dead, or the forgoten, or the missjudge, forgive our obligations, and set us free to the upper world since we set them 'free' in the down world,
it is like paying an obligation which you can not pay cause he is dead, or lost, etc etc

you also notice clothes hung on trees outside some holy places, that is either payment, either asking something, by the one who recogn the cloth, and his owner.


the word magia is Greek ΜΑΓΕΙΑ, sourcery, wizzard,
99% of them are charlatans,
remember, the 'gift' can not be sold, only transmited, and does not effect you if you do not believe/afraid/respect it,


watch the video, the funny version of the evil eye.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu-S9HWI9wI

you posted a picture of roman/latin 'fascinum' and a symbol of Αδραστρεια, the ones romans called fica
'προσκυνων Αδραστρεια, εις την κεφαλην σοι', 'Ι bend to Adrastreia (nemesis), (wright or wrong) to your head'
many ancient Greeks spoke about that, even a Syracusian wrote about protection words like 'ου μη βασκανθω, πτυω εμον κολπον' 3 times
'not get the eye, i spit 3 times my chest, my hug'

this also exist in Islamic populations, only there the talisman is a blue eye.


some other kinds of magic is the 'cup reading' 'cards' etc etc

from a funny old Greek movie the cup reading.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEBsjgVoZ4I

99,99% are tsarlatans

in early 20th century people's believes were so much 'stucked' that sometimes the sorceress had much power than the doctor,
from a funny movie, where a 'shamaness' and a doctor try to take control of the village people,
the doctor with the thermometer, and the 'healer' with the votans

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFXMbop6KZg

Angela
03-09-14, 17:42
The "water gifts" in modern Italian life are of the Fontana di Trevi type. I do enjoy the spirit of the tourists who participate so enthusiastically. One coin means you will return to Rome. Thanks to Hope's recommendation of the Top to Toe Italy videos, I now know that two means that you will soon fall in love, and three that you will fall in love in Rome. (I think that's what he said...)

Hollywood interpreted it a little differently. Here, Three Coins in the Fountain is sung by Frank Sinatra to clips of the movie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gIDEdyNFrw

My mother was a big Dean Martin fan, partly, no doubt, because he was so handsome, charming, and debonair. (although far inferior to Rossano Brazzi in her estimation. :) I do like his version as well, though.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YxRNdgY5vg&list=RD8YxRNdgY5vg#t=14

@Yetos,
I enjoyed the clip about the duel between the "magia" and the doctor. The patient could have died while they were arguing. :) It reminded me of Italian movies. What I particularly like about these kinds of movies is that they show that the cultures which produce them are capable of having a sense of humor about themselves, including their own foibles.

Ed. Oh dear, I've taken my own thread off-topic. Sorry.

Tomenable
07-09-14, 15:56
Interesting, thanks.