Archive | April, 2012

An observation on disc fibulae

5 Apr

In a previous post, we outlined some ideas on the meaning of the disc fibula of the Regolini-Galassi tomb and of related disc fibulae as a symbol of rebirth, and we proposed a possible origin of that symbol in the Middle East.  In a recent visit to the archaeological museum of Bologna, we found only one similar disc fibula although there are hundreds of fibulae on display in this museum. The simularity of this fibula is only superficial as it has the disc and the bow, but does miss the metal piece (or an attachment point) that symbolises the river.  Also, this fibula is probably Celtic, not Etruscan.

Disc fibula Bologna

The only disc fibula in the archaeological museum of Bologna

We also observed that in this museum nearly no golden or silver objects are present.  This looks like an additional support for the proposed idea. As the Bologna area did not have the gold and silver mines that Etruria had, there must have been less contact from this area with the Middle East, hence less influence by those cultures.  As we proposed that disc fibulae, such as the one in the Regolini-Galassi tomb, symbolise rebirth and as this concept was imported from the Middle East, it sounds logical that no such disc fibulae seem to have been found in the Bologna area.  Also the influence of Etruria in this region happens in the 6th century BC, later than the orientalising period in the 8th and 7th century where we need to situate the use of these special disc fibulae.  Again, all this needs to be proved by further research by specialists of Etruscan culture.

The new museum Palazzo Pepoli in Bologna, that opened on January 28, 2012 tells the story of the city of Bologna, from a Villanovan settlement to the city of today.  The museum contains a nice stereo 3D movie, made by CINECA, that features an Etruscan character called Apa, who was modelled on a flute player, depicted on a bronze situla from Certosa in the archaeological museum of Bologna.

Certosa situla in Bologna

Admiring the Certosa situla in the archaeological museum in Bologna

Detail of Certosa situla

Detail of the Certosa situla, showing the Apa character as flute player

Apa in archaeological museum of Bologna

Apa in the archaeological museum of Bologna