Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Etruscan religion

Research in the field of Etruscology at the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University (UL; the Netherlands) aims at exploring the history of the religious and ideological mentality of the Etruscans by studying archaeological, epigraphical and ancient written sources.

Bouke van der Meer

The Istituto di Studi Etruschi ed Italici

The International Scientific Committee for the Corpus of Etruscan Mirrors

The Istituto per l'Archeologia Etrusco-Italica

This research specially focuses on the phenomenon of divination ( disciplina etrusca, ars haruspicina), the relationship between microcosmos (liver inspection) and macrocosmos (consulting of lightning in the 16 regions of heaven), and polytheism. The nature of the Etruscan and adopted divinities of Greek and Italic origin is analysed; further the relationship between the Etruscan and Italic religions. 

The research focuses continuously on the famous Iecur Placentinum (Bronze Liver of Piacenza) and the Mummy Wrappings of Zagreb (LLZ = Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis) with the longest Etruscan written text. The research on the Bronze Liver has been published in a monograph.

New finds since 1987, artifacts with representations of gods and inscriptions, may shed additional information on the orientation of the margin with the 16 regions and the polytheistic system of the Liver.

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