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Divining the Etruscan World
The Brontoscopic Calendar and Religious Practice

  • Date Published: September 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107009073

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About the Authors
  • The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar is a rare document of omens foretold by thunder. It long lay hidden, embedded in a Greek translation within a Byzantine treatise from the age of Justinian. The first complete English translation of the Brontoscopic Calendar, this book provides an understanding of Etruscan Iron Age society as revealed through the ancient text, especially the Etruscans' concerns regarding the environment, food, health and disease. Jean MacIntosh Turfa also analyzes the ancient Near Eastern sources of the Calendar and the subjects of its predictions, thereby creating a picture of the complexity of Etruscan society reaching back before the advent of writing and the recording of the calendar.

    • This is the first English translation of this rare Etruscan document, preserved only in a Greek translation within a Byzantine treatise from the age of Justinian
    • Comprises a discussion of life in Iron Age Etruria, with material not previously accessible in English, on ancient foods, health and disease, and social phenomena (such as revolts staged by 'the women and the slaves')
    • Presents the influences of climate and environment on ancient religion, particularly the phenomenon of cosmic ray activity and global cooling known as the Hallstatt Minimum, and also the profound influence, now recognised, of Mesopotamian divination texts on Etruscan religion
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Divining the Etruscan World is a stimulating and pioneering work of interest and value for all Etruscan researchers and to a wide spectrum of scholars of ancient religion in Etruria, Italy and the Mediterranean.' Nancy de Grummond, The Journal of Roman Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2012
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107009073
    • length: 432 pages
    • dimensions: 260 x 183 x 28 mm
    • weight: 1.09kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Background:
    1. The Brontoscopic Calendar and its transmission
    2. Etruscan religion in the classical world
    3. An ominous time: thunder, lightning, weather, and divination
    Part II. The Brotoscopic Calendar: Greek Text and English Translation
    Part III. Thematic Analysis of the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:
    4. Analysis of the Brontoscopic Calendar
    5. 'Reptiles with trouble habitations' – weather, fauna, agriculture, pests
    6. 'Plague, but not exceptionally life-threatening' – health and disease
    7. 'The women and the slaves will carry out assassinations' – the society of the Brontoscopic Calendar
    Part IV. Sources and Successors of the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:
    8. Mesopotamian influences and Near Eastern predecessors of the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar
    9. Other Brontoscopia in the classical tradition
    10. Conclusion: assessing the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar and its heritage.

  • Author

    Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
    Jean MacIntosh Turfa is Rodney Young Fellow in the Mediterranean Section of the University of Pennsylvania Museum and Adjunct Professor of Classics and Ancient Studies at St Joseph's University, Philadelphia. She has published catalogues of collections of Etruscan antiquities as well as articles on Etruscan art, seafaring, votive offerings, and divination and medicine.

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