Etruscan Orcus Tomb (490 BCE)

For translation methodology see: How to Translate Alphabetic Akkadian Texts

Map showing the Etruscan lands prior to their take-over by the Romans
Map showing the Etruscan lands prior to their take-over by the Romans. From https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Expans%C3%A3o_etrusca-es.svg

Etruscan History

(Sept. 14, 2022) The Greeks called them Τυρρηνοί (Tyrrhēnoi) and earlier Τυρσηνοί (Tyrsēnoi). The Latins called them Tusci or Etrusci. This seems to derive from the Akkadian compound word târu.ṣi meaning "turners of activity-powers" in which "turning" is the process of shaping pottery and "activity" is the process of growing life. The Etruscans used magic to shape the powers of life.

The Etruscans gained their wealth from the mining and trade of copper and iron. Their commercial interests collided with those of the Greeks after Greeks were pushed from Anatolia by the Persians. These Greeks founded colonies along the coast of Sardinia, Spain and Corsica and what is now Marseille France in 600 BCE. This led the Etruscans to ally themselves with Carthage who also spoke Akkadian.

After the Battle of Alalia around 540 BCE Carthage managed to expand its sphere of influence at the expense of the Greeks.  Etruria regained control of the northern Tyrrhenian Sea with full ownership of Corsica at the cost of losing their southern colonies to Carthage. In 480 BC, Etruria's ally Carthage was defeated by a coalition of Magna Graecia cities led by Syracuse in Sicily. A few years later, in 474 BC, Syracuse's tyrant Hiero defeated the Etruscans at the Battle of Cumae. Etruria's influence over the cities of Latium and Campania weakened and the area was taken over by Romans and Samnites.

(Continue Reading)

Eturia came into conflict with Rome beginning in 396 BCE with the conquest of Veii by Roman army under M. Furius Camillus. This pressure ended temporarily when in 387 BCE the Gauls under Brennus sacked the city of Rome and presumably much of Eturia. The large Ara della Regina temple in Tarquinia dating to the 500’s BCE was possibly damaged during this time because between 380 and 350 BCE it was reconstructed and expanded. 

Veii seems to have revolted bringing parts of Eturia into conflict with Rome once again between 358 and 351 BCE. The war ended with Veii and Caere coming under Roman domination permanently. Rome then turned its attention to expanding southward against the Samnites. 

The independence and wealth of Tarquinia ended in 308 BCE when the Tarquinians lost Battle of Lake Vadimo with Rome. They along with other Etruscans seem to have started this war 311 BCE while Rome was involved in a southern Italian war. 

ancient city of Tarquinia was located on the central hill in this image.
The ancient city of Tarquinia was located on the central hill in this image. It controlled the larger Maria River valley on its left. The tombs were located on the ridge just southwest of the city in the direction of the setting sun. (Olmsted photo of map at tomb site)
Map of the large Etruscan tomb of Orcus 1 and II showing the location of the paintings
Map of the large Etruscan tomb called Orcus 1 and II showing the location of the paintings which have their traditional but incorrect labels. Because Etruscan texts are read from right to left the order of scene viewing in the tombs should also be right to left (clockwise). Their entrances are pointed at the setting sun (Coped from Guerriero Aug. 2015) 

Archaeology of the Orcus Tomb at Tarquinia (Tarqna)

(Sept. 8, 2022) About 6,000 Etruscan underground room tombs have been found on the top of the long Monterozzi Hill across the valley from the ancient Etruscan city of Tarquina. This city controlled large river Maria valley and was located 60 km (37 miles) north of Rome. 

The tombs date to between 650 BCE and 310 BCE. The tombs of Orcus date to about 490 BCE with Orcus 1 being built slightly earlier than Orcus 2. Only a few tombs have writing but the existence of this writing indicates that these tombs were open to the public for some period of time, possibly during a multi-week funeral rite. Their images were not to impress the gods but were to impress the neighbors.

The tomb of Orcus was discovered in 1868 tomb in the area of the Monterozzi necropolis by a French army officer whose unit was stationed there by Napoleon III to protect the Pope (first reported in English by Dennis 883, page 345 who based it on an earlier Italian paper). The multi-room tomb lay just under an existing modern cemetery. At that time, Tarquinia was already well known for its then estimated 200 Etruscan tombs.

Some frescoes existed in fragments, and that a portion of the ceiling in between the two main spaces had collapsed, perhaps in antiquity. No grave goods were ever reported suggesting they were looted sometime earlier. This also makes the dating of the tomb dependent on the style and pigment chemistry of the frescos (Guerriero, Aug. 2015).

References

Guerriero, Stephen A. (Aug. 2015) Among the Phantoms of Men Outworn: In the Tomb of Orcus, Greek Myth Illustrates Etruscan Beliefs and Political Reality. Online at: https://www.academia.edu/34215728/Among_the_Phantoms_of_Men_Outworn_In_the_Tomb_of_Orcus_Greek_Myth_Illustrates_Etruscan_Beliefs_and_Political_Reality

Scenes in Orcus Tomb One Blame Emotion Magic

Image shows the mid-layer Controller deities of the Ancient Pagan Paradigm. These are the motion power hermaphrodite deity Thu (Greek Hermes) on the left and the crescent moon life power goddess Ayu on the right holding a young plant.
Thu is misidentified as “Velia Velcha” in Orcus Tomb map above. See Tomb of Shields for positive identification of Thu
(Photo: Rönnlund, Wikimedia Commons, 2012). Letters added by Olmsted.

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Image 1: The Connective Layer "Controllers," Hermaphrodite Motion Deity Thu and Life Goddess Ayu, Have Been Weakened 490 BCE

(Sept. 8, 2022) The texts and images in the tomb of so-called Orcus 1 tell a story when viewed clockwise from the tombs entrance. The story's first scene is shown on the right. "Controllers" are the mid-layer deities of the Ancient Pagan Paradigm.

Translation in Akkadian (Text Med 18.1)

(read right to left. Capital letters on stone. Inner vowels inferred)
  1. ARu  Ne'u  :  Pu  E  Lâšu  A : (Med 18.1.1)
  2. Gi  ELu .... (Med 18.1.2)

In English

  1. The Controllers (Ayu, Eagle Vultures) are being affected : Openings are not from their influences :
  2. High energy .... 

The rightmost image in the scene is the life power goddess Ayu (Inanna, Ishtar, Hathor) who is identified by her snake skin hat having a network pattern revealed by its scales. She is responsible for editing the network by removing and adding network links. She seems to be holding a young plant stem spurting fluid which likely corresponds to a network link. Another sign of her life power is that she is tanned from the sun because she is the feminine power compliment to the sun god Hu. 

The leftmost image is the middle layer motion-power hermaphrodite deity Thu who is wearing the laurel crown to indicate their divine role as a motion deity. The fast-growing laurel tree (Laurus nobilis) is also called the Bay Laurel because its bay leaves are a spice having a unique odor and taste. Either because of its fast growth or because of its aroma this tree has been associated with speed and motion. It was placed on the heads of Greek runners to indicate they were the fastest. They were a champion and from that the laurel crown came to indicate any sort of victor. The hair of Thu has both masculine and feminine components relative to Italian culture with long side hair (feminine) and short back hair (masculine). That this image represents the hermaphrodite deity Thu is provided by a painting in a different tomb called the Tomb of Shields who is “associating” with unknown deity or demon.


Skadi in tomb of Orcus 1 shown with the added powers of wings and axe. The wings indicate he is a middle layer power in the Ancient Pagan Paradigm while the axe is for cutting the life threads of the network. His skin has a bluish tint representing the color of death. (Photo by Steingräber 2006 via Guerriero, Aug. 2015)

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Image 2: Demon Skadi Representing Negative Human Emotions is the Cause of the Drought

(Sept. 8, 2022) This location is labeled "Charun" on the Orcus Tomb map.

The tomb's second scene is that of the demon Skadi which means “harmer” in Old Norse and "tumor" in Akkadian like a cancerous tumor. Demons and Heroes are the first manifestations of dualism in an already lordified Druidic culture. They were not a part of the Ancient Pagan Paradigm yet they were personified powers perceived as good and evil. This image has no text associated with it.

The identification of Skadi is provided by the front side of a krater from Vulci, Italy found in 1833 showing Skadi with his name on the left. At this time names were written from left to right opposite the direction of normal sentences. This was probably done to indicate that these are names. (Photo: French National Library Number: De Ridder.920)
Etruscan Orcus Tomb Image 3 showing shepherd representing full moon god and astrological motion power source Su.
An old shepherd can be seen in this photo below the corner text. In the center is the hooked shepherd staff being held by this slightly bent over and robed man wearing a blue cape. The word "Shepherd" is an Akkadian epithet for magic crafter and here he seems to represent the full moon god Su who is also the source of the astrological motion powers. (Original Photo: Rönnlund, Wikimedia Commons, 2012).

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Image 3:  Su's Astrological Powers Are Not to Blame For Drought

(Jan 28, 2023) This location is labeled "Shepherd" on the Orcus Tomb map. The word "Shepherd" is an epithet for magic crafter and here he seems to represent the full moon god Su who is also the source of the astrological motion powers. This text is defending him against claims he is causing a drought.

Translation in Akkadian (Text Med 18.2)

(read right to left. Capital letters on stone. Inner vowels inferred)
  1. Nu Me Adu. Zu EZu Ya. Bu Gi. Bu A Lu Ya. A'u EZu Ya :
  2. Mu Nu A. Qu Zu (corner) E :
  3. Nu A[1] Ku. E Ayu Azu. Ya[1] ' Amu Bu. NuṢu Ga[destroyed wall plaster]

In English

  1. Revelations (of life forms) notice fertility-fluids. Emissions are not impatient. Nourishments (fertility-fluids) are being energized. Those nourishments are not lacking. Motion-powers are not impatient :
  2. Fertility-fluids are revealing that. Threads are emitting nothing :
  3. Revelations are due to [word].  Nothing associates with Ayu. [word] nourish the Reed Boat (Ayu).  The repulsion ......

Close-up of the corner text from Etruscan Orcus Tomb Image 3
Close-up of the corner text with letter assignments by Olmsted.
Wall image from Etruscan Orcus Tomb The right image is that of an old bent-over shepherd while the center image is that an empty lounge.
Back wall of the alcove in Etruscan tomb Orcus I. The right image is that of an old bent-over shepherd while the center image is that an empty lounge used for eating and associating (romance). Its emptiness indicates a lack of food and/or associations between the motion and life powers. Above the lounge is a text. (Photo: Rönnlund via Wikimedia Commons, 2012).
Text lines 3 and 4 above banquet lounge from Etruscan Orcus Tomb
Close-up of the bottom two lines above the empty banquet lounge image. Letter assignments by Olmsted.

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Image 4: Empty Banquet Lounge Text Indicates Life-Powers Are Not Being Delivered Because of Human Emotional Interference.

(Sept. 9 2022) This location is labeled "Banquet Scene" on the Orcus Tomb map.

Translation in Akkadian (Text Med 18.3)

(read right to left. Capital letters on stone. Inner vowels inferred)
  1. INu AQu IMu : PeGu Lu A'u : Amu Bu E : Mu EŠû Lu : Du Azu Nu ALu :  (Med 18.3.1)
  2. ... Mu : Gi U Di'u : Paya IA Bu E :  UBu Nu Tamu : Ḫu EKu  Bu E  (Med 18.3.2)
  3. ... APu Ne'u U (Med 18.3.3)
  4. ... KaSu Du. Ya Nu Ayu (Med 18.3.4)

In English

  1. The moon-eyed (magic crafters) are expecting emotion-powers : (Their) removal is causing a lack of motion-powers : The Reed-Boad (Ayu) is not bringing nourishments : The fertility-fluids are being confused by the lack : (Other) Associated life-powers are revealing the life-source (Alu) :
  2.  .... : Energy and the Divine : Network-Birds do not bring Yahu's (IA or YA) nourishment :  The wanderers (planets) are revealing the curse 
  3. .... The Veiling is because of affection (emotional interference)
  4. ...  clinging to the life-powers. Shouldn't we be revealing Ayu?
Text lines 1 and 2 above banquet lounge from Etruscan Orcus Tomb
 Close-up of the top two lines above the empty banquet lounge image. Letter assignments by Olmsted. 

Scenes in Orcus Tomb Two 

Etruscan Orcus Tomb image showing donkey spirit holding snake
Donkey spirit (notice the ears) threatening some deity with a snake. Donkey births seem to correlate with the moon cycle more than any other animal. A donkey breeder, Kim Milikowski, did a quick analysis of her donkey births and out of 33 births 52% were near the new moon (within 4 days) and 21% were close to the full moon. This means 73% of all donkey births occurred within plus or minus 4 days of a full or new moon. (see https://www.fosterhillfarmandgarden.com/post/do-donkeys-give-birth-near-full-moon)
(Photo: Rönnlund, Wikimedia Commons, 2012). 

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Two Image 1: Donkey Spirit (Combined Lunar and Life Power) Threatening Something

(Sept. 9 2022) This location is labeled "Theseus and Tuchulcha" on the Orcus Tomb map. Unfortunately, this image is too destroyed to interpret it fully. All that is visible is a winged donkey spirit with big donkey ears holding a snake over a kneeling man with long hair down his neck. The wings on the donkey spirit indicate it is affecting the middle layer powers of the ancient Pagan Paradigm. The donkey spirit represents the connection between life and the astrological motion powers of the moon.

Translation in Akkadian (Text Med 19.1)

(read right to left. Capital letters on stone. Inner vowels inferred)
  1. Ṭu Ezu E
  2. Tu UŠu Ṣu LaŠu A

In English

  1. Thu is not being affected by lunar-energy
  2. Emotion-Magic is foundational. Activity (Life growth processes) bring influence.
Etruscan Orcus Tomb close-up of text over donkey spirit holding snake
Close up of the two texts around the snake picture from the so-called tomb of Orcus II. Letter assignments by Olmsted (Photo: Rönnlund, Wikimedia Commons, 2012). 
The source of the fertility fluids is being represented by pots on a shelf while their delivery to earth is represented by a winged male spirit who is holding an empty water bag indicating that this power is not working. Reproduction on canvas of the image on right wall, Tomba dell'Orco II made in 1997. (Image from Boston Museum of Fine arts Number 05.46),

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Two Image 2: Fertility-Fluid Source Pots with Empty-Handed Winged Delivery Spirit

(Sept. 10, 2022) Next image going clockwise around the tomb  represents the top source layer of the Ancient Pagan Paradigm with it water storage. The source of the divine fertility fluids is represented by fluid storage pots on the shelf. These fluids are supposed to be delivered by the male winged spirit on the left representing the sun god Hu and his hidden form, the rain storm god Ba'al. These wings indicate his middle layer role. Notice that Hu is carrying an empty water bag indicating that this layer is not functioning properly.

Close-up of empty leather water bag being carried by Hu
Etruscan Orcus Tomb wall painting showing cyclops being blinded
Blinding the Cyclops image in context. To the right is the tomb of Orcus I. Photo by Prof. Ann Koloski-Ostrow via Guerriero (Aug. 2015)
Etruscan Orcus Tomb wall painting showing cyclops being blinded with text
Blinding the cyclops who is the demon antagonistic to the motion powers (Photo: Rönnlund via Wikimedia Commons, 2012).

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Two Image 3: Blinding Cyclops (Agent of Astrological Lunar Energy)

(Sept. 10, 2022) The next image clockwise around the room shows the blinding of Cyclops who is an agent of the motion source and full moon god Su. The god Su is often represented as an "eye."

Translation in Akkadian (Text Med 19.2)

(read right to left. Capital letters on stone. Inner vowels inferred)
  1. Bu UBaLu U
  2. U'a UZa Tu E

In English

  1. Nourishments have dried-up from this.
  2. Misery is not from magical frustration.

Cyclops is the motion power demon while Skadi mentioned earlier is the life-growth power demon. In Greek “Cyclops” is written two ways: Κύκλωπες (KUKL’PEZ) and Κύκλωψ (KUKL’Š). These are:


  1. KUKL’PEZ (Κύκλωπες): Cyclops - as Akkadian K.UK.L’..P it means “agent of the weaver of astrological-power openings.” The /ez/ ending indicates it is a noun in Greek.
  2. KUKL’Š (Κύκλωψ): Cyclops – as Akkadian K.UK.L’..Š it means ”agent of the weaver of  astrological-power correspondences”

The earliest mentions of Cyclops in Greek literature are in Hesiod and Homer both dating to about this same time of 500 BCE. Hesiod's "Theogony" states that cyclopses were the sons of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth) who were also the parents of the moon, sun, and planets. The cyclops in Homer are portrayed as shepherds. While Homer is vague as to their location the later poet Euripides  (c. 480 – c. 406 BC) locates the land of the Cyclopes on the island of Sicily near Mount Etna. The shepherd analogy is significant because an Akkadian an epithet for magic crafter is "shepherd." 

The next image clockwise around the room shows three deities in a cloud. They are left to right: life form revealer Yahu, crescent moon goddess Ayu with snakes in her hair as the symbols of life powers, and the motion source god Su wearing a moon bear hat representing dark and light (Selu/Selene) moon aspects. (Original photo: Rönnlund, Wikimedia Commons, 2012).

Typical bronze spearman statuette holding a spear and shield (missing) It dates to between 1550 and 1170 BCE). This was found in 1934 at Ras Shamra (Ugarit) on the Phoenician coast. In the past these spearmen have been identified as Ba'a' but they actually are Yahu/Yahweh. Now at the Louvre, AO 17330 ; RS 6.264. Online at: https://collections.louvre.fr/en/ark:/53355/cl010142083

Etruscan Orcus Tomb Two Image 4: Snake Haired Ayu and Moon Bear Hatted Su Encouraging Yahu in the Clouds 490 BCE

(Sept. 15, 2023) 

Translation in Akkadian (Text Med 19.3)

(read right to left. Capital letters on stone. Inner vowels inferred)
  1. Nu A  A
  2. Mu Edu Bu. Igu Na Pu Ya
  3. Du U Ṣu

In English

  1. Revelations (of life forms) are from this.
  2. Fertility-fluids are nourished by enlightenment, (But) Selu's/Selene's Eye  does not open the Revealer.
  3. Life-power-manifestations are because of activity (motion powers)
Asiatic black bear is also called the "moon bear" and "white-chested bear" because of its white patch. As such it represents the moon deity pair of the celestial light goddess Selu/Selene and the dark new moon Su.

Etruscan Orcus Tomb 2, Image 4, Life God Hu Surrounded by Gods Alu and Yahu/Yahweh 490 BCE

(Sept. 16, 2023) The last image clockwise around the room shows a dejected life network god Hu standing between Alu and Ayu. Previously these deities were misidentified as Vanth, Agamemnon, and Tiresias. Each plant in this scene divides the layers of the Ancient Pagan Paradigm which are represented by their main deities. From left to right are the god Alu, a dejected god Hu representing the malfunctioning network, and god Yahu. The left plant has 6 nymphs representing the 6 known planets of the sky shell between Hu and Alu. These planets are: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. (Original photo by Rönnlund, Wikimedia Commons, 2012).

Translation in Akkadian (Text Med 19.4)

(read right to left. Capital letters on stone. Inner vowels inferred)
  1. Nu  IGu  AZu
  2. Šu  INu  Qu  Ya.  A  Lu  Tu.  EPu  Ya  A  Zu.  Hu  Lu  Zu
  3. ... Mu. EMu Du ...

In English

  1. The Revealer (Yahu) can associate with Selu's-eye (bright part of moon).
  2. Similar moon-eyed-ones (astrological magic crafters) are not threading. They are lacking astrology-magic. Don't dry those emanations.  Hu is lacking emanations.
  3. … . The Supervisor  ....