It remains mostly untranslated because of the lack of knowledge about the Etruscan language, though the few words which can be understood indicate that the text is most likely a ritual calendar. The fabric of the book was preserved when it was used for mummy wrappings in Ptolemaic Egypt. The mummy was bought in Alexandria in and since both the mummy and the manuscript have been kept in Zagreb , Croatia , now in a refrigerated room at the Archaeological Museum. While in Alexandria , he purchased a sarcophagus containing a female mummy, as a souvenir of his travels. At some point he removed the linen wrappings and put them on display in a separate glass case, though it seems he had never noticed the inscriptions or their importance. The mummy remained on display at his home until his death in , when it passed into possession of his brother Ilija, a priest in Slavonia.
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Note: We are currently updating this page based upon our recent document findings, "Work notes on the Zagreb Mummy.
We have added a map showing Canino , the town near the Fiora river that appears to be the location where the person of the Zagreb Mummy originated. The Zagreb Mummy text is the longest extant Etruscan text.
For this reason it is the most important with regard to completion of a translation of the various Etruscan texts. At the beginning of my work on the Zagreb Mummy text I knew very little about the mummy and quite frankly preferred not to know lest it prejudice my working out the grammatical patterns, etc. In the beginning what I wanted to know is how its words and grammatical patterns fit in with the other texts upon which I had been working.
At this moment it is clear that it not only reflects the vocabulary and grammar of other texts, as listed in the Etruscan Phrases pages, but also obviously contributes more knowledge of the language.
My first study of the Zagreb text, because the texts I am working on are so hard to read, is now being corrected based upon findings in the Tavola Cortonensis preliminary translation. Underlines and letters with an underline are unreadable from my copy. The images with which I have been working are very poor. I am presently attempting to obtain good photo copies of the original linens, and when I obtain them I should be able to clarify some of the "unreadable" texts.
Some of the characters of the linen are purposely smudged or over-written. Towards the end of the linen the verb 'to smudge" is used explaining why certain texts are that way. Generally where the word IRI appears it is smudged or over-written so badly you can't make any sense of the characters.
Escaping the wrath seems to be the pervasive thought. In the beginning of the text, Script ZS, we are told about the wall and escaping through it. Many Etruscan murals show the dead being pursued and in the process of escaping through the wall of the tomb. Two of these murals, the Tuchulca Mural and the Charon Mural, are on this site.
You can access other scripts through the bottom frame. I have learned a bit about the Zagreb Mummy from Dr. Ivan Mirnik, M. The linen wrapping of the mummy is called, "Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis". According to Dr. Mirnik the museum collaborated with Mrs.
She reconstructed the Zagreb Book of Linen. Nazzareno Gabrielli, the chief of the Vatican Museum Laboratories, is the one who saved the mummy.
Others who helped with the reconstruction of the texts include specialists: the late Massimo Pallottino, Francesco Roncalli who supervised the reconstruction , Ambros Josef Pfiffig and Helmut Rix. Igor Uranic, who is in charge of the museum's Egyptian collection, oversees the Zagreb Mummy. When I learn other details about the mummy I will post them here. At the moment the less I know about the mummy the more objective this work will be. The work is proceeding much more quickly than with other texts--for obvious reasons--and before long I will get the answers to certain questions, such as:.
Where was the mummy found? It was found in Egypt, according to the Zagreb Museum. Also Falarri, as in the Tavola Cortonensis, is mentioned frequently. This is a town up the Tiber from Rome. Also Spina is mentioned, which is a few miles northwest of Venice. It is a town mentioned in the Tavola Eugubine. Rome is mentioned several times in several contexts. Is the mummy an Italian? What is the forensic data as to any genetic links the mummy may have with the particular population where the body was interred?
This may be the only surviving corpse of the Etruscan Civilization. What do we know about it? When was the mummy embalmed? How old was she when she died? What did she die from? Did she have children? What did the container in which she was preserved look like, etc.? Was it a sarcophagus of stone? In what kind of burial was it found? A tholos tomb, shaft grave? What were the artifacts which accompanied the mummy? Where were they made? Are there any peculiarities or anomalies between the embalming of known Egyptian mummies and this one?
Does it show any characteristics which might share a common technique with a particular group of mummies? Is the linen Egyptian? If it is, how is it that an Etruscan scribe wrote upon the linen? Would it have been written on in Italy and then shipped back to Egypt? I don't think so. I think, just as all deaths can never be anticipated, when the person was dying she requested that she be mummified and the wrapping carry her message to "heaven," the gods who would be receiving her in her after-life.
She no doubt requested that her body be interred in her home. She would have had to have had a fairly high station in life to afford such a luxury and, no doubt, because she had been wrapped in a text, she was well educated; and the message would be expected to reflect the soul of the departed, her mind and points of view.
Since the text would never be expected to be read by any mortal, it could be assured that the linen probably thematically follows the Egyptian Book of the Dead writings in the Egyptian tombs, much of which have to do with formulas to get the departed through the judgment of Osiris, the judge of the Underworld.
But it would address Etruscan gods and values. Was the linen one long piece of fabric when the scribe first wrote on it? And then was it torn into panels? Some of the panels appear to have the top half of a line of text and the panel which would have been directly below it seems to carry the bottom half of the line of text. Associated with this is a line suddenly becoming smaller in size and then returning back to "the normal size.
When the Greeks, led by Alexander the Great, began the Hellenization of Egypt, mummies began to be found in coffins with Hellenistic designs, often with painted portraits of the deceased on the lids. There may be a relationship here to the Zagreb mummy, assuming the Zagreb museum has more particulars on the artifact entrusted to it.
For the Zagreb mummy was not simply the embalmed corpse, wrapped in the traditional linen bands, of a red-headed Egyptian girl. The linen itself was covered with an unknown script which Burton saw, studied, but never recognized as a unique example of an Etruscan manuscript. The Zagreb mummy is central to the story of the search for the Etruscans, while at the same time it typifies, in its way, the strange vicissitudes of the science of Etruscology.
The Egyptian relic was acquired in Alexandria in by a Croatian called Michael Baric, a minor official in the Hungarian Chancellery. While travelling in Egypt, Baric bought as a souvenir a sarcophagus containing he hoped a mummy.
There was, at this time, a very brisk trade in mummies, either for the interest attached to the actual coffins in which they were enclosed, or for the ornaments which were sometimes found on the cadaver. In earlier times still, the embalmed bodies of ancient Egyptians had an additional value; they were ground up and used as medicine — 'mummy' being a staple drug found in all well-stocked apothecaries' shops throughout Europe.
But by the mid-nineteenth century when Michael Baric obtained his relic, 'mummy' was no longer in general use as a medicine, and the buying and selling of the corpses was restricted to antiquarians and tourists.
The latter group were often palmed off with a fake. The English mummy expert, Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, a surgeon at the Charing Cross Hospital and at the Asylum for Female Orphans, reports many cases where innocent travellers brought back from Egypt bundles of rubbish consisting of sawdust, rags, sticks, the vertebrae of cats, monkey bones, and the like, stuffed into bogus sarcophagi made in the back streets of Cairo bazaars.
One wonders if specimens of these frauds are not still reposing in the minor museums and private collections of the western world. But Baric was lucky, for he had acquired a genuine sarcophagus and mummy, though neither he nor any one else for the next fifty years had any idea of the unique nature of his purchase. Still, even to have one's own mummy in the 's was something of an achievement, and excitement was always great when the relic was presented to the public at a special ceremony known as 'opening the mummy.
Cailliaud was opened in Paris in the presence of learned men on 30 November , and after the seven layers of wrappings were unwound, making some six hundred yards of linen two to three inches wide, the savants found themselves face to face with a naked man fifty to fifty-five years old, his arms and hands held straight against his sides, his hair, which was perfectly preserved, being lightly marcelled, his chest, arms and belly flecked with the remains of gilt.
But what was most interesting of all to the scholars was the discovery that the wrappings round this mummy were inscribed in Greek. As we shall see, the linen bindings of Michael Baric's mummy were even more sensational.
He was not to know this, however, for he died in , bequeathing his souvenir to his brother Elias, a parish priest of a village in Slavonia. Elias had even less interest in this object than his brother Michael, who had at least had some fun by standing his souvenir upright in the corner of his drawing-room and informing his credulous lady visitors that it was the body of the sister of King Stephen of Hungary.
Elias preferred to get rid of the mummy altogether and so he presented it to the museum of Agram today Zagreb where it was duly catalogued as follows:. Mummy of a young woman with wrappings removed standing in a glass case and help upright by an iron rod. Another glass case contains the mummy's bandages with are completely covered with writing in an unknown and hitherto undeciphered language, representing an outstanding treasure of the National Museum.
The existence of the mummy with the unknown writing on the wrappings was first reported in an article in The Croation Review of , but it had already come to the attention of Richard Burton in Burton had published his Etruscan Bologna in the previous year.
During his exile, this extraordinary man, in addition to his interest in the Etruscans, had commenced a study of runes in the hope of finding a connection between the runic alphabet and the Arabian script of el-Mushajjar; and while travelling to Alexandria in the company of Dr.
Heinrich Brugsch, the greatest Egyptologist of his time, Burton happened to be discussing his theory of the origin of runes, when Dr. Brugsch remarked that the runic script reminded him of the writing he had found on the wrappings of the Zagreb mummy ten years before.
Both, of course, were wrong, though to Burton goes the distinction of being the first to get the text copied out for publication and study. At his suggestion, Mrs. Burton requested Philip Proby Cautley, the Vice-Consul, to undertake the onerous and difficult job of copying the text.
The Vice-Consul now makes a significant comment in his report to Burton, for he says:.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
Note: We are currently updating this page based upon our recent document findings, "Work notes on the Zagreb Mummy. We have added a map showing Canino , the town near the Fiora river that appears to be the location where the person of the Zagreb Mummy originated. The Zagreb Mummy text is the longest extant Etruscan text. For this reason it is the most important with regard to completion of a translation of the various Etruscan texts. At the beginning of my work on the Zagreb Mummy text I knew very little about the mummy and quite frankly preferred not to know lest it prejudice my working out the grammatical patterns, etc. In the beginning what I wanted to know is how its words and grammatical patterns fit in with the other texts upon which I had been working.
Most Classical authors respected the Etruscans for their skill in religious ritual and divination, but Etruscan religion can be a minefield for naive scholars, tempting many into flights of fancy. Now, however, many reliable works are available, and classicists and historians may safely venture forth, and with promise of great rewards. The main obstacles for outsiders to Etruscan Studies have been overcome: the Etruscan language is generally knowable, even for those who prefer to read in English see G. Bonfante and L. Bonfante, The Etruscan Language.