A “rare” inscription found on a 2,400-year-old helmet sheds new light on the Etruscan-Italic world of the mid-4th century BC (VIDEO)


Dec 29, 2021 00:49 GMT

The caption, hidden under the padding that protects the nape area, went unnoticed by researchers for more than 90 years.

Researchers discovered a “rare” inscription inside an Etruscan helmet from 2,400 years of antiquity, that had gone unnoticed by archaeologists for little more than 90 years, which sheds new light on the art of war in the Etruscan-Italic world of the middle of the 4th century BC. C., informs the Italian state agency ANSA.

According to reports, the bronze helmet was found in 1928 in tomb 55 in the necropolis of Osteria di Vulci, in the province of Viterbo; However, the epigraph was not noticed until 2019, when a team of New Zealand scientists performed the 3D digitization of the piece, noting the inscription ‘they will do this’ under the padding of the area that protects the neck.

After their analysis, the experts have formulated the hypothesis that the engraving is a surname derived from a toponym, that is, from a name that indicates the city of origin of the person, and they suspect that the place in question was the old one. Aharnam, most likely the current Civitella d’Arna, a city a few kilometers from Perugia. This version is based on the historical sources that make mention of this site, where the headquarters of the Praetor Appius camp is located just before the Battle of Sentino (295 BC) during the Third Samnite War.

However, since the helmet belongs to a time slightly before the start of the Samnite wars, experts have formulated two theories about its origin. The first one suggests that it belonged to a mercenary who traveled from Aharnam to Vulci “for work”, and that he engraved his name to prove his ownership of his equipment.

While the second, considered more feasible, points out that the helmet, after a first soldier was defeated in battle, passed into the hands of another, probably a citizen of Vulci who had not “considered it necessary to erase the internal signature or simply not. I had seen it, because it was covered by the stuffing of cloth. “

“Although it cannot be established whether Harnste was his surname or that of a rival killed in battle, the public that comes to admire him from now on will have more information to imagine his history,” said Valentino Nizzo, director of the National Etruscan Museum. Villa Giulia and author of an article on the inscription, soon to be published in Archeologia Viva.

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