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The mummy and the linen book

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posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 04:16 PM
Not all mummies are created equal, and some of them come with objects designed for someone else. Take the odd case of the "Linen Book" - the "Liber Linteus."

This was found as the mummy bindings for an individual (believed to be a young-ish woman) whose sarcophagus was bought by a Czech in the mid 1800's. During the Egyptomania craze, he visited Cairo and found an affordable mummy and sarcophagus. When he got her home, he unwrapped her, put her body in a glass case (and the wrappings in a different case, luckily) and set the sarcophagus in a corner of his room.

Much later, someone discovered that the bandages used for her body contained writing. They were originally assumed to be Egyptian (and a bit later they decided it might be an Arabic script.) Around 1900, Jacob Krall figured out that the language was Etruscan. It's the only known book in Etruscan (no one knows why it was written on a linen scroll). This isn't a complete book - it's linen strips that were cut from a larger cloth (perhaps a scroll?) and is around 1,300 words.

From Wikipedia:

The book is laid out in twelve columns from right to left, each one representing a "page". Much of the first three columns are missing, and it is not known where the book begins. Closer to the end of the book the text is almost complete (there is a strip missing that runs the entire length of the book). By the end of the last page the cloth is blank and the selvage is intact, showing the definite end of the book.

There are 230 lines of text, with 1200 legible words. Black ink has been used for the main text, and red ink for lines and diacritics.

In use it would have been folded so that one page sat atop another like a codex, rather than being wound along like a scroll. Julius Caesar is said to have folded scrolls in similar accordion fashion while on campaigns.

Though the Etruscan language is not fully understood, certain words can be picked out of the text to give us an indication of the subject matter. Both dates and the names of gods are found throughout the text, giving the impression that the book is a religious calendar.

(Wikipedia source)

If more Etruscan texts turn up, then a better translation is possible. But today it remains one of the classic examples of a vanished language.

posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 05:52 PM
a reply to: Byrd
Not entirely vanished.
I have on my bookshelves "The Etruscan language", by Giuliano and Larissa Bonfante (Manchester University Press, 1985).
They have put together a fairly extensive glossary and some fragments of rules of grammar, drawn largely from grave objects and grave inscriptions and explanatory Latin texts (but your linen book is listed as one of the sources).

Their translations of the Zagreb scroll text;
"In the month of Cel on the twenty-sixth day, the offerings to Nethius must be made and immlated...
And the same morning the offering to Veive must be immolated and furthermore [...] the divine service as on the twenty-sixth day..."
The same repeated further down referring to the month of Celi [September]

I once managed to write a birthday poem to someone in the Etruscan language, though I had to make up my own rules of Etruscan poetry in order to do so.

edit on 12-4-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 08:00 PM
a reply to: Byrd

Hmm Etruscan you say?? that's interesting, I wonder if the young lady was an Etruscan expat, it seemed the Etruscans had a thing for things Egyptian, remember this thread??
Tomb of Etruscan "Princess" unearthed in northern Lazio

Her tomb contained Egyptian objects.

posted on Apr, 12 2017 @ 11:41 PM
a reply to: Byrd

That sounds like the beginning of a H P Lovecraft story.

posted on Apr, 13 2017 @ 02:57 AM
a reply to: Byrd

Cool stuff, bronze age med is always cool.
I am at the end of a 17hr day and am kinda tired so i havent fully read the material yet, but;
Is the mummy of Egyptian manufacture?, and the mummy was obtained in Egypt?
Has any dating been done?
The link between the Etruscans and the Egyptians is that the proto Etruscans are the one of the "tribes" of The Sea people, the Trš, the Greek name for the Etruscans is Tyrsênoi.

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 10:41 PM
Never call a Croat a Czech

posted on Apr, 14 2017 @ 11:19 PM
a reply to: zazzafrazz

Who would do that

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