World's Only Etruscan Gold Book Added to Bulgaria's Archeology Treasures

Society | May 23, 2003, Friday // 00:00

The world's only preserved copy of an Etruscan gold book was donated to Bulgaria's National Museum of History. The director of the museum broke the news on Thursday.

A Bulgarian who lives in Macedonia presented the museum with the unique artifact on condition of anonymity. The book contains six pages and is the only wholly perserved copy known to archeology so far. Except the ancient text, the 23.82-carat gold pages carry images of warriors and a siren.

Only single pages of Etruscan books have been discovered in Italy whose territory was the homeland of ancient Etruscans. The donator said that he came across the book in the valley of Bulgarian Struma River during a road construction works. The benefactor discovered it in an ancient tomb with frescoes - a piece of which depicting a warrior he took with him. This fragment was also donated together with the gold book.

The precious artifact probably reached what is now the territory of modern Bulgaria through antic trade channels. The text and especially the images indicate the book was made for the funeral of an aristocrat who was an adept of the Orpheus cult.

The Greek philosopher Pythagoras influenced by the orphism -- a Thracian religion -- spread its ideas in ancient Greek cities in Southern Italy and the neighboring territories of Etruscan tribes.

The script of this mysterious Etruscans is not yet fully made out. Bulgarian Prof. Valdimir Geogiev is one of the researches with most significant contribution to the decipher attempts.

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