1.28.13 Mirror from Vulci which shows the story of Helen of Troy and the characters in the story with Etruscan names


Mirror from Vulci

Image from The Etruscans, by Massimo Pallottino, Indiana University Press 1975 edition; first published by Ulrico Hoepli, Milan, 1942

(See also updated Work Notes, "Unique perspectives in Etruscan mythology — concerning the causes of the Trojan War.")

Script DM



DM- 14


(12.07.07) We have updated the identity of LASA THIMRAE ( previously believed to be LASA HIMRAE). In accounts on the Trojan War that are believed to date from the 1st Century B.C. the Trojans are described worshipping Thymbraean Apollo (See http://www.theoi.com/Text/DictysCretensis3.html). Thymbra was a plain in Troas through which the river Thymbrius flowed into its course to the Scamander. Apollo had there a temple, and thence it is calledy Thybraean. (See Virgil's Georgics : books.google.com, Harvard Classics edition, p. 95-97).

The temple of Thymbraean Apollo figures in many incidents of the Trojan War. Apollo sent two serpents across the sea to destroy Laocoon's sons, if not Laocoon himself. We recall the famous statue in the Vatican of Laocoon struggling with the serpents. The reason of the calamity which befell Laocoon is explained by Servius on the authority of Euphorion. He tells us that when the Greek army landed in the Troad, the Trojans stoned the priest of Poseidon to death, because he had not, by offering sacrifices to the sea god, prevented the invasion. Accordingly, when the Greeks seemed to be departing, it was deemed advisable to sacrifice to Poseidon, no doubt in order to induce him to give the Greeks a stormy passage. But the priesthood was vacant, and it was necessary to choose a priest by lot. The lot fell on Laocoon, priest of the Thymbraean Apollo, but he had incurred the wrath of Apollo by sleeping with his wife in front of the divine image, and for this sacrilege he perished with his two sons. (See http://www.perseus.tufts.edu)

Another event involved the sacrifice of Polyzena, daughter of Priam and Hecuba, who was loved by Achilles. A good study on this Trojan princess is at http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Polyxena1.html). Another account, and perhaps the most relevant to LASA THIMRAE, is that of Cassandra. When she was a young girl, she spent the night at the temple of Thymbraean Apollo with her twin brother, Helenus. When their parents looked in on them the next morning, the children were entwined with serpents, which flicked their tongues into the children's ears. This enabled Cassandra and Helenus to divine the future. Once Cassandra had grown up, she again spent the night in Apollo's temple. This time, however, Apollo tried to force himself upon her. When she refused his advances, he cursed her in such a way that no one would believe her prophecies, although they would be true. (A study on Cassandra is at http://www.stanford.edu/~plomio/cassandra.html)

The following is from an email sent in response to an inquiry on the goddess Turan: Turan is the Etruscan goddess that is equivalent to the Roman Venus and Greek Aphrodite. She appears in several mirror inscriptions with her name only above her image and one bas relief where she is seated beside Ceres, an Asian mother goddess. I have planned to add to my Banquet of the Gods.html the roles of the goddesses in the pantheons of the western religions, but haven't gotten to it.

There is no Etruscan inscription which I have covered through Etruscan Phrases that speaks of Turan. We know that she is associated with birth, since her staff has a pomegranate on the top of it. In this mirror she is shown on the top level of the pantheon associated with the story of Helen of Troy. This mirror is hiding a story that has yet to be told, and it would be nice to find an Etruscan inscription that actually told a story about Turan, but the "Divine Mirror" (as I call it) is about the most we have at the moment.

Hercules is holding in his hand Epe OR (EPE VR) in presentation to Zeus. Epe Or is not Eros, I believe, since Eros is mentioned in the Etruscan Scripts, its location being identified in the Table 1.html. Eros is mentioned in the Tavola Eugubine, and the name is associated with another god/goddess. Eros also is the Latin term for "Lord," but I believe the cherubim-like god Eros, the son of Aphrodite, who caused people to fall in love by shooting golden arrows at them, is intended in the Etruscan word, ERVS. However, EPE VRis advising Tini, who is the Roman Jupiter and Greek Zeus, and beside Tini is his consort of that pantheon who is named Ralna. Ralna is the equivalent of the Greek mother of Helen of Troy (Zeus was her father. He transformed into a swan, as he chased Helen's mother, usually considered to be Nemesis, as she changed into a goose. Out of the union came an egg that was delivered to Leda, the wife of King Tyndareus of Sparta. Leda raised the child born from the egg who became known as Helen of Troy. EPE VR appears, in fact, to be Eros. There are two versions to the rape of Nemesis, who was the personification of resentment found in men – and, therefore, supposedly in the gods – by other men who commit crimes with apparent impunity, or who have inordinate good fortune. Nemesis was sometimes worshipped as two Nemeses, but both were said to be daughters of Nyx (Night). Besides the version involving her rape by Zeus, there is another where Aphrodite, in the form of an eagle, pretended to chase the swan Zeus. He took refuge in the lap of Nemesis (who retained her human form in this story). The goddess, apparently overcome with compassion, did not chase the bird away, but, instead, went obligingly to sleep. In both versions Nemesis gives birth to an egg that became Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. [Myth from The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology, Edward Tripp].

In the Divine Mirror we can see Turan with her staff, topped by a pomegranate, signifying that she had something to do with the birth of Helen in the lower panel of the mirror. As Aphrodite, then, we can suppose that the mirror is recalling the second version, where Aphrodite changed into an eagle and gave chase to Zeus, the swan. But here we see what appears to be Eros seated in Hercules' outstretched hand to Tinia. This may be a third version of the story – so far unrecorded – where Aphrodite uses Eros to cause Zeus to give chase to Nemesis, the goose that laid the egg of Helen. Since we are looking at a mirror that displays lineage, it would appear in this version of the story Turan and Hercules are the parents of Epe Or. Aphrodite is recorded in Greek mythology as the mother of Eros, but her connection to Hercules and Eros in this mirror are presently unknown. Curiously, we have another mirror with Turan riding a swan, which is difficult to reconcile to known mythology.

Tyndareus, king of Argos, failed to honor Aphrodite to her satisfaction and to punish him, she arranged that his three daughters, Helen, Clytemnestra, and Timandra, should all betray their husbands. Aphrodite is also involved in the Judgment of Paris, when Paris (aka Alexandar) was asked by Hera, Athena and Aphrodite which was the most beautiful, Paris sided with Aphrodite. Aphrodite had bribed Paris to say that she was the most beautiful and promised as a reward the hand of the most beautiful woman in the world (who turned out to be Helen of Troy, Queen of Sparta, who was married to the brother of Agamemnon, Menelaus. Clytemnestra was the wife of Agamemnon. Agamemnon, who launched the invasion of Troy, bribed the king of Sparta to marry Helen to his brother Menelaus. In the Divine Mirror, lower panel, we can see Agamemnon and Helen shaking hands on the marriage agreement.

Thus, in the top panel we see Aphrodite (Turan) and Hercules offering to Zeus (Tini) Turan's son, Eros (Epe Or) to arrange the mating with Nemesis (Ralna) who changed into a goose and laid the egg producing Helen. In the bottom panel Agamemnon is bargaining directly with Helen for the hand of his brother to her in marriage. In that panel we see two characters reacting strongly to the agreement (since it went against the Judgment of Paris). Ralna is mentioned in other scripts as Ral. The suffix "na" appears to be an augmentative suffix, like "one" in Italian. We know that Ralna is a goddess because of the robes she is wearing and thus cannot be confused with the mortal wife of Tyndareus, Leda, who in other versions of the story was directly raped by Zeus. Thus, this mirror recalls the story of Nemesis. A good site on the mythology relating to Aphrodite is at http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Aphrodite.html.

AECAI, who wears a leopard skin and a Phrygian helmet, is protesting Helen's marriage to Menelaus, and a lares (household goddess) is leaving the room, carrying her wand of prophesy with her. She may be Cassandra who predicted the disaster that would come. Aecai seems to be the son of the King of Troy who also prophesied that Paris would be the cause of the fall of Troy. The leopard skin should identify him. There are Asian gods that wore leopard skins, such as Dionysus, (Roman, Bacchus; the Romans also called Bacchus "Father Liber."). I initially identified Aecai with Aeacus-i, king of Aegina, grandfather of Achilles. He did not wear a leopard skin, I suspect, so Dyonysus seems to be preferred. And he is linked to Artemis (Diana) the huntress. MEAN (Latin Maenaas-idis [f], a bacchante, a prophetess) is probably Artemis (the Romans called her Diana). So the link of Mean and Aecai with the Bacchante rite makes sense. Linking Artemis to the rite is another matter. The ancient name of Lydia was, according to the catalogue of Greek ships and Trojan allies, was Maeonia. MEAN may derive from that term and we know that the worship of Artemis/Diana/Mean was centered in Lydia.

Part of the complex myth involving Dionysus involves the kidnapping of the god by Tyrrhenian (Etruscan) sailors. In that story Dionysus caused wild animals, including lions, leopards, and bears, to appear on the deck of the ship, causing all of the crew to jump overboard, being changed to dolphins. After the kidnapping Dionysus went to Phrygia where he was cured of his madness and adopted the oriental costume and rites similar to those of Cybele. His rites included orgies, etc., and those who served him he rewarded with many blessings, particularly the knowledge of the cultivation of the grape and the pleasures of wine. Where he encountered opposition he brought terrible destruction to those who defied him, often using his infallible weapon, madness. He caused Lycurgus to go mad, for instance, who hacked to death his son, Dryas, or his wife and son.

Orpheus was one of his priests and Dionysus is connected with fertility, and his widely orgiastic rites were celebrations of the earth's fertility. Dionysus was known by other names and sometimes the name Iacchus was confused with his. Iacchus is an obscure diety honored at the Eleusinian mysteries together with Demeter and Persephone. Iacchus is sometimes called Demeter's son, sometimes her husband, sometimes a don of Persephone identical with Zagreus. He was also identified with Dionysus and occassonally said to be Dionysus' son. He may have been a minor agricultural deity. Some scholars believe that the god came into being as a personification of the cry "Iacche!" uttered during certain Eleusinian processions.

AECAI is best related to Aeacus, the first king of Aegina. We base this conclusion on the fact that Aeacus gained a widespread reputation for piety and respect for justice. Aeacus was the son of Zeus and Aegina, daughter of the Sicyonian river-god Asopus. As a young man Aeacus lived alone on an otherwise uninhabited island. He prayed to his father for companions, and the ants on the island were transformed into men and women. Aeacus called them Myrmidons, from myrmex ("ant"). Aeacus gained his reputation for justice in the judgment of Nisus and Sceiron. When Nisus and Sceiron were disputing each other's claims to the rule of Megara, Aeacus was asked to decide between them. He pronounced Nisus king, Sceiron minister of war. Sceiron evidently believed that Aeacus had acted fairly, for he gave him his daughter, Endeïs, for his wife. Later all or many Greek lands were struck with a terrible drought, the result of Pelops' murder of Stymphalus, Aegeus' treachery toward Androgeus, or some other cause. The cities sent envoys to Delphi and were told by the oracle that only the prayers of Aeacus could help them. Aeacus consented to do what he could. He prayed to Zeus, and fertility returned to the earth, or else to all of it but Attica, where only Aegeus' capitulation to his enemy Minos lifted the plague.

When Apollo and Poseidon were building the walls of Troy, they called on Aeacus for help. The walls were scarcely erected when three snakes attacked them. Two fell dead, but the third, which had assaulted the part that Aeacus had built, was able to enter. Apollo correctly interpreted this omen to mean that the descendants of Aeacus would bring destruction on Troy during three generations.

Endeïs bore two sons, Peleus and Telamon. Aeacus had a third son, Phocus, by the nereïd Psamathe. Phocus grew up to excel his half-brothers in athletic prowess and they killed him. When Aeacus learned of the murder he exiled both sons. Since Phocus' sons also emigrated, Aeacus was left to a lonely rule. After his death he became either a gatekeeper or a judge in Hades.

In the Divine Mirror.html Mean is placing a laurel wreath on the head of Alexander (Paris, Etruscan Elkintre). Artemis (Diana aka Mean) is known as the virgin goddess of childbirth. She was originally a mother-goddess and similar to the Phrygian goddess Cybele. She, like Dionysus, are not described in common myths of Helen of Troy, so we are looking at another version here.

While Eros by some myths was among the first pantheon of gods, born along with Chaos, prior to Aphrodite, he is considered the son of Aphrodite and Ares (Roman Mars). They had other children: Deimus (Fear), Phobus (Panic) and Harmonia. In the version being told in the Divine Mirror it appears that Turan and Hercules are the parents of Epe Or. While Eros is not mentioned as the cause of Alexander's passion for Helen (since it had been prearranged by Aphrodite / Turan), it can be presumed that Eros would be key to the story and belonged in the upper panel and is pictured as being the vehicle by which Alexandar is attracted to Helen.

Mel Copeland

Etruscan mythology follows a lot of Greek mythology, but, as we can see, the Etruscans had their own version as demonstrated in this Divine Mirror.html. Turan was key to the Helen of Troy story. Helen's mother, Ralna, appears as Nemesis. Her name appears to decline: RAL, RALNA, RALNE, as seen in Etruscan_GlossaryA.xls, in scripts K and TC and a short text on a small bronze disk from Algeria.

The story revealed through the Divine Mirror.html is the only information we have on Turan from the Etruscans. As we examine more mirrors we find that she and Heracles are popular characters on the mirrors, and like the Divine Mirror other mirrors tend to cast a particular, Etruscan slant on the story. Many of the Etruscan mirrors examined to date appear to tie into a Trojan War theme. Script MR has Minerva, Hercules, Eris and Thetis. Eris and Thetis are connected through the story of the golden apple thrown to the guests of Thetis and Peleus' wedding by an irate Eris, who was the only one of the gods on Olympus that was not invited to the wedding. The golden apple was the cause of the Trojan War. Hercules is not specifically mentioned in this story, except he was probably one of the gods at the wedding. Thus, the special interest occasioned by the image of Heracles on the mirror, MR, suggests more to the tale.

Mirror, Script MM, is another that links an unusual group of characters, including Helen of Troy, Pheris, the king who refused to give his life for his son, Admetus, and Orestes, the eldest son of Agamemnon who was advised by Apollo to take revenge upon his father's murderers: Agamemnon's wife and Orestes' mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover. The Grace representing splendor, Aglaea, is pictured on this mirror, with Helen, along with another character, Meple, whom I cannot identify at this moment.

Another mirror, Script MH, shows Minerva and Heracles involved with a three headed serpent with claw feet. Heracles has a plant in cradled in his left arm, as the monster wraps around him. Here the Etruscans are remembering another variant to the story, since the myth involves Heracles' 11th labor, to steal the golden apples of the Hesperides. The apples were guarded by a hundred-headed monster. The two versions of the story have Heracles beguiling Atlas into stealing the golden apples for him and the other describes Heracles killing the monster himself and stealing the golden apples. In both versions of the story, however, Minerva played no role in the theft of the apples. King Eurystheus, upon receiving the apples from Heracles, quickly gave them back, so Heracles dedicated them to Minerva who decided to return the golden apples to their rightful owner.

We can see that the Etruscan mirrors – found by archeologists from central France to the shores of the Black Sea – were quite popular in the Mediterranean world. Further, the imagery on the mirrors represented complex tales. The artisans of the mirrors excelled in not only rendering beautiful art forms but also putting together figures that conveyed complex stories, such as combining the story of Orestes with Pheres and Helen of Troy (Script MM). If we knew who Meple is, perhaps the story line of the mirror would be clearer. At the moment it appears that the artist is conveying the connection between Helen's abduction and the Trojan War and the fate of Orestes. With Splendor being in attendance we must look at the connection from the standpoint that both Orestes and Helen lived out their lives in splendor, in spite of the deaths imposed on their lives. The old man Pheres does not fit into this mold, however, and is remembered in ignominy for not being willing to give his life for his son, Admetus, leaving Admetus' wife, Alcestis, to give her life for her husband. This tragedy is also recorded by the Etruscans in Script V, "Alcestis and Admetus." . Mirrors MR, MM and MH are discussed at "Etruscan Phrases" Miscellaneous_Scripts.c.html.


TVRAN And HERCLE (Hercules, Heracles) establish the value of the character "D" which is read as an "R." "VR" is read as "OR."LASA seems to be the name of a household God. In Latin the household gods were called Lares or Lases. RACVN may be the verb to recount, thus: "to the household goddess they recount" Rac-racar is a frequently used verb in the Etruscan scripts.

While not all the names are clear we can surmise that the characters in the mirror are related. Those on the top floor are related. Turan appears to be (Greek) Aphrodite (Roman, Venus). According to Homer she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Tinia – Tini is the Etruscan equivalent of Zeus (Roman Jupiter). Heracles is presenting a child, Epe Or to Tinia. Epe Or appears to be the god Eros, who is accounted by Homer as being the son of Aphrodite. Hesiod claims that Eros was one of the original gods, brother of Chaos, Tartaras (Hades) and Ge (Earth). Next to Ralna is a goose. Ralna is probably Greek, Nemesis, the goddess who was chased to Crete by Zeus. Zeus changed into many forms and finally became a swan before he caught up with Nemesis, who had changed into a goose. Zeus raped Nemesis and the egg produced from that union was given to the wife of the king of Sparta, Leda. Leda raised the gossling with her husband, King Tyndareüs, and it turned into the most beautiful woman in the world, whose suitors came to Sparta from all over the Greek lands.

Heracles' relationship to Aphrodite and Eros seems to involve two weddings and two abductions. Here, as with the stories we have seen in other Etruscan mirrors, there is a more complex plot being conveyed, and the key to the plot is in the cherubim in the arms of Heracles. It is the cherubim Eros, in fact, that initiated the Trojan War, for it was he who caused Paris to fall in love with Queen Helen of Sparta, who was then married to Agamemnon's brother, Menelaus. It turns out that Paris' love for Helen began with in the "Judgment of Paris" (described on another Etruscan mirror). After Eris (Strife) threw her golden apple into the wedding of Thetis and Peleus with the inscription, "For the fairest" Hera, Aphrodite and Athena immediately claimed the apple. Zeus, wishing to avoid trouble, commanded the goddesses to present themselves to Paris, the world's handsomest man, and let him decide which was the loveliest. The young man was keeping his flocks on Mount Ida when Hermes appeared (and some say Apollo as well) leading the three goddesses. Hermes explained the situation.

The idea of relying on the judge's unbiased opinion seems not to have occurred to anyone, for the contestants immediately began to offer bribes to the judge. Hera promised to make Paris ruler of the world if he would award her the apple. Athena vowed that he would always be victorious in war if he chose her. Aphrodite, a goddess of love, had less imposing gifts at her disposal, but what she had to offer was well suited to Paris' temperament: the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, daughter of Tyndareus, the former king of Sparta, who had had most of the young princes of Greece as her suitors before she chose Menelaus for his money. Paris hesitated hardly a moment before ruling that Aphrodite was the loveliest of the goddesses.

While it is presumed that Paris was thus compelled to visit Helen and Menelaus in their palace in Sparta, because Aphrodite fulfilled her part of the bargain, we don't know how Paris was compelled to fall in love with Helen and abduct her. We know that Helen's father, King Tyndareus, king of Argos, had failed to honor Aphrodite to her satisfaction. In revenge Aphrodite arranged that his three daughters, Helen, Clytemnestra and Timandra, should all betray their husbands. Early in his life Tyndareus was expelled from Sparta, with his friend Icarius, by Hippocoön (brother of Tyndareus) and his twelve sons. Later he was restored to his throne by Heracles who, pursuing a quarrel of his own, had killed Hippocoön and all his sons. Several generations after Tyndareus, the descendants of Heracles conquered Sparta, claiming that Heracles had merely given the throne to Tyndareus in trust for his own sons.

When Tyndareus decided to find a husband for his daughter Helen, nearly all of the eligible young princes of Greece wanted to marry her, who was famous for her extraordinary beauty. The suitors turned out to be a headstrong company and Tyndareus feared that there would be trouble once he made his choice. He asked Odysseus for advice and in return for it he offered to support Odysseus' suit for Penelope with her father, Icarius. Following Odysseus' counsel, he made the suitors take an oath, standing on pieces of a horse, as was the custom on particularly solemn occasions. By this oath, each was bound to abide by Tyndareus' decision and, moreover, to punish anyone who tried to take Helen by force or harm the chosen husband. (Helen had earlier been abducted by Theseus and his companion, Peirithous, who was son of the Lapith king Ixion)

We find in our investigation of the Trojan War that it was not the rebuff of Eris concerning the wedding of Peleus and Thetis that caused the war, it was the oath Tyndareus required of the suitors. And we can say that the oath was caused by Theseus' abduction of Helen, and some say that Helen bore him a child, Iphigenia. Helen's sister, Clytemnestra (who is usually called Iphegenia's mother by Agamemnon) adopted the infant because of Helen's youth).

But how is it that Theseus caused the Trojan War by being the first to abduct Helen? The answer to the first cause of the Trojan War involves Peirithous. It seems that Peirithous had heard so many tales of Theseus' exploits that he determined to test the truth of his reputation for courage. He therefore stole a herd of cattle at Marathon and, when Theseus came in pursuit, returned to confront him. Instead of fighting, the two were so taken with each other's bearing that they swore eternal friendship. At Peirithous' invitation Theseus attended the Lapith's wedding to Hippodameia and assisted him in his battle with the Centaurs. This misfortune occurred when, getting drunk during the festivities, the Centaurs tried to carry off the Lapith women, including the bride (A portion of this event is recalled in Etruscan Phrases Script MS, "Icarius," the first disciple of Dionysus. Icarius set off to teach the world the art of wine making, but was murdered by a group of shepherds who got drunk. The next event in the spread of Dionysus' religion and wine making involved the Centaurs. Script MS carries an unusual composition with the Centaurs being harnessed to Icarius' chariot, as he set off to spread the art of wine making. Thus, Theseus' defense of Lapiths at wedding was the cause of the Trojan War.

Peirithous, who had inherited some of his father's impious rashness, seems to have had an unfortunate influence on his now middle-aged friend, for Theseus' customary common sense deserted him during the last years of his life and the two enterprises that the pair carried out together turned out disastrously for both. They decided first that they would kidnap Helen, a daughter of Zeus who had been adopted by Tyndareus, king of Sparta. Some say that Theseus wanted to be related to the Dioscuri, Helen's brothers; others claim that he and Peirithous had vowed that they would marry daughters of Zeus and that they would aid each other in fulfilling this ambition.

They met with little difficulty in carrying off Helen, who was only ten or twelve years old at the time. Theseus took her to the town of Aphidnae, in Attica, and left her in the charge of his mother, Aethra, while he went off to keep his part of the compact by helping Peirithous to win a bride. During their absence the Dioscuri, with a force of Spartans and Arcadians, took Aphidnae and perhaps sacked Athens as well. They not only rescued their sister but carried off Aethra to be her nurse (for Helen and Theseus' daughter Iphigenia).

Of the many daughters of Zeus that Peirithous might have chosen to abduct, he had hit upon the most unlikely and dangerous bride: Persephone, queen of Hades. Theseus, bound by vows to aid his friend in this suicidal scheme, went with him down into the Underworld, through the entrance at Taenarum. The two sat down on stone chairs before Hades and became frozen to them. Some say that the seat they sat on was the seat of Lethe (Forgetfulness). Later Theseus was rescued from Hades by Heracles, when Heracles went down to Hades to bring up Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guarded its gates, in his twelfth and final labor. He escaped with the fiendish dog and Theseus but was not able to rescue Peirithous, though he tried.

So it is that Theseus had been the cause by which Tyndareus required an oath by the suitors of Helen to take revenge against anyone that takes Helen by force or harm the chosen husband. Tyndareus then gave his daughter to Menelaus, brother of King Agamemnon, who had brought the finest gifts. But because Tyndareus had once forgotten Aphrodite when sacrificing to the gods, the goddess punished him by making three of his four daughters unfaithful to their husbands. Timandra deserted Echemus for Phyleus, son of Augeias; Helen went off to Troy with Paris while Menelaus was attending his grandfather's funeral in Crete; Clytemnestra and her lover, Aegisthus, murdered her husband, Agamemnon, on his return from Troy. When Orestes avenged his father on her, some say that it was Tyndareus who brought against him the charge of matricide.

Because of the image of the cherubim, EPE OR (EPE VR) in this panel, we are compelled to recall how Turan (Aphrodite) probably caused Paris (Alexandar) and Helen to fall in love. She probably sent her son, Eros (L. Amor or Cupid). According to Hesiod's Theogony [120-122, 201] Eros existed almost from the beginning of time, being born, together with Ge (Earth) and Tartarus, of, or at the same time as, Chaos. Far from being Aphrodite's roguish little boy, as he appears in the works of later writers, Eros was on hand to greet that goddess at her birth. Shown in Greek art as a beautiful youth, he seems to have been worshipped, particularly at the Boeotian city of Thespiae, as a god of love and loyalty between young men. Later writers depict Eros as the youngest of the gods, an archer whose gold-tipped arrows could make even gods fall in love. According to Ovid's Metamorphosis it was he who made the cold-hearted god Hades love Persephone. Annoyed because Apollo had advised him to leave archery to men, he shot the god, making him fall in love with Daphne and at Persephone's prompting Eros made Medea fall in love with Jason. The best known myth of Eros is that of his love of Psyche. Eros is sometimes spoken of in the plural (Erotes). In art these "loves" are generally shown as small winged spirits such as might have escaped from Pandora's jar. The name, Eros is mentioned in the Tavola Eugubine, Scripts N, Q and R.

EPE VR, TINIA and RALNA or THALNA and the goose.
TINIA carries a staff which is similar to oriental, Akkadian etc., staffs representing a tree and spear that resemble oriental abstractions of lightening bolt rods in the form of a tree. It combines the idea of the Tree of Life with the powers of Heaven, lightening and thunder. Both Zeus and Jupiter, as with the oriental supreme beings, threw lightening bolts.


In the middle panel we see in the center enthroned ELINAI (Helen). According to the story of Helen, Zeus fell in love with Nemesis (some versions say Leda) and Nemesis fled away from Zeus, taking the form of a goose. Zeus changed himself into a swan and caught up with the goose. As a result she laid an egg in a grove in Sparta. Shepherds found the egg and took it to Leda, wife of King Tyndareüs. After Helen was hatched from the egg Leda reared her as her own daughter.


In the panel Helen is the center of the story which eventually leads to her being abducted and carried off to Troy by the Trojan prince, Paris (Alexander). His name, Elchintre, appears to be the Etruscan spelling of Alexander. Helen is shown wearing a Phrygian/Lydian helmet, and far to the left of her, dressed in a leopard skin and wearing a Phrygian helmet is a person named AECAI. Note the suffix, ai, in both AECAI and HELENAI. Helen's name is spelled HELENEI in Script MM). Aecai might be Aeacus-i, king of Aegina, grandfather of Achilles – after death a judge in the infernal regions. Aeacus, a son of Zeus and Aegina, had a wide-spread reputation for piety and respect for justice. With regard to his role in Troy, Apollo, brother of Artemis, and Poseidon, asked him to help build the walls. Just when the walls were erected three snakes attacked them, and the only wall that could be penetrated by the snakes was that built by Aeacus (the two snakes that attacked the walls of Poseidon and Apollo fell dead, whereas the third snake entered Troy through Aeacus' wall.) Apollo interpreted this omen to mean that the descendants of Aeacus (the Myrmidons, from Greek, myrmex, "ant") would bring destruction to Troy during three generations. The Myrmidons included Aeacus' son, Peleus, and his son, Achilles, who led the Myrmidon contingent against the Trojans.

We have another mirror relating to Helen, showing a declension ELINA, where it appears that Helen is being given a pouch full of potions directly by Turan, while Alexander (Paris), Etr. ELCHINTRE, is watching:

Script ML Mirror from Louvre, Paris (Image courtesy of academia.edu/JuliannaLees)

ML-1 ELINA  Helen of Troy. Note that ELINA declines: ELINAI (Script DM-8) and ELINEI (Script MM-1)

ML-2 TVRAN - Aphrodite / Venus
ML-3 ELCINTRE - Alexander  (Paris)

Helen of Troy is being presented with perhaps a potion that will make her fall in love with Paris (also known as Alexander; Etr. ELCINTRE, ELCHINTRE, and other spellings.  Presenting Helen (ELENA) is Aphrodite (Etr. TVRAN).  With this mirror we have a further peek into Etruscan declension patterns.  In two other mirrors Helen's name is spelled ELINAI (DM-8) and ELINEI  (MM-1).  In Mirror ML her name appears to be in the 1st Decl. Nominative (-a) or Ablative (-a) case, denoting that she is either the subject of the story or that she is the means by which the action is performed (usually represented in English, for, by or with).  The action that is being performed is the moment Aphrodite causes Helen to fall in love with Paris.

In script DM AECAI,  is probably the son of King Priam of Troy who prophesied that Paris would bring destruction to Troy. His name, was Aesacus, son of Priam by Arisbe. There is an interesting refrain from the work, "Alexandra," by Lycophron of Calchis (3rd century B.C.) that refers to the firebrand upon Troy voiced through Aesacus:

Alexandra (31) "...I see thee hapless city, fired a second time by Aeaceian hands..."

We can compare this passage to others from the same work:

Alexandra (219) "...And would that my father had not spurned the nightly terrors of the oracle of Aesacus..."

"...wherein one day hereafter the Tymphaean dragon, even the king of the Aethices, shall at a feast destroy Heracles sprung from the seed of Aeacus and Perseus and no stranger to the blood of Temenus..."

Heracles' mother was married to Amphitryon, son of Perseus' son Alcaeus. Heracles was originally called Alcaeus. Lycophron may have made an intentional slip in his reference to the seed of Aeacus as relating to Heracles. Laomedon neglected to pay Aeacus, Poseidon and Apollo for rebuilding the walls of Troy, and Poseidon punished him by sending a sea-monster to ravage the land. An oracle told Laomedon that this threat, the the plague sent at the time by Apollo, would end only if he offered his daughter Hesione to the monster. When the Argonauts were returning home from Colchis, Heracles was in the crew and they stopped at Troy. Hearing about the plight of Hesione, who had been chained to a rock in sacrifice to the sea-monster, Heracles offered to rescue her. Payment to Heracles would be the girl and the handsome mares Zeus had given to the king when he carried off the king's son Ganymede. After Heracles killed the monster and freed the girl, Laomedon refused to pay the debt. Heracles did not have enough of a force to make war on Troy, so he sailed away, threatening vengeance at a later date. According to Diodorus Siculus (1st century B.C.) Heracles made war with Laomedon:

[4.32.1] After this Heracles, returning to the Peloponnesus, made war against Ilium since he had a ground of complaint against its king, Laomedon. For when Heracles was on the expedition with Jason to get the golden fleece and had slain the sea-monster, Laomedon had withheld from him the mares which he had agreed to give him and of which we shall give a detailed account a little later in connection with the Argonauts.87
[4.32.4] Laomedon then withdrew and joining combat with the troops of Heracles near the city he was slain himself and most of the soldiers with him. Heracles then took the city by storm and after slaughtering many of its inhabitants in the action he gave the kingdom of the Iliadae to Priam because of his sense of justice.
[4.32.5] For Priam was the only one of the sons of Laomedon who had opposed his father and had counseled him to give the mares back to Heracles, as he had promised to do. And Heracles crowned Telamon with the meed of valour by bestowing upon him Hesionê the daughter of Laomedon, for in the siege he had been the first to force his way into the city, while Heracles was assaulting the strongest section of the wall of the acropolis.
[4.33.5] After this Hippocoön exiled from Sparta his brother Tyndareüs, and the sons of Hippocoön, twenty in number, put to death Oeonus who was the son of Licymnius and a friend of Heracles; whereupon Heracles was angered and set out against them, and being victorious in a great battle he made a slaughter of every man of them. Then, taking Sparta by storm he restored Tyndareüs, who was the father of the Dioscori, to his kingdom and bestowed upon him the kingdom on the ground that it was his by right of war, commanding him to keep it safe for Heracles’ own descendants.

Priam, Christened Podarces, was the son of Laomedon was named Priam from the word priamus ("to buy") when ransomed from Heracles by his sister Hesione.  He succeeded his father as king of the wealthy city of Troy. He had children by many women. He married Arisbe, daughter of Merops, king of Percote, and had a son, Aesacus. Later he gave Arisbe to his ally Hyrtacus and married Hecuba, daughter of Dymas, of Cisseus, or of the river Sangarius by Metope. Hecuba bore Priam a son, Hector, who became the champion of Troy. When she was about to give birth to a second child, Hecuba, dreamed that she gave birth to a firebrand that burned Troy. Aesacus, who had diviner's powers, told Priam to expose the child at birth (a way of killing unwanted children). The court had presumed Paris to be dead until, as a young man, he appeared in the palace and was recognized by Cassandra, Paris' sister by Hecuba. Cassandra had aquired a gift of prophecy when she had slept overnight in the Thimbraean Apollo. The temple got its name from the river Thimbra and the plain named from it that was near Troy. This name is probably that relating to the winged goddess LASA THIMRAE (at DM-12). The prophesy of the firebrand had been forgotten by the time Alexander returned to the palace, so the long-lost child was readmitted to the family. During the Trojan War Hector, firstborn of Hecuba, was chased around the walls of Troy and killed by Achilles. Achilles refused to give up Hector's body for burial, but the old man, Priam, driving a mule-cart to the Achaean camp, was able to ransom the body. Achilles was subsequently killed by Paris, and there are several versions to the story how he was killed, one being from an arrow of Paris.

Before the war, Paris (Alexander) was invited to visit Menelaus and Helen in Sparta. Shortly after Paris arrived in Sparta, Menelaus, husband of Helen, was called off to Crete to attend his [wife's] grandfather's funeral. During his absence Helen and Paris fell in love, as a result of a potion or arrow administered by Eros at Aphrodite's direction; and off they went to Troy, carrying with them many possessions of Menelaus. Paris' other name is Alexander, spelled here as ELCHINTRE; in another mirror, MG-4, Alexander's name is spelled ELCINTRE and in mirror OB-4 it is spelled ELACHSNTRE; at CK-2 it is spelled ELCHSUNTRE (See Etruscan_GlossaryA.xls).

LASA THIMRAE is probably the Lasa of the Thimbraean Apollo. (See introduction of this page) She recalls Cassandra, whom Propertius, in his Elegies, describes as a maenad. Our earlier thought was that LASA THIMRAE is "probably "lasa, household goddess (L. lasa) Hemera, Day, goddess of the day. This connection is perhaps more romantic than that of the Temple of Thimbraean Apollo. However, in comparing the character "TH" as used for the goddess to the "H" used in Heracles' name, we have no doubt that the name is LASA THIMRAE. The household goddess, LASA THIMRAE, carries a wand of prophesy in her right hand and in the left hand what appears to be an alabaster unguent bottle, seen frequently being carried in ladies' hands in Etruscan murals. A wand and purse are mentioned many times in the Zagreb Mummy Script, Script Z. We know that Agamemmnon paid a substantial dowry to King Tyndareüs for the hand of Helen in marriage to his brother Menelaüs. In the middle panel we see an alarmed AECAI and on the right a household goddess, LASA THIMRAE, making her exit with the wand of prophesy and a money purse or unguent bottle. Because of the image of MEAN (Diana / Artemis) crowning Alexander we believe that the theme of this panel of the mirror deals with the anointing of Alexander as husband of Helen at the time Helen agrees to marry Menelaus. For the record, as it may still have some oblique connection, our earlier comment on LASA THIMRAE, referring to her as HIMRAE, said,

"Himera was born, together with Aether, from Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night), and regularly emerged from Tartarus as Nyx entered it, and returned as Nyx was leaving. Since Eos (Dawn) was thought of as accompanying the Sun as well as heralding his rising, she tended to usurp the functions of Hemera and was often identified with her. In this mirror she is exiting the room, and if she is Day, then what follows is Nyx (Night). Nyx was born, together with Erebus (Darkness), Ge (Earth), Tartarus and Eros (Love), out of Chaos. Apart from Aether (Upper Air) and Hemera (Day) she spawned a large and generally unpleasant brood that included Moros (Doom), Thanatos (Death), Hypnos (Sleep), the Fates, and Nemesis.

"Knowing that HIMRAE is leaving the room where terrible betrayals and bargaining is taking place, the story here is clear: As HIMRAE leaves the room love will take over and bring forth Chaos. There will be Doom, Death and, for those wondering where it all began, you can look to RALNA (Nemesis) who was desired by Zeus at one time. She changed into verious forms in order to escape him and when she changed into a goose he changed into a swan, caught her and raped her. The result of this union was an egg that was given to Leda, the wife of King Tyndareus. The egg hatched into Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world. Thus, we have many directions to which the tale on this divine mirror points. And we have only discussed some of them! What master storytellers the Etruscans were, to have put all this into one mirror!"

MEAN (Latin Maenaas-idis [f], a bacchante, a prophetess) is probably Artemis (the Romans called her Diana). Homer (Iliad ii. ; v. 43, xi. 431) refers to the inhabitants of Lydia as Maiones (Μαίονες). Homer describes their capital not as Sardis but as Hyde (Iliad xx. ) [See wikipedia.org and www.maravot.com/Lydian.html] Based upon this mirror we may wonder how this Trojan Diana / Artemis came to be called Mean, recognizing that the great temple of Ephesian Artemis was nearby. We note that the Ephesian Artemis was sculpted as a woman with many breasts, who would certainly not connote a "virgin huntress," but rather the opposite, a mother goddess. However, Diodorus Siculus says:

[5.73.4] Eileithyia received care of expectant mothers and the alleviation of the travail of childbirth; and for this reason women when they are in perils of this nature call first of all upon this goddess.
[5.73.5] And Artemis, we are told, discovered how to effect the healing of young children and the foods which are suitable to the nature of babes, this being the reason why she is also called Kourotrophos.

Of interest is the fact that in the story of the Argonauts and Iphiginia, daughter of Agamemnon, Iphiginia is supposed to be sacrificed to Artemis for Agamemnon's boasting. At the last minute a deer nearby was sacrificed upon the altar in lieu of Iphiginia, and the girl was whisked off to the Taurians along the Hellespont where she served as high priest of Artemis. It was a practice by the king of the Taurians to sacrifice foreigners in the temple of Artemis, and when Jason and the Argonauts arrived on the king's coast, Iphiginia helped them escape the sacrificial fire.

Diodorus Siculus provides another clue to the identity of MEAN and her act of crowning Alexander, as he says that Helen crowned Menelaus:

Tyndareus, son of Oebalus, by Leda, daughter of Thestius, became father of Clytemnestra and Helen; he gave Clytemnestra in marriage to Agamemnon, son of Atreus. Because of her exceeding beauty many suitors from many states sought Helen in marriage. Tyndareus, since he feared that Agamemnon might divorce his daughter Clytemnestra, and that discord might arise from this, at the advice of Ulysses bound himself by an oath, and gave Helen leave to put a wreath on whomever she wished to marry. She put it on Menelaus, and Tyndareus gave her to him in marriage and at his death left him his kingdom.

MEAN and LASA THIMRAE represent an early Etruscan version of the Trojan War, and it is interesting that this Divine_Mirror shows Artemis placing the laurel wreath on Alexander's head while Helen is shaking hands with Agamemnon, giving her hand in marriage to Menelaus.

Next to MEAN is a deer, a sign of Artemis. Artemis has ancient Asian origins and is identified with Ishtar and Isis, Queens of Heaven, and the Persian Aniate. There was enmity between Artemis and Agamemnon. Agamemnon's father, Atreus, failed to sacrafice the best lamb of his flock to the goddess. Though he had promised it to her, when it was born it had golden fleece, and he hid it instead of sacrificing it. Also, to make matters worse, Agamemnon used to boast that he could hunt better than Artemis. The golden fleece appears to have ended up in Colchis, carried there by Phrixus, who rode a ram with golden fleece to Colchis and hung its golden fleece on a tree in the sacred grove of Colchis. Jason and the Argonauts voyaged to Colchis to capture that fleece.

VR (OR) is mentioned in the Tavola Eugubine at locations R8 and Q218:

R8: NASIER VR NASIER: Vø (OPH) TRE TIE--Note that the mother of Zeus was Rhea or Rheia, whom the Romans called Ops.


In the middle frame Queen Helen, ELINAI, is shaking hands with ACHMEMNVN. Her betrothed, Menelaus, is the man behind the arms of Helen and Agamemnon who are shaking hands on the marriage contract. In the story, when most of the men in the kingdom were suing for the hand of Clytemnestra's sister, Helen, the Queen of Sparta, King Agamemnon, husband of Clytemnestra, wanted Helen to be married to his brother, Menelaus, and urged the (mortal) father of Helen, who is King Tyndareüs, to let Helen make the choice as to whom she would wed. She chose Menelaus because of his riches, as Agamemnon hoped she would. As noted Helen was later abducted by Paris the Trojan prince and taken to Troy, causing the Trojan war. This was also prophesied and in fact arranged by Aphrodite who had promised him as a reward the hand of the most beautiful woman in the world. There was some dissension among Aphrodite, Hera, the wife of Zeus and Athena, the daughter of Zeus who sprang out of his head when it was cleaved with an axe by either Prometheus or Hephaestus. They argued over who was the fairest among them. They decided to invite Paris to the judgment. Hera promised Paris that she would reward him with the kingship of the earth; Athena promised him that he would never lose a battle and Aphrodite promised him that he would be given the hand of the most beautiful woman in the world. Paris chose Aphrodite as the fairest among the three.

MORE ABOUT TVRAN (Turan) Greek, Aphrodite

Turan is Venus (Roman) / Aphrodite (Greek). However, there are some characteristics about her that need to be reconciled. First of all, I have not found any record showing a connection between Hercules and Aphrodite. Aphrodite is considered by most accounts as the mother of Eros, and she was called upon to use her winged cherub Eros to cause strange love affairs. Why Hercules is in the panel offering what appears to be Eros to Tinia is a mystery. That Turan was involved in the abduction of Helen by Alexander is clear. But Hercules had nothing to do with it according to all other accounts. He was involved in a deadly confrontatation with Priam's father. Laomedon.

This is the extent to which Hercules was involved in the affairs of the Trojan War, and there is no indication that he was involved with Aphrodite, who took sides with the Trojans and defended Paris to the last (because he judged her more beautiful than Hera or Athena). However, Heracles was indirectly involved in the bargain when he gave Tydareus Sparta, noted by Diodorus above:
Then, taking Sparta by storm he restored Tyndareüs, who was the father of the Dioscori, to his kingdom and bestowed upon him the kingdom on the ground that it was his by right of war, commanding him to keep it safe for Heracles’ own descendants.

The judgment of Paris was initiated by Eris (Strife) who threw a golden apple bearing the inscription, "to the fairest" into the middle of the wedding of Peleus and the goddess Thetis. She was upset because she had not been invited to the wedding. Hera, Athena and Aphrodite claimed the apple, and it was left to Paris, the most handsome man in the world, to judge who was the fairest of the three. He chose Aphrodite and his reward was the hand of the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Troy.

Another interesting Etruscan mirror shows TVRAN riding a swan. We know that Aphrodite helped Zeus rape Nemesis, the mother of Helen, by changing into the form of an eagle and chasing Zeus who had changed into a swan, who was chasing Nemesis who had changed into the form of a goose. The swan caught the goose and she produced an egg that hatched not an ugly duckling but Helen of Troy. So what is Turan doing riding on a swan? In the Etruscan version of the story it appears that rather than changing into the form of an eagle she got on the back of the swan and rode it after Nemesis. The mirror of Turan riding a swan is from the Louvre, Paris. The image below from the Ara Pacis of what appears to be Demeter / Ceres flanked by a lady riding a swan is from virginia.edu.

In addition, in the Divine Mirror TVRAN is holding a staff topped with a pomegranate (if it is an apple, it is the sign of Aphrodite who won it in the Judgment of Paris).

The pomegranate is the symbol of Persephone (Greek) Proserpina (Roman) Phersipnei (Etruscan), wife of Hades, and daughter of Demeter (Greek) Ceres (Roman). Hades had abducted Persephone, some say near Henna, Sicily, and taken her to the underworld where he ruled. He allowed her to return to the earth but suggested before she does so she should eat and gave her a pomegranate seed (some say she ate seven seeds). Demeter, upon seeing her daughter again (she had wandered the earth in search of her), learned that Persephone had eaten in Hades and groaned, because she knew that anyone that eats in Hades is doomed to stay there. But as it turns out Persephone was required to spend a third – some say half – of the year with her husband Hades (also called Pluto). In contrast, another vegetation god, Adonis, had a similar fate, but was to spend one third of the year in Hades, one third with Persephone, and one third of the year with Aphrodite.

We can see through a panel of the Ara Pacis an image of what appears to be Ceres flanked on either side by two figures, one of which is riding on a swan.

The image from Ara Pacis is from virg.edu. Click on image for a larger view.

The entire theme has to do with vegetation / fertility, and since it is part of several panels on a building displaying the heritage of Julius Ceasar, the image would have to do with the ancestor of their clan, who was Aeneas, born from Aphrodite and Anchises, a member of the royal line of Dardania. The lady on a swan appears to be Persephone, since she is the daughter of Demeter (Greek) Ceres (Roman). However, the swan, together with the apple, is the sign of Venus (Aphrodite). The swan is also associated with Leda, the one to whom the egg containing Helen of Troy, produced by Nemesis, was delivered. Some versions say Zeus chased Leda and it was Leda, rather than Nemesis, that changed into the goose. But there were two eggs involved, one containing Helen and the other Castor and Polux (the Dioscuri).

The lady riding the swan in the Ara Pacis would be Aphrodite and thus reflecting the image of Turan riding upon a swan. The head of the Roman pantheon was Jupiter and his consort was Juno (Roman) Hera (Greek) Uni (Etruscan). We have Uni represented in another Etruscan Mirror, Uni Suckling Hercules. In the Etruscan version Hercules is a grown man; in the traditional Greek version he is a babe, as shown below. Since there are two infants in the image from the Ara Pacis, it would appear that the mother goddess would be Juno (Roman) Uni (Etruscan). Romulus and Remus, the twin-brothers who founded Rome, were the supposed sons of the god Mars and the priestess Rhea Silvia.

If the goddess suckling the two babes is Ceres, she represents the Corn Goddess, of agriculture, crops, initiation, civilization, the love a mother bears for her child, protectress of women, motherhood, marriage, etc. She is the daughter of Saturn and Ops. She and her daughter Proserpine were the counterparts of the Greek goddesses Demeter and Persephone. Her worship involved fertility rites and rites for the dead, and her chief festival was the Cerealia. This would make the female on her left Persephone (Etruscan, Phersipnei – shown in the Tomb of Orcus), who was the wife of Hades and goddess of the underworld. Next to the goddess is a long snake-like creature or sea monster. Thetis, the mother of Achilles, the Greek hero in the Trojan War who killed Hector, could be represented here, since she was a Nereid of the ocean, who interfered in the Trojan War to defend her son Achilles (after he got actively engaged in the war). It was the wedding of Thetis, the Nereid, and the mortal Peleus, where Eris threw the Golden Apple with the inscription, "to the fairest," causing the strife leading to the Trojan War.

Script OB

Another view of Turan is in the Oberlin_Mirror image which contains a scene on the judgment of Paris, where the names of Alexandar,

Oberlin College Mirror _ _ NRFA (MINRFA), VNI , TVRAN, & ELANTRE (ELACHSNTRE)

Turan, Uni and the fragment of Menerva (Minerva) are inscribed above the engraved figures. The drawing shown here is from "The Etruscans," Raymond Block, Frederick A. Praeger Publishers, NY, 1969, Fig. 36.

OB-1 _ _ NRFA – Minerva's name appears at M13, MANRIFA, the Magliano Disk and is Mirror #696 in the British Museum carries the name MANFRA.

OB-2 VNI – Uni is mentioned in Z1654, TC171, N173, N435, J25, AH-7, PL-31. Most importantly is is listed in script PL, the Piacenza Liver.

OB-3 TVRAN – Besides the scripts on this page Turan appears at M-8.

NTRE) is spelled in the Divine Mirror.html: ELCHINTRE (ELINTRE).

(1) Mythological accounts are based upon "The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology, Edward Tripp, Meridian Book, New American Library, New York, 1970.

Updated 7.18.99; 12.4.99; 9.30.01; 3.29.04; 9.18.04; 4.06.05; 2.11.06; 8.15.06; 2.03.07; 12.07.07; 1.02.08; 1.15.09

Contact us

Return me to Etruscan_Phrases.html
Return me to Pyrgi2_Translation.html

Copyright © 1981-2013 Maravot. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 1981-2013 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved.