The divinities that inspired our products
Precisely because of what is at the basis of the creams proposed by Vicus Tuscus, all of our creations are dedicated to divinities and nymphs from the Etruscan world.
We can investigate the Etruscan religion on the basis of ancient and rare Etruscan artefacts such as the “Zagreb Mummy” and the “Liver of Piacenza”, but above all thanks to historians such as Pliny the Elder, Cicero, Seneca and Livy, who passed down the translations of ancient Etruscan texts that have unfortunately been lost. The Etruscan religion was a religion revealed and transmitted by the prophets and then written in books. The Etruscan people’s most ancient divinities represented the forces of nature, destroyers and at the same time creators of life. According to the Etruscans, the gods conditioned every human action. Therefore, it was necessary to know how to interpret their will by identifying the signs through which they showed themselves to man. To this end, it was necessary to have a handbook, a codex, to regulate and help to correctly interpret the messages sent from the divinities and to give man the possibility of behaving so as to satisfy their will. The Romans called this knowledge the Etrusca Disciplina. For the Etruscans, the principles of this knowledge were inspired by the same divinities who, through mythical beings (Tages) or demigods (nymphs), would pronounce the supernatural truths to man and teach him to approach them through divination. In Etruscan times there were teams of priests who handed down the tradition and knowledge and were appointed with interpreting the various signs of the divine will: the AUGURES interpreted the flight of birds, the HARUSPICES read the liver of animals sacrificed to the divinities, and the FULGORATORES interpreted the location and shape of lightning. the divinatory teachings, and all the complex rules set down in the Etruscan Rituals connected to them, were described in minute detail and passed down in the Libri Haruspicini, revealed by the boy Tages, who taught how to read animals’ intestines. In the Libri Fulgoratores it was instead the nymph Vegoia who revealed the science of lightning, while the Libri Rituales, again revealed by the nymph Vegoia, dealt with the division of the celestial vault, land survey, the various codices of the rituals and the correct ways of establishing cities and consecrating sanctuaries. Then there were the Libri Acherontici, also revealed by the boy Tages, which contemplated their beliefs of life after death and laid down the rules of the rites of salvation. The Libri Ostentaria dealt with natural events such as earthquakes and floods, and were the most ‘alive’ part of the doctrine, since they expanded constantly, so much so they could be defined as the ‘experimental’ sector of Etruscan teaching. Finally, the Libri Fatales dealt with the ten centuries earmarked by Fate for the lifespan of the “Etruscan Nation”!
TURAN, goddess of love, “The Lady”, symbol of women, goddess of fertility and vitality, her flower is the rose. Represented as a young, winged woman, often followed by a cortège of nymphs carrying vases and perfume bottles, necklaces and objects to adorn her. Her name has the same root as Turannos, making her “The Lady”, the “mistress of human beings’ hearts”. Ancestor of sailors, she is also the goddess of health. The word Turan denominates the Etruscan month corresponding to our July, the period when the most important feasts of the year took place. Her sacred animals were the pigeon, dove and black swan, which at times she rode.
FUFLUNS, god of wine, of the life-blood that flows in its grapes. God of euphoria, the hot summer, sensuality and fertility. Son of Semia, goddess of the earth, his sacred animals were the hoopoe (pupluna in Etruscan) and the panther. Pupluna, name of the rich Etruscan town Populonia, was dedicated to the god Fufluns. In the late Etruscan age, the name Dionysos Bakchos, which then became Bacchus in Latin, replaced the Etruscan name Pacha: Pacha, as the vine was called in Etruscan, the same root as Bacchus, the master of the seasons.
MARIS, god of fertility, crops and agriculture, giver of regenerating and vital energy. Represented on many Etruscan bronze mirrors as a young boy or infant taken care of by Menrva (divinity corresponding to Athena, the educator of royal infants).
NETHUNS, divinity of the sea, springs and rivers that give fertility but also floods. In pictures, he is depicted like the Greek Poseidon, with the same beard and trident, at times with an anchor, or with a seahorse or dolphin.
TAGES, the Haruspex, teacher of the art of predicting the future and interpreting the will of the gods in giving rules to every ritual, even the private ones, such as purifying the body… He is a demigod who comes out of a ploughed furrow in a farmer’s field in Tarquinia, with the appearance of a newborn baby. The farmer who found him gave him the name of Tages. With prophetic talents, at the same time he was represented as an old man because of his great wisdom. He lived exclusively for the time needed to transmit the art of predicting the future to the men who came to see the prodigy of his birth. And so, as he had appeared, he disappeared back into the depths of the earth. Also represented as a young man with two snakes wrapped round his legs, he taught men, the Rasna *, the art of divination and prophecies: regulations that were transcribed into the Haruspicini, Fulgurali and Rituali holy books (* Rasna, man or people, corresponds to the name Rasenna, in Greek Tyrsenoi, Ionic and ancient Attic Τυρσηνοί, in ancient Doric Türsenòi, both meaning “Tyrhennians” then “Etruscans” or “Tusci”, which indicated the people living in Τυρσηνίη, Türsenìe, that is, “Etruria”).
HUIN, like “springtime”, symbol of rebirth and the light returning. After the dark winter, comes renewal, the rebirth of nature, we prepare for the splendour of the warm summer, the joy of nature, the ripening of the fruits…
THALNA, goddess of childbirth, symbol of magic and female beauty, queen of all enchantments. An ancient Tuscan legend (quoted by Charles Leland) tells of a young and defenceless girl who was assaulted and in her desperation asked the moon for help. the white rays of the moon made the aggressor flee and the moon said to the girl: you will be a goddess, the goddess of the moon, queen of all enchantments…
THESAN, goddess of the dawn, linked to the birth of a new day, but also symbol of rebirth and the dawn of a new life. As the symbol of rebirth and dawn of a new life, she is also the protector of childbirth. In ancient times she was depicted with wings and also with wings on her shoes, leading a quadrille. Her name, Thesan, also corresponds to the Etruscan word for morning.
ELEIVA, olive oil, life-blood of the soil and sun. The bitter cultivated or domestic oil that derives from the tiny fruits of the wild olive trees that grow in rocky places, both singly and in woods, was used by the Etruscans above all as the fatty base for cosmetic and curative ointments, perfumes and in funeral rites. There is evidence of the use of scented oils in Etruria since the 7th century B.C. due to the presence of small and precious containers for this purpose. The Etruscan perfumers captured the fragrance from flowers, shrubs and herbs, including spikenard, cardamom, marjoram, lily, rose, laurel, myrtle and many others, using the ancient “enfleurage” extraction technique which allows the cold treatment of delicate flowers such as roses, jasmine, tuberoses, violets, orange blossom and many others. This technique is based on extraction using a solvent that can absorb the essential oils. To create ointments, the Etruscans added a liquid excipient to the floral essence obtained by squeezing immature olives. Instead, to obtain the necessary alcohol base to make perfumes they squeezed unripe grapes, to which they added resins or honey as fixatives. With regard to archaeological findings, the research carried out in recent years on the vases and container has enabled analysis of the production, consumption and trading aspects of types of intensive farming such as olive and vine crops. After a first phase in which the oil containers found in royal tombs in Latium and Etruria proved to be mainly imported, during the third quarter of the 7th century B.C. these vases began to be produced more and more on site. These vessels were not only used for scented oils, but also for edible oil. At this time in Etruria oil and wine, previously considered exotic and luxury goods, became widely used as attested by the numerous containers frequently found in tombs from the early and middle Etruscan era. Particularly common were the small boccaro and earthenware ceramic unguentaria, which imitate the imported Corinthian aryballoi and alabastrons.
TUSNA, the pure white swan, given to possess powers of healing and beauty thanks to its links to both the water and the sun, making it the perfect emissary of purity.
KROKINON: as the Etruscans called saffron, “the love drug”. The Etruscans knew its precious properties and used it widely. This drug, rare and precious as gold, was among the most sought-after in all ancient times, and many men fought and risked their lives to have it: its sophistication was punished with death! All of the ancient peoples knew saffron not just for its aroma and colour, but above all for its medicinal properties; the spice’s fame was linked in particular to its stimulating, aphrodisiac powers. A great many formulas quote saffron as an ingredient to stimulate Eros, for example, the unguento crocino could be applied where and when needed… It is told that while climbing up to the plateaus of Kashmir, the soldiers of Alexander the Great lost their cool and broke ranks from the joy of finding entire meadows of saffron flowers. In particular, it is said that in Roman times crocus petals were placed on the tombs of lovers who had died from a broken heart. The saffron plant probably comes from the mountainous areas of Asia Minor. It initially spread thanks to the Phoenician, Cretan and Egyptian merchants. The fourth book of Ovid’s Metamorphosis tells the story of the young Crocus, who falls madly in love with the nymph Smilax. When the gods realized the sacrilege, they punished the boy by transforming him into that flower, with its elegant purple or yellow colour, and fiery red heart.