The Icarius Mirror, written in Etruscan on bronze from Etruria, Italy, 6th Century BC
This is the longest Etruscan mirror inscription known. It consists of 4 lines or sections along the raised rim and 3 captions in early Etruscan script, illustration of Icarius standing, with a club over his shoulder, with a Phrygian style cap, in a chariot pulled by two bearded centaurs, one carries a bunch of grapes, the other a long cutting knife and a wine bag, above Icarius is a cherub sprinkling water, below is Icarius’ dog Maera running.
The inscription reads:
Ikra the king from Mount Ossa of Ixion,
three things on this side he went to see,
I long for the brother also to go,
I cut the grapes abundant of the wine-stock to owe,
to the wine press! Young boy,
three on the side bedewed.
So far this seems to be the only contemporary example of Etruscan literature recorded, and where the text is illustrated in addition. This records a part of Greek mythology that is not yet fully known, adding some new information.
Icarius was the hero of the Attic town of Icaria who had a daughter, Erigone. He had been taught by Dionysos to make wine and the Bacchalian rites, and he loaded a wagon with wine skins, called his faithful dog Maera, and set off to spread the word about wine. He gave wine to some shepherds who got drunk, and who believed Icarius had tried to poison them. They beat him to death with clubs and buried him under a tree. Erigone looked everywhere for her father, and was finally led to him by Maera, who howled over his grave. Distracted with grief, she hanged herself from the tree over the grave. The dog also killed itself by jumping into a well. Dionysos was angered and sent a plague over the land, and the Athenian maidens, in a fit of madness, hanged themselves from trees. Dionysos honored them by placing Icarius in the sky as the constellation Boetes, Erigone as Virgo, and Maera as the Dog Star.
The unique text of the present mirror resisted all attempts to be read, until Mel Copeland succeeded. He is hereby credited with both the reading and the information of the mythological context.