Archaeological Museum of Bologna

Museo Civico Archeologico
Via dell'Archiginnasio 2 - 40124 Bologna

Direzione e Uffici
Via de' Musei 8 – 40124 Bologna
Tel. - Fax


  • banner sezioni

Collections / Sections / Etrusco-Italic collection

Engraved mirror known as the “patera cospiana”

Bronze mirrors, with a reflecting surface and lavish – mainly engraved – decoration on the back, were produced from the late 6th to the early 2nd century BC, first in Etruria then also in several Latium settlements. These were prestigious items linked to the world of women.
This mirror was found in about 1630, in an Arezzo tomb (being used as a lid for an urn), and was added to the Marquis Cospi collection.

More info

Its unusual decoration, showing the birth of Athena from the brain of Tinia (the Etruscan Zeus), immediately aroused great curiosity in the scholarly world and was often mentioned and illustrated in manuscripts and printed works. It goes by the name of “patera” in erudite 1600s and subsequent literature since at the time of its discovery the function of the category of objects was still a mystery and they were considered to be paterae – large cups for libations.

Provenance: From Arezzo University Collection, formerly part of the Cospi Collection
Datation: Second half of 4th century BC
Material: Bronze
Inventory #: IT 1073

Go back to introduction


Exhibition rooms | Room VIII - Etrusco-Italic collection