MI·7 Cernusco sul Naviglio

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Classification: amphora
Archaeological Type: Lamboglia 2

Material: pottery
Size: height ca. 80 cm, width ca. 40 cm
Condition: lost

Archaeological culture: unknown
Date: 2nd–1st c. BC
Date derived from: typology

Site: Cernusco sul Naviglio (Milano, Lombardia, Italy)
Coordinates (approx.): 45° 31' 16.06" N, 9° 19' 45.97" E
Find date: 1849
Current location: unknown


Alternative sigla: Whatmough 1933 (PID): 280, 281
Tibiletti Bruno 1981: 28, 29
Solinas 1995: 97, 98
Morandi 2004: 136, 137

Sources: Biraghi 1849: 4 f.



Images in Biraghi 1849 opposite the title page, fig. 2 (drawing = Ghezzi 1911: 27, tav. II = Bruno & Sorisi 1994: 23, fig. 26 = Morandi 2004: 620, fig. 18), Bellomo & Gazzoli 2019: 18, fig. 1 (photo of a drawing from 1887 by the Scuola di Disegno industriale, today kept in the Sala riunioni of Cernusco sul Naviglio).

Found in April of 1849 "poco discosto" of Cernusco sul Naviglio (then called Cernusco Asinaria), "sulla destra della grande strada che mette a Milano" (Biraghi 1849: 4). The find spot is indicated more precisely by Ghezzi 1911: 14, who names a "Cascina Lupa" beyond the bridge (presumably around the coordinates given above). One Mr Fermini, intending to build stables, discovered, at a depth of about 1.8 m, a number of tiled Roman graves with weapons, bones and ashes, as well as the inscribed amphora. The latter, measuring 16 once in height and 8 in width, with two handles and a lid, can be classified as type Lamboglia 2 and dated to the 2nd–1st century BC (Bellomo & Gazzoli 2019: 28). It contained a smaller ceramic urn which in turn contained bones and ashes, two gold fibulae, and a semissis. See Biraghi 1849: 4 f., Biraghi 1851: 4–6.

No reports are known about the whereabouts and fate of the amphora at any time, apart from Biraghi 1851: 5 mentioning that he still had it at that point (= late 1850). Giovanni Labus, who "recte damnavit" the document as a falsa, thus included in CIL V as 664* in 1872, may have seen it (cf. Bellomo & Gazzoli 2019: 26), but Mommsen, after his examination some time before 1877, could republish only the line on the lid (MI·7.1) as CIL V 8111.4, observing that he had not seen "partem inferiorem, unde mira protulit Biraghius" (MI·7.2). Biraghi 1851: 5 does in fact say that he has shown the large and small urns, but especially the lid – being easy to transport – to various scholars; however, a note from Mommsen on the record card in the CIL archives, kindly provided by Ulrike Ehmig, informs us that "Altera pars hodie deest", i.e. the body of the amphora had already gone AWOL before 1877. Solinas 1995: 363 writes that Poggi (1879) was the last to see the object, presumably because he published drawings of (parts of) both inscriptions which differ from Biraghi's in some details, but I cannot find confirmation that he actually conducted an examination. Also inconclusive is the evidence of the 1887 drawing of the amphora by the Scuola di Disegno industriale. Bellomo & Gazzoli 2019: 18 f., n. 6 observe that it is uncertain whether the drawing is based directly on the object or on Biraghi's fig. 2. The execution is considerably more detailed and the perspective and proportions are not identical to those in Biraghi's sketch, which indicates an independent representation. The separate rendering of the inscribed lines, however, appears to be copied from Biraghi. The notion that the amphora was at some point at the Castello Sforzesco in Milano (i.e. part of the collections of the Civico Museo Archeologico (Milano)), which is sometimes found in the literature on the document, can be traced back to Rhŷs 1913: 44, who enquired and searched for it there twice (also 1914: 24) – probably on no better authority than the assumption that Milano's archaeological museum was the natural place for such a find to end up. The archives of the museum, going back to 1862, do not record the reception of the amphora (Bellomo & Gazzoli 2019: 16, n. 5). That the object was in fact there may be indicated, though, by the fact that somebody at the museum was able to inform Rhŷs that it was just one amphora – due to a misunderstanding of Poggi 1879: 311 by Pauli 1885: 11, MI·7.1 and MI·7.2 were thought to be written on two different objects by Rhŷs and most subsequent scholars. In any case, the amphora did not surface; Whatmough in PID: 97 reports that he followed up Rhŷs' inquiry at the Castello Sforzesco, again to no avail.

Corinna Salomon


Bellomo & Gazzoli 2019 Michele Bellomo, Silvia Gazzoli, "Monsignor Luigi Biraghi e i falsi di Cernusco", in: Lorenzo Calvelli (ed.), La falsificazione epigrafica: Questioni di metodo e casi di studio, Venezia: Edizioni Ca' Foscari 2019, 15–30.
Biraghi 1849 Luigi Biraghi, Epitafio romano su di un' olla cineraria scoperta a Cernusco Asinario, Monza: Tipografia Corbetta 1849.
Biraghi 1851 Luigi Biraghi, Illustrazione archeologica dell'epitafio romano scritto su di un'olla cineraria dissotterrata a Cernusco Asinario provincia di Milano nel 1849, Milano: Tipografia Boniardi-Pogliani 1851.
Bruno & Sorisi 1994 Silvio Bruno, Giuseppe Sorisi, Cernusco sul Naviglio. Attraverso la storia e le sue cartoline, Cernusco sul Naviglio: La Martesana 1994.
CIL Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. (17 volumes, various supplements)
Ghezzi 1911 Luigi Ghezzi, Cisnusculum. Memorie storiche relative a Cernusco sul Naviglio, Monza: 1911.