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Fanum Voltumnae

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Fanum Voltumnae

The Fanum Voltumnae (‘shrine of Voltumna’) was the chief sanctuary of the Etruscans; fanum means a sacred place, a much broader notion than a single temple.[1] Numerous sources refer to a league of the “Twelve Peoples” (lucumonies) of Etruria, formed for religious purposes but evidently having some political functions. The Etruscan league of twelve city-states met annually at the Fanum, located in a place chosen as omphalos (sacred navel), the geographical and spiritual centre of the whole Etruscan nation. Each spring political and religious leaders from the cities would meet to discuss military campaigns and civic affairs and pray to their common gods. Chief amongst these was Voltumna (or Veltha), possibly state god of the Etruria.

Roman historian Titus Livius mentioned the Fanum Voltumnae five times in his works[2] and indicated "...apud Volsinios..." as the place where the shrine was located. Modern historians have been looking for the Fanum from at least the 15th century but the exact location of the shrine is still unknown, though it may have been in an area near modern Orvieto, believed by many to be the ancient Volsinii. Livy describes the meetings that took place at the Fanum between Etruscan leaders. Livy refers in particular to a meeting in which two groups applied to assist the city of Veii in a war it was waging. The council's answer was no, because Veio had declared war without first notifying it. Livy also says that Roman merchants who travelled to a huge fair attached to the meeting acted as spies, reporting back on Etruscan affairs to authorities in the city-state of Rome. He was alone in mentioning the god Voltumna, whereas Marcus Terentius Varro indicated a god-prince of Etruria. The Latin elegiac poet Propertius writes of an Etruscan god taken to Rome from Velzna (the town of Orvieto).[3] That the Fanum was somewhere in central Italy in the area between Orvieto and Viterbo is probable enough, but as Titus Livius has given no clue to its locality, and as no inscriptions have thrown light on the subject, it can be but pure conjecture to assign to it this or that particular site.

Hypotheses

Orvieto

A mostly credited hypothesis places the shrine in Orvieto.[4] The Urbs Vetus of the Middle Ages is identified with the Etruscan Velzna by scholars, the Latin Volsinii, conquered by the Romans in 264 BC. Livy, Pliny, Florus, Horace, Metrodorus of Scepsis, all belonging to the 2nd century BC, clearly speak of ancient Volsinii, but never in relation to the Fanum Voltumnae. In the late 19th-century archaeologists uncovered parts of the walls and found large quantities of earthenware, and in 1930s the archeologist Geralberto Buccolini set forth the hypothesis, based on these findings, that the Fanum was situated at the foot of Orvieto's tuff[5] In particular, the Temple of Belvedere was discovered and identified as the Temple of Nortia. In September 2006, Simonetta Stopponi, professor of Italic Archaeology and Etruscology at Macerata University (Italy),[6] after extensive digs (begun in 2000 and financed by the Monte dei Paschi di Siena Bank, with ministerial permission) at a site near the hill town of Orvieto (esplanade Arcone, former Campo della Fiera, smallholding Giardino della Regina) announced that the site at the feet of the Umbrian town probably was the location of the Fanum Voltumnae. "It has all the characteristics of a very important shrine, and of that shrine in particular" she said. Listing some of those characteristics, she mentioned "the scale of the construction, its intricate structure and layout, the presence of wells and fountains and the central temple building". Structures of various periods have been identified, distributed over a very large area (a retaining wall in polygonal masonry, a paved street, etc.), and many fragments of architectural terracottas have been recovered (among which are some similar to those in Berlin), datable from Late Archaic period to Hellenistic times. Also supporting the claim that this is the Fanum Voltumnae is the fact that the area was used continuously for religious purposes right from the 6th century BC up to the 15th century. Roman temples were built on it in later centuries and the last church was erected there in the 12th century. In November 2014,[7] Simonetta Stopponi announced to have found the head of the god of the Etruscans in the area of Orvieto. It is a polychrome terracotta male head. "The head is very nice and well kept - said Professor Stopponi - An important discovery as well as that of the temple which measures 12 feet by 18". In the light are also the main temple and the sacred way.

Bagnoregio

Some modern scholars have hypothesized the location of Fanum Voltumnae at Bagnoregio (probably on the hill of Civita di Bagnoregio), past possession of Orvieto and Etruscan walled town.

Tuscania

Before the discoveries of the Orvieto area, the archaeological site of Guado Cinto, a necropolis including the Tomb of the Queen near Tuscania, was one of the most credited location of Fanum Voltumnae.

Viterbo

It is a hypothesis, presented by Annio da Viterbo, who devoted his life to collecting legends and traditions ascribed to the Etruscans, and to inventing documents to support his histories.

Viterbo's heraldic badges are surrounded by the letters FAVL (read as FAUL), which appear like a ciphered globe. It is unclear what they refer to, but some claim that they are the initials of the guardian towns and some others that they are in reference to the initial syllables of Fanum Voltumnae. The latter was affirmed in the nineteenth century by Francesco Orioli, who also surmised that the Viterbo Cathedral was built on the site of the Fanum, in the Roman settlement Castrum Herculis. Viterbo, inasmuch as it contains a church named Santa Maria in Volturna, may be considered as having some claims to the Fanum.

Montefiascone

Pontifex Maximus).

Latera

In spring 1988, news were published that Fanum Voltumnae was at last discovered on the volcanic ridge of Lake Bolsena.[8] The hill (633 m a.s.l.), known as Poggio Evangelista (commune of Latera), retains the ruins of a temple, visibly located on a strategic place, with a wide view over Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany (Berlingo and Timperi, 1995). It is likely a sacred Etruscan place of worship dating back to the 6th – 4th centuries BC.

Valentano

In 1976 and 1977, Danish excavations were carried out at Monte Becco (at 556 m a.s.l.), in the area of Valentano, near to the Lake Mezzano (ancient Lacus Statoniensis).[9] Traces of the Etruscan presence, including walls, bronze tools, and roof tiles were found during the study mission. One of the tiles was found to be incised with all the characters of the Etruscan alphabet. This site has been also indicated as one of the possible locations of the Fanum.

Bolsena

This hypothesis is supported by Angelo Timperi, inspector and archeologist of Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Etruria Meridionale, with roles and responsibilities for the eastern side of Lake Bolsena and the archaeological area of Poggio Moscini in Bolsena. His idea is that Fanum Voltumnae was a large area centred on the ancient Etruscan, and later Roman town of Velzna, situated on the shore of Lacus Volsiniensis (modern Lake Bolsena). This conclusion is based on both archaeological and epigraphical discoveries, also supported by stratigraphic reconstructions and archival records.[10]

San Lorenzo Nuovo

Another hypothesis[11] suggests that the federal shrine of the Etruscans was located to the northern coast of Lake Bolsena, in a place known as Civita di Grotte di Castro, a plain area close to the church of San Giovanni in Val di Lago (currently in the commune of San Lorenzo Nuovo). This hypothesis (also supported by Luigi Catena[12]) comes out of another study based on the so-called Rescritto di Spello[13][14] (Rescript of Hispellum) issued by emperor Constantine I in a date between 333 and 337 AD to authorize the Umbrians' annual celebration:

We — Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantine Maximus Germanicus Sarmaticus Maximus Gothicus Victor Triumphator Augustus and [his sons] Flavius Constantine and Flavius Julius Constantius and Flavius Constans — encompass with our untiring attention and care everything, indeed, that benefits human society; but this is the greatest task for our forethought: that all the cities whose splendid appearance and beauty distinguish them in the eyes of all provinces and of all regions not only shall keep their former dignity, but also shall be promoted to a still greater esteem by the grant of our Beneficence. Since, indeed, you aver that you have been annexed to Tuscia in such a way that by the established practice of ancient custom priests are created every other year in turn by you and by the aforesaid people of Tuscia, who exhibit stage plays and a gladiatorial show at Volsinii, a city of Tuscia; but that, because of the steepness of the mountains and the difficulties of the paths through the forests thither, you most earnestly request that permission shall be granted to your priest to abandon the necessity of going to Volsinii to celebrate the exhibition; and that we shall give a name from our cognomen to the community, which now has the name Hispellum and which you state is contiguous to and lying along the Flaminian Way and in which a temple of the Flavian Family is being built, of truly magnificent workmanship worthy of the greatness of its name; and that there that priest, whom Umbria selects annually, shall exhibit a festival of both stage plays and gladiatorial shows; and that this custom shall remain as regards Tuscia: that the priest created at Volsinii shall celebrate, as has been his wont, the observation of the aforesaid exhibitions at that place: our assent is gladly granted to your prayer and desire. For from our own name we vouchsafe to the community of Hispellum an eternal designation, an appellation to be venerated, so that hereafter the aforesaid city shall be called Flavia Constans; and in its center we wish, as you desire, the temple of our Flavian Family to be completed of magnificent workmanship, but with this regulation added: that no temple dedicated in our name shall be defiled by the deceptions of any contagious and unreasonable religious belief; and so we also permit you to stage exhibitions in the aforesaid community, although in such manner that, as has been said, the celebration of Volsinii also shall not fall into disuse through the ages, but that there the aforesaid celebration also must be staged by priests chosen from Tuscia. Thus, indeed, it will not appear that our actions especially derogate anything from old customs; and you, who are suppliants to us for the aforesaid causes, will rejoice that you have gained those things for which you have earnestly asked.

It is the first document that allows one to situate at Volsinii – or at least in the Volsiniese territory – the Fanum. It is said in the document that the annual Etruscan feast (concilium principum Etruriae) was celebrated near Volsinios, including games and combats of gladiators, and election of the federal sacerdos. The document dates 4th century AD, thus the geographical indication in it can only refer to Volsinii Novi, i.e. Bolsena, and not to Velzna (Latinized to Volsinii Veteres, currently Orvieto), the town the Romans had conquered and destroyed more than five centuries earlier.[15] New light is being brought into this area by British and Danish studies.[16] The sacred rescript, found in 1733, was claimed false by the Italian historian Ludovico Antonio Muratori in his Novus Thesaurus Veterum Inscriptionum (pp. 1791–1795).[17] New discoveries from ongoing excavations have been made in location "Alfina" and "Monte Landro"[18] by a team coordinated by Adriano Maggiani (teacher of Etruscology and Italic Archaeology at Ca' Foscari University of Venice), which may shed new lights on Etruscan culture at San Lorenzo Nuovo.

Island Bisentina

Within Lake Bolsena, the Island Bisentina (commune of Capodimonte) is also regarded as a sacred isle of the Etruscans, possible site for the Fanum and gate to the underground world of Agharti. A sanctuary located on an island not situated at the sea would have been accessible to priests and kings of the 12 cities (with their closest entourages), their protection being granted during the religious and political meetings by a handful of armed men. Italian television program Voyager (1 October 2003) supported this hypothesis, suggesting for the Etruscans a parallelism to the Incas populations, who had also chosen one of Lake Titicaca's islands as their omphalos.

Indeed, not only the Incas but, for the same reasons, various peoples have decided to erect their most eminent sanctuary on sacred islands: the Egyptians at Philae; the Greeks at Delos; the Germans at Helgoland in the North Sea and on the island of the goddess Nerthus, in the Baltic; the Celts at Gavrinis, near to the Breton coast in France, at Iona in Scotland, etc. This way of ruling finds a kind of confirmation in the poem Theogony, by the Greek oral poet Hesiod (8th-7th century BC) : "They ruled over the famous Tyrenians, very far off in a recess of the holy islands".

Pitigliano

In Geografia sacra, Giovanni Feo (professor at Department of Paleography and Medieval Studies, University of Bologna, Italy) presents his studies[19] conducted over the Fiora River valley, in the comune of Pitigliano.[20] A set of megalithic relics with astronomic functions was found out here, along with engraved rocky structures for cultural use. Such discoveries testify of the existence of a sacred area, originally developed by a pre-etruscan civilization settled down near to Lake Bolsena and later elected by the Etruscans as their religious centre. Giovanni Feo also pointed out the borders of this sacred area, which delimited the Fanum, divided into four parts centred around the intersection point between the earth and heaven gods.

Farnese

In the comune of Farnese, deep in the Selva del Lamone, location Voltone is assumed to get its name from the sacred temple dedicated to Voltumna. The Voltone is surrounded by numerous archaeological sites, such as Sovana, Castro, Vulci, and Tarquinia, which testify of the culture of the Etruscans.

Tarquinia

According to Alberto Palmucci,[21] the Fanum Voltumnae could be the renowned temple of Ara della Regina,[22] the biggest temple of Etruria, consecrated to Tinia, god of the sky and the highest god in Etruscan mythology (equivalent to the Roman Jupiter and the Greek Zeus). The only representation of this god is the one on a mirror, showing him attending the lesson in divination (haruspicy) given, in Tarquinia, to the culture hero Tarchon by prophet Tages.[23] Greek historian Strabo supports that symbols of Etruscan federal power were transferred to Rome from Tarquinia.

In the archaeological museum of Tarquinia is an Etruscan vessel (early seventh century BC) with a dedication to god Vertun (Latin: Vertumnus, Voltumna). It comes from the nearly Etruscan cemetery.

References


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno

local p = {}


-- Helper functions


local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end

function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end

function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '
%s
', table.concat(classes, ' '), s )

end

return p
  1. ^ Cf. temenos.
  2. ^ Livy, Ab Urbe condita, IV, 23, 25, 61; V, 17, VI, 2. The events are referred, respectively to the years 434, 433, 405, 397 and 389 BCE.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Francesco Scanagatta, "Orvieto: emerge dagli scavi il Fanum Voltumnae" (in Italian) 22 August 2007.
  6. ^ http://docenti.unimc.it/docenti/simonetta-stopponi
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ridgway, 1979–1980
  10. ^ Timperi, 2010
  11. ^ Pelosi and Fortunati, 1998
  12. ^
  13. ^ Coarelli, 2001.
  14. ^ Il Rescritto di Costantinoin favore di Spello (Original Latin & translation in Italian)
  15. ^ In the words of the medieval Byzantine writer Zonaras, Epitome storica, 8, 7, 4–8
  16. ^ Francesco Barbano, Scavi archeologici nell'alta Tuscia, Il Messaggero, 11 October 2007
  17. ^
  18. ^ http://www.orvietonews.it/it/index.php?id=28243#.TgWUZLJkqsI.facebook
  19. ^ Feo, 2006
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Palmucci, 2007
  23. ^ http://www.originietruschi.it/public/origini/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/3.Tagete-Tuscania.jpg

Sources

  • Coarelli Filippo, "Il rescritto di Spello e il santuario ‘etnico’ degli umbri, Umbria Cristiana. Dalla Diffusione del culto al culto dei santi (secc. iv–x)," Atti del xv Congresso internazionale di studi sull’alto medioevo, Spoleto 23–28 October 2000, Spoleto, 2001, 737–747.
  • Palmucci Alberto, "Virgilio, Erodoto, il DNA e l'origine degli Etruschi (Corito Tarquinia)". "Aufidus" (Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Antichità dell'Università di Bari; Dipartimento di Studi del Mondo Antico dell'Università di Roma Tre", 2007, nr. 62-63, p. 116, ss.
  • Pelosi Tonino, Fortunati Fabio, Ipotesi sul "Fanum Voltumnae"… l’ultimo, grande mistero degli Etruschi, Bolsena, 1998.
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