Etruscan cities of the dead

Etruscan cities were a group of ancient settlements that shared a common Etruscan language and culture, even though they were independent city-states. They flourished over a large part of the northern half of Italy starting from the Iron Ageand in some cases reached a substantial level of wealth and power.

They were eventually assimilated first by Italics in the south, then by Celts in the north and finally in Etruria itself by the growing Roman Republic. The Etruscan names of the major cities whose names were later Romanised survived in inscriptions and are listed below. Some cities were founded by Etruscans in prehistoric times and bore entirely Etruscan names. Others, usually Italic in origin, were colonised by the Etruscans, who in turn Etruscanised their name.

The estimates for the populations of the largest cities VeiiVolsiniiCaereVulciTarquiniaPopulonia range between 25, and 40, each in the 6th century BC. Of several Etruscan leaguesthe Dodecapolis or "twelve cities" of the Etruscan civilization is legendary amongst Roman authors particularly Livy.

etruscan cities of the dead

Etruscan cities were autonomous states, but they were linked in the dodecapolis and had a federal sanctuary at the Fanum Voltumnae near Volsinii. The table below lists Etruscan cities most often included in the Dodecapolis as well as other cities for which there is any substantial evidence that they were once inhabited by Etruscans in any capacity.

Roman and Italian names are given, but they are not necessarily etymologically related. For sources and etymologies if any refer to the linked articles. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Etruscan civilization. The Etruscan World. Retrieved 24 October An Historical Geography of Europe B. Archived from the original on 24 October Scullard This account accepts the ancient boundary along the Tiber.

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Etruscan -related topics.Defeats by Greeks in S. Italy, by Romans in center, and by Gauls in the North. End of Etruscan power and wealth. Etruscan City-States The Etruscans lived in a loose group of hilltop settlements and other villages that shared a common language that was not Latin.

About 30 of varying sizes are known. Twelve may have gathered together in a League of Etruscan Cities. Which twelve is not all that clear. In modern times, Rome in its early days is characterized as "Etruscan" because a group of Etruscan kings may have ruled there. Certainly they brought Etruscan engineering and artistry to early Rome: the giant sewage system known as the Cloaca Maxima, and a temple over 65 yards long on the top of the Capitoline hill. Etruscan cities show some measure of central urban planning.

Streets are laid out in north-south grid patterns.

The Etruscans - Legacy of a Lost Civilization

The Etruscans built reliable water supplies and covered drains. Shrines and temples would have been placed on a town's acropolis. Here the influence of the Greek city ends: the Etruscans had no public meeting place like a piazza or agora. They also had no democracy. An Etruscan "city-state" was not large, but it was more than a village. It usually included a hinterland of outlying peoples and villages in addition to its urban nucleus.

Name Today. Known for its bronze armament manufacturing and red clay pottery. Key city. Today: Site worth a visit. A few artifacts at Etruscan Museum and Archeological Park. The Stone is one of the longest extant inscriptions in the Etruscan language. Same Web site as above for Orvieto. The only large Etruscan city directly on the sea. Center of smelting of copper, silver, and iron ores from the nearby island of Elba.

First city in Etruria to coin silver. Worth a visit. Famous for beauty of its wall paintings in tombs. Vetulonia area incl. Roselle Grosseto, Cosa. A few tombs, necropolis, park and a Museum. Town abandoned; site remains.

Known for terra cotta sculptures. Known for its art. Piacenza Museum.Prior to the rise of Rome, Italy was inhabited by a number of different peoples. The coastal region of southern Italy and Sicily, for instance, was colonized by the Greeks, whilst the interior of that area was home to various Italic tribes. Further up north, in the area of modern day Tuscany, western Umbria and northern Lazio, the Etruscans built their impressive civilization and competed with Rome for the control of central Italy.

By the 3 rd century B. Nevertheless, ancient authors have written much about the enigmatic Etruscans, whose origins are continuously debated in the academic world, thus offering us a glimpse into this ancient civilization. More importantly, perhaps, are the material remains left behind by the Etruscans in archaeology.

One such area where Etruscan remains can be found is the Etruscan necropolis at Cerveteri. Cerveteri is located in northern Lazio in the province of Rome, and is commonly thought to be one of the city states of the Etruscan League. One of the most impressive sites in Cerveteri is the Necropoli della Banditaccia.

The Etruscan settlement of Cerveteri can be dated back to the 9 th century B. One of the unique features of this necropolis is its urban planning. Additionally, the tombs in the necropolis imitate houses, providing archaeologists with the best and only evidence of Etruscan residential architecture, as such structures have not survived in the archaeological record.

The Etruscan necropolis was organized with a city-like plan. Photo source: BigStockPhoto. The tombs at the necropolis can be classified chronologically. The oldest tombs are dated to the 7 th century B. These are huge circular mounds, and some of these burial mounds were used by the same family over several generations.

It is believed that the use of the tumulus by the Etruscans originated in the Near East, as the 7 th century B. The large tumuli are surrounded by smaller tumulisuggesting that Etruscan society at that time was hierarchical and was governed by aristocrats. The oldest Etruscan tombs are the large circular mounds.

Towards the second half of the 6 th century B.

The Cerveteri Necropolis, Etruscan City of the Dead

This may have been a reflection in the change of Etruscan social structure from an aristocratic one to an egalitarian urban one. The standard appearance of the tombs in the necropolis may have been an indication that there was a more even distribution of wealth in Etruscan society.

Incidentally, it was during this century that the Etruscans were at their height of power. During this century, the Etruscan civilization achieved it greatest extent, with new colonies being founded in the Po Valley in the north and on the Adriatic coast in the west.

The Etruscan Tumuli: Underground Cities for the Dead

Furthermore, the Etruscans were able to monopolize the trade routes in the western Mediterranean, thus bringing great wealth to their cities. By the 5 th century B.In the eyes of their Greek contemporaries and Roman successors, the Etruscans were clearly a different ethnic group.

Dionysus from Alycarnass said, "Not only in the language, also for the way of life and for the costumes, the Etruscans are different from all other populations. The towns and hilltop villages of Etruria appear to have enjoyed considerable sovereignty. However, they did speak the same language, shared extremely similar religious rituals, military practices, and social customs.

Religion dominated everyday life. The Etruscans believed that among them existed an immutable course of divine will, and their best intellectual efforts restlessly remained devoted to the question and interpretation of destiny. Their gods spoke to mortals through nature and all natural events: the flight of birds, the sound of thunder, even the strikes of lightning bolts. Etruscans believed that death was the journey to the afterlife and had a fear that the neglected dead may become malevolent; therefore, tombs were constructed with particular care, solidity, and lavishness.

Thus, the dead would take pleasure in their last dwelling, enjoy their afterlife, and chose not to haunt the living. The Etruscans were fond of decorating their sarcophagi with sculptures of humans in natural poses.

In particular, the Sarcophagus of the Spouses depicts a couple lounging on a dining couch. It is uncertain if it actually contained the joint remains, but it idealizes the epitome of nuptial bliss. The practice of cremation was quite common and decorative cinerary or burial urns were often used to store remains. The styles of urn range from biconical vase shapedto miniature hut style to the canopic style with human figures or heads on their lids.

etruscan cities of the dead

The sarcophagi and urns would be laid in the tomb with other burial items necessary for the afterlife. Adams, ; Bloch, ; Spivey, Many tombs resembled houses and contained furnishings and decorations, both real and reproduced in miniature.

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The nearly intact Regolini-Galassi Tombdiscovered in the necropolis of Etruria inis the most complete archeological find from the "orientalizing" period of the Etruscan civilization late eighth to early sixth century B. The tomb included jewelry, pottery, a chariot, a nobleman's throne, and many other bronze and gold artifacts. Sometimes the walls of tombs were frescoed with scenes from daily life or the most important or enjoyable moments in the deceased's life.

The fresco from the Tomb of the Triclinium shows banqueters reclining on couches while being entertained by musicians and waited on by servants.

Also depicted are many figures of dancers and musicians playing together and a prowling Etruscan cat on the hunt for morsels of food. Similarly, the Tomb of the Lioness depicts themes of music, dancing and banqueting also containing a crater that was likely used for the consumption of wine.Etruscan Art and Architecture. Pre-Roman Italy was inhabited by many peoples of different origins, languages and cultural traditions. Central Italy — known as Etruria — was inhabited by the Etruscans.

Today the region is known as Tuscany. The Etruscans were o ne of the first great civilizations on the Peninsula of Italy. They had a city-state organization akin to the Greeks. The cities co-existed, and the peoples were tied together culturally. At the same time, there was no true political unification of the individual city-states. The The Etruscans were not a unified people and were often warring. Where did the Etruscans come from? There are several theories:.

We do not have any written evidence to support any of these theories, but we do have archeological evidence. Road builders Engineers water systems Sculptors Painters Farmers Sailors or Seafarers Horsemen Merchants with contacts abroad Although we do not have a complete historical record of the Etruscans, we have a lot of material objects from this culture.

Many works of art have been excavated from Etruscan cities of the dead a necropolis. Necropolis at Banditaccia in CerveteriItaly, 7th to 2nd centuries B. Remember that we first encountered the term "necropolis" when we studied the Egyptians.

The Etruscans usually had two cities — one of the living and one of the dead which were located on hills. In the Etruscan culture, a necropolis looked like a series of mounds. Each mound was a tumulus singular ; when there are many of these mound, they are termed tumuli plural. These covered multi-chambered underground tombs which were cut out of the dark local limestone, known as tufa. The burial mounds were rounded, but the chambers within these mounds were rectangular.

This is one of the tomb chambers. The rooms had niches for bodies and seem to have been designed for several generations of the same family. We do not know exactly what the Etruscans believed about the dead, but it appears that they believed in some sort of earthly survival of the deceased. They seemed to be creating rooms for their next life. The burial places were appointed with all of the elements necessary for the world of the living.

It also appears that the appointments of these tombs these were meant to signal tribute and prestige. The architecture, furnishing, and appointments all indicated the amount of wealth of the family and the tribute due to their deceased kin note the huge gold fibula discussed below. We d o not see shelves or cupboards or drawers. Rather, it appears that the Etruscans hung things on their walls. Note, here, for example, the rope, jug, knife, hoe, and ax — all done in relief.

The relief sculptures are brightly-colored with paint. Also, we can see that they lived with dogs notice sculpture on the pillar or pier on the left.

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We also see food, a mirror, and cooking equipment.Lawrencea brilliant civilization once controlled almost the entire peninsula we now call Italy. This was the Etruscan civilization, a vanished culture whose achievements set the stage not only for the development of ancient Roman art and culture but for the Italian Renaissance as well. Though you may not have heard of them, the Etruscans were the first superpower of the Western Mediterranean who, alongside the Greeks, developed the earliest true cities in Europe.

They were so successful, in fact, that the most important cities in modern Tuscany Florence, Pisa, and Siena to name a few were first established by the Etruscans and have been continuously inhabited since then.

This is particularly ironic as it was the Etruscans who were responsible for teaching the Romans the alphabet and for spreading literacy throughout the Italian peninsula. Figure 1. Etruscan influence on ancient Roman culture was profound and it was from the Etruscans that the Romans inherited many of their own cultural and artistic traditions, from the spectacle of gladiatorial combat, to hydraulic engineering, temple design, and religious ritual, among many other things.

Early on the Etruscans developed a vibrant artistic and architectural culture, one that was often in dialogue with other Mediterranean civilizations. Trading of the many natural mineral resources found in Tuscany, the center of ancient Etruria, caused them to bump up against Greeks, Phoenicians and Egyptians in the Mediterranean.

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With these other Mediterranean cultures, they exchanged goods, ideas and, often, a shared artistic vocabulary. Unlike with the Greeks, however, the majority of our knowledge about Etruscan art comes largely from their burials.

Since most Etruscan cities are still inhabited, they hide their Etruscan art and architecture under Roman, Medieval and Renaissance layers. Fortunately, though, the Etruscans cared very much about equipping their dead with everything necessary for the afterlife—from lively tomb paintings to sculpture to pottery that they could use in the next world. From their extensive cemeteries, we can look at the world of the dead and begin to understand some about the world of the living.

During the early phases of Etruscan civilization, they conceived of the afterlife in terms of life as they knew it. When someone died, he or she would be cremated and provided with another home for the afterlife.

This type of hut urn, made of an unrefined clay known as impasto, would be used to house the cremated remains of the deceased. Not coincidentally, it shows us in miniature form what a typical Etruscan house would have looked like in Iron Age Etruria — BCE —oval with a timber roof and a smoke hole for an internal hearth.

Later on, houses for the dead became much more elaborate. During the Orientalizing period — BCEwhen the Etruscans began to trade their natural resources with other Mediterranean cultures and became staggeringly wealthy as a result, their tombs became more and more opulent.

Figure 3.

Etruscan City-States

The well-known Regolini-Galassi tomb from the city of Cerveteri shows how this new wealth transformed the modest hut to an extravagant house for the dead. Built for a woman clearly of high rank, the massive stone tomb contains a long corridor with lateral, oval rooms leading to a main chamber. A stroll through the Etruscan rooms in the Vatican museum where the tomb artifacts are now housed presents a mind boggling view of the enormous wealth of the period. Found near the woman were objects of various precious materials intended for personal adornment in the afterlife—a gold pectoral, gold bracelets, a gold brooch of outsized proportions, among other objects—as well as silver and bronze vessels and numerous other grave goods and furniture.

Of course, this important woman might also need her four-wheeled bronze-sheathed carriage in the afterlife as well as an incense burner, jewelry of amber and ivory, and, touchingly, her bronze bed around which thirty-three figurines, all in various gestures of mourning, were arranged.

Etruscan Cities Of The Dead

Though later periods in Etruscan history are not characterized by such wealth, the Etruscans were, nevertheless, extremely powerful and influential and left a lasting imprint on the city of Rome and other parts of Italy. Figure 4.

Bronze bed and carriage, Regolini-Galassi Tomb, c.Hello there! I am excited about perusing through your website. This is amazing! I just enjoyed every word, every description and every photo. Human nature, I suppose is what makes us human -and also, what makes history both wonderful and horrible. I am sure that Oscar Wilde would have had a quick comeback about the sheer unattractiveness of "living without pretension", but he never seems to be around when you need him!

Thanks very much for your pictures and descriptive narrative.

etruscan cities of the dead

My wife and I were in Cerveteri inand we were enthralled by all things Etruscan. I have visited a lot of Etruscan sites in the course of my many years in Florence but Cerveteri really does have a unique presence.

Houses for the Dead Giorgio Bassani. The Garden of the Finzi Continis. An aerial view of the Etruscan Necropolis of Cerveteri. Like casual calls on friends and neighbors, on a pleasant holiday when everyone is home. For once, the Mysterious Etruscans seem diagrammatically clear. The interior of a chamber tomb; the triangular headpiece. Renderings of the Matuna tomb decorations. Des Vergers Paris, But who were the people buried here?

Terracotta sarcophagus lids from Cerveteri. And all of these forces shaped the local topography. Tumuli encircled by dramatic stonework. So, the Etruscans of Cerveteri remain as mysterious as we want them to be. A road leads to an Etruscan tumulus ; in the midground, the round opening to a subterranean burial place; at the left, a wall of cut stone.

A rental car from Florence, parked in sparse shade near a.

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