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Catalogue of the Etruscan Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

By Jean MacIntosh Turfa

Publication Year: 2005

Combining a guide for the Museum visitor with scholarly discussions of all objects on display, this catalogue provides background on the society, history, technology, and commerce of the Etruscan and Faliscan cultures from the ninth through the first centuries B.C. Several groups of material illustrate social, historical, and technological phenomena currently at the forefront of scholarly debate and study, such as the crucial period of the turnover from Iron Age hut villages to the fully urbanized princely Etruscan cities, the development and extent of ancient literacy, and the position of women and children in ancient societies. Many special objects seldom found or generally inaccessible in the United States include Faliscan tomb groups, Etruscan inscriptions, helmets, and trade goods.

The catalogue presents and analyzes objects of warfare, weaving, animals, religious beliefs, architectural and terracotta roofing ornaments, Etruscan bronze-working for utensils, weapons, and artwork, and fine, generic portraiture. It discusses the symbolic meaning of such objects deposited in tombs as a chariot buried with a Faliscan lady at Narce, a senator's folding stool buried in a later tomb at Chiusi, and a pair of horse bits with the teeth of a chariot team still adhering to them where the teeth fell when sacrificed for a funeral in the fifth-century necropolis at Tarquinia—much later than the horse sacrifice was previously known in Etruria.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press


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pp. vii-ix


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p. x-x

Bibliographic Abbreviation

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p. xi-xi

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pp. xiii-xiv

Because of the enlightened collecting policies of the Museum’s 19th century founders, the objects on display in the permanent exhibition gallery “Worlds Intertwined” were drawn mainly from relatively complete sets of grave goods from the...

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pp. xv-xvi

Any museum-based endeavor is a team effort, and the preparation of this catalogue has been as much...

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PART IA: The Archaeology of Early Central Italy

The chapters in this section are arranged in the order of the display units in the gallery: “Early Etruscans” to“Etruria’s Final Days,” or from the Iron Age through the period of Etruscan decline and absorption by Rome(in the 3rd–1st centuries BC). The range of Etruscan and Faliscan culture and history is covered in thematic units:“Warriors and Weavers,” which describes the tombs of Faliscan Narce (8th–6th centuries BC) and the society...

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1. Early Etruscans: A Glimpse of Iron Age and Orientalizing Italy through Artifacts

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pp. 3-12

Objects illustrating the Italian Iron Age consist mainly of a fine set of tomb groups excavated at Vulci and Narce, mainly depositions of the late Villanovan and Orientalizing periods, and also from tombs excavated at Bisenzio and Cerveteri and obtained from Italian dealers during...

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2. Warriors and Weavers: The Settlement of Narce and the Early History of the Faliscans

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pp. 13-21

The fortunes of the Etruscans and the Italic peoples of central Italy always were intertwined, in terms of material culture and religion and eventually in political and military history, as they all resisted and then had to give way to Roman domination. There always must have been intermarriage and exchange between...

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3. Fragile Records: The Surviving Sources of Etruscan Language

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pp. 22-26

Because the Etruscans took advantage of the organic materials in their environment for the media upon which to record their documents, few long texts have survived for us to study. While it is patently untrue that the Etruscan language is undeciphered, much less is known of it than of Greek or Latin. The original wealth of literature, daily notes, and correspondence...

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4. Daily Life in Etruria: The Accouterments of War and Peace, Work and Home

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pp. 27-34

The condition or recorded contexts of most pieces show them to have been deposited in tombs, some after a lifetime of use and others probably obtained or made especially for funerary deposition (like terracotta jewelry). The exhibition of pieces from the Vatican collections that toured during the 1990s (“The Etruscans: Legacy of a Lost Civilization...

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5. Greek Potters and Etruscan Consumers

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pp. 35-36

When pottery of pale clay painted with geometric patterns first reached Italy, it had a strong impact on local potters. The vectors for such imports were networks of settlements like the colony of Pithekoussai in the Bay of Naples, a joint enterprise of Euboean and Corinthian Greeks, and Syrians and...

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6. Etruscan Technology and Commerce: The Crafts that Made Etruria Famous, and the Objects of Mediterranean Exchange

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pp. 37-44

At one time it was said that the Etruscans maintained a “thalassocracy,” hegemony over travel and transport on the seas around the Italian archipelago and beyond. Aristotle (Politics 3.5.10–11) commented upon their treaty alliance with the Carthaginians, creating the image of the two major rivals of Greek...

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7. The Art of Worship: Votive Religion and Temple Architecture in Central Italy

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pp. 45-52

The Etruscans were respected by other cultures for their piety and religious learning; the Roman state on occasion sought the advice of Etruscan priests in matters of civic rituals and divination. It appears, also, that the earliest non-Greek cult buildings and monumental temples to be erected in Italy were those...

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8. Etruria’s Final Days: Life and Death during the Late Period of Etruscan History

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pp. 53-59

The 4th century in Etruria already showed the tendencies of economic and political downturn that would gain momentum through the “Late” period, defined as the 4th–1st centuries BC. This chronological period is more difficult to define. Each city fell at a different date under the sway or outright military conquest of the Roman state, but a new spirit was...

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PART IB: Tomb Groups Represented in the Gallery

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pp. 60-68

The tomb groups for which some documentation exists are described below. They are in alphanumeric order arranged by city location, rather than by their relative chronological order. The concordances provides provenance information, as do the catalogue entries on certain urns and sarcophagi (e.g., Musarna, 293), which obviously derive from tombs, although their original locations or grave groups have not been fully documented.1 The tombs at Montebello, Narce, Tuscania, and Vulci...


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pp. 69-75

Color Plates

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pp. 76-80

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PART II: Catalogue of Objects Displayed

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pp. 81-288

A: Handmade, biconical urn with flat base, sagging lower body, bulging upper body and broad, flaring rim. Single thick, upturned horizontal handle (round in section) set on shoulder. Incised decoration on upper body drawn by right handed artist. Decoration of conventional type: on lower body, single row of adapted seated-figures pattern (large, linked V-shapes drawn with triple,...


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pp. 289-308



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pp. 309-313

Attributions to Vase Painters

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p. 314-314

Sources from Private Collections

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p. 315-315

Inscriptions in CIE, TLE, and ET

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p. 316-316

Accession Numbers with Catalogue Numbers

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pp. 317-320


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pp. 321-330

E-ISBN-13: 9781934536254
Print-ISBN-13: 9781931707527

Page Count: 816
Publication Year: 2005