2. Warriors and Weavers: The Settlement of Narce and the Early History of the Faliscans
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2 Warriors and Weavers The Settlement of Narce and the Early History of the Faliscans The Faliscan Territory and Its Close Relationship with Etruria 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 these neighboring groups. By the Late Bronze Age, many pottery and metal types shared the same design, usage, and technology . From subsequent periods, archaeological finds, sanctuaries and cults, representational art, and classical literature all demonstrate the close relationship between peoples across the regions of the Po Valley and Upper Adriatic, the central Apennines and Tyrrhenian coast down to the Tiber mouth, and, with a distinct local flavor, as far south as the Bay of Naples. Costume, art, arms and armor, agriculture, cults and governmental forms contributed to a shared culture and commerce. Their geographic circumstances made it easy for the Faliscans of Narce to partake of Etruscan material culture and exchange; tombs and artifacts of the late 8th and 7th century are, with certain local preferences, clearly comparable to those of Etruria during the Late Villanovan and Orientalizing periods. Relations were especially close between the cities of Narce and nearby Etruscan Veii.1 The Etruscans spoke a language unrelated to the Indo-European, Italic languages of the Latins and Faliscans. This has been taken as evidence of the earlier arrival of the Etruscans’ ancestors in Italy. The Faliscan language, recorded by the geographer Strabo (5.2.9) as $d$Òglvsson (“their unique language”), has been the subject of intense study since the 19th century.2 It is a distinct, Italic language (not a mere dialect, but related to Latin) recorded in inscriptions, mainly on vases, as early as the 7th century BC, and it is as sophisticated as the language of adjacent Etruria. The epigraphy of the 6th–5th centuries traces the development of Faliscan dialect, always written in the Etruscan script. Some early examples also indicate the literacy of women in Faliscan territory as in Etruria. A number of Faliscan names show the influence/intermarriage of Etruscans in early Faliscan society.3 Monuments, such as the stele of Avile Feluske at Vetulonia,4 and the stylistic influences that surged back and forth in art of the 7th through 1st centuries BC show a constant process of interaction, both social and economic, between the cities/towns of the Faliscans and Etruscan centers, especially Veii and Cerveteri.5 Links between Etruria and the Faliscans continued into the Late period (4th–1st centuries BC), when Falerii, north of Narce, was preeminent, attracting Etruscan artists, like the potters of Genucilia plates and other Red-Figure painters, and the sculptors of architectural terracottas for the 5th–4th century temple complexes of Sassi Caduti, Lo Scasato, Celle, and Vignale.6 Inevitably, the political fortunes of the two enemies of Rome mingled as Rome completed the conquest of Italy. At the end of the 5th century, a formal alliance between the Faliscans, Capenates, and the Etruscans of Veii set the stage for domination by Rome. The first open conflict in 438 BC saw the famous single combat between the Roman champion Cossus and Lars Tolumnius, the king of Veii.7 Just as the Gauls were making inroads against other Etruscan cities, Veii fell to Rome in 396 and Capena in 395; Falerii (Civita Castellana) was left isolated to deal with Rome. Periods of unrest and intriguing with Tarquinia against Rome were ended by the Roman destruction of Falerii and Narce in 241 BC, when the few survivors were deported to newly founded Falerii Novi on a low-lying, indefensible site. The 5th through 1st centuries of Faliscan culture are today known from groups of painted vases made in Falerii, and by the fine architectural terracottas found on temple sites in the city (Lo Scasato and Vignale, cults of Minerva, Apollo), and its territory (Celle, Sassi Caduti, cults of Juno Curitis, Mercury). The anatomical votive phenomenon is also evident and shows strong affinities to the cults of Veii. As with some of the Etruscan cities, like Veii, worship continued at numerous cult sites even after the Roman conquest. The only later Faliscan sites represented in the Museum by objects with a secure provenance are Narce (see 195, 214, 228, 236–238, 255) and Cogion-Coste di Manone, near Falerii, as well as...


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Subject Headings

  • Faliscans (Italic people).
  • University of Pennsylvania. Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology -- Catalogs.
  • Art, Etruscan -- Catalogs.
  • Italy -- Antiquities -- Catalogs.
  • Etruscans.
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