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Etruscan Demons, Monsters Unearthed
Discovery news.com ^ | 11-5-2003 | Rossella Lorenzi

Posted on 11/05/2003 8:18:48 AM PST by blam

Etruscan Demons, Monsters Unearthed

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Demonic Charioteer with the Shadow of Death

Nov. 5, 2003 — Etruscan art, made of strange demons and monsters, is emerging in a Tuscan village, in what could be one of the most important discoveries of recent times, according to scholars who have seen the paintings.

Lurking on the left wall of a 4th century B.C. tomb, the exceptionally preserved monsters have been unearthed during the ongoing excavation of the Pianacce necropolis in Sarteano, a village 50 miles from Siena, Italy.

"So far we have found some scenes of banquets, snake-like monsters, demons, a hyppocampus and a sarcophagus broken in many fragments, probably by tomb robbers. We are confident to find more art as the digging goes on," archaeologist Alessandra Minetti told Discovery News.

.

One of Europe's most mysterious people, the Etruscans forged Italy's most sophisticated civilization before the Romans. They rose from Italian prehistory around 900 B.C. and dominated most of the country for about five centuries.

Yet mystery shrouds their history. First defeated by the Romans in the 4th century B.C., in 90 B.C., after centuries of decline, the Etruscans became Roman citizens. They left no literature to record their culture — few traces of their puzzling, non-Indo-European language survive. Only the richly decorated tombs they left behind provide a glimpse into their world.

"The newly excavated tomb belonged to a rich family, and shows that Sarteano wasn't just a countryside village, but a politically important center," Minetti said.

Vividly colored, the scenes in the tomb reflect a sinister change in the Etruscan concept of death. A fun loving and sensuous people, on the verge of decline they adopted the Greek vision of a demon-infested underworld.

"The figure with red hair is surely a death demon of some kind. This is confirmed by the black figure at her side, used by the Etruscans to characterize demons," chief archaeologist Mario Iozzo, director of the Center for Conservation in Florence and Chiusi's Archaeological Museum, told Discovery News.

With a chariot driven by gryphons, the demonic figure has probably come to hurry the soul of the deceased to the Underworld. Scholars are not sure whether the figure is Charu (Charon), normally shown as a bearded man with ruddy skin, the female Vanth, usually winged, or a totally unknown demon. They hope to find more clues as the digging continues.

Other paintings in the burial chamber are celebratory, showing joyful people banqueting — a scene more in tone with the spontaneity of the early Etruscan art.

Scholars are intrigued. "From what I can see, I can state that the painting is of exceptional quality, indeed a masterpiece of the late Etruscan style," Michael Padgett, curator of ancient art at Princeton University Art Museum, told Discovery News.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; demons; etruscan; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; monsters; unearthed
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1 posted on 11/05/2003 8:18:48 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
Interesting development.
2 posted on 11/05/2003 8:21:21 AM PST by dodger
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To: blam
few traces of their puzzling, non-Indo-European language survive

Related to the Basques?

3 posted on 11/05/2003 8:22:20 AM PST by r9etb
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; Alas Babylon!; annyokie; bd476; BiffWondercat; Bilbo Baggins; billl; ..
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.

For real time political chat - Radio Free Republic chat room

4 posted on 11/05/2003 8:22:53 AM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
It would be nice if they turned up a long bilingual text, say Latin and Etruscan. Almost all we know of the Etruscan language is from short bilinguals of the form "A. Doofus erected this to his father lest he be thought lacking in filial piety."

That red-haired lady is obviously some guy's ugly wife with a big fat cat. In fact, the cat looks a lot like a character from a Cary Grant - Katherine Hepburn movie. No need to get supernatural here.

5 posted on 11/05/2003 8:24:55 AM PST by VadeRetro
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To: blam

6 posted on 11/05/2003 8:30:10 AM PST by blam
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To: blam
Looks like Helen Thomas to me.
7 posted on 11/05/2003 8:31:36 AM PST by LanPB01
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To: Romulus; blam
Yet mystery shrouds their history. First defeated by the Romans in the 4th century B.C., in 90 B.C., after centuries of decline, the Etruscans became Roman citizens. They left no literature to record their culture — few traces of their puzzling, non-Indo-European language survive. Only the richly decorated tombs they left behind provide a glimpse into their world.
Shame on the false Etruscan
Who lingers in his home,
When Porsena of Clusium
Is on the march for Rome.

8 posted on 11/05/2003 8:33:14 AM PST by eastsider
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To: r9etb
More likely the Minoans.
9 posted on 11/05/2003 8:41:29 AM PST by Junior ("Your superior intellects are no match for our puny weapons!")
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To: eastsider
The Roman historians wrote about lots of others, even Lapplanders. The Wrote of Greek history and myths. Yet they did not preserve any Eutruscan heritage. Were they too familiar? Were they ashamed? Just seems strange to me.
10 posted on 11/05/2003 8:51:59 AM PST by shamusotoole
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To: shamusotoole; eastsider
The Roman historians wrote about lots of others, even Lapplanders.

Lars Porsena was a Swede, wasn't he? ;-)

11 posted on 11/05/2003 8:56:43 AM PST by Romulus (Nothing really good ever happened after 1789.)
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To: Junior
From the red hair I would guess they were celtic or related to them. I remember vaguely there was a group of Celts that invaded and fought the locals, I am not positive of the timing. They may have come later.
12 posted on 11/05/2003 8:56:45 AM PST by Evil Inc
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To: blam
Did someone say "Demon"?


13 posted on 11/05/2003 9:00:56 AM PST by BushMeister
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To: shamusotoole; Romulus
The Wrote of Greek history and myths.
Arma virumque cano
14 posted on 11/05/2003 9:01:54 AM PST by eastsider
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To: Evil Inc
From the red hair I would guess they were celtic or related to them. I remember vaguely there was a group of Celts that invaded and fought the locals, I am not positive of the timing. They may have come later.

There were Celts (Cisalpine Gauls) south of the Alps, but they weren't the Etruscans. The Celtic languages are Indoeuropean; Etruscan is an isolate.

15 posted on 11/05/2003 9:04:19 AM PST by VadeRetro
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To: blam
There was a whole history of interaction between peoples the world over in ancient times that we moderns are largely unaware of. Most people's Darwinistic view of man's development has clouded their vision of the human race's many rises and falls in world travel, interaction, sophistication, and technology.

I find it quite interesting that pretty much every other piece of Etruscan art I've ever seen depicted dark haired and often dark skinned people. This person, I would imagine was most definitely not of that origin. If he is, and yes I think it's a he and not a she, then he would probably have been a far more ancient Etruscan, living long before the Etruscans became a uniformly dark haired people.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I am fascinated by this find. Thank you for posting it.
16 posted on 11/05/2003 9:07:32 AM PST by MarcoPolo
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To: Junior
They were the off-scouring of Numenor, deceived by Sauron.
17 posted on 11/05/2003 9:08:06 AM PST by muleskinner
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To: MarcoPolo
"There was a whole history of interaction between peoples the world over in ancient times that we moderns are largely unaware of. Most people's Darwinistic view of man's development has clouded their vision of the human race's many rises and falls in world travel, interaction, sophistication, and technology.

That's my view also.

18 posted on 11/05/2003 10:03:21 AM PST by blam
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To: VadeRetro
Not only was Lars (non Norgensis) Porcena an Etruscan King of Rome, supposedly I Clavdivs (and II Clavdivs and III Clavdivs and IV Clavdivs....) was of Eutruscan descent and wrote about their language. His book was last (perhaps buried in the Robert Graves.)
19 posted on 11/05/2003 10:08:45 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: muleskinner
Sauron this, Sauron that - Sauron was jsut Melko(r)'s piss boy.
20 posted on 11/05/2003 11:01:45 AM PST by SengirV
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