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Etruscan Civilization by Sybille Haynes
Hardcover, 432 p., November 2000, British Museum Press, with 4 maps, 84 color and 246 b/w illustrations. Get it from Amazon.co.uk, from Amazon.com (J. Paul Getty Museum Publications) or from Amazon.de (also Getty edition). New in June 2005 in paperback. Get the paperback edition from Amazon.co.uk.
Article added in January 2001


Sybille Haynes' cultural history of the Etruscan Civilization sums up our knowledge about this civilization from its origins in the Villanovan Iron Age in the ninth century B.C. to its absorption by the Roman Empire in the first century B.C. Haynes is a leading authority on the subject. Her previous publications include Etruscan Bronze Utensil (1965), Etruscan Sculpture (1971), Etruscan Bronzes (1985) and a historical novel, The Augur's Daughter: A Story of Etruscan Life (1987).
 
Etruscan Civilization combines well-known aspects with insights gained from recent discoveries. Haynes has not only many years working with the Etruscan collections in the British Museum - largely a result of 19th century excavations - but she has also kept close contact with ongoing excavations in Italy where she is a frequent scholar in residence.
 
Since the last important exhibitions and their catalogues, Les Etrusques et L'Europe in Paris in 1992 and Die Etrusker in Europa in Berlin in 1993, new finds and the reexamination of the material in museums have led to an even better understanding of the Etruscans. Haynes pays special attention to the previously somewhat neglected subject of the role of women in Etruscan society. Among the colleagues to whom she is indebted, there is a remarkably high percentage of women. Haynes' analysis of historical sources, archaeological evidence, architecture, tombs, pottery, works of art, trade and social structure is a reference work. Haynes contrasts the Etruscans with both the Greeks and the Romans. The Greeks stimulated the Etruscan art whereas the Romans absorbed many elements of Etruscan culture as it declined before they defeated the Etruscans and ended their independence as a people.
 
Haynes is well aware of the difficulties and uncertainties of her enterprise. There is the scarcity of ancient written sources. No Etruscan literature or written history has survived. Texts by the later Greek or Roman writers are "often impaired by strong anti-Etruscan bias and inevitably affected by the spirit of their own times." Furthermore, "surviving documents in Etruscan are mainly short funerary or votive inscriptions or fragmentary ritual texts that provide only scant information about the people's social and political institutions and cult practices. The archeological material is largely provided from grave contexts and therefore reflects more on death than on life. The majority of the tombs belong of course to the aristocratic and wealthy Etruscans whereas the poor have left little trace. However, fortifications, roads, ports, cities, farms and settlements have been increasingly explored in recent years. Therefore, knowledge of secular Etruscan life has increased. Haynes' precious study contains a detailed index as well as a topical bibliography which facilitates further study.






Map of Etruria. Photograph copyright: Sybille Haynes.
 
Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.