The University of Wisconsin Press

Classical Studies / Archaeology / Art / Art History

Murlo and the Etruscans
Art and Society in Ancient Etruria
Edited by Richard Daniel De Puma
and Jocelyn Penny Small

Controversy has surrounded the ancient Etruscan site of Murlo—near Siena, Italy—ever since excavations were begun there in the late 1960s. Chief among the riddles is the function of the imposing building that dominates the Tuscan landscape and the reason for its destruction near the end of the sixth century B.C.

Murlo and the Etruscans explores this and other mysteries in a collection of twenty essays by leading specialists of Etruscan and classical art, all of whom have been associated with the Murlo site. Numerous photographs and drawings accompany the essays.

The first eleven chapters survey specific groups of Etruscan objects and challenge the view of Etruscan art as provincial or derivative. Interpretations of the magnificent series of decorated terra cotta frieze plaques and other architectural elements contribute to an understanding of Murlo and related Etruscan centers. Plaques depicting a lively Etruscan banquet offer a way to detect differences between Etruscan and ancient Greek society.

The remaining nine chapters treat various aspects of Etruscan art, often moving beyond ancient Murlo, both geographically and temporally. They examine funerary symbolism, sculpted amber, and amber trade contacts along the ancient Adriatic Coast; depictions of domesticated cats; votive terra cottas of human anatomical parts and how they help in understanding Etruscan medicine; and the adaptation of Greek style, myth, and iconography in Etruscan art.

“There is a fine and commendable interweaving and intertwining of thoughts and scholarly research throughout Murlo and the Etruscans. It will be a useful reference source for the art of Etruscan coroplast, wherein lies the forte of the Etruscan sculptor!”—Mario A. Del Chiaro, University of California

Richard Daniel De Puma is professor of art and art history at the University of Iowa. He is the author of Etruscan Tomb-Groups: Ancient Pottery and Bronzes in Chicago’s Field Museum and co-editor of Rome and India: The Ancient Sea Trade, the latter published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Jocelyn Penny Small is professor of art history and director of the U. S. Center, Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae, Rutgers University. She is the author of Studies Related to the Theban Cycle on Late Etruscan Urns and Cacus and Marsyas in Etrusco–Roman Legend.

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Fall 1993
LC: 93-014995 DG
256 pp.   8.5 x 11  
206 halftones, 45 line illus.

Book icon Cloth $45.00 s
ISBN 978-0-299-13910-0
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“These essays will have a broad impact on the study of the ancient Mediterranean. They will certainly be required reading not only for Etruscologists but for anyone with an interest in the world of classical antiquity. The range of subjects, moving in wide arcs around the archaeological site at Murlo, brings the site into focus in a way that a series of standard archaeological site reports could not.”
—Kenneth Hamma, J. Paul Getty Museum

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