Meer, van der: Myths and More on Etruscan Stone Sarcophagi. Hardcover

  • Myths and More on Etruscan Stone Sarcophagi. Hardcover
  • L.B. van der Meer
  • x, 181 pages. 2004. Monographs on Antiquity, 3. «Myths and More on Etruscan Stone Sarcophagi» focuses on the chronology and meaning of representations, in painting or (painted) relief, on one hundred forty-eight coffins. ....
After the appearance of R. Herbig's catalogue «Die jüngeretruskischen Steinsarkophage» (Berlin) in 1952 many new tombs with sarcophagi were discovered. It is therefore worthwile to review Herbig's chronology and interpretations after a period of fifty years. It appears that the sarcophagi have been made over a period of around six generations, between approximately 350 and 200 BC, at a time which was crucial in the history of Etruria. Between 396 and 264 BC Rome conquered the Etruscan world. The question is: what impact did this conquest have on the minds of the Etruscan ruling elite and of the artisans, at Vulci, Cerveteri, Tarquinia and its hinterlands, at Orvieto, Chiusi and Volterra? Attention is paid to the find-spots, the family tombs, the owners of the sarcophagi, as well as to their social background and civil status. The shift in the choice of themes on the coffins showing first mythological, then Underworld and so-called decorative scenes, and the reason for iconographic changes will be discussed. It will be explained why the choice of mythological themes is almost entirely limited to Trojan and Theban myths. Non-mythological scenes, processions and rites of passage, the Underworld, hunting and battles, including Celtomachies, will also be dealt with. The so-called heraldic schemes may have a symbolic meaning referring to Dionysiac pleasures in the Underworld. Finally, the scenes on children's sarcophagi, with a similar content, are given attention. A catalogue will list all the Etruscan stone sarcophagi with representations, providing references to the most modern publications.