The Etruscans and their Burial Practises
An understanding of the Etruscan’ domesticity is revealed through their tombs, implying an organized and sophisticated society. The Etruscan had a passion for an orderly and comfortable afterlife (The Mysterious Etruscan, 2006; Hamlin, 1975, 44-45), thus they built sophisticated tombs that mimicked their everyday households. In early cremations, Etruscan used urns made to look like huts (Figure 1) (Sacristans, 1979; Etruscan Civilization, 2009; Hamlin, 1975, 67-68). They believed that the shape of a tomb had to resemble the deceased surroundings [house].
This verifies that housing existed t an early stage of their civilization confirming that they were not primitive. The tomb of Bas Relief (Figure 2) (The Mysterious Etruscan, 2006; Hamlin, 1975; Statesmen, 19951 displays a well thought out set up of a typical house In Torture. This tomb exhibits cooking utensils, tools, crockery and weaponry all carved into the tuff rock walls (Statesmen, 1995). Even though tombs often contained these items for the afterlife, it provides valuable information about them as a society and demonstrates that they were able to construct tools and weaponry valuable to everyday life.
Later mobs imitated the civil architecture that developed, using paintings to emphasis architectural features of their homes (The Mysterious Etruscan, 2006).
Etruscan were well-known for their obsession with elaborate burials (Mysterious Etruscan, 2006). The detail involved with their burial practices suggests that religion and afterlife was of great importance. They believed the gods communicated through nature (The Mysterious Etruscan, 2006; Statesmen, 1995; ETRUSCAN, 2012) and particular symbols such as birds, which had certain religious meanings. Further to this, tombs have been found to display paintings of ducks (Figure 3), which are believed to have symbolized a guide who led the deceased to the afterlife (ETRUSCAN, 2012).
Their commitment to religion and the afterlife influenced them to place statues to guard tombs, demonstrating their obligation to protect the dead (Sacristans, M, 1979). Dross existed in tombs, pointing to the entrance way of the afterlife revealing that they had a concept of what happens after death (The Mysterious Etruscan, 2006). All these factors reveal a society which had a developed and sophisticated sense of thinking. Other evidence states that slaves and prisoners were sacrificed during burials of the Kings, paintings reveal that a major part of the burial ceremony was to do with the living.
This involved helping them to regain their confidence psychologically by distracting hem from the idea of death (Sacristans, 1979). This was achieved through sport competitions and taking part in a communal meal. The level of thought put into their religion as demonstrated in the evidence above, clearly demonstrates that the religious practices of the Etruscan’ were complex and well thought out, indicating a sophisticated and organized society. Extensive information about Etruscan culture is provided by their tombs implying a developed and flourishing society.
The purpose of entertainment in Torture was to entertain and to drive the thought of death away at burial ceremonies (Sacristans, 1979). Many paintings on the walls of tombs illustrate scenes of music, sport, banquets and games (Statesmen, 1995; The Mysterious Etruscan, 2006; ETRUSCAN, 2012; Etruscan Civilization, 2009; consonant, 1979). Physical evidence of musical instruments exist, for example bells were mounted on tombs which ring when it is windy and have the purpose of repelling evil (The Mysterious Etruscan, 2006).
The fact that music existed in their society proves they were well organized, allowing time to invent, produce and play musical instruments as a form of entertainment (Figure 4). That the Etruscan had the time and resources o create objects that were not necessary for survival, highlights their advanced level of sophistication as a developed society. As further proof of this, images of games and athletic competitions, horse and chariot races, discus, Javelin and Jumping are demonstrated in paintings on tomb walls.
The excavation of a tomb at Population provides evidence, proving the existence of sport where a two-wheeled horse chariot was discovered (Figure 5) (Statesmen, 1995). Banquets were frequently displayed on the walls of tombs, showing involvement with music, dancing and feasting (Figure 6) veiling their sophistication and at the same time, demonstrating social hierarchy. Art ranging from pottery to paintings was displayed in tombs. The fact that they used art as a form of entertainment indicates that they appreciated it and therefore had a developed artistic culture.
The high level of entertainment utilized by the Etruscan’, evident in their art, music, games, sport and banquets, mirrors their advanced ways as a society. Etruscan tombs provide evidence of an organized and sophisticated society. Their strong belief in the concept of an afterlife influenced them to create mobs which replicated their domestic life. These tombs contain evidence, providing an insight into how they lived. Their religious beliefs were clearly demonstrated revealing an in-depth thought process which involved symbolism, sacrifice and driving out the idea of death.