Etruscans, like Egyptians, painted their burial chambers with scenes reminiscent of fond activities during life, and scenes hopeful of a pleasant afterlife. The Tomb paintings also suggest; that sometime after Latin conquest of the Etruscans, relations between the two peoples became normalized. This is indicated by the prevalence of later bi-racial tomb scenes, as well as the changing appearance of the Etruscans themselves. As evidenced by tomb paintings and sarcophagus' bi-racial marriages were common.
|Sacrifice of the Trojan Captives, François Tomb, Vulci, circa 2nd century B.C. The scene depicts the burial ceremony for the Greek hero Patroclos. After burning his body on a bier, a tumulus was raised and games celebrated. Horses and captives were sacrificed and placed in the tumulus. Charon, the grim ferryman, stands ready with a hammer to hit the victim over the head before admitting him into the underworld, Hades.|
|Hermes carrying a woman, slab from Caere, Louvre, Paris, 6th century B.C. Hermes (Latin, Mercury) is the messenger of the gods. According to Julius Caesar and other sources, the main god of the Celts was Hermes. Agni, the god of fire of the Rig Veda of India, has an important role as the messenger of the gods. Offerings to the fire are carried by Agni up to the abode of the gods. The Etruscan messenger may be like Agni, carrying the cremated soul to heaven.|
|Banqueter, Tomb of the Lioness, Tarquinia, circa 520 B.C. Of interest in this image is the fact that he holds an egg, a symbol of rebirth, in his right hand, and he seems to be focused on the sash hanging in front of him. Pysanka, a Ukranian tradition of decorating Easter Eggs, gives us some background into the meanings of the eggs and their designs. The egg is a common symbol of the Etruscan "afterlife."|
|"Battle of the Amazons," Sarcophagus from Tarquina, Archeological Museum, Florence. Photo from Skira, Inc., Etruscan Painting, 1952. This painting obviously involves a woman and warriors, and the text should explain who is involved and what is happening in the scene. The woman does not appear to be wearing armor, and the semi-naked warrior in blue also has no armor, has a Phrigian helmet, and brandishes a sword towards the woman. On the other side of the woman is an armored soldier pointing a spear at the woman. The armed man, carring a bow, on the far right is actually leading the group away. The scene suggests the capture of the woman, not necessarily a battle. It may depict an abduction.|
|The Tomb of the Shields, ( dated 340 B.C. and discovered in 1870), is a large and complex hypogeum with four doorways, one in the central position and linked to a room at the back, with two others on the sides, linked through doors and windows, all decorated with painted frames. Its name derived by the fact that walls of the room at the rear of the tomb are decorated with numerous golden shields.
A number of scenes are painted on the entrance wall, showing members of the Velcha family, the tomb occupants. On right of the wall in front of you , there is a banquet, with Larth Velcha reclining on his bed with his wife Velia Seitithi, who is passing him an egg, symbol of rebirth, often reproduced in Etruscan tomb paintings. She is well dressed, and is seated next to her husband's feet, as was the custom. Not far from them, on the right wall, two other members of the family, Velthur and Arnth, the grandparents of Larth, are standing, dressed in large cloaks. They are accompanied by two young musicians. On the left wall Velthur and Ravnthiu appear again, but this time, they sit on folded stools. Velthur is holding a sceptre, symbol of his power. Over the windows, winged Spirits appear.
Francesca Giustiniani Tomb, Tarquinia, circa 5th century B.C. The man holds a crook in his left hand. Not seen in this image, to the left of the woman, is a chariot, and the woman may be protesting his departure in the chariot.
|Dancers, Tomb of the Lionesses, Tarquinia, 520 B.C. The young man carries a metal olpe, or jug, and in the young lady's right hand are castanets.|
|Tomb of the Baron, Tarquinia, circa 510 B.C. The deceased may be the woman to whom the drink is being offered. Note the wreaths or ring, a common device, and the Hippocampus and dolphins.|
|The Tomb of the Bulls and its Religious Symbols: This Tomb, dated 2nd half of the 6th century B.C. and discovered in 1892, is one of the most well known monuments of the whole Etruria. Close-up of the central mural in the Tomb of the Bulls, Tarquinia, "Achilles in Ambush." Mid 6th century B.C. A scene from the Illiad. The Trojan prince, Troilus, upon a stallion is ambushed at the well outside the walls of Troy by Achilles. Below, are trees representing winter, summer and fall, and between the trees is a girdle worn around the waist of Etruscan men, frequently appearing in Etruscan scenes. A wreath or garland hangs on the branch of the tree in winter, which may indicate the time of the hero's death. The girdle may be from the Cestus Girdle of Aphrodite, here carried by Hemeros.|