Among the Phantoms of Men Outworn: In the Tomb of Orcus II, Greek Myth Illustrates Etruscan Beliefs and Political Reality

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dc.contributor.advisor Koloski-Ostrow, Ann Olga Guerriero, Stephen Anthony 2015-09-14T18:50:49Z 2015-09-14T18:50:49Z 2015
dc.description.abstract This thesis examines the choices the artists and owners of the Tomb of Orcus II made in depicting specific characters, images, and visual narratives within an Etruscan funerary context of the fourth century BCE. The tomb represents centuries of cultural diffusion from Greek traders and the settlers of Magna Graecia repeatedly sharing their stories, beliefs, and material goods with the powerful Etruscan settlements of central Italy. Taken in its entirety, the Tomb of Orcus transported its occupants directly into the underworld of Homer’s epics and placed the deceased among the great Greek heroes of art and song. The narrative cycle of Orcus II reveals a discernable interest in rebirth, resurgence, and an anticipation of a personal spiritual renewal mirrored by a cultural and political renewal of the Etruscan power base at Tarquinia. Built in phases, the tomb reflected a Mediterranean world in transition, and an ideology about the afterlife equally in flux. An important aspect of my research is an accounting of the historical context of the tomb’s construction and how political and military events translated into specific imagery within the tomb. The two main periods of construction and decoration happened during the gradual decline and incorporation of Etruria into the Romans’ rapidly expanding civilization. Despite challenges presented by a generally poor state of preservation, the site offers an intriguing glimpse into Etruscan funerary practices, and by extension, the fusion of Etruscan and Greek mythology concerning death and the afterlife. The architecture of the tomb includes two areas of physical burial space adjoined by a narrow passageway. Scholars refer to the older portion of the tomb as Orcus I, and the later construction as Orcus II. While Orcus I presents a more traditional view of the Etruscan afterlife and shares much of its visual language with contemporary tombs, Orcus II suggests a new, changing perspective that is discernable both by its own imagery and by its juxtaposition with Orcus I. The entire space offers an illuminating narrative about a critical period of central Italian history.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by Stephen Anthony Guerriero 2015
dc.title Among the Phantoms of Men Outworn: In the Tomb of Orcus II, Greek Myth Illustrates Etruscan Beliefs and Political Reality
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Graduate Program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies MA Masters Ancient Greek and Roman Studies Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.description.esploro yes

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