Monday, November 28, 2011

Gods and Places in Etruscan Religion

Gods and Places in Etruscan Religion

By Ingrid Edlund-Berry, The University of Texas at Austin

Etruscan Studies, Vol. 1 (1994)

Introduction: Whether thou are a god or a goddess…(Cato, De Agricultura 139)

As this epigraph and other quotes from Latin texts suggest, the ancient Romans took every precaution in their prayers or rituals to ensure that their deities were addressed by name or generically as a divine spirit, or numen. In many matters of ritual and tradition they acknowledged their dependence on Etruscan practices, Etrusca disciplina. The Etruscans were known for their interpretation of signs such as lightning and the flight of birds, and every Etruscan city had temples honoring their protective gods and goddesses.

Much of what we know about Etruscan religion is colored by Roman beliefs. One suspects a mixture of envy and admiration in the Roman statements that the Etruscans had a special way of communicating with the gods. What means do we have to get the Etruscans to speak to us directly without Roman prejudice?

Click here to read this article from the University of Massachusetts