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first half of this
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria

by George Dennis

published by John Murray, Albemarle Street
London, 1848.

The text is in the public domain.


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Chapter XVIII (Part 2)


TARQUINIIThe cemetery.

 p323  On leaving the Grotta del Cardinale, continue your walk over the Montarozzi, which here assumes that peculiar rugged character whence it derives its name. Tumuli, or the remains of them, are scattered on every hand in hundreds; here and there cut into by spade or mattock, but  p324 generally overgrown with myrtle, broom, and lentiscus; tombs yawn around you at every step, once the resting-places of the princes and merchants of Tarquinii, now the dwelling of the fox, the bat, and the lizard, the shelter of the shepherd from the storm, or of the homicide from his pursuers; the very pathway resounds beneath your tread, and is full of chinks, which let daylight into the subterranean abodes of the dead. Here you are stopt by piles of large hewn stones, dug out by the peasantry from the substructions of the tumuli, to be applied to the construction of hovels or cattle-sheds; there you cross a road hewn in the rock, with tombs in its cliffs to attest its antiquity.

At the distance of more than two miles from Corneto, you find yourself at the mouth of another painted tomb,

Grotta delle Bighe,

or "Grotta Stackelberg," or "del Barone," as it has been styled from the gentleman who first copied and described its paintings. I would rather call it the Tomb of the Symposium, or drinking-bout — that being its distinguishing characteristic.

Though the paintings in this tomb are in many parts greatly injured, a glance suffices to show that in its original state it must have been more richly decorated than any other painted sepulchre in this necropolis. Walls and ceiling must have blazed with colour. Like the Querciola tomb, this has a double frieze of figures; but here the arrangement is reversed, and the smaller frieze is above the larger. As in that tomb, the end-wall is here also occupied by a banquet, and the side-walls by dances, of very similar character.101

 p325  This banquet differs from those in the tombs already described, in the absence of the fair sex; so that it is rather a symposium Roman an ordinary feast. The absence of edibles on the tables confirms this view. The guests, however, though all males, recline in pairs, on three couches; and are attended by two naked slaves and a subulo playing his pipes. Beneath the couches are several blue ducks.

The dancers are of both sexes, distinguished by their colour; the women draped, with tunic and chlamys; the men with merely a slight scarf round their loins. All, as well as the banqueters, have chaplets of myrtle round their brows. In action and character they are very similar to those in the Grotta Marzi, yet inferior in spirit. One girl playing the pipes is very good, a true

meretrix tibicina cujus

Ad strepitum salias terrae gravis.

The dance was continued on three sides of the tomb, but is now scarcely distinguishable on more than one, the paintings having been greatly injured by the damp.

The ground of this frieze has the peculiarity of being a deep red; whereas in the upper and smaller frieze it is left of the colour of the rock, a creamy white. This small band is more remarkable than the other. It contains a multitude of figures scarcely more than a foot in height, and not fewer originally than one hundred in number, though not so many are now remaining. They rp the public, probably the funeral, games of the Etruscans.​102 On one wall are several bigae, or two-horse  p326 chariots — whence the appellation of the tomb — not in the act of ra­cing, but apparently preparing for the contest. The horses are red, blue, or white — a variety of colour introduced for the sake of contrast. On the other walls are figures on horseback — ra­cing on foot — boxing with the cestus — wrestling — hurling the discus — leaping with poles — and some with helmets, spears, and shields, who seem preparing for gladiatorial combats. All these were the games of the Greeks also, save the last, which were unknown to that people, but had their origin in Etruria, and were borrowed thence by the Romans.​103 Among these figures are two serpent-charmers, each with a reptile round one arm, and a rod in the other hand;​104 and this presents a fresh link between Etruria and the East; besides affording a  p327 confirmation of the fact, made known by other monuments and by history, that the control of serpents was an art cultivated in Etruria — probably as a means by which the priesthood impressed a sense of its superiority of the minds of the vulgar.

Most of these figures are naked; a few only have red or blue tunics. In the same frieze at the corners of the walls are stands, or platforms, on which spectators of both sexes, richly clad, are seated, looking on at the sports; while beneath them the lower orders, mostly naked, are seen reclining on the ground. There is nothing here to give us a high idea of the morality or decency of the Etruscan plebs.​105a

In the pediment above the banquet is a large wide-mouthed amphora, supported (in the heraldic sense) by two small naked figures, each with a jug and dipping-ladle; and each angle of the pediment is occupied by a sitting figure, half-draped, garlanded for the banquet, pledging his opposite neighbour with true convivial earnestness. In the pediment over the doorway is the usual pair of panthers, and also a pair of geese; which, like the former, may be regarded as guardians of the tomb. Remember it was

"Those consecrated geese in orders,
That to the Capitol were warders;
And being then upon patrol,
With noise alone beat off the Gaul."

 p328  The correctness, ease, freedom, and spirit of these paintings mark them as of a good school of Etruscan art, and of a later date than belongs to any of the Typhon and the Cardinal. Yet Gerhard pronounces them to be of the purest archaic Greek style, and of earlier date than those of the Querciola, which display a free and perfect Greek manner; whereas these partake of the primitive manner of Greek art.​106 It may be that these remarks refer solely to the lower frieze, which has a decided archaic rigidity. But the upper seems to me to be free from this, and to be superior in every respect, with as much of pure Greek feeling, I think with more, than is exhibited by the Querciola.​107 It is evidently of later date than the lower frieze, or by a different artist; and from its analogy to the figures on the vases of the Third Style, it must date from the last days of Etruscan independence, or about three hundred years before Christ.108

Grotta del Mare,

Close to the tomb last described is a small, double-chambered one, called "Tomb of the Sea," probably from the character of its paintings, which are confined to the pediment of the outer chamber, and represent four  p329 seahorses — two on each side of a large ornament, which bears some resemblance to a scallop-shell.

Seahorses and other marine animals and emblems are of so frequent occurrence in Etruscan tombs as well as on sarcophagi and funeral urns, as obviously not to be without a meaning. As stated in a former chapter, they probably have reference to the passage of the soul into another state of existence, according to the general belief of the ancients that the disembodied spirit had to cross a lake or river on its way to its future abode. By some they have been regarded as symbols of demons or infernal monsters. It seems not improbable that in certain cases they are emblems of the maritime power of Etruria, who long ruled the waves. Her naval greatness is also symbolised on her coins, a common device on which is the prow of a ship — copied on those of early Rome, long before that city had a fleet, or had achieved a naval triumph.109

Grotta del Barone,

or "Grotta del Ministro," or "Grotta Kestner," as it is otherwise called,​110 because it was discovered by Baron Stackelberg, and Chevalier Kestner the Hanoverian minister at Rome, is close to the last-named tomb. It is remarkable for the extreme brilliancy of its colours, and for the simplicity of its subjects, which are contained in a single frieze of figures, about thirty inches high, banded above and below by a broad riband of variegated stripes. On the inner wall are a man and boy; the latter playing  p330 the double pipes: the former, with blue hair and black beard, has his arm round the boy's neck, and is offering a cylix to a veiled and crowned female, who seems to represent a goddess.​111 The men on horseback, one on each side of this group, do not seem to have reference to it, but appear from their whips with barbed handles to be preparing to contend in a race for the chaplets or crowns which hang above them.

On the right-hand wall the scene seems to declare a foregone conclusion. The race has apparently terminated, and the competitors, standing by the goal which is indicated by a fillet suspended from the wall, are respectively claiming the prize — each holding up a chaplet to attest his victory. The point in dispute is referred, on the opposite wall, to the decision of the same woman or goddess, already described, who here stands between the rival horsemen; but to which she awards the prize is not evident, unless her turning her face to one, and her back on the other, decide the question; though, as the artist was obviously unable to depict a figure otherwise than in profile, this was a necessary position.

The inner pediment contains a pair of particoloured seahorses and some dolphins, on a ground of grey — a thin solution of black. In the opposite pediment is the usual pair of panthers.

The freshness of the colours in this tomb is remarkable. The blue of the man's hair, of the long-toed boots, and of the borders of the garments seems actually to have a bloom upon it; whereas in the other tombs, this is the  p331 colour which has most faded. The red is also very strong and bright; that of the horses and of the men's flesh is exactly of the same tint. Brown occurs in the pallia of the racers, and is probably a mixture of red with black. The trees here introduced are more neatly delineated than usual, and their leaves are either red, or of a bluish-grey, approaching nearer to green than I have seen in any other tomb of Tarquinii.​112 Of the oft-occurring conventionalities in colour, which give Etruscan paintings so peculiar a character, this tomb presents excellent specimens — one man having blue, the rest white hair; and some of the horses having blue hoofs, and all white manes and tails, though their bodies are black or red.

These figures are of more archaic design than those of any other tomb of Tarquinii yet described. The females have much Egyptian stiffness, or, as Chevalier Kestner says,​113 much of the grandiose spirit of the Egyptian and archaic Greek; while the man and boy on the inner wall are stepping out with the ease of more advanced art. But the figures of the racers are very inferior, having great rigidity and awkwardness, and being quite unworthy to mount the steeds, which are drawn with considerable correctness and spirit — better drawn in fact than the horses in any of these tombs, save the Grotta delle Bighe. These differences in style have led to the opinion that these figures are not  p332 the work of a single artist, or of the same period — some showing the infancy, others rather the decline of Etruscan art; and this is explained by supposing that after the lapse of centuries the original figures were repainted, and the outlines altered in the process.​114 But, though the figures are of various merit, I could see no signs of such repainting.115

Grotta Francesca,

The tomb of this name, which is also called the "Grotta Giustiniani," from a young lady who was present at its opening, is not far from the group just described.​116 Here, as in the Grotta Barone, no feasting is depicted, but only the dances and sports which attended the funerals of the Etruscans. On the inner wall, the principal figures are two women, playing, one the double-pipes, the other the castanets; the latter wears the ampyx or frontlet, and from her dress and attitude, as she rests one hand on her hip, while she brandishes the castanets with the other, might pass as the proto­type of the modern maja of  p333 Andalucia.º Her companion the tibicina, has yet more of a modern air; pipes and bare head excepted, she is just such a dame as you may meet any day in Regent Street. Nothing is new under the sun — shawls, pelerines, and printed gowns with deep flounces and riband borders, seem to have been as well known in Etruria two thousand years and more ago, as they are to us. I cannot say as much of the dress of the two men on this wall, which would scarcely be deemed becoming in our streets. He on feet, with the crook in his hand, has nothing but a shawl thrown over his shoulders; he driving the biga in the opposite corner wears simply a short white tunic or shirt, so short that it scarcely serves its purpose; each from the middle downwards is bare, or as Hood would say, —

"Thence, further down, the native red prevails
Of his own naked fleecy hosiery."

The horses in the chariot are one red, the other blue, and their tails are curiously knotted or clubbed, just as they are often represented on the painted vases. In the pediment are two blue panthers, one on each side of the usual bracket.

Turn to the right-hand wall. What spirit, what life, what nature, in this dancing-gril! Her gown of gauze or muslin floats around her in airy folds; the broad blue ribbon which binds her "bonny brown hair," and the red scarf hanging from one shoulder across her bosom, stream behind her with the rapidity of her movements; while she droops her face and raises her arm to give expression to her steps. Her other arm is a-kimbo, so that you might declare she was dancing the salterella. For spirit, ease, and grace she has no rival among the ballerine of Tarquinii. Her dress is peculiar — I remember nothing like it on painted wall or vase. It is as modern as that of her  p334 neighbours. In truth there is nothing antiquated about her; it is hard to believe she has been dancing in this tomb for some two or three and twenty centuries. She has now unfortunately but a short time to live; she will soon take her last step — from the wall. Her partner in the dance is almost obliterated, though enough remains to mark his attitude as easy and graceful. Nz to him are some fragments of another female; but everything else on this wall is completely effaced.

The opposite wall is also much dilapidated, but several figures are traceable. A male and female in the corner, in long, broad-bordered robes, do not seem to be dancing. Hard by are two males, apparently encountering a wild boar, or some other animal, no longer visible, for one of them holds a spear as if in the act of piercing it. Behind him stands a horse, from which he has dismounted, or which may have been attached to a chariot; on this side of the door is another horse, also without a rider. The walls at this end are greatly dilapidated, so that half the paintings in the tomb are effaced.

The figures here, though coarsely executed, have more freedom and are of lr date than those in the Grotta del Barone. They appear coeval with, or it may be, somewhat later than those in the Grotta Marzi. I have seen no copies of these paintings except those made by myself.117

Among this group of painted tombs is one which, as far as I can learn, has never been described in print; therefore I shall take on myself the privilege of naming it, from its most remarkable feature —  p335 

Grotta della Scrofa Nera,

or, "Tomb of the Black Sow." Like the sepulchre last described, it was unknown to Mrs. Hamilton Gray. In truth, it is not to be entered by a lady, for it has no passage cleared down to its doorway; but among the half-destroyed tumuli of the Montarozzi is a pit, six or eight feet deep, overgrown by lentiscus; and at the bottom is a hole, barely large enough for a man to squeeze himself through, and which no one would care to enter unless aware of something within to repay him for the trouble, and the filth unavoidable contracted.

Having wormed myself through this aperture, I found myself in a dark, damp chamber, half-choked with the débris of the walls and ceiling.​118 Yet the walls have not wholly fallen in, for when my eyes were somewhat accustomed to the gloom, I perceived them to be painted, and the taper's light disclosed on the inner wall a banquet in the open air, for the ivy which forms a cornice round the chamber is depicted springing from the ground in one corner. The painting is so much injured that some of the figures are almost obliterated. I made out, however, three separate lecti on this wall, each with a pair of figures; one only of whom, on the central couch, is a female, distinguishable by her white flesh; the rest are males. From the absence of other females, and of the tables, the usual concomitants of the banquet, this seems to be rather a symposium or drinking-bout, than a regular deipnon. In front of the couches stand a male attendant, bare from the waist upwards, and a female playing the lyre, and clad in  p336 richly-embroidered robes, which leave her shoulders and bosom bare. Her foot rests on a low tripod stool. Beneath the couch stand some domestic fowl; and one of the pigeons presents an unique instance of that curious foreshortening of animals, which is not uncommon on black-figured vases, but is not to be seen in any other painted tomb in Etruria, at present open. Of the eight figures in this scene only two retain their heads; but these enable us to judge of the character and expression of the painting in its original state. The drapery of the couches is particularly worthy of notice, being marked with stripes of different colours crossing each other, as in the Highland plaid; and those who are learned in tartanology might possibly pronounce which of the Macs has the strongest claim to an Etruscan origin.

The banquet was continued on the wall to the left, but here it is now almost entirely obliterated. It was continued also on the wall to the right, by another couch with two male figures, each raising aloft a cylix or drinking-bowl he has just emptied; and both, as well as the other revellers whom Time has not beheaded, having their brows bound with wreaths of myrtle. They are attended by two servants, one of whom is bringing forward a fresh supply of wine. The scene seems to have terminated on this wall in a hunt, probably of the wild boar, in all ages the favourite sport of the inhabitants of the Etruscan Maremma. No such beast is vsb in the present dilapidated state of the wall, but there is a man in a grove of trees hurling his long lance, and having his robe wound round his left arm for a shield, as the Highlander uses his plaid, and the Spaniard his manta.

The same sport is represented in the pediment above the banquet, where an enormous sow, not such as met the eyes of Aeneas on the wooded shore, with thirty little ones  p337 as white as herself, but black as night, with crimson dugs and mane, is attacked in front by a huntsman with knotted lance, and from behind by several dogs, which another huntsman is setting upon her.119

In this tomb there is nothing Egyptian or archaic in the countenances, or the forms, as in the neighbouring Grotta del Barone. The features here are Greek, though with something of an Etruscan character. The eyes are in profile, and not in full, as in the earlier tombs. There is an absence of rigidity, a freedom, and correctness of design, which show an advanced state of the art, and cannot belong to a very remote age. This is particularly visible in the limbs of the man attacking the sow, which display, not merely in outline, but in the modelling of the muscles, no small acquaintance with anatomical design. This tomb, then, must be classed among those of more recent date, such as those of the Bighe and the Querciola — yet prior to those of the Cardinal and the Typhon. It belongs to the transition period, when Etruscan art was beginning to lose its peculiar features, and to merge in the Greco-Roman.

The existence of this tomb is known to few — its site only to Agápito, the custode, without whose guidance it would be vain to seek it among the countless mounds and pitfalls which chequer the surface of the Montarozzi. I know not why this tomb has not been properly opened, and furnished with a door. It can hardly be on account of the somewhat obscene character of one of the figures, or  p338 the same cause should render two other of these painted sepulchres unfit for eyes polite.120

Grotta delle Iscrizioni,

Crossing the Montarozzi to the side opposite the ancient city, you find in the face of the cliff, which overhangs the valley, another tomb, called, from the number of Etruscan inscriptions on its walls, "Tomb of the Inscriptions;" and also known as the Grotta della Camere Finte, from the false doors painted, one in the centre of each wall, as if to indicate entrances to inner chambers.121

The figures here depicted have several peculiarities. They are almost or entirely naked, even some which may possibly represent women; the colour of the flesh is not the usual brick-red, but a paler tint, more true to nature; and there is a marked approximation to the Egyptian, in the general contour, in the form of the head, and particularly in the eye.

The subjects are games and dances. To begin with the wall immediately to the left of the entrance. Here two naked men seem to be playing at dice, on a small table  p339 which stands between them. The dice are not depicted, but the attitudes of the men indicate their occupation. If it be so, it shows that the Etruscans at their funerals had games of chance as well as of strength and skill; and explains the not unfrequent presence of dice in Etruscan tombs, as tokens of the funeral feast.122

The next two figures on the side-wall are also naked, and are boxing with the cestus over an upright stick, crossed like a T, which limits their advances; these figures are very much injured by a deep fissure in the rock. They are boxing to the music of a subulo, or piper,​123 in blue tunic and red boots. Each of these figures has his name in Etruscan characters above his head.​124 Next is a pair of athletes wrestling, and in spirited attitudes — one having lifted the other from the earth, and thrown him completely on his shoulder. The victor has a cloth round his loins; the other is quite naked.125

The false door in this wall separates these combatants from an equestrian procession, which fills the space up to the false door in the centre of the inner wall. There are four mounted figures, preceded by another on foot, all  p340 perfectly naked. From the exultation of the first horseman, who throws his arms into the air, and from the anxiety of his followers to urge on their steeds, it is clear that the scene represents a race, which has just been won; the victor alone having his name recorded.​126 The steeds would not pass muster at Newmarket or Ascot better than their riders. Such quaint, peculiar forms — such tiny heads — such short, pinched barrels — such stilted legs — could hardly have existed in any country. Yet there can be little doubt that the favourite points with the turf-lovers of Etruria are here set forth in exaggeration;​127 resulting in a conventional form of singular uncouthness, which has not its counterpart in any other tomb of this necropolis, though bearing considerable affinity to the steeds in the Grotta Campana at Veii. These horses are alternately red and black, the manes and hoofs of the former being blue, of the latter, red or white; and all alike have long white tails.

The eight figures between the next two false doors — i.e., three on the inner, and five on the side-wall — form a Bacchic dance, as is apparent from the goblets and vases in their hands, and from the tipsy excitation of their gestures. The first figure appears a female, from its form; though the flatness of the bosom, and the sameness in  p341 complexion with the men who follow, render the sex dubious. The same may be said of the third figure, whose name seems to mark it as a male.​128 A more decided masculine character is seen in the anonymous subulo between these two. Each of the three has a chaplet round the brow, but the first has a high white cap, or tutulus, in addition, which is also worn by the two grey-beards who follow on the side-wall. The first of these has his arms hung with red chaplets, and he is brandishing a patera, the contents of which he has either just quaffed, or poured forth as a libation. The second also holds a cylix, and is dancing with more energy than his fellow. He is followed by a younger man with black beard, also carried away by Bacchanalian furor.​129 The three with the tutulus must be priests, as that head-dress in males was a distinctive mark of the sacerdotal character.​130 All six figures have a cloth wrapped round the loins, or are entirely naked, save that their legs are cased in long peaked boots, such as are worn by the female in the Camera del Morto, and such as came again into fashion in Italy during the middle ages. The procession is brought up by two slaves, who are differently attired from the rest, without chaplets or necklaces, or even boots, but wearing a close-fitting jacket, or spencer; both have wine-jugs in their hands, and one  p342 bears a large amphora on his shoulder.​131 The jugs and drinking-bowls are precisely similar in form to those which modern excavations are bringing to light in such abundance; the amphora is somewhat peculiar, though exactly like that in the Camera del Morto. Why the fifer alone in this procession is nameless is not easy to say, for even the dog under the foot of the leading figure has its appellation inscribed.132

On the other side of the painted door on this wall is a bearded figure in red pallium, and with a pair of chaplets round his head, who from his attitude appears to represent some one in authority, commanding the slave in the corner, who bears several boughs of trees in each hand, to follow the Bacchic dance. He appears just to have arisen from a couch, where the slave has probably been fanning him with the boughs.133

The scene on the right of the entrance is difficult of explanation. It represents an old man, naked, holding in one hand a forked rod; and standing before a low stool, on which a boy, also naked, is about to lay a blue fish. It is possible that the stool is a sort of altar, and that the boy is making an offering to the other figure, which may represent a divinity. I have heard it designated "The God of Chastity;" and there are features which favour this conjecture. It would probably be explained could we interpret a long inscription in Etruscan characters over the head of this figure.134

 p343  Over the door is the usual pair of panthers, and in each angle of the pediment is a recumbent fawn, phallic, with brute-ears, and human legs terminating in goats' hoofs. A goose stands at his feet. In the opposite pediment are a pair of lions, of deer, no panthers — all parti-coloured, and curious examples of Etruscan conventionalities in pictorial art.

The paintings in this tomb are of a more quaint and archaic character than in any other sepulchre in this necropolis; and they bear a closer affinity than any other Etruscan paintings yet discovered, both in design and colouring, to the remarkable scenes in the Grotta Campana at Veii — unquestionably the most ancient specimens of pictorial art extant in Italy or Europe.​b The resemblance in the form of the horses has already been mentioned; it may be seen also in the parti-coloured animals, especially the stags, in the inner pediment. In the exaggerated fulness of the limbs, in the general contour of the bodies, the elongated form of the eyes, and in the attitudes, there is much similarity to the black figured vases of the Second or Tyrrhene style. Like them too, these paintings show more spirit than correctness, better intention than capability of execution.135

 p344  To recapitulate these painted tombs in the order of their antiquity. First, I should place the Grotta delle Iscrizioni. Second — the Grotta del Barone, as partaking of the same archaic character, yet with advancement in certain of the figures. Third — the Camera del Morto, as being of very similar style, yet with less rigidity. Fourth — Grotta del Triclinio, which, though retaining certain archaicisms in attitude and design, show much of Greek feeling. Fifth — Grotta Francesca, which, though of inferior merit to the last-named tomb, shows more freedom, its defects being rather the result of carelessness than of incompetence. Sixth — Grotta della Scrofa Nera, which, though of less pure Greek feeling than the Grotta Triclinio,º betrays more masterly design, and less of that conventionality which in various degrees characterises all the preceding. Seventh — Grotta Querciola, which displays great advancement in correctness and elegance, and much of the spirit of Hellenic art. Eighth — Grotta delle Bighe, whose upper band shows an improvement even upon the Querciola. All these must be referred to the time of Etruscan independence, for not one arrives at the perfection of the later painted vases, which date as far back as the fifth century of Rome. To a subsequent period belong — Ninth — the Grotta Cardinale; and — Tenth — Grotta Pompej, which can hardly be earlier than the latter days of the Roman Republic.136

 p345  It will be observed that the two last-named tombs differ from all the rest in making a direct reference to Etruscan mythology. The figures in the earlier sepulchres represent creatures of this world, in the most joyous moments of life — feasting, dancing, hunting, sporting — though there are valid reasons for regarding such scenes as descriptive of funeral rites and customs. But the later tombs disclose another state of existence; with few exceptions, the scenes are no longer of this world — the principal actors are divinities or demons — the figures are disembodied spirits. Why are such representations not found in the earlier tombs? It can hardly be accidental. The demonology of the Etruscans must have existed from the remotest period of their history, yet it is not set forth on their earlier monuments. On the most ancient pottery, whether relieved, scratched, or painted, we rarely findmorn detached figures of divinities — as frequently perhaps symbolised as portrayed. So also in the earlier works in metal and stone — the religious creed is rather hinted at, and obscurely, than clearly expressed. It is only on urns, sarcophagi, mirrors, and other monuments of later date, that we see genii or other divinities taking part in human affairs.

The only solution I can suggest is, that in the earlier ages of Etruria the system of religion was thoroughly  p346 oriental — like her art, it savoured of Egypt — the people were so enthralled by the hierarchy, that they may not have dared to represent, perhaps scarcely to contemplate, the mysteries of their creed; but that after their intercourse with Greece, their religion, as well as their arts, gradually lost that pure orientalism which had characterised it; the distinctions of esoteric and exoteric were in great measure broken down, and the people dared to look within the veil, hitherto lifted by none but the augur and the aruspex.

In contemplating these painted walls the question naturally arises — Are they fair specimens of Etruscan art? — are we justified in judging from them of the state of pictorial art among this ancient people, any more than we should be in drawing conclusions of modern Italian art from the painted decorations of chambers, from sign-posts, or from stage-scenery? Can we suppose that any but inferior or provincial artists would condescend to apply their pencil to the wall of a tomb, only for their work and their reputation to be buried from the world? Some think not; but I cannot agree with them.​137 With regard to this individual site, it is the cemetery of Tarquinii, the ecclesiastical, if not the political metropolis of Etruria, the source of her religious doctrines and rites, the fount of the Etruscan Discipline; the city which long maintained an extensive intercourse with Greece, and whither Eucheir and Eugrammos of Corinth resorted — whether actual beings or symbols of the arts implied in their names, it matters not. Here, if anywhere in Etruria, art must have flourished. Nothing can here be termed provincial. Moreover, to take a more general view, there was a sacredness attaching to tombs among the nations of antiquity, to  p347 which we are strangers, and which must be realised by us before we can judge correctly on this matter. The Pyramids attest to all time the honour paid by the Egyptians to their dead. The Greeks, besides their recorded opinions, have left palpable memorials of the importance they attached to well-furnished and decorated sepulchres: to such a pitch, indeed, were they inclined to carry their extravagance, that their legislators were at times obliged to curb it by sumptuary laws for the dead. The Romans raised still prouder mausolea — such enormous piles as serve their descendants for fortresses and amphitheatres. Why then should not the wealthy princes of Tarquinii have engaged the most celebrated artists of their day, to decorate the family sepulchres? They furnished them with treasures of gold and jewellery, and with the choicest specimens of fictile and toreutic art — why should they have been content with inferior performances on the walls? I see no reason to doubt that these paintings are the works of the Signorellis, the Masaccios, the Raphaels, the Caraccis, of Etruria.​138 Analogy confirms this view; for Nicias, the Athenian, an artist of such eminence as to be extolled by Praxiteles,​139 did not disdain to decorate the walls of sepulchres with his pencil.140

I have described all the painted tombs now to be seen in the necropolis of Tarquinii. Many others have been discovered in past ages; but some have been immediately ruined by the admission of the light and atmosphere; others have fallen more gradually to decay; some have been wantonly destroyed; and a few have been re-closed,  p348 lost sight of, and forgotten. Records of several are in existence. Among the earliest found was one opened in 1699, close to the walls of Corneto, in the tenuta Tartaglia, whence it has received its name. It was illustrative of the religious creed of the Etruscans, representing souls in the charge of winged genii. Three of these souls, in the form of naked men, were suspended by their hands from the roof of the chamber, as appears in the copy that has been preserved; and the demons stood by, one with a mallet, some with torches, and some with singular nondescript instruments, with which they seemed about to torment the bodies of their victims. To a Protestant the scene is suggestive of the horrors of the Inquisition; to a Roman Catholic of the pains of purgatory.141

Another early account of the now lost tombs of Tarquinii was written about the year 1756, by an Augustin monk of Corneto, Padre Giannicola Forlivesi, who, at a time when Etruria was little regarded in Europe, interested himself in her antiquities, and wrote a minute account of the painted tombs of this necropolis.​142 This work, which has never been printed, was a few years since  p349 in the hands of Avvolta of Corneto, but he lost it by lending it, and whether it be still in existence he knows not. The marrow of it, however, has been extracted by Gori, who acknowledges his obligations to the Augustin;​143 and Avvolta also has given to the world a sketch of its contents;​144 and preserves certain copies of the rude drawings made by the worthy Padre, which with his wonted courtesy he is ever pleased to show to the inquiring stranger.

In the work of Byres, already mentioned, plates are given of several other painted tombs, once existing in this necropolis, but no longer to be seen; and the peculiar characteristics of Etruscan art are better preserved in these than in his illustrations of the Grotta Cardinale.145

Other painted tombs, no lot visible, have been known in our own time. There was one fifteen or twenty years ago near the Grotta del Morto, which had a pilaster in the centre, niches around the town, and large figures painted on the walls, with Etruscan inscriptions attached. The surface had so much decayed that the paintings were almost destroyed, but the figure of a female in magnificent apparel, with a very remarkable head-dress, was then visible. The tomb seemed to have stood long open, for it was full of swallows' nests, and bore no trace of recent excavation.​146 It is now lost sight of, and has probably fallen into utter ruin.

Another painted tomb was opened, near the Grotta Querciola, only as recently as 1844. It contained but four figures, rudely executed — two of human beings, two of demons. The former were taking a last farewell of  p350 each other; for a grim Charun, mallet in hand, was seizing one of them to lead him away, while another similar demon stood at the gate of Orcus, resting on the hammer, which was encircled by a serpent — a representation quite unique. The meaning of the scene seems to be this. One soul is borne by the messenger of Death to the other world; the other has yet to live awhile, as is gracefully indicated by the repose of his attendant spirit. This tomb was left open but a short time, during which a record of it was fortunately preserved by Dr. Henzen,​147 and then it was re-closed; the usual excuse being given — per le vigne — for the sake of the vineyards.

It is worthy of remark, that all the painted tombs now open are beneath the level surface; not one has a superincumbent tumulus, though such monuments abound on this site. More than six hundred, it is said, are to be counted on the Montarozzi alone;​148 and they may be considered to have been originally much more numerous. They seem to have been all circular, surrounded at the base with masonry, on which the earth was piled up into a cone, and surmounted probably by a lion or sphinx in stone, or by a cippus, inscribed with the name of the family buried beneath. After the lapse of so many ages, not one retains its original form, the cones of earth having crumbled down into shapeless mounds, though several have remains of masonry at their base. One is nearly perfect in this respect. It is walled round with travertine blocks, about two feet in length, neatly fitted together, but without cement; forming an architectural decoration which, from its similarity to  p351 the moulding of Norchia and Castel d'Asso, attests its Etruscan origin. It rises to the height of five or six feet, and on it rests a shapeless mound, overgrown with broom and lentiscus.​149 The entrances by a steep passage, leading down to a doorway beneath the belt of masonry. The sepulchral chamber is not in this case remarkable; but beneath a neighbouring tumulus is one of very peculiar character. The rock is hollowed into the shape of a Gothic vault, but the converging sides, instead of meeting in a point, are suddenly carried up perpendicularly, and terminated by a horizontal course of masonry. The form is very primitive, for it is precisely that of the celebrated  p352 Regulini tomb at Cervetri, one of the most ancient sepulchres of Etruria, and also bears much resemblance to the Cyclopean gallery of Tiryns in the Argolis.150

It were an idle thing for the stranger to search for the wall-girt tumulus among the numerous mounds on this part of the Montarozzi. Let him ask for the "Mausoleo," and Agapito or his locum tenens will conduct him to the spot.

These tumuli are probably the most ancient description of tomb in Etruria. Such, indeed, was the form of sepulchres among the primitive nations of the world. It varied in different lands. The Egyptians, Assyrians, and Hindoos assumed the pyramid; while in Asia Minor, and by the early races of Europe — Greeks,​151 Italians, Scythians, Celts, Scandinavians, and Germans — the cone was preferred. The ancient tribes of America also adopted the same mode of sepulture; and the vast pyramids rising from the plains of Mexico and Yucatan,​152 rivalling those of  p353 Egypt in dimensions, and the conical mounds of Peru, attest a remote relation between the people of the Old and New World. Tumuli, we know, were in use among the Lydians, the traditional colonisers of Etruria, and the sepulchre of Alyattes, the father of Croesus, described by Herodotusmagna componere parvis — was very like the "Mausoleo" of the Montarozzi; "the basement being a mound of earth."​153 The description given by Diodorus of the necropolis of Orvinium, a city of the Aborigines, a most ancient people of Italy, long prior to the foundation of the Etruscan state, answers so strikingly to the Montarozzi, that we might imagine he was writing of Tarquinii. His words are — "The foundations of its walls are visible, and certain tombs of manifest antiquity, and enclosures of cemeteries lengthened out in lofty mounds."154

It was within one of these tumuli of the Montarozzi that Avvolta, in 1823, discovered "the celebrated virgin tomb which gave rise to all the excavations subsequently made in the neighbourhood of Corneto." The discovery was owing to accident. He was digging into the tumulus for stones to mend a road, when he perceived a large slab of nenfro, part of the ceiling of the tomb. Making a hole beneath it, he looked in, and there (to give his own words) — "I beheld a warrior stretched on a couch of rock, and in a few minutes I saw him vanish, as it were, under my  p354 eyes; for, as the atmosphere entered the sepulchre, the armour, thoroughly oxidised, crumbled away into most minutes particles; so that in a short time scarcely a vestige of what I had seen was left on the couch​155 . . . . Such was my astonishment, that it were impossible to express the effect upon my mind produced by this sight; but I can safely assert that it was the happiest moment of my life."156

The contents of this tomb, as far as they can be judged of from Avvolta's description, indicate a high antiquity; and the golden crown and rich bronzes show it to have belonged to some person of consequence. The absence of beautiful painted vases leads us to infer that he was buried prior to the perfecting of the fictile art, or in the early days of the Roman Republic.

The tomb had evidently never been opened since the days of the Etruscans, and such sepulchres being exceedingly rare, are of immense importance to the archaeologist. We visit Museums, and see the produce of the Etruscan cemeteries in objects rich and rare, but as to their arrangement as sepulchral furniture we gather not an idea. Or even should we be present at the opening of a tomb, if it has been rifled in past ages, as is the case with the vast majority, we can have no confidence in the genuineness of the arrangement; we cannot regard it with the same interest as if we were convinced every object occupied its original position. Or, should we be so fortunate as to hit upon a virgin-tomb, it is not unlikely that it is full of earth — that the roof has fallen in, deranged the original collocation, and destroyed the furniture; and happy shall we be if we can save anything uninjured from the wreck.

The necropolis of Tarquinii was of vast extent. Avvolta  p355 assured me that it covered sixteen square miles. Others tell us it stretched eight miles in length and six in breadth​157 — an extent hardly to be credited. It covers not only the whole of the Montarozzi, which is so thickly sown with tombs, that almost every step you take is on hollow ground, but it extends far down the slope towards the sea, and comprehends also Monte Quagliero, on the opposite bank of the Marta, and to the north of the ancient city. It is highly probable that the heights around the city in every other direction would be found to contain tombs, for the Etruscans did not confine their cemeteries to one spot, but availed themselves of any advantages afforded by the disposition of the ground or the nature of the soil, and sometimes quite encircled the city of the living by a "city of the dead."

The necropolis on the slope of Monte Quagliero was discovered only in 1829. A sepulchral road, sunk in the tufo, crossed the hill, and contained sepulchres in both its walls. Other tombs were sunk beneath the surface, for there were no tumuli on this spot.158

Excavations which were carried on in this necropolis pretty briskly some fifteen or twenty years ago have long ceased. The attention of the tomb-burglars has been absorbed by the more lucrative operations at Vulci and Chiusi. For, though tombs are so abundant that almost every step you take in the neighbourhood of Corneto is over a sepulchre, yet the cemetery has been so well rifled in bygone ages, that it is rare to find anything to repay the expense of excavation. Cavalieri Manzi and Fossati, who have been the principal spadesmen on this site, give it as their opinion that this rifling took place in the time of  p356 Julius Caesar, when the painted vases were of great value, and were sought for eagerly, as we are told, in the tombs of Campania and Corinth.​159 Their reason for this opinion is, that the more ancient tombs have all been plundered, while those of later date have generally been spared. This, however, may be accounted for, I think, by the superior wealth treasured in the older sepulchres; for these gentlemen inform us that the poorer ones of equal antiquity are often intact — a fact which is to be wondered at, seeing that there is no external distinction now visible, whatever there may have been of old. Nor is there any local separation — nothing like classification in the arrangement — but sepulchres of all ranks and of various dates are jumbled together in glorious confusion. It seems as though, after the necropolis had been fairly filled, the subsequent generations of Tarquinians thrust in their dead in every available spot of unoccupied ground; and so it continued to a late period, for there are tombs of Romans, as well as Etruscans, and some apparently even of the early Christians. From the number of painted vases yielded by this necropolis, I should conclude that the rifling was of much later date than Julius Caesar; more probably of the time of Theodoric (A.D. 498‑526), when grave-spoiling was general throughout Italy. For that monarch thought, with the Wife of Bath —

"It is but waste to bury preciously,"

and sanctioned the search for gold and silver, yet commanded everything else to be spared.160

Taking all classes of tombs into account, those which are virgin or intact are said to be one in thirty; but those which, like Avvolta's tomb, contain articles of value, are in much smaller proportion. The painted pottery is far  p357 less abundant than at Vulci. It is of various descriptions and degrees of merit; from the coarse, staring, figured ware of Volterra, to the florid forms and decorations of Apulia and Lucania, and the chaste and elegant Attic designs of Vulci — which, in fact, is its general character. And this is singular, for we might expect that the Corinthian artists who settled here with Demaratus, the father of Tarquinius Priscus, would have introduced a Doric style of pottery; whereas there is here little or nothing that reminds us of Corinth or Sicyon; but much of the Attic character so prevalent at Vulci.​161 The best ware of Tarquinii is in no degree inferior, either in form, material, varnish, or design, to that of Vulci; and, if there be a difference, it is that it is generally less archaic in character.

Besides vases, many fine sarcophagi of nenfro have been found here — "ash-chests" rarely; for the Tarquinians were accustomed to bury, rather than burn, their dead. Bronzes are not very abundant on this site; yet I have seen some of great beauty, with reliefs of mythological subjects. In one tomb were found eleven bronze discs, about sixteen inches in diameter — seven of them with a lion's head, and the rest with a face of the horned Bacchus, in high relief, in the centre — as shown in the woodcut on the following page.162

 p358  On the slope of the Montarozzi, towards the sea, there are some tumuli of great size, which promise well to the excavator. In this neighbourhood is a remarkable tomb, which, though now in a very dilapidated state, should not fail to be visited by the traveller. Let him leave Corneto by the Civita Vecchia gate, and, instead of pursuing the road to that port, let him take a lane a little above it, which will lead him through olive-woods, till, at the distance of a mile or more from the city, he will enter a grass-grown area, inclosed by low cliffs, which are hollowed into caverns, some of vast extent. Among them is the tomb in question. The spot is called

La Mercareccia,

and the tomb is known by the same name. Its outer wall has fallen, so that the doorway is quite destroyed. The walls of the first chamber have been covered with reliefs, now scarcely traceable, save in a frieze beneath the ceiling, where animals — apparently wild beasts — are represented in combat, or devouring their prey — a frequent subject on  p359 Etruscan vases and bronze of archaic character.​163 Among them is the figure of a boy distinctly traceable, who seems to be struggling with a huge beast like a hyaena.​164 Another animal on the same wall appears to be a winged sphinx. The walls below the frieze bear traces of figures almost as large as life — men and horses — but now almost obliterated, nothing remaining distinct. It will be surprising were it otherwise, for the rock is a friable tufo, and the tomb, for the last sixty or eighty years at least, has been used as a cow-shed or sheep-fold. The walls have been hollowed into niches for the lamps of the herdsmen, holes made in the reliefs for their pegs, and the whole tomb is blackened with the smoke of their fires. Were it not for this, traces of colour would doubtless be discernible on the reliefs, as on those of Norchia.165

It is lamentable to see this, almost the sole instance known, of an Etruscan tomb with internal sculptural decorations, in such a state of ruin. Had any care been taken to preserve it, were it a mere door or fence to keep out mischievous intruders, the sculptures would in all probability be still as fresh as the reliefs on the sarcophagi and ash-chests. How long it has been subject to neglect on the one hand, and wantonness on the other, is not known. There is no record of its discovery.​166 Eighty years ago,  p360 according to Byres, the sculptures were at least intelligible; but even then the outer wall had fallen, and the tomb was open to all intruders.​167 From the spirit and freedom evident in the remains yet visible, quite as much as from Byres' plates, which betray too much mannerism, we may learn that these reliefs belong to a late period of Etruscan art — a period apparently agreeing with that of the best sarcophagi and ash-chests.

The ceiling of this tomb is hewn into the form of a trapezium, with beams on each of its sides, sloping off from the centre, which is occupied by a square aperture, tapering up like a funnel through the rock for about twenty feet, till it opens in a round hole in the surface of the  p361 plain above.​168 In the sides of this chimney or shaft are the usual niches for the feet and hands. This can hardly have been the sole entrance, though tombs so constructed have been found — some in this very necropolis, illustrated by Byres, and described by Winckelmann,​169 and others in the plain of Ferento already mentioned.​170 A similar tomb has been discovered on the Aventine Hill, the necropolis of early Rome.​171 Yet it seems strange that a sepulchre so singularly and elegantly decorated as this, should be so carefully concealed — that there should be so much "art to conceal the art." It is impossible to determine if there were a doorway below, for the cliff is too much broken away; but there are manifest traces of a chamber in front of this, whether a mere vestibule or a distinct sepulchre cannot be decided. It is worthy of remark that in its roof this tomb, which is unique in this particular, represents that sort of cavaedium, which Vitruvius terms displuviatum,​172 or that description of court, the roof of which slopes from within, so as to carry the rain outwards, instead of conveying it into the impluvium or tank in the centre of the atrium. It may be, however, that this opening represents — what it more strictly resembles — a chimney; for we know it was the practice of the Greeks of old to have a vent for the smoke in the centre of their apartments.173

 p362  A steep passage cut in the floor of the tomb leads down to an inner chamber, the roof of which is level with the floor of the first. Byres represents a procession painted on its inner wall — a number of souls, one of whom seems of princely or magisterial dignity, conducted by winged genii; but hardly a trace of it now remains.​174 It is a fair inference, however, that a tomb so richly decorated with sculpture and painting was not of the commune vulgus, but the last resting-place of some Lucumo, one of the princes of Etruria.175

Adjoining this tomb is one which appears a columbarium, like those of Falleri and Sutri, but the holes in its walls are of modern formation.

In the cliffs which surround the Mercareccia are the mouths of several caverns, which seem to have been tombs,  p363 subsequently enlarged into "antres vast." But between this and Corneto are others of much larger size. One day I joined a party on an exploring expedition to them. We went provided with torches, for without them it were dangerous, as well as vain, to penetrate these

"Grots and caverns, shagged with horrid shades."

The mouths of the caves are generally low and shapeless, affording no index to the extent and character of the interiors, which stretch far into the bowels of the earth, sometimes in galleries or passages, sometimes in spacious halls, whose lofty ceilings are sustained by enormous pillars hewn out of the rock, presenting a rude analogy to the subterranean temples of Egypt and Hindostan. Their artificial character is manifest; but whether they are natural caverns, subsequently fashioned by man for some particular purpose, or are wholly artificial, it is difficult to say. There is not enough regularity to evince plan, nor anything to indicate a definite object in the construction, so that I am inclined to agree with the popular belief which regards them as quarries, opened for the building of Corneto. Nevertheless, when we remember what burrowers were the ancient Etruscans, the extent, number, and variety of their subterranean works, we cannot despise the opinion, held by some, that these caverns are of very early date, and associated with Etruscan times and rites.176

If the traveller have leisure, he will not regret visiting these caverns. True, unlike the tombs, they impart no valuable archaeological information, throw no fresh light on  p364 history; yet will he find a solemn pleasure in penetrating their recesses. As he gropes onwards through passage after passage, through hall after hall, here threading his way among huge masses of rock fallen from above, there creeping along to avoid the bats which cling to the ceilings in hundreds — the profound gloom which his torches' glare is unable wholly to dispel — the ever-shifting shadows, which appear to an imaginative eye to assume form and substance — the mysterious shapes dimly disclosed in the distance — the awakened bats wheeling round the pillars, or swooping at the lights — the solitude rarely disturbed, as is testified by the untrodden soil — the solemn silence, now broken by the unwonted echoes of voices and footsteps, — might cause him to fancy himself in the cave of the Cumaean Sibyl — horrendae secreta Sibyllae — or on the descent to the Stygian lake, for verily —

Umbrarum hic locus est, Somni Noctisque soporae.


Note I. — Chaplets in Etruscan Tombs.

The frequent occurrence of chaplets depicted on the walls of these tombs cannot fail to arouse inquire as to their signification. If these sepulchral paintings be nothing norm representations of actual feasts, the presence of chaplets is sufficiently explained by the well-known custom of the ancients of wearing crowns and garlands at banquets and other festive occasions. By both Greeks and Romans they were assumed after the meal and before the drinking-bout which followed (Athen. XV. pp665, 685. Petron. Satyr. LX); wherefore to wear a garland was equivalent to being in cups (Plaut. Amphit. act III. sc. 4 16). By the Greeks they were generally composed of myrtle-twigs, as in the Grotta Querciola and the tombs of Tarquinii; or of ivy, which was deemed an antidote to the effects of wine (Plato, Sympos. 37; Plutarch. Sympos. III. q. 1, 2; Athen. XV. p675); or of poplar (Theocrit. Idyl. II.121); — sometimes bound with ribands, and with flowers, roses or violets, interwoven. Hence Athens derived her epithet of "violet-crowned," (ἰοστέφανοι Ἀθήναι — Aristoph. Equit. 1320; Acharn. 637). The Greeks made them likewise of wool, for crowns of victory (Pind. Isth. V.79). The Romans also made chaplets of the same simple materials — Nature's best ornaments — sometimes fastening flowers to strips of bast (nexa philyrâ coronae — Hor. Od. I.38, 2; Ovid. Fast. V.335‑337); and likewise of wool bound round with fillets, which was the most ancient material (Festus v. Lemnisci). That the Etruscans also wore woollen chaplets is shown by the sarcophagi and urns which bear the figure of the deceased reclining on the festive-couch, for such seems to be the texture represented, and that flowers were bound into them by ribands — lemnisci — is proved by many of the same monuments, especially those of terra cotta; the best specimens of which are in the Campana collection at Rome. Of similar materials seem to be those depicted in these tombs, and the red or white spots in them probably represent flowers, or it may be gems. Of the same description are the longer garlands worn by the Etruscan sepulchral statues on the breast, equivalent to the ὑποθυμιάδες of the Greeks (Plut. Symp. III. q. 1; Athen. XV. p678‑688), and the breast-garlands of the Romans (Ovid. Fast. II.739; Tibul. I.7, 52; Hor. Sat. II.3, 256). The heads of banqueters are sometimes represented on vases, bound with fillets —  p366 ταινίαι, vittae — the long ends of which hang down behind (Mon. Ined. Inst. III. tav. XII). The Etruscans on triumphal or other solemn occasions wore chaplets of pure gold in the form of leaves, set with gems, and terminating in ribands of the same metal (Plin. XXI.4, XXXIII.4; Appian de Reb. Punic. LXVI; Tertul. de Coronâ Milit. XIII), nearly such as are found in their tombs. But the Romans in the height of their luxury used golden chaplets at their entertainments (Petron. Satyr. LX) as well as on occasions of great pomp or solemnity. On a few of the latest Etruscan monuments these ornaments are gilt, but in the generality, which belong to earlier times and more simple manners, the chaplets represent wool or other primitive materials.

With woollen wreaths, also, the ancients adorned their wine-vessels, especially those for mixing — crateres, celebes — (Theoc. Idyl. II.2), and, perhaps, also crowned them with flowers (Virg. Aen. I.724; Serv. ad locum; III.525; VII.147); though some think these and similar passages in Homer mean only "filling to the brim." In reference to this custom we are said metaphorically to —

"Wreathe bowl
With flowers of soul."

An analogy to it may be observed in the Camera del Morto of Tarquinii, where the crater-like amphora between the dancers is decorated with chaplets.

But the chaplets in these tombs may be more than festive — they may have a sacred and funereal import. If so, they have an analogy to the infulae of the Romans, which were used at solemn rites and festivals, suspended on the statues of gods, on altars, in temples, or at their doors, on the victims to be sacrificed, or were worn by priests about their brows — or were used as symbols of supplication. For authorities, see Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities, v. Infula, Vitta; to which may be added Varro, de Ling. Lat. VII.24, and Frontin. Strat. I.12, 5, who are the only ancient writers that mention infulae in connection with sepulchres. But the taeniae, which were analogous, are mentioned in such a connection by Caecilius (ap. Festum, s. voce), who speaks of "a tomb full of them, as usual." Pliny (XXI.8) says that "crowns were used in honour of the gods, of the Lares public and private, of sepulchres, and of the Manes," (cf. Ovid. Fast. II.537; Trist. III.3, 82; Tibul. II.4, 48); they were also offered to the Lares (Plaut. Aulul. prol. 25, and II.7, 15; Tibul. I.10, 22; Juven. IX.138), whose images were even decorated with them (Tibul. II.1, 60; Fest. v. Donaticae). The Greeks crowned the funeral urns of their friends (Plut. Demetr. ad fin.).  p367 Philopoemen's urn was so covered with chaplets as scarcely to be visible (Plut. Philop. ad fin.); and Hannibal crowned the urn of Marcellus (Plut. Marc. ad fin.); and on ancient vases, funeral stelae are often represented hung with chaplets or bound round with fillets (Stackelberg, Graeber der Hellenen, taf. XLV. XLVI; Millingen, Vases Grecs, collect. Coghill, pl. XXVI; Inghir, On. Etr. VI. tav. L.5). Even the dead themselves were sometimes crowned (Eurip. Troad. 1143; Aristoph. Eccles. 534; Lysist. 602‑604; Cicero pro Flac. 31; Tertul. de Coron. X; Clem. Alex. Paedag. II. p181), especially when they had acquired in their lifetime a crown as a distinction (Cicero de Leg. II.24; Plin. XXI.5). Clemens of Alexandria explains this custom of crowning the dead, by the crown being a symbol of freedom and delivery from every annoyance. Claudian (Rapt. Proserp. II.326, et seq.) represents the Manes themselves feasting at a banquet, and decorated with crowns.

As there is abundant evidence that crowns and chaplets were used by the ancients as sepulchral furniture, it is highly probable that those depicted in these tombs, though primarily festive, had at the same time a sacred import — which is strongly intimated in the Grotta delle Iscrizioni, water they are worn and carried by priests and musicians in a Bacchic procession. The only hues of which such chaplets seem to have been made, are white, purple or red, and blue, in which case they were sacred to the Manes. (See Smith's Dict. Antiq. v. Vitta, for authorities, to which many others might be added, if need were). It is worthy of remark that in all the tombs of Tarquinii where these chaplets are introduced, they are of one or other of these hues, except in the Grotta del Morto, where some are black

For the use of festive chaplets among the Greeks, see the Fifteenth Book of Athenaeus Deipnosophistae, which is devoted to this subject; and for the use of chaplets by the Romans, see Plin. Nat. Hist. XXI.1‑10.

An erudite article on the taeniae represented on ancient vases, and their various applications and significations, will be found in the Ann. Inst. 1832, p380, et seq., from the pen of Professor Welcker. See also Becker's Gallus. Sc. X. excurs. 2.

Note II. — Lost Tombs Delineated by Byres.

One of the painted tombs illustrated by Byres (part I., plates 2, 3, 4) was unique in character. It was somewhat on the plan of the Grotta Tifone, with a double tier of rock-benches around it, and a massive pillar, 6 feet square, in the centre; but between this political and the outer wall was a partition-wall of rock, 4 feet thick, forming an interior  p368 apartment, surrounded by a wide corridor. The inner chamber was 26 feet by 22; and the dimensions of the entire tomb were very great, not less than 59 feet by 53 ft. 6 in., which surpass even those of the Grotta Cardinale; so that this was the largest sepulchre yet discovered in this, or perhaps any other Etruscan necropolis. The interior chamber was vaulted, with a broad beam in relief on the ceiling, and had an opening in three of its sides. A double border, painted, of vine-leaves above, and the wave-pattern below, surrounded the inner apartment. In one pediment was painted a rabbit between two triple-headed serpents; and on the wall below was a long inscription in four lines of Etruscan characters, scarcely legible in Byres' plate, which, fortunately, is not the only record of it in existence.​177 The pillar, like that in the Grotta Tifone, had a colossal figure, ten feet high, painted on at least two, probably all four, of its sides. One was a young man, naked, save a cloth about his loins, holding a bough in one hand. His full face, foreshortened limbs, and correctly drawn figure, prove a late date — certainly not earlier than that of the Grotta Pompej, i.e., of the days of Roman domination in Etruria. The other figure was that of a winged genius in the act of running. He was bearded, and draped, with a short tunic worn over a longer one reaching to his feet; his brow was bound with snakes, a pair of the same reptiles formed his girdle, and he brandished a third with one hand, and held a rod in the other. Judging from Byres' plates, I think this remarkable tomb, if it still exist, must be sought for in the cliff of the Montarozzi, which faces the ancient city.

Another tomb represented by Byres (part IV., plates 1, 2, 3) contained paintings of two figures of opposite sexes, one on each side a moulded doorway containing a niche, and each holding a pair of snakes, which the man controls with a wand, the female with an olive branch. The walls of this tomb were painted with an imitation of tapestry, fastened up by nails, hanging in folds, and terminating below in a vine-leaf border. No such painted hanging have I seen in any Etruscan tomb.

 p369  A third painted tomb given by Byres (part IV., plates 4‑8) was adorned with banqueting-scenes. On each side-wall were two lecti or couches, each bearing a pair of opposite sexes. One of the fair ones wears a Phrygian cap, and, turning around to her mate, seems to be pressing him to drink; another is quaffing wine from a rhyton, and her companion from a phiale or patera; the third is chatting about a fillet, which her fellow is about to bind on her; and in the fourth scene, the man has a lute, and the woman holds up to his view a drawing of a boar-hunt, which she has just unrolled. This is a very remarkable scene — quite unique. At each end of each couch is a slave — a boy by the man, a girl by the female — bringing wine-jugs or chaplets; and on the inner wall are other slaves at a sideboard with vases, or tending a candelabrum, which is burning among the trees. In spite of the mannerism of the artist, it is obvious that there was a more archaic character about the paintings in this tomb, than in any other he has illustrated. This grotta also seems to have been in the cliffs of the Montarozzi, fa­cing the ancient city.

Inghirami (Mon. Etrus. IV. tav. 29, 30, 31) gives some interesting coloured friezes and architectural decorations from certain lost tombs of Tarquinii, some of which attest their origin by Etruscan inscriptions.

Note III. — Grotta Avvolta.

Among the crumbled fragments of armour Avvolta found burnt bones and small pieces of a garment, evidently woollen, and of a yellow colour. A lance and eight javelins lay on the couch by the armed man, all rusted into one mass, which broke into several pieces in the attempt to remove it. Remains of the wooden shafts on which these weapons had been fixed were still visible. A short, two-edged, cross-hilted sword lay on the couch, as though it had been placed in the hand of the deceased. On the ground by the side of the couch stood a large covered vase of bronze, containing portions of the warrior's biga or chariot, partly burnt, partly broken. Fixed against the opposite wall, corresponding with the couch, was a rectangular slab or table, of reddish calcareous stone, well polished, support on legs of nenfro. On it lay a little heap of fine black earth, on which rested a diadem of gold, wrought with lilies in relief — not of massive gold, but of very fine sheets of this metal, covering a plate of bronze, from which they had received the impression. So fragile was this ornament, owing to the oxydization of the bronze, that it utterly perished on its journey to Rome, save a small portion which passed into Lord Kinnaird's possession. Against the same wall  p370 of the tomb stood two circular Byzantine shields, about 3 ft. 3 in. in diameter, embossed with figures of men, horses, and other animals in relief, in concentric circles, all of most elegant workman­ship. Hard by stood two urn-shaped vases of bronze, both very elegant, and one embossed; a large open vessel or bowl, of the same metal, and a smaller one by its any, nearly full of ashes, hardened to a cake. All these articles seem to have been suspended against the wall, and to have fallen, owing to the rusting of the nails which had supported them, for stumps of nails were found embedded in the wall above. Against the wall opposite, or at the foot of the warrior's couch, was a row of eight large vases of terra-cotta, channelled vertically — four of them full-bellied, the rest of lighter form — with lids surmounted by marine monsters, or "sea-dragons," as he calls them. In front of these, arranged in symmetrical order, stood many other vases of moderate size, and of beautiful and fanciful forms. In the middle of the tomb, not far from the doorway, lay a good-sized heap of tazze, of elegant forms, some of black ware — bucaro — and various other small articles mixed confusedly together. A little further in was a similar heap, which bore evident traces of having been subjected to fire. None of this ware was painted, save a lachrymatory, and one small tazza, in no way extraordinary. — Ann. Inst. 1829, pp95‑98.

A plan and sections of this tomb, showing the arrangement of the contents, are given in Ann. Inst. 1829, tav. d'Agg. B.

Singularly enough, this same tumulus contained a second virgin-tomb, but it had not fared so well as its fellow; it was in ruins. Some fragments of female ornaments, a coarse vase full of earth and baby's bones, were among the articles dug out, and this, together with the absence of weapons, made it appear that it was the sepulchre of a female — possibly the wife of the warrior of the contiguous tomb. This same tumulus contained four other tombs, all rifled and in ruins; but the number is remarkable, as it is rare at Tarquinii to meet with more than a single tomb in one tumulus, or at most with a double-chambered sepulchre. — Ann. Inst. 1829, p99.

The Author's Notes:

101 This tomb was discovered in the spring of 1827. It is about 15 ft. square, 6 ft. high at the sides, and 8 ft. 6 in. from the floor to the central beam of the ceiling. This beam is painted with ivy-leaves, and circles, not unlike compass-dials; the slopes on either hand are chequered with various colours, as in the Grotta Marzi. The lower frieze of figures is 3 ft. in height, the upper only 18 inches.

102 If such scenes as these, which occur not unfrequently in the painted tombs of Etruria, especially in those of Chiusi, (p326)be more than representations of the solemn games held at funerals, it is probable that they not merely typify the state on which the souls of the blessed had entered, but portray the actual pursuits in which they were supposed to be engaged. Virgil gives authority for this suggestion, when he describes the delights of the Elysian fields as similar to those the blessed had enjoyed on earth —

Pars in gramineis exercent membra palaestris
Contendunt ludo, et fulvâ luctantur arenâ
Pars pedibus plaudunt choreas, et carmina dicunt.

— Aen. VI.462.

And again,

quae gratia currûm,

Armorumque fuit vivis, quae cura nitentes

Pascere equos, eadem sequitur tellure repostos.

— Aen. VI.653.

103 See Chapter IV. page 95. The figures with spears in this scene may be intended to represent the ἀόντιον, or contest of hurling the dart, which was one of the five games of the Greek pentathlon; the other four — leaping, running, casting the quoit, and wrestling — being also her represented. The pentathlon was introduced at the public games of Greece, in the 18th Olympiad (708 B.C.); boxing, and horse and chariot-racing were subsequent novelties. Müller (Etrusk. IV.1, 8, 9) considers that the Etruscans were imitators of the Greeks in their public games, with the exception of general combats, which were peculiarly their own.

104 This seems to have escaped the observation of every one who has written on the tomb — at least I can find no statement to this effect. The figures are not so represented in any copies of these paintings that I have seen — not even in those on the same scale, in the Vatican and the British Museum, where what they hold in their hands rather resembles the so‑called acrostolion, or scroll of victory, often depicted on vases. But to me it seems clearly to have been intended for a serpent.

105 The figures in this frieze bear some analogy to those on the rim of a vase published by Millingen in his "Peintures Antiques des Vases Grecs," pl. LII. and afterwards by Inghirami, Mon. Etrus. VI. tav. G. 4.

The outlines of the figures in this frieze have been scratched in before the colours were laid on; so that, as it often happens, where the colour has entirely faded, the figure may yet be clearly distinguished by the scratched outline. This finds an analogy in the vases of the earlier types, with this difference, that the outlines on the vases are scratched after the paint has been laid on, for the sake of force and detail.

106 Ann. Inst. 1831, p319.

107 Chev. Bunsen (Ann. Inst. 1834, p57), gives the preference to this tomb as having the beauty of the Greek ideal in the countenances, motions, and attitudes. Chev. Kestner (Bull. Inst. 1833, p77), regards this tomb as superior to all the rest on this site, its paintings being of the purest Greek design — not a figure here that Demaratus, or Eucheir his companion would have been ashamed of — or, he should have said, that they could have equalled, as it is clear that this tomb belongs to a much more advanced period of art.

108 Further details respecting this tomb will be found in Ann. Inst. 1829, p104 et seq. (Kestner); Gell's Rome, &c., I. p387‑391. Illustrations are given in the Museo Gregor. I. tav. CI. Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. tav. LXVIII., and copies of very tolerable accuracy are preserved in the Gregorian Museum of the Vatican, and in the "Etruscan Room" of the British Museum, on the right-hand wall.

109 Ovid (Fast. I.229, et seq.), assigns a very different origin to the prow on Roman coins; but he relates the vulgar tradition; according to which it represents the ship in which Saturn came to Italy after he had been expelled from heaven by his son Jove.

110 This is the tomb which Mrs. Hamilton Gray (Sep. of Etruria, p222), describes under the title of "Camera della Giustizia" — a name she probably confounds with "Giustiniani." It is 15 feet by 13, and of the usual height, from 6 to 8 feet. It was opened in 1827.

111 It has been suggested that she represents Ceres or Cybele. Ann. Inst. 1831, p32. Micali (Ant. Pop. Ital III. p102) regards her as Proserpine. She would seem at least to be a priestess, from her lofty cap, or tutulus, which is supposed to be a distinctive mark of Etruscan priests and divinities. Ann. Inst. 1831, p210 — Gerhard. Yet it is worn by the women in the Grotta delle Bighe.

112 It is strange that a decided green is rarely seen in Etruscan paintings; for with blue and yellow they could not in any case have been ignorant of it. Probably they refrained from making the compound, because their yellow was thick and heavy, and would not make a brilliant green — brightness and striking contrasts of colour being the great aim of their artists, often to the neglect of nature and correctness.

113 Ann. Inst. 1829, p112. Gerhard says they are imitations of the Greek, executed by Etruscan artists, yet is there no decadence observable. Ann. Inst. 1831, p319. Winckelmann (Storia delle Arti, lib. III. c2, § 24) speaks of similar female figures of Egyptian rigidity, placed motionless among a group of dancing-women, in certain painted tombs of Tarquinii open in his day; and he takes them for divinities.

114 Ann. Inst. 1829, p113 — Kestner. Raoul Rochette (cited by Kestner, loc. cit.), explains the pure and original design of the females, by supposing them mythological personages, and therefore not retouched like the rest, and urges the cloudy mistiness in which they are enveloped. But this brown mistiness Kestner regards as the original ground of the wall, left by the retoucher in its primal state, as he had not the courage to whiten up to the original outline. But to me it seems to indicate that the wall in these parts was covered with size or some other preparation, as a ground for the paint, which size has changed colour in the course of ages.

115 For further notices of this tomb see Ann. Inst. 1829, p109, et seq. — Kestner. Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. III p102, who also gives an illustration of a portion of its paintings (tav. LXVII). The best copies are preserved in the Museo Gregoriano, and have been published in the work of that name. I. tav. C. None exist in the British Museum.

116 This tomb was discovered in 1833 by Chevalier Kestner. It is 14 feet by 12, and of the usual height. The beam of the ceiling is only marked out, not relieved; and the rafter are represented by broad stripes of red paint. In the left-hand corner is a rock-hewn bench for a sarcophagus, which has been removed.

117 For particulars of this tomb see Bull. Inst. 1833, p74, et seq.— Kestner. Ann. Inst. 1834, p190, et seq.— Kestner.

118 This tomb is 14 ft. 6 in. long, by 11 ft. 6 in. wide. It has the broad beam of the ceiling painted with red circles, and the rafters indicated with red paint. The figures on the walls are about 3 ft. 6 in. high.

119 This may perhaps represent Theseus and the Sow of Crommyon, a not unfrequent subject on the painted vases, where the hero, however, is sometimes armed with neither sword nor shield, but with a conical mass of stone, which he is hurling at the brute. An instance of this is seen on a cylix in the British Museum. The same was represented on one of the sarcophagi in the Grotta Dipinta, Bomarzo, and a cone of metal, 8 lbs. in weight, was found within the tomb.

120 Round this tomb, as round many others in Etruscan cemeteries, may be observed nails, much rusted, on which articles of pottery or bronze were suspended against the walls. Lanzi (II. p267) and Inghirami (IV. p112) thought they originally supported aulaea. But though the Etruscans may have decorated their apartments with such hangings, their funeral feasts are always represented as —

Coenae sine aulaeis —

perhaps because they were in the open air. One instance alone has been found of a tomb with such hangings painted on the wall. See the Appendix, Note II. page 368.

121 This tomb is 15 ft. 6 in. long, by 12 ft. 3 in. wide; 5 ft. 6 in. high at the sides, and 6 ft. 9 in. from the ground to the central beam of the ceiling. It was discovered in 1827, by Signor Vittorio Massi. The door was closed by a large rectangular slab of stone, divided into small square compartments, containing figures of wild beasts or monsters, which Micali (Ant. Pop. Ital., tom. III. p105, tav. LXVII.7) conceives to be emblems of the infernal spirits to whom the guardian­ship of the tomb was intrusted; set there to terrify those who would violate its sanctity. The slab still lies within the tomb.

122 That the Etruscans played with dice we have historical evidence in Livy (IV.17), who records a tradition of Lars Tolumnius, King of Veii. The invention of dice is ascribed to the Lydians, during the eighteen years' famine, which drove a portion of them from their native land to colonise Etruria. Herod. I.94. Several vases have been found in Etruria and Campania, which represent Achilles and Ajax playing at this game — the most beautiful of them is in the Gregorian Museum.

123 Eratosthenes and Alcimus (ap. Athen. IV. c13, p154; XII. c3, p518, ed. Casaub.) say that the Etruscans boxed to the sound of the tibia; the latter adds that they also scourged, and kneaded bread to the same music — πρὸς αὐλὸν καὶ μάττουσι καὶ πυκτεύουσι καὶ μαστιγοῦσιν.

124 These inscriptions are now mere fragments, some of the letters having faded, or peeled from the wall.

125 These figures have also their names attached, which, like the last, are now but fragments. In the copies in the Vatican the names given are NUCRTELE and EICRECE. Whoever is familiar with Rosellini's plates of the ancient Egyptian games will be struck with the close similarity between these figures and some of the wrestlers there represented.

126 His name is . . RIS (Laris) LARTHIIA. The man on foot, who is probably a herald, or umpire, is called VELTHUR. Sir W. Gell (Rome, I. p383) fancied these figures were "riding at the ring; their object being to catch, as they pass by at a gallop, certain rings suspended high above their heads." But it is most obvious that rings he speaks of have no particular reference to these horsemen, as they are suspended all round the chamber, over the heads also of the boxers, wrestlers, and dancers. And so also in other tombs where there are no horsemen. This notion of the game of the ring was started by some Italians of more lively fancy than archaeological knowledge, and is now utterly exploded.

Thayer's Note: While I agree with Dennis, I suspect here not fancy, but a desire to add the lustre of antiquity to more modern Italian games. Riding at the ring is a common feature of many Italian civic festivals: a typical example is the Corsa all' Anello of Narni in Umbria. The contest seems to date no farther back than the early Middle Ages — honorably ancient enough for me.

127 The Etruscans, be it remembered, were renowned for their race-horses. Liv. I.35. Müller (I.2, 2) thinks that their passion for the turf must have led them to cultivate the breed. We have not in this tomb much evidence of such cultivation. Yet there is no want of spirit in these steeds.

128 The first is named ARAUTHREC : IENEIEI; the other LARIS . . . . . U . . S. The copies in the Vatican read these names "Ara. Uthlec. Ienel," and "Laris Phanurus." In the description given in the Museo Gregoriano, tom. I, they are called women, and for such Micali also took the first (III. p103).

129 The name of the first greybeard is LARTH MATVES; of the second, AVILEREC : IENIIES; of the black-bearded man, . . ARATHVINACNA.

130 The tutulus is described by Varro (de Ling. Lat. VII.44) as a sort of meta or cone, worn on the heads of priests. Festus calls it the ornamental head-dress of the Flaminicae, who wore their hair piled up above their head, and bound round with a purple fillet; and also a woollen cap of the same form as the Flamines and Pontifices used. Varro adds that matrons who wore their hair twisted round the top of their heads, applied to it the same appellation.

131 The first slave is called TETIIE; the second, PUNRU. The Vatican copy reads this "Runru."

132 It is called AEPHLA.

133 His name is now a fragment, but the Vatican copy calls it VEI LANIIES.

134 In its present state it reads thus — . . AMATVESICALESECE : EURASECLES VASPHESTHICHVA; but in the Vatican copy it commences with CIVESAN . . . . In our present ignorance of the Etruscan language, all attempts at translating this or other inscriptions, except proper names or oft-occurring formulae, must be mere guess-work.

Micali (Mon. Ined., p270, tav. (p343)XLIV.1) gives representation of a black-figured amphora from Vulci, now in the Pinacothek of Munich, which bears a Bacchic procession, very similar to that in this tomb; but all the figures are decidedly males, all are decently robed, yet with their hair hanging loosely down their backs, and are walking, not dancing. The first figure bears three boughs in each hand, like the slave in this tomb, and a chaplet on his head; the second also carries similar boughs or twigs in one hand, and a vase in the other; next is a subulo with his pipes; and then a fourth man, with boughs in one hand, and a chaplet in the other.

135 Gerhard (Ann. Inst. 1831, p319) says this tomb displays archaic Greek art, partaking of the Etruscan manner, and with a rudeness in the countenances and drapery rather Tyrrhene than Greek. For other notices of it, see Ann. Inst. 1829, p106, et seq. — Kestner; Gell's Rome, I. p382, et seq.; Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. III p102, tav LXVII.5, 6. Copies of the paintings exist in the British Museum, in the "Bronze Room," on the left-hand wall (p344)and also in the Vatican, and have been engraved in the Museo Gregoriano, I. tav. CIII.

136 Some have taken the beard as a test of the antiquity of early Italian monuments, on the ground that prior to the year of Rome 454 there were no barbers in Italy; for in that year, says Varro (de Re Rust. II. cap. 11), "barbers first came from Sicily — ut scriptum in publico Ardeae in literis extat — and that there were none in earlier times is indicated by the statues of the ancients, which for the most part have large beards." Compare Pliny (VII.59), who adds that Scipio Africanus was the first who shaved daily. But this test, as applied to Etruscan monuments, is not to be relied on. First, because the Etruscans are known to have used depilatories of pitch instead of razors, and to have had houses for the removal of hair, as the Greeks had barbers' shops (Athen. XI. c3, p518; Aelian. de Nat. Anim. XIII.27); so that the fact of the introduction of barbers into Italy does not affect the question as applied to the Etruscans. And also, because in some of the earliest monuments of Etruria, such as the paintings in the Grotta Campana at Veii, no beards are introduced, while on others of late date, even of Roman times, like the Grotta Dipinta at Cervetri, figures are represented with beards, and these not mythological personages, as some who are bearded in the Cardinal and Tymphon-tombs in this necropolis of Tarquinii. It has been suggested that the figures in these Etruscan scenes of festivity may be represented beardless, to indicate the eternal youth they were supposed to enjoy. — Bull. Inst. 1843, p48 — Cavedoni.

137 Micali (Ant. Pop. Ital. I p246) thought all these paintings of Tarquinii were the work of provincial artists.

138 Gerhard (Bull. Inst. 1834, p12) is of opinion, from the strong Greek character of certain of these paintings, that they are the work of Greeks resident in Etruria, influenced by the native taste; and Bunsen (Ann. Inst. 1834, pp57, 74) thinks they are by Greeks or by native artists who had studied in Greece, or in her colonies in Italy.

139 Plin. XXXV.40.

140 Pausan. VII.22. See page 55 of this work.

141 Passeri (Paralipom. ad Dempst., p138) regarded it as a scene in the Etruscan purgatory. Notices and illustrations of these curious paintings will be found in Buonarroti, p42, and Dempst. II. tab. LXXXVIII; Gori, Mus. Etrus. III. p91.

142 He described several tombs no longer to be found. One was decorated with a painting of Cybele, with turreted crown, and a spear in her hand, seated on a car drawn by four lions, and preceded by twelve musicians, with fifes, cymbals, and tambours — probably the Corybantes or Galli, who danced at her festivals; for they used such instruments, though the former at least always danced armed like the Curetes of Crete. — Strab. X. p468, et seq. So Horace, Od. I. XVI. 7 —


Sic geminant Corybantes aera.

In another tomb was depicted Ceres, drawn by a pair of serpents. In a third was represented a galley, with oars and sails, with a king seated on the deck between two females, while Tritons were sporting in the waves, and blowing shell-trumpets. In a fourth was a procession of nine "priests," with lotus-flowers, birds, or vases in their hands. But the most remarkable scene described by the Padre was a man crowned with laurel, seated on an elephant, and attended by a number of spearmen on foot. This probably represented the ndian Bacchus.

143 Gori, Mus. Etrus. III. p90; cf. Maffei, Osservaz. Litter. V. p312.

144 Bull. Inst. 1831, p91.

145 For an account of these tombs, see the Appendix, Note II.

146 Bull. Inst. 1832, p214 — Avvolta.

147 Bull. Inst. 1844, p97 — with comments by Dr. Braun.

148 Ann. Inst. 1830, p37 — Westphal; 1832, p274 — Lenoir.

149 Other tumuli, much akin to this, but with some variety in the masonry, were in existence a few years since (Mon. Ined. Inst. I. tav. XLI.13, a. c.), but have been destroyed by the peasantry, who, it is to be feared, will soon pull this also to pieces, for the sake of the hewn blocks around it. One had a cone cut into steps, like the tomb at Bieda, shown in the woodcut at p271.

150 A tomb has been found in this necropolis, vaulted over with a conical cupola, formed by the gradual convergence of horizontal courses of masonry, exactly as in the Treasury of Atreus at Mycenae. It was about 18 feet in diameter. — Gell, Rome, II. p406; Mon. Ined. Inst. I. tav. XL. b. 4. It has either been re-closed, or its site is forgotten. I have sought it long in vain.

151 Pyramids, however, are found in Greece, though of much inferior size to those of Egypt. Pausanias (II.25) speaks of one existing in his day on the road from Argos to Epidaurus; and there are said to be several still extant, the best preserved of which is near Argos. It is 49 feet by 39 at the base, and built of polygonal masonry, inclining to the horizontal and rectangular. A plate and description of it are given by Colonel Mure, in his very interesting work on Greece *II., p195, et seq.), who ascribes it to the same primitive school of architects as the Treasury of Atreus.

152 The two pyramids of the Sun and Moon in the plain of Teotihuacan, are particularly remarkable for their size; and one of them has shafts and galleries within it, like those which have been discovered in the Pyramids of Egypt. A further analogy with the cemeteries of the old world is displayed in the multitude of smaller pyramids, all sepulchres, ranged in avenues or streets around these colossal monuments. The counterpart of this Micoatl, or "Path of the Dead," may be seen in the Montarozzi of Tarquinii, but still more strikingly in the Banditaccia of Cervetri. See Prescott's Hernan Cortes, II. p354‑7, for a description of these Transatlantic monuments, — also Stephens' Yucatan.

153 Herod. I.93. This tomb of Alyattes is still in existence, and lies in a valley near the Gygean lake, not far from Sardis. It is extremely large — a mere mound of earth — and has no masonry now visible around its base; but it may be concealed by the sinking of the earth from above. A travelled friend informs me, that on one of the lofty overhanging ridges are numerous tumular mounds of various sizes, though all much inferior to that of Alyattes, none of them now having basements of masonry. By travellers they are commonly known as The Tombs of the Lydian Kings; but the Turks call them "The Thousand and One Hills."

154 Dion. Hal. I p12, ed. Sylb. See the heading to this Chapter.

155 The same singular effect of the atmosphere is narrated of the Grotta Torlonia at Cervetri.— Visconti, Antichi Monumenti Sepolcrali di Ceri, p21.

156 For further particulars of this tomb, see the Appendix, Note III.

157 Pacciaudi, quoted by Lanzi, II. p465. cf. Inghir. Mon. Etr. IV.p111.

158 Bull. Inst. 1829, p8; Ann. Inst. 1830, p38 — Westphal Here were the remains of a Roman villa, the substructions of which had cut into Etruscan tombs. The Poggio della Vipera, further up the Marta, also contains sepulchres.

159 Suet. Jul. 81; Strab. VIII. p381.

160 Cassiodor. Variar. IV.34.

161 Niebuhr (I. p133) shows that the legend of Demaratus and his companions, Eucheir and Eugrammos, is meant to express that from Corinth Tarquinii derived her skill in forming and painting pottery; but he is mistaken in asserting that there is a striking similarity between the vases of the two cities. Occasional resemblances may occur, but they are by no means characteristic. Gerhard (Ann. Inst. 1831, p213) thinks the companions of Demaratus were workers in metal, for which branch of art the Dorians were renowned; for there is little like the infancy of Greek art in the vases of Tarquinii.

162 The eyes are supplied by some material in imitation of life. These bronzes are too small and thin ever to have served as shields, and were probably suspended as ornaments on the wall of the tomb. Bull. Inst. 1829, p150; Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. III p57. They are now in the Gregorian Museum. For notices of the excavations at Tarquinii, and their fruits, see Ann. (p358)Inst. 1829, p91‑101 (Avvolta); p101‑116 (Kestner); p120‑131 (Fossati); Bull. Inst. 1829, p150 (Gerhard); p197. Ann. Inst. 1831, p327‑330 (Manzi and Fossati); pp115, 123 (Gerhard); Ann. Inst. 1834, p64, et seq. (Bunsen).

163 This subject is very common on early Greek works of art, the Doric vases to wit — and is also found on Lycian and Asiatic Greek monuments. See Fellows' Lycia, pp174, 176, 197; and the reliefs from Xanthus, now in the British Museum; also the reliefs from Assos in Mysia, now in the Louvre — Mon. Ined. Inst. III. tav. XXXIV.

164 Agincourt (Hist. de l'Art III. p8) interprets this as showing "the torments reserved for the damned."

165 A century ago, according to Gori, the cornice or frieze was red, and the beams of the roof red and blue.

166 The earliest mention of it is by Maffei (Osserv. Letter. V. p311), who published in 1739. Gori in 1743 gave a description and illustrations (Mus. Etr. III. p90, class II. tab. 7, 8).

It is not improbable that this is the tomb referred to by Pope Innocent VIII at the end of the fifteenth century, in a letter which he wrote to the citizens of Corneto, about a certain "sepulcrum marmoreum" just then discovered. (p360)This cannot have reference to a marble sepulchre, such as flanked Roman roads, for it was evidently subterranean; it must mean a tomb with reliefs, which are vulgarly designated "marmi" by the Italians, just as we speak of the "Elgin marbles." The tomb must have been highly adorned in itself, and rich in furniture; for the Holy Father send "a beloved son" to Corneto expressly to see it, charging the authorities to show him the sepulchre, "in our name," and to compel those who had abstracted the contents to restore them forthwith. The civi powers, it appears, were themselves the culprits, for they replied that nothing had been found but some gold, which they had expended on repairing the fortifications. Bull. Inst. 1839, p69. Or it may be this tomb which is described in a poem of even earlier date, and which so astonished the natives with its magnificence as to be taken for the palace of Coritus. The benches around, the carved ceiling, with its chimney, and the sculptures on the walls here described, all tally with the original. The rock, however, is not the usual white travertine of the Montarozzi.

Sunt immensa albis exausta palatia saxis

Multa nimis magnae mansio gentis erat.
Vivi intus fontes, excisa sedilia circum,

Spiramenta locis dant penetrare diem.
Celatum in quodam pulchrum est spectare lacunar;

Illa, reor, Coriti regia regis erat.
Sculpta each perlegerent oculi memoranda, sed illud

Priscum longa dies attenuavit opus.
Quin etiam effigies veterumque sepulcra virorum

Sunt, et semideûm, sunt simulacra deûm.

167 Byres (part I. plates 5‑8) represents three draped female figures on the right-hand wall, where now is nothing but shapeless prominences of rock — a horse and a man standing beyond, still discernible in ruin — a male and two female figure son the inner wall, of which one of the latter only is now to be traced. In the frieze above he represents lions, bears, and sphinxes, and more than one instance of a human victim. Each corner of the frieze he shows to be occupied by an ox-skull.

168 The height of the tomb from the floor to the square aperture in the ceiling is 13 feet; the height of the walls 9 feet.

169 Winckelmann, Storia delle Arti, lib. III. c2, §23

170 See Chap XIII. p210.

171 Bartoli, Sepolcri Antichi, tav. L. It was discovered in 1692. It was a round chamber excavated in the rock, 45 feet below the surface, entered only by a perpendicular shaft, and encircled by a corridor, in which was sunk a second shaft, 15 feet deep.

172 Vitruv. VI.3. No specimen of such a cavaedium is, I believe, extant, but a painting of it may be seen on the walls of the Casa de' Capitelli Dipinti, and also of the Casa de' Dioscuri, at Pompeii.

173 Orph. Hymn. LXXXIII.2; cf. Herod. VIII.137; though Becker (Charicles, Exc. I. Sc. III) cannot understand the καπνοδόχη here as a regular chimney. Maffei, Gori, and other early writers on (p362)Etruscan antiquities fancied these holes in the ceilings of the tombs were to admit light; but this — opinion as well as light — is quite inadmissible.

174 In Maffei's time, a century ago, they were almost obliterated. With minute examination, I could perceive on the smoked stucco traces of red and black paint, and of scratches marking the outlines of the figures, but no forms are now distinguishable. Between the two chambers is a small circular apartment; but Byres represents it as a square niche recessed in the inner wall of the sculptured tomb — so that the rock beneath the niche must have broken away into the passage. The outer chamber is about twenty-two feet square, the inner about twenty.

As regards the relation of the inner to the outer chamber, this tomb is not unique. The tapestried sepulchre, represented by Byres, and now lost sight of, was constructed on the same plan, as also the singular "Tomb of the Tarquins," recently opened at Caere.

175 This tomb was described and drawn by the Padre Forlivesi, to whom Gori (Mus. Et. III. p90) owns himself indebted for the materials he published. According to his account, the beams of the outer chamber were painted red and blue — "a very pleasant effect." The cornice also was painted, as well as some of the reliefs. The inner wall of the second chamber was painted almost as Byres represents it, though each figure had its name in Etruscan letters; but the other walls also had figures of men alternating with trees, as in the Tomba del Colle Casuccini at Chiusi. The men were all naked, save a light chlamys or scarf, and some had birds in their hands, one a lyre, none was watering a tree from a vase. These seem to have disappeared before Byres' time.

Besides the descriptions and illustrations of Maffei and Gori aforesaid, see Micali, Ital. avanti il dom. Rom. tav. LI; Ant. Pop. Rom. tav. LXIV.3; Agincourt, Histoire de l'Art IV. pl. xi.; Inghir. Mon. Etrus. IV. tav. 20, 21, 22.

176 The largest cave of the Mercareccia is said by Dr. Urlichs (Bull. Inst. 1839, p67) to be as "grandiose" as the celebrated Latomie of Syracuse, which is giving it much more than its due. The same writer considers these caverns to be undoubtedly the quarries mentioned by Vitruvius and Pliny, under the name of Lapidicinae Anicianae. See Chapter XIII. p208. He is mistaken, as those quarries are expressly stated to be near the lake of Volsinii.

177 This is clearly the same tomb described by Maffei (Osserv. Letter. V. p310) and Gori (Mus. Etrus. III. p89), who gives an inscription of four lines (class II. tab. VII.3), and vouches for its correctness, as it was carefully copied a few days after the tomb was opened. Gori says it is in the Montarozzi, four miles from Corneto. He gives a second inscription of two lines on the opposite wall. (Cf. Inghir. Mon. Etrus. IV. tav. 19). The first begins with the name of "Ramtha Matulnei" — the second with "Larth. Ceisinis." A lady of this family, Caesennia, is mentioned by Cicero (pro Caecinâ, IV) as being of Tarquinii and the wife of his client Caecina. The name of "Ceises" also occurs on a tomb at Castel d'Asso (see page 242), which is worthy of notice, as Caesennia had an estate at Castellum Axia.

Thayer's Notes:

a Dennis could not of course be more mistaken; I will not drag the gentle reader thru what he must have been thinking. At any rate, any society in which a crowd of people can sit quietly without any clothes on and watch a sports event demonstrates a maturity to which neither Victorian England nor most 21c societies, whether the Western world or China or fundamentalist Islam, can lay claim.

b A reminder that Dennis writes in the mid-1840's, well before the discoveries of prehistoric cave art, including the magnificent paintings at Lascaux for example, which, dating to roughly 16,000 B.C., are older by fifteen thousand years than any Etruscan art.

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