Macquarie University
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Challenging the Hellenisation and Romanisation of the Etruscan Culture through their depictions of the Trojan Epic Cycle

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posted on 2024-03-22, 03:44 authored by Adrian Caridi

Despite their significant presence in the Mediterranean during the first millennium BCE, the Etruscans are often overlooked and perceived as mysterious. The scarcity of Etruscan literary sources has led to their culture’s prevailing narrative being predominantly shaped by Greek and Roman perspectives. Consequently, the development of Etruscan culture is frequently explained in terms of Hellenisation and Romanisation, which refer to the assimilation of Greek and Roman customs. However, these concepts have been criticised for portraying the Etruscans as passive recipients of Greek and Roman influences in a cultural hierarchy, neglecting the nuances, complexity, and overlapping nature of cultural exchange.

Therefore, this thesis aims to challenge the notions of Hellenisation and Romanisation by highlighting the Etruscans' active role in selectively adapting foreign influences into their traditions of iconography, context, and function through a case study of their depictions of the Trojan Epic Cycle. By applying alternative theoretical models of cultural exchange, this research aims to emphasise how the Etruscans' portrayal of this specific foreign feature reflects the transmission and transformations of ideas through adaptations and a reciprocal process. This investigation will examine the extent to which Etruscans exercised agency in their cultural production and how their depictions of the Trojan Epic Cycle can be analysed in a new perspective of constructing and understanding the Etruscans’ cultural identity.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Introduction -- Chapter 2 - Pottery -- Chapter 3 - Tomb paintings -- Chapter 4 - Mirrors -- Chapter 5 - Conclusion -- Appendix A - Locally produced Etruscan items dataset -- Appendix B - Greek imported items dataset -- Bibliography

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Master of Research

Department, Centre or School

Department of History and Archaeology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Peter Keegan

Additional Supervisor 1

Leigh Boucher

Additional Supervisor 2

Camilla Di Biase-Dyson


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




105 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 300523

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