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The Princes' Age And The Great Tumuli Of Etruria

In the seventh century B.C. Etruria is run over by a new wind: commodities, ideologies and cultural models coming from the Mediterranean East provoke deep transformations in the art, in the architecture and in the social customs.
It is the Orientalizing Period, also called "the Princes' Age" for the emergence, within the Etruscan communities, of an aristocratic class that bases its power on the possession of the land, the exploitation of its resources and trade.
These powerful households adopt lifestyles and symbols derived from the East, often mediated by the Greeks. Together with the objects of luxury, realized in gold, silver, ivory and precious stones, ceremonial practices are also imported as the banquet and the symposium: they are important ritual moments in which the princes celebrate their power flaunting wealth of residences and services used on the tables.
To a lived here in wealth corresponds great grave goods: it can be said that the Orientalizing Etruscan noble focus their efforts really in the realization of their graves. It deals with barrows-like sepulchers of notable dimensions, with diameters that in some cases reach the 90 meters.
The monumental tumuli are the visible symbol of the aristocratic shine on the territory and they underline the control practiced by the noble groups on the single regions. Their position in fact is often strategic: tumuli set themselves up as guardians of the land near major routes and roads linking the chief towns, to remember the power of the families who also manage the control of trade.
There are numerous areas of Etruria involved in the phenomenon of the spread of monumental tumuli, although in ways and at different times. Cerveteri is undoubtedly the richest site, not only for the size of the monuments, but also for the decorative and the conformation of the burial chambers that are inspired by the houses of the alive ones.
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