Masters of Prophecy: Religion, Identity, and the Fate of the Etruscans in the Context of Roman Italy
Speaker: Dr. Daniele F. Maras, Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia, Rome, Italy
January 21, 2016, 6:00 PM
ASU West Campus, Kiva Hall
The so-called mystery of the Etruscans rests on three major issues attached to their perception by ancient authors and the modern public: their inscrutable origins, their unparalleled language, and their peculiar religion. While the first two issues have interested especially ancient Greek sources and modern scholars, the features of Etruscan religious practices are a recurring motif of Latin literature. In fact, in the Roman world, the Etruscans enjoyed a long-lasting fame as clever seers, especially regarding their ability as haruspices, priests able to read future events within the entrails of sacrifice victims.
In the last centuries of paganism the so-called ‘Etruscan’ haruspices were among the most vigorous opponents of new religions, as in the case of early Christianity. This caused a reaction on the part of the Fathers of Church, who blamed Etruscan superstition, with special regard to divination. Thus, the last remains of independent Etruscan culture were eventually destined to vanish.
Dr. Daniele Maras holds his degrees from “La Sapienza” University of Rome, and specializes in Classical archaeology, Etruscology, Classical religion and mythology, Latin and Pre-Roman epigraphy, and ancient art history. He has received various awards for his work, including being named a Corresponding Member of the Pontificia Accademia Romana di Archeologia and Member of the Società Italiana di Storia delle Religioni. He has numerous works in preparation, and most recent publications include “Numbers & Reckoning: A Whole Civilization founded upon Divisions” in The Etruscan World (J. MacIntosh Turfa ed., 2013). Dr. Maras is an AIA Kress Lecturer for 2015/2016.
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