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The 4th Mario A. Del Chiaro Lecture: The Religious Landscape of Etruria: new discoveries and interpretations

Ingrid Edlund-Berry


For many centuries the Tuscan landscape has provided the setting for hilltop cities and towns, undulating hills covered with olive trees or vineyards, and rivers and roads that provide avenues for trade and travels between the coast and the inland. The landscape was important to the Etruscans, but for reasons that may escape us unless we are willing to see what we look at and to develop a sensitivity for the importance of sacred places throughout ancient Etruria. Thanks to literary sources and abundant archaeological evidence it is possible, although not always easy, to recreate the religious landscape created by the Etruscans, with sacred mountains and caves, springs and lakes, combined with elaborate urban and extra—urban sanctuaries with temples and altars.

In her lecture Ingrid Edlund-Berry will present examples of known and lesser known sacred spaces of ancient Etruria and hope to show how the landscape contributed to the Etruscan perception of the world and the worship of deities that determined the wellbeing of individuals as well as communities with a sense of religious piety that the neighbors of the Etruscans, including the Romans, seem to have found both puzzling and enviable.

Ingrid Edlund-Berry is Professor Emerita in the Department of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin.