Graduate Seminar: Demystifying Funerary Landscapes, Identities and Receptions in Egypt and Etruria
This seminar focuses on the vast and complex issues of the Egyptian and Etruscan underworlds and sheds light on two ancient Mediterranean cultures known predominantly by their funerary practices and beliefs in the afterlife. For centuries there has been a curious and subtle association between Egyptian and Etruscan art and culture. Both practiced funerary rituals, constructed lavish tombs with lively wall paintings and packed these spaces for the journey to the afterlife – this was enough for curators and collectors to group them alongside or even together in many of the earliest museums and catalogs in Europe and the United States (and this still takes place today). Egyptian and Etruscan tomb paintings, with their vibrant colors, elaborate visual narratives and underworld “demons”, offer an opportunity to study analogous aspects of Egyptian and Etruscan funerary rituals and art. Thus this seminar, the first of its kind, provides a remarkable opportunity to explore the common and distinct threads of two vastly different cultures (i.e., chronologies, continents, etc.) whose funerary practices converge in fascinating ways. We will examine primary sources from ancient Egypt and Etruria, their reception over the past centuries up to the present and their interpretation within the study of the ancient Mediterranean world as a whole.