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New Evidence for the Life of an Etruscan Soldier

A scholar of classical art and archaeology will talk about what the helmets of Etruscan soldiers may reveal about their lives and culture.

Dr. Hilary Becker, from Binghamton University in New York, will give a lecture on “The Etruscan Helmets from Vetulonia: New Evidence for the Life of an Etruscan Soldier.”

"Greek and Roman sources help us to visualize Etruscan armies fighting against the Romans, but since no Etruscan literary testimony or histories has survived, little is known about the Etruscan military. A group of approximately 125 bronze helmets of Negau type was buried in a votive deposit outside of the city wall of Vetulonia in the 5th century B.C. This unique deposit makes it possible to learn about dedicatory practices, the expectation for the soldiers purchasing arms, and even what do with one’s armor in the off-season.

"We will start by considering the implications of dedicating helmets to the gods. The Etruscans gave gifts to the gods but how often was this a practice with their armor? Further, would an Etruscan soldier be more likely to dedicate his armor to the gods or take it with him to his tomb? Many of the helmets from Vetulonia have inscriptions, which will be examined for what they can tell us about both Etruscan society and the Etruscan army."

Dr. Becker is an assistant professor of classics. She has published articles dealing with Etruscan economy and settlement patterns and co-edited "Votives, Places and Rituals in Etruscan Religion." She is writing a book about the trade in Roman pigments, an investigation that started with her research on the only surviving pigment shop from ancient Rome.


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