Etruscan Temple Reconstruction

Etruscan Temple Reconstruction


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The superstructures of Etruscan temples were built from wood and mud brick that was often covered in stucco , plaster, or painted for decoration. The temple had a stone or tufa foundation, and the roof was covered in protective terra cotta tiles. Despite their Greek origins, Etruscan temples are unique.

Unlike Greek temples, which were made of the more stable medium of stone, Etruscan temples were made of wood and mud brick. Entrance was only possibly through a narrow staircase at the center of the front of the temple.


Etruscan Temple Reconstruction - History


My work continues on and it's pretty addictive. I've always loved 3D and details so I'm really getting my rocks off doing this model. I'm still pondering on how I'm going to dress this building up. What colours? What objects do you put in it? What would an Etruscan temple look like inside one of those rooms? Here's also the side view thus far.

3 comments:

To respond to what you have asked, I would add the more obvious colours first: for example, the roof should be brown-reddish. It is easy to give a natural tint for the wooden parts, too. As for the columns, I have seen a number of reconstructions on the net that applied a 'Knossos-style' red-black-white palette - I am unsure if it is right, as this temple comes from a later era, and classic Greeks and Romans likely had different colour preferences.

As for the interior, an altar would be nice (or even three of them, you decide), but I could not choose between the round column or the block-shape. And - of course - some statues would be the best addition, if you can manage them at a reasonable polygon number.

Good job, so far. I am looking forward to seeing it with its final texture.

Yes! These are the kinds of hard-hitting historical questions I wanted to provoke by my virtual building adventures.

Bayndor: "[. ] for example, the roof should be brown-reddish."

Interesting. What's your reasoning behind this specific hue?

"[. ] I have seen a number of reconstructions on the net that applied a 'Knossos-style' red-black-white palette - I am unsure if it is right, [. ]"

Me too. I've been wondering about that and noticed the Knossos similarity. So I definitely need to look up archaeological finds concerning Etruscan columns and any paint residue left behind (cross fingers).

"As for the interior, an altar would be nice (or even three of them, you decide), but I could not choose between the round column or the block-shape."

A temple is nothing without an altar so that goes without saying but the question is what would a typical Etruscan altar look like.

And also there's the nature of the temple itself. As I said before, the three-cella plan implies the Capitoline triad. Assuming this, I'd then presume (in complete ignorance, mind you) that there should be an altar here for Uni in the righthand cella, one for Minerva on the left and Tinia in the center. Again, what would those altars be expected to look like exactly? I need to do more homework.

Speaking of which, have you encountered 3-cella temples with only one altar, as you suggest?

"[. ] if you can manage them at a reasonable polygon number."

Polygon number can be a problem. I could however try making altars separately if it becomes a problem. I've also noticed by a quick Google search that there's a way of converting SketchUp to other 3D programs like Blender. So much to learn. The sheer possibilities are making me go mental, hehe.


From the Temple and the Tomb: Etruscan Treasures from Tuscany

It is somewhat ironic that as one enters an exhibition of Etruscan art, one is confronted by the ravaged face of the Greek hero, Oedipus, staring down from a sculpted pediment. But on further reflection it makes sense. With his arms raised heavenward, his blinded eyes and open mouth, he resembles a seer prophesying to his religious devotees standing before the temple. As the battle of Thebes rages around him and his sons are dying at either side, Oedipus is both a tortured king and a wise prophet. Both roles clearly resonated with the Etruscans, who were ruled by aristocratic principes and who excelled in the arts of divination.

Welcoming the visitor in the large upstairs gallery at the Meadows Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, is a striking juxtaposition of this 2nd-century BCE terracotta temple pediment from Talamone framing a large 5th-century BCE cinerary urn in the shape of a woman (the so-called Mater Matuta from Chianciano) — both major icons of Etruscan art. They herald the twin themes of this loan exhibition from Florence, the temple and the tomb. Etruscan funerary art is fairly commonplace, having been uncovered and exhibited in Tuscany since the era of the Medici objects of a religious nature are rarer, but significantly more important since they reveal a great deal about the less well documented life-style, as opposed to the death-style, of these pre-Roman inhabitants of Italy. But this stunning exhibit does more than educate the public about Etruscan tombs and temples it puts on display a vast — over 350 objects in all — array of intriguing works of art of various materials, scales, techniques, types of imagery, andfindspots , many of which have not been on display in Florence for decades. It is the most important show of Etruscan material ever mounted in this hemisphere, and it behooves everyone interested in the classical past to see it before it returns to Italy in May.

The exhibition was co-organized by the Meadows Museum of SMU and the National Archaeological Museum of Florence. The masterminds were Giuseppina Carlotta Cianferoni, director of the museum in Florence, and P. Gregory Warden, an SMU distinguished professor who conducts on-going excavations at the site of Poggio Colla, north of Florence (where this reviewer is a guest scholar). In the ground-floor galleries there is a didactic exhibit of smaller finds from that site, including the reconstruction of a terracotta roof and a votive deposit. The large exhibit was shown earlier in Madrid, but the Dallas version has been expanded with more objects, including the early archaic bronze statues from Brolio, which consist of a frontal draped female surrounded by three stately warriors posed as if in a stylized pyrrhic dance. While they may have functioned as table supports in antiquity, they now are excellent examples of the Etruscan artist’s attention to exquisite detail and obsession with elegant elongation.

The main exhibit follows a chronological order from the impasto hut urns of the ninth century BC from southern Etruria to the second-century BC carved alabaster urns from Volterra. One could trace the evolution of another distinctive Etruscan object, the fibula, from its earliest bronze versions, sometimes enhanced with amber and bone, to seventh-century models in gold and silver with intricate granulation. The installation represents the height of Italian disegno. Objects are displayed in large, square suede-lined cases, which show them off brilliantly but also tend to compartmentalize them such that pieces pertaining to the same votive pit or tomb group are separated. Many striking pieces merit their own case, like a gigantic bronze trident from Populonia complete with its cotter pin on a chain which kept the three forks together.

The favored media of the Etruscans, bronze and clay, are well represented. Shiny black bucchero abounds in an amazing variety of shapes, including a plump bird on wheels. One finds typical bronze utilitarian objects like razors, tweezers, mirrors, fibulae, basins, strainers and a humble grater, but also unique pieces like a meter-long brazier with birds perched on the edge borne along on four wheels. Horses and birds were very much in the repertoire of early bronze workers, and bronze horse trappings and huge chariot wheels from various necropoli exemplify the Etruscans’ fascination with equestrianism. Ivory was also clearly a favorite medium, and some of the most exquisite objects in the exhibit are made of this imported material, e.g., a pair of fan handles decorated with crouching beasts, a unique comb with gilded ivory decoration, a delicate hair pin topped by a griffin, and a Hellenistic-style sculpture of a deformed ithyphallic pygmy who shoulders a dead crane. This piece is appropriately set in a case with an Etruscan red-figure kelebe or krater which shows an earlier moment, a combat of pygmy and crane. Gold jewelry is prevalent, attesting to the great wealth of the Etruscans. One of the most visually spectacular pieces in the show is a gold diadem composed of thin leaves and repousse/ plaques depicting Scylla on a dolphin. A somewhat garish ring from Montepulciano, consisting of a blue and yellow carnelian set into a thick gold frame, recalls those worn by the overfed Etruscans lounging on the tops of their funerary urns. Both pieces are dated to the fourth century, when the Etruscan began to be overtaken by the stolid Romans, who considered them decadent. The only major Etruscan medium missing in this show is wall painting, for the simple reason that these are mostly in situ. However color is supplied by several architectural plaques preserving red and blue pigments, as well as an alabaster cinerary urn, that of Larth Cumersa loaned by the Siena Museum of Archaeology. Here a winged demon or Vanth is interposed between the sons of Oedipus whose wounds are spurting red blood the painting of the figures’ dark eyes and bright garments gives this relief a vividness and expressive quality lacking in the urns, that have sadly lost all their color.

For those intrigued by the Etruscan language there are a few pieces with inscriptions, including the famous “Magliano Disk” which carries an exceptional long text naming several deities. The names Menvra (Minerva) and Cilens (Selene?) are painted on a large terracotta antefix of the second-century from Bolsena consisting of two animated statuettes of these deities. Some deliberately crushed bronze helmets, found in a cache of 125 near the walls of Vetulonia, are inscribed with the name of a prominent family or clan Haspnas. Bronze hand mirrors, one of the most distinctive Etruscan products, bear incised names as well. The well known masterpiece from Volterra showing Herakles suckling at the breast of Hera, a scene unknown in Greek art, is inscribed Uni and Hercle. And naturally many of the cinerary urns have the names of the deceased carved or painted prominently on the fronts.

Numerous non-Etruscan objects attest to the Etruscans’ vast trade network in the Mediterranean. There is a small bronze model of boat, typical of Sardinia. Corinthian and Attic vases are juxtaposed with Etruscan imitations only lacking are the Attic imitations of Etruscan shapes like the Nikosthenic amphorae and kyathoi which would have demonstrated how the Greek market responded to their avid Etruscan customers. One vitrine showcases an array of small plastic perfume flasks including a pair of green faience locusts, probably from East Greece.

One of the ironies of this exhibit in light of the recent repatriations to Italy of archaeological materials which were presumably looted from their ancient contexts, is the absence of didactic labels explaining how and where these objects were deposited. As mentioned earlier, because of the design of the installation, many votive deposits or tomb complexes are divvied up among several cases, making it challenging for the average viewer to envision the original complex. Text labels would have helped immensely in this regard, even if they are somewhat distracting from the overall aesthetic appeal of the whole. Fortunately there is an excellent and comprehensive catalogue edited by Warden and published by the Meadows Museum. It is not simply a translation of the Madrid catalogue, as it includes commissioned essays from eminent American scholars: J. P. Small on the aesthetics of Etruscan Art, I. Edlund-Berry on religion, N. de Grummond on women, R. E. Wallace on language and inscriptions, A. Steiner on relations with the Greeks, and P. G. Warden on funerary contexts and what he terms the “social landscape”.

Together with a symposium entitled “Learning from the Past, Partnering for the Future” held on January 24, 2009, which covered various topics relating to American archaeological projects in Italy, this entire venture was an ambitious undertaking for a university museum. SMU and Warden are to be congratulated for bringing the riches of Etruria to central Texas, and in so doing, educating students and the public about this unique culture which flourished for half a millennium in the ancient Mediterranean.


One of the most significant Etruscan discoveries in decades names female goddess Uni

Inscribed surfaces of the stele already have revealed mention of the goddess Uni as well as a reference to the god Tina, the name of the supreme deity of the Etruscans. Credit: Mugello Valley Project

Archaeologists translating a very rare inscription on an ancient Etruscan temple stone have discovered the name Uni—an important female goddess.

The discovery indicates that Uni—a divinity of fertility and possibly a mother goddess at this particular place—may have been the titular deity worshipped at the sanctuary of Poggio Colla, a key settlement in Italy for the ancient Etruscan civilization.

The mention is part of a sacred text that is possibly the longest such Etruscan inscription ever discovered on stone, said archaeologist Gregory Warden, professor emeritus at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, main sponsor of the archaeological dig.

Scientists on the research discovered the ancient stone embedded as part of a temple wall at Poggio Colla, a dig where many other Etruscan objects have been found, including a ceramic fragment with the earliest birth scene in European art. That object reinforces the interpretation of a fertility cult at Poggio Colla, Warden said.

Now Etruscan language experts are studying the 500-pound slab—called a stele (STEE-lee)—to translate the text. It's very rare to identify the god or goddess worshipped at an Etruscan sanctuary.

"The location of its discovery—a place where prestigious offerings were made—and the possible presence in the inscription of the name of Uni, as well as the care of the drafting of the text, which brings to mind the work of a stone carver who faithfully followed a model transmitted by a careful and educated scribe, suggest that the document had a dedicatory character," said Adriano Maggiani, formerly Professor at the University of Venice and one of the scholars working to decipher the inscription.

"It is also possible that it expresses the laws of the sanctuary—a series of prescriptions related to ceremonies that would have taken place there, perhaps in connection with an altar or some other sacred space," said Warden, co-director and principal investigator of the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project.

Warden said it will be easier to speak with more certainty once the archaeologists are able to completely reconstruct the text, which consists of as many as 120 characters or more. While archaeologists understand how Etruscan grammar works, and know some of its words and alphabet, they expect to discover new words never seen before, particularly since this discovery veers from others in that it's not a funerary text.

The partially cleaned stele bears one of the longest Etruscan texts ever found, possibly spelling out ceremonial religious rituals. Credit: Mugello Valley Project

The Mugello Valley archaeologists are announcing discovery of the goddess Uni at an exhibit in Florence on Aug. 27, "Scrittura e culto a Poggio Colla, un santuario etrusco nel Mugello," and in a forthcoming article in the scholarly journal Etruscan Studies.

Text may specify the religious ritual for temple ceremonies dedicated to the goddess

It's possible the text contains the dedication of the sanctuary, or some part of it, such as the temple proper, so the expectation is that it will reveal the early beliefs of a lost culture fundamental to western traditions.

The sandstone slab, which dates to the 6th century BCE and is nearly four feet tall by more than two feet wide, was discovered in the final stages of two decades of digging at Mugello Valley, which is northeast of Florence in north central Italy.

Etruscans once ruled Rome, influencing that civilization in everything from religion and government to art and architecture. A highly cultured people, Etruscans were also very religious and their belief system permeated all aspects of their culture and life.

Inscription may reveal data to understand concepts and rituals, writing and language

Permanent Etruscan inscriptions are rare, as Etruscans typically used linen cloth books or wax tablets. The texts that have been preserved are quite short and are from graves, thus funerary in nature.

"We can at this point affirm that this discovery is one of the most important Etruscan discoveries of the last few decades," Warden said. "It's a discovery that will provide not only valuable information about the nature of sacred practices at Poggio Colla, but also fundamental data for understanding the concepts and rituals of the Etruscans, as well as their writing and perhaps their language."

Credit: Southern Methodist University

Besides being possibly the longest Etruscan inscription on stone, it is also one of the three longest sacred texts to date.

One section of the text refers to "tina?," a reference to Tina, the name of the supreme deity of the Etruscans. Tina was equivalent to ancient Greece's Zeus or Rome's Jupiter.

Once an imposing and monumental symbol of authority

The slab was discovered embedded in the foundations of a monumental temple where it had been buried for more than 2,500 years. At one time it would have been displayed as an imposing and monumental symbol of authority, said Warden, president and professor of archaeology at Franklin University Switzerland.

The text is being studied by two noted experts on the Etruscan language, including Maggiani, who is an epigrapher, and Rex Wallace, Professor of Classics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who is a comparative linguist.

A hologram of the stele will be shown at the Florence exhibit, as conservation of the stele is ongoing at the conservation laboratories of the Archaeological Superintendency in Florence. Digital documentation is being done by experts from the architecture department of the University of Florence. The sandstone is heavily abraded and chipped, so cleaning should allow scholars to read the inscription.

Other objects unearthed in the past 20 years have shed light on Etruscan worship, beliefs, gifts to divinities, and discoveries related to the daily lives of elites and non-elites, including workshops, kilns, pottery and homes. The material helps document ritual activity from the 7th century to the 2nd century BCE.

Besides SMU, other collaborating institutions at Mugello Valley Archaeological Project include Franklin and Marshall College, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology, the Center for the Study of Ancient Italy at The University of Texas at Austin, The Open University (UK), and Franklin University Switzerland.


Villa Poniatowski

The Villa was inaugurated in 2012 and is ETRU&rsquos second branch. Its rooms feature exhibits from Latium Vetus and Umbria. A refurbishment is underway on a large area that will be used for temporary exhibitions.

It was transformed into a villa at the start of the 19th century by Giuseppe Valadier at the behest of Stanislaw Poniatowski, the nephew of the last King of Poland. With its main façade overlooking via Flaminia, the Villa is embellished with pools and fountains, while the large stepped terrace garden is adorned with ancient sculptures.

A number of discoveries were made during the refurbishment works in 1997, including the unearthing of the remains of the Villa&rsquos original 16th century structure, the remains of two fountains, fixtures from pools and fountains, as well as pictorial and decorative elements.


Etruscan Temple Reconstruction - History


I couldn't help but notice when I browse through Google's 3D Warehouse looking for interesting historical 3d models that there is little mention of Etruscan-related anything, let alone a sample temple. Madness, I say! How many millions of people online and not a single person inspired for something more on that topic? Egad, talking about global depression.

Oh well, no worries. If you want something done, you gotta do it yourself. The above is my first attempt at architectural (re)construction, an Etruscan temple. Don't worry, it'll get more ornate as time goes on. I'm doing this primarily for my own selfish reasons. I want to visualize a temple and understand its components, understand how Etruscan rituals might have been performed in it, what religious nicknacks it was filled with, what ornamentation would be appropriate to the period, building methods, etc. Making this 3d model is an awesome learning opportunity that forces me to ask deeper questions for myself that I may not have pondered until I undertook this project. Besides, I really find using the simple and free-to-use Sketchup program to be a very intuitive tool to use, quick and easy to share with the online world.


What was the relationship between the Etruscans and the Greeks?

The Etruscans had long had contacts with the Greeks and their alphabet was based on their alphabet. The city-states of Etruria had long been under the cultural influence of the Greeks. [11] The Tarquin kings the Etruscans exposed the Romans to Greek culture. Many Roman nobles would send their sons to schools in Etruscan cities and here they learned Greek and read its literature and philosophy [12]

Greek thought and literature enriched Roman culture. The Romans adopted the Greek alphabet and used it for their own language, Latin. Much of Roman literature was based on Greek forms and genres and Roman political thought and philosophy originated in Greek ideas. By the second century BCE many the male elite could speak Greek and many were educated in Athens. [13]


“Rome in 3D” reboot – detailed reconstruction of the City center

After a relatively long pause, we’re returning to the “Rome in 3D” project. During the last months, as we all know, not everything went as we initially planned. But we did not abandon the project despite the difficulties. Today, I want to share a first intro to the Rome project in a new form. To a certain degree, it is the reboot of the project, since many objects were replaced and remodelled completely, and the whole project has been moved to the new game engine.

Today, you can watch the first trailer, which can give you the common imagination about the amount of work done during the last year:

Also , let’s take a look at some more detailed images showing panoramas and several important locations of the Eternal City, as it probably look like in 320 AD. First, you can observe the Rome center from the roof of the famous baths of Trajan, which stood on the Oppian hill. From here uou can see Amphiteater (Colosseum), as well as Colossus Solis, temple of Venus and Roma, palaces and temples of Palatine hill. In the center of the picture, behind the Trajan’b baths library, you can see temples of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Juno Moneta on Capitoline hill. A little to the right, you can see the basilica Ulpia and Trajan’s Column. And at the right edge, on the Quirinal, you can see the temple of Hercules and Dionysus, and the baths of Constantine:

Then, let’s move down to the “Colosseum” and have a look from the from a height of human growth. Thus, we can get some idea of the scale of the amphitheater, Colosus Solis and the temple of Venus and Roma (behind the Colossus). And in the distance, you can see the Arch of Constantine (recently built ), which we will explore in detail in one of the following posts:

Now, like a bird, we will soar into the sky, and fly around the center of Rome in an arc from the northeast, passing Viminal and Quirinal to the Capitol ine hill. Flying over the Viminale, let’s look to the left and see a majestic panorama from the “Colosseum” to the Capitol. In the distance, magnificent palaces and forums are visible. And below us is the cramped residential area of Suburra:

After flying a little further, we find ourselves on the Quirinal Hill. Let’s take a look at the City from here. In the distance, to the left of the “Colosseum”, we see the baths of Trajan, from where we started our journey, and behind them on the horizon are the Alban Hills:

Now we have reached the northern top of the Capitol, from here, from the so-called Arx (citadel), we can see the Albanus Mons, where the temple of Jupiter Latiaris was located. We are standing on a platform (Auguraculum) from where augurs often watched the flights of birds (auspicium). And just below us – the Forum Romanum, the heart of the Eternal City:

At the end of our short trip, we will go down to the Forum and look at its monuments and temples in the rays of the setting Sun :

Thank you for travelling with us in Rome today! Soon you will be able to explore all these locations. I will procceed with posting a series of posts images and videos, where we will take a look at Rome buildings more detaily, with comments and descriptions. Also, I’ll regularly inform you about the progress of the “Rome in 3D” project. Thank you and stay with us!


Built for Pope Julius III between 1550 and 1555, Villa Giulia is a magnificent Renaissance palace built in what once were the outskirts of the city. The museum is known for its extensive art collections, but mostly for beauty of the building and its lovely gardens.

The museum’s works are spread over two floors and are arranged according to period and place of origin. The collections include pottery, funeral urns, jewellery, bronzes and sculptures.

Among the museum’s most valuable objects are a sarcophagus from the year 520 BC, as well as several terracotta figures such as the Apollo of Veii and the image of Hercules and Apollo vying for the deer, both from 510 BC. The museum also presents a great collection of precious objects from antiquity to the 19th century.


Watch the video: Documentaire Le Mont du Temple 1 3 Le temple de Salomon