Etruscan Women

Etruscan women had higher status than Greek women or their ancient contemporaries. Greek women generally stayed home and did not mix freely with men socially.   In contrast, Etruscan women mixed freely with men. They attended banquets and symposiums unlike Greek wives, in Greek culture only men, boys, girls, slaves and prostitutes attended symposiums. Such freedom of Etruscan women can be seen in the sarcophagus from Cerveteri, Italy; it shows a figure of a husband and wife reclining on couch and their intimacy to each other is also noticeable.   Similar artwork has not been found among Greeks and it was so uncommon to them that they found this shocking. Very few of Greek women might have been able to obtain an education, but evidences show that Etruscan women were literate. Mirrors and toiletry items were made for Etrucan women and were buried with them, so was their precious jewelry also buried with them. Ficoroni Cista, a cylindrical container for a women’s toiletry, has inscribed on its handle that a woman named Dinda Maclonin gifted it to her daughter. Such inscription was not found in the Greeks. It was a custom for Etruscan to include the name of the mother as well as father when commemorating a person. This is depicted in the figure of Aule Metele. On the hem of Aule Metele’s garment, name of his mother and father are inscribed. This inscription shows that women had a status similar to that of Etruscan men, they went to banquets and symposiums like men did and they were honored through inscription just as Etruscan men were. It is also stated that Etruscan women could own property independently of their husbands. Thus, the freedom that Etruscan women enjoyed and their higher status is reflected through Etruscan art.