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Etruscans in Paris

Etruscans in Paris

If you ever need an extra reason to spend a weekend in Paris in the coming months, I can offer you a suggestion: “Etrusques. Un hymne à la vie”, Musée Maillol, Paris. 18 September 2013 – 9 February 2014.

“The exhibition organized by Musée Maillol explores, in an unprecedented way, the daily life of the Etruscans. It tells the extraordinary adventure of a people that developed between the ninth and the second centuries BC, in an area that today corresponds to the Italian peninsula. The image of the Etruscans is too often told only through stories associated with its funerary world. […] Thus we have tended, incorrectly, to detach them from the world of the living. It is precisely the different aspects of the daily life of this happy and peaceful civilization that will be highlighted in this exhibition, through the exploration of the great cities of this confederation: Veii, Cerveteri, Tarquinia and Orvieto. Religion, writing, weapons, painting and sculpture, craftsmanship in gold and silver, bronze and ceramics will be on display.”  (Source: www.museemaillol.com)


Once again I was offered the privilege to voice part of the audio tour in Italian for this great exhibition; a task that I accomplished with an extra drive and sense of pride.

Being born and raised in Rome, I feel quite an affinity with the Etruscans. These ancestors of mine contributed in a major way to our attitude towards everyday life’s pleasures and practical aspects.

Just a brief anecdote about the Etruscans, who differed from all the other Italic people.


Determined to find out where the Etruscans came from, one day Dionysius of Halicarnassus – a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric who lived in Rome between 30 and 8 BC – asked an Etruscan he accidentally met on the street: “Who are you and where do you come from?”. The Etruscan man, without getting flustered replied: “Rasenna!”. Poor Dionysius quickly walked away thinking that man just offended him, or that he swore against the gods. Actually “rasenna” means people, people par excellence. This is how the Etruscans felt about themselves!


Simonetta Ronconi


Featured image credits: pixabay.com