Issue: Studi Etruschi 80 - 2017
pp. 3-22, Tavv. 4
The thesis that Phoenician sea trade was the driving force behind Etruscan ‘Orientalizing’ has changed in recent times owing to different factors: for example, owing to a group of artefacts and to iconography originating in the Northern Syria-Late Hittite region, and to objects that could not have been known merely through imports, but only by Etruscans visiting the Near East. It is rather probable that not only objects and skills had been transferred, but also ideas. Some objects suggest that not all Oriental imports had been forgotten after the end of the ‘Orientalizing’ era. In particular, two antefixes belonging to the ‘building of the 20 cells’ at Pyrgi have their roots in Neo-Assyrian art (e.g., a god in the winged sun, and demons with heads of eagles). The transformation of the eagle’s head into the head of a cock in Etruria creates a close connection between the sun and the demon, which is not documented in Assyria. In the above-mentioned region, however, bird-headed carriers of the winged sun are already attested in the 2nd and early 1st millennium. These and other observations lead to the assumption that Oriental traditions were maintained in Etruria, especially in the field of cult and religion.