A reappraisal of Cypriot imports in Etruria in a paper by Stella Diakou and Jacopo Tabolli

ROME, MAY 2 –  A reappraisal of Cypriot imports in Etruria in the 1st millennium BC will be the subject of a talk by Stella Diakou (Istituto Nazionale di Studi Etruschi ed Italici) and Jacopo Tabolli (Università per Stranieri di Siena) on May 16th in Rome. The occasion is the two-days international symposium on Italy and Cyprus in antiquity organized at the Swedish School of Classical Studies in Rome under the auspices of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus.

Following the volume “Italy and Cyprus in Antiquity”, published in 2001, there has been an increase of bibliographic references by Italian scholars in “Cypriot” imports in Italy in the 1st millennium BC and especially in Etruria, regarding a variety of different types of data from pottery and metallurgy to funerary ideology and architectural elements, an abstract of the talk reads. However – Diakou and Tabolli will argue – these references have two main shortcomings. Firstly, this reference to “Cypriot” imports is almost never really attributed to Cyprus, but, more often than not, it gets lumped with the more generic and inaccurate terms of “Cypro-Phoenician” or “Eastern”. Secondly, these references assume that Cyprus was a politically and culturally unified entity, something that we know did not exist in the 1st millennium BC.

In the past 20 years, Cypriot archaeology is undergoing a revision of its interpretation of the Iron Age, adopting a more Cypro-centric perspective, and advocating an understanding of the developments on the island first and foremost from within. The paper will readdress some of the most recent items discovered in Etruria, that have been attributed to Cyprus, and the narratives that have been associated with them, while also looking at their cultural biographies. The purpose is to problematise the issue of actual and direct imports as opposed to imitations and influences, in the cases that these can be identified, as well as the vectors that might have brought these items to Etruria. Finally, this paper will adopt a dual perspective, by looking at both the Cypriot and the Etruscan context of these imports.

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