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Chapter Four. The economic agency of the etruscan temple: Elites, dedications and display

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Chapter Summary

The Etruscan sanctuary was a social nexus that, like the city, offered a place for meeting and social competition, furnished leadership roles to elites and, at times, provided valuable resources to its worshipers. In order to understand the social and economic roles of the sanctuary, this chapter considers the ritual nature of the Etruscan sanctuary in order to look beyond the sacral purposes to glean the underlying social functions it served. Etruscan temples are not only places of ritual but also opportunities for community interaction and for the display of aristocratic status. Votive dedications were made in Etruria beginning in the Protovillanovan and Villanovan periods and a continuity of preference for certain types of objects characterizes the earliest days to the latest. Some of the objects that were dedicated were marked with an inscription, usually recording the dedicant, and often the item dedicated or the divine recipient.

Keywords: community interaction; Etruscan elites; etruscan temples; ritual nature; votive dedications

10.1163/ej.9789004170452.i-292.49
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