Izzet, Vedia E.
The mirror of Theopompus: Etruscan identity and Greek myth
Papers of the British School at Rome, 73, .
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This article takes a single Etruscan mirror as the starting point for an enquiry into the nature of Etrusco-Greek interaction. Despite a lack of archaeological provenance, the article argues that it is possible to reconstruct a cultural framework within which the mirror was viewed and used. Drawing on recent work in the areas of cultural identity, the body and gender studies, and mortuary theory, the article goes on to analyse the episode from Greek myth depicted on the mirror.
By challenging the traditional identification of the scene, and by offering a complementary one, it questions the value of single interpretations for ancient representations. It suggests that two simultaneous readings — that of Turan and Adonis and the judgement of Paris — are prompted by the image, and that the themes underlying these two myths complement, and thus re-iterate, each other. If such a sophisticated, ‘knowing’ viewer can be taken for the Etruscan image, the article concludes by suggesting a similarly sophisticated explanation for the apparently shocking aspects of the iconography, an explanation that mirrors contemporary Greek discourses about Etruscan women.
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