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Etruscan art expert from NYU delivers Moses Finley Memorial Lecture at SU April 16
Etruscan art expert from NYU delivers Moses Finley Memorial Lecture at SU April 16March 31, 2009Rob Enslinrmenslin@syr.edu
Larissa Bonfante, professor of classics emerita at New York University, will deliver this year’s Moses Finley Memorial Lecture at Syracuse University. Her lecture, “Love and Marriage in Etruscan Art,” is Thursday, April 16, at 4:30 p.m. in Slocum Auditorium. The event is part of the Finley Lecture Series, presented by the Program in Classics in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences and made possible by the generosity of College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Robert Papworth ’68. For more information about the lecture, which is free and open to the public, call (315) 443-5903.
Jeffrey S. Carnes, event organizer and associate professor of classical languages and literatures, says Bonfante is one of the country’s leading experts on the Etruscans, the pre-Roman inhabitants of central and northern Italy. “Professor Bonfante is without peer in this area, as she has published extensively on the subject and is frequently invited to speak all over the world,” he says, referring to her more than 10 books, dozens of scholarly articles and multiple fellowships, the most recent of which were at the American Academy of Rome and the University of Michigan in 2006-07.
Much of what is known about Etruscan history comes from Greek and Roman sources; little was recorded by the Etruscans, themselves. The civilization reportedly flourished from the eighth to first centuries B.C., although some Etruscans-called “Tusci” or “Etrusci” by the Romans-might have settled in central Italy around the 13th century B.C.
Wealthy and powerful, the Etruscans enjoyed maritime trade with the Greeks and Phoenicians and benefited from nearby rich mineral deposits, especially those of copper, lead and iron. The Etruscans were famous for their gold and bronze craftsmanship, shiny “bucchero” ceramic ware, and large mural paintings in their tombs. “Etruscan culture borrowed heavily from Greece and was a significant influence on Rome, yet it was, in important respects, alien to both. This seemed to be especially true in social relations between men and women,” Carnes adds.
An expert on Greek, Roman, and Etruscan culture, Bonfante earned praise for her latest book, “Etruscan Myth” (The British Museum Press, 2006). Her interest in other facets of Etruscan culture has spawned publications on many topics, including language, fashion, funerary art, religion and sexuality. She earned a Ph.D. in art history and archeology from Columbia University in 1966.
The Finley Lecture Series honors the memory of Sir Moses I. Finley ’27. One of the 20th century’s most influential historians, he enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a professor of ancient history and as a master of Darwin College at the University of Cambridge.