FALISCAN WARRIORS & WEAVERS

The culture of the Faliscans, Etruria’s nearest neighbors, was distinct from but closely related to that of the Etruscans. They spoke an Italic language unrelated to Etruscan, but used the Etruscan alphabet to write it. They shared the art and technology of the Etruscans and practiced similar funerary rites. As soon as foreign imports and technology appeared in the Etruscan cities, the Faliscans acquired them too.

Impasto Footed BowlFrom the 9th century on, Faliscan burial practices paralleled those of Etruria. The many famous "princely" or aristocratic burials of the late 8th and 7th centuries BC are renowned for their opulent displays of wealth and status. Their abundant contents reveal the gradual enrichment of Etruscan and Faliscan art with new materials, techniques, and images brought from the eastern Mediterranean. Warriors were buried with their armor, clothing, shaving equipment, vases for banqueting, and harnesses from their chariot teams. Their wives were buried with riches and symbols of their own prowess as weavers that show they shared their husbands’ high status and some of their authority.

Faliscan pottery, while influenced by Etruscan pottery, has its own distinctive style. Vases have twisted handles that turn into animal’s heads, and forms and decoration are flamboyantly combined. Most retain the impasto fabric made from the coarse, dark-colored clays favored throughout prehistoric Italy. As in Etruria, craftsmen often made ceramic copies of the bronze conical stands used by rulers for banquet wine. The more economical material allowed large scale, extravagant forms.