I have two obsessions – writing and ancient history. Luckily I was able to combine both while researching and writing my novel, The Wedding Shroud. The novel is set in Etruria, a civilisation that existed in Italy from archaic times and was situated in the area we now know of as Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio but whose influence spread across most of Italy as well as throughout the Mediterranean.
I researched early Republican Rome and Etruria for ten years, sitting up reading history books into the night while setting aside two to four hours every week to write the novel. In that time I had to juggle the ups and downs of raising children and running a business so I always looked forward to escaping into ancient times. I now have a contract to write the sequel so the chance to once again delve into the worlds of Rome and Etruria is irresistible to me.
Much of what we know about the Etruscans comes from their fantastic tomb art. Here is a world of revels, music, dancing, mysticism and horror. There are also tender depictions of everlasting love. Through this blog I hope to introduce you to some of my favourite examples.
Athens of classical times (C5th – 4th BCE) was known as a guiding light for its democracy. Athenian noblemen attended banquets where literature, art and philosophy were discussed. No wives were allowed to attend (only courtesans and prostitutes.) In Rome, wives and daughters rarely ate with their men either. In contrast, Etruscan men and women reclined together on dining couches drinking wine and being entertained by musicians and dancers. As a result the Greeks and Romans considered Etruscan women wicked, decadent and corrupt. In truth, the Etruscans were enlightened as the Athenians with one major difference – they afforded independence, education and sexual freedom to their women. Learning this I was hooked!
So come and join my banquet and hear about art, ideas, historical facts, literature, writing and most of all the Etruscans!
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