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Etruscan architecture


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The surviving buildings of Etruria (now approximating to Tuscany and part of central Italy) are not numerous, but Etruscan design is important for the part it played in the evolution of Roman architecture. Buildings were mostly of wood, clay, rubble, and terracotta, stone being reserved for temple-bases, fortifications, and tombs. The finest surviving Etruscan architecture consists of city walls and rock-cut tombs (of which the best examples are at Cervéteri, Chiusi, Corneto Tarquinia, and Perugia) dating from C6 to C4 bc. A few arched town-gateways still stand, e.g. Falerium Novum (Fáleri—c.250 bc) and Perugia (c.300 bc). From C6 bc a temple type evolved consisting of a central cella flanked by two alae and a very deep portico, often tetrastyle, and with widely spaced timber columns (normally short and without flutes) carrying a low-pitched wooden roof structure. These columns were the prototypes of the Roman Tuscan Order, and the very wide intercolumniation made possible by the timber construction clearly influenced Roman col-umn-spacing. The timber superstructure was often enriched with terracotta claddings (e.g. Portonaccio Temple, Veii (late C6 bc). Tombs were richly decorated and coloured, and constitute the most substantial Etruscan architectural legacy.

B&W-P (1970);D. S. Robertson (1945);Toynbee (1971)Jane Turner (1996)

Subjects: Architecture.


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