Etruscan Dress

A number of tribes occupied the Italian peninsula. By 800 b.c.e. one of these groups had occupied a fairly large area and had developed an advanced culture and economy. Their burial practices, which included tomb paintings showing daily life, provide good evidence for how they dressed.

Trade brought them into close contact with Greece, Greek art, and Greek styles. In some periods Etruscan costume shows more shaping in the sleeves, which flare out at the ends, and a fit that molds the body more closely. Other distinctively Etruscan garments included a tall peaked hat, called a tutulus; shoes with pointed, curved toes; and several different styles of mantles. One especially notable mantle was the tebenna, which was apparently made with curved edges and semicircular in shape. Scholars believe that this mantle was the forerunner of the Roman toga. Even though individual characteristics can be noted for some Etruscan styles, for the most part Etruscan and Greek costumes show so many similarities that Etruscan versions are virtually indistinguishable from the Greek.

As the Romans rose to power in Italy, the Etruscans were absorbed into Rome and by the first century b.c.e. no longer existed as a separate culture.

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