Etruscan Religion and Divination: Examining the Etruscan Gods and Demons, Divination and Haruspicy
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The Etruscans are described by Roman and Greek sources as a people devoted to religious practices above any other. A facet of Etruscan religion is divination, a field in which they had a reputation for excellence in ancient Italy. This caused many Etruscan priests to be summoned to Rome to explain phenomena that local experts could not. The Romans turned to the practices of the Etruscan haruspices as a way to provide a procuration or a way to “find remedies” for the disturbances between man and the gods. For the purpose of this paper, the focus will be on Etruscan religion. Main points of discussion will include: 1) where our understanding of Etruscan religion stems from and an overview of the foundations of Etruscan Religion; 2) the Etruscan pantheon and the features distinguishing the Etruscan gods from the Greek and Roman gods; 3) divination and haruspicy in Etruria. For all three subjects archaeological evidence will be presented. A catalogue of select artifacts associated primarily with divination provides additional material in support of the discussion.