Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>535BC Arch.Etruscan hoplite
Subjectheavy infantry hoplite
Culture: Etruscan
Setting: Etruscan Archaic, Italy 6th-late 5thcBC
Evolution800BC Villanovan warrior > 535BC Archaic Etruscan hoplite

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Dallas Museum of Art
"The Etruscans ruled powerful cities in central Italy before the Romans.  They spoke a language unrelated to early Latin or any Indo-European language, so their origins are obscure.  At the height of their power in the 7th to 5th century B.C. they dominated the areas of Tuscany and Umbria north of Rome, the city of Rome on the lower Tiber River, and parts of Italy between Rome and Capua, near Naples.  Their wealth and power were due to their control of important iron deposits.  They were expert metalworkers, sculptors, and builders."

* Coe/Connolly/Harding/Harris/LaRocca/Richardson/North/Spring/Wilkinson 1993 p22 (Peter Connolly, "Greece and Rome" p20-29)
"In the seventh century BC the most powerful nation in Italy, the Etruscans, adopted the phalanx, putting themselves on an equal footing with the Greek colonists, their sworn enemies and competitors for the trade of the Western Mediterranean. The phalanx formed only the core of the Etruscan army, however; troops armed in native fashion fought alongside it, adding a degree of flexibility to the Greek system."

* Barker/Rasmussen 2000 p1
"In their heyday in the seventh and sixth centuries BC, the Etruscans were the major power in Italy and disputed the hegemony of the central and western Mediterranean with the Greeks.  Greek culture profoundly affected Etruscan culture, and the Etruscans in turn had a profound effect on the early Republic of Rome as it grew up on their southern boundary."

* Newark ed. 2009 p42 caption
"The Etruscan hoplites of the 6th century BCE used the same equipment as the Greeks of the period, designed for fighting in a phalanx formation: 'Corinthian' helmet, round shield, cuirass, and the long spear."

* Bigelow 1979 p65
"At the height of its power, this loosely bound city-state society stretched from the Alps in the north to the Tiber River in the south.  Between 600 B.C. and 400 B.C., it ruled over Rome and established an alliance with Carthage.  The Etruscan naval victory over the Phoenicians about 535 B.C. not only enlarged Etruscan territory to include the island of Corsica but it gave them visions of grandeur.  Colonies were established in widely separated regions across the Apennines reaching to the Adriatic Sea.  Their vision of controlling a large landmass was dimmed when the Gauls destroyed these colonies."

* McNab ed. 2010 p18-19
"Hoplite tactics were developed in Greece c.675 BC and reached Etruria c.600 BC, where their use is confirmed in a wide variety of contemporary artwork. Dionysus of Halicarnassus reports how the Etruscan towns of Falerii and Fescennium preserved hoplite equipment, despite being colonized by Romans: 'Falerii and Fescennium were even down to my day inhabited by Romans ... in these cities there survived many ancient customs which the Greeks had once used, such as their type of weaponry: Argolic shields and spears' (Roman Antiquities, 1:21).
    "From Etruria this new form of warfare spread to Rome and to the other Latin tribes. This fact is well established in the ancient tradition: 'In ancient times, when the Romans used rectangular shields, the Etruscans fought in phalanx using bronze shields, but having compelled the Romans to adopt the same equipment they were themselves defeated' (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History). 'The Romans took close battle formation from the Etruscans, who used to attack in a phalanx' (Athenaeus, VI, p.273). 'The Etruscans did not fight in maniples but made war on us armed with bronze shields in a phalanx; we were re-armed and adopting the equipment of the enemy we formed up against them; and in this way we were able to conquer even those most accustomed to fighting in phalanx' (Anon, Ineditum Vaticanum)."


* Wonders 1992 p101 f66
"The lance is one of the most characteristic and most frequently used Etruscan weapons.  Already known in the 8th century B.C., it never ceased to be utilized, varying through time only in the profile of the blade and in the metal used (bronze or iron)."


* Ashdown 1909 p33-34
"The helmet in general follows the Greek lines but had a tendency towards the formation of a deep bowl-shape for the head; also wings were adopted, at times, which projected to a considerable extent and gave a distinctly Asiatic character to the headpiece.  For the ordinary soldier a skull-cap was in use with a truncated point upon the summit, and ornamented bosses round the rim."

* Wonders 1992 p98 (describing a Negau type helmet)
"The crown of this helmet is shaped like an ogive or pointed arch ....  The helmet type is very common in central Etruria, and in particular at Vulci."


* Coe/Connolly/Harding/Harris/LaRocca/Richardson/North/Spring/Wilkinson 1993 p20-21 (Peter Connolly, "Greece and Rome" p20-29)
"The hoplite sword was used everywhere in Italy, even among tribes which did not adopt the phalanx, and by the fifth century BC it and the massive kopis, which may have originated in Italy, had superseded all other types of sword. A hoplite sword can be seen slung across the chest of the famous Warrior of Capestrano, a primitive sixth-century statue. A small knife is attached to the front of the scabbard, a feature also found in warrior burials in the Abruzzi area."


* Ashdown 1909 p34-35​
"The cuirass with its dependent lambrequins was formed, like that of the Greeks, by joining a back- and breastplate, but the overlapping shoulder guards, with a tendency to meet in front, so often observed upon Etruscan pottery, are quite distinct from the Greek model. Cuirasses are also shown made of overlapping plates of metal; of discs or lames of plate sewn on a padded base; and one quilted throughout apparently without any metallic defence. It has the thorax attached to it, and being viewed from behind exhibits that protection .... As a rule greaves were not worn, the limbs being entirely unprotected."


* Ashdown 1909 p35
"The shield was circular, and similar in outline to that of the Greek, but differed in its great convexity ...."

​* Wonders 1992 p100 f65
​"This type of circular bronze shield was included in the equipment of infantry soldiers, or hoplites, in both Greece and Italy, from the Archaic period all the way down to the 4th century B.C.  ....
​   "There are numerous representations of such round shields in Etruscan tomb paintings, and closely comparable bronze examples have been found at Arvieto, Vulci and Bomarzo."