Bearing weapons to communicate with humans and Deities . Weapons as attack and defense tools, status symbols and gift to Deities. Preistoria E Protostoria In Etruria – 13th Conference
9th-11th September 2016, Valentano (VT), Pitigliano (GR), Manciano (GR)
After the study dedicated to the several periods of Pre- and Proto-history in Etruria, to reconstruct the early communities which constituted the Etruscan Nation and after the main and “mental” lanscapes analyses, the Meeting of 2014 focused on some behavioural aspects of the most ancient populations of Etruria.
We believed that one of the most interesting of these aspects was the analysis of the so-called “ornaments” whom function was not limited to the embellishement of an individual, but was also to make show of richness and social status of both livings and deads.
Although even men used to wear rich ornaments and precious cloths, jewels were mainly related to the feminine world.
Men, since the Chalcolithic, used to connote themselves as armed warriors: weapons revealed their own personal value and social membership.
The opulent cloths and the weapons represented on the stele, such as the ones from the Chalcolithic site of Saint Martin de Corléans to the Orientalising ones from Daunia, reveal the male ideals of the egemonic classes. These values didn’t change through out the millenia: to be “princes” and warriors, manage the political and military power, the wealth and glory conquered on the battlefield.
Weapons used to have several meanings: they were both used to defend against enemies and destroy them, both to prove themselves and to show off their own family’s power. As well as ladies used to wear jewels in official ceremonies, chieves beared the most precious weapons, often so decorated they can’t be functional, but just symbolic.
During funerals the weapons, as well as the jewelery, were laid into the tomb, subtracting in this way entire estates to the discendants.
The weapons were then offered to the gods of water and hills, throwing them into rivers and lakes, or depositing them on the most dangerous mountain passes, and were also broken (and so de-functionalized) and buried in hoards or votive pits.
All of these operations seem to directly refer to the deities, to whom the protection was requested. They imply a whole patrimony of religious and funerary beliefs and ideologies, to which perhaps we did not pay enough attention.
To bear weapons therefore, it helped to express the individuals and also communicating with deities, to aid their protection.