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AN ETRUSCAN TERRACOTTA CINERARY URN
AN ETRUSCAN TERRACOTTA CINERARY URN

CIRCA 2ND CENTURY B.C.

Details
AN ETRUSCAN TERRACOTTA CINERARY URN CIRCA 2ND CENTURY B.C. The front of the rectangular urn moulded with corner pilasters and central scene of the fratricide of Eteocles and Polyneices, each warrior wearing short tunic and corslet, one lunging forward to the right, the other fallen onto bended knee with shield held high, two furies holding flaming torches flanking the scene, extensive surviving polychrome decoration including inscription, lid missing 14¾ in. (37.4 cm.) wide
Provenance
Private collection, France, 19th Century.
Accompanied by a French export licence.

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Georgiana Aitken
Georgiana Aitken

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Lot Essay

Eteocles and Polyneices were the sons of Oedipus, King of Thebes, and Jocasta. Following the exile of their father, it was agreed that they would share the kingdom by reigning in alternate years. When Eteocles finished his year he refused to relinquish the throne to his brother. Polyneices fled to Argos, whose king agreed to assist him in reclaiming the Theban throne ("The Seven Against Thebes"). During the ensuing battle, the brothers slew each other. The scene was popular on Etruscan cinerary urns during the Hellenistic Period and was perhaps inspired by the tragedy by Aeschylus.
Similar Etruscan terracotta cinerary urns were produced in the area of Chiusi, in modern Tuscany.

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