Demographische Verhältnisse oder kommemorative Praktiken? Überlegungen zur sozialen Aussagekraft etruskischer Grabinschriften des 4.–1. Jhs. v. Chr.


  • Robinson Peter Krämer



Tarquinia, Demographie, soziale Repräsentation, Sozialstrukturen, etruskische Epigraphik, Thanatoarchäologie


Little demographic research has been conducted in Etruscan and Italic studies compared to other fields of Classical Antiquity. Hellenistic funerary inscriptions are an important data set for demographic studies of Etruscan and Italic societies, since they provide information about sex, age, kinship, political and religious offices, and personal mobility. However, for the field of Ancient History, Keith Hopkins was able to demonstrate that funerary inscriptions do not provide valid data for the reconstruction of ancient demographic structures because inscriptions and their media were used during funerals for social representation and therefore create a distorted picture of social structures. At the same time, Hopkins’ critique introduced the use of modern comparative data and model life tables to this field. Nonetheless, these studies and concepts remain largely ignored in Etruscan and Italic studies to date.

In this article, I will examine 4th–1st cent. BCE funerary inscriptions from Tarquinia and the ager Tarquiniensis as a case study, and compare them with demographic models and model life tables. The demographic indicators specifically considered here are birth and mortality rates, the distribution of age classes and sex, as well as mentions of socio-political titles and offices and their display in burials. The significant discrepancies in the data from funerary contexts in Tarquinia and its territory when compared with historical and modern data allows us to reconstruct practices of commemoration and representation of elite clans (gentes), as well as the degree of segmentation in the Etruscan society of Tarquinia.