Those randy Etruscans!

No wonder the world ended in the 5th century BCE: look what the Etruscans were doing in the 6th century BCE. Or don’t, if you’re shy and would rather not see explicit pornographic pottery.

You could also just admire the craftsmanship and artistry.

Isn’t it odd how some people think this behavior is aberrant and unnatural, or that homosexuality hasn’t existed for as long as there have been people?


  1. wzrd1 says

    Well, obviously Dog smote them like Sodom and Gomorrah and Italy remains a vast, barren wasteland, utterly incapable of supporting human life.
    Or something.

    Oh wait, they got smote with a Roman Catholic church and have been miserable ever since. All, because Constantine was losing a war.

  2. Angle says

    #2: That ones female. They color coded as ‘men are dark skinned, women are light skinned’, IIRC. Just as an artistic convention.

  3. springa73 says

    I could be wrong, but I believe that the pale figure represents a woman, all the other figures represent men. IIRC, the ancient Greeks generally depicted men on pottery with black, and women with white. The Etruscans probably picked that convention up from them.

  4. John Morales says

    Because awful people, Robbo. In the earlier post.

    I recall cartomancer wrote about such pottery in another post, and gave it context.

  5. birgerjohansson says

    I think the Minoans of the bronze age had the convention of depicting women with lighter skin. This convention carried on into the classic era.
    I am surprised about homosexuality being as open among the Etruscans as the Greeks, as Etrurian city states of the archaic era generally did not have the level of misogyny as the Greek states, the latter having reduced the freedom of women so much that the attraction of adult men to younger men became an accepted substitute.

    The Etruscan culture eventually becamed absorbed by the very patriarchal Roman culture, but before that, the hellenistic Etruscan art led to the very realistic portrait busts of the Roman era.
    The Romans also built on Etruscan building technology, relying more in vaults and mixing tufa into cement gradually evolving into concrete.
    Paved roads also was an Etruscan thing .
    It is a pity we do not have their language.

  6. wzrd1 says

    nomdeplume @ 7, I asked my wife that very question once, was told that we obviously hang out with the wrong crowd.

    Brony, Social Justice Cenobite @ 8, it was recorded, but Comstock burned them. ;)

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    The little hearts above the human/canine figures add a nice touch (to the modern/Western eye); modern erotica rarely if ever shows such sentimentality (does it?).

  8. chrislawson says

    @15– They look more like stylised leaves to me, but you could be right. Not sure if there’s some symbolic meaning or they’re just decorative repeats.

  9. says

    Also I run into things while literature searching related to sex, sexual development, behavior, other animal models…

    A very common complaint among dog owners is sexual interest expressed by the dog. Often independent of sterilization. That’s an observation. Otherwise other times and cultures have different things. It happened, that doesn’t mean anything has to happen.

  10. wzrd1 says

    drsteve @ 14, I’m thinking I’ll go with Salacious Sicilian in the future.
    And I don’t think they’re hearts or leaves, maybe figs. Yummy, yummy fresh figs.

  11. Silentbob says

    @ 17 chrislawson

    I don’t think any such heart symbol existed at the time. I agree they’re leaves. Note some are growing up not down.

    What is the one top left fucking or will I be sorry I asked? 8-O

  12. chrislawson says

    Of course, it’s hard to know if this was intended to be an exercise in erotica or parody or dissing (as in ‘this is how those repulsive Ionians/Athenians/whoever behave’. I tried to find the provenance and a reverse image search pointed me to the National Museum of Rome but it’s website is down, so that was the end of the search for me. Still, it shows ancient artists depicted all sorts of sexual behaviour that contemporary conservatives think is a modern aberration.

  13. says

    I’m just pedantically annoyed that I see people referring to Etruscans as Greeks. (Not here, of course, but the internet is stupid.)

    As for scoring points against homophobes keep in mind that these bits of pottery were made just before the Etruscans fell to the Romans. Someone might argue that decadence is why Etruria fell. Best to just leave it as evidence that our modern obsession with tab A into slot B wasn’t always how people did these things.

  14. wzrd1 says

    chrislawson @ 25, to some extent, “shocking images” were commonly used to evade things like the “evil eye”, by distracting the one “inflicting harm”. In others, to also shock away “evil spirits”.
    For just two uses for such decorations. Then, there’s houses of prostitution, where the usual antics apply and even temple prostitutes, all culturally dependent, so one needs to know more about the culture to assess the context.
    Unfortunately, what I know about Etruscan culture wouldn’t fill a teaspoon, other than their existence and region that they lived.

  15. says

    Our website has a page with an image overlay and when you hover your mouse over it, it reveals a picture of the statue of David and states that for hundreds of years millions of people of all ages have considered this art, not smut. What PZ has shown here is more explicit, but it is art. And, PZ gave people an option to avoid it if they were too prudish. There are people who will watch two dogs ‘mating’ in public without concern. But, let them see some man (many famous actors) in drag and they get all maniacal. People are soooo foolish sometimes.

Leave a Reply