Terracotta cinerary urn

Period: Hellenistic

Date: 2nd century B.C.

Culture: Etruscan

Medium: Terracotta

Dimensions: Overall (with lid): 13 7/16 x 13 15/16 x 7 1/8 in. (34.2 x 35.4 x 18.1 cm)

Classification: Terracottas

Credit Line: Purchase, 1896

Accession Number: 96.9.219a, b


The frieze depicts one of the most popular subjects on Etruscan terracotta urns, a man using a plow as a weapon. Some scholars suggest that he is the Greek hero Echetlos, a rustic who came to the aid of the Athenians and killed many Persians, wielding his plow against them at the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. However, it has never been explained satisfactorily why such an obscure Greek legend was so popular in Etruria. It is possible that the scene represents an Etruscan legend or event of unknown specific meaning. The type was produced extensively in Chiusi. As told by the inscription, AULE : PETRUNI : ATH : CUTNALISA, this is the cinerary urn of Aulus Petronius, son of Arnth Cutnalisa.