Archaeology Odyssey 7:3, May/June 2004

Etruscan Women—Dignified, Charming, Literate and Free

By Ingrid D. Rowland

Most travelers’ tales from the ancient world have been told by men, so it’s not surprising that their yarns devote special attention to the local women they encounter. The most famous of all those ancient travelers, Homer’s Odysseus, trooped off to Troy in pursuit of Helen of Sparta, lingered nine years on the Maltese island of Gozo with Calypso, touched down on the North African coast with the Lotus-Eaters, sailed past the Sirens of Sorrento en route to Circe’s lair, popped out naked from behind a bush to approach Nausicaa of Corfu, and finally settled on the little island of Ithaca with his wife, Penelope—who still bests them all through her irresistible combination of integrity and intelligence.

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