theopompo of chio

The beautiful Etruscan sarcophagus called “of the spouses”

The greek historian Theopompus of Chios (?-320 a.C.) left us one description of the costumes of Etruscan women in which he is almost scandalized by their excessive, in his opinion, freedom.

This is what he claims:

“In the Tyrrhenians women are kept in common, they take great care of their bodies and often show up naked among men, sometimes even between them, as it is not unbecoming to show oneself naked. They sit at the table not near the husband, but close to the first comer of those who are present, and toast to the health of whomever they want. They are powerful drinkers and very beautiful to look at”.

A beautiful difference with Greek women, who had to submit to the will of their husbands and had no possibility of accessing public life.

There is to say though, which not all historians take for “cast gold” the statements of Theopompus of Chios.

That the Etruscans were freer and more emancipated than the Greeks is an established fact (see also:, but here the historian is probably exaggerating.

According to some in fact, its intent was to throw bad light on the customs of the Etruscans while enhancing the ancient tradition of Greece.

For this purpose, it swelled the characteristics of that female emancipation which was also one of the flagships of the great Tuscan civilization (photo: