Ancient city, Etruria.

Located northwest of Rome near the modern city of Ceveteri, it was an important trading centre. Brought under Roman control in 253 BC, it prospered as part of the empire but declined in later centuries. The derived Latin word caeremonium (source of English ceremony) reflects the Etruscan fascination with divination and prophecy. Tomb chambers have yielded gold and silver objects, which show an Orientalizing tendency in the Etruscan art of the 7th century BC.

Gold fibula from the Regolini-Galassi tomb, Caere, 7th century BC; in the Vatican Museum.

Scala/Art Resource, New York

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▪ ancient city, Italy
present-day  Cerveteri, Italy 
 ancient city of Etruria, about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of Rome. Through its port, Pyrgi (present-day Santa Severa), the city became an important trading centre in close contact with Carthage, on the northern coast of Africa in what is now Tunisia. Its citizens are reported to have saved Roman priests and sacred objects from the Gauls who sacked Rome in 390 or 387 BC. Perhaps after a revolt in 273, Caere was partially incorporated into the Roman state without voting rights for its citizens. Their names were entered on a separate register, called tabulae Caeritum (“register of citizens of Caere”). Citizens of other communities that were assigned the same status were also put on the tabulae Caeritum, as were Roman citizens deprived of the vote as a punishment.

      The surrounding area is famous for its large number of tombs, which date from the 9th century BC to the late 1st century AD. Among early Classical tombs, the best known is the 7th-century Regolini-Galassi chamber tomb. Caere had a state treasury at Delphi and was the main import and distribution centre for Etruria of Greek (especially Classical Athenian) pottery. Caere itself produced Orientalizing works (such as those discovered in the Regolini-Galassi tomb) and Hellenizing pottery, jewelry, and ornaments. (See also bucchero ware.) The city declined after the time of Augustus. In the late empire it was destroyed by barbarian invaders.

E. Badian

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Universalium. 2010.

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