A collaborative blog among students from Spain, Italy, France and Germany

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The tapestry “Tarquinius Priscus” (Collaboration)

We also asked personalities from Culture to give their two cents to our project on classical references. José Ángel Rivera de las Heras, Director of the Cathedral Museum of Zamora, explains the magnificent tapestry “Tarquinius Priscus”.

The Cathedral Museum of Zamora has a tapestry dedicated to Lucius Tarquinius Priscus (616-578 BC), fifth king of Rome. Measuring more than four meters high and eight and a half meters wide, the piece was woven of wool and silk in Arras, Brussels or Tournai sometime between 1475 and 1485. It is inspired by The History of Rome by Titus Livius. There are three sections and four narrative passages.

In the first part we see Lucius and his wife Tanaquil who are travelling toward Rome with their attendants. We can make out the city walls in the distance. An eagle flying above Janiculum Hill snatches the hat off of Lucius’ head, only to return it following a quick turnabout. Tanaquil interprets the event as a sign of her husband’s future coronation.

The central scene focuses on the coronation of Lucius as king of the Romans, under the name of Tarquinius Priscus. Tarquinius himself, now king, appears in the scene as he inspects the construction of the city walls and waterworks.

In the third section we see one of the battles waged against the people of Latium, in which Tarquinius, mounted upon a white steed, is victorious.

The upper part of the tapestry features three Latin inscriptions in gothic lettering, which describe the events pictured here.

José Ángel Rivera de las Heras
Director of the Cathedral Museum of Zamora

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