- CAI CUTU
- The name of a descent group (family) whose tomb was discovered intact in December 1983 in Perugia. The tomb has a cross-shaped plan, and consists of a larger chamber serving as a vestibule, which was reached by an unroofed corridor (dromos) closed off by an in situ large slab of travertine. The tomb had been used for a long period of time between the third century and first century BC and contained 50 cinerary urns made from Perugian travertine (two plastered with stucco). The one sandstone sarcophagus, placed along the rear wall of the central chamber, is the oldest deposition in the tomb. All of the inscribed urns have male name formulas. The name formula consists of a first name, family name, and very often the father’s name and quite frequently also the mother’s name, followed by the term clan (son). The oldest persons, buried first in the tomb, have a family name composed of two elements (cai cutu), which denotes a slave origin of the founder of the family. Over time, the succeeding members of the family group eliminated the name cai from the name formula, keeping only the name cutu. On the more recent urns, dating from after 89 BC, that is, after the granting of Roman citizenship, the name inscription is Latin: the Etruscan family name cutu is Latinized into Cutius. Thus in this tomb the passage from Etruscan to Latin can be seen.The most significant urns are those which were first placed in the tomb, covered with stucco. These, and particularly the one with the deceased portrayed semireclined on the lid, are linked to the workshop that produced the urns of the velimna family (Volumni in Latin) from the well-known Volumni Hypogeum in Perugia. They are decorated on the front with motifs of varying complexity: a banquet scene, a battle scene, a battle of the centaurs, and simple rosette patterns. The tomb also held a bronze kottabos and a complete set of armor found on the floor in the left chamber: a bronze shield, a single shin guard, a large iron sword, and two bronze cheek pieces from a helmet. The tomb is significant not only because it was found intact, but also because it bridges social and cultural transitions over several generations of a descent group: from slave to freed status, from Etruscan to Latin.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.