Podcast Season 3, Episode 5 – Portrait of a Lady: Discovering Seianti with Judith Swaddling

Dr. Swaddling stands beside the sarcophagus of Seianti in a museum. She is talking about Seianti, and uses her hands to express something. She wears her brown hair short with bangs, has glasses on, and is wearing a v-neck black top, and a black neck scarf.
Dr. Judith Swaddling with the sarcophagus of Seianti

On this episode of the Peopling the Past podcast, we are joined by Dr. Judith Swaddling, the now retired Curator of Pre-Roman and Etruscan Collections at the British Museum. Alongside her research into the Etruscans she has a wide range of interests, including the ancient Olympics on which she has organised many exhibitions. Her book The Ancient Olympic Games has been published in a number of editions and languages. The production of bronzes, especially statues – the techniques used, the market for them and their re-use, – has been another of her special subjects. 

Join us, as Dr. Swaddling discusses the information that has been accumulated from the detailed study of the British Museum’s painted terracotta sarcophagus of an Etruscan woman who died between about 250 and 200 BC and of her remains preserved inside it. Dr Swaddling and a variety of other specialists involved in the study have thrown light on all manner of aspects of her health, how the sarcophagus was made, the significance of the clothing and jewellery she is shown wearing and the mirror which she holds. 

Interested in learning more? Check out these related works by Dr. Swaddling:

Swaddling, Judith and Prag, John. 2003. Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa. The Story of an Etruscan Noblewoman. British Museum Press. 

Swaddling, Judith , “Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa” , in Women in Antiquity ed. Stephanie Lynn Budin and Jean MacIntosh Turfa (Abingdon: Routledge, 18 Aug 2016 ), Routledge Handbooks Online.

Open University course about Seianti:

Etruscan Mirrors: Archaic and Classical https://www.amazon.ca/Etruscan-Mirrors-Classical-Speculorum-Etruscorum/dp/0714112771

Looking for a transcript of this episode? Click here.
Poggio Cantarello, location of the sarcophagus of Seianti. Source: Britt Bauer
Additional Materials Related to this Podcast

British Museum page for the sarcophagus of Seianti: https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/G_1887-0402-1

A video on Seianti’s remains: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/learning-human-remains-seiantis-skeleton 

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