HOME

TheInfoList




The Etruscan civilization () of
ancient Italy The history of Italy covers the Ancient Period, the Middle Ages and the modern era. Since classical times, ancient Phoenicians, Magna Graecia, Greeks, Etruscan civilization, Etruscans, and Celts have inhabited the Italian Peninsula, with various ...
covered a
territory A territory is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names ...

territory
, at its greatest extent, of roughly what is now
Tuscany it, Toscano (man) it, Toscana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Citizenship , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = Italian , demogra ...
, western
Umbria Umbria ( , ) is a of central . It includes Lake and , and is crossed by the River . It is the only landlocked region on the . The regional capital is . The region is characterized by hills, mountains, valleys and historical towns such as the un ...

Umbria
, and northern
Lazio it, Laziale , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = , demographics1_title2 ...

Lazio
, as well as what are now the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, lab ...
,
Emilia-Romagna Emilia-Romagna (, , both also ; ; egl, Emégglia-Rumâgna or ''Emîlia-Rumâgna''; rgn, Emélia-Rumâgna) is one of the 20 Regions of Italy, administrative regions of Italy, situated in the north of the country, comprising the historical regions ...

Emilia-Romagna
, south-eastern
Lombardy Lombardy ( ; it, Lombardia ; lmo, Lombardia, , ) is one of the twenty administrative regions of Italy, in the Northwest Italy, northwest of the country, with an area of . About 10 million people live in Lombardy, forming more than one-sixth of It ...
, southern
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
, and western
Campania it, Campano (man) it, Campana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 ...
. The earliest evidence of a
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
that is identifiably Etruscan dates from about 900BC. This is the period of the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
Villanovan culture The Villanovan culture (c. 900–700 BC), regarded as the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization The Etruscan civilization () of List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what i ...
, considered to be the earliest phase of Etruscan civilization, which itself developed from the previous late
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
Proto-Villanovan culture The Proto-Villanovan culture was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age ...
in the same region. Etruscan civilization endured until it was assimilated into
Roman society The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization of Ancient Rome. The term refers to the culture of the Roman Republic, later the Roman Empire, which at its peak covered an area from present-day Lo ...
. Assimilation began in the late 4thcenturyBC as a result of the
Roman–Etruscan Wars The Roman–Etruscan Wars were a series of wars fought between ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the West ...
; it accelerated with the grant of
Roman citizenship Citizenship Citizenship is a relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection. Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its ci ...
in 90 BC, and became complete in 27 BC, when the Etruscans' territory was incorporated into the newly established
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. Etruscan culture was influenced by
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
culture, beginning around 750 BC, during the last phase of the Villanovan period, when the Greeks, who were at this time in their Archaic
Orientalizing period In the Archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found or used currently: *List of archaeological periods **Archaic Sumerian language, spoken bet ...
, started founding colonies in
southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivisi ...
. Greek influence also occurred in the 4th and 5th centuries BC during Greece's
Classical periodClassical period may refer to: *Classical Greece, specifically of the 5th and 4th centuries BC *Classical antiquity, in the Greco-Roman world *Classical India, an historic period of India (c. 322 BC - c. 550 CE) *Classical period (music), in music ...
. The territorial extent of Etruscan civilization reached its maximum around 750 BC, during the foundational period of the
Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civilis ...
. Its culture flourished in three confederacies of cities: that of
Etruria Etruria () was a region of Central Italy Central Italy ( it, Italia centrale or just ) is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ) ...

Etruria
(Tuscany, Latium and Umbria), that of the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, lab ...
with the eastern
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
, and that of
Campania it, Campano (man) it, Campana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 ...
. The league in northern Italy is mentioned in
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a historian. He wrote a monumental history of and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC th ...
. The reduction in Etruscan territory was gradual, but after 500BC, the political balance of power on the Italian peninsula shifted away from the Etruscans in favor of the rising
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
. The earliest known examples of Etruscan writing are inscriptions found in that date to around 700BC. The Etruscans developed a system of writing which uses symbols borrowed from Euboean Greek script, but the
Etruscan language Etruscan () was the language of the , in , in the ancient region of (modern , western , northern , , , and ). Etruscan influenced but was eventually completely superseded by it. The Etruscans left around 13,000 that have been found so far, onl ...
remains only partly understood, making modern understanding of their society and culture heavily dependent on much later and generally disapproving Roman and Greek sources. In the Etruscan
political system In political science Political science is the scientific study of politics Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such ...

political system
, authority resided in its individual small cities, and probably in its prominent individual families. At the height of Etruscan power, elite Etruscan families grew very rich through trade with the to the north and the Greeks to the south, and they filled their large family tombs with imported luxuries. Judging from archaeological remains,
Archaic Greece Archaic Greece was the period in Greek history The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation-state of Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in ...
had a huge influence on their art and architecture, and
Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psyc ...
was evidently very familiar to them.


Legend and history


Ethnonym and etymology

The Etruscans called themselves ''Rasenna'', which was shortened to ''Rasna'' or ''Raśna'' (Neo-Etruscan), with both etymologies unknown. In
Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige diale ...
, the Etruscans were known as
Tyrrhenians The Tyrrhenians (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (socio ...
(, ''Tyrrhēnoi'', earlier ''Tyrsēnoi''), from which the Romans derived the names ''Tyrrhēnī'', ''Tyrrhēnia'' (Etruria), and ''Mare Tyrrhēnum'' (
Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is part of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by ...
), prompting some to associate them with the ''Teresh'' (one of the
Sea Peoples The Sea Peoples are a purported seafaring confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a f ...
named by the Egyptians). The ancient Romans referred to the Etruscans as the ''Tuscī'' or ''Etruscī'' (singular ''Tuscus''). Their Roman name is the origin of the terms "
Toscana it, Toscano (man) it, Toscana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Citizenship , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = Italian , demogr ...
", which refers to their heartland, and "
Etruria Etruria () was a region of Central Italy Central Italy ( it, Italia centrale or just ) is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ) ...

Etruria
", which can refer to their wider region. The term ''Tusci'' is thought by linguists to have been the Umbrian word for “Etruscan,” based an inscription on an ancient bronze tablet from a nearby region. The inscription contains the phrase ''turskum ... nomen'', literally "the Tuscan name". Based on a knowledge of Umbrian grammar, linguists can infer that the base form of the word turskum is *Tursci, which would, through metathesis and a word-initial epenthesis, be likely to lead to the form, ''E-trus-ci''. As for the original meaning of the root, *Turs-, a widely cited hypothesis is that it, like the word Latin ''turris'', means "tower", and comes from the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
word for tower: .The Bonfantes (2003), p. 51. On this hypothesis, the Tusci were called the "people who build towers" or "the tower builders". This proposed etymology is made the more plausible because the Etruscans preferred to build their towns on high precipices reinforced by walls. Alternatively, and
Larissa Bonfante Larissa Bonfante (March 27, 1931, Naples, Italy – August 23, 2019, New York City, New York) was an Italian-American classicist, Professor of Classics ''emerita'' at New York University and an authority on Etruscan Etruscan language, language and ...
have speculated that Etruscan houses may have seemed like towers to the simple Latins. The proposed etymology has a long history,
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
having observed in the first century B. C., " ere is no reason that the Greeks should not have called he Etruscansby this name, both from their living in towers and from the name of one of their rulers."Book I, Section 30.


Origins


Ancient sources

Literary and historical texts in the Etruscan language have not survived, and the language itself is only partially understood by modern scholars. This makes modern understanding of their society and culture heavily dependent on much later and generally disapproving Roman and Greek sources. These ancient writers differed in their theories about the origin of the Etruscan people. Some suggested they were
Pelasgians The name Pelasgians ( grc, Πελασγοί, ''Pelasgoí'', singular: Πελασγός, ''Pelasgós'') was used by classical Greek writers to refer either to the ancestors of the Greeks, or to all the inhabitants of Greece before the emergence or ...

Pelasgians
who had migrated there from Greece. Others maintained that they were indigenous to central Italy and were not from Greece. The first Greek author to mention the Etruscans, whom the Ancient Greeks called
Tyrrhenians The Tyrrhenians (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (socio ...
, was the 8th-century BC poet
Hesiod Hesiod (; grc-gre, Ἡσίοδος ''Hēsíodos'', 'he who emits the voice') was an ancient Greek poet generally thought to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēr ...
, in his work, the
Theogony The ''Theogony'' (, , , i.e. "the genealogy or birth of the polytheism, gods") is a poem by Hesiod (8th – 7th century BC) describing the origins and genealogy, genealogies of the Greek gods, composed c. 730–700 BC. It is written in the Ep ...
. He mentioned them as residing in central Italy alongside the Latins. The 7th-century BC ''Homeric Hymn'' to Dionysus referred to them as pirates.John Pairman Brown, ''Israel and Hellas'', Vol. 2 (2000) p. 211 Unlike later Greek authors, these authors did not suggest that Etruscans had migrated to Italy from the east, and did not associate them with the Pelasgians. It was only in the 5th century BC, when the Etruscan civilization had been established for several centuries, that Greek writers started associating the name "Tyrrhenians" with the "Pelasgians", and even then, some did so in a way that suggests they were meant only as generic, descriptive labels for "non-Greek" and "indigenous ancestors of Greeks", respectively. The 5th-century BC historians
Thucydides Thucydides (; grc-gre, Θουκυδίδης ; BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the app ...
and
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
, and the 1st-century BC historian
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
5.2, citing Anticlides, did seem to suggest that the Tyrrhenians were originally Pelasgians who migrated to Italy from
Lydia Lydia (Lydian language, Lydian: ‎𐤮𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣𐤠, ''Śfarda''; Aramaic: ''Lydia''; el, Λυδία, ''Lȳdíā''; tr, Lidya) was an Iron Age Monarchy, kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the mod ...

Lydia
by way of the Greek island of
Lemnos Lemnos or Limnos ( el, Λήμνος; grc, Λῆμνος) is a Greece, Greek island in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Lemnos (regional unit), Lemnos regional unit, whic ...

Lemnos
. They all described Lemnos as having been settled by Pelasgians, whom Thucydides identified as "belonging to the Tyrrhenians" (). As Strabo and Herodotus told it,1.94 the migration to Lemnos was led by Tyrrhenus / Tyrsenos, the son of Atys (who was king of Lydia). Strabo added that the Pelasgians of Lemnos and
Imbros Imbros or İmroz, officially Gökçeada since 29 July 1970,Alexis Alexandris, "The Identity Issue of The Minorities in Greece And Turkey", in Hirschon, Renée (ed.), ''Crossing the Aegean: An Appraisal of the 1923 Compulsory Population Exchange ...
then followed Tyrrhenus to the
Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Reg ...
. And, according to the logographer
Hellanicus of Lesbos Hellanicus (or Hellanikos) of Lesbos ( Greek: , ''Ἑllánikos ὁ Lésvios''), also called Hellanicus of Mytilene ( Greek: , ''Ἑllánikos ὁ Mutilēnaῖos'') was an ancient Greek logographer who flourished during the latter half of the 5th ce ...
, there was a Pelasgian migration from
Thessaly Thessaly ( el, Θεσσαλία, translit=Thessalía, ; ancient Aeolic Greek#Thessalian, Thessalian: , ) is a traditional geographic regions of Greece, geographic and modern administrative regions of Greece, administrative region of Greece, co ...

Thessaly
in
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
to the Italian peninsula, as part of which the Pelasgians colonized the area he called Tyrrhenia, and they then came to be called Tyrrhenians. There is some evidence suggesting a link between the island of Lemnos and the Tyrrhenians. The Lemnos Stele bears inscriptions in a language with strong structural resemblances to the language of the Etruscans. The discovery of these inscriptions in modern times has led to the suggestion of a "" comprising Etruscan, Lemnian, and the
Raetic Rhaetic or Raetic (), also known as Rhaetian, was a language spoken in the ancient region of Rhaetia File:REmpire Rhetia.png, 250px, Province of Raetia highlighted. Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Rom ...
spoken in the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
. However, the 1st-century BC historian
Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius of Halicarnassus ( grc, Διονύσιος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς, ; – after 7 BC) was a Greek historian Hellenic historiography (or Greek historiography) involves efforts made by Greeks to track and r ...
, a Greek living in Rome, dismissed many of the ancient theories of other Greek historians and postulated that the Etruscans were indigenous people who had always lived in Etruria and were different from both the Pelasgians and the Lydians. Dionysius noted that the 5th-century historian
Xanthus of Lydia Xanthus of Lydia ( el, Ξάνθος ὁ Λυδός, ''Xanthos ho Lydos'') was a native Lydia Lydia ( Assyrian: ''Luddu''; el, Λυδία, ''Lȳdíā''; tr, Lidya) was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of anc ...
, who was originally from
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominan ...

Sardis
and was regarded as an important source and authority for the history of Lydia, never suggested a Lydian origin of the Etruscans and never named Tyrrhenus as a ruler of the Lydians. The credibility of Dionysius of Halicarnassus is arguably bolstered by the fact that he was the first ancient writer to report the
endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
of the Etruscans: Rasenna. Similarly, the 1st-century BC historian
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a historian. He wrote a monumental history of and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC th ...
, in his ''
Ab Urbe Condita Libri The book ''History of Rome'', sometimes referred to as ''Ab Urbe Condita Libri'' (''Books from the Founding of the City''), is a monumental history of ancient Rome The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well a ...
'', said that the Rhaetians were Etruscans who had been driven into the mountains by the invading Gauls; and he asserted that the inhabitants of Raetia were of Etruscan origin. First-century historian
Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder #REDIRECT Pliny the Elder#REDIRECT Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus (AD 23/2479), called Pliny the Elder (), was a Roman author, a naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, includi ...

Pliny the Elder
also put the Etruscans in the context of the
Rhaetian people The Raeti (spelling variants: ''Rhaeti'', ''Rheti'' or ''Rhaetii'') were a confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created ...
to the north, and wrote in his ''
Natural History Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecul ...
'' (AD 79):


Archeological evidence and modern etruscology

The question of Etruscan origins has long been a subject of interest and debate among historians. In modern times, all the evidence gathered so far by prehistoric and protohistoric archaeologists, anthropologists, and etruscologists points to an indigenous origin of the Etruscans. There is no archaeological or linguistic evidence of a migration of the Lydians or Pelasgians into Etruria. Modern etruscologists and archeologists, such as
Massimo Pallottino Massimo Pallottino (9 November 1909 in Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazi ...

Massimo Pallottino
(1947), have shown that early historians’ assumptions and assertions on the subject were groundless. In 2000, the etruscologist
Dominique Briquel Dominique Briquel (21 January 1946, Nancy, France, Nancy) is a French scholar, a specialist of archaeology and etruscology. Briquel studied at the École Normale Supérieure from 1964 to 1969 and was a member of the École française de Rome from 19 ...
explained in detail why he believes that ancient Greek historians’ writings on Etruscan origins should not even count as historical documents. He argues that the ancient story of the Etruscans’ 'Lydian origins' was a deliberate, politically motivated fabrication, and that ancient Greeks inferred a connection between the Tyrrhenians and the Pelasgians solely on the basis of certain Greek and local traditions and on the mere fact that there had been trade between the Etruscans and Greeks. He noted that, even if these stories include historical facts suggesting contact, such contact is more plausibly traceable to cultural exchange than to migration. Several archaeologists who have analyzed Bronze Age and Iron Age remains that were excavated in the territory of historical Etruria have pointed out that no evidence has been found, related either to
material culture Material culture is the aspect of social reality Social reality is distinct from biological reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existent within a system, as opposed to that which is only Object of the mind, imaginar ...

material culture
or to
social practices Social practice is a theory within psychology Psychology is the scientific Science (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin ...
, that can support a migration theory. The most marked and radical change that has been archaeologically attested in the area is the adoption, starting in about the 12th century BC, of the funeral rite of incineration in terracotta urns, which is a Continental European practice, derived from the
Urnfield culture The Urnfield culture ( 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second princ ...
; there is nothing about it that suggests an ethnic contribution from
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
or the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
. A 2012 survey of the previous 30 years’ archaeological findings, based on excavations of the major Etruscan cities, showed a continuity of culture from the last phase of the Bronze Age (13th–11th century BC) to the Iron Age (10th–9th century BC). This is evidence that the Etruscan civilization, which emerged around 900 BC, was built by people whose ancestors had inhabited that region for at least the previous 200 years. Based on this cultural continuity, there is now a consensus among archeologists that Proto-Etruscan culture developed, during the last phase of the Bronze Age, from the indigenous
Proto-Villanovan culture The Proto-Villanovan culture was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age ...
, and that the subsequent Iron Age
Villanovan culture The Villanovan culture (c. 900–700 BC), regarded as the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization The Etruscan civilization () of List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what i ...
is most accurately described as an early phase of the Etruscan civilization. It is possible that there were contacts between northern-central Italy and the Mycenaean world at the end of the Bronze Age. However contacts between the inhabitants of Etruria and inhabitants of
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
,
Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
Islands, Asia Minor, and the Near East are attested only centuries later, when Etruscan civilization was already flourishing and Etruscan
ethnogenesis Ethnogenesis (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is app ...
was well established. The first of these attested contacts relate to the Greek colonies in Southern Italy and the consequent
orientalizing period In the Archaic Greece, Archaic phase of ancient Greek art, the Orientalizing period or Orientalizing revolution (also spelled "Orientalising") is the cultural and art history, art historical period that began during the later part of the 8th ...
.


Genetic research

A mtDNA study in 2004, based on Etruscan samples from
Veneto it, Veneto (man) it, Veneta (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = ...

Veneto
, Tuscany, Lazio and Campania, stated that the Etruscans had no significant heterogeneity, and that all mitochondrial lineages observed among the Etruscan samples appear typically European, but only a few
haplotype A haplotype (haploid Ploidy () is the number of complete sets of chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genetic material of an organism. Most eukaryotic chromosomes include packaging proteins called h ...
s were shared with modern populations. Allele sharing between the Etruscans and modern populations is highest among
Germans Germans (, ) are the natives or inhabitants of Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas ...
(seven haplotypes in common), the
Cornish Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to: * Cornish language, a Brittonic Southwestern Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, spoken in Cornwall ...

Cornish
from
South West England South West England is one of nine official regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine region ...
(five haplotypes in common), the Turks (four haplotypes in common), and the Tuscans (two haplotypes in common). A couple of
mitochondrial DNA Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA or mDNA) is the DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist of linear chains of five car ...

mitochondrial DNA
studies, published in 2013 in the journals
PLOS One ''PLOS One'' (stylized ''PLOS ONE'', and formerly ''PLoS ONE'') is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-re ...
and
American Journal of Physical Anthropology The ''American Journal of Physical Anthropology'' is a peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qua ...
, based on Etruscan samples from Tuscany and Latium, concluded that the Etruscans were an indigenous population, showing that Etruscans' mtDNA appear to fall very close to a Neolithic population from
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
(
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
,
Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked Eastern Alps, East Alpine country in the southern part of Central Europe. It is composed of nine States o ...

Austria
,
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
) and to other Tuscan populations, strongly suggesting that the Etruscan civilization developed locally from the
Villanovan culture The Villanovan culture (c. 900–700 BC), regarded as the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization The Etruscan civilization () of List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what i ...
, as already supported by archaeological evidence and anthropological research, and that genetic links between Tuscany and western
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
date back to at least 5,000 years ago during the
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
and the "most likely separation time between Tuscany and Western Anatolia falls around 7,600 years ago", at the time of the migrations of
Early European Farmers In archaeogenetics Archaeogenetics is the study of ancient DNA using various molecular genetic methods and DNA resources. This form of genetic analysis can be applied to human, animal, and plant specimens. Ancient DNA can be extracted from various ...
(EEF) from Anatolia to Europe in the early Neolithic. The ancient Etruscan samples had mitochondrial DNA haplogroups (mtDNA) JT (subclades of J and T) and U5, with a minority of mtDNA H1b. In the collective volume ''Etruscology'' published in 2017, British archeologist Phil Perkins provides an analysis of the state of DNA studies and writes that "none of the DNA studies to date conclusively prove that Etruscans were an intrusive population in Italy that originated in the Eastern Mediterranean or Anatolia" and "there are indications that the evidence of DNA can support the theory that Etruscan people are autochthonous in central Italy". A 2019 genetic study published in the journal ''
Science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...
'' analyzed the remains of eleven
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
individuals from the areas around Rome, of which four were Etruscan individuals, one buried in Veio Grotta Gramiccia from the Villanovan era (900-800 BC) and three buried in La Mattonara Necropolis near
Civitavecchia Civitavecchia (; meaning "ancient town") is a city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or municipality. Importance and function The provides man ...

Civitavecchia
from the Orientalizing period (700-600 BC). The study concluded that Etruscans (900–600 BC) and the
Latins The Latins were originally an Italic tribe in ancient central Italy from Latium Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Definition La ...
(900–500 BC) from
Latium vetus Latium ( , ; ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire. Definition Latium was originally a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil (Latium vetus) on w ...
were genetically similar, with genetic differences between the examined Etruscans and Latins found to be insignificant. The Etruscan individuals and contemporary Latins were distinguished from preceding populations of Italy by the presence of ca. 30%
steppe ancestry In archaeogenetics Archaeogenetics is the study of ancient DNA using various molecular genetic methods and DNA resources. This form of genetic analysis can be applied to human, animal, and plant specimens. Ancient DNA can be extracted from vari ...
. Their DNA was a mixture of two-thirds
Copper Age The Chalcolithic (),The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) , p. 301: "Chalcolithic /,kælkəl'lɪθɪk/ adjective ''Archaeology'' of, relating to, or denoting a period in the 4th and 3rd millennium BC, chiefly in the Near East and SE Europe, ...
ancestry ( EEF + WHG; Etruscans ~66–72%, Latins ~62–75%) and one-third Steppe-related ancestry (Etruscans ~27–33%, Latins ~24–37%). The only sample of
Y-DNA The Y chromosome is one of two sex chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy image of pentacene molecules, which consist ...
extracted belonged to , found in an individual dated 700-600 BC, and carried exactly the M314 derived allele also found in a Middle Bronze Age individual from
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
(1631-1531 calBCE). While the four samples of
mtDNA Illustration of the location of mitochondrial DNA in human cells Electron microscopy reveals mitochondrial DNA in discrete foci. Bars: 200 nm. (A) Cytoplasmic section after immunogold labelling with anti-DNA; gold particles marking mtDNA are ...

mtDNA
extracted belonged to haplogroups U5a1, H, T2b32, K1a4. Therefore, Etruscans had also Steppe-related ancestry despite speaking a non-Indo-European language. A 2021 genetic study, published in the journal
Science Advances ''Science Advances'' is a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary open-access scientific journal established in early 2015 and published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The journal's scope includes all areas of science, includ ...
, analyzed the
autosomal DNA An autosome is any chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the genetic material of an organism. Most eukaryotic chromosomes include packaging proteins called histones which, aided by chaperone proteins, bind ...
of 48 Iron Age individuals from
Tuscany it, Toscano (man) it, Toscana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Citizenship , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = Italian , demogra ...
and
Lazio it, Laziale , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 = , demographics1_title2 ...

Lazio
, spanning from 800 to 1 BC, and confirmed that in the Etruscan individuals was present the ancestral component
Steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...
in the same percentages found in the previously analyzed Iron Age Latins, and in the Etruscans' DNA was completely absent a signal of recent admixture with Anatolia or the Eastern Mediterranean, concluding that the Etruscans were autochthonous and they had a genetic profile similar to their Latin neighbors. Both Etruscans and Latins joined firmly the Europen cluster, with the main cluster closest to modern Spaniards, west of modern Italians. The main Etruscan cluster is a mixture of WHG, EEF and Steppe ancestry; 75% of the Etruscan male individuals were found to belong to
haplogroup R1b Haplogroup R1b (R-M343), previously known as Hg1 and Eu18, is a human Y-chromosome haplogroup. It is the most frequently occurring paternal lineage in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a contin ...
, especially R1b-P312 and its derivative R1b-L2 whose direct ancestor is R1b-U152, while the most common mitochondrial DNA haplogroup among the Etruscans was H. In his book, ''A Short History of Humanity'' published in 2021, German geneticist
Johannes Krause Johannes Krause (born July 17, 1980 in Leinefelde) is a German biochemist with a research focus on historical infectious diseases and human evolution. Since 2010, he has been professor of archaeology and paleogenetics at the University of Tübinge ...

Johannes Krause
, co-director of the
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (german: Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie, shortened to MPI EVA) is a research institute based in Leipzig, Germany, that was founded in 1997. It is part of the Max-Planc ...
in
Jena Jena (; ) is a German city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Rou ...

Jena
, concludes that it is likely that the
Etruscan language Etruscan () was the language of the , in , in the ancient region of (modern , western , northern , , , and ). Etruscan influenced but was eventually completely superseded by it. The Etruscans left around 13,000 that have been found so far, onl ...
(as well as
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to th ...
, Paleo-Sardinian and Minoan language, Minoan) "developed on the continent in the course of the Neolithic Europe, Neolithic Revolution".


Periodization of Etruscan civilization

The Etruscan civilization begins with the
Villanovan culture The Villanovan culture (c. 900–700 BC), regarded as the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization The Etruscan civilization () of List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what i ...
, regarded as the oldest phase. The Etruscans themselves dated the origin of the Etruscan nation to a date corresponding to the 11th or 10th century BC.Gilda Bartoloni, "La cultura villanoviana", in ''Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica'', Treccani, Rome 1997, vol. VII, p. 1173 e s 1970, p. 922. (Italian) The Villanovan culture emerges with the phenomenon of regionalization from the late Bronze Age culture called "Proto-Villanovan culture, Proto-Villanovan", part of the central European Urnfield culture, Urnfield culture system. In the last Villanovan phase, called the recent phase (about 770–730 BC), the Etruscans established relations of a certain consistency with the first Magna Grecia, Greek immigrants in southern Italy (in Ischia, Pithecusa and then in Cuma (Italy), Cuma), so much so as to initially absorb techniques and figurative models and soon more properly cultural models, with the introduction, for example, of writing, of a new way of banqueting, of a heroic funerary ideology, that is, a new aristocratic way of life, such as to profoundly change the physiognomy of Etruscan society. Thus, thanks to the growing number of contacts with the Greeks, the Etruscans entered what is called the orientalizing period, Orientalizing phase. In this phase, there was a heavy influence in Greece, most of Italy and some areas of Spain, from the most advanced areas of the Aegean Sea, eastern Mediterranean and the ancient Near East. Also directly Phoenician, or otherwise Near Eastern, craftsmen, merchants and artists contributed to the spread in southern Europe of Near Eastern cultural and artistic motifs. The last three phases of Etruscan civilization are called, respectively, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic, which roughly correspond to the homonymous phases of the ancient Greek civilization.


Chronology


Expansion

Etruscan expansion was focused both to the north beyond the Apennine Mountains and into Campania. Some small towns in the sixth century BC disappeared during this time, ostensibly subsumed by greater, more powerful neighbours. However, it is certain that the political structure of the Etruscan culture was similar to, albeit more aristocratic than, Magna Graecia in the south. The mining and commerce of metal, especially copper and Iron (material), iron, led to an enrichment of the Etruscans and to the expansion of their influence in the Italian peninsula and the western Mediterranean Sea. Here, their interests collided with those of the Greeks, especially in the sixth century BC, when Phocaeans of Italy founded colonies along the coast of Sardinia, Spain and Corsica. This led the Etruscans to ally themselves with Ancient Carthage, Carthage, whose interests also collided with the Greeks. Around 540 BC, the Battle of Alalia led to a new distribution of power in the western Mediterranean. Though the battle had no clear winner, Carthage managed to expand its sphere of influence at the expense of the Greeks, and Etruria saw itself relegated to the northern
Tyrrhenian Sea The Tyrrhenian Sea (; it, Mar Tirreno , french: Mer Tyrrhénienne , sc, Mare Tirrenu, co, Mari Tirrenu, scn, Mari Tirrenu, nap, Mare Tirreno) is part of the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by ...
with full ownership of Corsica. From the first half of the 5th century BC, the new political situation meant the beginning of the Etruscan decline after losing their southern provinces. In 480 BC, Etruria's ally Carthage was defeated by a coalition of Magna Graecia cities led by Syracuse, Sicily. A few years later, in 474 BC, Syracuse's tyrant Hiero I of Syracuse, Hiero defeated the Etruscans at the Battle of Cumae. Etruria's influence over the cities of Latium and Campania weakened, and the area was taken over by Romans and Samnites. In the 4th century BC, Etruria saw a Gaul, Gallic invasion end its influence over the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, lab ...
and the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic coast. Meanwhile, Ancient Rome, Rome had started annexing Etruscan cities. This led to the loss of the northern Etruscan provinces. During the
Roman–Etruscan Wars The Roman–Etruscan Wars were a series of wars fought between ancient Rome In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman people, Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the West ...
, Etruria was conquered by Rome in the 3rd century BC.


Etruscan League

According to legend, there was a period between 600 BC and 500 BC in which an Political alliance, alliance was formed among twelve Etruscan settlements, known today as the ''Etruscan League'', ''Etruscan Federation'', or ''Dodecapolis'' (in Greek Δωδεκάπολις). According to a legend the Etruscan League of twelve cities was founded by Tarchon and his brother Tyrrhenus. Tarchon lent his name to the city of Tarquinia, Tarchna, or Tarquinnii, as it was known by the Romans. Tyrrhenus gave his name to the
Tyrrhenians The Tyrrhenians (Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (socio ...
, the alternative name for the Etruscans. Although there is no consensus on which cities were in the league, the following list may be close to the mark: Arezzo, Arretium, Cerveteri, Caisra, Chiusi, Clevsin, Cortona, Curtun, Perugia, Perusna, Populonia, Pupluna, Veii, Tarquinia, Tarchna, Vetulonia, Vetluna, Volterra, Bolsena, Velzna, and Vulci, Velch. Some modern authors include Rusellae. The league was mostly an economic and religious league, or a loose confederation, similar to the Greek states. During the later Roman Empire, imperial times, when Etruria was just one of many regions controlled by Rome, the number of cities in the league increased by three. This is noted on many later grave stones from the 2nd century BC onwards. According to
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a historian. He wrote a monumental history of and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC th ...
, the twelve city-states met once a year at the Fanum Voltumnae at Volsinii, where a leader was chosen to represent the league. There were two other Etruscan leagues ("Lega dei popoli"): that of
Campania it, Campano (man) it, Campana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = , demographics1_footnotes = , demographics1_title1 = , demographics1_info1 ...
, the main city of which was Capua, and the
Po Valley The Po Valley, Po Plain, Plain of the Po, or Padan Plain ( it, Pianura Padana , or ''Val Padana'') is a major geographical feature of Northern Italy Northern Italy ( it, Italia settentrionale, it, Nord Italia, label=none or just it, Nord, lab ...
city-states in northern Italy, which included Bologna, Spina and Adria.


Possible founding of Rome

Those who subscribe to a Latins (Italic tribe), Latin foundation of Rome followed by an Etruscan invasion typically speak of an Etruscan "influence" on Roman culture – that is, cultural objects which were adopted by Rome from neighbouring Etruria. The prevailing view is that Rome was founded by Latins who later merged with Etruscans. In this interpretation, Etruscan cultural objects are considered influences rather than part of a heritage. Rome was probably a small settlement until the arrival of the Etruscans, who constructed the first elements of its urban infrastructure such as the drainage system. The main criterion for deciding whether an object originated at Rome and traveled by influence to the Etruscans, or descended to the Romans from the Etruscans, is date. Many, if not most, of the Etruscan cities were older than Rome. If one finds that a given feature was there first, it cannot have originated at Rome. A second criterion is the opinion of the ancient sources. These would indicate that certain institutions and customs came directly from the Etruscans. Rome is located on the edge of what was Etruscan territory. When Etruscan settlements turned up south of the border, it was presumed that the Etruscans spread there after the foundation of Rome, but the settlements are now known to have preceded Rome. Etruscan settlements were frequently built on hills – the steeper the better – and surrounded by thick walls. According to Roman mythology, when Romulus and Remus founded Rome, they did so on the Palatine Hill according to Etruscan ritual; that is, they began with a ''pomerium'' or sacred ditch. Then, they proceeded to the walls. Romulus was required to kill Remus when the latter jumped over the wall, breaking its magic spell (see also under Pons Sublicius). The name of Rome is attested in Etruscan in the form ''Ruma-χ'' meaning 'Roman', a form that mirrors other attested ethnonyms in that language with the same suffix ''-χ'': ''Velzna-χ'' '(someone) from Volsinii' and ''Sveama-χ'' '(someone) from Sovana'. This in itself, however, is not enough to prove Etruscan origin conclusively. If Tiberius is from ''θefarie'', then Ruma would have been placed on the ''Thefar'' (Tiber) river. A heavily discussed topic among scholars is who was the founding population of Rome. In 390 BC, the Battle of Allia, city of Rome was attacked by the Gauls, and as a result may have lost many – though not all – of its earlier records. Later history relates that some Etruscans lived in the ''Vicus Tuscus'', the "Etruscan quarter", and that there was an Etruscan line of kings (albeit ones descended from a Greek, Demaratus of Corinth) that succeeded kings of Latin and Sabine origin. Etruscophile historians would argue that this, together with evidence for institutions, religious elements and other cultural elements, proves that Rome was founded by Etruscans. The true picture is rather more complicated, not least because the Etruscan cities were separate entities which never came together to form a single Etruscan state. Furthermore, there were strong Latin and Italic elements to Roman culture, and later Romans proudly celebrated these multiple, 'multicultural' influences on the city. Under Romulus and Numa Pompilius, the people were said to have been divided into thirty curiae and three Roman tribe, tribes. Few Etruscan words entered Latin, but the names of at least two of the tribes – ''Ramnes'' and ''Luceres'' – seem to be Etruscan. The last kings may have borne the Etruscan title ''lucumo'', while the regalia were traditionally considered of Etruscan origin – the golden crown, the sceptre, the ''toga palmata'' (a special robe), the ''sella curulis'' (curule chair), and above all the primary symbol of state power: The ''fasces''. The latter was a bundle of whipping rods surrounding a double-bladed axe, carried by the king's lictors. An example of the fasces are the remains of bronze rods and the axe from a tomb in Etruscan Vetulonia. This allowed archaeologists to identify the depiction of a fasces on the grave stele of Avele Feluske, who is shown as a warrior wielding the fasces. The most telling Etruscan feature is the word ''populus'', which appears as an Etruscan deity, Fufluns.


Roman families of Etruscan origin


Society


Government

The historical Etruscans had achieved a Sovereign state, state system of society, with remnants of the chiefdom and tribal forms. Rome was in a sense the first Italic state, but it began as an Etruscan one. It is believed that the Etruscan government style changed from total monarchy to oligarchic republic (as the Roman Republic) in the 6th century BC. The government was viewed as being a central authority, ruling over all tribal and clan organizations. It retained the power of life and death; in fact, the gorgon, an ancient symbol of that power, appears as a motif in Etruscan decoration. The adherents to this state power were united by a common religion. Political unity in Etruscan society was the city-state, which was probably the referent of , "district". Etruscan texts name quite a number of magistrates, without much of a hint as to their function: The , the , the , the , the , and so on. The people were the ''mech''.


Family

The princely tombs were not of individuals. The inscription evidence shows that families were interred there over long periods, marking the growth of the aristocratic family as a fixed institution, parallel to the ''gens'' at Rome and perhaps even its model. The Etruscans could have used any model of the eastern Mediterranean. That the growth of this class is related to the new acquisition of wealth through trade is unquestioned. The wealthiest cities were located near the coast. At the centre of the society was the married couple, ''tusurthir''. The Etruscans were a monogamous society that emphasized pairing. Similarly, the behaviour of some wealthy women is not uniquely Etruscan. The apparent promiscuous revelry has a spiritual explanation. Swaddling and Bonfante (among others) explain that depictions of the nude embrace, or symplegma, "had the power to ward off evil", as did baring the breast, which was adopted by western culture as an apotropaic magic, apotropaic device, appearing finally on the figureheads of sailing ships as a nude female upper torso. It is also possible that Greek and Roman attitudes to the Etruscans were based on a misunderstanding of the place of women within their society. In both Greece and the Earliest Republican Rome, respectable women were confined to the house and mixed-sex socialising did not occur. Thus, the freedom of women within Etruscan society could have been misunderstood as implying their sexual availability.Briquel, Dominique; Svensson Pär (2007). Etruskerna. Alhambras pocket encyklopedi, 99-1532610-6; 88 (1. uppl.). Furulund: Alhambra. It is worth noting that a number of Etruscan tombs carry funerary inscriptions in the form "X son of (father) and (mother)", indicating the importance of the mother's side of the family.


Military

The Etruscans, like the contemporary cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, had a significant military tradition. In addition to marking the rank and power of certain individuals, warfare was a considerable economic advantage to Etruscan civilization. Like many ancient societies, the Etruscans conducted campaigns during summer months, raiding neighboring areas, attempting to gain territory and combating piracy as a means of acquiring valuable resources, such as land, prestige, goods, and slaves. It is likely that individuals taken in battle would be ransomed back to their families and clans at high cost. Prisoners could also potentially be sacrificed on tombs as an honor to fallen leaders of Etruscan society, not unlike the sacrifices made by Achilles for Patroclus, Patrocles.


Cities

The range of Etruscan civilization is marked by Etruscan cities, its cities. They were entirely assimilated by Italic, Celtic, or Roman ethnic groups, but the names survive from inscriptions and their ruins are of aesthetic and historic interest in most of the cities of central Italy. Etruscan cities flourished over most of Italy during the Roman Iron Age, marking the farthest extent of Etruscan civilization. They were gradually assimilated first by Italics in the south, then by Celts in the north and finally in Etruria itself by the growing Roman Republic. That many Roman cities were formerly Etruscan was well known to all the Roman authors. Some cities were founded by Etruscans in prehistoric times, and bore entirely Etruscan names. Others were colonized by Etruscans who Etruscanized the name, usually Italic languages, Italic.


Culture


Religion

The Etruscan system of belief was an immanent polytheism; that is, all visible phenomena were considered to be a manifestation of divinity, divine power and that power was subdivided into deity, deities that acted continually on the world of man and could be dissuaded or persuaded in favour of human affairs. How to understand the will of deities, and how to behave, had been revealed to the Etruscans by two initiators, Tages, a childlike figure born from tilled land and immediately gifted with prescience, and Vegoia, a female figure. Their teachings were kept in a series of sacred books. Three layers of deities are evident in the extensive Etruscan art motifs. One appears to be divinities of an indigenous nature: Etruscan mythology, Catha and Usil, the sun; ''Tivr'', the moon; Selvans, a civil god; Turan (goddess), Turan, the goddess of love; Laran, the god of war; Leinth, the goddess of death; Maris (mythology), Maris; Thalna; Turms; and the ever-popular Fufluns, whose name is related in some way to the city of Populonia and the populus Romanus, possibly, the god of the people. Ruling over this pantheon of lesser deities were higher ones that seem to reflect the Proto-Indo-European religion, Indo-European system: Tin or Tinia, the sky, Uni his wife (Juno (mythology), Juno), and Cel (goddess), Cel, the earth goddess. In addition, some Greek and Roman gods were taken into the Etruscan system: Artume, Aritimi (Artemis), Menrva (Minerva), Pacha (Dionysus). The Greek heroes taken from Homer also appear extensively in art motifs.


Architecture

Relatively little is known about the architecture of the ancient Etruscans. They adapted the native Italic styles with influence from the external appearance of Greek architecture. In turn, ancient Roman architecture began with Etruscan styles, and then accepted still further Greek influence. Roman temples show many of the same differences in form to Greek ones that Etruscan temples do, but like the Greeks, use stone, in which they closely copy Greek conventions. The houses of the wealthy were evidently often large and comfortable, but the burial chambers of tombs, often filled with grave-goods, are the nearest approach to them to survive. In the southern Etruscan area, tombs have large rock-cut chambers under a tumulus in large Necropolis, necropoleis, and these, together with some city walls, are the only Etruscan constructions to survive. Etruscan architecture is not generally considered as part of the body of Greco-Roman classical architecture.


Art and music

Etruscan art was produced by the Etruscan civilization between the 9th and 2nd centuries BC. Particularly strong in this tradition were figurative sculpture in terracotta (particularly lifesize on sarcophagus, sarcophagi or temples), wall-painting and metalworking (especially engraved bronze mirrors). Etruscan sculpture in cast bronze was famous and widely exported, but few large examples have survived (the material was too valuable, and recycled later). In contrast to terracotta and bronze, there was apparently little Etruscan sculpture in stone, despite the Etruscans controlling fine sources of marble, including Carrara marble, which seems not to have been exploited until the Romans. Most surviving Etruscan art comes from tombs, including all the fresco wall-paintings, a minority of which show scenes of feasting and some narrative mythological subjects. Bucchero wares in black were the early and native styles of fine Etruscan pottery. There was also a tradition of elaborate Etruscan vase painting, which sprung from its Greek equivalent; the Etruscans were the main export market for Pottery of ancient Greece, Greek vases. Etruscan temples were heavily decorated with colourfully painted terracotta antefixes and other fittings, which survive in large numbers where the wooden superstructure has vanished. Etruscan art was strongly connected to Etruscan religion, religion; the afterlife was of major importance in Etruscan art. The Etruscan musical instruments seen in frescoes and bas-reliefs are different types of pipes, such as the aulos, plagiaulos (the pipes of Pan (mythology), Pan or Syrinx), the alabaster pipe and the famous double pipes, accompanied on percussion instruments such as the Tintinnabulum (Ancient Rome), tintinnabulum, Timpani, tympanum and crotales, and later by stringed instruments like the lyre and kithara.


Language

Etruscans left around 13,000 epigraphy, inscriptions which have been found so far, only a small minority of which are of significant length. Attested from 700 BC to AD 50, the relation of Etruscan to other languages has been a source of long-running speculation and study. The Etruscans are believed to have spoken a Pre–Indo-European languages, Pre–Indo-European and Paleo-European languages, Paleo-European language, and the majority consensus is that Etruscan is related only to other members of what is called the Tyrsenian languages, Tyrsenian language family, which in itself is an language isolate, isolate family, that is unrelated directly to other known language groups. Since Helmut Rix, Rix (1998), it is widely accepted that the Tyrsenian family groups
Raetic Rhaetic or Raetic (), also known as Rhaetian, was a language spoken in the ancient region of Rhaetia File:REmpire Rhetia.png, 250px, Province of Raetia highlighted. Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Rom ...
and Lemnian language, Lemnian are related to Etruscan.


Literature

Etruscan texts, written in a space of seven centuries, use a form of the Greek alphabet due to close contact between the Etruscans and the Greek colonies at Ischia, Pithecusae and Cumae in the 8th century BC (until it was no longer used, at the beginning of the 1st century AD). Etruscan inscriptions disappeared from Chiusi, Perugia and Arezzo around this time. Only a few fragments survive, religious and especially funeral texts most of which are late (from the 4th century BC). In addition to the original texts that have survived to this day, there are a large number of quotations and allusions from classical authors. In the 1st century BC, Diodorus Siculus wrote that literary culture was one of the great achievements of the Etruscans. Little is known of it and even what is known of their language is due to the repetition of the same few words in the many inscriptions found (by way of the modern epitaphs) contrasted in bilingual or trilingual texts with Latin and Punic language, Punic. Out of the aforementioned genres, is just one such Volnio (Volnius) cited in classical sources mention. With a few exceptions, such as the Liber Linteus, the Thesaurus Linguae Etruscae, only written records in the Etruscan language that remain are inscriptions, mainly funerary. The language is written in the Old Italic script#Etruscan alphabet, Etruscan alphabet, a script related to the early Euboean alphabet, Euboean Greek alphabet. Many thousand inscriptions in Etruscan are known, mostly epitaphs, and a few Thesaurus Linguae Etruscae, very short texts have survived, which are mainly religious. Etruscan imaginative literature is evidenced only in references by later Roman authors, but it is evident from their visual art that the Greek myths were well-known.


References


Sources

*


Further reading

* Bartoloni, Gilda (ed). ''Introduzione all'Etruscologia'' (in Italian). Milan: Hoepli, 2012. * Sinclair Bell and Carpino A. Alexandra (eds). ''A Companion to the Etruscans'', Oxford; Chichester; Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2016. * Giuliano Bonfante, Bonfante, Giuliano and Larissa Bonfante, Bonfante Larissa. ''The Etruscan Language: An Introduction''. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002. * Bonfante, Larissa. ''Out of Etruria: Etruscan Influence North and South''. Oxford: B.A.R., 1981. * Bonfante, Larissa. ''Etruscan Life and Afterlife: A Handbook of Etruscan Studies''. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1986. * Bonfante, Larissa. ''Etruscan Myths''. London: British Museum Press, 2006. * Dominique Briquel, Briquel, Dominique. ''Les Étrusques, peuple de la différence'', series Civilisations U, éditions Armand Colin, Paris, 1993. * Briquel, Dominique. ''La civilisation étrusque'', éditions Fayard, Paris, 1999. * Nancy Thomson de Grummond, De Grummond, Nancy T. (2014). ''Ethnicity and the Etruscans''. In McInerney, Jeremy (ed.). ''A Companion to Ethnicity in the Ancient Mediterranean''. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. pp. 405–422. * Sybille Haynes, Haynes, Sybille. ''Etruscan Civilization: A Cultural History.'' Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000. * Izzet, Vedia. ''The Archaeology of Etruscan Society''. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. * Naso, Alessandro (ed). ''Etruscology'', Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2017. * Massimo Pallottino, Pallottino, Massimo. ''Etruscologia''. Milan: Hoepli, 1942 (English ed., ''The Etruscans''. David Ridgway (scholar), David Ridgway, editor. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1975). * Shipley, Lucy. ''The Etruscans: Lost Civilizations'', London: Reaktion Books, 2017. * Christopher Smith (academic), Smith, C. ''The Etruscans: a very short introduction '', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. * Spivey, Nigel. ''Etruscan Art''. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997. * Judith Swaddling, Swaddling, Judith and Philip Perkins. ''Etruscan by Definition: The Culture, Regional, and Personal Identity of the Etruscans: Papers in Honor of Sybille Haynes''. London: British Museum, 2009. * Turfa, Jean MacIntosh (ed). ''The Etruscan World''. London: Routledge, 2013. * Turfa, Jean MacIntosh. ''The Etruscans''. In Farney, Gary D.; Bradley, Gary (eds.). ''The Peoples of Ancient Italy''. Berlin: De Gruyter. pp. 637–672.


Cities and sites


(Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Umbria) "The Cai Cutu Etruscan tomb"
An undisturbed late Etruscan family tomb, reused between the 3rd and 1st century BC, reassembled in the National Archeological Museum of Perugia
Hypogeum of the Volumnis digital media archive
(creative commons-licensed photos, laser scans, panoramas), data from a University of Ferrara/CyArk research partnership


External links

* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Etruscan Civilization Etruscans, Archaeological cultures in Italy Ancient peoples of Italy 9th-century BC establishments in Italy States and territories established in the 9th century BC States and territories disestablished in the 1st century BC Former confederations