The Etruscans: One of Three Great Civilizations in Italy. Francesco Bonavita, Ph.D.

 

etruscan-funerary-monument-with-man-and-woman-dining-together

Etruscan sarcophagus of the spouses

Introduction

Although I am a frequent traveler to Italy, my exposure to Etruscan civilization was relegated to the rich collection exhibited at the Vatican Museum, which displays a vast array of vases, golden artifacts, and the classical sarcophagi with its reclining figures. There was also an encounter with the early Villanova artifacts I had seen several years ago in Perugia. And with the exception of two other major exhibits I had seen at the Louvre in Paris, as well as the well-curated Etruscan art collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, I had always wanted to visit the region known as Etruria, an area known primarily for Etruscan ancient burial sites, referred to as necropolis, which is situated largely between the Tiber River in Rome and the Arno in Florence. Recently, I was fortunate enough to make the trip to Etruria in an effort to delve deeper into a civilization that has been described as mysterious and elusive. I set out for the town of Tarquinia, approximately sixty miles northwest of Rome, which almost three thousand years ago, together with several other cities in Etruria, had been, the hub of the Etruscan Civilization. Upon arriving in Tarquinia, one cannot help to observe the relative peaceful and countryside atmosphere of the necropolis area. It is as if the entire area is undergoing a perennial slumber, deeply evocative of an illustrious bygone past. As I entered the premises, I was surprised to see only one tourist bus, occupied by mostly French, German, English and some American visitors. This is clearly not the typical tourist destination whereby long lines of eager visitors await patiently. The necropolis of Tarquinia is characterized by a vast burial ground, which contains approximately six thousand tombs in an area that is probably not much larger than Lower Manhattan. In addition, Tarquinia has some of the most beautiful Etruscan paintings than any other area in Etruria. As I descended tomb after tomb and absorbed by the colorful frescoes with numerous scenes, depicting festivals, hunting feats, celebrating life in its various forms, I could not but reflect on the Etruscans with awe and admiration.

etruscan-tomb-of-large-family-from-volterra

The elusive Etruscans

So, just who were these Etruscans who are often labeled as enigmatic, gluttons, bon vivant, obscure but who, supposedly, gave us wine, the love for music and taught us to live life in style? In this essay, I would like to explore several questions. Is it possible that three major civilizations could flourish in the same area, during the course of twenty-five hundred years? In a small geographical area, such as Tarquinia, the Etruscans left behind a vastly and highly decorated necropolis to honor their loved ones. Although there is no question that the Etruscan society was clearly defined in terms aristocratic lines, vis-a-vis a much larger servant population, one has to assume that such a vast necropolis could not have been intended just for the upper echelon. Rather, might we presuppose a more egalitarian posture toward the lower classes? Might this attitude constitute a more benevolent disposition toward the working class at this early juncture of Western Civilization? Another question that is equally compelling is where do the Etruscans originate? Since their language is classified as non Indo-European, many historians have been intrigued by their origins. And last, but not least, we need to examine the legacy of the Etruscans and the degree to which studying these ancient people might give us a better appreciation of ourselves.

Origins

chimera-of-arezzo

Chimera of Arezzo

The Etruscan presence in Italy goes as far back as 1200 BC. This is the period of the Bronze Age, which in the Etruria area is commonly referred to as the Villanova era by archeologists. There are essentially two schools of thought regarding the origin of the Etruscans, namely, the Greek’s and the Roman’s, whose positions have not, to this day, resolved the issue. Historical accounts of ancient Greece seek to explain the origin of the Etruscan people, as having migrated from Asia Minor, primarily from Lydia, which today is known as Turkey. Herodotus, the Greek historian, attributes the Etruscan migration to famine, which took place around 1200 BC. Among the Roman historians, notably Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a historian who wrote around the time of Caesar Augustus in the first century AD, comes the theory that the Etruscans originated in Italy. Dionysius claims that the Etruscans were autochthonous, meaning that they originated in Etruria. Among scholars, it is generally agreed that the Etruscans originated in Italy, but the verdict is still out, mainly because of scant literary documents left behind, which lends the Etruscans an aura of mysterious origin. [1]

The calamitous climatic changes that took place around 1200 BC, which affected major areas of Anatolia, Syria, Cyprus and Greece, resulted in a massive migration. From a geographical standpoint, however, Herodotus’ theory may not be plausible simply because the migrants who sought to alleviate their miseries from hunger would have chosen a shorter path, closer to the Adriatic Sea, in order to reach Italy. They would have settled along the Adriatic Coast and not, as it is, the Tyrrhenian Sea Coast, where Etruria is located.

Because only a large body of archeological evidence remains in the form of necropolis, it is very difficult to establish a definitive claim on the origin of the Etruscans. What is clear, however, is that both Greek and Roman accounts created a biased view of the Etruscans, which prevails in the collective consciousness of the present. The negative posture adopted by both Greek and Roman historians are quite ample. Based on archeological accounts, we know that the Etruscans lived well. They celebrated life and, most important, women were treated with equal privileges as men. Whereas Greeks tend to show men at the center of activities, when we examine vases, Etruscan art, in contrast, celebrate the presence of women in leadership positions. According to Greek symposia, this composition was traditionally reserved for men, whereas the Etruscans show women mingling with men, as they celebrated life, usually in the form of festive poses. Illustrations found in paintings, emphasize full participation of women not only at celebrations but at sporting events, as well. In their tombs, Etruscans took great care to exhibit marital love in sarcophagi, showing spouses in a reclining position. Inscriptions found at tombs indicate that women kept their identity, as it was customary to preserve patronymic as well as matronymic names. This practice is still being continued by the Hispanic culture. Women played a vital role in public life. This can be seen in the way women dressed. They often wore dresses similar to Roman toga and would suggest a symbol of citizenship among women.[2]

 

Although Etruria is essentially delineated between two rivers, the Arno and the Tiber, and demarcated in the east by the Apennine Mountains with a navigational opening alongside the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the west, the presence of Etruscans stretches all the way to the north of Italy and as far south as Campania. Historical records indicate that the Etruscans interacted on a worldly scale with the Gauls of ancient France. Indeed, archeological evidence suggests that the Etruscans conducted commerce with the Gauls [3]just as they had done with the people of Magna Grecia in Syracuse, Carthage in northern Africa, the Phoenicians in Asia Minor and the Greeks. The Etruscan territory was blessed with rich iron deposits, most especially on the island of Elba where an active metallurgic center was created and which gave the Etruscans a competitive edge over other people in the Mediterranean area. Although there are no physical evidences today that the island was a center of metallurgy in the past, the name of Portoferraio in Elba still exists today. The term porto, of course, denotes the harbor whereas ferraio refers to iron, of which there was plenty of in ancient times. The wealth of Etruria was not by all means relegated to rich deposits of minerals. The area was equally endowed with a fertile land, enriched by a vast network of brooks. [4]This is the area of Lazio, Umbria, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria which even in present time is synonymous with the production of great wine, unique olive oil and delicious artichokes, among other things. Thus, given the unmatched territory, with its majestic topography, for which the Etruscans enjoyed, it was inescapable that the Etruscans were destined to be excellent navigators, good cultivators of the land and fine artisans.

Early Etruscans

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Etruscan helmet

The early Etruscans begin to surface in the Etruria region around 1200 BC. Traditional archeology prefers to label these inhabitants who articulated the transition between the Bronze and the Iron Age, as those who characterized the so-called Villanova period. This period spans approximately four-hundred years and it establishes the uncontested supremacy in much of the Mediterranean land. Modern archeology, however, prefers not to dwell on the Villanovan designation simply because it may inadvertently create the notion of two distinct civilizations. [5] We do not have much structural evidence left behind by the Etruscans, as dwellings, seaports, temples, and storehouses have essentially disappeared. What we have, instead, is a vast array of burial sites that reveal the essence of Etruscan civilization on account of their art, artifacts and personal belongings of the families for whom these necropolis were created. Based on archeological evidence, it is fair to say that these people had a fairly egalitarian social structure, with division of labor and a quality of life that was fairly accessible to everyone. In nearly four hundred years, the Etruscans of this period experienced prosperity, increased their navigational commerce, which allowed them to interact with a multitude of people, all over the Mediterranean area.

The funerary practices of the early Etruscans are rather remarkable in that they cremated their dead and placed the remains in an urn, which resembles the habitat of the time. The urn represents a rudimentary hut, made out of ceramics mixed with iron. This technique would suggest that the Etruscans were experimenting with minerals, as they entered a transformational phase from bronze to iron. [6]

The Orientalizing Period

vaso_etrusco

Etruscan vase

In time, the Etruscans became masters of metallurgy and suppliers of military equipments throughout the Mediterranean area. Such a commercial enterprise conducted on a large-scale led inevitably to accumulation of wealth, but, most importantly, it allowed them to establish a greater cultural contact with Greece. Etruscans became fond of Greek art and, as a result, began experimenting with Greek style vases and, eventually, adapting the Hellenic alphabet for their own language. This is the golden age of the Etruscans and it is commonly referred to as the Orientalizing period, ranging roughly from about 800 BC and 500 BC., simply because its artistic vision exhibits a new dimension, reflecting for the most part the influence absorbed by the close contact with Asia Minor.

The Orientalization period marks the beginning of urbanization with the birth of many cities centers, the most notable of which were Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Orvieto, Cortona and Volterra. Cerveteri distinguished itself for the production of ceramics with its classical piece known as the bucchero, as well as conducting commerce at sea. [7]

The Decline of Etruscan influence

tomba-tarquinia

Etruscan fresco

The fourth century BC marks the beginning of Etruscan decline, primarily because of two important events, which may have changed the course of history in a significant way. First, as Rome emerges as a new player in the region, the last Etruscan king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, is removed from power and the Etruscan population is gradually absorbed into the Roman social fabric. In another front, in an effort to maintain control of the Mediterranean Sea, Syracuse inflicts a devastating blow to the Etruscan navy at Cumae, which is known today as the Bay of Naples. Might complacency have precipitated the downfall of the Etruscans? After all, the Etruscans enjoyed a quality of life that was probably unmatched in the area. They cherished their life style and had no inclination toward expanding their military aspirations. So, too, their warfare techniques may have become obsolete in comparison to a more belligerent Roman neighbor. Whatever the case, Etruscan influence began to wane, leaving to posterity only a wealth of burial sites, which to this day is still awaiting further judgment, as to what made this people so fascinating and producers of one the great Western civilizations, which impacted significantly to our way of approaching life. Let us consider some aspects of Etruscan lifestyle that may shed some light.

Agriculture

 

 

Tools found in the tombs indicate that the Etruscans were master cultivators of cereals and legumes, as well as grapes in order to make wine. The National Archeological Museum, in Florence, houses the largest collection of agricultural tools used by the Etruscans, such as ploughs, hoes, picks, spades, blades for pruning, sickles for cutting hay and wheat, and a whole host of implements used to utilize the fertile land to its fullest extent possible. [8] Upon observing the frescoes one can see that the Etruscan flora was abundantly varied and the artichoke, which, to this day, fills the countryside in the Lazio region, was the centerpiece, along side pears and pomegranate.

Navigation

 

The Etruscan maritime power reached its pinnacle during the Orientalizing period, which allowed it to conduct trade, to control the sea and to benefit substantially from a cultural interaction with its neighbors, most especially with the Greeks, from whom they derived an artistic vision and inspiration. The Etruscans understood early on that in order to sustain a quality of life and to maintain prosperity it was essential to build a sound infrastructure, such as ports, roads and a good shipping industry in an effort to import and to export goods. Archeological evidence found at shipwrecks in Bon Porte, Cap d’Antibes, and the island of Giglio off the Tuscany Coast, illustrate the ship building techniques of the Etruscans, characterized by interlocking planks with wooden pegs. It was customary for Etruscan ships to be laden with iron and copper and agricultural products and to be returned with pottery, ivory and other materials needed to support their luxurious lifestyle.

Engineering for Building Routes and Means of Transportation

 

With the exploitation of natural resources such as minerals and iron, it became necessary for the Etruscans to create a sophisticated network of roads, so that these reserves could be transported. An infrastructure had to be created, which would connect coastal towns with the interior habitats of the region. In Viterbo, a town just a few miles from Rome, and Civita di Bagnoregio, for example, there are roads that are still used by locals. These roads were cut directly from the tufo, which is still abundant in the region. [9] Tufo is a volcanic material made up of consolidated ashes, which is surprisingly malleable while being classified as a rock. Etruscans were able to cut through these materials and make it possible for carts to pass through and to connect to other cities in order to deliver their goods. The typical means of transportation used took place on carts with two wheels, pulled by horses. Donkeys were also used to transport cargo and lots of walking was done, as well.[10]

Etruscan Language

The language of the Etruscans is confined to about 300 words, all of which are left behind through inscriptions. [11] One cannot speak of Etruscan literature per se, as documentation has disappeared. Most of what is known about Etruscan literature has come down through narrative accounts written by Greeks and Romans. Scholars who wish to pursue the study of Etruscan language are limited to inscriptions – there are approximately thirteen thousand inscriptions found, which brings the vocabulary knowledge to about two hundred and seventy words [12] – on monuments and a few surviving texts, the most notable of which are the Zagreb mummy wrapping, the Piacenza liver, the Lemnos Stele, the François Tomb, and the most recent discovery of the Tabula Cortonensis. [13] In addition to the discovery of the Zagreb artifact, which bears an inscription of religious nature, the Tabula Cortonensis, better known as the Cortona Tablet, found in Tuscany in 1992, is probably the most important document because it offers the longest inscription in the Etruscan language found thus far. According to scholars, this artifact dates back to the third and the fourth century BC and it constitutes a real estate transaction. This bronze tablet survives as a fragment and it contains a total of two hundred words.

Although it is very difficult to examine the language of the Etruscans, we can state with absolute certainty that it is not an Indo-European language, simply by comparing numbers. It was customary for the Etruscans to mark their tombs with the age of the deceased ones. Thus, the sequence one through ten does not resemble the Indo-European language, which is the basis of Western languages.

English one two three four five six seven eight nine ten
Indo-European oynos duwo treyes kwetwores penkwe sweks septm okto newn dekm
Etruscan thu zal ci huth mach sa semph cezp nutph sar

Fig. 1, A Comparison of Indo-European language with English and Etruscan.

Funerary testimony

cerveteri20necropoli2

Etruscan necropolis at Cerveteri

Just as Tarquinia rests on its aura of a bygone past, as if evoking the great lives of yesteryear, so, too, the necropolis of Cerveteri is a real city of the dead. Here the Etruscans conducted ceremonies in honor of their dead. The tombs are greatly enriched with statues, stone furniture sculpted on the walls, giving us a glimpse of how the Etruscans actually lived. [14] Contrary to their contemporaries, the Etruscans performed their funerary practices in a variety of ways, at first, by cremation and later by burying their dead. After cremating the body, its remains would be placed in a decorated urn and lowered into a cylindrical tomb. Along with the urn, personal belongings were also forming the burial site. The first urns were shaped very much like their houses in a rudimentary manner, until such a time that it underwent a considerable refinement, which distinguished itself with the production of bucchero that went on to become the national ceramics of the Etruscans.

With the economic development, the art of the tomb was entirely transformed. The entire Orientalizing period was characterized by underground necropolis for the dead by actually burying the dead in a sarcophagus and sculpting on top of it a figure or spouses in a reclining position. In Tarquinia, the walls were highly decorated with frescoes, worked by exceptional artists who depicted a variety of scenes, ranging from hunting, dancing, and other important events. Art stands on its own merits. Etruscans were the great beneficiaries of artistic influence as they extended their contacts with other cultures, particularly the Egyptians, the Phoenicians and the Greeks. The funerary frescoes of Tarquinia represent the first major impetus of the history of painting. In the sixth century a strong presence of Greek artists is witnessed, as they were hired to embellish the tombs. The overall effect was to recreate the house of the living in the city of the dead. [15] We get a sense not only of how people lived, but how they celebrated life at funerals. The frescoes offer a testimony of Etruscan daily life; the importance of rituals, hunting and of documenting the names and the age of the deceased. We have probably the greatest Etruscan record of written language left behind in the form of inscriptions at funerary locations.

The necropolis becomes the only source of history left behind. These tombs are luxurious, populated with sarcophagi and all of the most significant belongings of a family, such as jewels, furniture, tools, and vases. The tombs vary from one area to the next, but the best known are those of Tarquinia for the magnificent paintings and Cerveteri. The necropolis of Cerveteri, the most famous of which is known as La Banditaccia, consists of a series of burial mounds each of which is approximately a one hundred sixty-four feet in diameter, filled with decorations that reflect the actual habitat of the Etruscan aristocracy. [16] The tombs of the Banditaccia contains funerary sculptures as centerpieces.

Jewels

pendentive_akheloos_louvre_bj498

In making jewels, the Etruscans brought the technique of granulation to another dimension . The Rigolini-Galassi tomb of Cerveteri strikes us for the abundance of artifacts left behind, most especially the jewelries. The Etruscans became master artisans of some of the finest jewelries in the world, by an elaborate process of granulation and filigree. This technique allows dust of gold to be placed on a surface and to create geometric figures such as the famous fibula seen on display at the Louvre Museum.

The golden artifacts are true masterpieces that range from pins, earrings, necklaces, hairpins, and bracelets. Pendants, rings, were also crafted in gold and silver for the use of banquets, which was an important social interaction of the time. The granulation technique of sodding tiny golden spheres onto a surface is highly sophisticated. These granules cannot be distinguished with a naked eye, as they are minuscule. Nonetheless, these granules form the basis of the ornaments, which can be quite elaborate, at times, attaining a baroque like ornamentation. The pectoral jewelry found at the Bernardini Tomb, which is now housed at the National Museum of Villa Giulia, in Rome, is probably the best example of Etruscan granulation technique. [17]

Vases

 

The bucchero is the most prominent ceramic object produced by the Etruscans. It was so popular that its production ended up outside the boundaries of Italy. It has a predominant black color and it was used to collect wine, oil, food, as well as precious oils and perfumes. The firing for these artifacts was kept at its highest level in an effort to obtain a dark color. Because its production required a mixture of clay and metals, the bucchero allowed the artist to depict a variety of sceneries, by inscribing directly on its surface, without having to paint it. [18]

The cult of bathing as a health benefit

The Etruria region is particularly blessed with a myriad of springs, which are being utilized by modern Italians, even today. The notion that spas impact on one’s health in a salutary strength has been handed down to us. In addition to devoting numerous sanctuaries to divinities, such as Apollo, Sylvan and Nymphs, the Etruscans utilized the ritual of cold and hot water baths as a therapeutic exercise in the belief that it restored one’s body. In the medicinal springs of Chianciano Terme, in Tuscany, many sculptures have been found that supposedly were given as gifts, as a means of gratitude for curing one’s ailment. [19]

Religion

In the initial phase of the Iron Age, the religion of the Etruscans manifested itself in its deep veneration of nature. Many of the paintings and inscriptions appear to underline a deep sense of awe for rivers, the forces of nature, a fondness for agriculture and imaginary animals. The leitmotif for Etruscan art is intimately connected to religion in that it captures the notion that out of nothing one creates and transforms. [20]

The Legacy

A popular poster on the history of dental care, published by Proctor & Gamble, illustrates a timeline, starting with the Egyptians, around 3,000 BC up to present times, bypasses the Etruscans altogether by listing the Roman’s contribution to dentistry, starting with the year 6,000 BC. This is an egregious mistake, which not only exhibits a lack of cultural understanding but it is also in line with the general notion that the Etruscans were simply an incidental footnote to the history of civilization. Such a simplistic interpretation of history fails to take into account that great ideas are formed on the backs of giants. We are the inescapable products of our predecessors.

Thus, when examining the influential role of women, we might want to start with the Etruscans themselves, as women enjoyed considerable freedom, as demonstrated in their illustrations of banquets and sculptures located on their tombs. Women occupied positions of importance, as illustrated by their personal appearance, exhibiting fine jewels, toiletries, and especially mirrors, which were an important art form of the time. All of this emphasis on personal appearance was not based on vanity, but rather on projecting a role of power.

Similarly, when examining the art of the Etruscans we are quick to recognize that art was conceived as a means to embellish their cities. Utilitarian need in art is underlined in addition to a desire to express a religious sentiment. In contrast to Roman art which sought to put emphasis on public display, the Etruscans, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of spiritual expression in art, as well as the need to create objects for their daily consumption.

When examining the history of the Italian Renaissance, historians have defined the movement simply as a revival of classical antiquity by which they mean a return to the study of Greek and Roman civilization in an effort to better understand the present. This is, indeed, true. The great bulk of literature, philosophy, scientific studies, art, engineering, and a whole host of human endeavors left behind by the Greeks and the Romans constituted an immeasurable degree of influence. Nonetheless, the degree to which Etruscans impacted of Renaissance artists cannot be minimized. Thus, the famous Giotto’s fresco of Justice would not have been conceived without the dancing figures of the Etruscans.

Similarly, Nicola Pisano ‘s marble relief panel of Nativity in the Pisa Baptistry could not have taken place without the use of reclining figures on Etruscan tombs. The revival of classical antiquity in the Renaissance would be incomplete without the inclusion of Etruscan art. The reclining figure of Etruscan women is a posture that was adopted by Renaissance artists time and time again.

The history of fine arts is replete with images of decapitation, most notably that of Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus with the head of Medusa in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, which was probably inspired by an Etruscan mirror that shows Ulysses who is about to behead Circe.

Etruscan legacy lives in our collective unconscious memory

Carl Jung the noted Swiss psychologist who theorized about the presence of archetypes lying dormant in our collective unconscious memory is probably an appropriate connection to establish, as we examine the contribution of the Etruscans, their relevance, and how it impacted on posterity. One may never know the extent to which we are the beneficiaries of Etruria enriched with all its artistic expression, its way of life and its spiritual strength. We are, unquestionably, not simple creatures of yesterday but part of a bygone and larger psyche from which we derive a source of inspiration. This creative energy is not relegated to just our immediate ancestry, but rather it goes as far back as a millennia.

Consider the pursuit of a qualitative life, coupled with the notion of beauty and the obsession for fine designs. The Etruscans went to great lengths in celebrating life, either at banquets or in partaking of sporting events, such as wrestling and fishing. These memorable moments were captured in the numerous frescoes they created, which depicted the spirit of these gatherings, whereby both men and women gesture euphorically, as well as exuding self-confidence. Similarly, great attention and care was devoted to producing decorative artifacts, not simply for the sake of adorning one’s body, but rather to exalt beauty to an aesthetic dimension. Comparatively speaking, whether one looks at the classic Bucchero with its inscribed scenes or the famous golden hairpin fibulae, which can be seen in every major museum in the world, one cannot help but be reminded of the Italian artisans and artists who, to this date, create stunning gold pieces, ceramics, shoes, furniture and other luxurious items intended to embellish our living space as well as our spirit.

The Etruscans were deeply religious people who manifested their devotion by praying and to externalize their piety in the form of sanctuaries. The religious structures are still visible in Etruria, which pay tribute to the love for nature in much the same way that modern Italians are particularly adept in creating a point of reference, whereby the memory of a saint is forever present. The Etruscans paid particular attention to springs, as they believed that they had miraculous powers. It is hard to imagine modern Italians without the custom of drinking mineral water, as they are deeply convinced that its merits lie in the curative powers for one’s liver. Based on the epitaphs inscribed on their tombs, archeologists calculate that the average lifespan for the Etruscans was 40.88. Such a milestone is a tribute to the quality of life attained by the Etruscans, especially when one considers the average life span for modern Italians, up until the early 1900, was a mere 44.2. [21]

A recent film, directed by Eugene Greene, La Sapienza, which deals with the architecture of Francesco Borromini, one of the chief creators of Baroque Art, along with Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Caravaggio, alludes to the Etruscan’s creative spirit. The protagonist of the movie who is resisting the popular temptation of building commercial structures at the cost of meaningful living space, is mesmerized by an Etruscan inscription he found at one of the necropolis, which highlight the words dawn, treasure and wisdom. Might this be an adage for “Dawn is the treasure of knowledge?” The interpretation of these terms may be multifaceted and one can derive a whole slew of meanings. I like to think that the Etruscans were on to something spectacular, which put them along side the giants of the creators of Western Civilization, together with the Egyptians, the Mesopotamian cultures of Asia Minor, the Sumerians, Judaism and many others in the area, and the Greeks. Thus, the term dawn alludes to the beginning of a great age, enriched or treasured by a multitude of achievements, which gave them wisdom. In the Twentieth First Century we no longer look at the Etruscans as a mysterious people nor as pirates who were disposed to hedonism, but rather we see them as having bestowed upon posterity an immeasurable cultural wealth that is still waiting to be unraveled and as the forerunners of the first of three great civilizations to flourish on Italian soil.

[1] Larissa Bonfante, ed. Etruscan Life and After Life: A Handbook of Etruscan Studies, Wayne State Univ., Detroit, 1986. Mario Torelli, “History Land and People,” p. 48.

[2] Larissa Bonfante Warren, “Etruscan Women: A Question of Interpretation,” in Archeology, Vol. 26, No. 4 (October, 1973), pp. 242-249.

[3] Bonfante. Op. Cit., Jean Macintosh Turfa, “International Contacts: Commerce, Trade, and Foreign Affairs,” p. 75.

[4] Bonfante. Op. Cit., Mario Torelli, “History: Land and People,” p. 47.

[5] L. Bonfante, op. cit., p.1

[6] Heurgon, Jacques. Daily Life of the Etruscans. Phoenix Pr., London, 1989, p. 6.

[7] Maurizio Martinelli, Giulio Paolucci. Luoghi Etruschi. Sacala, Firenze, 2006. P. 13.

[8] Heurgon, J. Op. Cit., pp. 113-114.

[9] Martinelli, pp. 116-117

[10] Martinelli, pp. 116-117

[11] (Rossella Lorenzi, “Unraveling the Etruscan Enigma,” in Archeology, Vol. 63, No. 6 (November / December 2010), pp. 36-43.)

[12] Bonfante, study of Etruscan, p. 109-110

[13] (Giuliano Bonfante, Larissa Bonfante. The Etruscan Language: An Introduction. Manchester Univ. Pr., New York, 2002, p. xvii)

[14] Martinelli, p. 28

[15] Martinelli, pp. 102-103

[16] Thuillier, Jean-Paul. Les Étrusques: Histoire d’un peuple. Armand Colin, Paris, 2003, p. 189

[17] Martinelli, p. 132

[18] Martinelli, p. 51

[19] Martinelli, p. 148

[20] Martinelli, p. 52

[21] Heurgon, Jacques, pp. 30-31.

 

6 thoughts on “The Etruscans: One of Three Great Civilizations in Italy. Francesco Bonavita, Ph.D.”

  1. Terrific and informative. I live part-time in Umbria, where the Etruscan influence is pervasive, in the egalitarian ethos of the place, and in its celebration of good food and a good life. (BTW, I took a language with your wife once, and I’d love to get back in touch.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your history of the Etruscans open up a whole new world for me.imagine a language of 300 words (almost as many words that I have learned in Italian so far) It certainly sounds like they had found the secret to a happy life. Luigi

    Liked by 1 person

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