Skip to comments.Unraveling the Etruscan Enigma
Posted on 10/15/2010 10:02:40 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
They taught the French to make wine and the Romans to build roads, and they introduced writing to Europe, but the Etruscans have long been considered one of antiquity's great enigmas. No one knew exactly where they came from. Their language was alien to their neighbors. Their religion included the practice of divination, performed by priests who examined animals' entrails to predict the future. Much of our knowledge about Etruscan civilization comes from ancient literary sources and from tomb excavations, many of which were carried out decades ago. But all across Italy, archaeologists are now creating a much richer picture of Etruscan social structure, trade relationships, economy, daily lives, religion, and language than has ever been possible. Excavations at sites including the first monumental tomb to be explored in over two decades, a rural sanctuary filled with gold artifacts, the only Etruscan house with intact walls and construction materials still preserved, and an entire seventh-century B.C. miner's town, are revealing that the Etruscans left behind more than enough evidence to show that perhaps, they aren't such a mystery after all.
(Excerpt) Read more at archaeology.org ...
The Queen's Tomb is the first major Etruscan burial to be excavated in the past 25 years. After uncovering the monumental staircase, archaeologists will continue to dig into the mound to explore the rooms and burial chamber inside. (Pasquale Sorrentino)
This house found in 2010 is the first Etruscan domestic property with standing walls to be excavated. (Rossella Lorenzi)
Found in 2010 in a sanctuary at the site of Poggio Colla near Florence, this pendant is an example of the Etruscans' extraordinary goldsmithing skill. (Courtesy Alexis Castor)
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Looks Greek to me...
The legend of Atlantis might have been partly based on this civilization
Well that’s a teaser if there ever was one! Rather than re-subscribe my canceled subscription to that far left radical magazine I’ll wait for the results to be published elsewhere.
bump for later
They had a goldsmithing technique that is unrivaled as well...some beautiful work in gold...
I have read that the Etruscans started the gladitorial “games”.
They were a whimsical people.
The First King of the Etruscans, Maf of Ioso, is buried here.
Back on the Aurelia, you can stop in the pretty seaside villages of Santa Severa or Santa Marinella for lunch at a seafood place. Then continue another 20 miles northward to Tarquinia, where you'll want to visit the church of Santa Maria di Castello. Next, head for Piazza Cavour, site of the 15th-century gothic palace that houses the National Museum. On display here is lots of gold jewelry, a specialty of the Etruscans, and the pièce de resistance, an exquisite near-life-size pair of winged horses from the pediment of a local temple. This is one of the greatest Etruscan masterpieces ever discovered. Before leaving the museum, inquire about joining a group to visit the tombs the next morning.
for the armchair traveller
So BTDT is replaced by RTST (Read That, Saw That)?
Thanks for the interesting articles.
To the Etruscans, all Romans were like the inbred Banjo Player in Deliverance. They used Romans for servants and slaves. (Or is it slaves and servants?)
The Nat Geo Channel does have some interesting programs on at times
(or was it the History International Channel? Oh well, same diff.)
Interesting read. Thank you!
Any idea if DNA analysis of the Etruscans have been done?
Minoan even. :’) The Etruscans’ relatives / ancestors were from the Aegean, but were not Greek. Later on there was classical (post-Mycenaean) Greek influence due to the Greek colonies in the west, and trade with Ionia.
The Etruscans had an obstruse custom of having a death struggle of sorts as the big funerary sendoff. One bit of art that survives shows a man with a bag tied over his head (iow, he couldn’t see) trying to defend himself from a couple of attacking dogs. The Romans were under Etruscan rule for centuries and picked up some customs, and as Condor51 said, some of the Etruscans’ civil engineering.
The Romans referred pejoratively to their predecessors as obesus etruscus, or “fat etruscans”; the Etruscans had built a wealthy, peaceful (by ancient standards) society, and that’s something else the Romans emulated during the republican period and beyond. The funerary customs of the Etruscans (including cremation) were adopted, but the Roman games which grew out of the human sacrifices of the Etruscans took on an entirely different look.
The Etruscans may have picked up their ideal dining habits (reclining on couches while being served food) from the Greeks, although it may have been the other way around. For their part, the Greeks found offensive the Etruscans’ habit of husbands and wives sharing the same couch.
ah, here it is:
DNA Boosts Herodotus’ Account of Etruscans as Migrants to Italy
NY Times | April 3, 2007 | NICHOLAS WADE
Posted on 04/03/2007 9:27:29 PM PDT by neverdem
I don't agree it's "unrivaled" but it took many years for modern artisans to learn how the Etruscans did it. The technique is called "granulation" and involves affixing masses of very tiny gold spheres on golden bowls, vases, etc. to create intricate dimensional patterns.
There were two basic mysteries: how they made the spheres in such uniform sizes and how they attached them to the gold vessels without using solder of any kind. The heating methods available to them were very primitive by modern standards.
While modern goldsmiths have learned the answers and can now duplicate the process, they are still amazed the Etruscans were able to do such fine work without electronically-controlled ovens, etc. But I've seen examples of granulation work far older than Etruscan work in museums and have concluded they had merely refined a very ancient technique.
I remember reading somewhere that the riddle of the Etruscans' origin had been resolved. IIRC they were a remnant of a culture based in Anatolia that could no longer support them due to some calamity: drought, war, can't recall exactly. They were sent off by sea to find a new place to live and arrived in Italy with all their prior knowledge intact: metal smithing, civil engineering, cultural traditions, etc. I'll see if I can relocate that reference. I've been intrigued by them for years.
Re: your post # 20. Thanks for the amplification.