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Fabled Etruscan Kingdom Emerging?
Discovery News ^ | 4-22-2004 | Rossella Lorenzi

Posted on 04/22/2004 6:18:57 PM PDT by blam

Fabled Etruscan Kingdom Emerging?

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

April 21, 2004 — The fabled kingdom of the Etruscan king Lars Porsena is coming to light in the Tuscan hills near Florence, according to an Italian University professor.

Known as Chamars, where the lucumo (king) Porsena reigned in the 6th century B.C., this was the leading city-state of the Etruscan civilization that dominated much of Italy before the emergence of Rome.

It was from there that Porsena is said to have launched his most successful attack upon Rome in order to restore the exiled Tarquinius Superbus to the throne. Porsena laid siege to the city, but accepted a peace settlement and withdrew.

If confirmed, the discovery could help shed new light on one of Europe's most mysterious people. It would also raise the possibility of locating the fabulous tomb of the Etruscan king.

Porsena's tomb was said by the historian Pliny the Elder to consist of a labyrinth 300 feet square with pyramids on top. According to legend, it was adorned with a golden carriage, 12 golden horses, a golden hen and 5,000 golden chicks.

"Apart from legend, I believe Chamars has at last been found. This was the biggest Italian city before Rome and it represents the entire Etruscan civilization from the very beginning to its decadence," Giuseppe Centauro, a professor of urban restoration at Florence University who has also worked on restoration projects in Pompeii, told Discovery News.

Living in a loose confederation of towns scattered from the Po River in the north to Campania in the south, the Etruscans forged Italy's most sophisticated civilization before the Romans.

They rose from Italian prehistory around 900 B.C. and dominated most of the country for about five centuries. In 90 B.C., after centuries of decline, they became Roman citizens.

No literature remains to record their culture. Few traces of their puzzling, non-Indo-European language survive. Only the richly decorated tombs they left behind provide a glimpse into their world.

Centauro believes Chamars is set between Prato's Calvana mountains and Florence's Mount Morello, in a remote countryside which was once used by Sardinian crime gangs to hide the victims of their kidnappings.

Important Findings Indeed, the large area has already yielded important findings.

Two century ago, workers building a house unearthed the most precious find that the area has produced so far, a bronze statuette of a young man dating from about 500-480 B.C., which is now at the British Museum.

More recently, workmen excavating foundations for a goods yard came across the remains of what archaeologists, announcing the discovery last week, called "one of the most complete Etruscan cities to be discovered in Tuscany."

Dating from the 5th century B.C., the settlement was built on the banks of the Bisenzio river, just outside what Centauro claims to have been Chamars' defensive walls.

"The city was certainly abandoned. One hypothesis is that it was flooded by the river Bisenzio," Gabriella Poggesi, the archaeology in charge of the excavation, told Discovery News.

Drawing a line between the discovery of the city near the Bisenzio river and the possibility of finding Chamars, Poggesi did not want to comment on Centauro's hypothesis.

Centauro and a team of experts have been detailing all of the finds in the area around the newly discovered city. He believes the settlement so far found is merely one of several within the walls of Chamars.

His team has already discovered that stone walls encircle an area of seven square miles. Within this area, there are various tombs, extensive house foundations, and a sophisticated water system of canals and artificial basins.

In one stretch, defensive walls 10 feet thick emerge from the vegetation for 700 yards.

"The walls look well preserved. We can hope to find more evidence of habitation sites, so rare in places that have later been continuously inhabited," Larissa Bonfante, professor of classics at New York University and an authority on the Etruscan civilization, told Discovery News.

She added that the newly excavated settlement would provide important information about an obscure period of ancient history.

"This is certainly an important discovery, quite aside from the possible identification of Chamars. The area surely owed its success to its location on the River Bisenzio and the route northward to the rich Po Valley and beyond. It can tell us a great deal about patterns of settlement and fortification," Bonfante said.

Where is Chamars? In an area near the eastern flanks of the city walls is a rural area known as Chiuso, which Centauro believes is Clusium, a settlement within Chamars that was attacked and besieged by the Roman general Silla in 89 B.C.

If Centauro is correct, this could bear out Pliny's clue that it could mean the tomb of Lars Porsena could finally be discovered.

Pliny the Elder wrote that Porsena's body was buried "sub urbe Clusio" (under the city of Clusium) with hanging chains and bells "which played when the wind moved them."

Regional officials have so far denied any requests to excavate the area, mainly occupied by privately owned estates.

"Our role is to preserve, first of all," Angelo Bottini, Tuscany's superintendent of archaeology, told Discovery News.

"Personally, I do not believe in Centauro's hypothesis. But archaeology is not an exact science and we are open to proposals. For example, we will have no problem in authorizing an American University lead by respected researchers to excavate that area," Bottini said.

Many experts dispute that the ruins discovered by Centauro are those of Chamars, believing that the ancient city was instead located in what is now Chiusi, southwest of Florence. Centauro insists they are wrong.

"Chamars and Clusium have often been mistaken with modern Chiusi because of the similarities in the names," he said. "That's why until now nobody has found it."

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ancientromans; archaeology; chamars; emerging; etruria; etruscan; etruscans; fabled; florence; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; italy; kingdom; larsporsenna; tarquiniussuperbus; tuscany

1 posted on 04/22/2004 6:18:58 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
Tarquinius Superbus? An Etruscan king? And all this time I thought a Tarquinius Superbus was something inside my computer for moving data around.
2 posted on 04/22/2004 6:23:48 PM PDT by Thor_Hammar
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To: farmfriend
There are pictures at the Discovery site.
3 posted on 04/22/2004 6:24:47 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
4 posted on 04/22/2004 6:25:42 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: blam
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around an Etruscan "Lars".

I look forward to your posted articles, blam.

5 posted on 04/22/2004 6:26:40 PM PDT by prion
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To: blam
I always thought Victor Mature had a face similar to Etruscan statues:
6 posted on 04/22/2004 7:12:01 PM PDT by marsh2
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To: blam
The Etruscan Lion, aka Chimera.

7 posted on 04/22/2004 7:37:40 PM PDT by Bedford Forrest (Roger, Contact, Judy, Out. Fox One. Splash one.<I>)
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To: blam
Intriquing. Let's hope some writen records are found.
8 posted on 04/22/2004 8:19:07 PM PDT by rightofrush (right of Rush, and Buchanan too.)
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To: Claud
9 posted on 04/22/2004 8:51:30 PM PDT by Antoninus (In hoc signo, vinces )
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To: blam
Superbus sounds likes an oversized volkswagon.
10 posted on 04/22/2004 9:34:53 PM PDT by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: blam
those darn Etruscans
11 posted on 04/23/2004 1:58:27 AM PDT by fnord (Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence)
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To: blam
Thanks for the great catch.

One of the things that I like best about FR is that there are so many people with an eye out for archeological news. How many liberal intellectuals would credit that?

As an undergraduate at Columbia I took a graduate course in Etruscan/Roman history. I'll never forget the curiosity I developed for that lost civilization. At the time there were so few clues.
12 posted on 04/23/2004 7:50:51 AM PDT by wildbill
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

Please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on, off, or alter the "Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list --
Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
The GGG Digest
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13 posted on 07/13/2005 11:23:35 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (last updated by FR profile on Tuesday, May 10, 2005.)
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To: blam

· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

Just updating the GGG info, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach

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14 posted on 11/27/2009 7:41:31 PM PST by SunkenCiv ( Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: blam

What are we to make of this?

15 posted on 11/27/2009 7:48:18 PM PST by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurture)
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