18 Facts About Etruscans


The Etruscans developed a system of writing derived from the Euboean alphabet, which was used in the Magna Graecia .

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Etruscans called themselves Rasenna, which was shortened to Rasna or Rasna, with both etymologies unknown.

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Etruscans mentioned them as residing in central Italy alongside the Latins.

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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.

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However, the 1st-century BC historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, 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.

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Similarly, the 1st-century BC historian Livy, in his Ab Urbe Condita Libri, 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.

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Etruscans noted that, even if these stories include historical facts suggesting contact, such contact is more plausibly traceable to cultural exchange than to migration.

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Orientalizing period in the Etruscans was due, as has been amply demonstrated by archeologists, to contacts with the Greeks and the Eastern Mediterranean and not to mass migrations.

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An mtDNA study in 2004, based on Etruscan samples from 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 haplotypes were shared with modern populations.

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Therefore, Etruscans had Steppe-related ancestry despite speaking a non-Indo-European language.

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The Etruscans themselves dated the origin of the Etruscan nation to a date corresponding to the 11th or 10th century BC.

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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.

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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.

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Later history relates that some Etruscans lived in the Vicus Tuscus, the "Etruscan quarter", and that there was an Etruscan line of kings that succeeded kings of Latin and Sabine origin.

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The Etruscans could have used any model of the eastern Mediterranean.

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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.

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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.

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The Etruscans are believed to have spoken a Pre–Indo-European and Paleo-European language, and the majority consensus is that Etruscan is related only to other members of what is called the Tyrsenian language family, which in itself is an isolate family, that is unrelated directly to other known language groups.

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