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The position of the Etruscans in late prehistory

Uploaded by apollo_crash on Nov 02, 2005

Many years before continental Europe was united by the enveloping grasp of the conquering Romans, in a fertile region just north of Rome, Central Italy, a fascinating population existed. Known to modern archaeologists as the Etruscans, their origin, like much of their history, is disputed. Due to a dearth of archaeological evidence and lack of surviving literature, much of what we can conclude regarding their existence is little more than supposition. Luckily, however, subsequent civilizations literature has survived, literature that speaks explicitly of the Etruscan empire, and it is from this that we are able to draw conclusions. Using these sources along with the sparse but fascinating archaeological evidence that does exist, we are able to establish life in Etruria in late prehistory, tracking their influence on the development of Celtic (Gaul) and Roman societies before they were eventually subjugated by the Roman Empire.

In the Bronze Age, 900 � 700 BCE the Italian peninsula was settled by a group of small-scale agriculturalists, known to archaeologists as the Villanovans. Within two hundred years the Etruscan civilization had begun. Whether this resulted from an adoption of new ideas by the Villanovans (Scullard, 1967) or from a migration of peoples from Lydia, Asia Minor, is unclear. They called themselves Rasenna but are known to Archaeologists as the Etruscans. In the 7th century BCE Etruria emerged suddenly (compared with the pace of much of prehistory) (Hamblin, 1975) as a great Mediterranean civilization and achieved the peak of its power in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE (Macnamara, 1991). This period was known as the Orientalizing Period which was followed by the Archaic Period 600-400 BCE, Classical period� 490-300 BCE and finally the Hellenistic Period 300-1 BCE when Etruria was incorporated into Roman Society. Before the domination of Rome the only power to affect a partial ethnico-political and a wider cultural unification of Italy was Etruria (Pallottino, 1955).

Archaeologists who suppose that the Etruscans are of Lydian decent believe that the area first settled was the coastal side of the Tyrrhenian Sea (Pallottino, 1955). The region that may be considered to be the heartland of Etruria, being the area that the twelve Etruscan cities were constructed, lies between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the rivers Tiber and Arno, this is Etruria proper (Pallottino, 1955). All of these cities were built north of where...

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Uploaded by:   apollo_crash

Date:   11/02/2005

Category:   Ancient Rome

Length:   9 pages (1,914 words)

Views:   2840

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