Etruscan Society

Etruscan Society

The social organisation of the ancient Etruscans, a civilization which flourished in central Italy between the 8th and 3rd century BCE, can only be pieced together from a collection of rather unsatisfactory sources which, unfortunately, do not include texts written by the Etruscans themselves. These sources include short inscriptions, art, tombs and their contents, pottery graffiti, and descriptions by Greek and Roman writers who often struggled to fathom this strange foreign culture and could only inadequately apply to it their own familiar terms and concepts. Nevertheless, by combining all of the historical records available to us some important elements of Etruscan society become clear: a strong sense of family and heritage, defining symbols of rule and status, and a more liberal attitude to the role and rights of women compared to contemporary ancient societies.


Probably the most important element which held together the fabric of Etruscan society was the family and kinship. The separation of particular families as individually identifiable groups is first seen in the earliest cemeteries at Etruscan sites where each settlement has multiple cemeteries, probably one for each kin group, in a trend which would persist throughout the culture's history. Family was important whatever one's social position as it was from one's parents that one's status derived, whether it be the throne or a pottery work bench.

Family was important whatever one's social position as it was from one's parents that one's status derived, whether it be the throne or a pottery work bench.

From the 7th and 6th century BCE, the presence of large, well-built stone tombs for certain members of the community and the higher value grave goods they contained are an indicator that a wealthy elite had formed within Etruscan society. Over time, the number of such tombs grew as a proportion of all burials within a community, illustrating that this elite grew in numbers from a few tribal leaders to a separate upper class all of its own. Indeed, such was the growth in elite tombs that they were constructed according to orderly grid plans at such places as Cerveteri, creating, in effect, cities of the dead with their own streets. Instrumental in this prosperity was the increase in mining of Etruria's rich mineral resources and the resulting trade benefits from that exploitation. There was also an elite within an elite as only 2% of tombs at Tarquinia, for example, had expensive wall paintings in their interior. Finally, many tombs were used over several generations, again illustrating the importance and continuation of strong family ties.

Monarchy & Aristocracy

At the top of the Etruscan social ladder were the royals. Inheriting their right to the throne, the early kings, no doubt, also performed a religious function in a culture where religion and politics were not separated. We know some of the names of Etruscan sovereigns: the Tarquins from Tarquinia who ruled early Rome; the Tolumnia clan of Veii; Porsenna, king of Chiusi; and Mezentius, ruler of Cerveteri. Kings carried the title of lauchume and were recognised by various symbols and insignia such as an ivory throne or stool, a sceptre topped by an eagle, the fasces symbol of axe and rods, and a purple robe; all of which would later be adopted by the Romans.

Eventually, kings gave way to rule by a council of elders or an assembly of citizens where the city's most powerful men met and debated government. The wealth of these individuals was based on land ownership and trade. They voted for a leader amongst themselves, the princeps civitatis, to hold office for one year and, with him, various magistrates to perform public duties, perhaps represent the interests of certain sections of society, and to dispense justice. Inscriptions indicate that a magistrate (zilath) could hold office several times and there was no minimum age. Senior magistrates from each of the major Etruscan towns met annually, although that probably had more to do with religious matters as there is no evidence of a common political policy amongst the towns.

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Other Classes & Occupations

Etruscan art and especially those tombs with wall paintings reveal other layers of society. Besides the depiction of such elite-only pastimes as feasting and hunting, there are, either by direct depiction or intimation, clearly other, lower members of society such as slaves who serve at banquets, cooks, or beaters during hunts, as well as dancers, acrobats and musicians to provide entertainment. Some jobs are also directly depicted such as fishermen, priests, shepherds, and farmers.

We can deduce, then, from this pictorial evidence and the presence of manufactured goods within the tombs that Etruscan society consisted of slaves, artisans, metalworkers, potters, the tomb painters themselves, those who worked the land (including serfs) and kept animals (whether for themselves or an estate owner), merchants, administrators, a priesthood, and an aristocracy. Further, art can also reveal social attitudes, as for example, in the convention of depicting slaves in wall paintings as of smaller stature than citizens. Similarly, elite members of society were easily identified in real life from the mass of ordinary citizens by their particular clothes, hats, and various staffs of authority. The full significance of such symbols remains uncertain, nevertheless, it is clear that Etruscan society had many levels of complexity. Inscriptions and naming conventions also show that there was some movement between social groups, even if it took several generations to get there.


As in contemporary ancient cultures, the Etruscans, or those who could afford them, used slaves for all manner of daily tasks. Taken as prisoners of war from conflicts with fellow Etruscan cities or communities outside Etruria, or simply bought from the Etruscan's trading partners, they came from all over the Mediterranean and were used as household servants, agricultural workers, miners, quarry workers, potters, metalworkers, soldiers, and entertainers. They were not entirely anonymous as some tomb paintings sometimes carry the names of slaves depicted in banqueting scenes. One can imagine that the life of a household slave was rather more bearable than slavery in the mines or countryside and their accommodation certainly was, residing as they did, in the family home.

Slave revolts probably involved Etruscan citizens too, as the distinction between slaves, freed slaves, & labourers has been difficult to identify.

Unsurprisingly, slave revolts frequently broke out into an armed uprising, especially from the 4th century BCE onwards. These revolts probably involved Etruscan citizens too, as the distinction between slaves, freed slaves, and labourers has been difficult to identify and confused Greek and Roman writers whose descriptions we rely upon for an insight into the Etruscan world. Dionysius of Halicarnassus famously described those disenfranchised in Etruscan society as free men who were treated like slaves. Clearly, there was a wide divide between the have and have-nots, whatever their political and legal status. Then, as perhaps still today, only economic power brought real political influence and the opportunity to improve one's lot.


While paintings in tombs depict the elite's pleasures and pastimes, they also reveal an attitude to women which is quite different from, for example, contemporary Greek culture. Although the Etruscan drinking parties, and even the after-dinner games, are taken from Greek habits, the presence of respectable married women (identified as such by inscriptions), and not courtesans, illustrates that Etruscan women had rather more social freedom than their counterparts elsewhere. In one tomb painting, three women are spectators at a chariot race, again, something unheard of at Greek sporting events.

Further, records show that Etruscan women were literate and enjoyed greater legal rights, too. In Etruria, a woman could inherit family property if there were no surviving male line, not so in Greece. Property ownership and the right to drink wine is additionally proven by graffiti on pottery vessels which tell of a female owner. That women had their own legal personalities, as it were, is further indicated by numerous inscriptions where they are referred to by both their first and family names, a convention not seen, for example, in ancient Rome. Grave goods buried with females from all periods show their important societal role as weavers, but there are even large grandiose tombs built specifically for a female occupant, the mid-7th century BCE Regolini-Galassi tomb at Cerveteri being the best example. Finally, sarcophagi with lids carrying sculpted figures of deceased couples show the husband in the subservient act of anointing his wife with oil, a touching scene not often depicted in the art of other ancient cultures.

The world of Etruscan culture is a multidimensional and diverse. Etruscan civilization is a contemporary notion that denotes the ancient part of modern Italy. The inhabitants of Etruria were a unique and authentic historical ethnic group that subsequently assimilated into the powerful and overwhelming Roman Empire. The present study aims at research, analysis and discussion of such key factors of Etruscan civilization as religion, architectural patterns and cultural dimension.

The Etruscan civilization presents a unity of sophistication and controversy. Actually, the roots of the culture are obscured by prehistoric period and practically lost for the contemporary investigators. There is a considerable lack of original texts in such crucial dimensions as philosophy, culture, religion or literature to rely on in the course of exploration, analysis and study. Therefore, archaeology appears to be the most efficient medium to acquire basic information, as well as particular artifacts and relics, which belong to current civilization. The archaeologically relevant items may be found in tombs, graves, as well as on ancient sites with architectural patterns or at least their remnants, which are available nowadays.

The scope of architecture is a very informative in terms of the ancient civilizations study, since it may provide constructive information about cultural domain, religious beliefs, as well as rites and rituals, traditions and general outlook of the studied phenomenon. For example, Riva bases his work on the evidential outcomes of the survey that has been conducted on the burial and settlement sites of the territory of Etruria at times of the late Iron Age. The study concentrates on analysis and interpretation of the findings, which symbolize the rituals of the currently discussed civilization, the model of the society and the scheme of inhabited territories.

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The study of archaeological sites is especially significant, since Etruscan world has had an exceptional urbanization structure. It is relevant to highlight the significant technological level the Etruscan civilization is known for. For instance, Izzet highlights such essential aspects as durability and technological advantage of the buildings within the Etruscan settlements. For instance, there was an alteration in the shape of buildings: “the move from curvilinear to rectilinear residences has been seen as a result of technical advantage: a rectilinear structure could support a far larger (and heavier) roof than a curvilinear structure, and so larger houses are possible” (20). Nonetheless, the architectural scope, as well as the funerary constructions of Etruscan civilization has also been fundamentally influenced by foreign tendencies. The archaeological research of ancient urban areas features the tendency of circular arrangement of blocks as a traditional enclosure of the rooms (Izzet). The origins of such tendency have developed in the East, whereas the tendency of arched doors that has been widely spread in the seventh century is also richly presented in edifices of Etruscan period of time.

Thomas and Meyers also highlight the significance and high level of the construction technologies advancement. The investigators highlight the aspect of monumentality as a crucial one in the given context. Moreover, Thomas and Meyers support the assumption that the architectural heritage of the Etruscan era incarnates the earliest monumental experience in the ancient Italy. Actually, the research provided by the aforementioned authors distinguishes between two major types of construction elements on the territory of Etruria. They are namely, “the monumental tumulus tombs dating to the Orientalizing period in Cerveteri” and the so-called “monumental complexes, sometimes referred to as palazzo, also originating in Orientalizing period and in use during the Archaic period” (2). The architectural scope of the Etruscan heritage is diverse and abundant. Though, there are several seminal buildings, which predetermine the main aspects of Etruscan construction scope and dominate in terms of style. They are the edifice from the monumental area from Zone F that is located at Aquarossa and the Archaic Building that is situated at Poggio Civitate (Thomas & Meyers). The majority of the structures, which belong to the Etruscan historical period, demonstrate prevalence of the traits represented in the aforementioned buildings. First of all, it is a position of the courtyard that is primarily a central one. Moreover, the analogous construction elements are used in the Etruscan architecture of the urban type. In addition, they are characterized by more spacious scale of the building endeavor in comparison to the preliminary samples of structure on the same historic territory. Furthermore, the architectural terracottas are decorated with plenty of elements in an elaborate and sophisticated manner. Actually, such archaeologically relevant details reveal not only key aspects of the Etruscan architectural domain, but also its social structure, level of technological development, religious beliefs and rituals, focal values and concerns. Therefore, archaeological exploration and study of the historical sites are crucial for understanding the essence of ancient culture, religions and civilizations.

The archaeologists, who work with different sites on the territory of ancient Etruria, underline that Etruscan architecture combines the aspects, which are considered to be irrelevant and even contradicting each other. For instance, the palazzo as the seminal representatives of the Archaic period of Etruscan development unite airy spaciousness with substantial stone foundations of all the four wings, which surround the ample courtyard and heavy terracotta roofs.

The counter-part of palazzo, Aquarossa’s monumental area that locates in Zone F, is also a significant example for construction analysis. It highlights not only spaciousness, but also complex and elaborate structure. The scholars in the field of concern also conclude from archaeological explorations and expert evaluation of their results that the monumentality has not only architectural, but also an ideological implication that denotes commemoration. Such notion primarily has the meaning of increased power and as a result – wealth – that was a norm for that period. Moreover, the archaeologists may also conclude from the sites and found items the level of life, as well as the approximate percentage of the rich in relation to the poor. Moreover, the priorities in exterior design may also indicate on the way of life and the material alongside with the social statuses of its owner. According to Thomas and Meyers, “In some cases the palazzi have been interpreted as elite residences in others they are considered seats of political authority or assembly” (6). Hence, the archaeological research does not provide the scholars with relatively unambiguous data or items, such as ancient scripts, paintings or material objects, but permit to project the potential alternatives of the ancient life in case there is a deficit of written and visual records.

Actually, the apparent lack of scripts has already been highlighted. Nevertheless, such aspect of the issue in question is a serious challenge for the contemporary historians. The reason is connected with significant gaps not only in the historical record of the Etruscan civilization, but also in terms of translation of the available written documents. The course of interpretation of the Etruscan texts has two major disadvantages, which make the whole process complicated and challenging. The uniqueness and significance of innumerous written records makes the results of interpretation of the available scripts and records crucially predetermining and literally history making for the Etruscan civilization.

  • The first challenge and dilemma is connected with a so-called best current knowledge that should be applied to Etruscan texts while interpreting. Current issue is important as far as the domain of Etruscan grammar is controversial at particular aspects and undiscovered at some others. Therefore, the interpretation is threatened to lack precision, accurateness, relevance and, as a result, historical significance. Actually, the potential mistakes in translation of the documents of the Etruscan civilization impact the actual exegesis of an ancient enigmatic phenomenon of Etruria. The level to which the Etruscan language is studied on the contemporary stage of development is considerably low. Facchetti presents the following picture describing current aspect: “we have wide information about the flexion of nouns and demonstrative pronouns. As to vocabulary, despite the sparse remains, it has been possible to reconstruct a more or less precise meaning for a respectable number of terms but much remains unknown or unconfirmed” (359). To be more precise, it is a decent starting point for exegesis practice that endangers the texts to the unintended obscurity and misinterpretation. The grammar aspects form an important element of the proper and constructive comprehension of the texts’ meaning available for the analysis and interpretation at present time.
  • The second challenge of the translation and interpretation process of the Etruscan texts is connected with the appropriate choice of the way to value the diverse interpretations of particular Etruscan written records provided by different authors. Since there are crucial gaps in the dimensions of translation from Etruscan language, the choice may be often more intuitive than grounded.

Moreover, it is appropriate to highlight that the hermeneutics of the texts, which belonged to the citizens of ancient Etruria, has such three major stages as: “a first phase of (pre)scientific approaches, a second phase of ‘printing’ and a third phase of refinement” (Facchetti 359). The sequence of stages is constructive and is considered to be the most effective in the given context.

The field of linguistic exploration of the civilization of Etruscan people is a multidimensional and complicated process. It requires not only brilliant knowledge and skills, as well as significant experiential basis of the professional linguists, but also a consistent synergy of efforts of specialists from different fields. Faccetti also highlights that there is a tendency according to which the layers of the language phenomenon, namely, analysis of the texts in general and the scope of vocabulary in particular, may succeed due to the contribution of scholars of non-linguistic fields of activity, namely, archaeologists. Their knowledge and especially their professional experience are useful for identification of the meanings of the words. Since archaeologists observe the sites and discover new aspect of the Etruscan civilization, they are more competent in it compared to the linguists who usually acquire their knowledge from books, i.e., from theoretical sources but not empirical ones.

The linguistic scope of archaeological research is closely connected to the course of investigation of culture and religion. The area of architecture is easy to explore, study and interpret without scripts, whereas the aforementioned scopes of concern require written records, as well as architectural and cultural heritage in order to draw relevant and efficient conclusions. Nonetheless, the major outcomes are available due to the architectural patterns analysis and findings of items with obvious or implicated spiritual implication. For example, the tomb and grave analysis results in significant comprehension of the funeral specific nature, as well as in understanding of death and life after it by Etruscan people. One of the most challenging and at the same time controversial aspect of the funeral ceremony as it has been understood and conducted in the Etruscan civilization is the sacrifice of the people (Bonfante). In its argumentation Bonfante relies on the finding that is apparently meaningful, namely, an Etruscan funerary urn. Anyway, such argument-based analysis is regarded by many other scholars as ungrounded and questionable.

One more significant aspect that has been already addressed previously is an essential impact on the formation and subsequent functioning of the Etruscan religious and cultural patterns of the foreign ones. A vivid example is a crucial influence of the Greek mythology upon the Etruscan outlook, values and beliefs. The representatives of the Etruscan civilization simply copied some of them and transformed into own myths.

According to Copeland, The most dominant theme of Etruscan mirrors is the story of Helen of Troy (Homer’s Iliad) and what happened to the heroes in and after the Trojan War. The storyline often diverges from that of the Greco-Roman version… Their point of view no doubt relates to the tradition recorded by Herodotus (1).
Such approach to the mirroring of myths reveals the exceptional potential for authentic development that Etruscan people have possessed. Moreover, such experience demonstrates exceptional aptitude of the Etruscans to synthesize and transform that is crucial for understanding their culture and overall outlook.

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Finally, it is relevant to discuss some practices and aspects related to the religious scope of Etruscan identity. Turfa provides an in-depth insight into the religious practice connected with the famous brontoscopic calendar. Such type of calendar has been read and interpreted properly. To be more precise, the brontoscopic calendar is the only source that is available in the current course of time that may be regarded as a comprehensive calendar. Nonetheless, the work also has certain controversies and complications. For instance, the calendar has a significant length and, therefore, it is difficult to capture all the data properly and efficiently. Though, it is also a tremendous advantage, since no other source of such nature is available for the study and analysis.

Moreover, it is considered to be controversial as far as it has been impacted by two cultures. The brontoscopic calendar originates from the Etruscan culture as archaeological and linguistic explorations confirm, but consequently it has been affected and transformed to certain extent by the Roman culture. Turfa emphasizes that the brontoscopic calendar performed, first of all, the controlling function in the scope of religion and, to certain extent, in the field of culture. To be more precise, the Etruscan people have introduced the phenomenon of writing to the territories of Europe (Lorenzi). It means that the Etruscan people not only have been influenced by alien cultures, but also significantly impacted them. Hence, the meaning of the brontoscopic calendar and an excellent possibility to comprehend it is a huge achievement of the specialists in the specific field.

Thus, the present study provides constructive analysis of such domains of the Etruscan civilization as religion, architectural patterns and cultural dimension. Etruria has been a country with exceptional level of development, technological advancement and cultural, as well as religious significant presentation. Moreover, it has provided a crucial impact on Europe, by presenting authenticity and monumentality in every area of the development. The Etruscan civilization is characterized by monumental spacious edifices built with the purpose to commemorate wealth and power, myths mirrored from the Greek mythology and advanced technological development.

Etruscan Society - History

To introduce students to the history of one of the most important peoples of the ancient Mediterranean, illuminating the way that cultures on the 'fringes' of the ancient world in chronological and geographical terms can provide important and interesting case studies to explore the breadth of evidence for Etruscan society and what it tells us about the differences and similarities of the Etruscans to their neighbours, particularly the Romans to cover the full duration of Etruscan history, from the beginnings of urbanisation in the late Bronze Age and the subsequent emergence of Etruscan cities as independent political entities through to their conquest and eventual incorporation into the Roman state.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

On completion of the module a student should be able to demonstrate:

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • A knowledge of the main events in the history of the most important Etruscan cities, and an understanding of their geographical context.
  • A knowledge of the ancient literary texts that deal with the Etruscans and an awareness of the perspectives embodied in them.
  • A knowledge of the main archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic remains from Etruria.

Intellectual Skills:

  • An ability to explore the historical implications of the archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic evidence for aspects of Etruscan society such as political organisation, social and economic life, religious activity and ethnic identity.

Discipline Specific (including practical) Skills:

· An ability to use material and literary evidence to answer historical questions about the Etruscans

Transferable Skills:

  • An ability to organise and present an oral discussion of an object in the British Museum
  • An ability to construct written work with coherent and logical arguments, clearly and correctly expressed.

How the module will be delivered

This module will be taught by a series of lectures and supporting seminars

Skills that will be practised and developed

On completion of the module a student should be able to demonstrate:

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • A knowledge of the main events in the history of the most important Etruscan cities, and an understanding of their geographical context.
  • A knowledge of the ancient literary texts that deal with the Etruscans and an awareness of the perspectives embodied in them.
  • A knowledge of the main archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic remains from Etruria.

Intellectual Skills:

  • An ability to explore the historical implications of the archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic evidence for aspects of Etruscan society such as political organisation, social and economic life, religious activity and ethnic identity.

Discipline Specific (including practical) Skills:

· An ability to use material and literary evidence to answer historical questions about the Etruscans

Transferable Skills:

  • An ability to organise and present an oral discussion of an object in the British Museum
  • An ability to construct written work with coherent and logical arguments, clearly and correctly expressed.

How the module will be assessed

This module will be assessed by a source criticism coursework (100%)

Assessment Breakdown

Syllabus content

The Villanovan and Orientalising periods

Urbanisation and settlement patterns

Language, literacy and literature

Government and social structure

Trade and external relations

The Roman conquest of Etruria and the Etruscans after the Roman conquest: a question of decline?

Etruriaand Etruscans during the Imperial period: nostalgia for the past?

The 'rediscovery' of the Etruscans and their impact on European scholarship and culture

Essential Reading and Resource List


There are many books on the Etruscans, but their quality tends to be uneven. Try to use the most up to date items possible, and be wary of works (especially websites) written by non-specialists. If in doubt see your seminar tutor. Some of these books are also in the Sheila White library (marked with SWL). An asterix marks particularly recommended works. The bibliography is listed by theme.

Journal abbreviations used

AJA American Journal of Archaeology

BSA Annual of the British School at Athens

JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies

JRS Journal of Roman Studies

PBSR Papers of the British School at Rome

[All except BSA and PBSR are available on JSTOR, hard copies of all are to be found in the Periodicals section of the ASSL library - floor 3]

General bibliography for the course

These books can be consulted for most class and essay topics. Books marked in bold are the best textbooks to buy, if you feel so inclined (there are no required purchases for this module).

*G. Barker, T. Rasmussen, The Etruscans (Oxford, 1998) [SWL]
L. Banti, The Etruscan Cities and Their Culture (London, 1973)
F. Boitani et al. (eds), Etruscan Cities (London, 1976)
*L. Bonfante (ed.), Etruscan Life and Afterlife (Warminster, 1986) [SWL]

G. Camporeale, The Etruscans Outside Etruria (Los Angeles, Calif., 2004)

M. Grant, The Etruscans (London, 1980)
J.F. Hall (ed.), Etruscan Italy (Provo, Utah, 1996 [1997])
*S. Haynes, Etruscan Civilisation (London, 2000)

*V. Izzet, The Archaeology of Etruscan Society (Cambridge, 2007)
V. Izzet, 'Etruria and the Etruscans: recent approaches', in G. Bradley, E. Isayev and C. Riva (eds), Ancient Italy: Regions Without Boundaries (Exeter, 2007) 114-30

*M. Pallottino, The Etruscans (London, 1976) [various editions]
*M. Pallottino, A History of Earliest Italy (London, 1991)
T.W. Potter, The Changing Landscape of South Etruria (London, 1979)
T.W. Potter, Roman Italy (London, 1987)

T.C.B. Rasmussen, 'Archaeology in Etruria 1985-1995', Archaeological Reports for 1995-1996, no. 42, 48-58
*D. & F.R. Ridgway (eds), Italy Before the Romans (London, 1979)
D. Ridgway, 'The Etruscans', in J. Boardman, et al. (eds), The Cambridge Ancient History 4(2). Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean c. 525 to 479 BC (Cambridge, 1988), 634-675
D. Ridgway et al. (eds), Ancient Italy in its Mediterranean Setting. Studies in Honour of Ellen Macnamara (London, 2000)

*C. Riva, The Urbanisation of Etruria: Funerary Practices and Social Change, 700-600 BC (Cambridge, 2010)

H. H. Scullard, The Etruscan Cities and Rome (London, 1967)
*N. Spivey, S. Stoddart, Etruscan Italy (London, 1990) [SWL]

S. Stoddart, Historical dictionary of the Etruscans (Plymouth, 2009)
*M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001) (exhibition catalogue) [SWL]

Literary sources and images of the Etruscans

M. B. Bittarello, 'The Construction of Etruscan 'Otherness' in Latin Literature', G&R Second Series 56. 2 (Oct., 2009), 211-233

Bonfante 1986 under General

G. D. Farney, Ethnic identity and aristocratic competition in Republican Rome (Cambridge, 2007) chap. 4

The Origin of the Etruscans

(see also especially works by M. Pallottino under General)

D. Briquel, &lsquoThe origins of the Etruscans: a controversy handed down from antiquity', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 43-51
H. Hencken, Tarquinia and Etruscan Origins (London, 1968)

M.E. Moser, &lsquoThe origins of the Etruscans: new evidence for an old question', in J.F. Hall (ed.), Etruscan Italy (Provo, Utah, 1996 [1997]), 23-49

Villanovan Culture

*G. Bartoloni, 'The origin and diffusion of Villanovan culture', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 53-71
D. Ridgway, 'Italy from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age'. in J. Boardman et al. (eds.), The Cambridge Ancient History Volume IV(2). Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean c. 525 to 479 BC (Cambridge, 1988), 623-633
D. Ridgway, 'Campania, Latium Vetus and Southern Etruria in the Ninth and Eighth Centuries BC', in The First Western Greeks (Cambridge, 1992), 121-138
D. Ridgway, 'The Villanovan cemeteries of Bologna and Pontecagnano', JRA 7 (1994), 303-316 (review article)

The Phoenicians and the Western Greeks

M.E. Aubet, The Phoenicians and the West (Cambridge, 1993) [SWL]
J. Boardman, The Greeks Overseas (London, 1999)
J.N. Coldstream, &lsquoProspectors and pioneers: Pithekoussai, Kyme and Central Italy', in G. Tsetskhladze, F. De Angelis (eds), The Archaeology of Greek Colonisation (Oxford, 1994), 47-59
K. Lomas, &lsquoThe polis in Italy: Ethnicity and citizenship in the western Mediterranean' in R. Brock & S. Hodkinson (eds), Alternatives to Athens: Varieties of Political Experience and Community in Ancient Greece (Oxford, 2000), 167-185
G.E. Markoe, &lsquoIn pursuit of metal. Phoenicians and Greeks in Italy', in G. Kopcke, I. Tokumaru (eds) Greecebetween East and West. 10th-8th Centuries BC (Mainz, 1992), 61-84
H.G. Niemeyer, R. Rolle (eds), Interactions in the Iron Age: Phoenicians, Greeks and the Indigenous Peoples of the Western Mediterranean (Mainz, 1996)

G. Pugliese Carratelli (ed.), The Western Greeks (Milan, 1996)
*D. Ridgway, The First Western Greeks (Cambridge, 1992)
D. Ridgway, &lsquoDemaratus and his predecessors', in G. Kopcke & I. Tokumaru (eds), Greecebetween East and West. 10th-8th Centuries BC (Mainz, 1992), 85-92
D. Ridgway, &lsquoPhoenicians and Greeks in the West: a view from Pithekoussai', in G. Tsetskhladze, F. De Angelis (eds), The Archaeology of Greek Colonisation (Oxford, 1994), 35-46
*F. R. Serra Ridgway, "Etruscans, Greeks, Carthaginians: The Sanctuary at Pyrgi," in J.-P. Descouedres ed., Greek Colonists and Native Populations (Oxford, 1990) 511-530 [photocopy borrowable off GB]

M. Torelli, &lsquoThe encounter with the Etruscans', in G. Pugliese Carratelli (ed.), The Western Greeks (Milan, 1996), 567-576

Orientalizing culture

A. Naso, 'The Etruscan aristocracy in the Orientalizing period: culture, economy, relations', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 111-129
A. Rathje, 'Oriental imports in Etruria in the eighth and seventh centuries BC', in D. Ridgway & F. R. Ridgway (eds), Italy Before the Romans (London, 1979), 145-183
A. Rathje, 'The adoption of the Homeric banquet in Central Italy in the orientalizing period', in O. Murray, Sympotica (Oxford, 1990), 279-288
A. Rathje, 'Banquet and ideology: some new considerations about banqueting at Poggio Civitate', in R.D. De Puma, J.P. Small (eds), Murlo and the Etruscans (Madison, Wisconsin, 1994), 95-99
D. Ridgway, 'Nestor's cup and the Etruscans', Oxford Journal of Archaeology 16 (1997), 325-344

C. Riva, ' The orientalizing period in Etruria: sophisticated communities', in C. Riva, N. Vella (eds), Debating orientalization: multidisciplinary approaches to change in the ancient Mediterranean (London Oakville, CT, 2006) 110-134
J.P. Small, 'Eat, drink and be merry: Etruscan banquets', in R.D. De Puma, J.P. Small (eds), Murlo and the Etruscans (Madison, Wisconsin, 1994), 85-94
H.C. Winther, &lsquoPrincely tombs of the orientalising period in Etruria and Latium Vetus', in H. Damgaard Andersen, H.W. Horsnaes, S. Houby-Nielsen, A. Rathje (eds), Acta Hyperborea 7. Urbanisation in the Mediterranean in the 9th to the 6th Centuries BC (Copenhagen, 1997), 423-444

Early Settlements

J. Rasmus Brandt, L. Karlsson (eds), From Huts to Houses. Transformations of Ancient Societies (Acta Instituti Romani Regni Sueciae, Series 4, LVI, and Acta ad Archaeologiam et Artium Historiam Pertinentia, 4, XIII) (Stockholm, 2001)
R.D. De Puma, J.P. Small (eds), Murlo and the Etruscans: Art and Society in Ancient Etruria (Madison, Wisconsin, 1994)
K.M. Phillips, Jr., In the Hills of Tuscany. Recent Excavations at the Etruscan Site of Poggio Civitate (Murlo, Siena) (Philadelphia, 1993)

J. MacIntosh Turfa and A. G. Steinmayer Jr, 'Interpreting early Etruscan structures: the question of Murlo', PBSR 70 (2002), 1-28

H. Damgaard Andersen, &lsquoThe archaeological evidence for the origin and development of the Etruscan city in the 7th to 6th centuries BC', in H. Damgaard Andersen, H.W. Horsnaes, S. Houby-Nielsen, A. Rathje (eds), Acta Hyperborea 7. Urbanisation in the Mediterranean in the 9th to the 6th Centuries BC (Copenhagen, 1997), 343-382
R. Drews, &lsquoThe coming of the city to Central Italy', American Journal of Ancient History 6 (1981), 133-65

R. Leighton, Tarquinia. An Etruscan city (London, 2004) [covers whole history and archaeology of the city]

G. Mansuelli, &lsquoThe Etruscan city', in D. Ridgway & F.R. Ridgway (eds), Italy Before the Romans (London, 1979), 353-372
S. Stoddart, &lsquoDivergent trajectories in central Italy, 1200-500 BC', in T.C. Champion (ed.), Centre and Periphery. Comparative Studies in Archaeology (London, 1989), 88-101

Domestic Architecture

A. Boëthius, Etruscan and Early Roman Architecture (London, 1978)

D. Dvorsky Rohner, &lsquoEtruscan domestic architecture: an ethnoarchaeological model', in J.F. Hall (ed.), Etruscan Italy (Provo, Utah, 1996 [1997]), 115-145
V. Izzet, &lsquoPutting the house in order: the development of Etruscan domestic architecture', in J. Rasmus Brandt, L. Karlsson (eds), From Huts to Houses (Stockholm, 2001), 41-49
E. Nielsen, &lsquoAn atrium house of the 6th c. BC at Roselle', JRA 10 (1997), 323-326

F. Prayon, &lsquoArchitecture', in L. Bonfante (ed.), Etruscan Life and Afterlife (Warminster, 1986), 174-201 [SWL]

Rural settlement and agriculture

G. Barker, &lsquoThe archaeology of the Etruscan countryside', Antiquity 62 (1988), 772-785
G. Barker, T.B. Rasmussen, &lsquoThe archaeology of an Etruscan polis: a preliminary report on the Tuscania project (1986 and 1987 seasons)', PBSR 56 (1988), 25-42
G. Cifani, &lsquoNotes on the rural landscape of central Tyrrhenian Italy in the 6th-5th century BC and its social significance', JRA 15 (2002), 247-258

A. Grant, T. Rasmussen, G. Barker, &lsquoTuscania: excavation of an Etruscan rural building', Studi Etruschi 58 (1993), 566-570

H. Patterson (ed.), Bridging the Tiber: approaches to regional archaeology in the middle Tiber valley (London, 2004)
H. Patterson, H. Di Giuseppe, R. Witcher, 'Three south Etrurian 'crises': first results of the Tiber Valley Project', PBSR 72 (2004) 1-36

P. Perkins, 'Cities, cemeteries and rural settlements of the Albegna Valley and the Ager Cosanus in the Orientalising and Archaic periods', Papers of the Fourth Conference of Italian Archaeology 1.1 (London, 1991), 135-144
P. Perkins, Etruscan Settlement, Society and Material Culture in Central Coastal Etruria. BAR IS 788 (Oxford, 1999)
P. Perkins, I. Attolini, &lsquoAn Etruscan farm at Podere Tartuchino', PBSR 60 (1992), 71-134

T. Potter, The Changing Landscape of South Etruria (1979)

*T.W. Potter, &lsquoTowns and territories in Southern Etruria', in J. Rich, A. Wallace-Hadrill (eds), City and Country in the Ancient World (London, 1991), 191-209

Language, Alphabet and Inscriptions

L. Agostiniani, 'The language', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 485-499
G. Bagnasco Gianni, 'The writing', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 477-483
*G. Bonfante & L. Bonfante, The Etruscan Language: an Introduction (Manchester, 1983)

L. Bonfante, 'The scripts of Italy', in P.T. Daniels & W. Bright (eds), The World's Writing Systems (Oxford, 1996), 297-311
M. Cristofani, 'Recent advances in Etruscan epigraphy and language', in D. Ridgway & F.R. Ridgway (eds), Italy Before the Romans (London, 1979), 375-411
J.H. Penney, 'The languages of Italy', in J. Boardman, et al. (eds), The Cambridge Ancient History Volume IV(2). Persia, Greece and the Western Mediterranean c. 525 to 479 BC (Cambridge, 1988), 720-738
E. Richardson, 'An archaeological introduction to the Etruscan language', in L. Bonfante (ed.), Etruscan Life and Afterlife (Warminster 1986), 215-231 [SWL]

M. M. T. Watmough, Studies in the Etruscan loanwords in Latin (Florence, 1997)

R. Wallace, Zikh Rasna: a manual of the Etruscan language and inscriptions (Ann Arbor, MI, 2008)

Literacy and History

*T.J. Cornell, 'Etruscan historiography', Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Series 3, 6.2 (1976), 411-440 [available as a photocopy off GB]
T.J. Cornell, 'The tyranny of the evidence: a discussion of the possible uses of literacy in Etruria and Latium in the archaic age', in Literacy in the Roman World (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1991), 7-33
Harris, Rome and Etruria (under Roman conquest)

S. Stoddart, J. Whitley, 'The social context of literacy in Archaic Greece and Etruria', Antiquity 62 (1988), 761-772

F.-H. Massa-Pairault, &lsquoThe social structure and the serf question', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 255-271
A. Maggiani, 'Republican political forms', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 227-241
M. Menichetti, &lsquoPolitical forms in the archaic period', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 205-225

*M. Torelli, 'The Etruscan city-state', in M. H. Hansen, A Comparative Study Of Thirty City-State Cultures : an investigation (Copenhagen, 2000) 189-208

B. D'Agostino, 'Military organization and social structure in archaic Etruria', in O. Murray & S. Price (eds), The Greek City from Homer to Alexander (Oxford, 1990), 59-84
P. Stary, 'Foreign elements in Etruscan arms and armour', Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 45 (1979), 179-206
P. Stary, 'Early Iron Age armament and warfare', in D. Ridgway et al. (eds), Ancient Italy in its Mediterranean Setting (London, 2000), 209-220

Women and Gender

L. Bonfante Warren, 'The women of Etruria', Arethusa 6 (1973), 91-102
L. Bonfante Warren, 'Etruscan women. A question of interpretation', Archaeology 26 (1973), 242-249
L. Bonfante, 'Etruscan couples and their aristocratic society', in H. Foley (ed.), Reflections of Women in Antiquity (1981), 323-341
*L. Bonfante, 'Etruscan women', in E. Fantham et al. (eds), Women in the Classical World (Oxford, 1994), 243-259
*F. Glinister, 'Women and power in archaic Rome', in T. Cornell, K. Lomas (eds), Gender and Ethnicity in Ancient Italy (London, 1997), 115-127
*S. Haynes, Etruscan Civilisation (London, 2000) [large sections on the role of Etruscan women]
V. Izzet, 'Holding a mirror to Etruscan gender', in R. Whitehouse (ed.), Gender and Italian Archaeology: Challenging the Stereotypes (London, 1998), 209-227
L. E. Lundeen, 'In search of the Etruscan priestess: a reexamination of the hatrencu', in C. E. Schultz, P. B. Harvey (eds.), Religion in Republican Italy. Yale Classical Studies (Cambridge, 2006)

M. Nielsen, 'Common Tombs for Women in Etruria: Buried Matriarchies?' in P. Setälä, L. Savunen, Female Networks and the Public Sphere in Roman Society (Rome, 1999) 65-136

A. Rallo, 'The woman's role', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 131-139
A. Rathje, 'The adoption of the Homeric banquet in Central Italy in the orientalizing period', in O. Murray, Sympotica (Oxford, 1990), 279-288
A. Rathje, '"Princesses" in Etruria and Latium Vetus?', in D. Ridgway et al. (eds), Ancient Italy in its Mediterranean Setting (London, 2000), 295-300

J. Swaddling and J. Prag (eds.), Seianti Hanunia Tlesnasa: the story of an Etruscan noblewoman (London, 2002)

J. Toms, 'The construction of gender in Early Iron Age Etruria', in R. Whitehouse (ed.), Gender and Italian Archaeology (London, 1998), 156-177
Cults, Deities and Rituals

L. Bonfante, 'Fufluns Pacha: the Etruscan Dionysus', in T. Carpenter, C.A. Faraone (eds), Masks of Dionysus (Ithaca-London, 1993), 221-235
G. Dumezil, 'The religion of the Etruscans', Archaic Roman Religion (Chicago-London, 1970), appendix

*J.-R. Jannot, Religion in Ancient Etruria (Madison, Wis., 2005)
H. Nagy, 'Divinities in the context of sacrifice and cult on Caeretan votive terracottas', in R.D. De Puma, J.P. Small (eds), Murlo and the Etruscans (Madison, 1994), 211-223
*N. Thomson de Grummond, E. Simon (eds.), The religion of the Etruscans (Austin, TX, 2006)
M. Torelli, 'Etruscan religion', in M. Torelli (ed.), The Etruscans (London, 2001), 273-289
L.B. Van Der Meer, The Bronze Liver of Piacenza. Analysis of a Polytheistic Structure (Amsterdam, 1987)
*J. M. Turfa, 'Etruscan religion at the watershed: before and after the fourth century BCE, in C. E. Schultz, P. B. Harvey (eds.), Religion in Republican Italy. Yale Classical Studies (Cambridge, 2006)

S. Weinstock, 'Martianus Capella and the Cosmic System of the Etruscans', JRS 36 (1946), 101-129

S. Weinstock, 'Libri fulgurales', PBSR 19 (1951) 122-53

Mythology (see also works under General bibliography, and Art)

*L. Bonfante and J. Swaddling,Etruscan myths (London, 2006)

A. Carpino, 'Greek mythology in Etruria: an iconographical anlysis of three Etruscan relief mirrors', in J.F. Hall (ed.), Etruscan Italy (Provo, Utah, 1996 [1997]), 65-91 [Vulci]

C. Dougherty, 'The Aristonothos Krater. Competing stories of conflict and collaboration', in C. Dougherty, L. Kurke (eds.), The Cultures within Ancient Greek Culture. Contact, Conflict, Collaboration (Cambridge, 2003), 35-56

V. Izzet, 'Purloined letters: the Aristonothos inscription and crater' In K. Lomas (ed.) The Greeks in the West. Papers in Honour of Brian Shefton, Leiden: 2004,191-210

J.P. Oleson, &lsquoGreek myth and Etruscan imagery in the Tomb of the Bulls at Tarquinia', AJA 79 (1975), 189-200

L. B. Van Der Meer, Interpretatio etrusca. Greek myths on Etruscan mirrors (Amsterdam, 1995)

L. B. Van Der Meer, Myths and More on Etruscan Stone Sarcophagi (c.350-c.200 B.C.) (Louvain, 2004)

Templesand sanctuaries

I.E.M. Edlund, The Gods and the Place. Location and Function of Sanctuaries in the Countryside of Etruria and Magna Graecia (700-400 BC). Acta Instituti Romani Regni Sueciae 4, 43 (Stockholm, 1987)
I.E.M. Edlund-Berry, 'Ritual destruction of cities and sanctuaries', in R.D. de Puma, J.P. Small (eds), Murlo and the Etruscans (Wisconsin, 1994), 16-28
J. Heurgon, &lsquoThe inscriptions of Pyrgi', JRS 56 (1966), 1-15

V. Izzet, 'Tuscan order', in E. Bispham, C. Smith (eds), Religion in Archaic and Republican Rome and Italy (Edinburgh, 2000), 34-53

C. Riva, S. Stoddart, 'Ritual landscapes in archaic Etruria', in J.B. Wilkins (ed.), Approaches to the Study of Ritual (London, 1996), 91-109
J.M. Turfa & A.G. Steinmayer, 'The comparative structure of Greek and Etruscan monumental buildings', PBSR 64 (1996), 1-40

see also Serra Ridgway under Phoenicians


I.Edlund, &lsquoMens sana in corpore sano: healing cults as a political factor in Etruscan religion', in Gifts to the Gods. Boreas 15 (Uppsala, 1987), 51-56
B.-M. Fridh-Haneson, &lsquoVotive terracottas from Italy, types and problems', in Gifts to the Gods. Boreas 15 (Uppsala, 1987), 66-7
J.M. Turfa, &lsquoAnatomical votives and Italian medical traditions', in R.D. De Puma, J.P. Small (eds), Murlo and the Etruscans (Madison, Wisconsin, 1994), 224-240
Funerary Culture (all periods)

L. Bonfante, &lsquoHuman sacrifice on an Etruscan funerary urn', AJA 88 (1984), 531-539
L. Bonfante, &lsquoDaily life and afterlife', in L. Bonfante (ed.), Etruscan Life and Afterlife (Warminster, 1986), 232-278 [SWL]
*L. Bonfante, &lsquoEtruscan sexuality and funerary art', in N.B. Kampen (ed.), Sexuality in Ancient Art. Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Italy (Cambridge, 1996), 155-169
Izzet 2007 and Riva 2010 under General

Funerary Architecture

V. Izzet, &lsquoEngraving the boundaries. Exploring space and surface in Etruscan funerary architecture', in J.B. Wilkins (ed.), Approaches to the Study of Ritual: Italy and the Ancient Mediterranean (London, 1996), 55-72

J. P. Oleson, The sourcesof innovation in later Etruscan tomb design (ca. 350-100 B.C.) (Rome, 1982)
*F. Prayon, &lsquoArchitecture', in L. Bonfante (ed.), Etruscan Life and Afterlife (Warminster, 1986), 174-201 [SWL]

Painted Tombs (see also Art)

P.J. Holliday, &lsquoNarrative structures in the François Tomb', in P.J. Holliday (ed.), Narrative and Event in Ancient Art (Cambridge, 1993), 175-197

R.R. Holloway, &lsquoThe bulls in the "Tomb of the Bulls" at Tarquinia', AJA 90 (1986), 447-452
R.L. Maxwell, &lsquoQuia ister Tusco verbo ludio vocabatur: the Etruscan contribution to the development of Roman theater', in J.F. Hall (ed.), Etruscan Italy (Provo, Utah, 1996 [1997])

J.P. Oleson, &lsquoGreek myth and Etruscan imagery in the Tomb of the Bulls at Tarquinia', AJA 79 (1975), 189-200
M. Pallottino, Etruscan Painting (Cleveland Ohio, 1952)
F. R. Serra Ridgway, &lsquoThe tomb of the Anina family: some motifs in late Tarquinian painting', in D. Ridgway et al. (eds), Ancient Italy in its Mediterranean Setting. Studies in Honour of Ellen Macnamara (London, 2000), 301-316

S. Steingräber, Abundance of life: Etruscan wall painting (Los Angeles, 2006)

J. D. Beazley, 'The world of the Etruscan Mirror,' JHS 69 (1949) 1-17

L. Bonfante, 'Historical Art: Etruscan and Early Rome', American Journal of Ancient History 3 (1978), 136-162
O.J. Brendel, Etruscan Art (Harmondsworth, 1978)
M. Briguet, 'Art', in L. Bonfante (ed.),Etruscan Life and Afterlife (Warminster, 1986), 92-173 [SWL]
B. D'Agostino, 'Image and society in archaic Etruria', JRS 79 (1989), 1-10

A. A. Carpino, Discs of splendor: the relief mirrors of the Etruscans (Madison, Wis., 2003)

E. Goring (ed.), Treasures from Tuscany: the Etruscan legacy (Edinburgh, 2004)
N. De Grummond, 'Etruscan mirrors now', AJA 6 (2002) 307-11

S. Haynes, Etruscan Sculpture (London, 1971) [a brief guidebook]
F. R. Serra Ridgway, 'Etruscan art and culture: a bibliography 1978-1990', JRA 4 (1991), 5-27

N.J. Spivey, Etruscan Art (London, 1997) [SWL]
J. Swaddling, Corpus speculorum Etruscorum: Great Britain. 1 Fasc. 1, The British Museum Archaic and classical mirrors (early tanged & related mirrors) (London, 2001)

Pottery (see also under Art)
J.D. Beazley, Etruscan Vase-Painting (Oxford, 1947)
R.M. Cook, Greek Painted Pottery (London, 1997)

S. Lewis, 'Representation and reception: Athenian pottery in its Italian context', in J. B. Wilkins, E. Herrring, Inhabiting Symbols (London, 2003) 175-92
J.P. Small, 'Scholars, Etruscans and Attic painted vases', JRA 7 (1994), 34-58
N.J. Spivey, The Micali Painter and his Followers (Oxford, 1987)
Economy, Trade and Industry (see also under Phoenicians)

J. de Boer, 'Etruscan sea-going vessels from the 10th to the 5th century BC', Talanta 24-25 (1992-93), 11-22
A. Naso, 'Etruscan and Italic artefacts from the Aegean', in D. Ridgway et al. (eds), Ancient Italy in its Mediterranean Setting (London, 2000), 193-207
J. Swaddling, S. Walker & P. Roberts (eds), Italy in Europe: Economic Relations 700BC - AD50 (London, 1995)
*J. Turfa, 'International contacts: commerce, trade and foreign affairs', in L. Bonfante (ed.), Etruscan Life and Afterlife (Warminster, 1986), 66-91 [SWL]
J.-P. Wilson, 'The illiterate trader?', BICS 44 (1997), 29-56

The Etruscans and Early Rome

A. Alföldi, Early Rome and the Latins (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1965)
T.J. Cornell, The Beginnings of Rome (London, 1995), chapter 6

T. J. Cornell, 'Ethnicity as a factor in early Roman history', in T. J. Cornell, K. Lomas (eds.), Gender and Ethnicity in Ancient Italy (London, 1997) 9-21

G. Forsythe, A Critical History Of Early Rome: From Prehistory To The First Punic War (Berkeley, CA, 2005)

A. Naso, 'The Etruscans in Lazio' in G. Camporeale (ed.), The Etruscans Outside Etruria (Los Angeles, Calif., 2004)

T. Rasmussen, 'The Tarquins and 'Etruscan Rome'', in T. J. Cornell, K. Lomas (eds.), Gender and Ethnicity in Ancient Italy (London, 1997) 23-30

The Roman conquest and Romanisation of Etruria
G. Bradley, 'Romanisation: the end of the peoples of Italy?', in G. Bradley, E. Isayev and C. Riva (eds), Ancient Italy: Regions Without Boundaries (Exeter, 2007) 295-322

*T.J. Cornell, 'The conquest of Italy', in F.W. Walbank et al. (eds), The Cambridge Ancient History 7.2(2). The Rise of Rome to 220 BC (Cambridge, 1989), 351-419 [largely reproduced in The Beginnings of Rome]
E. Curti, 'Toynbee's legacy: discussing aspects of the Romanization of Italy', in S. Keay & N. Terrenato (eds), Italyand the West. Comparative Issues in Romanization (Oxford, 2001), 17-26 (esp. 21ff.)
J.-M. David, The Roman Conquest of Italy (Oxford, 1996)

*W.V. Harris, Rome in Etruria and Umbria (Oxford, 1971)
S. Keay et al., 'Falerii Novi: a new survey of the walled area', PBSR 68 (2000), 1-93

G. Manuwald, Roman Republican Theatre. A History, Cambridge, 2011 22-26 (on Etruscan drama)
M. Munzi, 'Strategies and forms of political Romanization in central-southern Etruria (third century BC)', in S. Keay & N. Terrenato (eds), Italyand the West. Comparative Issues in Romanization (Oxford, 2001), 39-53
E. Rawson, 'Caesar, Etruria and the Disciplina Etrusca', JRS 68 (1978), 132-152 = Roman Culture and Society. Collected Papers (Oxford, 1991), 289-323

R. Roth Styling Romanisation: pottery and society in central Italy (Cambridge, 2007)
N. Spivey, 'From Etruscan Rome to Roman Etruria', in Etruscan Art (London, 1997), 149-82
*N. Terrenato, 'Tam firmum municipium: the Romanization of Volaterrae and its cultural implications', JRS 88 (1998), 94-114
N. Terrenato, 'A tale of three cities: the Romanization of northern coastal Etruria', in S. Keay & N. Terrenato (eds), Italy and the West. Comparative Issues in Romanization (Oxford, 2001), 54-67
M. Torelli, Studies in the Romanization of Italy (Edmonton, Alberta, 1995), chapters 2 & 3
*M. Torelli, Tota Italia. Essays in the Cultural Formation of Roman Italy (Oxford, 1999)

Etruria in the roman empire: 'Etruscheria' and 'nostalgia' (see also under Literary Sources above)

Bradley, 'Romanisation' under The Roman Conquest above

T.J. Cornell, 'Principes of Tarquinia', JRS 68 (1978),167-173
J.F. Hall, 'From Tarquins to Caesars: Etruscan governance at Rome', in J.F. Hall (ed.), Etruscan Italy (Provo, Utah, 1996 [1997]), 149-189
R.T. Macfarlane, 'Tyrrhena regum progenies: Etruscan literary figures from Horace to Ovid', in J.F. Hall (ed.), Etruscan Italy (Provo, Utah, 1996 [1997]), 241-65
M. Torelli, Studies in the Romanization of Italy (Edmonton, Alberta, 1995), chapter 4
M. Torelli, 'The Corsini throne: a monument of the Etruscan genealogy of a Roman gens', in Tota Italia. Essays in the Cultural Formation of Roman Italy (Oxford, 1999), ch. 6

Rediscovery and Interpretations of the Etruscans
M. Handley, 'Renaissance epigraphy and its legitimating potential: Annius of Viterbo, Etruscaninscriptions, and the origins of civilization', in A. E. Cooley, The Afterlife Of Inscriptions : Reusing, Rediscovering, Reinventing & Revitalizing Ancient Inscriptions (London, 2000) 000

Etruscan Civilization

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The Etruscan civilization flourished in central Italy between the 8th and 3rd century BCE. The culture was renowned in antiquity for its rich mineral resources and as a major Mediterranean trading power. Much of its culture and even history was either obliterated or assimilated into that of its conqueror, Rome. Nevertheless, surviving Etruscan tombs, their contents and their wall paintings, as well as the Roman adoption of certain Etruscan clothing, religious practices, and architecture, are convincing testament to the great prosperity and significant contribution to Mediterranean culture achieved by Italy's first great civilization.

Our Rome Visit in Photos

I n late January 2016, Jan (CEO) and James (Communications Director) went to Rome to present at the EAGLE 2016 Conference at La Sapienza University. The conference was about Latin epigraphy and the Europeana project, and our presentations were about how academics, historians, and archaeologists could reach a wider audience. But when in Rome… one has to see the city! We could not help being pulled in by the Eternal City, drawn to wander around and explore its ancient heritage. When it comes to history, Rome is like the mother lode… very few cities in the world (if any) have such a concentration of historical sites and buildings!

Etruscan Sandals (700 – 100 BCE)

The Etruscan Civilization (700 – 100 BCE) was constrained to the area corresponding roughly to modern Tuscany and flourished in three city confederacies. No one knows the origins of the Etruscans but it is widely believed they were indigenous plus an influx of people from Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). The Etruscans were influenced by Greek traders and the Greeks in Magna Graecia, the Hellenic civilization of southern Italy. There is considerable evidence early Rome was dominated by Etruscans and they were eventually assimilated by Rome around 500 BCE.

The end of the Etruscan civilization came with the sacking of Veii in 396 BCE, by the Romans. They were eventually brought under Roman rule in 250 B.C.E. By 80 B.C.E. their culture had been virtually destroyed. When iron became the preferred metal, iron mines and the routes to them determined power in the western Mediterranean. The Etruscans controlled the iron mines and access to them. The civilization was based on both copper and and they became great artisans and developed a thriving culture distinctive from Greece.

The Etruscan people had well-developed costume traditions that combined the influences from Greece and Asia. Clothes of the wealthy were made of fine wool, cotton, and linen, and colour was a major feature. Etruscan women wore elaborately patterned garments and men wore a loin skirt to cover the genitals. Many adopted a Greek-style tunic. By the middle of the sixth century B.C.E., the distinctive tebenna became the most common male garment. Similar to the Greek chlamys, the tebenna was a long cloak that was draped over the left shoulder and then wrapped around the torso under the right arm. It was often decorated with clavi, stripes of colour to indicate status or rank in society. Later the tebenna became the model for the Roman toga.

According to Turner Wilcox (2008), the Etruscans became adept shoe makers. The most common types of footwear were high sandals, mules, slippers, ankle boots and one characteristic type of shoe, with upward curving toes. The latter may have been a reference to the Phrygian (Turkish) origins of the Etruscans where turned up shoes were previously known. Fashionable women in the late 6th c BCE wore red shoes with turned up toes. Pointed toed shoes were replaced with sandals by the 5th c BCE. Later shoes made by Etruscan craftsmen became highly sought after in ancient Rome and Greece.

Boots with tight peaked toes

Sandals with hinged wooden soles reinforced with bronze were especially popular and commonly referred to as ‘Tyrrhenian sandals.” According to Rossi (2000) the hinged sandals helped natural foot flexion.

Fine leather uppers of various colours were often embroidered, painted and sown with jewels. These were fastened with gilt or golden straps.

Soft leather shoe sewn with jewels

Etruscan shoe makers developed a technique to attach the sole of the sandal to the upper with metal tacks. Prior to this, sandals were stitched and could with wear break easily. Tacks not only secured a better bond but also offered greater traction to grip the ground. This small but important innovation meant with more robust footwear the Roman Empire could expand.

The Greek endormis (fur lined boot), was also worn to protect the legs from the cold.Etruscan soldiers fought bare footed but had metal or leather greaves to protect their shins. By the Second Century BCE slippers made from fine leather and dyed yellow or cloth became fashionable.

Boucher F 1988 A history of costume in the West Thames and Hudson: London
Rossi W 2000 The complete footwear dictionary (2 nd edition) Kreiger Publishing Co: Florida
Turner Wilcox R 2008 The mode in footwear Dover Punblications: NY.

Etruscans Essay

The Etruscans left no historical or written records other than tomb inscriptions with brief family histories. Other than this burial genealogy, most writing about the Etruscans is from later sources, including the Romans. Only recently has archaeology begun to unravel the mystery of the Etruscans. During the Renaissance, in 1553 and 1556 two Etruscan bronzes were discovered, but excavation of Etruscan sites did not begin in earnest until the 18th century. After the Etruscan cities of Tarquinia, Cervetri, and Vulci were excavated in the 19th century, museums began collecting objects from the digs. More than 6,000 Etruscan sites have been examined.

Dionysius of Halicarnassus in the first century b.c.e. thought the Etruscans were Pelasgians who settled in modern-day Tuscany and were absorbed by the native Tyrrhenians. Livy and Virgil in the first century c.e. thought the Etruscans came after the fall of Troy and the flight of Aeneas. Herodotus, in the fifth century c.e., claimed a Lydian origin, with the Tyrrhenians being named for the Lydian leader Tyrrhenos. Until recently scholars agreed with Herodotus and Dionysius that the Etruscans were migrants from Asia Minor between 900 and 800 b.c.e. Modern scholars believe that the Etruscans descended from the Villanovans, whose peak was in the ninth and eighth century’s b.c.e. In the seventh century b.c.e. Etruscan villages supposedly took the place of Villanovan villages.

The Etruscans were neighbors to a small village of Latins in northern Latium. The Etruscan city-states were located in the marshy coastal areas of west central Italy, that is, modern Tuscany. Permanent settlement dates from the end of the ninth century b.c.e., including Vetulonia and Tarquinii (now Tarquinia). Burial chambers of that era differ from those of earlier eras and contain amber, silver, gold, and gems from Egypt, Asia Minor, and other parts of the world. The Etruscans were sea people as well as miners of copper, tin, lead, silver, and iron. The Etruscan alphabet was based on the Greek but with a distinctively Etruscan grammar. The Etruscan language is similar to a sixth century b.c.e. Greek dialect common to Lemnos but differs from other Mediterranean languages. Inscriptions are in the Greek alphabet but written from right to left. Precise definitions of some words are still not known.

By the seventh and sixth centuries b.c.e. the Etruscans had conquered Rome, much of Italy, and nonItalian areas such as Corsica. This success brought their political and cultural peak in the sixth century b.c.e. Etruscans were largely agrarian, as were the surrounding peoples, but they had a powerful military that allowed them to dominate their neighbors, using them as labor on their farms, and devote their own time to commerce and industry.

Greek influence was strong in Etruscan religion, with human-type gods and highly sophisticated rituals for divination, but Etruscan mythology also included some unique elements. Etruscan religion clearly separated the human and divine, and it established exact procedures for keeping the goodwill of the gods. Religion mattered greatly to the Etruscans. They built tombs resembling their houses and gave the deceased household objects for use in the afterlife. Rome inherited Etruscan religion, including books of divination and the Lares, their household gods.

Scholars of the 19th and 20th century assessed Etruscan painting and sculpture as original and creative but not nearly as great as the art of the Greeks. The preference at that time was for the Greek mathematical ideal of beauty. Etruscan art is better able to capture feeling and the essence of the subject. Much of the remaining examples of Etruscan art are funerary, but there is evidence from existing frescoes and other works of art that Etruscans used color liberally. Etruscan art was a major stylistic influence on Renaissance artists who lived in the area of the old Etruria. Etruscan jewelry, pottery, and portable art was so prized during the Renaissance and after that collectors destroyed many Etruscan sites to attain it, making periodization of Etruscan styles difficult.

Etruscan cities were fortified and ruled by a king. An aristocracy ruled Etruscan society and controlled the government, military, economy, and religion. Cities such as Tarquinii and Veii dominated their regions and began colonizing adjacent areas. Independent city-states entangled themselves in economic and political alliances. Rule by kings gave way to rule by oligarchs. In some cases the kings or oligarchs allowed governance by council or by elected officials. The Etruscan city alliances provoked responses from Romans, Greeks, and Carthaginians who regarded the Etruscans as a threat.

Etruscan Civilization: A Cultural History

This is a magnificent addition to the relatively few books in English currently available on the Etruscans. In her introduction (xvi), Haynes clearly states the two ambitious goals of her book: “…to provide a fresh general picture of the growth of Etruscan civilization, incorporating recent discoveries and discussing the many new insights and problems that have emerged…[and] to survey the role played by Etruscan women.” Both goals are accomplished in an authoritative, precise, engaging and articulate manner.

The book is divided into five long chapters: I, “The Villanovan Civilization, ca. 900-720 B.C.” (1-45) II, “The Orientalizing Period and the Emergence of the Etruscan Cities, 720-575 B.C.” (47-133) III, “The Archaic Period, about 575-480 B.C.” (135-259) IV, “Crisis and Renewal: The Fifth and Fourth Centuries” (261-325) and V, “The Hellenistic Period: Third to First Century” (327-389). When listed, these titles and their standard chronological organization give no indication of the helpful manner in which each section is subdivided. There is a wealth of information one does not normally expect in what first appears to be a survey. For example, there are sections summarizing current research on everything from Villanovan diet and disease to life expectancies in Hellenistic Volterra. There are numerous discussions of trade connections and food production, subjects that often receive little attention in surveys where Etruscan art is the main focus.

The past decades have witnessed a dramatic increase in our understanding of the Etruscans and their neighbors in and around Italy. Voluminous publications, beginning especially with the Year of the Etruscans (1985) when nine Italian exhibition catalogues prompted a major impetus in the field, have continued to appear annually. Three major Italian exhibitions, in Venice, Bologna and Rome, 1 were mounted and their accompanying catalogues appeared too late to be utilized by Haynes, but she appears to have synthesized almost everything else published in recent years. Her goal to present the results of the most current research in the field is admirably accomplished. Students, especially those who have difficulty reading Italian and German, will be grateful for her concise summaries of numerous archaeological discoveries and debates.

Etruscan women, like their sisters in many other ancient societies, have been the focus of special interest in recent years. Although there is much that is still unknown about them, a better understanding of their influence on Etruscan culture is gradually emerging. Haynes reports on the many advances in this area, frequently offering short syntheses within the framework of larger chapters (e.g., “Representations of Wailing Women,” “Women and Wine,” “Women’s Clothes,” “The Status of Women,” and “Female Worshippers and Priestesses”). There are also good discussions of female divinities and, of course, provocative comparisons between Etruscan women and their Greek or Roman counterparts. An area that I had expected would receive more attention because of its critical role in the lives of wealthy women, Etruscan engraved mirrors, is treated only briefly. Other areas too, for example Etruscan pottery—both bucchero and the various painted wares—do not really engage the author’s interest, despite many excellent studies published in recent years, especially by Italian scholars.

Most of my criticisms center on (apparently) the publisher’s decision to exclude footnotes. At the end of her introduction, Haynes states, “In order not to confuse the nonspecialist reader, footnotes in the text have been avoided” (xviii). In fact, their exclusion confuses all readers. As just one of many examples, Haynes presents an admirable synthesis of the important discoveries of an early ritual center on the Pian di Civita at Tarquinia (25-29). It is very difficult for anyone, specialist or not, to follow a description of a complicated archaeological site without a plan or reconstruction. If one wishes to consult such a plan in one of the excavation reports, one has to attempt to divine the name of the archaeologist. (For some strange reason, almost all references to archaeologists are anonymous. One often reads, “According to the excavator…” but he or she is almost never named! This makes it very difficult to find the relevant source in the lengthy bibliography.)

Similar difficulties occur with the illustrations. At the outset, I should say that the illustrations, in general, are of excellent quality. The author’s editorial collaborators at the Getty, especially Mary Louise Hart, deserve accolades for their efforts in this regard.

The problem is that one often reads lengthy descriptions of unillustrated objects (with no citations to direct one to published illustrations) or cursory mentions of objects that are illustrated. At the same time, many captions do give museum accession or inventory numbers, especially those arcane and unwieldy ones used by the British Museum. Ultimately, this is the only way to track down some of the less familiar objects.

No one expects every object mentioned in such a book to be illustrated. However, one does expect that extensive descriptions of complicated sites or objects should be accompanied by either an illustration or a citation to an illustration. Otherwise, the reader is lost. How difficult would it have been to add short parenthetical citations to published sources listed in the extensive bibliography? (Admirably, Haynes does this for almost every ancient literary source quoted in her historical summaries.) It would have helped to have short chapter or sub-section bibliographies and to identify excavators or authors by name in the text when discussing their interpretations. Instead, if one ventures to locate a specific source, one must wade through a lengthy bibliography hoping to spot a keyword or phrase in one of several languages. I suspect that most readers will not take the time to do this. Even as a specialist who could usually identify the anonymous sources, my desire to verify or learn more was often frustrated.

Despite these criticisms, I believe that this book is among the best general surveys of the Etruscans currently available in English. It is certainly up to date. It treats a wide variety of complicated and diverse subjects in an articulate and polished manner. I hope that it will find a wide audience and that the publisher will decide to produce, perhaps in a few years, a revised paperback edition. At that time, it would be prudent to add some helpful illustrations and to consider incorporating either footnotes or parenthetical citations within the text.

1. M. Torelli (ed.), Gli Etruschi (exhibition held at Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2000), also available in English as The Etruscans (ISBN 88-452-4738-4) Principi etruschi tra Mediterraneo ed Europa (exhibition held at Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna, 2000) A. Carandini and R. Cappelli (eds.), Roma: Romolo, Remo e la fondazione della città (exhibition held at Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome, 2000).

How did the Etruscans shape Roman history and society?

The Etruscan civilization was one of earliest known civilizations in mainland Europe. It is little known and was largely forgotten, until archaeological discoveries once more revealed its power, complexity and sophistication. The Etruscans had a unique civilization and in many ways, they are a mysterious race and culture.

However, they made a decisive contribution to the history of Europe, because they shaped in many ways the early development of Rome. Many of the most distinctive features of Roman society were in fact influenced by , or directly borrowed from the Etruscans. The Etruscans were a formative influence on Rome and this can be seen in its religion, culture, urban planning and engineering and they also helped to establish it as a great city and one of the greatest powers in Italy. In order to understand Rome it is necessary to understand the influence of the Etruscans on the Early Roman Republic.

National Geographic Museum: The Etruscans – An Italian Civilization

I love history. And for me, the older the history, the more I love it. There’s something that fascinates me about seeing how the first people of a given culture tried to figure out the concept of civilization. And for the first couple of millenniums of human history the difference between civilized and true barbarism was incredibly fine. But sadly, DC doesn’t have a large selection of museums that cater to ancient history nerds like me. The Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum has an exhibit which hasn’t been updated since I was in elementary school and Dumbarton Oaks Museum has a nice collection on the Byzantine Empire, but that is more medieval history than ancient. There isn’t much else without going to another city.

Imagine my excitement to find out that the National Geographic Museum was holding exhibit on the ancient Etruscan Civilization! For the non-history buffs out there, the Etruscan Civilization was an Italian peoples which inhabited roughly the area of modern day Tuscany (which is where we get the name). That area is, roughly speaking, bound by the Tiber River (and Rome) to the south, the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, and the Apennine Mountains to the north and east. The Etruscans were an important culture in Italy from about 750 BC to around 500 BC, and were an significant influence on Roman culture and history.

The Etruscans’ influence on Rome is of historical debate. It’s clear that a number of features and concepts of Etruscan civilization were at least borrowed by the Romans, but exactly how much is unclear. I couldn’t find this in my research, but one gets the sense that historians can’t quite figure out whether the Romans were an offshoot of the Etruscans, or if the Romans did what Romans did with everyone they met: borrowed what parts of their culture they liked and put a Roman spin to it. You certainly get that sense walking through the National Geographic exhibit.

If you’re familiar with ancient Greek or Roman history, you’ll feel at home with this exhibit. The Etruscans were heavily influence by the Greeks, as all ancient Mediterranean people were, but they also still have a distinct Italian vibe which the Romans helped carry on. The exhibit does a good job of breaking the Etruscans civ into three sections: their views on the afterlife and religion the importance of farming and general daily life, such as a look at their food and military cultures. The exhibit is excellent.

The only bad thing about the exhibit is that it’s too small. I was hoping for a huge exhibit, filled with detailed displays which chronicled specific cities and exploits. Granted the Etruscans thrived for only a relatively brief time (

200 years), but their impact is still felt through how they influenced the Romans. But that wasn’t to be the National Geographic Museum has only so much space. And they are still running their other great exhibit, Race to the End of the Earth. But, if you love ancient history like me, this is well worth a visit.

If you’d like to see more images from the exhibit, please see my set on Flickr. National Geographic was nice enough to give us a sneak peak, so enjoy the photos.

The Etruscans: An Italian Civilization does require tickets for entry. Admission is $8 for adults $6 for National Geographic members, military, students, seniors, and groups of 25 or more and $4 for children 5-12 (free for 4 and under). The exhibit runs from June 10th to September 25th, 2011.

The National Geographic Museum is located at 1145 17th Street NW tickets can be purchased online or by phone (202-857-7588).

Brian is so DC. Born on Pennsylvania Ave (not there) to a lifelong Federal worker father and a mother who has worked for Garfinkel’s, the Smithsonian, and Mount Vernon. Raised on the “mean streets” of Cheverly, MD went to high school at Gonzaga College High School (Hail Alma Mater!) and now trolls the corridors of Congress as a lobbyist, you couldn’t write a more quintessentially DC back-story. When he isn’t trying to save the country from itself, Brian can be found walking DC looking for that perfect photograph.

Watch the video: Ancient Etruscan Origins, History, and Culture - ROBERT SEPEHR