Etruria: Wikis


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The area covered by the Etruscan civilization.

Etruria — usually referred to in Greek and Latin source texts as Tyrrhenia — was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what now are Tuscany, Latium, Emilia-Romagna and Umbria. A particularly noteworthy work dealing with Etruscan locations is D. H. Lawrence's Sketches of Etruscan Places and other Italian essays.

The ancient people of Etruria are labelled Etruscans, and their complex culture was centered on numerous city-states that rose during the Villanovan period in the ninth century BC and were very powerful during the Orientalizing and Archaic periods. The Etruscans were a dominant culture in Italy by 650 BC, surpassing other ancient Italic peoples such as the Ligurians, and their influence may be seen beyond Etruria's confines in the Po River Valley and Latium, as well as in Campania and through their contact with the Greek colonies in Southern Italy (including Sicily). Indeed, at some Etruscan tombs, such at those of the Tumulus di Montefortini at Comeana (see Carmignano) in Tuscany, physical evidence of trade has been found in the form of grave goods — fine faience ware cups are particularly notable examples. Such trade occurred either directly with Egypt, or through intermediaries such as Greek or Etruscan sailors.

Rome, buffered from Etruria by the Silva Ciminia, the Ciminian Forest, was influenced strongly by the Etruscans, with a series of Etruscan kings ruling at Rome until 509 BC when the last Etruscan king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was removed from power and the Roman Republic was established. The Etruscans are credited with influencing Rome's architecture and ritual practice; it was under the Etruscan kings that important structures such as the Capitolium, Cloaca Maxima and Via Sacra were realized.

The Etruscan civilization was responsible for much of the Greek culture imported into early Republican Rome, including the twelve Olympian gods, the growing of olives and grapes, the Latin alphabet (adapted from the Greek alphabet), and architecture like the arch, sewerage and drainage systems.

The classical name Etruria was revived in the early 19th century, applied to the Kingdom of Etruria, an ephemeral creation of Napoleon I of France in Tuscany which existed from 1801 to 1807.


Latin name is given between parentheses:

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ETRURIA, an ancient district of Italy, the extent of which varied considerably, and, especially in the earliest periods, is very difficult to define (see section Language). The name is the Latin equivalent of the Greek Tupprivia or Tupojvia, which is used by Latin writers also in the forms Tyrrhenia, Tyrrhenii; the Romans also spoke of Tusci, whence the modern Tuscany. In early times the district appears to have included the whole of N. Italy from the Tiber to the Alps, but by the end of the 5th century B.C. it was considerably diminished, and about the year 100 B.C. its boundaries were the Arnus (Arno), the Apennines and the Tiber. In the division of Italy by Augustus it formed the seventh regio and extended as far north as the river Macra, which separated it from Liguria.


The authentic history of Etruria is very meagre, and consists mainly in the story of its relations with Carthage, Greece and Rome. At some period unknown, prior to the 6th century, the Etrurians became a conquering people and extended their power not only northwards over, probably, Mantua, Felsina, Melpum and perhaps Hadria and Ravenna (Etruria Circumpadana), but also southwards into Latium and Campania. The chronology of this expansion is entirely unknown, nor can we recover with certainty the names of the cities which constituted the two leagues of twelve founded in the conquered districts on the analogy of the original league in Etruria proper (below). In the early history of Rome the Etruscans play a prominent part. According to the semi-historical tradition they were the third of the constituent elements which went to form the city of Rome. The tradition has been the subject of much controversy, and is still an unsolved problem. It is practically certain, however, that there is no foundation for the ancient theory (cf. Prop. iv. [v.] i. 31) that the third Roman tribe, known as Luceres, represented an Etruscan element of the population, and it is held by many authorities that the tradition of the Tarquin kings of Rome represents, not an immigrant wave, but the temporary domination of Etruscan lords, who extended their conquests some time before 600 B.C. over Latium and Campania. This theory is corroborated by the fact that during the reigns of the Tarquin kings Rome appears as the mistress of a district including part of Etruria, several cities in Latium, and the whole of Campania, whereas our earliest picture of republican Rome is that of a small state in the midst of enemies. For this problem see further under Rome: History, section "The Monarchy." After the expulsion of the Tarquins the chief events in Etruscan history are the vain attempt to re-establish themselves in Rome under Lars Porsena of Clusium, the defeat of Octavius Mamilius, son-in-law of Tarquinius Superbus, at Lake Regillus, and the treaty with Carthage. This last event shows that the Etruscan power was formidable, and that by means of their fleet the Etruscans held under their exclusive control the commerce of the Tyrrhenian Sea. By this treaty Corsica was assigned to the Etruscans while Carthage obtained Sardinia. Soon after this, decay set in. In 474 the Etruscan fleet was destroyed by Hiero I. of Syracuse; Etruria Circumpadana was occupied by the Gauls, the Campanian cities by the Samnites, who took Capua (see Campania) in 423, and in 396, after a ten years' siege, Veii fell to the Romans. The battle of the Vadimonian Lake (309) finally extinguished Etruscan independence, though for nearly two centuries still the prosperity df the Etruscan cities far exceeded that of Rome itself. Henceforward Etruria is finally merged in the Roman state.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  • (RP) IPA: /ɪˈtrʊə.rɪ.ə/, SAMPA: /I"trU@.ri.@/

Proper noun




Wikipedia has an article on:


  1. An ancient country located between the Arno and Tiber rivers, corresponding to modern day Tuscany in Western Italy.

Derived terms

  • Etruria Works of Josiah Wedgwood

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