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Etruscans. Period 3. Etruscan History : The Origin. Etruscans were indigionious people from Asia Minor. The Etruscan civilization started to manifest itself in the regions of Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci and Vetulonia in northern Italy.

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Period 3

etruscan history the origin
Etruscan History : The Origin
  • Etruscans were indigionious people from Asia Minor.
  • The Etruscan civilization started to manifest itself in the regions of Cerveteri, Tarquinia, Vulci and Vetulonia in northern Italy.
  • The Romans and Greeks referred to them as EtruscI, but they referrd to themselves as Rasenna.
etruscan history the glory days
Etruscan History: The Glory Days
  • Between the 7th and 6th century BC, the Etruscans never met any organized opposition.
  • The growth of Etruscan influence covered a vast area of the Italian peninsula, from the plain of the Po in the north to Campania in the south.
  • With their products, Etruscan merchants reached all the Mediterranean ports and were rivals with the Greeks and Phoenicians.
  • Around 545 BC, Etruria and Carthage made their great alliance, directed against the third emerging trading power in the West, the Greeks. Therefore ending a great deal of piracy between the Etruscans and Phoenicians and further granting the Etruscans control of the sea.
etruscan history the decline
Etruscan History: The Decline
  • In 524 BC, the Etruscan ships attacked Cumae
  • The Etruscans defeated Cumae, which was the major Greek city of Campania
  • Eighteen years later, alliances of Cumae defeated Lars Porsenna in Africa
  • This weakened Etruscan power over land and sea routes
  • Later, Rome gained independence from the Etruscan dynasty and attacked
  • In 474 BC, the Greeks attacked and defeated

 the Etruscans at Cumae

  • This reduced the Etruscan power to be

city-states, until eventually they were defeated

by Roman power in the 3rd centruy BC

etruscan cities

Alex Herbstman

Etruscan Cities

Etruscan cities flourished over most of Italy during the Roman Iron Age, marking the farthest extent of Etruscan civilization. They were gradually assimilated first by Italics in the south, then by Celts in the north and finally in Etruria itself by the growing Roman Republic. Some cities were founded by Etruscans in prehistoric times and bore entirely Etruscan names. Others were colonized by Etruscans who Etruscanized the name, usually Italic.

etruscan government
Etruscan Government
  • The Etruscan state government was essentially a theocracy.
  • There was no centralized government, it was comprised of a loose conddfederation of city-states.
  • The political domination of the Etruscans was at its height in 500 B.C a time in which they had consolidated the Umbrian cities and had occupied a large part of Latium.
the entruscan language
Etruscan does not belong to the Indo-European language group and is completely unique in respect to the rest of Europe.

Many believe that the Etruscan language is closely related to Basque, Hebrew, and Turkish, but it has been concluded that the similarities are simply coincidental.

The Entruscan Language
the entruscan language cont
The most efficient method archeologists have to help them identify Entruscan words is to use historical context, such as the buildings the language artifacts are found in to help them translate.

It is clear that the Entruscans were in close contact with the Greeks, because many words in the Entruscan language have greek connections. 

The Entruscan Language Cont.

The image above is one of the best ways to help translate the Entruscan language. The slate on the left is a block of Phoenician  and the center and right are Entruscan

etruscan beliefs
 Etruscan Beliefs
  •  The Etruscans believed that the destiny of a man was dependent on his worship of many Gods.  They believed that everything that happened because of the divine will of the Gods.
  • The Etruscan people followed a strict code known by the Romans as the "Disciplina Etrusca"
  • They also believed in predestination, meaning that the end was already determined for each one of them.
etruscan gods

Etruscan Gods

Very Similar to Roman gods.

Had different names

Zeus = Tin

Hera = Uni

Minerva = Menerva

Venus = Turan

Mars = Maris

Neptune = Nethuns

communication with the gods

Communication With the Gods

The Etruscans believed the gods spoke to them through nature.



-Patterns of Bird Flights

-Entrails of Animals

Regarded as symbols/warnings from gods.

communicating cont

Communicating Cont…

Augurs read flights of birds

Haruspices studied the intestines of sheep

Consumed liver after examining it

Searched liver for divine dissaproval



Etruscans offered:

- Jewelry

-Terracotta figurines

- Food

- Money

- Most common were terra cotta models of body parts for which healing was sought.

etruscan art
Etruscan Art

Art was a significant part of Etruscan life, but it is important to remember that many, if not most, works of Etruscan art have been lost (There are records of at least 2000 Etruscan Bronzes that were melted down to produce bronze coins).  Because of this, we lack an understanding of what their art, overall, really was.  Most of the remains that we have found throughout modern history is funerary. 

role of women

Role of Women

Enjoyed much more freedom than Greek women


Sat with men at banquets and were allowed to participate in public events

A symbol of their relatively high status is that people in the Etruscan period were identified with both their mother’s and their father’s name.

As the Greeks influenced the Etruscans more, women lost status and power

class structure

Class Structure


Rich families of noble descent

Rich merchants and land owners

Kings of each city-state

Working Class:

Farmers, potters, metal workers

eutruscan music


-Most knowledge of Etruscan music comes from tomb paintings.

-Music was used in banquets, religious ceremonies and celebrations, and funerals.

-Music was also present in work and leisure activities.

-During funerals a flure and lyre would be played to lighten the atmosphere.

-The musicians wore colorful cloaks similar to those of modern day dancers in Ionian Greece.

-Music was often accompanied with dance.


Carly Anderson

  • The study, excavation and analysis

 of ancient Etruscan artifacts such as

 Bucherroceramics and amphorae, is

 currently taking place at several sites

 in Italy such as Podere Tartuchino.

< amphora


first excavation of an Etruscan farmhouse at Podere Tartuchino.

Predictive model of settlement in Albegna Valley in Tuscany, Italy

  • Bucchero earthenware (above) was popular in the 6th and 7th centuries B.C. and is traditionally black or gray and polished.
  • The red clay that they used to make this special pottery turned black after it was fired with carbon monoxide (vs. oxygen).


The lively Etruscan painted tombs of Tarquinia have incited travel writers to speculate on the lost culture for decades.

Etruscans would build, opposite their city, a necropolis--a city for the dead.

The Etruscan obsession with elaborate burials leads us to suppose that they may have had an underlying belief, similar to the Egyptians that a part of the soul remained with the body,sdfs or at least that the body was important for the afterlife.