Pre-Roman civilization of ancient Italy / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The Etruscan civilization (/ɪˈtrʌskən/ ih-TRUSK-ən) was developed by a people of Etruria in ancient Italy with a common language and culture who formed a federation of city-states. After conquering adjacent lands, its territory covered, at its greatest extent, roughly what is now Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio, as well as what are now the Po Valley, Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy, southern Veneto, and western Campania.
|900 BC –27 BC |
|Historical era||Iron Age, Ancient history|
|900 BC |
• The last Etruscan cities were formally absorbed by Rome
|27 BC |
|Currency||Etruscan coinage (5th century BC onward)|
|Today part of|
|History of Italy|
The earliest evidence of a culture that is identifiably Etruscan dates from about 900 BC. This is the period of the Iron Age Villanovan culture, considered to be the earliest phase of Etruscan civilization, which itself developed from the previous late Bronze Age Proto-Villanovan culture in the same region. Etruscan civilization endured until it was assimilated into Roman society. Assimilation began in the late 4th century BC as a result of the Roman–Etruscan Wars; it accelerated with the grant of Roman citizenship in 90 BC, and became complete in 27 BC, when the Etruscans' territory was incorporated into the newly established Roman Empire.
The territorial extent of Etruscan civilization reached its maximum around 750 BC, during the foundational period of the Roman Kingdom. Its culture flourished in three confederacies of cities: that of Etruria (Tuscany, Latium and Umbria), that of the Po Valley with the eastern Alps, and that of Campania. The league in northern Italy is mentioned in Livy. The reduction in Etruscan territory was gradual, but after 500 BC, the political balance of power on the Italian peninsula shifted away from the Etruscans in favor of the rising Roman Republic.
The earliest known examples of Etruscan writing are inscriptions found in southern Etruria that date to around 700 BC. The Etruscans developed a system of writing derived from the Euboean alphabet, which was used in the Magna Graecia (coastal areas located in Southern Italy). The Etruscan language remains only partly understood, making modern understanding of their society and culture heavily dependent on much later and generally disapproving Roman and Greek sources. In the Etruscan political system, authority resided in its individual small cities, and probably in its prominent individual families. At the height of Etruscan power, elite Etruscan families grew very rich through trade with the Celtic world to the north and the Greeks to the south, and they filled their large family tombs with imported luxuries.