The Etruscans – Ancient History

The Etruscans The Etruscan civilisation is distinguished by its unique language and its beautiful art. The Etruscan economy was based on agriculture, trade and mineral resources. We also know the greeks traded with the Etruscans because the Etruscan alphabet is similar to the greek one. The Etruscans are thought to have either been “native” to Italy or to have migrated from Lydia Lydia ina round 800bc beause of famine. Etruscan cities were very powerful and were though to have been ruled by “The Etruscan League” which was (according to roman legend) founded by two Lydian noblemen; Tarchun and his brother Tyrrhenus.

The league was made up of 12 cities but which twelve exactly is unsure. Each city state met once a year where a leader was chosen to represent the league. The league was both religious and political. Etruscan homes were mud-brick, with timber on stone foundations, some with upper stories. Some etruscns even had underground drains leading to main sewage drains located under the streets! Etruscans did a lot of farming, they grew barley, millet, wheat, grapes and other fruits and they raised pigs, goats, sheep, ducks, chickens and cattle. Cattle was used for food and to pull plows and wagons.

Etruscan miners dug copper, lead, iron and tin. Metal workers and sculptors turned metals into weapons, utensils, jewellery and sculpture. Etruscans were famous for their art, especially in bronze and clay. Etruscans also enjoyed many forms of entertainment including gambling with ivory dice, music and dancing (for religious reasons and pleasure), playing board games similar to chess and backgammon and watching ant taking part in sports. Etruscans traded goods and metals with the Greeks, Carthage, Syria and many other Mediterranean countries. Merchants traded for luxury items like gold, silver and ivory.

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Soothsayers predicted events and the Etruscans believed in omens which were signs of what was to come. They believed that the destiny of man was completely determined by the many gods and deities which etruscans worshipped. They followed complex rituals involving dancing and singing. A lot of etruscan literature comes from burial remains and tombs. The dead were cremated or buried in cemeteries outside each city. Those that were buried were put into individual tombs(if you were rich) called catacombs and often tombs were filled with works of art and treasures of gold, silver, bronze and ivory.

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