Introduction: Origins Unknown

      Before the glory days of ancient Rome, northwestern Italy housed the nation of Etruria, whose people, named by the Romans, rapidly prospered and declined between 1000 and 100 BC. The origin of Etruscans civilization is unclear because a large proportion of Etruscan art and literature did not survive to the present day and no historical records discovered. Various theories of the Etruscans' origins include the possibilities that they migrated from Greece, traveled down from the Alps, or came by sea from Lydia as suggested by the Greek historian Herodotus. The Etruscan pre-Indo-European language and other theories from classical historians suggest that they were indigenous to the area known today as Tuscany and merged with groups from the eastern Mediterranean, who brought with them a technically and culturally advanced society contributing to the rapid rise of a new civilization. Most modern scholarly information about the Etruscans is derived from studying the remains of their vast tombs, buildings, monuments, and objects excavated such as bronze and terra cotta sculptures and polychrome ceramics. Very little Etruscan literature remains and the inscriptions on their monuments have been partially deciphered, leaving the truth of Etruscan civilization a mystery and a favorite culture to explore. (ArtLex; Adams, 193)

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