Etruscans | Advanced civilization with riddles

You can still meet them everywhere in Tuscany, they are present although they have not existed for millennia.


The Etruscans, the people who settled in Tuscany and Italy before the Romans and partly at the same time, were a highly developed culture that left fascinating testimonies not only of excellent craftsmanship.


The Etruscans, whose homeland extended from present-day Tuscany through Umbria and Lazio in central Italy to Campania, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy, have been the subject of mystery for thousands of years. The people who called themselves “Rasenna” were not only successful traders around the entire Mediterranean, but also cultivated, in parallel with other cultures such as the Greeks, Romans, etc., a language entirely their own, which had no resemblance to the Greek or Roman of their contemporaries. Customs and manners also differed significantly and so they were already perceived by contemporaries as some- thing “special”, “mysterious”.

The Etruscans were also technologically advanced and knew, for example, how to successfully exploit the rich iron deposits in their dominion and smelt the ores. They are said to have had the hottest forging fires and were able to produce complex alloys that were used not only for utilitarian and artistic objects: Contemporaries also counted them among the best dentists of their time, for they had already developed pros- theses, which were not made again in this way until the 1940s/50s of the 20th century. As materials they used allergy-free alloys of gold, silver and copper, the composition of which, amazingly enough, would be in line with the recommendations of international health organizations today.

The Greek historian Herodotus, in his explanations of where the Etruscans might have come from, followed ancient sources that located the ancestors in Asia Minor/Anatolia and the Aegean. According to recent DNA studies, however, this assumption turned out to be incorrect; rather, the gene pool of the Etruscans was diverse and contained, among other things, traces of steppe peoples from the northern Caspian Sea.

The so “other language” of the Etruscans could go back, as in the linguistics today conjectured, to an ancient form of the Indo-European, which preserved itself as a living language and asserted itself against other influences. The letters borrowed from the early Greek; one wrote from right to left. However, since too little textual material is available, the Etruscan language still cannot be reconstructed.


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