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The Mysterious Etruscans Of Ancient Italy

By James Donahue

Long before there was a Roman Empire, and before the City of Rome existed, the area that now includes much of Italy was occupied by a highly advanced civilization that archaeologists call the Etruscans or Tyrrherians.

These people are believed to have migrated from Asia-Minor, or the Golden Crescent, as early as 1,000 B.C. They built cities and ships, became an agricultural center, developed a system of commerce, developed language and the arts, had an effective military, and ruled the area for almost a thousand years.

The Etruscans were still there as late as the Fourth Century B.C. when they were in alliance with Carthage against Greece in that ugly struggle for regional power. After that, all record of the Etruscans appears to have vanished. It was as if the entire civilization just disappeared.

What is believed to have happened was that the Etruscans were absorbed by the rising Roman Empire, and, in effect, became an influential part of the formation of the type of government that was eventually adopted by the Romans. In fact, archaeologists show strong evidence that the Romans even adopted the arts, customs and even the institutions established by these people.

The Etruscans believed in the supernatural, their priests practiced divination, interpreted marks on the liver of a sacrificed animal, saw messages in lightning that they believed were sent by the gods. They built tombs that looked like their homes and placed household objects next to the bodies, thus showing they believed, like the Egyptians, in a life after death.

Some believe the Etruscans reached their height of power as late as the Sixth Century B.C. and that the last three of the seven kings that ruled over early Rome were probably Etruscans. These kings built the Cloaca Maxima to drain the Forum, constructed walls around the town and erected the Temple of Jupiter on Capitol Hill.

The final king, Tarquid the Proud, was driven from power in 510 B.C. when the Roman people revolted and chose a new form of government . . . a republic.

Thus it appears that the Roman Empire was founded by a very intelligent and advanced race of people who migrated to the region from the heart of the area we now call the Middle East . . . from Persia where something quite amazing happened to the humanoids of Earth at some distant time in the past. We strangely advanced from apes to become men with the capability of communicating in words and building monuments.