The Etruscans were people whose civilization flourished in central Italy from about the 8th century B.C. According to Roman tradition in the 6th century B.C. Rome was ruled by Etruscan kings until around 509 B.C. the Romans drove them out and created a republic.
Long before the days of Rome’s greatness, Italy was the home of a people far advanced in civilization, the Etruscans. These mysterious people rose to prosperity and power then almost vanished from recorded history, leaving many unsolved questions about their origin and culture.
It is hard to be sure where the Etruscans came from. Experts in Ancient languages, ancient literary sources and archaeology have put forward three main theories: The Etruscans migrated to Italy from Asia Minor; they came over the Alps from central Europe; they were natives of Italy, living in Etruria at least since the beginning of the Bronze Age. However, we will never be exactly sure where they came from or why they colonized Italy. What we do know is that they brought civilization and urbanization with them. During the rise of Etruscan civilization, the Romans were only villagers. Therefore they were in close contact with the Etruscan people’s language, ideas, religion and their civilization which in the long run was the single most important influence on Roman culture in its transition to civilization.
During the earliest times the city-states were ruled by a monarch but were later ruled by oligarchies that governed through a council and through elected officials. They were sophisticated people, with an alphabet based on the Greek alphabet, a powerfully original sculptural and painting tradition, a religion based on human-type gods which they had learned from the Greeks, and a complicated set of rituals for divining the future, which they handed down to the Romans. Unlike most civilizations of the time, gender inequality seems not to have been pronounced.
The Etruscans believe that their religion...