Photo of Etruscan Tomb
Tarquinia, Home of the Etruscans
The City of Civitavecchia is located on the west coast of the Italian boot. As a cruise port, it is usually the jumping off point for a visit to Rome, one of the most magnificent cities on our planet. The bus ride to Rome can take one and a half to two hours however, so even a full day’s stop in Civitavecchia leaves little time to explore the city. Tarquinia, a center of the ancient Etruscan civilization, makes an interesting alternate touring destination.
Historical Significance of the Etruscans
The earliest evidence of the Etruscan civilization dates back to the 9th century BC. The origins of the Etruscans remains a mystery, and their language was not of Indo -European origin, however, Etruscan tombs show them to have been great builders, artisans, and artists. The only glimpse of this great culture which remains can be found in the artistry of the tombs they created, and the writings of their contemporaries, the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Famous ancient historians, such as Herodotus and Homer, expounded various theories about the origins of the Etruscan people. Did they originate in Asia Minor, or were they indigenous people exposed to foreign cultures by travelers? No-one knows for sure. This much is known however. They were industrious people who laid the foundations for the building of the city of Rome by driving shepherds off the land and reclaiming the swamps which surrounded it. If their language has seemed familiar it is because many of their words made their way into Latin and English. They ruled the Mediterranean for a time in the 6th century BC, and later were ruled by Venetians and Romans.
There is evidence to suggest that the Etruscans were prolific writers, but their literature and other writings were systematically destroyed by early Christians, who viewed them as the source of all superstitions. Unfortunately, it is the very absence of these writings that makes it difficult to…