Etruscan (Scope note)

The Etruscans inhabited western central Italy. This culture developed out of the Iron Age Villanovan culture—they are traditionally called ‘Etruscan’ after 700 BC, when their language was first written. Etruria was made up of twelve city-states, united by language and religion, who were loosely allied in the Etruscan league. Early on, kings ruled the city-states, but by 500 BC, the power was held by magistrates of the aristocratic class. Ancient Etruria was rich in mineral ores, agricultural resources, and timber; they were a wealthy people. The Etruscans were greatly influenced by the contemporary Greeks but they had their own distinctive character, which in turn influenced the neighbouring Italian peoples, including the Romans. The Etruscans reached the height of their civilization during the sixth century BC. Their decline was caused by the assault on them by the Greeks, the Gauls, and the Romans. They fought with Rome until circa 280 BC, by which time all the Etruscan city sates had lost their independence. By the first century BC, the Etruscans were assimilated into the Roman world. Used with Italy as Production place.