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Preface
This webpage reproduces a section of
The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria

by George Dennis

published by John Murray, Albemarle Street
London, 1848.

The text is in the public domain.


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Introduction:
part 2

p. xxi INTRODUCTION


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ETRUSCAN AMPHORA.

Antiquarian research, partaking of the quickened energy of the nineteenth century, has of late years thrown great light on the early history of Italy. It has demonstrated, in confirmation of extant records, that ages before the straw hut of Romulus arose on the Palatine, there existed in that land a nation far advanced in civilization and refinement — that Rome, before her intercourse with Greece, was indebted to Etruria for whatever tended to elevate and humanise her, for her chief lessons in art and science, for many of her political, and most of her religious and social institutions, for the conveniences and enjoyments of peace, and the tactics and appliances of war — for almost everything in short that tended to exalt her as a nation, xxiisave her stern virtues, her thirst of conquest, and her indomitable courage, which were peculiarly her own; for verily her sons were mighty with little else but the sword —

Stolidum genus —

Bellipotentes sunt magis quam sapientipotentes.1

The external history of the Etruscans, as there are no direct chronicles extant, is to be gathered only from scattered notices in Greek and Roman writers. Their internal history, till of late years, was almost a blank, but by the continual accumulation of fresh facts it is now daily acquiring form and substance, and promises, ere long, to be as distinct and palpable as that of Egypt, Greece, or Rome. For we already know the extent and peculiar nature of their civilization — their social condition and modes of life — their extended commerce and intercourse with far distant countries — their religious creed, with its ceremonial observances in this life, and the joys and torments it set forth in a future state — their popular traditions — and a variety of customs, of all which, History, commonly so called, is either utterly silent, or makes but incidental mention, or gives notices imperfect and obscure. We can now enter into inner life of the Etruscans, almost as fully as if they were living and moving before us, instead of having been extinct as a nation for more than two thousand years. We can follow them from the cradle to the tomb, — we see them in their national costume, varied according to age, sex, rank, and office, — we learn their style of adorning their persons, their fashions, and the eccentricities of their toilet, — we even become acquainted with their peculiar physiognomy, their individual names and family relationships, — we know what houses they inhabited, what furniture they used, — we behold them at their various avocations — the princes in the council-chamber — the augur, or priest, at the altar, or in solemn procession — the warrior in the battle-field, or returning home in triumph — the judge on the bench — the artisan at his handicraft — the husbandman at the plough — the slave at his daily toil, — we see them in the bosom of their families, and at the festive board, xxiiireclining luxuriously amid the strains of music, and the time-beating feet of dancers — at their favourite games and sports, encountering the wild-boar, or looking on at the race, at the wrestling-match, or other palaestric exercises, — we behold them stretched on the death-bed — the last rites performed by mourning relatives — the funeral procession — their bodies laid in the tomb — and the solemn festivals held in their honour. Nor even here do we lose sight of them, but follow their souls to the unseen world — perceive them in the hands of good or evil spirits — conducted to the judgment-seat, and in the enjoyment of bliss, or suffering the punishment of the damned.

We are indebted for most of this knowledge, not to musty records drawn from the oblivion of centuries, but to monumental remains — purer fonts of historical truth — landmarks which, even when few and far between, are the surest guides across the expanse of distant ages — to the monuments which are still extant on the sites of the ancient Cities of Etruria, or have been drawn from their Cemeteries, and are stored in the museums of Italy and of Europe.

The internal history of Etruria is written on the mighty walls of her cities, and on other architectural monuments, on her roads, her sewers, her tunnels, but above all in her sepulchres; it is to be read on graven rocks, and on the painted walls of tombs; but its chief chronicles are inscribed on sarcophagi and cinerary urns, on vases and goblets, and mirrors and other articles in bronze, and a thousand et cetera of personal adornment, and of domestic and warlike furniture — all found within the tombs of a people long passed away, and whose existence was till of late remembered by few but the traveller or the student of classical lore. It was the great reverence for the dead, which the Etruscans possessed in common with the other nations of antiquity, that prompted them — fortunately for us of the nineteenth century — to store their tombs with these rich and varied sepulchral treasures, which unveil to us the arcana of their inner life, almost as fully as though a second Pompeii had been disinterred in the heart of Etruria; going far to compensate us for the loss of the native annals of the country,2 of the xxivchronicles of Theophrastus,3 and Verrius Flaccus,4 and twenty books of its history by the Emperor Claudius.5

"Parlan le tombe ove la Storia è muta."

Etruria truly illustrates the remark, that "the history of a people must be sought in its sepulchres."

The object of this work is not to collect the disjecta membra of Etruscan history, and form them into a whole, though it were possible to breathe into it fresh spirit and life from the eloquent monuments that recent researches have brought to light; it is not to build up from these monuments any theory on the origin of this singular people, on the character of their language, or on the peculiar nature of their civilization, — it is simply to set before the reader a mass of facts relative to Etruscan remains, and particularly to afford the traveller who would visit the Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria such information as may prove of service, by indicating precisely what is now to be found on each site, whether local monuments, or those portable relics which exist in public museums, or in the hands of private collectors.

Before entering, however, on the consideration of the particular antiquities of Etruria, it is advisable to take a general view of her geographical position and physical features, as well as to give a slight sketch of her civilization.

It is difficult to define with precision the limits of a state, which existed at so early a period as Etruria, ages before any extant chronicles were written — of which such scanty records have come down to us, and whose boundaries must have frequently varied during are continual struggles with her warlike neighbours.

We are told that in very early times the dominion of Etruria embraced the greater part of Italy,6 extending over the plains of Lombardy to the Alps on the one hand,7 and to Vesuvius and xxvthe Gulf of Salerno on the other;8 stretching also across the peninsula from the Tyrrhene to the Adriatic Sea,9 and comprising the large islands off her western shores.10

xxvi This wide territory was divided into three grand districts — that in the centre, which may be termed Etruria Proper; that to the north, or Etruria Circumpadana; and that to the south, or Etruria Campaniana. And each of these regions was divided into Twelve States, each represented by a city,11 as in Greece, xxviiwhere Athens, Sparta, Argos, Thebes — or in Italy of the middle ages, where Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Florence — were representatives of so many independent, sovereign states, possessed of extensive territory.

Such seems to have been the extent of Etruria in the time of Tarquinius Priscus, when she gave a dynasty to Rome, probably as to a conquered city. But ere long the Gauls on the north and east,12 the Sabines, Samnites, and Greek colonists on the south,13 succeeded in compressing this wide-spread dominion into the comparatively narrow limits of the central region. This may be called Etruria Proper, because it was the peculiar seat of the Etruscan power — the mother-country whence the adjoining districts were conquered or colonised — the source where the peculiar political and religious system of the nation took its rise — the region where the power of Etruria continued to flourish long after it had been extinguished in the rest of Italy, and where the name, religion, language and customs of the people were preserved for ages after they had lost their political independence, and had been absorbed in the colossal corporation of Rome.

It is Etruria Proper alone of which I propose to treat in the following pages.

It was still an extensive region of the Italian peninsula, comprehending almost the whole of modern Tuscany, the Duchy of Lucca, and the Transtiberine portion of the Papal State; being bounded on the north by the Apennines and the river Magra,14 on the east by the Tiber, on the west and south by several ranges of mountains, lateral branches or offsets of the great spine-bone xxviiiof the peninsula — in the northern part in long chains stretching in various directions — in the south, of much inferior altitude, lying in detached masses, and separated, not by mere valleys, but by vast plains or table-lands. The geology of the two districts differs as widely as their superficial features. In the northern, the higher mountains, like the great chain of the Apennines, are chiefly composed of secondary limestone, and attain a considerable altitude; the lower are formed of sandstone or marl. The southern district on every hand shows traces of volcanic action — in the abundance of hot springs and sulphureous waters — in vast plains of tufo and other igneous deposits, of even later date than the tertiary formations — and in the mountains which are chiefly of the same material, with beds of lava, basalt, or scoriae, and which have been themselves volcanoes, their craters, extinct long before the days of history or even fable, being now the beds of beautiful lakes. Hath, however, in this southern region, are heights of limestone; now, like Soracte, rearing their craggy peaks from the wide bosom of the plain; now, stretching in a continuous range along the coast. On these physical differences depend many of the characteristic features of northern and southern Etruria. The line of demarcation between these two great districts of Etruria is almost that of the modern frontier between the Tuscan and Roman States — i.e. from Cosa north-eastward to Acquapendente, and thence following the course of the Paglia till it mingles with the Tiber, near Orvieto.

Of the Twelve Cities or States of Etruria Proper, no complete list is given by the ancients, but it is not difficult to gather from their statements, which were the chief in the land. Foremost among them was Tarquinii, where the national polity, civil and religious, took its rise. This city was in the southern division of the land; so also were Veiiand Falerii, long the antagonists, with Caere, the ally, of Rome; and Volsinii, one of the last to be subdued. In the northern region were, Vetulonia and Rusellae on the coast, Clusium and Arretium in the vale of the Clanis, and Cortona and Perusia on the heights near the Thrasymene; while Volaterrae stood by herself and ruled over a wide tract in the far xxixnorth.15 Beside these, there were many other cities, renowned in history, or remarkable for their massive fortifications still extant, for their singular tombs, or for the wondrous treasures of their sepulchral furniture — all of which will be described in the course of this work.

Etruria was of old densely populated, not only in those parts which are still inhabited, but also, as is proved by remains of cities and cemeteries, in tracts now desolated by malaria, and relapsed into the desert; and what is now the fen or the jungle, the haunt of the wild-boar, the buffalo, the fox, and the noxious reptile, where man often dreads to stay his steps, and hurries away as from a plague-stricken land —

Rus vacuum, quod non habitet, nisi nocte coactà
Invitus —

of old yielded rich harvests of corn,º wine, and oil,16 and contained numerous cities, mighty, and opulent, into whose laps commerce poured the treasures of the East, and the more precious produce of the Hellenic genius. Most of these ancient sites are now without a habitat, furrowed yearly by the plough, or forsaken as unprofitable wildernesses; and such as are still occupied, are, with few exceptions, mere phantoms of their xxxpristine greatness — mean villages in the place of populous cities. On every hand are traces of bygone civilization, inferior in quality, no doubt, to that which at present exists, but much wider in extent, and exerting far greater influence on the surrounding nations, and on the destinies of the world. The glory has verily departed from Etruria.

The sites of the cities varied according to the nature of the ground. In the volcanic district, where they were most thickly set, they stood on the level of the plains, yet were not unprotected by nature, these plains or table-lands being everywhere intersected by ravines, the cleavings of the earth under volcanic action, which form natural fosses of great depth round the cliff-bound islands or promontories on which the towns are built. Such was the situation of Veii, Caere, Falerii, Sutrium, and other cities of historical renown. The favourite position was on a tongue of land at the junction of two of these ravines. In the northern district the cities stood in more commanding situations, on isolated hills; but never on the summits of scarcely accessible mountains, like many a Cyclopean town in Central Italy, which —

"Like an eagle's nest, hangs on the crest

Of purple Apennine."

Low ground, without any natural strength of site, was always avoided, though a few towns, as Luna, Pisae, Graviscae, Pyrgi, for maritime and commercial purposes, stood on the very level of the coast.

The position of the cities of Etruria is in some measure a key to her civilization and political condition.17 Had they been on mountain-tops, we might have inferred a state of society little removed from barbarism, in which there was no security or confidence between the several communities. Had they stood on the unbroken level of the plains, we should have seen in them an index to an amount of internal security, such as nowhere existed in those early times. Yet is their medium position not inconsistent with a considerable degree of civilization, xxxiand a generally peaceable state of society. They are not such sites as were selected in later times, even by the Romans; but it should be borne in mind, that the political constitution of the people of early Italy, as of Greece, was entirely municipal — that cities were states, and citizens soldiers — and fortifications were therefore as indispensable to the cities of old, as standing armies and fleets are deemed to be to the states of modern Europe.

Before same consider the institutions of Etruria, it may be well to say a word on the origin of the people, and the source of their civilization.

It must be remarked, that the people known to the Romans as Etruscans were not the original inhabitants of the land, but a mixed race, composed partly of the earlier occupants, partly of a people of foreign origin, who became dominant by right of conquest, and engrafted their peculiar civilization on that previously existing in the land. All history concurs in representing the earliest occupants to have been Siculi, or Umbri, two of the most ancient races of Italy, little removed, it is probable, from barbarism, though not nomade, but dwelling in towns. Then a people of Greek race, the Pelasgi, entered Italy at the head of the Adriatic, and crossing the Apennines, and uniting themselves with the Aborigines, or mountaineers, took possession of Etruria, driving out the earlier inhabitants, raised towns and fortified them with mighty walls, and long ruled supreme, till they were in turn conquered by a third race, called by the Greeks Tyrrheni, or Tyrseni, by the Romans Etrusci, Tusci, or Thusci,18 and by themselves, Rasena,19 who are xxxiisupposed to have established their power in the land about 290 years before the foundation of Rome, or 1044 before Christ.20

The threads of the history, however, of these races are so entangled, as to defy every attempt at unravelment; and the confusion is increased by the indiscriminate application of the word Tyrrheni, which was used by the ancients as a synonym sometimes of Pelasgi, sometimes of Etrusci.

Amid this confusion, two facts stand out with prominence. First — that the land was inhabited before the Etruscans properly so called, took possession of it. And secondly — that the Etruscans came from abroad. From what country, however, is a problem as much disputed as any in the whole compass of classical inquiry.

It is not compatible with the object of this work to enter fully into this when, yet it cannot be passed by in utter silence. To guide us, we have data of two kinds — the records of the ancients, and the extant monuments of the Etruscans. The native annals, which may be presumed to have spoken explicitly on this point, have not come down to us, and we have only the testimony of Greek and Roman writers. The concurrent voice of these — historians and geographers, poets and philosophers — with a solitary exception, marks the Etruscans as a tribe of Lydians, who, leaving their native land on account of a protracted famine, settled in this part of Italy.21 xxxiiiThe dissentient voice, however, is of great importance — that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus — one of the most accurate and diligent antiquaries of his times, and an authority considered by many as sufficient to outweigh the vast body of opposing evidence. His objections are two-fold. First — that Xanthus, an early native historian of Lydia, "particularly well versed in ancient history," makes no mention of such an emigration. Secondly — that neither in language, religion, laws, nor customs, was there any similarity between the Lydians and Etruscans — i.e. as they existed in his day. He consequently broached a view entirely different from that recorded by other ancient writers, viz., that they were unlike every other race in language, manners, and customs.22 This view has been adopted by a modern Tuscan writer of celebrity, who, however, may be suspected of national prejudice, when he attempts to prove that the early civilization of Italy was indigenous.23

A different opinion was held by the great Niebuhr — that the Etruscans were a tribe from the Rhaetian Alps, who conquered the Tyrrhene-Pelasgi, the earlier possessors of the land. This opinion is worthy of all respect, as coming from such a man, but seems to me to derive little support from ancient writers.24 Nor does the well-known fact that ancient monuments like the Etruscan, and inscriptions in a character very similar, have been found among the Rhaetian and Noric Alps, come to the aid of this theory. For though we are told that the Etruscans occupied Rhaetia, it was only when they had been driven by the Gauls from their settlements in the plains of the Po. All history concurs in marking the emigration to have been from the south northwards, instead of the contrary.25 The subjoined specimen of Rhaeto-Etruscan art confirms Livy's testimony as to the degeneracy and semi-barbarism of these Etruscan emigrants.26


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FIGURES ON ANCIENT BRONZES, FOUND IN THE TYROL.

xxxv A modification of Niebuhr's view was held by Otfried Müller — that the later element in the Etruscan nation was from Lydia, yet composed not of natives, but of Tyrrhene-Pelasgi who had settled on the coasts of Asia Minor; and that xxxvithe earlier lords of the land were the Rasena, from the mountains of Rhaetia, who driving back the Umbrians, and uniting with the Tyrrheni on the Tarquinian coast, formed the Etruscan race.27

A more recent opinion, also of great weight, is that of Lepsius, — that there was no occupation of the land by any foreign race after its conquest by the Pelasgi, but that the Umbrians, whom they had subdued, in time recovering strength, rebelled with success, and that this reaction of the early inhabitants against their conquerors produced what is known as the Etruscan people.28

It would take too long to record all the opinions and shades of opinion held on this intricate subject. Suffice it to say that the origin of the Etruscans has been assigned to the Greeks — to the Egyptians — the Phoenicians — the Canaanites — the Libyans — the Cantabrians or Basques — the Celts, an old and favourite theory revived in our own days by Sir William Betham, who fraternises them with his pets, the Irish — and lastly, to the Hyksos, or Shepherd-Kings of Egypt. I know not if they have been taken for the lost Ten Tribes of Israel, but, certes, a very pretty theory might be set up to that effect, and support by arguments which would appear all-cogent to every one who swears by Coningsby.29

xxxvii The reader, when he perceives how many-sided is this question, will surely thank me for not leading him deeply into it, yet may hardly like to be left among this chaos of opinions without a guiding hand. Amid the clash and conflict of such a host of combatants, who shall attempt to establish harmony? — and where there are "giants in the land," who shall hope to prevail against them?

I confess I do not perceive that the crowd of authorities who maintain the Lydian origin of the Etruscans have been put hors de combat by the dictum of Dionysius. There seems to be life in them yet. They clearly represent the popular traditions, not of the Romans only, but of the Etruscans also, for what was current on such a matter among the former, could not have been opposed to the traditions of the latter. Nay, we have it on record that the Etruscans claimed for themselves a Lydian origin. Tacitus tells us that in the time of Tiberius, deputies from Sardis recited before the Roman senate a decree of the Etruscans, declaring their consanguinity, on the ground of the early colonization of Etruria by the Lydians.30 This popular tradition might not of itself be decisive of the question, but when it is confirmed by a comparison of the recorded customs and the extant monuments of the two people, as will presently be shown, it comes with a force to my mind, that will not admit of rejection.31

When a tribe like the Gypsies, without house or home, without literature or history, without fixed religious creed, but willing to adopt that of any country where their lot may be cast, with no moral peculiarity beyond their nomade life and roguish habits — when such a people assert that they come from Egypt or elsewhere, we believe them in proportion as we find xxxviiitheir physiognomy, language, and peculiar customs, are in accordance with those of the land whence they claim their origin. Their tradition is credible only when confirmed from other sources. But when a people, not a mere tribe, but spread over a large extent of territory, not a nomade, semibarbarous, unlettered race, but a nation settled for ages in one country, possessing a literature and national annals, a systematic form of government and ecclesiastical polity, and a degree of civilization second to that of no contemporary people, save Greece, — a nation in constant intercourse with the most polite and civilized of its fellows, and probably with the very race from which it claimed its descent, — when such a people lays claim traditionally to a definite origin, which nothing in its manners, customs, or creed appears to belie, but many things confirm — how can we set the tradition at nought? — why hesitate to give it credence? It was not so much a doubtful fiction of poetry, assumed for a peculiar purpose, like the Trojan origin of Rome, as a record preserved in the religious books of the nation, like the Chronicles of the Jews.

If this tradition of the Lydian origin of the Etruscans be borne out by their recorded manners, and by monumental evidence, it must entirely outweigh the conflicting and unsupported testimony of Dionysius. Nay, granting him to have spoken advisedly in asserting that there was no resemblance between the two people in language, religion, or customs, it were well explained by the lapse of more than a thousand years from the traditional emigration to his day, — a period much more than sufficient to efface all superficial analogies between people so widely severed, and subjected to such different external influences, and a period during which the Lydians were purposely degraded by Cyrus, till they had "lost all their pristine virtue,"32 while the Etruscans, though also subjected to a foreign yoke, continued to advance in the arts of civilized life.33

xxxix No fact can be more clearly established than the oriental character of the civic and religious polity, the social and domestic manners, and many of the arts of the Etruscans; and traces of this affinity are abundant in their monuments.

Like the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and Hindoos, the Etruscans were subject to an all-dominant hierarchy, which assumed to be a theocracy, and maintained its sway by its arrogant, extensive claims of intimate acquaintance with the will of Heaven and the decrees of fate. But here this ecclesiastical authority was further strengthened by the civil government, for the priests and augurs of Etruria were also her princes and military chiefs; so that with this triple sceptre of civil, religious, and military power, they ruled the people "as the soul governs the body." This state of things was purely oriental. It never existed among the Greeks or other European races; unless it find some analogy in the Druidical system. The divination and augury for which the Etruscans were renowned, and which gave them so peculiar a character among the nations of the west, were of oriental origin. Besides the abundant proofs given in Holy Writ of the early prevalence of soothsaying in the East, we have the authority of Homer and other pagan writers; and the origin of augury is particularly referred to Caria, an adjoining and cognate country to Lydia.34 Cicero, indeed, classes the Etruscans with the Chaldees for their powers of divination, though they affected to read the will of heaven, not in the stars, or in dreams, so much as in the entrails of victims, the flight of birds, and the effects of lightning.35

xl The evidence of extant monuments seems to point to a close analogy between the Etruscan religious creed and those of oriental nations, but whether this is substantial or merely superficial we have no means of determining. Micali has written a work with the express purpose of establishing this analogy from the consideration of Etruscan monuments.36 He contends that the antagonism of good and evil in the government of the universe, which entered so largely into the religious systems of the East, was held by the Etruscans also, and is set forth by the same external means of expression — either by the victories of deities over wild beasts or monsters, or by combats of animals of different natures. Such representations are seen in the colossal reliefs of Persepolis — on the monuments of Babylon and Nineveh — in the Osiris and Typhon of Egypt — and such abound on works of Etruscan art, particularly on those of most ancient character and date. But how far these representations on Etruscan monuments are symbolical, and how far they are parts a conventional, decorative system derived from the East, it is not easy to pronounce. Such subjects are found also on works of primitive Hellenic art, and especially on those from lands of Greek colonization in Asia Minor. The same may be said of monsters of two-fold life — sphinxes, griffons, chimaeras — and even of the four-winged demons of the Assyrian and Babylonian mythology, which abound also on Etruscan monuments, and are likewise found on Greek vases. Yet the doctrine of good and evil spirits attendant on the soul — obviously held by the Etruscans37 — favours the supposition that they held the dualistic principle of oriental creeds.

The analogy of the Etruscan customs to those of the East did not escape the notice of ancient writers. And here let me xliremark that the Mysians, Lydians, Carians, Lycians, and Phrygians being cognate races, inhabiting adjoining lands, what is recorded of one is generally applicable to all.38 "The ascendancy of the Lydian dynasty in Asia Minor, with its empire (real or fabulous) of the sea during its flourishing ages, would naturally impart to any such tradition a Lydian form. In any attempt, therefore, to illustrate the Etruscan origin or manners from Asiatic sources, our appeals may safely be extended to the neighbouring, whether kindred, or merely connected, races."39 The sports, games, and dances of the Etruscans, adopted by the Romans, are traditionally of Lydian origin. The musical instruments on which they excelled were introduced from Asia Minor, — the double-pipes from Phrygia,40 the trumpet from Lydia.41 Their luxurious habits were so strictly oriental, that almost the same language is used in describing them and those of the Lydians.42 Dionysius himself, after having stated that there was no resemblance whatever between the customs of the Etruscans and Lydians, points out that the purple robes worn in Etruria as insignia of authority, were similar to those of the Lydian and Persian monarchs, differing only in form.43 Even the common national robe, the toga, xliiwas of Lydian origin.44 The eagle, which Rome bore as her standard, and which she derived from Etruria, was also the military ensign of Persia.45 The young women of Etruria are said, like those of Lydia, to have obtained their dowries by prostitution.46 The singular custom of the Lycians, of tracing their descent by the maternal line, obtained also among the Etruscans, alone among the nations of antiquity.47 And another custom which essentially distinguished the Etruscans from the Greeks, and assimilated them to the people of Asia Minor, was that they shared the festive couch with their wives.48 Their language and the character in which it was written have very marked oriental analogies. But in their tombs and sepulchral usages the affinity of Etruria to Lydia and other countries of the East is most strongly marked; and it is to be learned not only from extant monuments, but from historical records. These analogies will be pointed out in detail in the course of this work.

The relation and connection of Etruria with the East is an established fact, admitted on all hands but variously accounted for.49 To me it seems to be such as cannot be explained by xliiicommercial intercourse, however extensive, for it is apparent not merely on the surface of Etruscan life, but deep within it, influencing all its springs of action, and imparting a tone and character, that neither Greek example and preceptorship, nor Roman domination could ever entirely efface. So intimate a connection could only have been formed by conquest or colonization from the East. That such was possible all will admit, — that it was not improbable, the common practice of antiquity of colonizing distant lands is evidence enough; sublime memorials of which we still behold on the shores of Italy and Sicily, in those shrines of a long-perished creed, now sacred to the divinity of Hellenic genius. Had we been told that Mysia, Caria, Phrygia, or Lycia, was the mother-country of Etruria, we might have accepted the tradition, but as Lydia is definitely indicated, why refuse to credit it? To what country of the East we may be inclined to ascribe this colonization, is of little moment. We must at least admit, with Seneca, that "Asia claims the Etruscans as her own." — Tuscos Asia sibi vindicat.50

That which in an investigation of this kind would prove of most service is here unfortunately of no avail. The land of Etruria, even in an age which has unveiled the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the arrow-headed character of Babylon, still remains a mystery. This "geological literature," as it has been aptly termed, has baffled the learning and research of scholars of every nation for ages past; and though fresh treasures are daily stored up, the key to unlock them is still wanting. We know the characters in which it is written, which much resemble the Pelasgic or early Greek,51— we can learn even somewhat of the genius of the language and its inflections; xlivbut beyond this, and the proper names and the numerals on sepulchral monuments, and a few words recorded by the ancients,52 the wisest must admit their ignorance, and confess that all they know of the Etruscan tongue, is that it is unique — like the Basque, an utter alien to every known fm of languages. To the other early tongues of Italy, which made use of the same or nearly the same character, we find some key in the Latin, especially to the Oscan, which bears to it a parental relation. But the Etruscan has been tested again and again by Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and every other ancient language, and beyond occasional affinities which may be mere coincidences, such as occur in almost every case, no clue has yet been found to its interpretation, — and only some monument like the Rosetta-stone should come to light, and some Young or Champollion should arise to decipher it, the Etruscan must ever remain a xlvdead, as it has always emphatically been, a sepulchral, language.53 Till then, to every fanciful theorist, who fondly hugs himself into the belief that to him it has been reserved to unravel the mystery, or who possesses the Sabine faculty of dreaming what he wishes, we must reply in the words of the prophet — "It is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not."

Were it not for this mystery of the language, the oriental analogies on the one hand, and the Greek features on the other, which are obvious in the recorded customs of Etruria and the monuments of her art, might be reconciled by the theory of a Pelasgic colony from Asia Minor. But the language in its utter loneliness compels us to look further for the origin of the Etruscan people.

For the benefit of travellers, who would spell their way xlvithrough epitaphs, I subjoin the Etruscan alphabet, confronting the characters with the Greek.

Α


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Ε


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Ζ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]
		, rarely 
[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Θ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Ι


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Κ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]
		, rarely 
[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Λ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Μ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Ν


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Π


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Ρ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Σ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Τ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Υ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]
		, rarely 
[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Φ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Χ


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]
		, rarely 
[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Aspirate


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

Digamma


[image ALT: One or more Etruscan characters, all representing various forms of the same letter, part of a table giving the entire Etruscan alphabet.]

The Etruscan alphabet, it will be seen, wants the Β, Γ, Δ, ξ, Υ, the Η, and both the Ο and Ω. In the custom of writing from right to left, and of frequently dropping the short vowels, the Etruscan bears a close oriental analogy. Indeed it is clear that, like the Pelasgic, the Greek, and other kindred alphabets, this had its origin from Phoenicia.54

The numerals known to us by the name of Roman, are in reality Etruscan; and were originally not only read from right to left, but were inverted.

The government of Etruria in external form bore some resemblance to a federal republic, each of its Twelve States or Cities having a distinct internal sovereignty, yet combining in a league of amity and mutual assistance — such a confederation, xlviiin fact, as existed in early times among the states of Greece. Yet the internal government of each state was an aristocracy, for the kings we read of occasionally in Roman history were either the chief rulers of each state, or one chosen out of this body to preside over all, like the Doges of Venice or the Popes of Rome. Indeed, the analogy in the latter case is strengthened by the double functions, political and ecclesiastical, of the Etruscan Lucumones. For these princes were all augurs, skilled in divination and the mysteries of "the Etruscan Discipline;" and when they met in solemn conclave at the shrine of the great goddess Voltumna, to deliberate on the affairs of the Confederation, one was chosen from among them as high-priest or pontiff.55 In Etruria, as in the modern Papal State, the same will decreed civil laws, and prescribed religious observances and ceremonies, all on the assumption of an unerring interpretation of the will of heaven.

Political freedom was a plant which flourished not in Etruria. The power was wholly in the hands of the priestly nobles; the people had no voice in the government, not even the power of making themselves heard and respected, as at Rome. Whatever may have been the precise relation between the ruling class and their dependents, it is clear that it was akin to the feudal system, and that the mass of the community was enthralled. The state of society was not precisely that of the middle ages, for there was more union and community of interest and feeling than among the feudal lords of Germany, France, or England. The commons must have been a conquered people, the descendants of the early inhabitants of the land, and must have stood in a somewhat similar relation to their rulers, to that which the Perioeci of Laconia held to their Dorian lords, or the subjugated Saxons of England bore to their Norman conquerors. That they were serfs rather than slaves seems evident, from the fact that they formed the class of which the Etruscan armies were composed. The Etruscans possessed slaves, like the other xlviiinations of antiquity56 — nay, their bondage was proverbially rigorous,57— but these were captives taken in war, or in piratical expeditions. Niebuhr shows that "the want of a free and respectable communalty — which the Etruscans, obstinately retaining and extending their old feudal system, never allowed to grow up — was the occasion of the singular weakness displayed by the great Etruscan cities in their wars with the Romans, where the victory was decided by the number and strength of the infantry."58 It was also the cause of the inferiority of the Etruscan to the Greek civilization — of its comparatively stationary and conventional character. Yet had there been no slaves, and had the entire population been of one race, the lower classes could hardly have escaped enthralment, for it is difficult to conceive of a system of government more calculated to enslave both mind and body than that of the aristocratical augurs and aruspices of Etruria.

The religion of Etruria in her earliest ages bore some resemblance to that of Egypt, but more to the other theological systems of the East. It had the same gloomy, unbending, imperious character, the same impenetrable shroud of mysticism xlixand symbolism; widely unlike the lively, plastic, phantasy-full creed of the Greeks, whose joyous spirit found utterance in song. The one was a religion of a caste, imposed for its exclusive benefit on the masses, and therefore not an exponent of national character, though influencing it; the other was the creed of an entire people, voluntarily embraced from its adaptation to their wants — nay, called into being by them — and necessarily stamped with the peculiar impress of their thoughts and feelings. In consequence of increased intercourse with other lands, in subsequent times, the mythology of Etruria assimilated, in great measure, to that of Greece; yet there was always this difference, that she held her creed, not as something apart from all political systems, not as a set of dogmas which deep-probing philosophy and shallow superstitionº could hold in common, and each invest with its peculiar meaning. No; it was with her an all-pervading principle — the very atmosphere of her existence — a leaven operating on the entire mass of society — a constant presence ever felt in one form or other — a power admitting no rival, all-ruling, all-regulating, all-requiring. Such was its sway, that it moulded the national character, and gave the Etruscans a pre-eminently religious reputation among the people of antiquity.59 Like the Roman Catholic in after times, it was renowned as the religion of mysteries, of marvels, of ceremonial pomp and observances. Its dominance was not without one beneficial effect. It bound its votaries in fetters, if not of entire harmony, at least of peace. Those civil contests which were the disgrace of Greece, which retarded her civilization, and ultimately proved her destruction, seem to have been unknown in Etruria. Yet the power of her religion was but negative; it proved ineffectual as a national bond, as an incitement to make common cause against a common foe. The several States were often at variance, and pursued independent courses of action, and thus laid themselves open to be conquered in detail.60 But as far as we can learn from history, lthey were never arrayed in arms against each other; and this must have been the effect of their religion. Yet it was her system of spiritual tyranny that rendered Etruria inferior to Greece. She had the same arts — an equal amount of scientific knowledge — a more extended commerce. In every field had the Etruscan mind liberty to expand, save in that wherein lies man's highest delight and glory. Before the gate of that paradise where the intellect revels unfettered among speculations on its own nature, existence, and final destiny, on its relation to the First Cause, to other minds, and to society in general — stood the sacerdotal Lucumo, brandishing in one hand the double-edged sword of secular and ecclesiastical authority, and holding forth in the other the books of Tages, exclaiming, to his awe-struck subjects, "Believe and obey!" Liberty of thought and action was as incompatible with the assumption of infallibility in the governing power in the days of Tarchon or Porsena, as in those of Gregory XVI.a

The mythological system of Etruria is learned partly from ancient writers, partly from national monuments, particularly figured mirrors. It was in some measure allied to that of Greece, though rather to the early Pelasgic system than to that of the Hellenes; but still more nearly to that of Rome, who in fact derived certain of her divinities and their names from this source.

The three great deities, who had temples in every Etruscan city, were Tina or TiniaCupra — and Mnerva or Menerva.61

Tinia was the supreme deity of the Etruscans, analogous to lithe Zeus of the Greeks, and the Jupiter of the Romans — "the centre of the Etruscan god-world, the power who speaks in the thunder and descends in the lightning." He is always represented on Etruscan monuments with the thunder-bolt in his hand.62

Cupra was the Etruscan Hera or Juno, and her principal shrines seem to have been at Veii, Falerii, and Perusia. Like her counterpart among the Greeks and Romans, she appears to have been worshipped under other forms, according to her various attributes — as Feronia, Thalna or Thana, Ilithiyaº-Leucothea.63

Menrva, as she is called on Etruscan monuments, answers to the Pallas-Athene of the Greeks. It is probable that the name by which the Romans knew her was of purely Etruscan origin.64 She seems to have been allied to Nortia, the Fortuna of Etruscans.65 Like her counterpart in the Greek and Roman mythology, she is represented armed, and with the aegis on her breast, but in addition has sometimes wings.66

There were Twelve Great Gods, six of each sex, called Dii Consentes or Complices. They comprised the council of Tinia, and are called "the senators of the gods" — "the Penates of the Thunderer himself." They were fierce and pitiless deities, dwelling in the inmost recesses of heaven, whose names it was liiforbidden to utter. Yet they were not deemed eternal, but supposed to rise and fall together.67

Still more awful and potent were "the shrouded Gods,"— Dii Involuti — whose appellation is suggestive of their mysterious character; they ruled both gods and men, and to their decisions even Tinia himself was obedient.68

The Etruscans believed in Nine Great Gods, who had the power of hurling thunderbolts; they were called Novensiles by the Romans.69 Of thunderbolts there were eleven sorts, by which Tinia, as the supreme thunder-god, wielded three.70 Cupra, or Juno, as one of the nine, also hurled her bolts.71 Menerva, the third, hurled hers at the time of the vernal equinox.72 Summanus hurled his bolts by night as Jupiter did by day, and received even more honour from the old Romans as a thunder-wielding god, than Jupiter himself.73 Vejovis, or Vedius, though with a Latin name, was an Etruscan deity, whose bolts had the singular effect of making those they struck so deaf, "that they could not hear the thunder, or even louder noises."74 Vulcan, or as the Etruscans called him Sethlans, was another bolt-hurling god.75 Mars was also one of the liiinine.76 The last two are not mentioned, but it seems probable that one was Saturn, or it may be their great infernal deity Mantus.77 The ninth was probably Hercules — Ercle, or ERCLE — a favourite god of the Etruscans.78

Besides these, were other great deities, as Vertumnus, or "the changeable," the god of wine and gardens, the Etruscan Bacchus;79 though that god is sometimes also called Phuphluns.80 Allied to him, probably in more than name, was Voltumna, the great goddess at whose shrine the confederate princes of Etruria held their councils.81 With her also may be analogous, Horta, whose name, perhaps, indicates a goddess of gardens, and from whom a town of Etruria derived its name.82 Aplu, or Apollo, often appears on Etruscan monuments, as god of the sun, being sometimes called Usil;83 and so also Turms, or Mercury;84 and Turan, or Venus;85 and more rarely Thesan, livthe goddess of the dawn, Eos-Aurora;86 and Losna, or Lala — the Etruscan Luna, or Diana.87 Nethuns, or Neptune, also appears on monuments,88 and Janus and Silvanus are mentioned as Etruscan gods,89 but they may have been of foreign introduction. Then there were four gods called Penates — Ceres, Pales, Fortuna, and the Genius Jovialis;90 and the two Penates of the Latium, — the Dioscuri, — Castur and Pultuke — were much worshipped in Etruria, as we learn from monuments.91 The worship of the mysterious Cabiri testified to the Pelasgic origin of a portion of the Etruscan population.92

All these deities are more or less akin to those of other ancient mythological systems, and what were of native origin and what of foreign introduction, it is not always easy to determine. But there were others more peculiarly Etruscan. At least if their counterparts are to be found in the Greek and Roman Pantheons, they had a wider influence in Etruria, and lvoccupied a more prominent place in the Etruscan mythology. Such is the goddess of Fate, who is generally represented with wings, sometimes with a hammer and nail, as if fixing unalterably her decrees — an idea borrowed by the Romans; but more frequently with a bottle in one hand and a stylus in the other, with which to inscribe her decisions. She is found with various names attached; but the most common are Lasa, and Mean.93 A kindred goddess is frequently introduced in the reliefs on the sepulchral urns, as present at the death of some individual, and is generally armed with a hammer, a sword, or torch, though sometimes brandishing snakes like a Fury.

What gives most peculiarity to the Etruscan mythology is the doctrine of Genii. The entire system of national divination, called "the Etruscan Discipline," was supposed to have been revealed by a Genius, called Tages — a wondrous boy with a hoary head and the wisdom of age, who sprung from the fresh-ploughed furrows of Tarquinii.94 But the system of Lares and Penates, the household deities who watched over the personal and pecuniary interests of individuals and families, was the most prominent feature in the Etruscan mythology, whence it was borrowed by the Romans.95 Thence it was also, in all probability, that the Romans obtained their doctrine of an attendant genius watching over every individual from his birth —

Genius natale comes qui temperat astrum,

who was of the same sex as the individual, and was called Genius when male, and Juno when female. Yet we find no positive proof of this doctrine among the Etruscans.96

Last, but brought most prominently before the eye in Etruscan sepulchral monuments, are the dread powers of the lower world. Here rule Mantus and Mania, the Pluto and Proserpine of the Etruscan creed, never mentioned, though sometimes figured in the native monuments. Mantus is represented as an old lviman, wearing a crown, with wings at his shoulders, and a torch, or it may be large nails in his hands, to show the inevitable character of his decrees.97 Of Mania we have no decided representation, but she is probably figured in some of the female demons who were supposed to be present at scenes of death and slaughter. She was a fearful deity, who was propitiated by human sacrifices.98 Intimately connected with these divinities was Charun, the great conductor of souls, the infernal Mercury of the Etruscans, the chief minster of Mantus, whose dread image, hideous as the imagination could conceive, is often introduced on sepulchre monuments; and who, with his numerous attendant demons and Furies, well illustrates the dark and gloomy character of the Etruscan superstition.99

The government and religion of a country being ascertained, lviimuch may be inferred of the character of its civilization. With such shackles as were imposed on it, it was impossible for the Etruscan mind, individually or collectively, to reach the highest degree of cultivation to which society, even in those early ages, attained. The intellect of Etruria, when removed from the sciences and arts, and purely practical applications, was too much absorbed in the mysteries of divination and the juggleries of priestcraft. Even art was fettered by conventionalities, imposed, it seems, by her religious system. Yet there is recorded evidence that she possessed a national literature — histories,100 tragedies,101 poems;102 besides religious and ritual books;103 and the Romans used to send their sons into the land of their hereditary foes to study its literature and language,104 just as in later times the "old Christians" of Spain sent their youth to receive a knightly education at the Moslem courts of Cordoba and Granada.

History, moreover, attests the eminence of the Etruscans in navigation and military tactics,105 agriculture, medicine, and other lviiipractical sciences;106 above all in astronomy, which was brought by them to such perfection, that they seem to have arrived at a very close approximation to the true division of time, and to have fixed the tropical year at precisely 365 days, 5 hours, 40 minutes.107

If we measure Etruria by the standard of her own day, we must ascribe to her a high degree of civilization — second only to that of Greece. It differed indeed, as the civilization of a country under despotic rule will always differ from that of a lixfree people. It resided in the mass rather than in the individual; it was the result of a set system, not of personal energy and excellence; its tendency was stationary rather than progressive; its object was to improve the physical condition of the people, and to minister to luxury, rather than to advanced and elevate the nobler faculties of human nature. In all this it assimilated to the civilization of the East, or of the Aztecs and Peruvians. It had not the earnest gem of development, the intense vitality which existed in Greece; it could never have produced a Plato, a Demosthenes, a Thucydides, or a Phidias. Yet while inferior to her illustrious contemporary in intellectual vigour and eminence, Etruria was in advance of her in her social condition and in certain respects in physical civilization, or that state in which the arts and sciences were made to minister to comfort and luxury. The health and cleanliness of her towns were insured by a system of sewerage, vestiges of which may be seen on many Etruscan sites; and the Cloaca Maxima will be a memorial to all time of the attention paid by the Etruscans to drainage. Yet this is said to have been neglected by the Greeks.108 In her internal communication Etruria also shows her advance in physical civilization. Few extant remains of paved ways, it is true, can be pronounced Etruscan, but in the neighbourhood of most of her cities are traces of roads cut in the rocks, sometimes flanked with tombs, or even marked with inscriptions, determining their antiquity; and generally having water-channels or gutters to keep them dry and clean.109 The Etruscans were also skilled in controlling lxthe injurious processes of nature. They drained lakes by cutting tunnels through the heart of mountains, and they diverted the course of rivers, to reclaim low and marshy ground, just as the Val di Chiana has been rescued in our own times.110 And these grand works are not only still extant, but some are even efficient as ever, after the lapse of so many centuries.

That the Etruscans were eminently skilled in tunnelling, excavating, and giving form and beauty to shapeless rocks, and for useful purposes, is a fact impressed on the mind of every one who visits the land. Their tombs were all subterranean, and, with few exceptions, hewn in the rock, after the manner of the Egyptians and other people of the East. In truth, in no point is the oriental character of the Etruscans more obviously marked than in their sepulchres; and modern researches are daily bringing to light fresh analogies to the tombs of Lycia, Phrygia, Lydia, or Egypt.

In physical comfort and luxury the Etruscans cannot have been surpassed by any contemporary nation. Whoever visits the Gregorian Museum of the Vatican, or that of the Cavaliere Campana at Rome, will have abundant proofs of this. Much of it is doubtless owing to their extensive commerce, which was their pride for ages. In their social condition they were in advance of the Greeks, particularly in one point, which is an important test of civilization. In Athens, woman was always degraded; she trod not by the side of man as his companion and helpmate, but followed as his slave; the treatment of the lxisex, even in the days of Pericles, was what would now be called oriental. But in Etruria, woman was honoured and respected; she took her place at the board by her husband's side, which she was never permitted to do in Athens;111 she was educated and accomplished, and sometimes even instructed in the mysteries of divination;112 her children assumed her name as well as their father's;113 and her grave was honoured with even more splendour than that of her lord. It is not easy to say to what Etruria owed this superiority. But whatever its cause, it was a fact which tended greatly to humanise her, and, through her, to civilise Italy — a fact of which Rome especially reaped the benefit by imitating her example.


The Author's Notes:

1 Old Ennius (Ann. VI.10) said this of the Aeacidae, or race of Pyrrhus, not perceiving how applicable it was to the Romans.

2 Varro, ap. Censorin. de Die Natali, XVII.

3 Schol. Pindar. Pyth. II.3, cited by Müller, Etrusker, I. pp2, 197.

4 Interp. Aen. X.183, 198, ed. Mai.

5 Sueton. Claud. 42. Aristotle also wrote on the laws of the Etruscans. Athen. Deipn. I. cap. 19, p23, ed. Cas.

6 In Tuscorum jure pene omnis Italia fuerat. — Serv. ad Virg. Aen. XI.567; cf. Liv. V.33.

7 Usque ad Alpes tenuêre. — Liv. loc. cit.; Polyb. II.17; Justin. XX.5; Diodor. Sic. XIV p321, ed. Rhod.; Scylax, Periplus, cited by Müller, Etrusk. einl. 3, 9. Catullus (XXXI.13) calls the Benacus, now the Lago di Garda, a Lydian, i.e., an Etruscan lake.

8 The Etruscans at one time possessed the land of the Volsci, and all Campania, as far as the Silarus in the Gulf of Paestum, or, as one account states, as far as the Sicilian sea. They took this land from the Greek colonists, who had driven out the Osci, the original inhabitants; and then founded Capua and Nola. If Velleius Paterculus may be credited, this was 47 years before the foundation of Rome. Liv. IV.37; Vell. Paterc. I.7; Cato, ap. eund.; Mela, II.4; Polyb. II.17; Strabo, V, pp242, 247; Plin. III.9; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. II.533; Cato, ap. eund. ad Aen. XI.567.

9 Liv. V. 33, 54; Strabo, V.p219; Plut. Camill. The Adriatic received its name from the Etruscan town of Adria. Plin. III.20; Strabo, V.p214; cf. Justin. XX.1. Müller (Etrusk. einl. 3, 5) interprets Pliny (III.19) as saying that a large tract of the coast of Picenum was once in the possession of the Etruscans.

10 Elba, called Ilva by the Romans, and Aethalia or Aethale by the Greeks, is well known to have belonged to Etruria. Virgil (Aen. X.173) classes it with the Etruscan states which sent assistance to Aeneas. Diodorus (XI p67) also mentions it as Etruscan. So the Pseudo-Aristotle, de Mirab. Auscult. c95; and Stephanus, sub voce. There was a close connection between it and the neighbouring maritime city of Populonia (Strabo, V.p223, Varro, ap. Serv. ad Virg. loc. cit.); and it is very probable, as Müller maintains (Etrusk. I.2, 3), that Ilva was a possession of that city, unless indeed both were under the sway of Volaterrae. See Vol. II pp143, 236.

Corsica, the Cyrnus of the Greeks, was originally colonised by the Phocaeans of Massilia, then by the Ligurians, and Iberians, and ultimately by the Etruscans; whose dominion in the island was on the increase, thinks Müller (Etrusk. einl. 4, 6), between the 55th and 61st Olympiads (560‑536 B.C.). About 305 B.C. Corsica was still in their hands, and probably continued so to the last days of their independence. Seneca, Cons. ad Helv. cap. VIII; Pausan. X.17; Diodor. Sic. V p295, XI p67; Herod. I.165, 16; Isidor. Orig. XIV.6. Müller takes the "Libyans," mentioned by Pausanias as inhabitants of the island, to be Ligurians. Callimachus (Delos. 19, cited by Müller) calls the island Phoenician at the time of the First Punic War. Herodotus (VII.165) seems also to mark it as dependent on Carthage. It would seem that Corsica was never fully occupied by the Etruscans, for it was a wild, forest-grown, little populated, uncivilised land, and its inhabitants had the simple manners of a rude state of society (Strabo, V.p224; Diodor. V. p295; Theophrast. Hist. Plant. V.8); and it is very likely, as Müller conjectures, that it was a mere nest of pirates. Niebuhr thinks this island, as well as Elba, was not under the dominion of the Etruscan nation, but merely of one of the adjacent maritime cities. I. p126.

That Sardinia was a possession of the Etruscans is not so clearly set forth. The earliest settlers were the Libyans, the Greeks, the Iberians, and the Trojans, followers of Aeneas. Then the Carthaginians, at the height of their maritime power, took possession of the island; apparently about the middle of the third century of Rome. Pausan. X.17; Diod. Sic. V p296; Justin. XIX.1; Sil. Italic. XII.358, et seq. No mention is made of its being under Etruscan domination, except by Strabo, who says it was subject to the Tyrrheni, prior to the Carthaginian rule. By these Tyrrhenes Müller (Etrusk. einl. 4, 7) thinks Strabo meant Etruscans, not Pelasgi, because he always made a distinction between these races; but Niebuhr (I. p127, Engl. trans.) maintains that they were unquestionably Pelasgians.

11 The Twelve Cities of Etruria Proper will be presently mentioned.

In Etruria Circumpadana there were Twelve cities. Liv. V.33; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. X.202. Plutarch (Camillus) however, asserts that there were eighteen cities of commercial and manufacturing importance in this region of Etruria. The capital appears to have been Mantua (Virg. Aen. X.203; Serv. ad Aen. X.202), though Pliny asserts that Felsina, now Bologna, was intitled to that honour. Plin. III.20; cf. Liv. XXXVII.57. A third city was Melpum, of which we know no more than that it stood north of the Po, was renowned for its wealth, and was destroyed by the Gauls on the same day that Camillus captured Veii. Corn. Nepos, ap. Plin. III.21. Atria, or Adria, was a noble city and port of the Etruscans which gave its name to the Adriatic sea. Plin. III.20; Liv. V.33; Strabo, V.p214; Varro, Ling. Lat. V.161; Fest. v. Atrium. The notices of Justin (XX.1), and Stephanus (sub voce) are referred by Müller to the Hadria of Picenum. Etrusk. einl. 3, 4; cf. Cramer, Anc. Italy, I. p116. And Spina, at the mouth of the Po, though called a Greek city, was certainly a Pelasgic settlement, as Dionysius (I. p15, ed. Sylb.) affirms, and probably also Etruscan. See Niebuhr, I. p36; Müller, Etrusk. einl. 3, 4. Müller thinks, from Strabo's notice of it (V. p214), that Ravenna is to be regarded as an Etruscan site; and Cupra in Picenum was probably so, for its temple was built by the Etruscans and named after their goddess, Cupra, or Juno. Strabo, V.p241. Yet Niebuhr (I. p48) refers this statement to the Tyrrhene-Pelasgi, not to the Etruscans. We know the names of no other Etruscan cities beyond the Apennines.

There were Twelve chief cities also in Etruria Campaniana. Liv. V.33; Strabo, V.p242. The metropolis was Capua, built by the Etruscans 800 years before Christ, and called by them Vulturnum. Strabo, loc. cit.; V. Paterc. I.7; Liv. IV.37; Mela, II.4; Serv. ad Aen. X.145. Nola also was of Etruscan foundation. Vell. Pater. loc. cit. Dicaearchia, or Puteoli (Pausan. IV.35, VIII.7; Steph. Byz. v. Ποτίολοι), Pompeii, Herculaneum (Strabo, V.p247), and Nuceria (Philistos, cited by Müller, einl. 4, 2) were all once possessed by the Etruscans; and Marcina in the Gulf of Paestum was built by them. Strabo, V. p251. Surrentum, also, from the temple of the Etruscan Minerva on its promontory, must have belonged to that people (Stat. Sylv. II.2, 2; Steph. Byz. sub voce); and Müller (Etrusk. einl. 4, 2) would also incl Salernum. Niebuhr (I p73 et seq.), however, considers most of what is said of the Etruscan possessions south of the Tiber to refer to the Tyrrhene-Pelasgi, not to the Etruscans, properly so called.

12 Liv. V.35; XXXVII.57; Polyb. II.17; Diodor. Sic. XIV p321; (III.19); Plut. Camill.; Isidor. Orig. XV.1.

13 Liv. IV.37; Strabo, V.p247; Plin. III.9; Dionys. Hal. VII. p420, et seq.

14 For the conflicting authorities as to the north-western boundary of Etruria, see Vol. II. p78.

15 The claims of these several cities will be discussed, when they are treated of respectively. The above is the classification which seems to me to be sanctioned by ancient writers; it agrees with that of Cluver (Ital. Ant. II. p453), and Cramer (Anc. Italy, I). Micali (Ant. Pop. Ital. I p140) adopts it with the exception of Falerii, for which he offers no substitute. Niebuhr (I. p118, et seq.) admits the claims of all, save Falerii and Cortona, and hesitates to supply the void with Faesulae, Cosa, or Capena. Müller (Etrusk. II.1, 2; 1, 3), to those given in the text, adds five — Pisae, Faesulae, Saturnia or Caletra, Vulci, and Salpinum — whose claims, he thinks, must be admitted, and suggests that they may have held that rank at different periods, or have been associated respectively with some one of the rest. Dempster (de Etruriâ Regali, II. p41) offers a singular list — Veii, Tarquinii, Falerii, Vetulonium, Corythus, Volsinii, Caere, Clusium, Faesulae, Populonia, Luca, Luna — substituting the last three for the much more important cities of Volaterrae, Perusia, and Arretium. The lists of the early Italian antiquaries will still less bear the test of examination.

16 The fertility of Etruria was renowned of old. Diodorus (V. p316) says it was second to that of no other land. Liv. IX.36; XXII.3; Varro, Re Rust. I.944. The Romans, even in very early times, used to receive corn from Etruria, in times of famine. Liv. II.34; IV.12, 13, 25, 52.

17 Strabo (XIII. p592) cites the position of cities as tests of civilization and social security.

18 Plin. III. 8, 19; Dion. Hal. I p20, et seq.; cf. Herod. I.94. They were called Tyrseni, it is said, from the fortifications — τύρσεις — they were the first to raise in Italy (Dion. Hal. I p21); and Tusci, or Thusci, from their frequent sacrifices — ἀπὸ τοῦ θύειν — Serv. ad Virg. Aen. II.781; X.164; Plin. III.8; cf. Fest. v. Tuscos. Etruria is said to be derived from ἕτερα ὅριαalteri fines — because it lay beyond the Tiber. Serv. ad Aen. XI.598. But the etymologies of the Roman grammarians are rarely to be depended on. For Müller's derivation of Tyrrheni from Tyrrha, a town of Lydia, see Vol. I. p372. Thuscia is a late word, than to be found in the earlier writers. "Turzunia" occurs as a proper name on a sepulchral urn of Chiusi. Bonarroti, ap. Dempst. II tab. LXXXVI.

19 Dion. Hal. I p24. Some writers take Rasena to be but a form of Tyrseni, either a corruption from it, as Tyr-seniRa-seni; or a contraction of it, as Ty-raseni. Mannert, Geog. p308; Cramer, I. p161. The name "Rasna," or "Resna," is sometimes met with on the sepulchral urns of Etruria. Lanzi, II. p459. Bull. Inst. 1831 p10.

20 This is the period which Müller (Etrusk. einl. 2, 2; IV.7, 8) considers the commencement of the Etruscan era, referred to by Censorinus, de die Natali, XVII. Niebuhr (I. p138), however, would carry the first Etruscan saeculum as far as back as 434 years before the foundation of Rome, or 1188 B.C.

21 "The father of history" is the first that records this tradition. Herod. I.94. It is repeated or alluded to also by Strabo, V.p219; Plutarch, Romulus; Cicero, de Divin. I.12; Pliny, III.8; Valer. Maximus, II.4, 3; Vell. Paterculus, I.1; Tacitus, Annal. IV.55; Justin, XX.1; Appian, Reb. Punic. LXVI; Tertullian, Spectac. V; Festus, vv. Sardi, Turrhenos; Virgil, Aen. II.781; VIII.479; IX.11; Servius, in loc. and I.67; Horat. I. Sat. VI.1; Lycophron, Cass. 1351‑61; Sil. Italicus, IV.721; V.9; VIII.485; X.40, 485; XIII.828; Statius, Sylv. I.2, 190; IV.4, 6; Catullus, XXXI.13; Rutilius, I.59; cf. Ovid. Met. III.583; Seneca, Consol. ad Helv. VI. The tradition as related by Herodotus, echoed by Servius, is this:— In the reign of Atys there was a protracted famine in Lydia; and in order to forget their misery the people had recourse to games and amusements, and invented dice, and ball, the pipes and the trumpet; abstaining from food on alternate days when they gave themselves up to these new diversions. For eighteen years they thus continued to exist, but at length, their condition being in no way improved, it was agreed that half the nation should emigrate, under the conduct of Tyrrhenus, the king's son. After various wanderings, they reached the coast of Umbria, and there established themselves, exchanging the name of Lydians for that of Tyrrhenians, in honour of their leader.

22 Dion. Hal. I pp22‑24.

23 Micali, Ant. Pop. Ital. I. cap. VII.

24 Niebuhr, I. p110, et seq. So great an authority naturally takes in its train a crowd of German writers, not unwilling to adopt an opinion so flattering to the vaterland. The view, however, of a Rhaetian origin of the Etruscan race had been previously held by Fréret,º and by Heyne. It is founded on the resemblance of the name "Rasena," which the Etruscans gave themselves, to Rhaeti — on the statement of the ancients that the Rhaeti were of Etruscan origin — on the analogy certain dialects now spoken in those regions bear to the Etruscan — and on the fact that no earlier population than the Etruscan xxxivis recorded to have inhabited those mountains.

Niebuhr (II. p525) even supposes that at one time the Etruscan race extended north of the Alps into Alsace and the plains of Germany, and cites, in confirmation of his view, the walls on Mont Sainte Odile, in the former country, which are very similar to those of Volterra, and unlike the works of the Gauls or Romans.

25 Livy decidedly asserts the emigration to have been from the plains to the mountains, on the invasion of the Po vale by the Gauls. Alpinis quoque ea gentibus haud dubie origo est, maxime Rhaetis, quos loca ipsa efferârunt, ne quid ex antiquo praeter sonum linguae, nec eum incorruptum, retinerent. V.33. Galli . . . sedibus Tuscos expulerunt. Tusci quoque, duce Rhaeto, avitis sedibus amissis, Alpes occupaverê; et ex nomine ducis gentes Rhaetorum condiderunt. — Justin. XX.5. Rhaetos Thuscorum prolem arbitrantur, à Gallis pulsos, duce Rhaeto. Plin. Nat. Hist. III.24.

26 These figures form part of a procession in relief found, in 1845, at Matrai, a village on the northern slope of Mount Brenner, in the Tyrol. Besides this were found other singular reliefs, one of which has pugilists contending with the cestus, very like the scenes in the tombs at Chiusi and Tarquinii; pieces of amber and coral, fibulae and rings of bronze. At Sonnenburg, 12 miles distant, many similar relics were in 1844 brought to light; together with cinerary urns of black ware, and knives of bronze. A few years previous, in a sepulchre at Zilli, in the ancient Noricum, were found two bronze casques, with inscriptions in a character very like the Etruscan. And in the valley of Cembra, 9 miles from Trent in the Tyrol, a bronze situla, or bucket, was discovered in 1828, bearing five inscriptions in a similar character; and it is remarkable that it was found near the torrent Lavis, and that that very word occurs in one of the inscriptions. Giovanelli, Pensieri intorno ai Rezi, ed una iscrizione Rezio-Etrusca. Trento, 1844. Le antichità Rezio-Etrusche scoperte presso Matrai. Trento, 1845; Micali, Monumenti Inediti, p331, et seq. tav. LIII. Relics of very similar character, however, are discovered in districts never possessed by the Etruscans. Such are the Euganean inscriptions found in the Venetian territory, in that corner of Italy which Livy tells us never belonged to the Etruscans. Liv. V.33. Such are the helmets with similar inscriptions, discovered in 1812 between Marburg and Radkersburg in Styria. Micali, Mon. Ined. p331, et seq. And such is the gold torque, also with an Euganean inscription, found in 1835 in Wallachia. Micali, op. cit. p337; Bull. Inst. 1843, p93. But at Castel Vetro, near Modena, on the other hand, a mirror of bronze has been found with figures precisely in the same style as those of Rhaetia, and apparently by the same artist. Cavedoni, Ann. Inst. 1842 p67 et seq. tav. d' Agg. H.

Ins northern district of Italy many relics have been found which substantiate its recorded possession by the Etruscans. At Castel Vetro, a number of tombs have been opened with similar furniture. Bull. Inst. 1841 pp75‑79; Ann. Inst. loc. cit. At Marzabotta, 14 miles from Bologna, numerous bronzes were discovered in 1839, extremely like those from Monte Falterona, described in this work (Vol. II p107). Micali, Mon. Ined. p111, tav. XVIIII. At Verona, at Ravenna, at Busca, near Alessandria in Piedmont, and at Adria, genuine Etruscan inscriptions have been found (Lanzi II. p649; Müller, I. pp140, 144, 164), and at the last-named place painted vases of great beauty, like those of Vulci and other cemeteries of Central Etruria, have been brought to light in abundance. Bull. Inst. 1834 pp135, 142; Micali, Mon. Ined. pp279‑297, tav. XLV, XLVI. A collection of them is in the possession of Signor Bocchi of Adria.

27 Müller, Etrusk. einl. 2, 4‑12; 3, 10. This opinion is in part favoured by Plutarch (Romul.) who says the Tyrrheni passed from Thessaly into Lydia, and from Lydia into Italy. Cf. Strab. V. p221.

28 Lepsius, Ueber die Tyrrhenischen-Pelasger in Etrurien. Nearly the same view was held by the late Mr. Millingen, Trans. Roy. Soc. Literat. II. 1834. Ann. Inst. 1834, p286.

29 Not to mention minor analogies, there is one of so striking a character, as satisfactorily to prove, not a descent from Abraham, but an intercourse more or less direct with the Hebrews, and at least an oriental origin. It is in the cosmogony of the Etruscans, who are said, on the authority of one of their own writers, to have believe that the Creator spent 12,000 years in his operations; 6000 of which were assigned to the work of creation, and as many to the duration of the world. In the first thousand he made heaven and earth. In the second, the apparent firmament. In the third, the sea and all other waters. In the fourth, the great lights — sun, moon, and stars. In the fifth, every soul of birds, reptiles, and four-footed animals, in the air, earth, and waters. In the sixth, man. Suidas sub voce Τυῤῥηνία. To say that we recognise here a lending of Etruscan doctrines with the Mosaic account of the Creation, as Müller (III.2, 7) observes, does not make the analogy less remarkable, for there is no proof that this mixture is not legitimate.

30 Tacit. Ann. IV.55.

31 The argument of Dionysius rests on the authority of Xanthus; but why should he be preferred to Herodotus? They were contemporaries, or nearly so. Xanthus was a Greek of Sardis, not a native Lydian, and cannot be entitled to more credit than the truthful historian of antiquity, whose great merit is the simple, trusting fidelity with which he records what he heard or saw. Besides there is a doubt of the genuineness of the works attributed to Xanthus, as Athenaeus plainly shows. Deipnos. XII. c3, p515.

32 Herod. I.155, 156; Justin. I.7. See Grote's Greece, III. p288, et seq.

33 In customs, however, as will be presently shown, there existed strong analogies between the Lydians and Etruscans. And Dionysius' statement as to the dissimilarity of language is of no account, if Strabo's assertion be true, that in his day not a vestige remained of the Lydian tongue, even in Lydia itself. XIII. p631.

34 Plin. VII.57. Telmessus in Caria was particularly famed for its aruspices and soothsayers. Herod. I.7884; Cicero, de Divin. I.4142. Clemens of Alexandria (Strom. I. p306, ed. Sylb.) says the Carians were the first who divined from the stars, the Phrygians from the flight of birds, the Etruscans by aruspicy.

35 Cicero, loc. cit. The same power was also possessed by other oriental people — the Phrygians, Cilicians, Pisidians, and Arabs. Cic. de Leg. II.13. Divination by lightning was the branch in which the Etruscans were especially distinguished, and in which they excelled all other people. Diod. Sic. V p316; Seneca, Nat. Quaest. II.32; Dion. Hal. IX.p563; Claud. in Eutrop. I.12; A. Gell. IV.5; Lucan. I.587. Even Cicero undoubtingly maintains their skill in soothsaying. De Divin. I.18, 41, 42. Joannes gives, on the authority of Nigidius Figulus, a "Diarium Tonitruale," or Etruscan "thunder-calendar," for every day in the year, taken, he says, from the books of Tages. The entire system of divination among the Romans, be it remembered, was derived from the Etruscans. It continued to be practised by them even to the close of the Empire, for we find the Etruscan aruspices consulted by Julian in the fourth (Amm. Marcell. XXV.2.7), and under Honorius in the fifth century of our era. Zosim. Hist. V.41. For all that is known on this subject, see Müller, Etrusk. III.

36 Monumenti Inediti, a Illustrazione della Storia degli Antichi Popoli Italiani. Firenze, 1844.

37 Vol. I. p319, et seq.; II. p195, et seq.

38 Herodotus (I.171) calls the Carians, Mysians, and Lydians, κασίγνητοι. Strabo (XIII p628) says the boundaries between Lydia, Phrygia, Caria, and Mysia, could not be determined, and had given rise to great confusion. Cf. XIV p678; Plin. V.30.

39 Quarterly Review, No. CLI. p56.

40 Plin. VII.57. Clem. Alex. Strom. I. p306. The Lydian pipes were also famous. Pind. Olymp. V.

41 One tradition ascribes the invention of the trumpet to Tyrrhenus, the Lydian colonist of Etruria. Sil. Ital. V.12; Pausan. II.21; cf. Serv. ad Virg. Aen. I.67. Another refers it to Maleus, the Etruscan prince of Regisvilla (Lactant. ad Stat. Theb. IV.224); but as Maleus is also said to have been the son of Omphale, the two traditions are thus intimately connected. See Müller, Etrusk. IV.1, 4. According to another tradition Pisaeus was the inventor. Plin. VII.57. The current belief, however, was that the tuba was of Etruscan origin. Virg. Aen. VIII.526; Serv. in loc.; Strabo, V.p220; Aeschyl. Eumen. 570; Sophoc. Aj. 17; Athen. IV. p184; Clem. Alex. Strom. I. p306; Pollux, IV.11. See Müller, Etrusk. IV.1, 3‑5. Silius Italicus marks Vetulonia as the site of its invention, VIII.490.

42 Athen. XV. c12, p690; Theopomp. ap. eund. XII. c3, p515‑518; Diod. Sic. V. p316; Posidon. ap. Athen. IV. c13, p153. So Anacreon uses Λυδοπαθής for ἡδυπαθής (Athen. XV p690), and Aeschylus (Pers. 41) speaks of the ἁβροδίαιτοι Λυδοί.

43 Dion. Hal. III p195. The oriental robe, he says, was square; the Etruscan toga or τήβεννος, which answered to it, semicircular.

44 Tertull. de Pallio, I; cf. Serv. ad Virg. Aen. II.781. The Romans received it from the Etruscans, who have therefore a prior right to the title of gens togata. Liv. I.8; Flor. I.5; Plin. VIII.74; IX.63; Macrob. Sat. I.6; Festus, v. Sardi. Tertullian says the Lydians received the toga from the Pelasgi, the Romans from the Lydians. Perhaps he took this tradition from some poet, who used the word Lydian for Etruscan.

45 Cf. Dion. Hal. loc. cit. and Xenoph. Anab. I.10.

46 Cf. Herod. I.93, and Plaut. Cistell. II.3, 20. —

non enim hic, ubi ex Tusco modo

Tute tibi indigne dotem quaeras corpore.

Chastity, if we may believe the accounts of the ancients, was little valued by either people; and this is a point in which they differed widely from the Greeks and early Romans. Strabo, V. pp532‑3; Theopomp. ap. Athen. XII. c3, p515, et seq. Horace complains of his Lyce as being much too obdurate for an Etruscan. Od. III.10, 11 .

47 See Vol. I. p133, n3.

48 See Vol. I. p287. Herodotus (I.172) mentions that the Caunians, a people of Asia Minor, were accustomed to hold symposia, or drinking-bouts, with their wives and families. Cf. I.146.

49 Müller (Etrusk. einl. 2, 7) asserts "the unmistakable connection between the civilization of Etruria and Asia Minor." Even Micali, who maintains the indigenous origin of the Etruscans, sets forth their relation with the East in a prominent light, though explaining it as the result of their commercial intercourse with the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and other oriental people.

50 Seneca, Consol. ad Helv. VI.9.

51 To the Pelasgi was referred the introduction of letters of Latium. Solin. Polyhist. VIII. Another tradition says they were brought to the Aborigines by Evander from Arcadia, and that the ancient Latin characters were the same as the earliest Greek. Tacit. Ann. XI.14. The Etruscans are said by the same authority to have received their characters from Corinth. It is certain that all the ancient alphabets of Italy — the Umbrian, Oscan, Euganean, Messapian, as well as the Etruscan — bear an unmistakable affinity to the early Greek.

52 All we know of the language from the ancients is confined to the following words, many of which are manifestly disguised by the foreign medium through which they have come down to us: —

Etruscan
Latin
Aesar Deus
Agalletor Puer
Andas Boreas
Anhelos Aurora
Antar Aquila
Aracos Accipiter
Arimos Simia
Arse Verse Averte ignem
Ataison Vitis
Burros Poculum
Balteus Balteus
Capra Capra
Capys Falco
Cassis Cassis
Celerº Celer
Damnus Equus
Drouna Principium
Falando Coelum
Gapos Currus
Hister Ludio
Iduare Dividere
Idulus Ovis
Itus Idus
Laena Vestimentum (doubtful)
Lanista Carnifex
Lar Dominus
Lucumo Princeps
Mantisa Additamentum
Nanos Vagabundus
Nepos Luxuriosus (doubtful)
Rasena Etrusci
Subulo Tibicen

Besides these, the names of certain Etruscan deities are known, either from ancient writers or from monuments. The formula "Ril avil" is ascertained to signify vixit annos, and the general, if not precise, meaning of two or three other sepulchral formulae can be guessed at. If to this we add that "Clan" seems to mean filius, and "Sec" filia, we have the full extent of our knowledge of the Etruscan vocabulary.

53 Lanzi (Saggio, I. p35) states that in his day, "sixty years since," besides the three classic languages, "the Ethiopic, the Egyptian, the Arabic, the Coptic, the Chinese, the Celtic, the Basque, the Anglo-Saxon, the Teutonic, the Runic, and what not," had been consulted in vain for the key to the Etruscan. Lanzi thought he had discovered it in the Greek, and to establish his theory put that noble language to sad torture, from which sounder criticism has released it. Dr. Arnold (History of Rome, pref. P. XIII.) expected the interpretation of the Etruscan to be discovered. And Müller (Etrusk. einl. 3, 10) entertained the hope that in some secluded valley of the Grisons or of the Tyrol, a remnant of the old Rhaetian dialect might be discovered which would serve as the key to the Etruscan. He adds that Von Hormayr held the Surselvish dialect to be Etruscan. Within the last few years Müller's hope has been in some degree realised by the labours of a German scholar, who, though he has found no key to the interpretation of the Etruscan, has at least shown that some remnants of a dialect very like it remain among the Alps of Rhaetia. Steub, Ueber die Urbewohner Rätiens und ihren Zusammenhang mit den Etruskern. München, 1843. In travelling in 1842 among these Alps he was struck with the strange-sounding names, on the high-roads as well as in the most secluded valleys. Mountains or villages bore the appellations of Tilisuna, Blisadona, Naturns, Velthurns, Schluderns, Schlanders, Villanders, Firmisaun, Similaun, Gufidaun, Altrans, Sistrans, Axams, — wherever he turned, these mysterious names resounded in his ears; and he took them to be the relics of some long perished race. He tested them by the Celtic, and could find no analogy; but with the Etruscan he had more success, and found the ancient traditions of a Rhaet-Etruria confirmed. Like many of his countrymen he rides his hobby too hard; and seeks to establish analogies which none but a determined theorist could perceive. What resemblance is apparent to eye or ear between such words as the following, taken almost at random from his tables? — CarcunaTschirgant; CacaTschätsch; VelacarsaVollgröss; CalurunaGoldrain; CalusaSchleiss; CalunuturusaSchlanders; ValavunaPlawen.

54 Whether these characters came directly from Phoenicia into Etruria, or were received through Greece, is a disputed point. Müller maintains the latter. Etrusk. IV.6, 1. Mr. Daniel Sharpe, who has had more sources of information in the recent discoveries in Lycia, declares, that "it may be proved, from a comparison of the alphabets, that the Etruscans derived their characters from Asia Minor, and not from Greece." Fellows' Lycia, p442. The resemblance, indeed, out of the Etruscan alphabet to the Lycian is striking — still more so that which it bears to the Phrygian, such as it is seen on the tombs of Dogan-lû. See Walpole's Travels, and Steuart's Lydia and Phrygia.

55 Liv. V.1; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. X.202. Porsena, be it remembered, in his sovereign capacity brought down fire from heaven. Plin. II.54. When Veii set up a real king it gave offence to the rest of the Confederation.

56 Liv. V. 1, 22. Dionysius (IX. p562) speaks of the Etruscan nobles leading their πενέσται, or serfs, out to battle against the Romans; and the "agrestium cohortes" mentioned by Livy (IX.36) were probably of the same class. The rebellious slaves who usurped the supreme power at Volsinii are shown by Niebuhr to have been also serfs, not domestic slaves. See Vol. I. p506 of this work. Cf. p518.

57 This would appear from Martial, IX.23, 4 —

Et sonet innumerâ compede Tuscus ager.

Cicero says the Etruscan pirates used to tie their living captives to the bodies of the dead (a. Serv. ad Aen. VIII.479); and Virgil relates the same of Mezentius, the tyrant of Agylla. Aen. VIII.485. See Müller, einl. 2, 6, p84.

58 Niebuhr, I. p123. Engl. trans. The great historian, however, goes too far in asserting that the extant works of the Etruscans could not have been executed without taskmasters and bondmen (p129). Indeed the distinction between the public works of the Egyptians and Etruscans, admitted by Niebuhr himself — that all the works of the latter we are acquainted with have a great public object — is a sufficient refutation of this position. The works of the Etruscans are not ostentatious, useless piles, but such as might be produced in industrious, commercial, yet warlike communities, of no great extent, and under the influence of more popular freedom than was ever enjoyed in Etruria. The temples of Paestum, Agrigentum, and Selinus, are examples of this.

59 Liv. V.1 Gens ante omnes alias eo magis dedita religionibus, quod excelleret arte colendi eas. Arnob. VII. Genetrix et mater superstitionis Etruria.

60 Five only of the Twelve assisted the Latins against Tarquinius Priscus. Dion. Hal. III p189. Arretium, in 443, refused to join the rest in their attack on Sutrium, then in the power of the Romans. Liv. IX.32. Veii just before her capture estranged herself from the rest of the Confederation, which refused succour in her hour of need. Liv. V. 1, 17. When Sutrium and Nepete are called the allies of Rome, and are said to have besought assistance against the Etruscans (Liv. VI. 3, 9, 10), this must refer to the Roman, not the Etruscan population, for the latter, from the small size of the towns, might easily be outnumbered by a garrison. That the conquered portion were ready to unite with their Etruscan brethren when occasion offered, is proved in the case of Nepete. Liv. VI.10. Caere, however, was in more independent alliance with Rome, but even she at one time was urged by the sympathy of blood to sever this alliance; and it does not appear that she was ever in arms against her fellow cities of the Etruscan Confederation. See Vol. II. pp24, 25.

61 Serv. ad Virg. Aen. I.422.

62 He is sometimes represented as a beardless youth. Gerhard, Etrus. Spieg. I. taf. XIV. Some have sought an etymological relation between Tina and Zeus; others to Tonans, and others even to the Odin of the northern mythology, though this is pronounced by Müller to be accidental. Etrusk. III.3, 1. Gerhard, Gottheit, p27.

63 We learn the name of Cupra from Strabo, V.p241. It has not been found on Etruscan monuments, where the goddess is usually called Thalna, though Gerhard (Gotth. d. Etrusk. p40) thinks this name is descriptive of her as a goddess of births and light. Feronia is said by Varro (V.4) to be a Sabine goddess. Gerhard (Gotth. p8) takes her to be equivalent to Juno, Müller (III.3, 8) to Tellus or Mania. See Vol. I. p180. For Ilithiya, see Vol. II. p14. The rites of the Etruscan Juno are described by Ovid, Amor. III. eleg. 13; cf. Dion. Hal. I p17.

Thayer's Note: Since Dennis wrote, a brief inscription to the Dea Cupra has been found in Umbria, near Fossato di Vico.

64 So thinks Müller (Etrusk. III.3, 2) notwithstanding that Varro asserts it to be Sabine. Ling. Lat. III.74.

65 Gerhard (Gottheit p10) thinks the relation between Minerva and Nortia is shown by the fact of the annual nail being driven into the temple of the latter at Volsinii and of the former on the Capitol.

66 As in a bronze figure from Orte, in the Museo Gregoriano, see Vol. II. p518.

67 Arnob. adv. Nat. III.40; Varro, de Re Rust. I.1; Martian Capella, de Nupt. I.14. Gerhard thinks they must include the eight thunder-wielding gods known to us, to which he would add Vertumnus, Janus or Apollo, Nortia or Fortuna, and Voltumna. Gotth. d. Etrusk. p23.

68 They were also called Dii Superiores. Seneca, Nat. Quaest. II.41; Festus, v. Manubiae. Gerhard (Gottheit. Etrusk. taf. VII) gives singular plate of two veiled figures, sitting back to back, and with their hands to their mouths, which he thinks may represent "the shrouded gods." They are taken from a drawing in the public archives of Viterbo, supposed to be a copy from some Etruscan monument, found in former times; perhaps a mirror, as Gerhard suggests, but more probably a bas-relief.

69 Plin. II.53; Manilius ap. Arnob. III.38. Varro (Ling. Lat. V.74) says the name of Novensiles is derived from the Sabines. Gerhard considers the Novensiles to belong, without doubt, to the Etruscan mythology. Gotth. Etrusk. p3.

70 Plin. II.53; cf. Senec. Nat. Quaest. II.41. Servius (ad Aen. I.42) states that in the Etruscan books on Things struck by Lightning, mention was made of twelve sorts of thunderbolts.

71 Serv. ad Aen. I.42; VIII.429.

72 Serv. loc. cit.; XI.259.

73 Plin. II.53; Augustin. de Civ. Dei, IV.23.

Thayer's Note: As evidenced by the Temple of Summanus in Rome, and see references there.

74 Ammian. Marcell. XVII.10.2.

75 Serv. ad Aen. I.42. It is "Vulcanum" in some editions, and Müller (Etrusk. III.3, 5) prefers it to "Junonem," which is Burmann's reading.

76 Serv. ad Aen. VIII.429; cf. Plin. II.53.

77 The Etruscans are said to have believed that thunderbolts came not always from heaven, but sometimes from the earth; or, as some said, from the planet Saturn. Plin. II.53. On this ground Müller (Etrusk. III.3, 5) thinks Saturn was the eighth. So Gerhard, Gottheiten der Etrusker, p23. Servius (ad Aen. VIII.430), indeed, says that some ascribed the power of hurling bolts to Auster.

78 Müller (II.4, 2) does not attempt to supply the ninth. Gerhard, however, for the evidence of monuments, takes it to have been Hercules, for on an Etruscan gem in his possession that god is represented armed with the thunderbolt as well as with his club. Gottheit d. Etrusk. p23. Lanzi (II. p203) took the ninth to be Bacchus.

79 See Vol. I. p519.

80 As in the beautiful mirror represented in the frontispiece to this volume. The name seems connected with "Pupluna," the Etruscan form of Populonia. See Vol. II, p242.

81 See Vol. I. p519.

82 Vol. I. p163. Gerhard, Gottheit. p35.

83 As on a mirror in the Museo Gregoriano. See Vol. II. p520. This name, however, has been found attached to a female divinity on another mirror. Bull. Inst. 1847, p117.

84 The name of this god on Etruscan mirrors is generally "Turms," or "Thurms"; in one case he is called "Turms Aitas" (Vol. II. p520), and in a single instance he has the Latin appellation "Mirqurios." Gerhard, Etrus. Spieg. II. taf. CLXXXII. It is said that the Etruscans called this god, Camillus. Callimachus, ap. Macrob. III.8.

85 This name is so often attached to figures of Venus, that there can be no question of the identity. Sometimes she is represented with "Atunis" (Adonis), or with "Elina" and "Menle" (Helen and Menelaus), or with "Elina" and "Elsntre" (Helen and Alexander). Gerhard, Et. Spieg. taf. CXI, CXV, CXCVII, CXCVIII. Tertullian (Spect. c. VIII) says this goddess was called Murtia.

86 "Thesan" occurs on two mirrors in the Gregorian Museum (Vol. II. p520). Gerhard suggests a relation, and in one case an identity, between Thesan and the Themis and the Greeks. Gotth. p39; Etrusk. Spieg. taf. LXXVI.

87 "Losna" is attached to the figure of Diana on a mirror. Etrusk. Spieg. taf. CLXXI; Lanzi, II. tav. VIII.6. It is doubtless a form of Luna. "Lala" is found on another mirror. Gerhard, Gottheit. taf. II.7.

88 Neptune is of rare occurrence in Etruscan monuments, which is singular, considering the maritime character of the people. The name "Nethuns" occurs on a mirror in the Gregorian Museum (Vol. II. p520). Gerhard (Gottheit. pp2, 19) regards this as the Latin name, and doubts if Neptune were an Etruscan deity, though he is said to have been one of the Penates (Arnob. adv. Nat. III.40; Serv. ad Aen. II.325), but Müller (III.3, 4) says justly, if the name be not Etruscan, that people must have had a god of the sea.

89 A four-faced Janus was worshipped at Falerii (Serv. ad Aen. VII.608; Macrob. Sat. I.9); and a double head of the same deity is a common device on the Etruscan coins of Volaterrae and Telamon. Silvanus was a Pelasgic god, who had a celebrated shrine at Caere. Virg. Aen. VIII.600; cf. Liv. II.7.

90 Arnob. loc. cit.; Serv. loc. cit.

91 As the Dioscuri are not recorded as Etruscan by ancient writers, Müller did not regard them as such, but they are so frequently and distinctly represented on the mirrors, that it is impossible not to recognise them as Etruscan; indeed, they are often mentioned by name. Gerhard, Gottheit. pp2, 22, 46.

92 The Cabiri were the great gods of the Pelasgic Samothrace, and certain passages (Dion. Hal. I p19; Macrob. Sat. III.8) which ascribe their worship to the Tyrrhenes, or Etruscans, may refer to the Pelasgi. See Müller, III.3, 10. Gerhard, however, sees in the three heads on the Gate of Volterra, and in certain scenes on mirrors, the three mysterious deities of Lemnos. Gottheit. p13.

93 See Vol. II. p68.

94 Vol. I. p373.

95 Müller, Etrusk. III.4, 6, 7; Gerhard, Gottheit. d. Etrusk. p15.

96 The Genii or demons who are introduced to indicate a fatal event, are generally females — at least their sex seldom corresponds with that of the defunct. For the Genii and Junones see Vol. II. pp65‑68.

97 Mantus is the Etruscan Dispater. Serv. ad Aen. X.199. From him the city of Mantua received its name. Müller (III.4, 40) thinks that the figure often introduced on Etruscan sepulchral urns in charge of the dead, is Mantus; though generally called Charun. Gerhard (Gottheit. tav. VI.2, 3) gives two figures from urns in the Museum of Volterra, which, being crowned, most probably represent the King of Shades. When two Charontic males are introduced into the same scene, as on the vase illustrated in the frontispiece to Vol. II. of this work, one may be intended for Mantus, or that which is not Charun may be a Thanatos, a personification of Death, or its messenger. Müller (III.4, 9) suggests a relation to the Mundus, the pit in the Comitium, which was regarded as the mouth of Orcus, and was opened three days in the year, for the souls to step to the upper world. Varro, ap. Macrob. I.16; Fest. vv. Mundus, Manalem Lapidem.

98 Mania is called the mother of the Lares (Varro, L. L. IX.61; Macrob. I.7; Arnob. adv. Nat. III.41), or the mother or grandmother of the Manes (Festus, sub voce). Boys used annually to be offered to her at the festival of the Compitalia, till, on the expulsion of Tarquinius Superbus, the heads of garlic and poppies were substituted. Macrob. I.7. Müller (Etrusk. III.4, 12, 13) thinks she is almost identical with Acca Larentia, the foster-mother of Romulus, a divinity who was transferred from the Etruscan into the Roman mythology; and that she answers also owing to the Lara or Larunda of the Romans. Cf. Gerhard, Gottheit. p36. The Roman grammarians, ever forcing etymological analogies, interpreted Manius (or Mania) as "qui mane natus" (Varro, L. L. IX.61), or derived it from "manare" (Fest. v. Maniae; Serv. ad Aen. III.63). "Manum" was an old word for "good" (Serv. ad Aen. I.139; III.63), used, as Servius says, by antiphrasis or euphemism. Gerhard (Gottheit. p16) hints at maneo as the origin of Mantus, but if the name of this deity be Etruscan it is useless to seek its source in other languages.

99 See Vol. II. pp206‑9.

100 Varro, ap. Censorin. XVII.6. Polybius (II.17)

Thayer's Note: Although Polyb. Hist. 2.17 does mention the Etruscans, it says nothing about dynasties; and I've been unable to find any mention of Etruscan dynasties anywhere else at all in the Histories.

101 Varro (Ling. Lat. V.55) mentions Volnius, or Volumnius, a writer of Etruscan tragedies.

102 The Fescennines, or songs of raillery, were Etruscan. See Vol. I. p152. The Etruscan histriones or actors, danced and sang to the sound of the double-pipes. Liv. VII.2. In their religious services also the Etruscans sang hymns to the honour of their gods or heroes. Dion. Hal. I p17; Serv. ad Aen. VIII.285. Lucretius (VI.381) speaks of "Tyrrhena carmina" on divination by lightning. Müller, IV.5, 1.

103 The sacred or ritual books of the Etruscans are mentioned under many names by ancient writers — libri Etruscichartae Etruscaescripta EtruscanTusci libelliEtruscae disciplinae librilibri fatales, rituales, haruspicini, fulguraleslibri Tageticisacra Tageticasacra Acheronticalibri Acherontici — Liv. V.15; Cicero de Divin. I.12, 3344; II.23; Juven. Sat. XIII.62; Festus, v. rituales; Macrob. Sat. III.7; V.19; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. I.42; III.537; VIII.398; Plin. II.85; Arnob. adv. Nat. II.62; Fulgent. v. Manales (cited by Müller, III.2, 6); Amm. Marcell. XVII.10. The author of these sacred works on the "Etruscan Discipline," was supposed to be Tages. The names of Tarquitius, Caecina, Aquila, Labeo, Begoë, Umbricius, are given as writers on these subjects, probably commentators on Tages.

104 Liv. IX.36; Cicero, de Divin. I.41; Val. Max. I.1.1.

105 The Etruscans were for ages "lords of the sea." Diod. Sic. V. pp295, 300, 316; Strabo, V.p222. They rivalled the Phoenicians in enterprise, founding colonies in the islands of the Tyrrhene Sea, and even on the coast of Spain, where Tarraco, now Tarragona (in whose name we recognise that of Tarchon) appears to have been one of their settlements (Auson. Epist. XXIV.88) — a tradition confirmed by its ancient fortifications. Müller, Etrusk. I.4, 6; Abeken, Mittelitalien, p129. Nay, the Etruscans would fain have colonised the far "island of the blest," in the Atlantic Ocean, probably Madeira or one of the Canaries, had not the Carthaginians opposed them. Diod. Sic. V p300. It was this mutual spirit of maritime enterprise that led to a twenty between Carthage and Etruria, which probably defined the limits of each people's commerce. Aristot. Polit. III.9.

The military tactics of the Etruscans were also celebrated. Diodor. V p316. They fought in phalanx, and from them the Romans derived this their earliest military arrangement. Diod. Sic. XXIII.1 Excerp. Mai; Athen. VI p273; cf. Liv. VIII.8. Their large circular shields were also adopted by the Romans. Diod. Sic. loc. cit. Another account which Niebuhr (III. p99) calls in question, ascribes the origin of the Roman armour and weapons to the Samnites. Sall. Catil. 51. The Romans probably borrowed the helmet from the Etruscans, as well as the word for it — cassis. Isid. Orig. XVIII.14. An interesting specimen of an Etruscan helmet, with a Greek inscription, showing it to be of the spoils taken from the Etruscans by Hiero of Syracuse, is preserved in the British Museum. Dionysius (V. p294) says the Etruscans were inferior to the Romans in military skill.

106 Virgil (Georg. II.533) tells us that to agriculture Etruria owed her greatness —

sic fortis Etruria crevit.

The skill of the Etruscans as physicians is celebrated by Aeschylus, ap. Theophrast. Hist. Plant. IX.15; and Mart. Capella, de Geomet. VI. Their acquaintance with the vegetable world is recorded by Diodorus, V p316. Cf. Plin. XXIV.95. It must have been with the aid of science that they were enabled to bring down lightning from heaven; though the priests made the people believe it was by religious rites. Thus Porsena is said to have brought down thunderbolts by invocation. Plin. II.54. And though Numa is said to have exercised the same power, which proved fatal to Tullus Hostilius, it was probably derived from Etruria. Plut. Numa; Ovid. Fast. III.327; Plin. loc. cit., XXVIII.4.

107 This is Niebuhr's opinion (I. p279). The ancient Aztecs of Mexico, and the Muyscas of South America, before their intercourse with Europe, had arrived at a still nearer approach to truth in their computation of time. Prescott's Mexico, I. p98, et seq.; Conquest of Peru, I. p117.

108 Strabo, V.p235. Strabo says that the Greeks, in founding their cities, considered principally the strength and beauty of site, the advantages of ports, and the fertility of the soil; whereas the Romans paid most attention to what the others neglected — paved roads, aqueducts, and common sewers. This distinction the Romans, in all probability, owe to the Etruscans. However, it is certain that many vestiges of conduits and sewers are extant in the cities of Greece, though inferior, it is said, to those of Rome. Mure, Tour in Greece, II. p47. And there are remains of ancient Greek roads, both in Greece and her colonies in Sicily and Asia Minor.

109 The Romans are said to be indebted to the Carthaginians for their paved roads. Isidor. Orig. XV.16; cf. Serv. ad Aen. I.422. But from the little intercourse the Romans maintained with that people in early times, it seems more probable that they derived this art from the Etruscans, who were their lxigreat preceptors in all works of public utility. There is no positive evidence of this; but it is the opinion now generally entertained. Micali (Ant. Pop. Ital. I p150; II. p307) indeed maintains that there are remains of Etruscan paved roads still extant, such as that from Caere to Veii, and thence to Capena, constructed before the domination of the Romans.

110 Such is the interpretation put by Niebuhr (I. p132) on Plin. III.20 Omnia ea flumina, fossasque, primi a Sagi fecêre Thusci: egesto amnis impetu per transversum in Atrianorum paludes.º Niebuhr declares the channels by which the Po still discharges itself, to be the work of the Etruscans. And in the territory of Perugia, and in Suburbicarian Tusia, are traces of many lakes drained by the Etruscans, and now dried up; "the tunnels are unknown and every cleared, but still work." The Emissary of Albano, which there is every reason to regard as an Etruscan work, is a triumphant memorial of their skill in such operations.

111 See Vol. I. p287.

112 Two illustrious examples of this are Tanaquil, the wife of Tarquinius Priscus, and the nymph Begoë. See Vol. I. p447; cf. II. pp170‑1. Tanaquil is also said to have been deeply versed in mathematics and medicine (Schol. ad Juven. Sat. VI.565; Fest. v Praeia). Yet she was an industrious house-wife, a great spinner of wool (Plin. VIII.74; Fest. v. Gaia Caecilia), and an excellent helpmate to her husband. Polyb. VI.2, ap. Suid. v. Λεύκιος.

113 See Vol. I. p133.


Thayer's Note:

a the Etruscan mind . . . Gregory XVI: There is not the slightest shred of evidence for any of this. We know almost nothing about the religious hierarchy of the Etruscans, and not a thing about how tightly it did or did not seek to control the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of individuals. In the best tradition of post-Reformation English authors, Dennis here is fighting Roman Catholicism, never ambling too far off, as you may have noticed, from a barely suppressed attack on the papacy.

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