Etruscan society is mainly known through the memorial and achievemental inscriptions on monuments of Etruscan civilization, especially tombs. This information emphasizes family data. Some contractual information is also available from various sources.The Roman and Greek historians had more to say of Etruscan government.
The population described by the inscriptions owned the tombs in which their relatives interred them and were interred in turn. These were the work of craftsmen who must have gone to considerable expense, for which they must have been paid. The interment chambers also were stocked with furniture, luxury items and jewelry, which are unlikely to have been available to the ordinary citizen. The sarcophagi were ornate, each one a work of art. The society of the tombs therefore was that of the aristocrats. While alive they occupied magistracies recorded in the inscriptions. Their magisterial functions are obscure now, but they were chief men in society.
The Etruscans did not always own sufficient wealth to support necropolises for their chief men and stock them with expensive items to be smashed and thrown away. People of the Villanovan culture lived in poor huts concomitant with subsistence agriculture and owned plain and simple implements. Their simple ware is known as bucchero, plain black undecorated pots. In the 8th century BC, the orientalizing period began, a time of influx of luxuriously living Greeks. They brought their elegant pottery styles and architectural methods with them.
Yet the rise of Etruscan civilization cannot entirely be explained by immigrants from Greece. The Etruscans became a maritime power. By the 7th century they had imported methods and materials from the eastern Mediterranean and were leaving written inscriptions. Groups of Villanovan villages were now consolidated into Etruscan cities. Elaborate tomb cities began to appear.
The princely tombs were not of individuals. The inscriptional evidence shows that families were interred there over long periods, marking the growth of the aristocratic family as a fixed institution, parallel to the gens at Rome and perhaps even its model. It is not an Etruscan original, as there is no sign of it in the Villanovan. The Etruscans could have used any model of the eastern Mediterranean. That the growth of this class is related to the new acquisition of wealth through trade is unquestioned. The wealthiest cities were located near the coast.
The Etruscan name of the family was lautn.At the center of the lautn was the married couple, tusurthir'. The Etruscans were a monogamous society that emphasized pairing. The lids of large numbers of sarcophagi (for example, the "Sarcophagus of the Spouses") are adorned with sculpted couples, smiling, in the prime of life (even if the remains were of persons advanced in age), reclining next to each other or with arms around each other. The bond was obviously a close one by social preference.
It is possible that Greek and Roman attitudes to the Etruscans were based on a misunderstanding of the place of women within their society. In both Greece and Republican Rome, respectable women were mostly confined to the house and mixed-sex socialising did not occur. Thus the freedom of women within Etruscan society could have been misunderstood as implying their sexual availability.
A number of Etruscan tombs carry funerary inscriptions in the form 'X son of [father] and [mother]', indicating the importance of the mother's side of the family.
Etruscan naming conventions are complex and appear to reveal different stages in the development of names.The stages apply only to aristocratic names, attested in the inscriptions. Whether the ordinary people followed suit or were perhaps in the earliest stage remains unknown.
Everyone at all times had a praenomen, or first name, which was a simple descendant of an ancient name, or a compound comprising a meaningful expression.They were marked for gender: aule/aulia, larth/lartha, arnth/arntia. There is no evidence that girls were named for males, as in Roman society; that is, a girl did not take her father's or husband's name. Some names were entirely female.
As in Proto-Indo-European, individual males were further distinguished by a patronymic, which could be formed in a few different ways:
Females were further identified with either the husband's name (gamonymic) or the son's name in patronymic construction. Unlike the Indo-Europeans, the girls had a matronymic, same construction. Sometimes males are identified with a matronymic, thus leaving some doubt as to whether early Etruscan society was patrilinear. The men were perhaps dominant (patriarchy); there was a word for "wife", puia, which ties a woman to her husband conceptually, but none for husband. These names and conventions must have prevailed in the Villanovan culture.
The nomen gentile, or family name, dates to the orientalizing period. Recorded names are minimally binomial: Vethur Hathisna, Avile Repesuna, Fasti Aneina. Patronyms and other further specifications are added after it: Arnth Velimna Aules, "Arnth Velimna son of Aule." In those contexts double patronymics can be used, naming the father and grandfather: Arnth Velimna Aules clan Larthalisla, "Arnth Velimna son of Aule son of Larth."
The nomen gentile was formed in a number of ways, most often with a -na suffix, -nas in south Etruscan (possibly the genitive case). The suffixed nomen might refer to an individual of the family: Arnth/Arnth-na, spure/spuri-na; or it might be a mythological figure: usil/usel-na; or a geographic location: Velch/Vels-na.
The nomen gentile was an adjective and could be used alone as a noun, the name in this case, as though it were a praenomen. In that case male and female forms appear, perhaps the closest linguistic feature to agreement of gender: a male would be in the vipina family, named after a previous individual, Vipi, but a female in the Vipinei, or a male in the Velthina, named after Vel, and a female in the Veliana. The male and female names refer to the same family.
Probably in deference to Italic, the nomen gentile could also be formed with -ie for males or -i and -a for females, perhaps from Italic -ios or its later form -ius, which can be made feminine: -ia.Typically of Etruscan both suffices can be used together: -na-ie.
The serious study of nomina gentilia is just beginning, due to the accumulation of sufficient names on which to base hypotheses. A family might be concentrated at one location or appear in a number of cities, and be spelled in as many as a dozen different ways. The Romans themselves identified a good many gentes at Rome that were originally Etruscan and since then scholars have spotted more. It is not unlikely that much of the patrician class, which was most powerful under the Etruscan kings, was or was derived from an Etruscan model, which dated to no earlier than the 8th century BC.
Kinship is defined with relation to the ego, or "I". I then may state whatever "I" am or you are to me. Females could state that they were the daughter of a father, sec or sech, and the wife of a husband, puia. Conversely, a man was never described as a husband of a woman. Etruscan society therefore was patrilineal and probably egalitarian.[ citation needed ]
Kinship among the Etruscans was vertical, or generational. They kept track of six generations. In addition to the mi (“I”) an individual recognized a clan (“son”) or a sec (“daughter”), a neftś' (“grandson”), and a prumaths (“great-grandson”). Every self had an apa and ati (“father” and “mother”) and relatives older than they.
A division of relatives as maternal or paternal seems to have existed: the apa nachna and the ati nachna, the grandfather’s and grandmother’s relatives. On the level of the self, the lack of any words for aunt, uncle or cousins is notable. Very likely, apa was a generational word: it meant father or any of father’s male relatives. Similarly, ati would have meant any female relative of mother’s age or generation. Ruva (“brother”) is recognized, but no sister. It is possible, though hard to determine, that ruva had a broader meaning of "any related male of the self’s generation".
This horizontal telescoping of relatives applies indirectly to the self as well. The telals are the grand offspring, either male or female, of the grandmother, and the papals of the grandfather. It is difficult to determine whether neftś means "grandson" or "nephew" although there could be cross-cultural contamination here with Latin nepōs (< IE *nepōts) which derives from a kinship system anthropologists call the Omaha type. In the Omaha type, the same word is used for both nephew and grandson but this kinship type does not typically exhibit terminology used for "kin of a particular generation" as suspected in Etruscan kinship terms.
The Etruscans were careful also to distinguish status within the family. There was a stepdaughter and stepson, sech farthana and clan thuncultha (although this may in fact mean "first son" based on the root thun- "one"), as well as a stepmother, ativu (literally "little mother"), an adopted son, clanti, and the universal mother-in-law, netei. Other terms were not as high or democratic in status. The system was like that of the Roman. The etera were slaves, or more precisely, foreign slaves. When they had been freed they were lautni (male) or lautnitha (female), freed men or women, who were closely connected to the family and were clients of it in return for service and respect.
Of the several formal kinship classifications, the Etruscan is most like the Hawaiian kinship system, which distinguishes sex and generation, but otherwise lumps persons in those classes together. The lack of a sister does not fit;[ citation needed ] however, construction of the Etruscan dictionary is still in progress.
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The historical Etruscans had achieved a state system of society, with remnants of the chiefdom and tribal forms. In this they were ahead of the surrounding Italics, who still had chiefs and tribes. It is believed that the Etruscan government style changed from total monarchy to oligarchic democracy (as the Roman Republic) in the 6th century BC. It is important to note this did not happen to all the city states.
The Etruscan state government was essentially a theocracy. The government was viewed as being a central authority, over all tribal and clan organizations. It retained the power of life and death; in fact, the gorgon, an ancient symbol of that power, appears as a motif in Etruscan decoration. The adherents to this state power were united by a common religion. Political unity in Etruscan society was the city-state, which was probably the referent of methlum, “district”. Etruscan texts name quite a number of magistrates, without much of a hint as to their function: the camthi, the parnich, the purth, the tamera, the macstrev, and so on. The people were the mech. Initially the methlum were ruled by kings, known as lucumons (the infinitive of verb "to rule" is lucair). These kings were associated with the use of fasces and other regal insignia. The lucumons were later replaced by annual magistrates known as zilath.
All the city-states of the Etruscans were gathered into confederacies, or “leagues”. The sources tell us there were three. A league for unknown reasons, likely religious, had to include 12 city-states. The word for league was mech rasnal. Once a year the states met at a fanu, or sacred place (Latin fanum ) to discuss military and political affairs, and also to choose a head of confederation, zilath mechl rasnal, who held the office for one year. The Etrurian confederacy met at the fanum Voltumnae, the "shrine of Voltumna". Their league was called the “duodecim populi Etruriae” or the “twelve peoples of Etruria”. In the case of danger the league could appoint a dictator (macstrna/mastarna) to lead them, a practice that was later copied by the Romans.
The relationship between Rome and the Etruscans was not one of an outsider conquering a foreign people. The Etruscans considered Rome as one of their cities, perhaps originally in the Latian/Campanian league. It is entirely possible that the Tarquins appealed to Lars Porsena of Clusium (Clevsin), because he was the head of the Etrurian commonwealth for that year. He would have been obliged to help the Tarquins whether he liked it or not.
The Romans attacked and annexed individual cities between 510 and 290 BC. This apparent disunity of the Etruscans was probably regarded as internal dissent by the Etruscans themselves. For example, after the sack of Rome by the Gauls, the Romans debated whether to move the city en masse to Veii, which they could not even have considered if Veii was thought to be a foreign people. Eventually Rome created treaties individually with the Etruscan states, rather than the whole. But by that time the league had fallen into disuse, due to the permanent hegemony of Rome and increasing assimilation of Etruscan civilization to it, which was a natural outcome, as Roman civilization was to a large degree Etruscan.
Etruscan was the language of the Etruscan civilization, in Italy, in the ancient region of Etruria. Etruscan influenced Latin but eventually was completely superseded by it. The Etruscans left around 13,000 inscriptions that have been found so far, only a small minority of which are of significant length; some bilingual inscriptions with texts also in Latin, Greek, or Phoenician; and a few dozen loanwords. Attested from 700 BC to AD 50, the relation of Etruscan to other languages has been a source of long-running speculation and study, with its being referred to at times as an isolate, one of the Tyrsenian languages, and a number of other less well-known theories.
The Etruscan civilization of ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what is now Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio, as well as parts of what are now the Po Valley, Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy, southern Veneto, and Campania.
Over the course of some fourteen centuries, the Romans and other peoples of Italy employed a system of nomenclature that differed from that used by other cultures of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea, consisting of a combination of personal and family names. Although conventionally referred to as the tria nomina, the combination of praenomen, nomen, and cognomen that have come to be regarded as the basic elements of the Roman name in fact represent a continuous process of development, from at least the seventh century BC to the end of the seventh century AD. The names that developed as part of this system became a defining characteristic of Roman civilization, and although the system itself vanished during the Early Middle Ages, the names themselves exerted a profound influence on the development of European naming practices, and many continue to survive in modern languages.
Etruria was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what are now Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria.
Etruscan religion comprises a set of stories, beliefs, and religious practices of the Etruscan civilization, originating in the 7th century BC from the preceding Iron Age Villanovan culture, heavily influenced by the mythology of ancient Greece and Phoenicia, and sharing similarities with concurrent Roman mythology and religion. As the Etruscan civilization was assimilated into the Roman Republic in the 4th century BC, the Etruscan religion and mythology were partially incorporated into ancient Roman culture, following the Roman tendency to absorb some of the local gods and customs of conquered lands.
The praenomen was a personal name chosen by the parents of a Roman child. It was first bestowed on the dies lustricus, the eighth day after the birth of a girl, or the ninth day after the birth of a boy. The praenomen would then be formally conferred a second time when girls married, or when boys assumed the toga virilis upon reaching manhood. Although it was the oldest of the tria nomina commonly used in Roman naming conventions, by the late republic, most praenomina were so common that most people were called by their praenomina only by family or close friends. For this reason, although they continued to be used, praenomina gradually disappeared from public records during imperial times. Although both men and women received praenomina, women's praenomina were frequently ignored, and they were gradually abandoned by many Roman families, though they continued to be used in some families and in the countryside.
Etruscan numerals could mean the words and phrases for numbers of the Etruscan language, or the symbolic notation used by the Etruscans to write them.
Tarquinia, formerly Corneto, is an old city in the province of Viterbo, Lazio, Italy known chiefly for its ancient Etruscan tombs in the widespread necropoleis or cemeteries which it overlies, for which it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.
Clusium was an ancient city in Italy, one of several found at the site. The current municipality of Chiusi (Tuscany) partly overlaps this Roman walled city. The Roman city remodeled an earlier Etruscan city, Clevsin, found in the territory of a prehistoric culture, possibly also Etruscan or proto-Etruscan. The site is located in northern central Italy on the west side of the Apennines.
The Villanovan culture, regarded as the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization, was the earliest Iron Age culture of Central Italy and Northern Italy. It directly followed the Bronze Age Proto-Villanovan culture which branched off from the Urnfield culture of Central Europe. This gave way in the 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture influenced by Greek traders and colonists who settled in South Italy.
Etruscan history is the written record of Etruscan civilization compiled mainly by Greek and Roman authors. Apart from their inscriptions, from which information mainly of a sociological character can be extracted, the Etruscans left no surviving history of their own, nor is there any mention in the Roman authors that any was ever written. Remnants of Etruscan writings are almost exclusively concerned with religion.
Etruscan cities were a group of ancient settlements that shared a common Etruscan language and culture, even though they were independent city-states. They flourished over a large part of the northern half of Italy starting from the Iron Age, and in some cases reached a substantial level of wealth and power. They were eventually assimilated first by Italics in the south, then by Celts in the north and finally in Etruria itself by the growing Roman Republic.
Etruscan art was produced by the Etruscan civilization in central Italy between the 10th and 1st centuries BC. From around 750 BC it was heavily influenced by Greek art, which was imported by the Etruscans, but always retained distinct characteristics. Particularly strong in this tradition were figurative sculpture in terracotta, wall-painting and metalworking especially in bronze. Jewellery and engraved gems of high quality were produced.
Naming conventions for women in ancient Rome differed from nomenclature for men, and practice changed dramatically from the Early Republic to the High Empire and then into Late Antiquity. Females were identified officially by the feminine of the family name, which might be further differentiated by the genitive form of the father's cognomen, or for a married woman her husband's. Numerical adjectives might distinguish among sisters, such as Tertia, "the Third". By the late Republic, women also often adopted the feminine of their father's cognomen.
Scipio is a Roman cognomen representing the Cornelii Scipiones, a branch of the Cornelii family. Any individual male of the branch must be named Cornelius Scipio and a female Cornelia. The nomen, Cornelius, signifies that the person belongs to the Cornelia gens, a legally defined clan composed of many familiae. The cognomen, Scipio, identifies the line, or branch within the clan. Other branches had other cognomina; during the Republic there were no Cornelii who did not belong to some branch of the ancient clan. As branches developed, each was identified by its own agnomen, such as Africanus. The formal names of the Cornelii were thus at least two names long; in the late Republic, three or more.
The Tomb of Orcus, sometimes called the Tomb of Murina, is a 4th-century BC Etruscan hypogeum in Tarquinia, Italy. Discovered in 1868, it displays Hellenistic influences in its remarkable murals, which include the portrait of Velia Velcha, an Etruscan noblewoman, and the only known pictorial representation of the demon Tuchulcha. In general, the murals are noted for their depiction of death, evil, and unhappiness.
Caelius Vibenna, (Etruscan Caile Vipina, was a noble Etruscan who lived c. 750 BCE and brother of Aulus Vibenna.
In antiquity, several theses were elaborated on the origin of the Etruscans that can be summarized into three main hypotheses. The first is the autochthonous development in situ out of the Villanovan culture, as claimed by the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus who described the Etruscans as indigenous people who had always lived in Etruria. The second is a migration from the Aegean sea, as claimed by two Greek historians: Herodotus, who described them as a group of immigrants from Lydia in Anatolia, and Hellanicus of Lesbos who claimed that the Tyrrhenians were the Pelasgians originally from Thessaly, Greece, who entered Italy at the head of the Adriatic sea. The third hypotheses was reported by Livy and Pliny the Elder, and puts the Etruscans in the context of the Rhaetian people to the north and other populations living in the Alps.
Aulus is a Latin praenomen, or personal name, which was common throughout Roman history from the earliest times to the end of the Western Empire in the fifth century. The feminine form is Aula. An alternative pronunciation leads to the variant spellings Olus or Ollus and Olla. Aulus was widely used by both patrician and plebeian gentes. The name gave rise to the patronymic gens Aulia, and perhaps also to gens Avilia and the cognomen Avitus. The name was usually abbreviated A., but occasionally Av. or Avl.
The Regolini-Galassi tomb is one of the richest Etruscan family tombs in Caere, an ancient city in Italy approximately 50–60 kilometres (31–37 mi) north-northwest of Rome. It dates to between 650 and 600 BC, probably 640s BC. It was built by a wealthy family and stocked with bronze cauldrons and gold jewellery of Etruscan origin in Oriental style. The tomb was discovered in 1836 in modern-day Cerveteri in an undisturbed condition and named after the excavators, general Vincenzo Galassi and the archpriest of Cerveteri, Alessandro Regolini.