Spina

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A kylix from Spina. Museo di Spina sala 3, Ferrara - Pittore di Pentesilea - Zeus e Ganimede.jpg
A kylix from Spina.

Spina was an Etruscan port city, established by the end of the 6th century BCE, [1] on the Adriatic at the ancient mouth of the Po, south of the lagoon which would become the site of Venice.

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Discovery

The site of Spina was lost until modern times, when drainage schemes in the delta of the Po River in 1922 first officially revealed a necropolis of Etruscan Spina about four miles west of the commune of Comacchio.

The fishermen of Comacchio, it soon turned out, had been the source of "Etruscan" vases (actually ancient imports from Greece) and other artifacts that had appeared for years on the archeological black market.

The archaeological finds from the burials of Spina were discovered with the help of aerial photography. Aside from the white reflective surfaces of the modern drainage channels there appeared in the photographs a ghostly network of dark lines and light rectangles, the former indicating richer vegetation on the sites of ancient canals. Thus the layout of the ancient trading port was revealed, now miles from the sea, due to the sedimentation of the Po delta.

Trading centre

Ancient Greek pottery from the Etruscan tombs in Spina. Museo archeologico nazionale (Ferrara) Spina 0709-1.JPG
Ancient Greek pottery from the Etruscan tombs in Spina. Museo archeologico nazionale (Ferrara)

Spina was founded around 525 BC, soon after Atria. It had the predominantly Etruscan population, but also a significant Greek trading emporium. [2]

The population of Spina became significantly Hellenised. [3]

Many of the goods imported through Spina were destined for the bigger Etruscan city of Felsina (ancient name of Bologna).

The city was at the southern end of the ancient Amber road from the Baltic sea. This trade was done through the Veneti, whose cities were to the north. They also traded in horses, for which the Veneti were famous. [4]

Hydraulic engineering

Etruscan hydraulic engineers managed to confine the wide Po river at Spina to its bed, by the means of constructing many canals to direct its flow. As a result the disastrous spring floods were mitigated. Much other evidence of Etruscan hydraulic engineering works remains in the area. They have drained the marshes and provided irrigation for dry lands. [5]

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Adria was a former channel of the Po river delta, passing by the town of Adria, that ceased in the 1st century BC.

Prehistoric Italy aspect of history

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Etruscan origins Academic theories on the origins of the Etruscan civilization

There are three main hypotheses as to the origins of the Etruscan civilization in the Early Iron Age. The first is 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.

In the 8th century BC, the Etruscans expanded their power to Northern and Southern Italy, specifically towards Emilia and Campania, there they founded Etruscan dominions who are modernly known under the names of Padanian Etruria and Campanian Etruria. Moving from the northern city-states of the Etruscan Dodecapolis they swept into the Po valley through the Apennine passes.

Po (river) Italian river

The Po is the longest river in Italy. It is a river that flows eastward across northern Italy starting from the Cottian Alps. The Po flows either 652 km (405 mi) or 682 km (424 mi) – considering the length of the Maira, a right bank tributary. The headwaters of the Po are a spring seeping from a stony hillside at Pian del Re, a flat place at the head of the Val Po under the northwest face of Monviso. The Po then extends along the 45th parallel north before ending at a delta projecting into the Adriatic Sea near Venice.

Etruscan architecture architecture of the Etruscan civilization

Etruscan architecture was created between about 900 BC and 27 BC, when the expanding civilization of ancient Rome finally absorbed Etruscan civilization. The Etruscans were considerable builders in stone, wood and other materials of temples, houses, tombs and city walls, as well as bridges and roads. The only structures remaining in quantity in anything like their original condition are tombs and walls, but through archaeology and other sources we have a good deal of information on what once existed.

References

  1. Graham, Alexander John (1999). Colony and mother city in ancient Greece (Special ed.). Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 6. ISBN   0719057396.
  2. Grant, Michael (1987). The Rise of the Greeks. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 172. ISBN   978-0-684-18536-1.
  3. Mogens Herman Hansen and Thomas Heine Nielsen (2004). An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis. ISBN   0-19-814099-1. In the index, p. 1390, Spina is labelled "Hell.?", where "Hell." stands for Hellenised indigenous community.
  4. Grant, Michael (1987). The Rise of the Greeks. Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 172. ISBN   978-0-684-18536-1.
  5. ETRUSCAN ENGINEERING & AGRICULTURAL ACHIEVEMENTS mysteriousetruscans.com

Literature

Coordinates: 44°41′35″N12°06′04″E / 44.6930555556°N 12.1011111111°E / 44.6930555556; 12.1011111111