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ETRURIA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V09, Page 854 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ETRURIA, an ancient district of Italy, the extent of which varied considerably, and, especially in the earliest periods, is very difficult to define (see section Language). The name is the Latin equivalent of the Greek Tvppryvta or Tvporlvta, which is used by Latin writers also in the forms Tyrrhenia, Tyrrhenii; the Romans also spoke of Tusci, whence the modern Tuscany (q.v.). In early times the district appears to have included the whole of N. Italy from the Tiber to the Alps, but by the end of the 5th century B.C. it was considerably diminished, and about the year too B.C. its boundaries were the Arnus (Arno), the Apennines and the Tiber. In the division of Italy by Augustus it formed the seventh regio and extended as far north as the river Macra, which separated it from Liguria. History.—The authentic history of Etruria is very meagre, and consists mainly in the story of its relations with Carthage, Greece and Rome. At some period unknown, prior to the 6th century, the Etrurians became a conquering people and extended their power not only northwards over, probably, Mantua, Felsina, Melpum and perhaps •Hadria and Ravenna (Etruria Circumpadana), but also southwards into Latium and Campania. The chronology of this expansion is entirely unknown, nor can we recover with certainty the names of the cities which constituted the two leagues of twelve founded in the conquered districts on the analogy of the original league in Etruria proper (below). In the early history of Rome the Etruscans play a prominent part. According to the semi-historical tradition they were the third of the constituent elements which went to form the city of Rome. The tradition has been the subject of much controversy, and is still an unsolved problem. It is practically certain, however, that there is no foundation for the ancient theory (cf. Prop. iv. [v.] 1. 31) that the third Roman tribe, known as Luceres, represented an Etruscan element of the population, and it is held by many authorities that the tradition of the Tarquin kings of Rome represents, not an immigrant wave, but the temporary domination of Etruscan lords, who extended their conquests some time before 600 B.C. over Latium and Campania. This theory is corroborated by the fact that during the reigns of the Tarquin kings Rome appears as the mistress of a district including part of Etruria, several cities in Latium, and the whole of Campania, whereas our earliest picture of re-publican Rome is that of a small state in the midst of enemies. For this problem see further under RoME: History, section " The Monarchy." After the expulsion of the Tarquins the chief events in Etruscan history are the vain attempt to re-establish themselves in Rome ETRURIA under Lars Porsena of Clusium, the defeat of Octavius Mamilius, son-in-law of Tarquinius Superbus, at Lake Regillus, and the treaty with Carthage. This last event shows that the Etruscan power was formidable, and that by means of their fleet the Etruscans held under their exclusive control the commerce of the Tyrrhenian Sea. By this treaty Corsica was assigned to the Etruscans while Carthage obtained Sardinia. Soon after this, decay set in. In 474 the Etruscan fleet was destroyed by Hiero I. (q.v.) of Syracuse; Etruria Circumpadana was occupied by the Gauls, the Campanian cities by the Samnites, who took Capua (see CAMPANIA) in 423, and in 396, after a ten years' siege, Veii fell to the Romans. The battle of the Vadimonian Lake (309) finally extinguished Etruscan independence, though for nearly . two centuries still the prosperity elf the Etruscan cities far exceeded that of Rome itself. Henceforward Etruria is finally merged in the Roman state.
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