The highest civilization in Italy
before the rise of Rome
. Etruria, as it was known to the Latin
s, was located northwest of the Tiber
River, now in modern Tuscany
and part of Umbria. While historians have not come to agreement on the origins of these people, the two most popular beliefs are that they had migrated from a great famine in Lydia
in the 12 century BC, or they are an ancient, indigenous Italian race.
Etruscan culture evolved around the 8th century BC, achieved its peak of wealth and power about the 6th century, and then declined during the 5th and 4th cent. Etruria had no centralized government but was loosely comprised of a federation of city-state
s. Important centers were Clusium
During the period of 500 B.C., the Etrurians
had a great maritime power and colonized Corsica
and the coast of Spain
, while having been been greatly influenced by the Etrurians, were distrustful of their power. In the early 4th century, Gallic
invasions from the North weakened the Etrurians, giving Rome
the opportunity to beat them back and conquer their cities. In 88 B.C. Sulla
eradicated the last traces of Etruscan independence.
Etruscans were known for their black bucchero
pottery. Their art was heavily influenced by both the Greek
s and civilizations from the East with whom they had substantial commerce.