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Published by: Catherine Hughes on Oct 21, 2010
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The Etruscan People and culture
Fred HamoriDecember 4, 2005
Also available on this website are the sound rules and dictionary of vocabulary, by clicking on thefollowing titles.
The Etruscans and their civilization has long disappeared from Europe, but their legacy lives on in many ways,even though often it is not recognized for what it is. The first builders of arches and aqueducts in Europe,underground sewers, city planning, iron and bronze working, and hundreds of culture words, including thecalendar, that were adopted by the Romans and then later spread throughout their empire is from them. They alsointroduced the alphabet to the Romans from a Phonecian and Greek combination. The Etruscans also introducedthe horse and charriot to Italy as well as quite a large body of culture words which we still use today such asferrum=iron, horta=goddes of agriculture (hortaculture), litera=writing (literature), numa=sign, notch,coinage(numismatics), urbs=city (urban) , element, miles/milites(millitary) etc. As a people and a language, theywere unique. They were not just another ancient nation that died off, but the descendant of the most ancient people of Europe, which was unique in customs, religion, language and their exceptional engineering and artisticskills.The center of Etruscan culture was located mainly in northern Italy and their modern day namesake is the areaknown as Toscany, in northern Italy. They eventually were conquered by the Romans and were granted Romancitizenship. They represented the core patrician class of the Rome, that gave many rulers and statesmen to thenew empire. Their earliest writing is from 700BC, although as with most other early civilizations writing camemuch later then their existence there. Smaller Etruscan texts have also been found on the island of Lemnos whilea very famous text was found in Egypt written on the linens of a mummy. Apparently the cloth "book" was cutup to use as bandages for a mummy. Unfortunately most of the extensive literature of the Etruscans wasdestroyed by the book burning Christians. What made the Etruscans unique was their prominent position, their well planned cities and their many innovations, that eventually elevated the nearby Latin people also from their simple shepherd life to a great empire that influenced European civilization. The Etruscans founded many citieson the Italian peninsula, including the city of Rome. Because they were seafarers and tradesman they had tocompete with the Phonecians and Greeks. Some of the Roman rulers and prominent families claimed their originfrom Etruscan families and some of whom even wrote books about the Etruscans. Typically names ending in Oin Latin were Etruscan in origin, but the original Etruscan form was U. Some of the Roman gods were also of Etruscan origin. Even the Roman myth of origin from the twin boys Romulus and Remus that were raised by afemale wolf, was probably from the Etruscans. The likelihood of this is that because this story is also found inthe myths of origin of other eastern cultures, whose languages are related to Etruscan.It also appears that they gave the "calendar" term and the first six month's names to that calendar.January from (i)ANI the god of the sky,Ferbruary from Februs the god of the underworld,March from Masan, which is possibly from the upper level clans Mas, Mech in Etruscan,April from Aber-as is the name of the lower level clans,May is from Mach =the Etruscan numeral 5,June is from UNI the chief goddess and wife of the chief god TIN.The other month's names are Latin and may have replaced the older Etruscan names. July and August are lateadditions that are from Julius and Augustus Cesar, and were names of Roman Emperors. Their insertion into thelist causes a displacement of two with the subsequent months September = numeral 7, October =numeral 8, November =numeral 9, December = numeral 10.
I Origins
Some have claimed that they were in Italy before the coming of the Latins, while others claim their origin fromAnatolia or Troy. The newest explanations are that they had some contacts with the area of Hungary. There is noagreement. Some claim their known presence from about 1600BC to references as late as 400AD, while othersclaim only 700BC to 14AD, when writing proves their presence.Etruscan origin is a highly controversial subject, which often tends to repeat the old disproven ideas for the most part. The latest opinion is that they came to Italy after the Latins, who were already living there from about 1850BC. Some classical writers such as Dionysus of Halicarnassus, argued that the Etruscans were the original people of the peninsula while others like the Greek Herodotus, claimed that they were colonists of the Lydians.However, since their language wasn’t like Lydian that cannot be true. Hellanicus of Lesbos however seemsclosest to finding the proper link, when he writes that Tyrrhenians, who were previously called Pelasgians, the pre Greek inhabitants of Greece and surroundings. The Etruscans received their present name after they hadsettled in Italy. These are his words in the Phoronis: "Phrastor was the son of Pelasgus, their king, and Menippe,the daughter of Peneus; his son was Amyntor, Amyntor's son was Tutamides, and the later's son was Nanas. Inhis reign the Pelasgians were driven out of their country by the Greeks, and after leaving their ships on the river Spines in the Ionian Gulf, they took Croton, an inland city and proceeding from there, they colonized the countrycalled Tyrrhenia."Because their culture and their many innovations weren’t present in earlier times on the Italian peninsula, they probably weren't there yet. Their latter arrival brought their many new contributions. Some archeologists likeHugh Hencken claim they came from the area of Hungary. Barfield called this area of Europe the "heartland of technology of the Bronze Age". The American archeologist, Hugh Hencken has claimed their origin was fromHungary due also to the similar type of Urn burial customs and metallurgy, which was present there, and the bronze technology they brought from there, as well as their equestrian customs. The senior Italian linguist MarioAlinei has done extensive comparisons of the language of the Etruscans and has come to the conclusion that itwas an archaic form of Hungarian and its predecessors the Ugrians. His theory of origin was that the ancestors of the Hungarians were living in Hungary at the end of the 3
millenium BC, long before they were supposed tohave arrived from the nearby Ukraine at 896AD. The main confusion factor in regards to Hungarians is that theyhad several fairly widely separated colonies in the Caucasus Mountains, in the Volga region and the supposed birthplace of the nation near the Sea of Azov (Meotis). Hencken also claims that the Etruscans were part of the people who attacked Egypt under the confederation known as the Sea People. Therefore they also had colonieson the island Lemnos in the Aegian Sea and Anatolia (Troy).The most recent linguistic origin theory, claimed by Mario Alinei, that ties Etruscan to Ugrian, had several previous champions, besides Alinei, but they were much less detailed than the new theory. This theory still has alot of biases to overcome in the linguistic community, which is infamous for its extreme conservatism andreluctance to change as well as its willingness to persecute those who stray from the "established" facts withouteven checking it out. However there is no reason to think that the Etruscans didn’t have ties to several other  places, such as Troy, the island of Lemnos, the Balkans as well as the Carpathian Basin in their early history.When we try to trace their origins through Europe back through their source nations, it becomes very likely thatthere was a link through different branches of these related people.
 A Historic Hunt for the origins of the Etruscans
Lets attempt to trace them backwards in time and see where that takes us. The Etruscans are generally associatedwith the Villanovan Culture of Italy. This culture entered Italy from the south, from the direction of the Balkans,where traces of the Etruscans were also found. One of the early Greek writers even stated that the Etruscanswere related to the pre-Greek aboriginals of Greece, known as the Pelasgians. The archeologist Hencken hasstated that the Italian Villanovan Culture that entered Italy is Balkan in origin. This area was for a long timeinhabited by the people known as the Thracians, whose very name sounds much like "Tursci", which is the localLatin name of the Etruscans. Thrace had a very long history from about 1800BC to the start of the Christian Era.Later they also spread to the Eastern Carpahian Basin under the name of Dacian, a name which sounds a bit likethe early ethnic designation for Turk or the Scythian tribe known in the east as Daha.The names Thraci-an and Troja-n are names that sound very similar, especially if we assume that the internal Cwas more like a ch, which is a distinct possibility after we compare the Etruscan words to its derivatives. Thraceand Troyas were in fact on the opposite sides of the Aegian Sea, before the entrance to the Sea of Marmara, andguarded the access to the Black Sea. The European side of this area was called Thrace while the Asian side was
once Troyas. It seems that both sides were inhabited originally by the ancestors of the Etruscans since theTrojans were claimed to be the ancestors of the Etruscans. See map below.
The map illustrating the early European cultures including the Cimmerians of central and eastern Europe. To beconsistent with the newer theories the Iranians probably entered their homeland also from the west, through Anatolia south of the Black Sea where originally there were several early IndoEuropean nations, like the Hittites. Early references to the Mitani also mention the Iranians. The Cimmerians neighbors to the north are shown to be Slavs and Balts in the west and FinnoUgrians in grey on the northeast.
The Thracians came from the east and were part of a larger group of related people stretching from CentralEurope to the edge of eastern Europe to the Ural Mountains and the Caspean Sea, who were once known by theancient Greeks as the Kimmeroi (Cimmerians). This was before the coming of the Scythians in the 7
centuryBC, who pushed them out or took over as rulers of some of these groups of people. The royal clans of theCimmerians originally lived in and near the Crimean Peninsula that juts into the Black Sea from it's northernshores. A lot of their royal tombs were found here and around the local Sea of Azov, which was a bay of theBlack Sea. The following links to the Cimmerians of the people of the Thracians and Dacians is claimed byseveral historians, however the link to the Etruscans is my own association. The linguistic link between these people is impossible to prove however, due to the insufficient linguistic material that exists. A few names cannever be sufficient to prove a language, especially if its after the Scythian conquest. There are also claims thatthe Cimmerians came from the Middle East based on the fact that the earliest records of their names is fromAssyrian sources. This in itself doesn’t prove the case if there was no one around them to record it. So I think weneed to trust in the early Greek historians as they were the first one to remember and record this nation.The Scythians coming from the east in the 7
century BC, conquered much of the eastern Cimmerians, who were pushed out from mainly their south-eastern territories, but many also remained around the Crimea and the areaaround the Sea of Azov under Scythian rule. They also remained in the northern forest zone as well as in theBalkans and Hungary even after the birth of Christ. Some of the Eastern Cimmerians escaped and crossed theCaucasus Mountains and established a large but short lived kingdom in Anatolia and destroyed the empire of theHittites. A few of their leaders are recorded by documents from the Near East. They are remembered in the Bibleas the sons of Gomer, whose sons were Askenaz, Riphat and Togarma. Assyrian records also called areas of theempire which were under the control of Cimmerian mercenaries, by the name Gamir. The name which thereafter  became the name for all dreaded nomadic horsemen, including their enemy the Scythians. We can only assumethat those who stayed behind thereafter came under Scythian domination and were called Scythian afterward,simply due to their rulers and the subsequent combining of the two cultures. The other languages in the area of 

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