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date: 27 January 2021


  • Mauro Cristofani,
  • Giampiero Pianu,
  • Emeline Richardson,
  • Jean MacIntosh Turfa,
  • Tom Rasmussen,
  • Michael Eichberg,
  • Marina Martelli,
  • Simonetta Stopponi,
  • Giovannangelo Camporeale,
  • J.-R. Jannot
  •  and Larissa Bonfante


Civilization of Italy that flourished from the 9th century bc to the 1st. Ancient Etruria is usually defined as the area bounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea, the River Arno, the Tuscan–Umbrian Apennines and the River Tiber ( see fig. ).

Mauro Cristofani

Etruria is a varied, predominantly hilly region with a low-lying, marshy coast and hence few natural ports, although its rivers provide good internal communication routes. In ancient, as in modern, times, the climate and terrain favoured agriculture, and Etruria also had rich mineral resources, especially iron and copper. Throughout its history certain main urban centres, each with a dependent territory, maintained a consistent cultural and political importance.

Etruscan civilization originated during the Late Bronze Age (12th–11th century bc), when the region’s sparse population began to establish settlements on naturally defensible tufa plateaux in the south and hilltops in the north. Archaeological evidence from these sites, which later became the historical cities of Etruria, suggests that by about the ...

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