The Etruscan civilization flourished between the ninth and first centuries BC and had a fundamental role in the genesis of Rome. The Etruscans fascinated throughout time scholars and lovers of the ancient world due to their “mysterious” origins and to the great contribution given to the early phases of ancient Rome. Their origins have long been discussed and several hypotheses have been made. Were they indigenous tribes (Iron Age Villanovan Culture) or Eastern Mediterranean origins? What language did they use? What caused their demise? This conversation seeks to unearth details about this fascinating civilization that had a formative influence on what was to come after they disappeared.
In the sixth to fifth centuries BC, during the maximum expansion, the territory of the Etruscans covered a vast area from the Northern Apennines mountains to the Campania region, south of Rome. We’ll note that the core consisted of the central part of the Italic peninsula, which today is Tuscany, Northern Lazio, and Umbria. In this area, great archaeological finds have brought to light considerable proofs of Etruscan society and life: painted tombs in city-size necropolis, artifacts, and bronze sculptures today preserved in museums all over the world. The solid trading contacts with the Greek civilization of southern Italy enriched the Etruscans: we’ll learn (unsurprisingly) that the majority of the Greek vases that have been found (black and red figures) come from the Etruscan tombs.
It’s thought that the last three kings of Rome were of Etruscan origin–we’ll learn about the Tarquinii dynasty and the changes they made. From introducing Etruscan religion in Rome to the creation of urban infrastructures such as the ancient road ‘Vicus Tuscus’, we’ll discuss these Etruscan influences (using archaeological finds as sources to analyze). We’ll also learn about the rule of Tarquinii the Cloaca Maxima and his construction of a mighty sewer system that drained the Forum area.
We’ll finish up by discussing the latter stages of Etruscan civilization: we’ll learn of the Roman-Etruscan wars, the assimilation into Roman Society, and what Etruscan traces were left as the centuries went on. Led by archaeologist Dr. Dimosthenis Kosmopoulos, this seminar will awaken your understanding of just who the Etruscans were based on archaeological findings and sources that remain today.
During his university studies at “La Sapienza” in Rome, Dimosthenis participated in several national and international projects, such as the study of Latin epigraphy and Roman pottery as well as various archaeological excavations in different areas of Rome (Roman Forum, Palatine, Mausoleum of Augustus). His work as an archaeologist brought him to carry out research in classical art and architecture, exploring in particular the relationship between iconography and architecture as ancient Greek and Roman artistic expressions. Dimosthenis completed his Ph.D. with a thesis on temple architecture in the Italian peninsula during the Republican period. This topic became his area of expertise. His knowledge of archaeology, ancient art history and Roman architecture is the key that he uses to share his unique perspective on the Eternal City.
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.