Etruscan origins

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A map showing the extent of Etruria and the Etruscan civilization.

There are three main hypotheses as to the origins of the Etruscan civilization. Autochthonous development in situ out of the Villanovan culture, as claimed by the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus who described the Etruscans as indigenous people who had always lived in Etruria.[1] A migration from the Aegean sea, as claimed by a couple of Greek historians: Herodotus, who described them as a group of immigrants from Lydia in Anatolia,[2] and Hellanicus of Lesbos who claimed that the Tyrrhenians were the Pelasgians originally from Thessaly, Greece[3] The third hypotheses is reported by Livy and Pliny the Elder, the Etruscans as related to Rhaetian people to the north and other populations living in the Alps.[4]

German linguist Helmut Rix proposed the Tyrsenian language family, with Etruscan related to the Rhaetic language spoken in the Alps north of Etruria, and to the Lemnian language spoken in Lemons.[5] In particular the Lemnian language could have arrived in the Aegean Sea during the Late Bronze Age, when Mycenaean rulers recruited groups of mercenaries from Sicily, Sardinia and various parts of the Italian peninsula.[6]

The latest mtDNA study (2013) suggests that the Etruscans appear to fall very close to a Neolithic population from Central Europe and to other Tuscan populations.[7][8]

References[change | change source]

  1. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, Book I Chapters 30 1.
  2. MacIntosh Turfa, Jean (2013). The Etruscan World. London and New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 978-0-415-67308-2.
  3. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 1.17–19
  4. Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita), Book 5
  5. Rix 1998. Rätisch und Etruskisch (Innsbruck).
  6. De Ligt, Luuk. "An Eteocretan Inscription from Praisos and the Homeland of the Sea peoples" (PDF). talanta.nl. ALANTA XL-XLI (2008–2009), 151–172.
  7. Ghirotto S, Tassi F, Fumagalli E, Colonna V, Sandionigi A, Lari M, et al (2013). "Origins and Evolution of the Etruscans' mtDNA". PLoS ONE 8 (2): e55519. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055519. PMC 3566088. PMID 23405165. 
  8. Tassi F, Ghirotto S, Caramelli D, Barbujani G (2013). "Genetic evidence does not support an Etruscan origin in Anatolia.". American Journal of Physical Anthropology 152 (1): 11–18. doi:10.1002/ajpa.22319. PMID 23900768.