Corinna Riva is Senior Lecturer in Mediterranean Archaeology at University College London. The co-editor of two previous books on ancient Italy and the antique Mediterranean, she is also author of The Urbanisation of Etruria: Funerary Practices and Social Change, 700-600 BC (2010).
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A Short History of the Etruscans
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Of all civilizations of the ancient Mediterranean, it is perhaps the Etruscans who hold the greatest allure. This is because, unlike their Greek and Latin neighbours, the Etruscans left behind no textual sources. They must be approached as if they were a prehistoric people; and the enormous wealth of Etruscan visual and material culture must speak for them. Yet they offer glimpses, in the record left by Greek and Roman authors, that they were literate and far from primordial: indeed, that their written histories were greatly admired by the Romans themselves. Using fresh archaeological insights and discoveries, Corinna Riva describes the birth, growth and demise of this fascinating and enigmatic ancient people, whose nemesis was the growing power of Rome. Exploring the ‘discovery’ of the Etruscans from the Renaissance onwards, she discusses the mysterious Etruscan language; the 6th-century BCE growth of Etruscan cities and Mediterranean trade; their religion, rituals and burial sites; and the fatal incorporation of Etruria into Rome’s political orbit.