While North at the time had invaded Italy through Alpine passes, peoples from the Balkans had come across the Adriatic. They intermingled with some native tribes, imposing on them many of their own primitive customs. But none of these early ones, the pre-Etruscans,-left written records on which history can be based. Explorations from archaeologists brought knowledge of the first people in Italy to be associated with the Iron Age.
The Etruscans used to cremate their dead, placing the ashes in urn-shaped receptacles which they covered with small inverted cuplike lids. Later on these lids were replaced by helmets with high crests of laminated bronze, apparently intended in a crude way to represent the heads of the decreased. This was the beginning of funerary sculpture which later the Etruscans were to perfect.
The Etruscan civilization was first to flower in Italy after the Iron Age. It was very well established by 700 B.C. and reached its peak five hundred years before Christ.
There is knowledge that the Lydians were the first people to use gold and silver coinage. It has also been said that there were many similarities between Etruscan customs and ways of life and those of the people of ancient Asia minor.
There is even their own national name Rasena which is found in closely similar forms in dialects of Asia Minor, as is the Greek name for the Etruscans. Many
Etruscan customs, religious beliefs, and artistic skills can be connected with the Orient.
The Etruscan civilizations social structure was the position of equality by which their women shared with men. The Etruscan woman were frequently shown in tomb frescoes reclining beside their husbands at the banqueting tables; they attended athletic contests and chariot races. Even though those facts remain, the Greek woman were kept in the background subordinate to their husbands.
Between 5-600 B.C. was a time of great power for the Etruscans. The Etruscans dominated Italy from the plains of the River Po in the north to the River Tiber and even farther south. The province of present day Tuscany was the heart of their domain. When Rome was only a cluster of small villages...