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Word Count: 2,010
The Etruscans are one of those mystery peoples of the ancient world who seem to have appeared for a short time in history then to have disappeared altogether Although their reign was short lived they had a great impact on later Mediterranean cultures They were a powerful people at the height of their civilization They controlled the entire Italian peninsula from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea They controlled the trade routes with their navy and were much involved in commerce with Greece and Carthage They had a written language and they were accomplished architects and engineers They were known throughout the Mediterranean region for their soothsaying abilities Where they came from and why they disappeared is still not well understood but the study of this fascinating people continues in modern day TuscanyAt the time of its greatest power between the seventh and fifth centuries BC Etruria a loose confederation of twelve city-states probably embraced all of Italy from the Alps to the Tiber River Its name is the Latin version of the Greek name Tyrrhenia the ancient Romans called the people of the country Etrusci or Tusci from which derived the name of the modern Italian region of Tuscany However much about their culture remains a mystery and even their language remains undecipherable the voices of the Etruscans are being heard through the study of their artifacts and artworkThe Etruscans built an empire that rivaled the empires of ancient Greece and Carthage - all of this at a time when Rome was a village of mud huts on the banks of the Tiber Although they had built such a great empire they had no army to protect them from their enemies When stronger more hostile invaders eventually overcame and conquered each city state the Etruscans wrote it off as fate thinking that the gods meant it to be that way Was it their fatalistic attitude that caused their downfall or was it their form
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