Our Weird World: The Etruscans

We’re headed abroad on this beautiful Friday as we check out the Etruscans.

I like studying ancient history, but more than that, I like the mysterious stuff. You know, the legends about Atlantis, Flood stories, and the oddities that ancient people left behind when they died out or, in some cases, vanished. I’ve even written a post about that, concerning the Moon-eyed People and a few North American mythologies.

Standing out in the crowd of relatively mysterious ancient people are the Etruscans.

Now, they’re a little different. They didn’t disappear mysteriously; rather, they assimilated into the Roman culture. That isn’t weird, because it’s happened a lot in history. Tuscany takes its name from Tusci, which is what the Romans called the Etruscans. Etruscan words are a part of the Latin alphabet. The Etruscans are pre-Roman and share some deities with the Greeks. None of that is out of the ordinary. We can say where they went and what happened to them.

The real weirdness comes when you realize that the Etruscans seem to have appeared mysteriously.

And, even for the time in which they lived, they don’t seem to have fit in. Their language is markedly different from either Greek or Roman (when Anglicized). Their name for themselves was Rasenna, which later became Rasna. We don’t even know what that means, and no one can read the language anymore, which was itself pretty unique, in the Tyrsenian language group.  

The knowledge actually gained about the Etruscans is only from tombs and the stuff in them. It’s somewhat apparent that, as far as families go, who your mom was had as much importance as who your dad was. It was fine for women to associate with mixed company. The root difference between the Etruscan culture and the Roman culture is just so marked.

So who were they? what were they like? Perhaps the Etruscans were completely boring, but the fact that we simply do not know is what makes them all the more fascinating.

And that is why mysteries make our world even more interesting.


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