In the spring of 1828, a Tuscan farmer went out to plow the land. His bull, pulling the plow, suddenly fell into a pit. Having become interested, the peasant took up a shovel, and by evening he had a whole mountain of treasures in his hands: gold vases and goblets, massive gold earrings, rings, bracelets. The mysterious pit turned out to be an ancient burial place, which left the Etruscans - the people whose brilliant culture in many ways became the predecessor of Ancient Rome!

The mysterious pit turned out to be an ancient burial place, which left the Etruscans - the people whose brilliant culture in many ways became the predecessor of Ancient Rome

As it turned out, the first treasures were obtained in the necropolis of Vulci - one of the richest and most significant cities of ancient Etruria. In the 1830-1840's. Other centers of Etruscan civilization were discovered - Tarquinia, Cerveteri, Chiusi. It was in Tarquinius that magnificent painted tombs were found. Somewhat later, archaeologists found the famous tombs of Barberini and Bernardini in Preneste, which shook the world with the luxury of the gold articles found here and the finest ivory ornaments.

French archaeologist Noel de Verger and his Italian counterpart Francois Tuscany stood at the origins of Etruscan archeology. Tuscany has erased and explored almost all the Etruscan burial grounds - in Populonia, Rudella, Cortona, Chiusi, Tarquinia, Vulci. Vergere became famous first of all for having compiled the first consolidated work on Etruria and the Etruscans, which has not lost its significance even in our days.

It can not be said that the science of that time did not know anything about the Etruscans. Even the Roman emperor Claudius wrote the history of this people, which has survived to this day in rather large fragments. In the 15th century, the monk of the Dominican, Annio de Witterbe wrote "The History of Etruscan Antiquities". A number of scientific works created by scientists of the 18th century were devoted to the Etruscans. But only after the discoveries in Tuscany Etruscan civilization began to acquire "flesh and blood".

Today, the ruins of hundreds of Etruscan buildings are taken into account, the ruins of hundreds of Etruscan buildings are photographed, the remains of Etruscan cities are found, and huge necropolises are discovered and studied. The history of the Etruscans, and the reasons for the death of their civilization, are well known. The origin of this people is not clear to the end - disputes continue in the scientific world about him. Undoubtedly the fact that the Etruscans (another name - tirrene or tirsen) were descendants from Asia Minor, who moved to the Apennines during the first migration of peoples at the end of the Bronze Age. Legends tell us that the ancestors of the Etruscans, led by Tyrrhen, the son of Antis, the king of Lydia, landed in Tarquinia.

For more than two centuries, the economic and political center of the Etruscan confederation was Vulchi. It was from here that the discovery of Etruscan antiquities began. In the 1820's. there were about six thousand tombs. Now they are not more than a dozen - all the rest are destroyed by treasure hunters. From the city itself remained only the remains of the fortress wall and the dilapidated rock temple.

Antique Etruria encompassed not only Tuscany, but also some areas of Umbria and the entire northern Latium - a territory 200 km from north to south and about 150 km from west to east, between the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Arno River and the Tiber. Etruscan cities and settlements were located on adjacent lands.

In the confrontation with the Greeks, umberies, ligurs, Sabines and other tribes who inhabited Italy, the Etruscans increased their power. And by the middle of the 5th century BC. Only Carthage and mainland Greece remained for them real rivals. And it is unlikely that the Etruscans could have imagined then that one of its own cities would be the main, deadly dangerous opponent. Four centuries later Rome will turn into a formidable state and take over all the Apennines...

Undoubtedly, the traditions of Etruscan culture played an important role in the formation of the culture of Ancient Rome. Skilled metallurgists, shipbuilders, traders and pirates, they swam all over the Mediterranean, learned the traditions of different peoples, while creating their own high and distinctive culture. It is known that the Romans are indebted to the inventive talent of the Etruscans in hydraulics, in irrigation, that the Etruscans invented the anchor and that the legion, the famous fighting unit of the Romans, was already known to the Etruscans. It was in them that the Romans borrowed the architecture of temples with cladding, handicraft techniques, and the practice of building cities.