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The Etruscans were the original inhabitants of central Italy. Centuries before Rome's rise, they built cities such as Pompeii, Capua, and Orvieto along fortified hilltops. They developed a system of roads and invented what we call the Roman arch. Without the Etruscans, much of what we associate with the Roman world, and thus the foundations of Western civilization, would largely disappear.

The Mysterious Etruscans is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (23 episodes). The series first aired on January 6, 2016.

The Mysterious Etruscans is available for streaming on the website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Mysterious Etruscans on demand atAmazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy online.

The Great Courses Signature Collection
1 Season, 23 Episodes
January 6, 2016
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The Mysterious Etruscans Full Episode Guide

  • In this final lecture, you�۪ll trace the influence of Etruscan art and architecture in the Renaissance, when many exports of ���Roman�۝ culture were actually Etruscan. Then review what modern DNA research tells us about the origins and endings of the Etruscans-and the limits of our knowledge about this mysterious people even today.

  • Tour Rome in the era of Augustus at the turn of the Common Era to reveal the Etruscans�۪ influence on all things Roman. While Etruscan culture officially faded away, you�۪ll see that without the Etruscans, Rome would lack many of its strongest attributes, from roads and bridges to military armor and togas to religion and sport.

  • Many people assume that Etruscan culture simply died after the rise of Rome, but in truth, the culture lived on several centuries into Roman rule. Trace the history of the Etruscans€™ final years, from the invasion of Rome to various resistance and revival movements to their eventual integration into the Roman world.

  • Relative equality between men and women extended to family life, as well. In this lecture, take a look at the Etruscan family structure and compare it to the Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews. Professor Tuck uses tombs, funerary markers, myths, and more to present a picture of the Etruscan family, gender roles, and the status of children.

  • Banquets were the most significant social experience in the Etruscan world. Using tomb art as your guide, delve into the banquet world and see the customs for celebrating victories and observing religious events. You�۪ll also learn about the inclusion of women in these public events-unique in the ancient world.

  • Sport and spectacle have long been part of human affairs. We associate gladiatorial combat with the Romans, but it actually originated with the Etruscans, who held such combats and chariot races as part of religious observances. Study the exciting world of Etruscan sports and find out the context surrounding different types of games.

  • Dig deeper into Etruscan artwork and go inside the world of bronze metalworking and the terra-cotta industry. Professor Tuck shows you the patterns to their art, traces the Greek influence, and surveys the Etruscan gift for portraiture. You�۪ll study examples of their art and the techniques that went into making it.

  • Turn to the Etruscans€™ extensive trade network across the Mediterranean, and consider some of their imports from the Greeks and Phoenicians-including pottery, ivory, glass, and more. Reflect on arts and crafts such as Greek vases, terra-cotta vessels, and pottery, and find out what Etruscan imports and exports might tell us about their politics and society.

  • The Etruscan militaries were formidable, and their navies sailed around the Mediterranean, threatening many foreign settlements. Yet the military structure-or lack thereof-combined with a lack of any grand strategy, meant that the Etruscan military was more of a loose confederation than a unified force. Learn about their armor, battle tactics, and major confrontations.

  • Reflect on the Etruscan form of government, which shifted from tyranny to a kind of city-state democracy. Examine some of the limitations of their democracy-especially in the realm of defense against Roman invaders. Then consider how much the Etruscan government and its symbols informed Rome, and therefore much of Western civilization.

  • The Etruscan language survives in more than 13,000 texts, from religious transcriptions on mummy linens to fascinating legal contracts written in stone. Because the Etruscans had a primarily oral culture, their writing tended to be analytical and straightforward, yet from it we can deduce much.

  • Continue your study of how Greek mythology influenced the Etruscans. Look at carvings, sculptural reliefs, bronze works, and other media that depict scenes from Greek myths. Examples include scenes from the Odyssey and the Iliad-adapted to Etruscan life in interesting ways.

  • Between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC, the Etruscans imported thousands of pieces of Greek pottery, and this ubiquity influenced much of their own art. Study the urns, tomb paintings, and other artworks to uncover how the Etruscans incorporated and reinterpreted Greek myths for their own purposes.

  • While much of their art incorporates Greek elements-confusing archaeologists for decades-the Etruscans have their own distinct myths and legends. Here, delve into some of those stories and meet heroes such as the Vipinas brothers, who were a pair of folk heroes rooted in history. Explore the relationship between myth and history.

  • Sanctuaries reflect Etruscan religious beliefs and offer critical insight into their culture and politics. Examine the placement and design of several key sanctuaries, and contrast them with Greek temples. After reflecting on the geography of religious spaces, Professor Tuck turns to religious art and sculpture.

  • One of the longest-lasting Etruscan legacies is divination, which had a profound influence on Rome. Venture into the Etruscan cosmos and find out how the interpretation of entrails, the flight of birds, and portents such as lightning strikes influenced their world. Then turn to blood sacrifices and other rituals designed to interpret the world and appease the gods.

  • Shift your attention from the afterlife to survey Etruscan gods and goddesses. Learn about their pantheon and see how their deities compare to Greek and Roman gods, and consider what these deities indicate about the Etruscan worldview. See how collective action among the deities mirrored the culture�۪s government, family life, and more.

  • Round out your study of the Etruscan view of the dead and the afterlife by examining wall paintings. Reflect on some of the key symbols around the transition from the living to the dead-including divers, underworld guides, and kings. Then consider how the Etruscan afterlife compared to Greek beliefs and mythology.

  • Funeral rites are some of the most conservative components of a culture. Because they change so slowly, we can learn much from looking at a society�۪s funerals. Here, examine Etruscan tomb paintings to learn about their religious rituals, from which we can deduce much of their beliefs, cultural priorities, and more.

  • Step into the Etruscan necropolis-a literal city of the dead-which tells us much about how the culture viewed the afterlife, social class, and more. In this first of three lectures on the dead, you�۪ll visit several ancient tombs to find out about how this mysterious people lived-and how their culture changed over time.

  • Much of Rome�۪s geography, architecture, and artistic inscriptions suggest strong Etruscan influence. After discussing three Etruscan kings who ruled Rome, Professor Tuck reviews the evidence-particularly in some of the city�۪s prominent temples-that Rome was, in fact, largely founded as an Etruscan city.

  • Although Etruscan cities no longer survive, we can learn much by studying the geography and the foundations of cities that were built over the Etruscan developments. Explore three Etruscan cities to find out how they were designed, and see what urban development tells us about the people and their impact on future civilizations.