The Mysterious Etruscans

Watch The Mysterious Etruscans

  • 2016
  • 1 Season

The Mysterious Etruscans from The Great Courses Signature Collection is an enlightening exploration of one of the most intriguing and elusive cultures of early Italy. In this course, Professor Steven L. Tuck takes us on a journey through the history, art, and daily life of the Etruscans, who flourished in central Italy from the eighth to the third century BCE. Through his engaging lectures and vivid visual aids, Professor Tuck unlocks the secrets of this enigmatic people and reveals the ways in which they helped shape Western civilization.

The course begins with an overview of the Etruscan landscape, including the natural resources, geography, and climate that made the region so attractive to settlers. Professor Tuck then delves into the history of the Etruscans, tracing their origins and development over time. He discusses the various theories about where the Etruscans came from, and shows how their culture evolved over time as they interacted with neighboring peoples, including the Greeks and Romans.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Etruscan culture is their art, and Professor Tuck devotes several lectures to exploring the artistic achievements of this people. He shows how their art was both beautiful and functional, and how it reflected their religious beliefs, social structures, and political systems. He also discusses the various materials and techniques used by Etruscan artists, and how these evolved over time.

The Etruscans were also known for their sophisticated urban planning and engineering, and Professor Tuck discusses the ways in which they used their natural resources to create impressive cities, aqueducts, and roads. He shows how they transformed the landscape to suit their needs, and how they built their settlements to reflect their social hierarchies and cultural values.

Throughout the course, Professor Tuck emphasizes the ways in which the Etruscans influenced later civilizations, particularly the Romans. He shows how many of the features of Roman culture, including their religion, art, and engineering, were borrowed from the Etruscans. He also discusses the ways in which the Romans sought to erase the memory of the Etruscans, and how this has contributed to our lack of knowledge about this fascinating culture.

Overall, The Mysterious Etruscans is a fascinating and informative course that offers a unique perspective on one of the most mysterious cultures of the ancient world. Professor Tuck's engaging lectures and vivid visual aids bring the Etruscan world to life, and his insights into their history, art, and daily life are sure to captivate anyone interested in the ancient Mediterranean world. Whether you are a student of history, art, or archaeology, or simply curious about this fascinating culture, this course is a must-watch.

The Mysterious Etruscans is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on January 6, 2016.

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Where Have the Etruscans Gone?
24. Where Have the Etruscans Gone?
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Legacy in the Roman World
23. Etruscan Legacy in the Roman World
January 6, 2016
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.
The Etruscan World Falls Apart
22. The Etruscan World Falls Apart
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Families
21. Etruscan Families
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Women
20. Etruscan Women
June 1, 2020
One stark contrast between Etruscan society and the Greek and Roman worlds is the relative equality of Etruscan women to men. They appeared in public and even danced and banqueted in mixed company, inspiring strident condemnation from foreign authors. Here, review the role of women as priestesses, wives, mothers, and members of society at large.
The Etruscan Banquet
19. The Etruscan Banquet
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Sports and Spectacles
18. Etruscan Sports and Spectacles
January 6, 2016
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.
Bronze, Terra-Cotta, and Portraiture
17. Bronze, Terra-Cotta, and Portraiture
January 6, 2016
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.
Mediterranean Artisans and Merchants
16. Mediterranean Artisans and Merchants
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Warriors and Warfare
15. Etruscan Warriors and Warfare
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Government
14. Etruscan Government
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Language and Literature
13. Etruscan Language and Literature
January 6, 2016
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.
Greek Myth: Etruscan Homes
12. Greek Myth: Etruscan Homes
January 6, 2016
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.
Greek Myth: Etruscan Tombs and Temples
11. Greek Myth: Etruscan Tombs and Temples
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Myths, Legends, and Heroes
10. Etruscan Myths, Legends, and Heroes
January 6, 2016
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 and Sacred Places
9. Sanctuaries and Sacred Places
January 6, 2016
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.
Divination: The Will of the Gods
8. Divination: The Will of the Gods
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Gods and Goddesses
7. Etruscan Gods and Goddesses
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Afterlife
6. Etruscan Afterlife
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Burial and Mourning
5. Etruscan Burial and Mourning
January 6, 2016
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.
Etruscan Cities of the Dead
4. Etruscan Cities of the Dead
January 6, 2016
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.
Who Founded Rome?
3. Who Founded Rome?
January 6, 2016
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.
Lost Cities of Tuscany
2. Lost Cities of Tuscany
January 6, 2016
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.
Between the Greeks and Romans
1. Between the Greeks and Romans
January 6, 2016
Meet the Etruscans. Although you may not know much about them, this opening lecture quickly shows how they served as a conduit between the Greeks and the Romans, influencing much of what we think of as Western civilization. Begin by surveying their world to gain context for this mysterious people.
Where to Watch The Mysterious Etruscans
The Mysterious Etruscans is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Mysterious Etruscans on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Amazon and Kanopy.
  • Premiere Date
    January 6, 2016