Before the Roman Empire rose, a number of civilizations called the Italian peninsula home, including the Etruscan civilization. Now, a new discovery in Italy could rewrite history.
After Italy’s Culture Ministry revealed the unearthing of multiple dozen bronze statues in an ancient Tuscan thermal spring on Tuesday, thought to be older than 2,000 years, historians may need to revisit the history of the interaction between the Etruscan civilization and the Roman Empire.
The discovery has been heralded as being among the most significant ever in the Mediterranean region, by Massimo Osanna, director of museums for the ministry. The bronze figures, which portray deities, humans, and body parts, were discovered in great condition because of their mud-covered state, he remarked. Around 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze coins were supposedly discovered with the statues by archaeologists.
Jacopo Tabolli, who oversaw the excavation for the University for Foreigners in Siena, claims that the find offers fresh insight into Etruscan culture and the development of the Roman Empire between the first and second centuries BC.
“While there were social and civil wars being fought outside the sanctuary … inside the sanctuary, the great elite Etruscan and Roman families prayed together in a context of peace surrounded by conflict,” Tabolli explained, noting that the excavated statues bore both Etruscan and Latin inscriptions.
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“This possibility to rewrite the relationship and dialectic between the Etruscans and Romans is an exceptional opportunity,” he proclaimed, as cited by the Associated Press.
The Italian Culture Ministry has announced plans to build a new museum nearby to house the recently discovered artifacts in order to highlight the significance of this find.
Before the Roman Empire rose, a number of civilizations called the Italian peninsula home, including the Etruscan civilization. It is thought that as early as 900 BC, the people of the Etruria region invented it. The Etruscan states, which occupied what is now Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio, had an unified language and culture.
Later, the Roman Empire absorbed the Etruscan culture. According to historians, the process started when battles between the Romans and the Etruscans broke out in the late 4th century BC. In 27 BC, the entirety of the Etruscan lands was effectively integrated into the Roman Empire.