(ORDO NEWS) — The Etruscans are a mysterious civilization that holds many secrets. Once this people dominated the Italian peninsula, and its center was located on the territory of modern Tuscany. According to some reports, it was the Etruscans who founded Rome, as we talked about earlier.
Moreover, even the first rulers of the Roman Empire were Etruscans. At the same time, it is known that the Romans waged wars with the Etruscans for a long time and eventually assimilated them into their culture.
However, the relationship between the Etruscans and the Romans was more complex than is commonly believed. The proof of this is a recent find by archaeologists.
It contains more than two dozen Etruscan bronze statues, revealing a previously unknown aspect of the relationship of this people with the Romans at the everyday level. According to scientists, the archaeological find will even lead to a census of history.
Archaeological site in central Tuscany
In San Casciano dei Bagni, a commune located in Tuscany, archaeological excavations have been ongoing since 2019. As expected, in the end they bore fruit, and even exceeded all the expectations of scientists.
In the mud near the thermal spring, the researchers found the largest concentration of bronze statues ever found in Italy, as well as one of the largest in the entire Mediterranean, according to the Italian Ministry of Culture.
Among the sculptures, scientists have discovered Apollo and Hygeia, the ancient Greek gods of health. According to the researchers, thanks to the dirt, which actually “preserved” the statues, they are so well preserved that the inscriptions are clearly visible on them.
And, most interestingly, some of the statues contain text in Etruscan and Latin. Recall that the Etruscans had their own language, different from Latin and ancient Greek, although their writing uses the Latin alphabet.
The inscriptions contain the names of powerful Etruscan families who lived in the territory of Etruria, a region in the northwest of ancient Italy. In addition, scientists find inscriptions in Latin that mention the Bagno Grande hot spring, where the sculptures were discovered.
What offerings did the Romans and Etruscans make to the gods?
In addition to full-length sculptures, archaeologists also found bronze carvings of individual parts of the human body and organs, as well as five thousand gold, silver and bronze coins.
According to the researchers, all these artifacts were used as offerings to the gods. Obviously, people presented those parts of the body for which they asked for healing. And the coins served as a donation.
All discovered items belong to the end of the Etruscan civilization. This period began in the middle of the third century and ended in the first century (nineties) BC. It was during this period that the Roman Empire was actively expanding. Accordingly, wars were actively fought between the Romans and the Etruscans.
Why the archaeological find surprised scientists
The discovery of scientists suggests that despite the wars, Etruscan and Roman families gathered together at the thermal spring and prayed to the deities together. It should be noted that thermal springs, that is, springs where hot water comes to the surface of the earth, were considered sacred.
“This is a discovery that will rewrite history and is already being worked on by more than 60 experts from around the world,” says the head of the excavation, Professor Jacopo Tabolli.
As fierce as the wars were outside the sacred altar, inside it both peoples coexisted peacefully and apparently prayed for peace. According to the researchers, it was an absolutely unique multicultural and multilingual island of the world, surrounded by political instability and war.
Apparently, all the sculptures were created by local craftsmen specifically for the sanctuary at the thermal spring. This place, with its bubbling hot pools, fountains and altars, was used as a sanctuary by the ancient Romans and Etruscans from at least the third century BC and was active until the fifth century AD.
Judging by the inscriptions, the sanctuary was visited by landowners, wealthy classes from Rome, as well as emperors. With the advent of Christianity to these lands, the sanctuary was sealed, but not destroyed.
Now, the construction of a new museum of antiquity has begun here, as reported by the Italian Ministry of Culture.
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