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Etruscans and Romans prayed to the same gods

Etruscans and Romans prayed to the same gods 1

The largest collection of bronze statuettes from the end of Etruscan history found in Tuscany

(ORDO NEWS) — In the Tuscan thermal spring, archaeologists have discovered two dozen bronze figurines. According to scientists, this find rewrites the history of the transition from the Etruscan civilization to the Roman one.

The thermal spring and the baths built around it still remain a tourist attraction in the town of San Casciano dei Bagno near Siena (Tuscany, Italy). And these baths are more than 200 thousand years old.

Archaeologists from the University of Siena reported that they found 20 bronze sculptures and about five thousand coins made of gold, silver and bronze in one of the ancient pools near the source.

All these riches were at the bottom and were hidden by a thick layer of silt – thanks to which they were perfectly preserved.

Statue of Hygieia, goddess of health

Some of the bronzes are complete humanoid figures, apparently depicting gods, while others are individual body parts and organs that may have been brought as votive offerings to the gods to intervene in the healing process with the help of thermal waters.

The researchers noted the anatomical accuracy of the execution of the sculptures: “This is almost an X-ray of the insides of a person from the lungs to the intestines.

There are ears and other anatomical parts, such as hands. That is, everything that healing waters and the intervention of the gods could save.

Pre-bronze statues and coins have been dated between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. And this is the largest collection of such products of that time: mostly terracotta products were found before.

The most important detail is the inscriptions on the figurines. The sculptures, including images of Apollo and Hygieia, have Etruscan and Latin inscriptions.

Hygieia was the ancient Greek goddess of health, and Apollo not only patronized the arts, but was also considered a symbol of male beauty and health.

During this period – between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC – the territory of the present Italian provinces of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio was restless. To understand why, it is worth looking at the history of the issue.

The sculptures were covered with a thick layer of silt, which ensured excellent preservation

For a long time, scientists could not agree on the origin of the Etruscans. Herodotus in the 5th century BC claimed that they came from Asia Minor. Titus Livy also believed that they came from the northern spurs of the Alps. Here we wrote that Herodotus is more right.

Greece had a huge influence on the development of the Etruscan civilization – from the pantheon to the principles of the formation of cities.

It is curious that the first Etruscan king of Rome, according to Titus Livius, was precisely the Greek: Lucumon married a noble Etruscan woman, and since his career did not shine in Etruria (due to non-local origin), his wife persuaded him to go to Rome.

Under the name of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, this Greek founded a dynasty of Roman kings, which ended in Tarquinia Gordus. After the assassination of the latter, Rome became a republic.

Rome developed rapidly and increased its territory at the expense of its neighbors – primarily the Etruscans. In addition, Gallic tribes constantly invaded Etruria from the north, they even irrevocably conquered part of its lands.

It turned out to be impossible to resist the Roman Republic in such a situation, and she put Etruria under her control.

In 265 BC, the Etruscans revolted. It was brutally suppressed by Rome, which by that time had won the First Punic War and completely dominated Italy. For a long time there were no new uprisings – until the middle of the 2nd century BC.

Perhaps this period can be called the last surge of the national identity of the Etruscans. For a hundred years they lived quite peacefully next to the Romans. And those, in turn, adopted the Etruscan traditions in art, construction (the famous Roman arched structures) and even in sacred activities.

Then several cities revolted. Between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, centers of civil war broke out in the territories of modern Tuscany and Umbria. But the discovery of archaeologists from the University of Siena shows that war is war, and it is better to pray together.

The presence in one place of statues of gods with signatures in both Latin and Etruscan indicates that the Romans and Etruscans performed rituals together.

This greatly changes our understanding of how the history of the Etruscans ended. Previously, scholars believed that it was the latest outbreak of civil wars that led to the complete disappearance of their culture and assimilation by Rome. Maybe there were no wars.


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