The Italian Cultural Foundation, 79 Howard Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301
The Etruscans: One of Three Great Civilizations in Italy
Francesco Bonavita, Ph.D
Who are these Etruscans who are often labeled as enigmatic, gluttons, bon vivants, obscure but who, supposedly, gave us wine, the love for music and taught us to live life in style? In this presentation, I would like to explore several questions. Is it possible that three major civilizations could flourish in the same area, during the course of twenty five hundred years? In a small geographical area, such as Tarquinia, the Etruscans left behind a vast and highly decorated necropolis to honor their loved ones. Although there is no question that the Etruscan society was clearly defined in terms aristocratic lines, vis-a-vis a much larger servant population, one has to assume that such an extended necropolis could not have been intended just for the upper echelon. Rather, might we presuppose a more egalitarian posture toward the lower classes? Might this attitude constitute a more benevolent disposition toward the working class at this early juncture of Western Civilization? Another question that is equally compelling is where the Etruscans originate? Since their language is classified as non Indo-European, many historians have been intrigued by their origins. And last, but not least, we need to examine the legacy of the Etruscans and the degree to which studying these ancient people might give us a better appreciation of who we are.
Refreshments and a light reception will follow.
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