The Mysterious Etruscans

EtruscansThe Mysterious Etruscans
Steven L. Tuck, Ph.D.
The Great Courses
Audio download $44.95 when on sale
If the course is not on sale, check back – the sale price will come around again

I was a classics major at Pitzer College back in the 1970s. That meant I studied the Greek and Latin languages along with Greek and Roman history, literature, art, and archaeology. The Etruscans were predecessors of the Romans. They interacted with, and fought with, both the Greeks and the Romans. And yet in my four-year classical education they were barely mentioned at all. Perhaps they got a chapter and a lecture at the beginning of a Roman history class.

That’s a shame, because the Romans owed much to the Etruscans, as this course makes clear. The Romans got the paved road, the arch in building architecture, and most of their religion from the Etruscans. The Etruscans had their own qualities, however, that were unique in the ancient Mediterranean. Women were nearly equal to men, it appears, and children showed up in Etruscan art. Children did not show up in Roman art until the time of Augustus, when he made a deliberate decision to include them as part of his reworking of the history of Rome.

As fascinating as this course was it was also frustrating. That is because it included a lot, and I mean a lot, of Etruscan art. Professor Tuck does a marvelous job of describing each piece for the audio-only listener, but I reached a point where I was saying to myself, “Hey, I’m missing out on a lot here!” But then, if I were watching the video version I would be sitting on my rear, while the whole intent of my downloading lecture series from the Great Courses is to have something to listen to when I’m out walking.

So it’s all good.

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