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Book Review
The Etruscans
The Etruscans 9th–2nd Centuries BC
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
Historicus Forma

Ancient Rome has influenced modern history in undeniable ways. The Etruscans influenced Rome the same, indeed Etruscan kings ruled Rome for centuries. The Etruscans 9th–2nd Centuries BC explores their military forces, artifacts, personality and characteristics of warfare. Filled with color photographs and color artwork to support the authoritative text, this book is a treasure trove for students of Roman history in particular, and antiquity in general.

The Etruscans 9th–2nd Centuries BC from Osprey Publishing LTD presents to us the story of 'Villanovan' culture that greatly influenced, and ruled, Rome. The book focuses on Etruscan weapons, armor, and equipment, referenced with art artifacts. The Etruscans is the 223rd title of the series Elite. Authored by Raffaele D’Amato and Andrea Salimbeti, and illustrated by Giuseppe Rava, this subject is told through 64 pages. It is also available in ePub and PDF formats. The softcover is catalogued as ISBN 9781472828316 and with Osprey's short code ELI 223.

describes the book:
    Ancient Rome had deep roots in the 'Villanovan' culture that we call today the Etruscans. Their long-lived civilization can be traced to 900-750 BC in north-west Italy. They were a sea-faring people trading with and competing against Greek and Phoenician peoples, including the Carthaginians. They were also a great land-based power, especially in the 'Classical' period, where they expanded their power north into the Po Valley and south to Latium. In the 6th century BC an Etruscan dynasty ruled Rome, and their power extended southwards to the Amalfi coast. In 509 BC the Romans rose up to expel their kings, which began the long 'Etruscan twilight' when their power was squeezed by the Samnites and, most especially, the Romans.

    Drawing on archaeological evidence including warrior tombs, paintings, sculptures, and fully illustrated throughout, this study examines one of the early rivals to Ancient Rome.

The Etruscans 9th–2nd Centuries BC is told through 64 pages of five chapters:
    The Villanovan Army
      The warrior in Villanovan culture
      Arms and equipment:
        Offensive weapons:
          Swords & Daggers * Axes * Spears & javelins * Bows and arrows
        Defensive equipment:
          Helmets * Shields * Body armor & other defenses
        Calvary and chariots * Symbols of rank * Clothing
    The Classical Etruscan Army
      Social and political evolution
        Organization * Tactics * Maritime power
      Arms and equipment:
        Offensive weapons:
          Swords & Daggers * Axes * Spears & javelins * Bows, arrows & slings
        Defensive equipment:
          Helmets - 'pot' or 'bell'-shaped; Negau; Corinthian; Apulo-Corinthian; Chalcidian; Montefortino; Hellenistic; others * Shields
        Body armor & other defenses:
          gualothorax and statos; linothorax and composite armour; Leg and arm protection
        Calvary and chariots * Symbols of rank and insignia * Musical instruments * Clothing
    Selected bibliography

The Etruscans, or Rasenna, as they called themselves, were a mature and developed culture while Rome was finding its feet. They were both a land power and a maritime power. Their confederation of 12 city-states overwhelmed Rome about the 6th century BC. After a couple of centuries Etruscan kings were thrown out of Rome, and over the next century or so, Rome conquered Etruria, as the Rasenna called their lands. By 90 BC, significant Etruscan influence was a part of Roman culture and all Etruscan cities received Roman citizenship.

This book traces Etruscans history through their arrival in modern day Italy around 1200-1100 BC.

The authors describe in detail the topics listed above. Topics are accompanied by images of examples. Each image is accompanied with a caption. The source of the artifacts are documented, e.g., Tarquinia, Monterozzi necropolis, grave M9, 8th century BC. Physical items have their dimensions included. This demonstrative method effectively reinforces the text.

Photographs & Artwork
Photography consists of color photos of artifacts in collections and museums. The subjects are shot in front of a white background or had the background edited out. Frescoes are also displayed. All photos are effectively illuminated to display detail without suffering reflections. Not every page has an image although some pages feature multiple images.

Likewise, each illustration features a narrative, some more extensive than others. Illustrations are created from whole or partial surviving artifacts.

Full Color Illustrations
A. Early Villanovan Culture, 9th-8th Centuries BC
    1. Leader with war-chariot, Tarchuna area
    2. Villanovan-Tarquinian axeman
    3. Sardinian mercenary, Pupluna area

B. Battle scene, Villanovan Aristocratic Wars, 8th-7th Centuries BC
    1. Villanovan aristocratic cavalryman, Felzna area, 8th centurey
    2. Proto-Etruscan leader, Narce area, 730 BC
    3. Villanovan leader, Tarchuna area, second half of 8th century

C. 'Orientalizing Period', Northern Etruria, 7th Century BC
    1. Late Villanovan leader from Verucchio area
    2. Rachu Kakanas, Vetulonian leader, with war-chariot
    3. Lictor, Vetulonia

D. Etruscan Expansion, 6th Century BC
    1. Lars Porsenna, Lucumo of Clevsin, with chariot
    2. Rasenna hoplite of the first class, Clevsin
    3. Etruscan horn-player

E. Battle scene, Etruscan Wars With Rome, 5th Century BC
    1. Roman Tribunus Aulus Cossus, 437 BC
    2. Tolumnius, Lucumo of Viel
    3. Rasenna archer

F. The Last Wars, 4th Century BC:
    1. Aristocratic Rasenna woman
    2. Rasenna hoplite from Velzna
    3. Rasenna hoplite from Tutere

F. The Late Etruscans, 3rd Century
    1. Rasenna mercenary, Tarchuna
    2. Rasenna marine, Roman fleet, Punic Wars
    3. Aristocraftic eques Marcnal Tetina; Clevsin, 225-200 BC

H. Etruscans In the Roman Army, 2nd-1st Centuries BC
    1. Lictor
    2. Eques
    3. Centurio
    4. Guardsman
    5. Magistrate

Black-and-white Line Illustrations
    i. Knife, 'Orientalizing Period', 8th-7th centuries BC
    ii. Villanovan 'Lunate' razors, Late Early Iron Age: four examples
    iii. Axe-heads, Early Iron Age: three panels of dozens of types
    iv. Early Iron Age spearheads, two views of two types
    v. Early Iron Age leaf-shaped spearheads and javelin
    vi. Late Early Iron Age arrowheads
    vii. Bronze crested helments
    viii. Bronze 'bell' helmet
    ix. Armored disc, lare Villanovan or early Etruscan
    x. Early Iron Age 'rigid arch' type fibilae
    xi. Larte Early Iron Age elliptical bronze belt-plates
    xii. Intaglio etchings 4th century BC Etruscan bronze panoply from the grave of the 'warrior of Settecamini'

Whether a photograph or artwork, each image presents an excellent visual reinforcement of each subject in the text.

Osprey's The Etruscans 9th–2nd Centuries BC is an interesting and visually engaging history of the Etruscans through their military kit. It also presents concise vignettes of their social and cultural structure. It is full of color photographs of artifacts and fine artwork. The artwork enhances the detailed concise text by two authorities of the era.

I have no complaints about this book and believe that this is an informative work detailing the warrior history of the Etruscan culture. Recommended.

Please remember to mention to Osprey and retailers that you saw this book here - on Historicus Forma.
Highs: Color photographs of artifacts and artwork. Detailed concise text by two authorities of the era.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: This is a visually engaging informative work detailing the warrior history of the Etruscan culture.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ELI 223, 9781472828316
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 24, 2019

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. All rights reserved.



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