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Etruscan civilization (/ɨˈtrʌskən/) is the modern name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci. Their Roman name is the origin of the terms Tuscany, which refers to their heartland, and Etruria, which can refer to their wider region.

In Attic Greek, the Etruscans were known as Τυρρηνοὶ (Tyrrhēnoi), earlier Tyrsenoi, from which the Romans derived the names Tyrrhēni (Etruscans), Tyrrhēnia (Etruria), and Mare Tyrrhēnum (Tyrrhenian Sea). The Etruscans called themselves Rasenna, which was syncopated to Rasna or Raśna, earlier T'rasena, whence come the Roman and Greek names, prompting some to associate them with the Egyptian Teresh (Sea Peoples). The word may also be related to the Hittite Taruisa.

As distinguished by its unique language, this civilization endured from the time of the earliest Etruscan inscriptions (c. 700 BC) until its assimilation into the Roman Republic in the late 4th century BC. At its maximum extent, during the foundational period of Rome and the Roman kingdom, it flourished in three confederacies of cities: of Etruria, of the Po valley with the eastern Alps, and of Latium and Campania.

Culture that is identifiably Etruscan developed in Italy after about 800 BC approximately over the range of the preceding Iron Age Villanovan culture. The latter gave way in the 7th century to a culture that was influenced by Hellenic, Magna Graecian, and Phonecian contacts. After 500 BC, the political destiny of Italy passed out of Etruscan hands. The latest mitochondrial DNA study (2013) shows that Etruscans appear to fall very close to a Neolithic population from Central Europe and to other Tuscan populations.


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