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Although the early history of the Etruscans is uncertain, their more recent history is well known.
By about 700 B.C. the major Etruscan cities had been founded and Etruscan civilization and culture flourished during the the 6th Century B.C. As the Etruscan civilization expanded, it pushed up against other peoples and geographic barriers bordering its home region. This led to its expansion into the Po River Valley to the northeast.
As the Etruscans expanded and moved, there was a an aggressive, simultaneous expansion of the Greeks onto the Italian Peninsula, the islands of Corsica and Sicily, and what is now the southern coast of France. Growing commercial competition between the Etruscans and Greeks led to military confrontation which, all things considered, the Etruscans lost. By about 500 B.C., however, the Etruscans were losing not only to the Greeks but also to their former subjects, the Romans.
By 400 B.C. the Etruscans were being politically controlled by the Romans who were busy adopting numerous elements of Etruscan culture, including the Etruscan alphabet which the Etruscans had adopted from the Greeks. The Latin letters of European civilization, including the letters which you are reading now, had their origins in the Etruscan alphabet, which of course, like that of the Greeks, had its origins in the ancient Phoenician alphabet.
For more on the Etruscan civilization be sure to check out our Etruscan Highlights Tour by clicking 'View Tour' below!