How much do you know about the Etruscans? Many people, even those who are fascinated by ancient history, are less familiar with this intriguing culture than with the history of Greece and Rome - but the story of the Etruscans is equally captivating and far more important than you may have known. This ancient civilization prospered in the region of modern-day Tuscany, maintaining extensive trade networks, building impressive fortified cities, making exquisite art, and creating a culture that, while deeply connected to the Greeks and Romans, had striking contrasts.
The Etruscans were the original inhabitants of central Italy. Centuries before Rome's rise, they built cities such as Pompeii, Capua, and Orvieto along fortified hilltops. They developed a system of roads and invented what we call the Roman arch. While they had their own system of government, their own myths and legends, and their own cultural attributes, the Etruscans imported and repurposed much from the Greeks - and, in turn, gave much to the Romans. You might be surprised to find out how much of Roman civilization - from togas to bronze military armor to Rome itself - actually has Etruscan origins. The Etruscans are largely responsible for:
Without the Etruscans, much of what we associate with the Roman world, and thus the foundations of Western civilization, would largely disappear.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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This is a good course, bound to expand your knowledge of the Etruscans, as well as of the Romans and Greeks. But you may need to adjust your expectations to really enjoy it. As the title suggests -- and Professor Steven L. Tuck is up-front about this -- much about the Etruscans remains mysterious even to scholars.
As a people without a literature, the Etruscans didn't leave us much in the way of stories or contemporary accounts; those we do have come from biased Greek and Roman sources. Thus, scholarship leans heavily on archaeology (chiefly tomb paintings, it seems) to tell us about their culture, and Tuck does an admirable job extrapolating. The supplied PDF is useful for images, but you'll probably want to image search the various tombs mentioned for full-color photos.
Some of the most interesting info here is about cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean. For instance: a vast majority of the Attic vases found to date were found not in Greece but in Etruscan tombs. And many of the cultural practices we think of as quintessentially Roman (triumphal processions, gladiatorial combat) had Etruscan origins.
By no fault of Professor Tuck's, you'll walk away with only a sketchy understanding of the Etruscans… But your knowledge of the Greeks and especially the Romans will be deepened significantly.
Learning About the Ancient World
So much is still unknown about the Etruscans, but this lecture series gives a nice overview of recent archaeological finds and academic scholarship (up through 2015).
The course focus is cultural and its organization is thematic, which works well and is appropriate based on our knowledge or lack thereof. I always appreciate how Professor Tuck discusses the generally accepted theories while including his own thoughts and presenting interesting alternative theories. Importantly, he also highlights areas that are still a total mystery.
We haven't yet solved the Etruscan puzzle, but I enjoyed this enthusiastic presentation of newly found pieces.
Professor Tuck has a wonderful delivery -- he's at ease, personable, engaged with his subject matter, and uses accessible concepts and language. The course is well organised, one aspect of Etruscan life explored in each chapter. I am now enjoying it for the second time, having just returned from visiting several of the Etruscan sites. Wonderful way to learn!
I enjoyed this lecture series. The subject is covered thoroughly and the information is accessible to non-historians. I found the professor engaging and cheerful but some of his humor came off as lame, and his pronunciations of the Etruscan and Latin woods was halting. Nevertheless I would listen to others lectures from him, because he does provide excellent content.
Great content and focus in each lecture
Wonderful to hear an author narrate
role of women
Great listen cover to cover
These lectures covered a very wide range of topics about the Etruscans and taught me much more than I'd expected to learn. I was especially impressed to find out how much they contributed to Roman civilization and also how high the status of women was in Etruscan society.
SPQR by Mary Beard. These cover similar periods and are similarly wide in their range of topics.
It was easy to understand but also rather annoying because of his propensity to stress the unimportant words in the sentences ("and" "of") rather than the major nouns and verbs. I hear this sort of speaking on the radio all the time and I cannot understand why people do it. It really detracts from the listener's ability to grasp the main points.
Neither. It's not that kind of book. However, it did make me change my plans for my upcoming trip to Italy so that I can visit some of the Etruscan sites that are mentioned in the lectures. I'm pretty excited about that!
I love reading and learning about history. I was very disappointed in this series of lectures. In one word I was bored. For me, it was a combination of the lecturer and organization of the material. The presenter's tone was flat and in no way animated. I felt the series was disorganized in presentation. It went form one subject to another without a sense of natural progression of one subject to another.
I have always enjoyed ancient history. This is one of the most accessible courses I have ever taken, almost like a good mystery. I would love to hear more from this professor.
"The Mysterious Etruscans"
It was just dull . Too bad as I love the subjectand was excited to find it on audio.
I was really happy to find it on audio.
Rewrite and renovate. The structure of the lectures was weak. Engage Nigel Spivey to write and narrate an Etruscan series.
Moving on. Best thing on The Great Courses is the History of Ancient Egypt. Very good.
"Interesting, but repetitive. "
Not enough material to justify it's length.. Would have been better done in half the chapters.
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