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The Mysterious Etruscans Lecture

The Mysterious Etruscans

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Publisher's Summary

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:

  • transmitting the alphabet to the Romans and other ancient societies as far away as the Nordic regions
  • granting Rome much of its celebrated architecture and infrastructure, from the Cloaca Maxima water-control system to the storied arch
  • developing exquisite works of bronze and terra-cotta, as well as mesmerizing tomb paintings
  • creating well-known symbols of republican government, imagery that still lives on in US government buildings like the Lincoln Memorial

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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC

What Members Say

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    Pauline M 15/11/2016
    Pauline M 15/11/2016 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Etruscans revealed"
    If you could sum up The Mysterious Etruscans in three words, what would they be?

    No longer so mysterious. A really interesting account of a fascinating people, where women were treated as autonomous human beings.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Mysterious Etruscans?

    Learning about all the cultural borrowings from the Etruscans by the ancient Romans.


    What about Professor Steven L. Tuck’s performance did you like?

    A really thorough account of Etruscan life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Christopher
    BROOKLYN, NY, United States
    22/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Does What it Can with Limited Material"

    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.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Emily
    Philadelphia, PA, United States
    14/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "New Clues In The Etruscan Mystery"
    What did you love best about The Mysterious Etruscans?


    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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jolene
    20/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Thorough and Academically Credible Examination"
    What did you love best about The Mysterious Etruscans?

    Far too often the history of Italy is overshadowed by the well-known culture and society of the Romans. Again, all too often, the other ancient peoples of Italy, who lived before and during the rise of the Roman Republic and later Empire are treated as little more than notations in many academic and popular histories of Italy. This course takes an important step in remedying that problem.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Mysterious Etruscans?

    Tuck's analysis of the impact and influence of early and later Etruscan religious practices on the emerging culture of the Roman world can not be understated, which is repeatedly addressed in this course.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Steven Tuck PhD., is not a professional narrator. He is a distinguished scholar and gifted lecturer, but at times his manner of speech could be a little more energetic. Perhaps more subtle changes in tonal quality would help keep the listener's attention more focused. All in all, Tuck does a good to fair job in engaging his audience.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Professor Tuck is a stellar academic. With that said, it is necessary to point out that as an audible book, this lecture relies heavily upon the description(s) of numerous archaeological sources, such as tomb paintings, vase artwork and the like. Without actually seeing these references, it might be hard for a more casual listener to fully appreciate the splendor and magnitude of these pieces. Fortunately, I had access to numerous outside sources which provided excellent pictures/videos of many of the referenced tomb paintings and statuary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew Brehm
    15/03/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating history and good lectures"
    Where does The Mysterious Etruscans rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It's among the best three or so of the Great Courses.


    What about Professor Steven L. Tuck’s performance did you like?

    He is truly fascinated by the Etruscans and manages to convey the enthusiasm to the listener, I think.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    At times I was impressed.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Booklover
    Washington, D.C.
    7/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Course"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amy Nicolai
    Houston, TX, United States
    1/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enlightenment on Etruscan history"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • George H. Cox
    Savannah, GA USA
    3/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Lecture Series"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Mysterious Etruscans to be better than the print version?

    unknown


    What did you like best about this story?

    Great content and focus in each lecture


    What about Professor Steven L. Tuck’s performance did you like?

    Wonderful to hear an author narrate


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    role of women


    Any additional comments?

    Great listen cover to cover

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Frog Lady
    Buffalo, NY USA
    29/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I had no idea so much was known"
    What did you love best about The Mysterious Etruscans?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Mysterious Etruscans to and why?

    SPQR by Mary Beard. These cover similar periods and are similarly wide in their range of topics.


    What about Professor Steven L. Tuck’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    16/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Truly excellent"

    Surprisingly to me this is one of the most interesting and enjoyable of the Great Courses that I have listened to to date!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • rnin85
    17/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointed--"

    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.

    4 of 8 people found this review helpful
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  • Ed
    17/05/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fascinating exploration of an often missed topic"

    this is a course that probably best serves those who already have a good understanding of the ancient world.

    For those who think they know Rome, think again. Every chapter was an eye opener and filled in major gaps that I didn't know I had in my knowledge.

    I found myself immersed in the story of a really likeable civilisation and I shall certainly explore them further as they deserve to live in our memories.

    Highly recommended .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Christine lee
    London
    2/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Mysterious Etruscans"
    What would have made The Mysterious Etruscans better?

    It was just dull . Too bad as I love the subjectand was excited to find it on audio.


    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    I was really happy to find it on audio.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Rewrite and renovate. The structure of the lectures was weak. Engage Nigel Spivey to write and narrate an Etruscan series.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Moving on. Best thing on The Great Courses is the History of Ancient Egypt. Very good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    10/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, but repetitive. "

    Not enough material to justify it's length.. Would have been better done in half the chapters.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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