Etruscan cities

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The area covered by the Etruscan civilisation

Etruscan cities are those that shared a common Etruscan language and culture even though they were independent city-states. They flourished over a large part of the northern half of Italy starting from the Iron Age and became rich and powerful. They were eventually assimilated first by Italics in the south, then by Celts in the north and finally in Etruria itself by the growing Roman Republic.

The Etruscan names of the major cities whose names were later Romanised survived in inscriptions and are listed below. Some cities were founded by Etruscans in prehistoric times and bore entirely Etruscan names. Others, usually Italic, were colonised by Etruscans who Etruscanised the name.

The estimates for the populations of the largest cities (Veii, Volsinii, Caere, Vulci, Tarquinia, Populonia) range between 25,000 and 40,000 in each in the 6th century BC.[1][2][3][4]

Twelve cities or nations[edit]

Of several Etruscan leagues, the Dodecapolis (or "twelve cities") of the Etruscan civilization is legendary amongst Roman authors particularly Livy.[5] However the dodecapolis had no fixed roster and if a city was removed it was immediately replaced by another.[6] By the time the dodecapolis sprung into the light of history, the Etruscan cities to the north had been assimilated by invasions of the Celts, and those of the south by infiltration of the Italics.

Etruscan cities were autonomous states, but they were linked in the dodecapolis and had a federal sanctuary at the Fanum Voltumnae near Volsinii.[7]

Table of cities in Etruscan, Latin and Italian[edit]

The table below lists Etruscan cities most often included in the Dodecapolis as well as other cities for which there is any substantial evidence that they were once inhabited by Etruscans in any capacity. Roman and Italian names are given, but they are not necessarily etymologically related. For sources and etymologies (if any) refer to the linked articles.[8]


  1. ^ The Etruscan World. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  2. ^ An Historical Geography of Europe 450 B.C.-A.D. 1330. Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  3. ^ "The Process of Urbanization of Etruscan Settlements from the Late Villanovan to the Late Archaic Period (End of the Eighth to the Beginning of the Fifth Century B.C.) : Presentation of a Project and Preliminary Results" (PDF). Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Production, Consumption and Society in North Etruria During the Archaic and ... Retrieved 24 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Livy VII.21
  6. ^ George Dennis, the Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria. London, Appendix to Chapter I, Note IV. Available at*/home.html
  7. ^ Cary, M.; H.H. Scullard (1979). A History of Rome (3rd ed.). p. 25. ISBN 0-312-38395-9. 
  8. ^ The Bonfantes (2002) pages 222-223 have published a good overall list.
  9. ^ Parts of ancient Etruria near Rome are now in Lazio. This account accepts the ancient boundary along the Tiber.


  • Bonfante, G.; L. Bonfante (2002). The Etruscan Language. An Introduction. Manchester University Press. 
  • Dennis, George (1848). The Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria. London: John Murray.  Available in the Gazetteer of Bill Thayer's Website at [1]

External links[edit]