The enduring influence of the Etruscans on Italian culture

Aug 30, 2019 331

D.H. LAWRENCE was fascinated by the Etruscans. The English writer referred to the “lost” ways of the ancient Italian civilisation in his letters; in poems he imagined the people as “long-nosed, sensitive-footed, subtly-smiling”, yet “evasive and different”. In 1926 he had the idea to write a study of “Etruscan things”, travelling through Vulci, Cerveteri and Tarquinia.

At the Monterozzi of Tarquinia he saw 6,000 tombs cut into the rock, 200 of which are painted, the oldest dating back to the seventh century BC. “It is as if the current of some strong different life swept through them, different from our shallow current today,” Lawrence wrote, “as if they drew their vitality from different depths that we are denied.”

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