Etruscan Warfare

Definition

The Etruscan civilization, which flourished in central Italy from the 8th to 3rd century BCE, gained a reputation in antiquity for being party-loving pushovers when it came to warfare, but the reality is somewhat different. History being most often written by the victors, the Etruscans were conquered by and assimilated into the Romans' fast-growing empire, and Latin authors minimised the debt they owed to Italy's first great civilization and the difficulties they had in establishing themselves as top dog in the region. Without extensive written texts of their own, the history of the Etruscans must be pieced together from what little remains of their culture, namely, the ruins of fortification walls, surviving weapons, armour, and artworks depicting warfare-related themes, and secondhand accounts of ancient writers. Nevertheless, some features of Etruscan warfare become clear: the use of bronze armour, shields and swords, a preoccupation for defence shown in the building of fortification walls, and a general lack of unity between cities, which would, in the end, ring the death knell of the Etruscan culture.

More about: Etruscan Warfare

Timeline

  • 540 BCE
    A joint Carthaginian and Cerveteri force wins the Battle of the Sardinian Sea against the Phocaeans.
  • 539 BCE
    Etruscan & Carthaginian alliance expels the Greeks from Corsica.
  • c. 475 BCE
    Celts defeat the Etruscans at the Ticino River.
  • 474 BCE
    An Etruscan fleet is defeated by the navy of Syracuse at the Battle of Cumae.
  • 437 BCE - 435 BCE
    Rome defeats Etruscan Veii in the Veientine War; the Etruscan king Lars Tolumnius is killed.
  • 400 BCE
    Celts enter Italy and settle in the Po Valley.
  • 396 BCE
    Rome sacks the Etruscan town of Veii after a ten-year siege.
  • 396 BCE
    Celts defeat an Etruscan army at the battle of Melpum. Afterwards the Celts heavily settle all over the Po Valley.
  • 394 BCE
    Etruscan Volsinii and their ally Sappinum unsuccessfully attacks Rome.
  • 391 BCE
    Senones besiege Clusium, an Etruscan city.
  • 384 BCE
    Syracuse attacks the ports of the Etruscan city of Cerveteri.
  • 356 BCE
    307 Roman prisoners are sacrificed in the forum of the Etruscan city of Tarquinia.
  • 294 BCE
    A Roman army led by L. Postimius Megellus defeats an army from Etruscan Volsinii.
  • 284 BCE
    Etruscan Volsinii with an army of Gauls attacks Arretium.
  • 283 BCE
    Romans defeat the Etruscans and Celts at lake Vadimo.
  • 280 BCE
    The Romans conquer the Etruscan cities of Tarquinia, Volsinii and Vulci.
  • 273 BCE
    Rome conquers the Etruscan town of Cerveteri.
  • 264 BCE
    Etruscan Volsinii is sacked by the Romans and its residents relocated to Bolsena.
  • 225 BCE
    Celts defeat 6000 Romans at Faesulae and proceed to overrun Etruria.
  • 82 BCE - 80 BCE
    Volterra is besieged and sacked by Roman general Sulla.
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