Italian and German researchers used genetic analysis to find out the origins of the Etruscans, the ancient people who created the most important civilization in central Italy before the founding of Rome. Their origins have been debated for 2,400 years.

Researchers at the University of Florence and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology analyzed DNA samples collected from the remains of 82 people who lived in the area, with remains from 1,000 to 2,800 years old excavated at 12 archaeological sites in central and southern Italy. The DNA samples were compared with the DNA of other ancient ethnic groups and modern humans and it was found that the non-Indo-European speaking Etruscans had a similar genetic profile with their Latin-speaking neighbours.

Their discovery contradicts earlier theories that the Etruscans came from elsewhere (migrated from Asia Minor) than their Latin-speaking neighbours. According to the researchers, the two groups came from the steppe region of the Caspian Sea. After settling in the Bronze Age and consolidating their roots in the northern and eastern parts of present-day Italy, they assimilated speakers of other languages ​​into their culture as they developed into a thriving civilization in the 7th century BC, dominating central Italy.

However, after the founding of Rome, by the 3rd century BC, the Roman Republic became the ruler of the region and absorbed the Etruscans until 90 BC.

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According to David Carameli, professor of anthropology at the University of Florence, A science progress Their study was published in the journal

It also questions the assumption that people with the same genes speak similar languages.

“It assumes a much more complex scenario about the assimilation of early Italian speakers by the Etruscan-speaking community,” he wrote in a statement.

It has long been known that the Etruscans inherited their religious ceremonies, metalworking, gladiator fencing, and architectural and engineering innovations from the Romans, which transformed Rome from an immature settlement into a great city. However, scholars knew very little about their geographical origin and language.

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The Greek historian Herodotus once wrote that they came from the peoples of Anatolia, the Aegean, who migrated west from the western part of present-day Turkey, escaping from famine. However, according to another Greek historian, Dionysus, they were indigenous to the Italian island.

Now that the millennium debate is over, researchers plan to conduct a broader genetic study using ancient DNA from other regions of the Roman Empire to learn more about the origins and language of the Etruscans.

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