How Did the Etruscans Influence Early Rome?

By Alice Nichols

The Etruscans, a civilization that thrived in ancient Italy from the 8th to the 3rd century BCE, played a significant role in shaping the early development of Rome. Their influence can be seen in various aspects of Roman culture, including art, architecture, religion, and politics.

Art and Architecture:
The Etruscans were known for their skill in metalwork, pottery, and sculpture. They introduced these artistic techniques to the Romans, who adopted and developed them further.

Etruscan influence can be seen in the use of terracotta for architectural decorations and sculptures found in early Roman buildings. The Romans also borrowed the Etruscan architectural style characterized by wide eaves and overhanging roofs.

The Romans were heavily influenced by Etruscan religious practices. The Etruscans believed that their gods had a direct influence on human affairs and so did the Romans.

The Romans adopted many deities from the Etruscans, such as Juno (Etruscan Uni), Mars (Etruscan Maris), and Minerva (Etruscan Menrva). They also incorporated various religious rituals like divination into their own practices.

Social Structure:

The Etruscans had a significant impact on Roman society’s organization and hierarchy. They introduced several social institutions that would shape Roman politics for centuries to come.

The Romans adopted the concept of a ruling class from the Etruscans. This class consisted of an elite group of families who held power and authority within society.


The Etruscans were skilled engineers who excelled at constructing infrastructure projects such as roads, aqueducts, and drainage systems. The Romans learned from their expertise and expanded upon it to create an extensive network of roads throughout their empire. They also developed the concept of the arch, which was widely used in their architectural projects.

The Etruscans had their own language, which is still not fully understood today. However, some Etruscan words and phrases were incorporated into the Latin language spoken by the Romans. This linguistic influence is evident in certain Roman words and place names.

Funerary Practices:
The Etruscans had elaborate burial practices that included tombs and necropolises. The Romans adopted these practices but adapted them to their own customs. Many Roman tombs and catacombs were inspired by Etruscan designs.

In Conclusion:

The Etruscans left an indelible mark on early Rome, influencing its art, architecture, religion, social structure, infrastructure, language, and funerary practices. Their contributions played a vital role in shaping Roman civilization as we know it today. Understanding the Etruscan influence helps us comprehend the rich historical tapestry of Rome’s past and appreciate the lasting impact of this ancient civilization.