Saturday, November 27, 2010

What is an Etruscan?

The headline said "No Etruscan link to modern Tuscans Study shows" with a sub heading "genetic discontinuity with Bronze Age people," as it was declared by the Universities of Florence, Ferrara, Pisa, Venice and Parma on behalf of its esteemed and tenured sociology and anthropolgy professors, which their E.U.-funded research found.

The news and of course world-government seeking bureaucrats would claim it to be the definitve truth.

Fortunately for civilization, there are many Etruscans left like Motorino Man's alter ego and your friendly writer who had a visit from the 2000 census-counter in Washington DC coming to learn what Etruscan blood is in fact. Once discovering that Etruscan homeland is on the Italic peninsula the census declared Motorino Man "just another Italian trouble maker."

I did remind her Italy the country and thus Italians were not identified as such until long after a country called the United States was founded and even when Lincoln fought the civil war there was no "Italy" to ally.

In fact, the success of Italy's Made In Italy products is rooted in local-ism ot global-ism. Most recall Italy's recent experiment with centralized planning by Mussolini, which sure did get the trains running on time but it also resulted in hundreds pf thousands of deaths. Italy is better known for its long traditition of city-states ruled by locally and which industries are intricately tied together locally to create great product. Today this fashion of doing business is resulting in major contributions to pharmaceutical, technology, aerospace, and other modern-day cutting edge industries.

According to researchers at the universities of Florence, Ferrara, Pisa, Venice and Parma discovered the genealogical discontinuity by testing samples of mitochondrial DNA from remains of Etruscans and people who lived in the Middle Ages (between the 10th and 15th centuries) as well as from people living in the region today.

While there was a clear genetic link between Medieval Tuscans and the current population, the relationship between modern Tuscans and their Bronze Age ancestors could not be proven, the study showed. The study did not reach outside Tuscany to the Italic peneinsula nor did it reach other countries.

''Some people have hypothesised that the most ancient DNA sequences, those from the Etruscan era, could contain errors or have been contaminated but tests conducted with new methods exclude this,'' said David Caramelli of Florence University and Guido Barbujani of Ferrara University.

''The most simple explanation is that the structure of the Tuscan population underwent important demographic changes in the first millennium before Christ,'' they said.

''Immigration and forced migration have diluted the Etruscan genetic inheritance so much as to make it difficult to recognise''.

The scientific data does not necessarily mean that the Etruscans died out, the researchers said.

Teams from Florence and Ferrara universities are working to identify whether traces of the Etruscans' genetic inheritance may still exist in people living in isolated locations in the region.

The new study is published online by the scientific journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

The Etruscans lived mainly between the rivers Tiber and Arno in modern-day Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany, in the first millennium BC.

By the sixth century BC they had become the dominant force in central Italy, but repeated attacks from Gauls and Syracusans later forced them into an alliance with the embryonic Roman state, which gradually absorbed Etruscan civilization.

Most of what is known about the Etruscans derives from archaeology as the few accounts passed down by Roman historians tend to be hostile, portraying them as gluttonous and lecherous. Yet it is know that ancient Rome and ancient Romans adopted many of the Etruscan customs.

This problem is compounded by the fact that Etruscan cities were built almost entirely of wood and so vanished quickly, leaving little for archaeologists to investigate.

Photo: Head of Hermes, 510-500 BC.

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