Etruscan myths

Bona Dea

New Member
They had an immense influence on the on the creation of Ancient Rome - beliefs, customs and gods were taken from the Etruscan’s culture. They were based in Modern Tuscany, but their history much less documented than that of the Romans of Greeks.

I’m interested to know which myths came from these people.


New Member
Well, I don't know much about the Etruscans - I think they came long before what we call "ancient" Rome - ie: long before the Republic, 1000bc or earlier. But much later, in the Empire, Claudius in the 1st Century AD claimed that he was descended from these people - he was a serioushsitorian and so the Etruscans obviously had an importtant influence.

Whilst pondering your post I came across this book :"Etruscan Myths" By Larissa Bonfante and Judith Swaddling.

The "blurb" for the book is : The Etruscans were a people of sophisticated culture and technology who lived in the area between Florence and Rome. Their civilization flourished for nearly a thousand years before being subsumed by the Roman Empire, but they left a substantial legacy to western civilization. In antiquity they were known as a wealthy, luxury-loving people, fond of banqueting and music and deeply religious. They were highly literate, but their literature has not survived, so we turn to Etruscan art to tell us about their mythology and beliefs. Their plentiful, spontaneous art also tells us a great deal about their lives and about the importance of women in their aristocratic society. Most informative of their own distinctive and colorful beliefs are their interpretations of scenes from Greek mythology, reflecting the importance of goddesses and demons in their religion, as well as scenes of the human sacrifice they practiced. This book serves as an excellent introduction to the world of the Etruscans and their mythology and is plentifully illustrated from the vast collection of the British Museum and other international museums.

Very interesting.


Active Member
I actually read that book a few years ago. It's a slender tome but very fact filled and fun. Alot of the images come from mirrors that had scenes of their myths.
One myth they did not talk about is that of Tages. One day a farmer was sowing in his field when he dug up a strange little man child. His name was Tages and he taught the farmer all manners of divination. (The Etruscans have a superstitious reputation).


One of the problems with understand Etruscan myth is that, like Egyptian myth, much of it described was written after the height of its time, in Rome. But like Greek myth, Etruscan myth had a definite impact on Roman religion. Since the Romans considered it an honour for a rule to claim Etruscan descent, the principles of the religion were also revered, but interpreted over time.

Like the Romans, The Etruscans had assumed some of the aspects of Greek myth as well. Familiar faces are Menvra the goddess of wisdom, Aritimi the goddess of nature, clearly Athena and Artemis, who would become Minerva and Diana in Rome. Tinia and his wife Uni became Jupiter and Juno, and Tinia's son Heracle was clearly Hercules.

If anything the three cultures are evident that folklore and religion expand and evolve from social interaction, integrating elements of each other.