From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to the culture and way of life of a people of ancient Italy and Corsica whom the ancient Romans called Etrusci or Tusci. The Attic Greek word for them was Template:Polytonic (Tyrrhēnioi) from which Latin also drew the names Tyrrhēni (Etruscans), Tyrrhēnia (Etruria) and Tyrrhēnum mare (Tyrrhenian Sea). The Etruscans themselves used the term Rasenna, which was syncopated to Rasna or Raśna.
As distinguished by its own language, the civilization endured from an unknown prehistoric time prior to the founding of Rome until its complete assimilation to Italic Rome in the Roman Republic. At its maximum extent during the foundation period of Rome and the Roman kingdom, it flourished in three confederacies of cities: of Etruria, of the Po valley with the eastern Alps, and of Latium and Campania. Rome was sited in Etruscan territory. There is considerable evidence that early Rome was dominated by Etruscans until the Romans sacked Veii in 396 BC.
Culture that is identifiably and certainly Etruscan developed in Italy after about 800 BC approximately over the range of the preceding Iron Age Villanovan culture. The latter gave way in the seventh century to a culture that was influenced by Greek traders and Greek neighbours in Magna Graecia, the Hellenic civilization of southern Italy. After 500 BC the political destiny of Italy passed out of Etruscan hands.