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The she-wolf and the twins, fresco by A.Carracci

Ancient roots of a today crisis: roman-etruscan historical deception

One of the most famous writers who studied and gave popularity to the etruscan civilization, the german Werner Keller, he wrote: “There are no european people who have been so ill-treated as the etruscans, there are no a people who’s heritage has been so systematically destroyed” (The Etruscan Civilization, 1970).This is still true, even more so today. Why? You have just to consider about three reasons: first, the antagonist roman culture, who conquered the Etruscans and obscured their civilization; second, the persecution pursued by the christian church, for the etruscan was the “rival” religion, the “pagan” enemy; third, the rigid approach of the italian archeologists and historians, ideologically conditioned by reactionary nationalism or by “historical materialism”.The aftermath of all this are: nobody knows about the real History and religion of the Etruscans, while it’s more and more exalted the rhetoric about the “grandeur” of the roman empire.We are not for the Etruscans and against the Romans. Because both, originally, they were of etruscan stock: they were “brothers”, this is one of the forgotten truths behind the legend of the fighting “twins” and the she-wolf. A bloody civil war, lasted more than two centuries, destroyed the etruscan world and gave birth to the imperialistic vision of the “eternal city”. A bloody history, written during ages of wars through all Europe, Asia, north Africa, continued in the colonial expansion of the Europeans during the Renaissance, wich was a revival of the roman and greek classical age.Of course, wars are fatal. Everybody is ready at the call of his own army, like everybody is ready for sheding crocodile’s tears at the hero’s funeral.So, what?Give a look at the recent archeological discoveries in central Italy, it could be a way for understanding many “misteries”, including the present italian crisis and his peculiar troubles. Two years ago (2011), on a volcanic

The roman twins given to the god Tiber, the river of Rome (by A. Carracci)

peak near Bolsena lake, not far from Rome, an etruscan temple of the archaic period (VII century b.C.) was discovered by archeologists. Perhaps is the biggest etruscan temple found until today. From the site (mount Landro) you have a spectacular view over the lake below, the second volcanic lake of the world, after the andean Titicaca. Columns, terracotta pottery, painted tiles, pieces of statues and other relevant remains came back to light.The discovery confirms the importance of the Bolsena Lake area where, second an old tradition, was located the Fanum Voltumnae, the temple of the goddess Voltumna (i.e. Fortuna), the major etruscan divinity. But… the archeological excavations at the temple lasted only few weeks. The same happened in the 2012 and now we have the evidence that archeologists can’t follow the work and give protection to the place, wich remains abandoned for great part of the year, as a prey for illigal diggers. Voices are running about a stop of the archeological excavations, because “there is no money”.

Etruscan wall on top of the mount Landro

The temple’s discovery produced a non secondary problem: the italian academic world has always believed that the temple of the etruscan goddess (they think it was a god..), sacred navel of the etruscan nation, was not in Bolsena, but near the town of Orvieto.So, now, the discovery of this temple could prouve with strong evidence something in disagreement with the official theory suggested by the academic world.And so, now we see a spectacular discovery, considered with understatement and abandoned for the simple reason that is not in line with the academic and official thought of the “experts”. Gouvernative representatives says there’s no money for the excavations and the restoration of the Bolsena temple. Groups of volounteers would like to work free, but the answer is: no. Why this?

Actually this could be a good way for giving work to many unemployed and enthousiastic young generations; a way for opening a new local museum with the new findings; a way to promote economy, culture and protection of the territory. Why not do this?

Maybe there’s a not-said intention for a monopolistic control on monuments and culture? Maybe the roman “grandeur” must be at all costs the first on the line?

Some etruscan remains found in the temple of mount Landro (from the exposition of the 2012 in San Lorenzo Nuovo)

Maybe somebody thinks the real history of Rome it’s not so interesting: the roman-etruscan twins performed an awfull fight and only one would be the winner. The other one is still be asking to be rescued.

Now is the time for a real change, for coming out from the crisis, a cultural crisis, not only an economic crisis.

Let’s have a look at the events of the last century. A famous archeologist, Marija Gimbutas, has written about the developments of a matrilinear and matrifocal civilization, during the Neolithic age, in the “Old Europe”. This civilization was gradually conquered by a patriarchal people who came from central Asia, in the fifth millennium b.C. The descendants of that patriarchal society were perhaps the people of the “winners” (the Romans) and the “losers”, then, were the Etruscans …?

The etruscan civilization, as Gimbutas clearly wrote, it had the typical character of the matrilinear civilization. The etruscan woman, differently from the greek and the roman one, she played important roles in the society, in politics as in religion, being largely free in the behaviors as in the customs.

In the modern western society women have assumed more and more important social roles. This phenomenon is not slowing down, on the contrary it looks growing up. Is it now the redemption time for the “losers” of once?

A deep crisis is spreading in the western society, essentially a cultural and spiritual crisis. To move on from the crisis, it could be deciding the redemption of all the ‘losers’ and also a new centrality of the women in the society, as already was for the Etruscans and other matrilinear civilizations of the past

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  1. I find this subject fascinating, a real world situation that everybody can take a look at. It is the story of humanity, a bronze age culture that fell to an iron age culture, and lessons to be learned from this fall. There is much to uncover. Thank you Giovanni and friends who are keeping this flame alive.

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