The Etruscans 9th - 2nd Centuries BC

Published: January 27th, 2019     
Product Image
Author: Raffaele D’Amato, Andrea Salimbeti; Illustrator: Giuseppe Rava
Reviewed by: 
Gino Dykstra, IPMS# 11198
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 978-1-4728-2831-6
E-Book ISBN #: 9781472828309
Other Publication Information: Softbound, 64 pages
Price: $19.00
Product / Stock #: Elite 223

The Etruscans are sometimes regarded as the fore-runners of the later Roman civilization, and they certainly appear to have had enormous influence over the development of that empire, and yet despite this, relatively little is really know today about them. Their language has only ever been partially translated and very little written documentation survives except later tomes by Romans and Greeks which are debatably accurate, to say the least. What is generally believed is that the Etruscans were something of an amalgam culture, having some seafaring antecedents as well as people from the Asian subcontinent and other places (which seems to suggest they were very much a merchant culture with extensive trade routes). However, there are other later writers who claimed they were native to the area of Northern Italy, so go figure. In any case they dominated Northern Italy for around a millennia, and even occupied Rome for a while before going into a steep decline and eventual extinction.

What this means in terms of this publication is that there is comparatively little discussion in detail about the culture, the people or even the military tactics of the Etruscan warrior class, as there simply isn't a whole lot of reliable information about any of these to be had. However, the authors do an excellent job of assessing what IS available and coming to some reasonable conclusions, including discussing the eventual development of heavily-armed Hoplite-like warriors fighting in organized phalanxes very much like the classic Greek armies. The rest of the pages are taken up by discussing in quite fine detail remaining examples of both armor and weapons, and how these changed over time.

The book is well illustrated with pictures and drawings of surviving pieces, as well as some colorful illustrations depicting their flamboyant equipage, which seems to lean heavily toward bronze and red (including the cover picture depicting a warrior with red dye on his face and arms). Amazingly, there are still some ancient wall paintings from the era which display colors in remarkable fidelity, so there are few, if any, serious assumptions being made by the illustrator. The illustrations for the later epochs prove an interesting point, however, in showing that the Etruscans were quite happy to adopt foreign ideas if they were deemed worthy. A result of this is that their arms and costumes appear more and more Greek and Roman in detail as time marches on.

All in all this book does a pretty good job with what little we really know about these enigmatic people. As a modeler with an anthropological bent, I would have loved to have seen more about their culture and way of life, but you can't get blood from a stone. If the information ain't there, it just ain't there.

Certainly the illustrations provide excellent ammunition for any figure modeler interested in ancient times, and the accompanying text gives context to the various bits of armor and weapons displayed. I can happily recommend this publication for anyone interested in ancient history and the fascinating people living in it.

My thanks to Osprey Publication for releasing this intriguing book and to IPMS/USA for letting me review it

blication for releasing this intriguing book and to IPMS/USA for letting me review it

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