The Cultural Influence Of The Etruscans


In “The Mistress,” a story in The Deadliest Deceptions, a collection of Miriam bat Isaac short stories to be published later this year, we meet Kosmos. Judah warns Miriam to keep away from him:


“He’s in a shady business. Sells these phony Etruscan vases—claims they’re antiques—to tourists in a fancy shop near the Street of the Soma. That’s why when I make anything for him, his payment has to come in a purse sealed with the mark of a moneychanger I trust.” Judah nodded as if in agreement with his inner voice. “So, promise me you won’t have anything to do with him.”


“Promise,” Miriam said, pasting on a wifely smile, but she had no intention of complying, certainly not when dealing with murder.


Aside from being the likely originator of Rome’s gladiatorial games, the Etruscans influenced the Latin language and therefore, at least indirectly, our language as well. Most of the Latin words with an Etruscan origin tend to be about the authority of the state. For example, we’ve seen the term sella curulis, the magistrate’s chair, a style of chair in Miriam’s study. But the word of Etruscan derivation that most interests me is our word "populus", originally referring to the people assembled for war, as an army rather than the general populace.


The Etruscans had an enduring influence on Roman culture and eventually our own. And so, you will see occasional references to them in the Miriam bat Isaac stories, which have been praised by the Historical Novel Society for their faithful glimpse into the past. Until The Deadliest Deceptions comes out this fall, choose one of the rest of the books in the series. Just click here.

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