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From Celtic, Etruscan and Roman Hands: The Po River Valley and Modena (Mutina)

Forschungsarbeit 2010 9 Seiten

Geschichte - Weltgeschichte - Frühgeschichte, Antike


From Celtic, Etruscan and Roman Hands:

The Po River Valley and Modena (Mutina)

In the early history of the Italian peninsula, as its territories were being settled, the lands farmed, and animals domesticated, the population was relatively low and spread far across its mountains, valleys and along the rivers. Despite the modest beginnings in the era of pre-history, as settlements joined together and tribes grew and founded villages and towns, the Italian peninsula became a more lively and interactive arena in the European landscape. Not as historically active or significant until the first millennia BC, the area of the Po River Valley, where the modern day city of Modena stands, became a hotbed for culture clashes and military conflicts. Empire builders, traders, soldiers, farmers and pastoralists all came through this wooded region of the Italian peninsula and through the walls of what once was known as Mutina and today as Modena. The city of Modena in the Po River Valley on the Italian Peninsula has been blessed with a rich history of Etruscan settlement, Celtic influence, and Roman domination as it was a decisive economic and military location for all three conquest-centered cultures that tread through its boundaries.

The lands of Etruria outstretched across the north of the Italian peninsula up towards the Alps and across the Po River Valley through everything except for modern day Venice. Influential in the beginning of Roman history, the Etruscans were people who from the coast of the northern Tyrrhenian Sea expanded their influence eastward towards the Adriatic across the peninsula. Mineral rich, Etruria attracted traders from Greece and Phoenicia who imported pottery and foreign goods in order to trade for extracted mineral ores of copper and iron. Surprisingly, Greek and Phoenician influence never expanded beyond trade relations with the north part of Italy: "it is highly significant that neither the Greeks nor the Phoenicians were able to found colonies on Italian soil."[1] The natives during the eighth century, when trade on the Tyrrhenian Coast was at a rise, were shockingly resilient in their resistance to foreign powers. Their sovereignty, in part possibly due to pirates and local ships, and the influence from rich civilizations empowered the area. Nevertheless, Greek settlements did begin to appear south of the developing Etruscan civilization during the beginning of the seventh century. The appearance of Greeks near Etruria brought new prestige to the people as their culture grew to emulate Greek traditions. Learning more than just about clay, pottery, and art from their Greek neighbors, the Etruscans also extended their influence into the Po River Valley and farther from the coast. Etruscans cities began to develop in the sixth century when Etruscan influence pushed eastward from the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Twelve to fifteen cities were orientated under what ancient authors refer to as a sort of Etruscan "League" that defined Etruria's boundaries. These cities were diverse, unique cultural spheres that, much like Greece in the same era, were probably linked together by religious rites and celebrations.[2] Amongst these cities in the Etruscan League, there were powerful chieftains who led their people and expanded Etruscan influence via private armies. Through these generals and forces "Etruscan dominion eventually spread as far north as the Po Valley."[3] The work of private armies amalgamated by a loose cultural uniformity brought these twelve cities under the umbrella of Etruscan rule.

Amongst these sparse cities throughout northern Italy was Mutina (modern day Modena) in the Po River Valley. Considered as a part of Etruria Padana, Mutina was on the outskirts of Etruscan eastern peninsular dominance. Evidence of Etruscan influence and occupation is based on discoveries of ornate vases and Etruscan bronzes similar to those of other cities in the Etruscan league.[4] It is unclear on when this particular city was settled by Etruscans, but it becomes a necessary post that serves the role of defense site and market town with the influx of the Gallic population after the fifth century.[5] A prime location both economically and militarily, it served as a decisive Etruscan position for over a century after the arrival of the Celts. From Modena and other locations in the Po River Valley, Etruscans and the Celts traded tall bronze and clay vessels that the Etruscans either made in Italy or imported from Greece. However, as the Gauls crossed the Alps onto and into the borders of Etruria, trade relations began to collapse and military campaigns against the northern Italians began. The Etruscan military, mediocre and amateur in comparison, could not halt the Gallic forces from pushing deep into the Po River Valley, into Etruria Padana, and onto the streets of Modena in the fourth century.


[1] Haynes, Sybille. "The Orientalizing Period." In Etruscan civilization: a cultural history. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000. 51.

[2] Haynes, "The Archaic Period." 135-137.

[3] Wellard, James. "The City-states." In The search for the Etruscans. 1st American ed. New York: Saturday Review Press, 1973. 125.

[4] Dennis, George. "LIX." In The cities & cemeteries of Etruria. London: Dent, 1907. 382-388.

[5] Scullard, H. H.. "Expansion in North Italy." In The Etruscan cities and Rome. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1967. 213.


ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
421 KB
Institution / Hochschule
University of San Francisco
po po river po river valley eturia etruscans celts celtic north northern italy italia mutina modena rome romans latin italian




Titel: From Celtic, Etruscan and Roman Hands: The Po River Valley and Modena (Mutina)