AT the time when Hellenic influence had developed to its fullest extent in Magna Græcia, the Etruscans had long passed their highest point of perfection. Roman tradition gives no little significance to their civilization, in its artistic as well as in its political aspects, though it was far less grand and brilliant than that of their neighbors in the south of the Italian peninsula. But as Rome rose, Etruria fell; and in the time of the Peloponnesian war it had but a shadow of its former dominant position in Italy.
Whether this people were related to the ancient Greeks, or merely mixed with the Pelasgic and Hellenic element through emigration from the western coasts of Greece, it is certain that the older culture of the nation shows a great resemblance to that of the countries beyond the Adriatic. This may have been owing partly to common Oriental prototypes, and to native imitation of these, and partly to the fact that certain primitive results of civilization, under like material premises, naturally assume a more or less similar form without any real historical connection.
The method of building the Etruscan walls is particularly a case in point. The resemblance of these to the most ancient fortifica-