PREFACE

THE Emperor Claudius was the first research scholar in Etruscology, and the modern worker may justifiably feel envious of his opportunities of studying the monuments of the ancient people, and of acquainting himself with their language and customs, which still lingered in the land, cherished even by the Romans themselves. Claudius did his duty as a historian in producing twenty volumes of historical records -- all unfortunately lost. Until the Middle Ages there emerges no definite information about Etruscan matters, but we can imagine the depredations of Romans and foreigners amongst the subterranean treasure-chambers, as well as the destruction of Etruscan masonry to supply building material. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, certain tombs must have been explored, and the great bronze statues were discovered. During the years 1616-1619, a Scot, Sir Thomas Dempster, whilst Professor of Law at Pisa, wrote a treatise on Etruria; this was published after his death in 1723-4, with additions and illustrations by Filippo Buonarroti. In 1699, we hear of the first discovery of painted tombs at Tarquinia. Throughout the whole of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries research was carried on, at first in most irregular and wasteful style, subject to the whims and greed of landowners and foreign collectors, in more recent years under expert supervision and

-vii-

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