Long before the days of the rise of the Roman Empire, Italy was home to the Etruscans – a people far more advanced in civilization than the later Romans.

Scholars are of the opinion that the Etruscans were a seafaring people from Asia Minor. As early as 1200 B.C. they were living in Italy covering an area equivalent to modern Tuscany. They later embraced a large part of western Italy, including Rome. They were the forebearers of the Romans and lived in this region up to the beginning of their Roman conquest in 300 B.C.

The Romans intentionally obliterated the memories of this great civilization. The Etruscans vanished from recorded history, leaving behind them a vast treasure of sculpture with largely un-deciphered inscriptions, paintings and artifacts.

Legend states that at the beginning of the Etruscan Age, the city of Rome was founded by the twin sons of the war God Mars. Their names were Romulus and Remus. The boys had been abandoned by their divine father and Etruscan mother and were reared in the forest by a she-wolf. This is a slightly different version of the story of the Hindu epic Ramayana where the divine king Sri Rama abandons Sita and his twin sons, Luva and Kusha. The two boy were reared by their mother and Rishi Valmiki in his forest ashram

In the Etruscan legend, the twins are raised by a she-wolf in the forest, but that probably emerges from a confusion between the Sanskrit terms ‘rishi’ (ऋषि) which means a ‘sage’ and the Sanskrit ‘vriki’ (वृकी) which means a ‘she-wolf’. The fame of Sri Rama had already traversed west from India by the time of the Etruscans. A treasure trove of Etrsucan paintings bears out this argument.

Here is a look at the Etruscan paintings, artefacts and sketches. First a look at this sketch which has had historians baffled. If ever a picture spoke a thousand words, this is the one:

An Etruscan sketch that has baffled western historians…
.. and the Ramayana painting that
decodes the Etruscan sketch….

In one shot the Etruscan sketch, which for sure depicts Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana establishes that the fame and influence of Sri Rama was powerful enough to have reached the Western horizon. Throughout the Ramayana, Sri Rama is addressed as ‘arya’ (आर्य) , Sanskrit for ‘the noble one’. There never was an ‘Aryan’ race. It was the aryan culture and customs, that travelled from India towards the West as it did towards the Far-east, along with the emigrants.

Sri Rama was born in Ayodhya in India not a year later than 5118 BC. The exact planetary positions at the time of his birth, recorded in the Valmiki Ramayana, have not occurred in the skies since 5118 BC – as proven by the Nasa Planetarium Software. For more on this subject click here. 

There is more evidence that proves that the influence of Sri Rama and Indian ethos and culture had reached Etruria. The following painting of the Etruscan God ‘Typhon’ looks like another representation of Hanuman flying down Mount Rishabha from the Himalayas, on which grew the wonderful life restoring herb – the ‘sanjivini bhuti’.

Etruscan Typhon

Sri Hanuma of Ramayana flies
down Mt. Rishabha

An Etruscan artefact depicts the scene of Sugreeva and Bali, the two vanara or monkey- chiefs, with Tara who was the wife of Bali:

An ancient Etruscan vase depicts Sugreeva

 and Bali, the monkey-chiefs vie for Tara

Another Etruscan artefact seems to depict the scene of the aswamedha yagya where Luv and Kush capture the yagya horse. In the Etruscan mythology Luva and Kusha were known as Romulus and Remus. It was common for some one to have his father’s (or mother’s) name reflected in his or her name, for example Sri Rama was addressed as Dasarath Putra, Sri Krishna was known as Devaki Nandan, the examples are numerous. It is therefore obvious that Luv and Kush  were also addressed as the sons of  Rama – hence Romulus and Remus.  

The twins Luv and Kush and
the ‘asvamedha yagya’ horse
of the Ramayana
This Etruscan sketch has been interpreted with the
help of Ramayana. Kaushalya and Kaikeyi,
the two queens of King Dasratha share the 

payasam or potion with Sumitra.

The features of the Etruscan men and women, especially their large eyes, and the attire were distinctly Asian as is evident from the many paintings and sculpture artifacts of the time.

The large eyes are a feature of
Hindu Gods and Goddesses
The covered head and the sari like garment
has Hindu influence

Notice the sari like attire in this Etruscan painting
Could this Etruscan  sketch be a depiction of the abduction of  Sita by Ravana. Centre: Notice the dead deer ‘Marich’ and a tussle between Ravana and Sita. On the right Ravana  takes Sita to Lanka via the aerial-route depicted by the winged-horse. Left:  Is the bird ‘Jatayu’ who is slain by Ravana?
In this Etruscan sculpture the attire is Indian
and so is the posture of the dancer/performer

Etruscan jewellery too seems to have borrowed from and much influenced by the Indian civilization.

As was common to most ancient civilizations, cremation of the dead was the accepted form of the disposal of the body. It was post the advent of Christianity that cremation was rejected along with other Pagan customs.

Notice the Garuda like winged-creature on the right. In Vedic scriptures Garuda’s father was Rishi Kashyapa who had two wives Vinata and Kadru. In Etruscan mythology Charu or Karun was the guide of the souls of underworld often portrayed along with the winged goddess Vanth. In the Hindu tradition Garuda had the powers to remove all evils from the body. This sketch seems to portray the cremation
ceremony. Notice the priest at the funeral pyre.
Sri Garuda, the winged Hindu God.

The garuda Purana describes the funeral

ceremony and the after world.

The ancient Etruscan houses were built around a central courtyard, much as the houses in India were. Etruscan temples were always elevated and had to be entered by climbing steps which is exactly as it was in India.

Suggested Links:

1. The Etruscan Civilization


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