They were reviled throughout the ancient world for being decadent, wicked and corrupt because they gave independence, education and sexual freedom to women.
Their art extolled marital love when most groups considered wives a possession that produced more possessions. They believed that love transcended death.
They used lightning to predict the future. Their priests foretold that their culture would end after ten sacred eras. It did.
The beautiful image at right sent Australian attorney Elisabeth Storrs on a ten-year odyssey to discover their secrets.
They were called the Etruscans, and modern-day Tuscany derives its name from them.
Elisabeth brings the Etruscans to life in a luminous novel titled The Wedding Shroud, about a young Roman girl’s arranged marriage to an Etruscan nobleman as the two cultures careen towards war. It’s my favorite historical novel of the year.