Sunday, June 3, 2012
HJ: While visiting the Etruscan Museum in Castiglion Fiorentino on Tuesday, we learned about the lifestyle and customs of the Etruscans. The predated the Romans by a few hundred years, but they were just as advanced, if not more so than the Romans. Their building methods (all done without mortar) were impressive, although few original structures remain due to later peoples recycling the older building materials to create newer and grander structures. The Etruscans were the first to discover and perfect wax and bronze casting, and we still use virtually the same methods today. They used bronze to create statues, weapons, and most importantly for us cooking utensils such as sophisticated cauldrons. The Etruscans only ate meat on holidays after sacrificing at the Temple, and as such they mostly ate grain and vegetables and fruits that they grew in their gardens both inside and out of the city walls. Having the gardens outside the city walls was risky, as it put the peasants working in the fields in danger, and also ran the risk of having the crops stolen by outsiders. I was surprised to hear how limited their diet was, as few foods were native to the region and others had yet to be introduced at that time. The Etruscans did grow grapes for wine, and the weird thing about them was that they liked their wine with additives such as honey, cheese, and dried fish powder. Learning about the Etruscans was fascinating, as they were very advanced for what one would think of about people living in roughly 1000 BCE. However, should the opportunity to try it somehow arise, I think I'll pass on the dried fish powder wine.