- The walls of Etruscan settlements were not only military but also provided a clear ideological boundary between city and countryside. Late Bronze Age settlements were often chosen for their naturally defended positions. Some Iron Age settlements such as San Giovenale may have had wooden fortifications as early as the eighth century BC. The earliest walls of Roselle, mudbrick on stone foundations, are dated to the seventh century BC, and the fortification of the citadel of Vetulonia has been given a similar date. The sixth-century BC walls of Roselle, of polygonal format, still survive to a height of some five meters. Walls of similar date have been located at Caere and Veii (Piazza d’Armi), followed by slightly later walls at Cortona, Regisvilla, Populonia, and Vetulonia from the beginning of the fifth century BC. By the fourth century BC, extensive wall circuits existed at Veii, La Doganella, Volterra, and Tarquinia.The existence of fortified walls also implies fortified entrances or gates controlling access and registering power. The earliest known examples are from the sixth century BC at Veii (Piazza d’Armi) and slightly later in the fifth century BC at Marzabotto. Most cities have evidence of formal gates by the fifth and fourth centuries BC as at Veii, Perugia, Caere, Chiusi, La Doganella, Musarna, Orvieto, Populonia, and Volterra. Some of these gateways were also ritualized by the presence of associated sacred zones; examples have been found at Vulci, Tarquinia, Cortona, Caere, Veii, Perugia, and Arezzo. A number of the gateways at Perugia and Volterra survive today in impressive form as part of the fabric of the modern city.
Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans. Simon K. F. Stoddart.
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