Clusium

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An ancient Etruscan town on the site of modern Chiusi, in Tuscany, Italy. Clusium enjoyed good agricultural fertility deposits of iron and copper ore, natural hot springs, and a key position on trade routes. Settlement appears to be unbroken and successful from the first Villanovan dwellers onwards. It was founded in the 8th century BC on the site of an older Umbrian town known as Camars. In the early 6th century BC it allied with Arretium (Arezzo) as part of the 12-city Etruscan confederation. At the end of the 6th century BC, Clusium's king, Lars Porsena, attacked Rome and may even have captured the city in an attempt to restore the power of the Tarquins there. In 391 BC, Clusium allied with Rome against invading Gauls. Like other Etruscan cities, Clusium was surrounded by cemeteries and tombs. Excavation of Clusian tombs, mostly cut into the soft tufa rock, has yielded earthenware funerary (canopic) jars, as well as ceramic human figures and Greek and locally made pottery. There is evidence for persistence of the cremation rite, seen in the wide variety of cinerary urns, canopic jars, and the characteristic hollow seated figures made from pietra fetida limestone. Clusium also had a reputation for fine bronze and stone craftsmanship. The decorations on sarcophagi in the tombs are a major source of inscriptions in the Etruscan language.

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