What was the impact of the Etruscans and Greeks on the early deveopment of Roman Civilization?
The Etruscans were the dominant influence in the area, and contributed heavily to Roman Civilization. Among their contributions:
They were the first to use the Arch for building bridges. It is a form that adds strength, and dissipates the weight of a structure. It is from the Arch that we get our word “architecture.” They also introduced soothsayers, and gods with human forms, mostly borrowed from the Greeks, of course. They held slave fights – typically at funerals, as a blood memorial to one’s greatness. These were the forerunner of the Gladiatorial games. They also started public parades as welcomes for War heroes. Finally, they adopted the Greek alphabet; somewhat altered, but in use still today. By and large, the Etruscans probably contributed more than the Greeks, as much of the culture we consider "Roman" originated with the Etruscans.