Fifth Column

A visit to the Astor Place Wegman’s confirms we are, now and forever, among the Etruscans
(and also stuck in the ’90s).

BRONZE AND IRON AGE PEOPLEHOODS are indeed heavy metal. Consider the Judeans—who, despite the best efforts of the likes of Pharaoh Shoshenq I, King Nebuchadnezzar, and Emperor Vespasian, cast their astonishingly ancient rites and sites all the way into modernity; and despite now constituting only two-tenths of a percent of the population of the world, usefully shared the ethical monotheism and related spiritual technology of the God of Abraham with the 4.5 billion current practitioners of Christianity and Islam. Spare a thought, too, for the Urnfield culture system proto-Villanovans and all their progeny.

They were eventually known to themselves, before they vanished from history, as the Rasenna. They are known to us now by the exonym conferred by the ancient Romans, who helped along their vanishing and to whom their history was already antique and mysterious: the Etruscans. Long before the chieftains of Latium on the Italian peninsula mustered themselves into a world-historically influential republic and empire, their cousins up in scenic Tuscany had risen and falle…

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