|A tomb hewn out of the rock of Sperandio, dating from the
latter half of the sixth century B.C., proves that the Perugia was in existence
during that period. Many generations had lived there since the Etruscans had taken
possession of the hill.
|The first historical references to Perugia are furnished from
Etrusco-Roman chronicles. In that epoch, from the fourth to the third centuries
B.C.., we must imagine the hilltop enclosed in an unbroken bulwark of stone walls with
gates and towers. The Etruscans, masters of the art of building fortifications, built a noble
arch in the Etruscan wall. This arch is a true roundheaded structure of excellent
proportions: the most nearly perfect of all the Etruscan arches which are left to us. The
wall-building is magnificent; massive, rectangular blocks of travertine are laid down in
perfectly regular courses fitted together without mortar or cement.
|For at least 500 years Perugia played an important
part as one of the twelve city-states of the Confederacy of Etruria. Further, it was the
only one of them which maintained its independence almost up to the beginning of the
|Perugia whose one of the last capital cities of Umbria
subdued by Rome in 40 B.C. Etruria, as a nation, ceased to exist but Perugia, as a
city, did not suffer an absolute death. The inhabitants wan must have been men and women
of high courage. They could still find some shelter behind their walls and rebuild houses
with the Roman victor permission.
In the course of years the streets were again laid out and
became filled with busy life. Augustus sent immigrants to the city, but it was not
constituted a Roman colony either in name or in fact. One relic of Roman occupation still
exists: a building housing a fragment of Roman mosaic depicting Orpheus and the animals.
The mosaic (beginning of the II century A.C.) is probably part of the floor of a
|Etruscan and Roman, after the first bitterness had died out,
appear to have lived together in reasonable harmony. They had many religions beliefs
and observances in common, in fact, Rome had, for many years, been accustomed to sending
her noble youths to learn the Etruscan discipline in Etruria.
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