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Beliefs and practices of the ancient people of Etruria in western Italy. The Etruscans believed that the gods manifested their nature and will in every aspect of the natural world, such that every bird and berry was a potential source of knowledge of the gods. The characteristics of their more than 40 deities were often vague or changeable, though some were later equated with the major Greek and Roman deities. Famous for divination, the Etruscans sought to learn the future, looking for divine signs in lightning, the livers of sacrificed animals, and the flights of birds. Belief in the afterlife led to the construction of elaborate tombs that were furnished as houses for the dead. Many features of Etruscan religion were later adopted by the Romans.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Etruscan religion, visit Britannica.com.
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