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Etruscan civilization first developed in Italy around 900 BC, with influence in the north of the Italian peninsula and along its central western coast. As time progressed, it was under increasing influence from Greek culture by the 7th century BC, during which time it enjoyed the height of its power. At this time, the Etruscans flourished in three major cities in Etruria, the Po Valley and Campania.
Etruscans had their own writing system, religion and language, about which little is known, but they had a strong influence on early Roman culture, even as their political influence waned as Etruscan territory was lost to the growing strength of Rome during the latter half of the 1st millenium BC. By 100 BC, the last Etruscan cities were formally absorbed by Rome, but their culture lived on in its impact of Roman society.