Etruscans (Tyrsenoi, Tyrrheni, Etrusci), historically and artistically the most important of the indigenous peoples of pre-Roman Italy, and according to M. *Porcius Cato (1) the masters of nearly all of it (Serv. on Aen. 11. 567)—a claim confirmed by archaeology for the area between the Tridentine Alps and the gulf of Salerno. Modern research has resulted in the emergence of a recognizably Etruscan cultural identity that amounts to much more than the traditional images of a poor relation of Greece and a mysterious prelude to Rome.The conflict in the sources between the Etruscans' alleged eastern (Hdt. 1. 94) and autochthonous (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 1. 25–30) origins has been resolved by D. Briquel's convincing demonstration that the famous story of an exodus, led by *Tyrrhenus from Lydia to Italy, was a deliberate political fabrication created in the Hellenized milieu of the court at Sardis in the early 6th cent. bce.