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Tarquinii(tärkwĭn`ēī), ancient city of Etruria, central Italy, NW of Rome. The head of the Etruscan League, it was defeated in wars with Rome in the 4th cent. B.C. In the 3d cent. B.C. it lost its independence. Tarquinii continued to exist far into the Christian era and was sacked by the Arabs. After the 9th cent. A.D. it was superseded by nearby Corneto, which is now called Tarquinia and has a museum with Etruscan antiquities. Much knowledge of Etruscan life has been gained from paintings on the walls of tombs in the necropolis of Tarquinii.
(Etruscan Tarchuna), an ancient Etruscan city north of Rome, at the site of present-day Tarquinia, in Italy. Monuments of the Villanovan culture testify to the settlement’s early origins. Archaeological remains include the ruins of defensive walls dating from the fifth to fourth centuries B.C., the foundation and terra-cotta reliefs of a large temple, sarcophagi adorned with sculptures, and numerous frescoes in catacombs dating from the seventh to first centuries B.C. According to legend, Tarquinii, founded by Tarchon of Lydia, belonged to the Etruscan alliance of 12 cities and was the birthplace of Tarquinius Priscus. The city lost its independence early in the third century B.C. after a series of wars with Rome in 359–351 B.C. and 310–308 B.C.