With these names must clearly be judged the forms Tusci and Etrusci, although these forms must not be regarded as anything but the names given to the Etruscans by the folk among whom they settled.
It constituted the most common form of divination in ancient Babylonia, where it can be traced back to the 3rd millennium B.C. Among the Etruscans the prominence of the rite led to the liver being looked upon as the trade-mark of the priest.
From the Etruscans it made its way to the Romans, though as we shall see it was also modified by them.
It is well known that the Romans borrowed their methods of hepatoscopy from the Etruscans, and, apart from the direct evidence for this in Latin writings, we have, in the case of the bronze model of a liver found near Piacenza in 1877, and of Etruscan origin, the unmistakable proof that among the Etruscans the examination of the liver was the basis of animal divination.
In any case, since the Eastern origin of the Etruscans is now generally admitted, we may temporarily, at least, accept the conclusion that hepatoscopy as a method of divination owes its survival in advanced forms of culture to the elaborate system devised in the course of centuries by the Babylonian priests, and to the influence, direct and indirect, exerted by this system in the ancient world.
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