1902 Encyclopedia > Italy > Ethnography and Ancient Geography of Italy

Italy
(Part 7)




ITALY - GEOGRAPHY AND STATISTICS (cont.)

Ethnography and Ancient Geography of Italy


The ethnography of ancient Italy is a very complicated and difficult subject, and notwithstanding the researches of modern scholars is still involved in much obscurity. The great beauty and fertility of the country, as well as the charm of its climate, undoubtedly attracted from the earliest ages successive swarms of invaders from the north, who sometimes drove out the previous occupants of the most favoured districts, at others reduced them to a state of serfdom, or settled down in the midst of them, until the two races gradually coalesced into one. Ancient writers all agreed in regard to the fact of the composite character of the population of Italy, and the diversity of races that were found within the limits of the peninsula. But unfortunately the traditions they have transmitted to us are very various and conflicting, and probably in many instances founded on inadequate information, while the only safe test of the affinities of nations, derived from the comparison of their languages, is to a great extent deficient, from the fact that, with the single exception of Latin, all the idioms that prevailed in Italy in the earliest ages have disappeared, or are preserved only in a few scanty and fragmentary inscriptions. Imperfect as are the means thus afforded to the philological student, they have been of late years diligently turned to account, especially by German scholars, and, when combined with the notices derived from ancient writers, may be considered as having furnished some results that may be relied on with reasonable certainty.

Leaving aside for the present the populations of Northern Italy, which belong to a wholly different stock, the inhabitants of the peninsula may be regarded as belonging to three principal divisions. Of these the Messapians or Iapygians in the south may be considered as constituting one; while the different nations of Central Italy, the Umbrians, Oscans, Sabines, and Latins, may also be classed as belonging to one great family; and on the other hand the Etruscans in the west undoubtedly formed a nation apart, distinct from all others within the confines of Italy.

1. The Iapygians and Oenotrians.—It is certain that when the first Greek colonies in the 8th and 9th centuries B.C. established themselves in the extreme south of Italy, they found the country in the possession of a people to whom they gave the name of Oenotrians,—a name which appears to have been somewhat vaguely applied by different writers so as to include a wider area or be restricted within narrower limits. But the peninsula which stretches east-ward towards Greece was inhabited by a people termed by the Greeks Messapians or Iapygians, whose relations to the Oenotrians are not very clearly intimated. It is unfortunately in this part of the country almost exclusively that the extant remains of the language have been found, and ! these consist of inscriptions of so brief and fragmentary a character as to afford a very imperfect basis for philological inferences. Such as they are, however, they seem to lead to the conclusion that the language spoken in this part of Italy was essentially distinct from the Oscan and Sabellian dialects of Central Italy; while at the same time they present sufficient analogies with the Latin on the one hand and the Greek on the other to show that they belonged to the same family with those two well-known languages. The results, therefore, of the recent examination of these long neglected documents appear distinctly to confirm the statements of ancient authors, according to which the inhabitants of the southern portion of the peninsula were a Pelasgic race,—a term used by them in a very vague and general manner, but usually employed to designate the most ancient inhabitants both of Greece and Italy, who probably belonged to the same branch of the great Aryan race. The Pelasgic origin of the Oenotrians is not only asserted by the concurrent testimony of many ancient authors, but we are told that the native population of Southern Italy, who had been reduced to a state of serfdom analogous to that of the Penestae in Thessaly and the Helots in Laconia were still called Pelasgi. The evidence as to the Pelasgic origin of the Messapians or Iapygians is less definite; but the mythical genealogies in which the earliest Greek authors embodied the received traditions concerning the relations of different tribes and nations all point to the same conclusion; and they certainly regarded the neighbouring tribes of the Peucetians and Daunians, who occupied a part of the country subsequently known as Apulia, as derived from the same stock. A strong confirmation of this view is found in the facility with which the inhabitants of these countries assimilated Greek customs and manners, though the actual Greek colonies founded among them in historical times were comparatively few.

It must be observed that the name of Italians was at one time confined to the Oenotrians; indeed, according to Antiochus of Syracuse, the name of Italy was at first still more limited, being applied only to the southern portion of the peninsula now known as Calabria. But in the time of that historian, as well as of Thucydides, the names of Oenotria and Italia, which appear to have been at that period regarded as synonymous, had come to be extended so as to include the shore of the Tarentine Gulf as far as Metapontum and from thence across to the Gulfs of Laus and Posidonia on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It thus still comprised only the two provinces subsequently known as Lucania and Bruttium.

2. The tribes of Central Italy, from the Umbrians in the north to the Campanians in the south, are known by existing remains of their languages to have spoken cognate dialects, presenting unquestionable affinities with each other, as well as with the earlier forms of the well-known language of the Latins. The differences, however, are still very considerable, and confirm the testimony of historical tradition, as preserved to us by ancient writers, in leading us to divide them into five separate groups, viz., the Umbrians, Sabines, Latins, Volscians, and Oscans, or as they are sometimes termed Sabellians, including the Samnites and Campanians, and the tribes (such as the Lucanians, Frentani, &c.) who are distinctly recorded to have emanated from the Samnites.

(1) The Umbrians, who occupied in historical times the eastern portion of the peninsula between Etruria and the Adriatic, were at an earlier period a much more powerful nation, and not only occupied the extensive tract subsequently wrested from them by the Gauls, but extended their dominion from sea to sea, and held the greater part, if not the whole, of the territory afterwards possessed by the Etruscans, which is said to have been wrested by that people foot by foot from the Umbrians. The concurrent voice of the traditions preserved to us from antiquity points to the Umbrians as one of the most ancient nations of Italy; and this is confirmed by the still extant remains of their language as shown in the celebrated inscriptions known as the EUGUBINE TABLES (q.v.), by far the most important monument of any of the early Italian languages that has been transmitted to our time. The elaborate examination of this valuable record in recent times may be considered as establishing clearly, on the one hand, the distinctness of the language from that of the neighbouring Etruscans, and, on the other, its close affinity with the Oscan, as spoken by the Sabellian tribes, and with the old Latin. The same researches tend to prove that the Umbrian dialect is the most ancient of these cognate tongues, and probably represents most nearly the original form of this branch of the great Indo-Teutonic family. They may be taken also as distinctly negativing the theory put forth by some ancient writers, and maintained by several modern inquirers, that the Umbrians were a Celtic race.

Before the time when the Umbrians came into contact with the advancing power of Borne, their importance had greatly declined. The Etruscans had conquered from them the whole territory west of the Apennines, from the foot of the mountains to the Tyrrhenian Sea, while the Senonian Gauls, who invaded the north of Italy in the 4th century B.C, permanently established themselves in possession of the fertile district between the Apennines and the Adriatic, extending from the neighbourhood of Ravenna to that of Ancona, which continued to be known until long afterwards as the " Ager Gallicus."

(2) The Sabines are a people of whom, familiar as is their name to the student of Roman history, we know very little. Their language is totally lost; not a single inscription has been preserved to us, and it appears to have fallen into disuse at a comparatively early period. But even from the few scattered notices of Sabine words preserved by Roman grammarians it is evident that it possessed strong affinities with the Oscan and Umbrian; and the facility with which it passed into those of the neighbouring races is a strong reason against there being any marked diversity between them. The traditions recorded by ancient writers, untrustworthy as they are in detail, all concur in pointing to the same result,—that the Sabines were a very ancient people, who, at the earliest period of which any memory was preserved, were settled in the lofty mountain districts about the sources of the Aternus and the Velinus, from which they subsequently descended into the more fertile valleys about Reate, and at one time extended their dominion to within a few miles of Rome,—Cures, which was universally reckoned a Sabine city, being only 24 miles from the capital, while Nomentum and Eretum, still nearer Rome, are included by several writers as Sabine towns.
That a people inhabiting so rugged and inclement a district as that which is represented as the original abode of the Sabines should have spread themselves into the neighbouring regions, and established offshoots in somewhat more favoured lands, is entirely in accordance with probability, and hence we can have no difficulty in accepting the tradition that the Picentes, or inhabitants of Picenum,—the fertile district along the coast of the Adriatic between that sea and the main ridge of the Apennines, from beyond Ancona to the river Matrino,—were of Sabine origin. The same thing is expressly asserted by Ovid (himself a native of the district) of the Peligni, a tribe who occupied the upland valley of the Gizio, of which Sulmo was the capital; and there can be little doubt that the same remark applied to three other tribes which were contiguous to them, and always appear in the Roman history in close political union with them :—the Marsi, who held the basin of the Lake Fucino and the surrounding mountains, and the Vestini and Marrucini, who extended from the confines of the Marsi and Peligni down to the Adriatic, each people occupying but a narrow strip on the north and south sides respectively of the Aternus.

(3) The Latins, who were destined in the end to become the rulers of all Italy, were in the first instance a comparatively insignificant people, surrounded on all sides by more powerful nations. When we first become acquainted with their history they occupied only the tract extending from the Tiber on the north to the Volscian mountains and the Pontine Marshes on the south, and from the sea to the underfalls of the Apennines about Tibur (Tivoli) and Praeneste (Palestrina). It was not till a much later period that the name of Latium was extended so as to include the land of the Volscians and the Aurunci to the borders of Campania.





The ethnical relations of the Latins have been peculiarly confused by the conflicting statements of ancient authors, who endeavoured to connect them on the one hand with the vast floating mass of Greek traditions, and on the other to add dignity to their origin by tracing them back to indigenous heroes or deities. Of their real origin as a people, or of the period when they first settled in the fertile district where we find them established at the dawn of historical record, we have no trustworthy information. But from the manifold traditions preserved to us by Dionysius and other authors we may perhaps gather two facts. The statement that the Latins were derived (in part at least) from a people who dwelt originally in the lofty mountains of the central Apennines, from whence they descended into the comparatively fertile region between the mountains and the sea, probably represents in a general way correctly the course of their immigration; while the idea involved in several of these traditions, that the population of ancient Latium was in part derived from a Pelasgic origin, is confirmed by philological investigation of the Latin language, which may be considered as establishing the conclusion that it contained a considerable Pelasgic or old Greek element, together with another portion which was common to the languages of the adjacent nations of Central Italy, the Umbrians, Oscans, &c, whom we are now considering. The co-existence of these two diverse elements in Latin was long ago pointed out by Niebuhr, who attributed it to the conquest of one race by another at a period anterior to all historical record. It may perhaps be more safely ascribed to the branching off of the Latin race from the parent stock at an earlier period than the other languages of Central Italy, while the differences that separated them from those of the early inhabitants of Greece were less marked than they afterwards became.

(4) The Volscians, who ultimately became merged in the more progressive Latin race, are undoubtedly represented to us in the early Roman history as a distinct people, not only politically separate from the Latin league, but having a distinct language of their own, which was neither Latin nor Oscan, The very scanty remains of it that have been preserved to us by inscriptions, while they confirm this statement, show at the same time remarkable analogies with the Umbrian, and thus tend to prove that the Volscians had occupied from a very early period the rugged mountain district where we find them established in historical times, and had retained their dialect with less change than their Sabellian and Oscan neighbours.

Of the Aequians, who held a mountainous district adjoining that of the Volscians, we cannot be said to know anything beyond the fact that the two nations appear constantly in Roman history in alliance against the rising republic, from which, however, we are hardly entitled to argue their common descent. But it is certain that both the iEquians and the petty tribe of the Hernicans are in early ages uniformly represented as distinct from the Latins, though their territory was included in Latium, in the more extended sense of the term, while the native population had in the days of Livy almost wholly disappeared.

(5) The Oscans, or as the Greeks wrote the name Opicans (the native form was Opscans), were the possessors of the greater part of Central Italy, as well as the southern part of the peninsula, at the time that the Romans were carrying on their long protracted struggle for its dominion. At the same time it must be observed that it was never used in ancient times as a proper ethnic appellation. No tribe or nation of the name appears among those with which Rome was engaged in hostilities; and, though the term Oscan is frequently used by ancient writers as applied to the language of Campania, there is no proof that it was ever employed by them in the more general sense adopted by modern scholars. It is, however, as a matter of convenience, a useful term to designate the nation or group of tribes composed of the Samnites, together with their descendants or offshoots, the Campanians, Lucanians, and Bruttians. The name Sabellians, used by the Roman poets, has been employed by some modern writers in much the same signification.

Of the nations comprised under this general appellation, much the most powerful were the Samnites, who occupied, not merely the small mountain district known in modern days as Sannio, but the whole region of the central Apennines from the upper valley of the Sagrus (Sangro) on the north to that of the Aufidus on the south, while towards the west they held the valleys of the Vulturnus and its various tributaries down to the point where they emerged into the fertile plain of Campania. The territory thus defined was, like that of the Sabines, a wholly inland district, but the Samnites were not long content with these narrow limits, and at an early period we find them carrying their arms and extending their settlements to the sea on both sides. The Frentani, who separated them from the Adriatic to the north, are distinctly termed by Strabo a Samnite people, and distinguished by him as such from the adjoining tribes of the Vestini and Marrucini. A more important extension was that towards the west, where they conquered the whole of the rich province of Campania, with the exception of the districts on the coast still retained by the Greek colonies. This conquest appears to have taken place as late at the 5th century B.C., but the same causes continued in operation, and during the course of the next half century the Samnites spread themselves through the whole of Lucania, and even carried their arms to the extremity of the southern peninsula. The Lucanians therefore, when they first became known to the Romans, were a Samnite people, though possessing a separate political organization. They at this time ruled over the whole country called by the Greeks Oenotria, down to the Sicilian Strait, and had reduced the previous inhabitants to a state of serfdom. Hence not long afterwards there arose in the southernmost part of the peninsula (the modern Calabria) an insurrection, represented as a mere casual outbreak of outlaws and fugitive slaves, but probably in reality a revolt of the native population who. under the name of Bruttians, established their independence, and retained possession of the whole of this wild and mountainous country, till they passed, together with the Lucanians, under the all-absorbing dominion of Rome.

It is more difficult to determine to what extent the Apulians had received an admixture of the Samnite element, but there seems no doubt that the northern part of the province known to the Romans under that name had been occupied by a Samnite population, while the tribes south of Mount Garganus—the Daunians and Peucetians—probably retained their nationality, though brought under subjection by the Samnites.





The monuments of the Oscan language, though not numerous, are more considerable than those of any other of the early Italian languages, except the Umbrian, and can for the most part be interpreted with reasonable certainty by the assistance of Latin. The most important of them are—(I) The Tabula Bantina, a bronze tablet found in the neighbourhood of Bantia (Banzi), on the borders of Apulia and Lucania, which relates to the municipal affairs of that town; (2) the Cippus Abellanus, so called from its having been found near Abella in Campania, containing a treaty or agreement between the two neighbouring cities of Nola and Abella; and (3) a bronze tablet more recently discovered in the neighbourhood of Agnone in northern Samnium, recording the dedication of various sacred offerings. It is interesting to observe that these three specimens of the ancient dialect have been found in nearly the most distant quarters of the Oscan territory. None have as yet been found in Lucania or Bruttium, but we know from Festus that the Bruttians spoke Oscan. The language was thus at one time spoken through the whole of the southern peninsula. It doubtless ceased to be employed officially after the defeat of the Samnites and their allies in the Social War (90-88 B.C.); but the numerous minor inscriptions found rudely scratched or painted on the walls of Pompeii show that it continued in vernacular use until a much later period.

3. The Etruscans.—The obscure question of the origin and affinities of this remarkable people, and the attempts that have been made to interpret their language, have been fully discussed in the article ETRURIA. For the present we must be content to acquiesce in the conclusion, which is in accordance with all the statements of ancient authors, that they were a people wholly distinct from all others in Italy, while the researches of modern writers have been able to throw but very little light upon their language or ethnical affinities.

Northern Italy.—The ethnography of Northern Italy is much more simple than that of the central regions of the peninsula. At the time when the Romans first became acquainted with this part of Italy, the whole country was divided among three nations—the Gauls, the Ligurians, and the Veneti or Venetians.

(1) Of these the Gauls, who occupied the extensive plains in the valley of the Po and its tributaries, and had extended their dominion from the Alps to the Apennines and the Adriatic, were unquestionably intruders or immigrants, who had crossed the Alps at a comparatively late period. The lust emigration was that in which the Senones or Senonian Gauls established themselves, as has been already mentioned, in the coast land of Umbria between the Apennines and the Adriatic; and this invasion was, according to the Roman historians, directly connected with the capture of Rome in 390 B.C. But the migration of the great mass of the Gauls who occupied the plains of Northern Italy undoubtedly took place at a much earlier period, and is assigned by Livy, our only authority on the subject, and who unfortunately does not mention the sources from which he derived his information, to the reign of the elder Tarquin at Rome (616-578 B.C.). Who were the people that inhabited this country previous to their irruption we do not know with certainty, but the districts adjoining the foot of the Alps on the west were undoubtedly in the hands of Ligurian tribes, and those in the south at the foot of the Apennines had probably been at one time occupied by the Umbrians, who had, however, previous to the Gaulish invasion been either driven out or reduced to subjection by the Etruscans. Of the character and extent of the Etruscan settlements in the region north of the Apennines we have very little information; but the statements of ancient authors that they had at one time extended their dominion over a considerable part of Northern Italy, and founded large cities—among which Felsina (afterwards called Bononia) and Mantua are especially mentioned—_ have been confirmed of late years by the discovery of undoubted Etruscan remains at Bologna and other places north of the Apennines (see ETRURIA). But it may well be doubted whether they ever formed the population of these countries; it appears more probable that they were merely a race of more civilized settlers in the midst of the native tribes.

Of the Gaulish tribes whose names are known to us as established in the north of Italy at the time when they first came into collision with the Roman arms, the most important were the Insubres and Cenomani to the north of the Po, and the Boii and Lingones to the south of that river. Immediately west of the Ticinus, the Lsevi are expressly called by Livy a Ligurian tribe, while beyond the Adige to the east began the Veneti and Euganei, so that the territory thus occupied by the Gauls was far from, comprising the whole tract subsequently known as Gallia Cisalpina.

(2) The Ligurians or Ligures—the Greek form of the name is Ligyes—are a people of whose origin and affinities we know absolutely nothing, but whom we find from the earliest times in possession of the rugged mountainous tract with which their name is inseparably connected. They were, when we first hear of them, considerably more extensively spread than at a later period,—the south coast of Gaul, subsequently included in the Roman province of that name, having been originally occupied by Ligurian tribes. Thus the Sallyes or Salluvii, in whose territory the Greek colony of Massilia was founded (about 600 B.C.), are distinctly described as a Ligurian tribe, and it may be considered certain that they held the whole country from the Maritime Alps to the Rhone, while Scylax represents them as intermixed with Iberian tribes in the tract from the mouths of the Rhone to the foot of the Pyrenees. But all authorities agree that they were a separate nationality, distinct alike from the Iberians and from the Gauls. No trace of their language has been preserved and all theories as to their origin must be purely conjectural.

At the time when they first came in contact with the Roman arms, the Ligurians not only occupied the coast of the Mediterranean and underfalls of the Maritime Alps and Apennines from the Var to the Magra, but the much more extensive tract comprising the northern slopes of those mountains towards the valley of the Po. As has been already mentioned, it is probable that they were still more extensively spread in this direction prior to the irruption of the Gauls, but even in the historical period we find it distinctly stated that the Laevi and Libici, tribes immediately west of the Ticinus, were of Ligurian race. The same thing is told us both by Strabo and Pliny of the Taurini, and was probably true also of their neighbours the Salassi. But the tribes who appear in history as the indomitable foes of Rome, against whom they waged for nearly a century and a half (237-109 B.C) a war much resembling that of the Circassians against Russia in modern times, were those on the two flanks of the Apennines, and the southern slopes of the Maritime Alps. Here the Ingauni and Intemelii in the western Riviera, and the Statielli on the reverse of the mountains were the most conspicuous tribes; while towards the east the Apuani, who held the Lunigiana and the rugged mountain group above Carrara, and the Friniates, who extended along the crest of the Apennines from thence to the neighbourhood of Florence, were the subjects of repeated triumphs, and gave the Romans more real trouble than their more brilliant conquests in Macedonia and Asia.

(3) The Veneti or Venetians, who held the north-eastern portion of the great plain of Northern Italy, from the Adige to the Alps of the Frioul, were, according to the concurrent statements of ancient authors, a distinct people from their neighbours the Gauls. Attempts were made by some Greek writers to connect them with the Eneti or Heneti, mentioned by Homer, as a people of Paphlagonia, and several modern authors have sought to identify them with the Venedse or Wends on the shores of the Baltic. But all such theories, based as they are solely on resemblances of name, are of little value. On the other hand it is distinctly stated by Herodotus that they were an Illyrian tribe; and, though this may very likely be a mere inference from their juxtaposition, it is not improbable in itself that they were of the same race with their neighbours the Istrians and Liburnians.

But, besides the Veneti properly so called, two other tribes were found in historical times within the limits of the province as constitute! by Augustus. (1) The Euganeans, though they had at this period dwindled into an insignificant tribe, had at one time been a powerful people, and according to the statement of Livy (himself a native of this country) had originally occupied the whole tract between the Alps and the sea, from which they had been expelled by the Veneti. And this tradition is confirmed by the fact that remnants of them still lingered in the Italian valleys of the Alps as late as the time of Pliny, and that their name remained inseparably attached, both in ancient and modern times, to the little group of volcanic hills between Padua and Verona, which are still known as the Euganean hills. (2) The Garni, who occupied the northern part of the Frioul, at the foot of the Alps, together with the adjoining mountains, appear to have been certainly a tribe of Celtic or Gaulish origin, and distinct from the Venetians, though included in the province of that name.

Consolidation of Italy.—We have seen that the name of Italy was originally applied only to the southernmost part of the peninsula, and was only gradually extended so as to comprise the central regions, such as Latium and Campania, which were designated by writers as late as Thucydides and Aristotle as in Opicia. The progress of this change cannot be followed in detail, but there can be little doubt that the extension of the Roman arms, and the gradual union of the nations of the peninsula under one dominant power, would contribute to the introduction, or rather would make the necessity felt, for the use of one general appellation. At first indeed the term was apparently confined to the regions of the central and southern districts, exclusive of Cisalpine Gaul and the whole tract north of the Apennines, and this continued to be the official _or definite signification of the name down to the end of the republic. But the natural limits of Italy are so clearly marked that the name came to be generally employed as _a geographical term at a much earlier period. Thus we already find Polybius repeatedly applying it in this wider signification to the whole country, as far as the foot of the Alps; and it is evident from many passages in the Latin writers that this was the familiar use of the term in the days of Cicero and Caesar. The official distinction was, however, still retained. Cisalpine Gaul, including the whole of Northern Italy, still constituted a " province," an appellation never applied to Italy itself. As such it was assigned to Julius Caesar, together with Transalpine Gaul, and it was not till he crossed the Rubicon that he entered Italy in the strict sense of the term.

Augustus was the first who gave a definite administrative organization to Italy as a whole, and at the same time gave official sanction to that wider acceptation of the name, which had already established itself in familiar usage, and which has continued to prevail ever since.

The division of Italy into eleven regions (Plate V.), instituted by Augustus for administrative purposes, which continued in official use till the reign of Constantine, was based mainly on the territorial divisions previously existing, and preserved with few exceptions the ancient limits.

The first region comprised Latium (in the more extended sense of the term, as including the land of the Volscians, Hernicans, and Auruncans), together with Campania and the district of the Picentini. It thus extended from the mouth of the Tiber to that of the Silarus.

The second region included Apulia and Calabria (the name by which the Romans usually designated the district known to the Greeks as Messapia or Iapygia), together with the land of the Hirpini, which had usually been considered as a part of Samnium.

The third region contained Lucania and Bruttium; it was bounded on the west coast by the Silarus, on the east by the Bradanus.

The fourth region comprised all the Samnites (except the Hirpini), together with the Sabines and the cognate tribes of the Frentani, Marrucini, Marsi, Peligni, Vestini, and Aequieuli. It was separated from Apulia on the south by the river Tifernus, and from Picenum on the north by the Matrinus.

The fifth region was composed solely of Picenum, extending along the coast of the Adriatic from the mouth of the Matrinus to that of the Aesis, beyond Ancona.

The sixth region was formed by TJmbria, in the more extended sense of the term, as including the Ager Gallicus, along the coast of the Adriatic from the Aesis to the Ariminus, and separated from Etruria on the west by the Tiber.

The seventh region consisted of Etruria, which preserved its ancient limits, extending from the Tiber to the Tyrrhenian Sea, and separated from Liguria on the north by the river Macra.

The eighth region, termed Gallia Cispadana, comprised the southern portion of Cisalpine Gaul, and was bounded on the north (as its name implied) by the river Padus or Po, from above Placentia to its mouth. It was separated from Etruria and Umbria by the main chain of the Apennines ; and the river Ariminus was substituted for the far-famed Rubicon as its limit on the Adriatic.

The ninth region comprised Liguria, extending along the sea-coast from the Varus to the Macra, and inland as far as the river Padus, which constituted its northern boundary from its source in Mount Vesulus to its confluence with the Trebia just above Placentia.

The tenth region included Venetia from the Padus and Adriatic to the Alps, to which was annexed the neighbouring peninsula of Istria, and to the west the territory of the Cenomani, a Gaulish tribe, extending from the Athesis to the Addua, which had previously been regarded as a part of Gallia Cisalpina.

The eleventh region, known as Gallia Transpadana, included all the rest of Cisalpine Gaul from the Padus on the south and the Addua on the east to the foot of the Alps.

The arrangements thus established by Augustus continued almost unchanged till the time of Constantine, and formed the basis of all subsequent administrative divisions until the fall of the Western empire. It is not worth while to follow in detail the changes introduced during the 4th century. It was the invasion of the Lombards that first broke up the general system of the Roman administration, and prepared the way for the redistribution of Italy in the Middle Ages on a wholly different basis. (E. H. B.)


Read the rest of this article:
Italy - Table of Contents




Search the Encyclopedia:



About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Sitemaps
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us



© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries