1902 Encyclopedia > Rome > Ancient Roman History - The Republic (I) 509-265 B.C. - (b) The Conquest of Italy

(Part 3)



Era II: The Republic
Period I: 509-265
(b) The Conquest of Italy

Twelve years after the passing of the lex Hortensia, King Pyrrhus, beaten at Beneventum, withdrew from Italy, and Rome was left mistress of the peninsula. The steps by which this supremacy had been won have now to be traced. Under the rule of her Etruscan princes Rome spread her sway over the lowlands of Latium, and her arms were a terror to the warlike highlanders of the Sabine and Volscian hills. But with their fall this miniature empire fell also, and at first it seemed as if the infant republic, torn by internal dissensions, must succumb to the foes who threatened it from so many sides at once. It was only after one hundred and fifty years of almost constant war that Rome succeeded in rolling back the tide of invasion and in establishing her supremacy over the neighbouring lowlands and over the hill country which bordered them to the east and south, The close of this first stage in her external growth is conveniently marked by the first collision with the Sabellian peoples beyond the Liris in 343.1 In marked contrast with the slowness of her advance up to this point is the fact that only seventy-five years more were needed for the virtual subjugation of all the rest of the peninsula (343-269).

The expulsion of the Tarquins from Rome, followed as it seems to have been by the emancipation from Etruscan supremacy of all the country between the Tiber and the Liris, entirely altered the aspect of affairs. North of the Tiber the powerful Etruscan city of Veii, after a vain attempt to restore the Tarquins, relapsed into an attitude of sullen hostility towards Rome, which, down to the outbreak of the final struggle in 407, found vent in constant and harassing border forays. The Sabines recommenced their raids across the Anio; from their hills to the south-east the Aequi pressed forward as far as the eastern spurs of the Alban range, and ravaged the plain country between that range and the Sabine mountains; the Volsci overran the coast-lands as far as Antium, established themselves at Velitrae, and even ravaged the the fields within a few miles of Rome.

League with the Latins and the Hernicans

But the good fortune of Rome did not leave her to face these foes single-handed, and it is a significant fact that the history of the Roman advance begins, not with a brilliant victory, but with a useful and timely alliance. According to Livy, it was in 493, only a few years after the defeat of the prince of Tusculum at Lake Regillus, that a treaty was concluded between Rome and the Latin communities of the Campagna.2 The alliance was in every respect natural. The Latins were the near neighbours and kinsmen of the Romans, and both Romans and Latins were just freed from Etruscan rule to find themselves as lowlanders and dwellers in towns face to face with a common foe in the ruder hill tribes on their borders. The exact terms of the treaty cannot, any more than the precise circumstances under which it was concluded, be stated with certainty (see LATIUM), but two points seem clear. There was at first a genuine equality in the relations between the allies ; Romans and Latins, though combining for defence and offence, did so without sacrificing their separate freedom of action, even in the matter of waging wars independently of each other.3 But, secondly, Rome enjoyed from the first one inestimable advantage. The Latins lay between her and the most active of her foes, the iEqui and Volsci, and served to protect her territories at the expense of their own. Behind this barrier Rome grew strong, arid the close of the Aequian and Volscian wars left the Latins her dependents rather than her allies. Beyond the limits of the Campagna Rome found a second ally, hardly less useful than the Latins, in the tribe of the Hernici ("the men of the rocks "), in the valley of the Trerus, who had equal reason with the Romans and Latins to dread the Volsci and iEqui, while their position midway between the two latter peoples made them valuable auxiliaries to the lowlanders of the Campagna.

The treaty with the Hernici is said to have been concluded in 486,4 and the confederacy of the three peoples—Romans, Latins, and Hernicans—lasted down to the great Latin war in 340. Confused and untrustworthy as are the chronicles of the early wars of Rome, it is clear that notwithstanding the acquisition of these allies Rome made but little way against her foes during the first fifty years of the existence of the republic. In 474, it is true, an end was put for a time to the harassing border feud with Veii by a forty years' peace, an advantage due not so much to Roman valour as to the increasing dangers from other quarters which were threatening the Etruscan states.3 But this partial success stands alone, and down to 449 the raids of Sabines, Aequi, and Volsci continue without intermission, and are occasionally carried up to the very walls of Rome. Very different is the impression left by the annals of the next sixty years (449-390). During this period there is an unmistakable development of Roman power on all sides.

Capture of Veii

In southern Etruria the capture of Veii (396) virtually gave Rome the mastery as far as the Ciminian forest. Sutrium and Nepete, "the gates of Etruria," became her allies and guarded her interests against any attack from the Etruscan communities to the north, while along the Tiber valley her suzerainty was acknowledged as far as Capena and Falerii. On the Anio frontier we hear of no disturbances from 449 until some ten years after the sack of Rome by the Gauls. In 446 the Aequi appear for the last time before the gates of Rome. After 418 they disappear from Mount Algidus, and in the same year the communications of Rome and Latium with the Hernici in the Trerus valley were secured by the capture and colonization of Labicum. Successive invasions, too, broke the strength of the Volsci, and in 393 a Latin colony was founded as far south as Circeii. In part, no doubt, these Roman successes were due to the improved condition of affairs in Rome itself, consequent upon the great reforms carried between 450 and 442 ; but it is equally certain that now as often afterwards fortune befriended Rome by weakening, or by diverting the attention of, her opponents.

Decline of Etruscan Power

In particular, her rapid advance in southern Etruria was facilitated by the heavy blows inflicted upon the Etruscans during the 5th century B.C. by Celts, Greeks, and Samnites. By the close of this century the Celts had expelled them from the rich plains of what was afterwards known as Cisalpine Gaul, and were even threatening to advance across the Apennines into Etruria proper. The Sicilian Greeks, headed by the tyrants of Syracuse, wrested from them their mastery of the seas, and finally, on the capture of Capua by the Samnites in 423, they lost their possessions in the fertile Campanian plain. These conquests of the Samnites were part of a great southward movement of the highland Sabellian peoples, the immediate effects of which upon the fortunes of Rome were not confined to the weakening of the Etruscan power. It is probable that the cessation of the Sabine raids across the Anio was partly due to the new outlets which were opened southwards for the restless and populous hill tribes which had so long disturbed the peace of the Latin lowlands. We may conjecture, also, that the growing feebleness exhibited by Volsci and .Equi was in some measure caused by the pressure upon their rear of the Sabellian clans which at this time established themselves near the Fucine Lake and along the course of the Liris.

Sack of Rome by the Gauls

But in 390, only six years after the great victory over by her ancient rival Veii, the Roman advance was for a moment checked by a disaster which threatened to alter the course of history in Italy, and which left a lasting impress on the Roman mind. In 391 a Celtic horde left their newly won lands on the Adriatic, and, crossing the Apennines into Etruria, laid siege to the Etruscan city of Clusium (Chiusi). Thence, provoked, it is said, by the conduct of the Roman ambassadors, who, forgetting their sacred character, had fought in the ranks of Clusium and slain a Celtic chief, the barbarians marched upon Rome. On July 18, 390 B.C., only a few miles from Rome, was fought the disastrous battle of the Allia. The defeat of the Romans was complete, and Rome lay at the mercy of her foe. But in characteristic fashion the Celts halted three days to enjoy the fruits of victory, and time was thus given to put the Capitol at least in a state of defence. The arrival of the barbarians was followed by the sack of the city, but the Capitol remained impregnable. For seven months they besieged it, and then in as sudden a fashion as they had come they disappeared. The Roman chroniclers explain their retreat in their own way, by the fortunate appearance of Camillus with the troops which he had collected, at the very moment when famine had forced the garrison on the Capitol to accept terms. More probably the news that their lands across the Apennines were threatened by the Yeneti, coupled with the unaccustomed tedium of a long siege and the difficulty of obtaining supplies, inclined the Celts to accept readily a heavy ransom as the price of their withdrawal. But, whatever the reason, it is certain that they retreated, and, though during the next fifty years marauding bands appeared at intervals in the neighbourhood of Rome, and even once penetrated as far south as Campania (361-360), the Celts never obtained any footing in Italy outside the plains in the north which they had made their own.

Annexation of Southern Etruria

Nor, in spite of the defeat on the Allia and the sack of the city, was Rome weakened except for the moment by the Celtic attack. The storm passed away as rapidly as it had come on. The city was hastily rebuilt, and Rome dismayed the enemies who hastened to take advantage of her misfortunes by her undiminished vigour. Her conquests in southern Etruria were successfully defended against repeated attacks from the Etruscans to the north. The creation in 387 of four new tribes (Stellatina, Sabatina, Tromentina, Arniensis) marked the final annexation of the territory of Veii and of the lands lying along the Tiber valley. A few years later Latin colonies were established at Sutrium and Nepete for the more effectual defence of the frontier, and finally, in 353, the subjugation of South Etruria was completed by the submission of Caere (Cervetri) and its partial incorporation with the Roman state as a " municipium sine suffragio "—the first, it is said, of its kind.

Successes against Aequi and Volsci

Next to the settlement of southern Etruria, the most important of the successes gained by Rome between 390 an 343 B.C. were those won against her old foes the Aequi and the Volsci, and her old allies the Latins and Hernicans. The Aequi indeed, already weakened by their long feud with Rome, and hard pressed by the Sabellian tribes in their rear, were easily dealt with, and after the campaign of 389 we have no further mention of an Aequian war until the last .Equian rising in 304. The Volsci, who in 389 had advanced to Lanuvium, were met and utterly defeated by M. Furius Camillus, the conqueror of Veii, and this victory was followed up by the gradual subjugation to Rome of all the lowland country lying between the hills and the sea as far south as Tarracina. Latin colonies were established at Satricum (385), at Setia (379), and at Antium and Tarracina some time before 348. In 358 two fresh Roman tribes (Pomptina and Publilia) were formed in the same district.

The Reorganization of the Latin League

Rome had now nothing more to fear from the foes who a century ago had threatened her very existence. The lowland country, of which she was the natural centre, from the Ciminian forest to Tarracina, was quiet, and within its limits Rome was by far the strongest power. But she had now to reckon with the old and faithful allies to whose loyal aid her present position was largely due. The Latins and Hernicans had suffered severely in the Aequian and Volscian wars; it is probable that not a few of the smaller communities included in the league had either been destroyed or been absorbed by larger states,, and the independence of all alike was threatened by the growing power of Rome. The sack of Rome by the Celts gave them an opportunity of reasserting their independence, and we are consequently told that this disaster was immediately followed by the temporary dissolution of the confederacy, and this again a few years later by a series of actual conflicts between Rome and her former allies. Between 383 and 358 we hear of wars with Tibur, Prseneste, Tusculum, Lanuvium, Circeii, and the Hernici. But in all Rome was successful. In 382 Tusculum was fully incorporated with the Roman state by the bestowal of ~ the full franchise ; in 358, according to both Livy and Polybius the old alliance was formally renewed with Latins and Hernicans. We cannot, however, be wrong in assuming that the position of the allies under the new league was far inferior to that accorded them by the treaty of Spurius Cassius. Henceforth they were the subjects rather than the equals of Rome, a position which it is evident that they accepted much against their will, and from which they were yet to make one last effort to escape.

We have now reached the close of the first stage in Rome's advance towards supremacy in Italy. By 343 B.C. she was already mistress both of the low country stretching from the Ciminian forest to Tarracina and Circeii and of the bordering highlands. Her own territory had largely increased. Across the Tiber the lands of Veii, Capena, and Caere were nearly all Roman, while in Latium she had carried her frontiers to Tusculum on* the Alban range and to the southernmost limits of the' Pomptine district. And this territory was protected by a circle of dependent allies and colonies reaching northward! to Sutrium and Nepete, and southward to Sora on the upper Liris, and to Circeii on the coast. Already, too, she* was beginning to be recognized as a power outside the limits of the Latin lowlands. The fame of the capture of Rome by the Celts had reached Athens, and her subsequent victories over marauding Celtic bands had given her prestige in South Italy as a bulwark against northern barbarians. In 354 she had formed her first connexions beyond the Liris by a treaty with the Samnites, and in 348 followed a far more important treaty with the great maritime state of Carthage.

Advance beyond the Liris, and the Samnite Wars

Rome had won her supremacy from the Ciminian forest to the Liris as the champion of the comparatively civilized communities of the lowlands against the rude highland tribes which threatened to overrun them, and so, when her Samnite legions first crossed the Liris, it was in answer to an appeal Wars. from a lowland city against invaders from the hills. While she was engaged in clearing Latium of Volsci and Aequi, the Sabellian tribes of the central Apennines had rapidly spread over the southern half of the peninsula. Foremost among these tribes were the Samnites, a portion of whom had captured the Etruscan city of Capua in 423, the Greek Cumae in 420, and had since then ruled as masters over the fertile Campanian territory. But in their new homes the conquerors soon lost all sense of relationship and sympathy with their highland brethren. They dwelt in cities, amassed wealth, and inherited the civilization of the Greeks and Etruscans whom they had dispossessed j above all, they had before long to defend themselves in their turn against the attacks of their ruder kinsmen from the hills, and it was for aid against these that the Samnites of Campania appealed to the rising state which had already made herself known as the bulwark of the lowlands north of the Liris, and which with her Latin and Hernican allies had scarcely less interest than the Campanian cities themselves in checking the raids of the highland Samnite tribes.

First Samnite War

The Campanian appeal was listened to. Rome with her confederates entered into alliance with Capua and the neighbouring Campanian towns, and war was formally declared (343) against the Samnites. While to the Latins and Hernicans was entrusted apparently the defence of Latium and the Hernican valley against the northerly members of the Samnite confederacy, the Romans themselves undertook the task of driving the invaders out of Campania. After two campaigns the war was ended in 341 by a treaty, and the Samnites withdrew from the lowlands, leaving Rome the recognized suzerain of the Campanian cities which had sought her aid.

There is no doubt that the check thus given by Rome to the advance of the hitherto invincible Sabellian highlanders not only made her the natural head and champion of the low countries, south as well as north of the Liris, but also considerably added to her prestige. Carthage sent her congratulations, and the Etruscan city of Falerii voluntarily enrolled herself among the allies of Rome. Of even greater service, however, was the fact that for fifteen years the Samnites remained quiet, for this inactivity, whatever its cause, enabled Rome triumphantly to surmount a danger which threatened for the moment to wreck her whole position. This danger was nothing less than a desperate effort on the part of nearly all her allies and dependents south of the Tiber to throw off the yoke of her supremacy.

The Latin War

The way was led by her ancient confederates the Latins, whose smouldering discontent broke into open flame directly the fear of a Samnite attack was removed. From the Latin Campagna and the Sabine hills the revolt spread westward and southward to Antium and Tarracina, and even to the towns of the Campanian plain, where the mass of the inhabitants at once repudiated the alliance formed with Rome by the ruling class. The struggle was sharp but short. In two pitched battles the strength of the insurrection was broken, and two more campaigns sufficed for the complete reduction of such of the insurgent communities as still held out.

Settlement of Latium

The revolt crushed, Rome set herself deliberately to the task of re-establishing on a new and firmer basis her supremacy over the lowlands, and in doing so laid the foundations of that marvellous organization which was destined to spread rapidly over Italy, and to withstand the attacks even of Hannibal. The old historic Latin league ceased to exist, though its memory was still preserved by the yearly Latin festival on the Alban Mount. Most if not all of the common land of the league became Roman territory;5 five at least of the old Latin cities were compelled to accept the Roman franchise and enter the pale of the Roman state. The rest, with the Latin colonies, were ranked as Latin allies of Rome, but on terms which secured their complete dependence upon the sovereign city. The policy of isolation, which became so cardinal a principle of Roman rule, was now first systematically applied. No rights of " connubium" or " commercium" were any longer to exist between these communities. Their federal councils were prohibited, and all federal action independent of Rome forbidden.

In future they were to have nothing in common but their common connexion with Rome, a connexion based in each case on a separate treaty between the individual Latin community and Rome. The Latin allied state retained its internal independence and the old rights of intermarriage and commerce with Rome, but it lost all freedom of action in external affairs. It could wage no wars, conclude no treaties, and was bound, so the phrase ran, to have always the same foes and friends as Rome herself.

Settlement of Campania

In Campania and the coast-lands connecting Campania with Rome, a policy of annexation was considered safer than that of alliance. Of the two frontier posts of the Volsci, Antium and Velitrae, the former was constituted a Roman colony, its long galleys burnt and their prows set up in the Forum at Rome, while the walls of Velitne were razed to the ground, its leading men banished beyond the Tiber, and their lands given to Roman settlers. Farther south on the route to Campania, Fundi and Formise were, after the precedent set in the case of Ca?re, declared Roman and granted the civil rights of Roman citizenship, while lastly in Campania itself the same status was given to Capua, Cumae, and the smaller communities dependent upon them. During the ten years from 338 to 328 the work of settlement was steadily continued. Tarracina, like Antium, was made a Roman colony. Privernum, the last Volscian town to offer resistance to Rome, was subdued in 330, part of its territory allotted to Roman citizens, and the state itself forced to accept the Roman franchise. Lastly, to strengthen the lines of defence against the. Sabellian tribes, two colonies with the rights of Latin allies were established at Fregellae and at Cales. The settlement of the lowlands was accomplished. From the Ciminian forest to the southern extremity of the Campanian plain, the lands lying between the sea and the hills were now, with few exceptions, Roman territory, while along the frontiers from Sutrium and Nepete in the north ; to Cales in the south stretched the protecting line of the. Latin allied states and colonies. As a single powerful and compact state with an outer circle of closely dependent allies, Rome now stood in sharp contrast with the disunited and degenerate cities of northern Etruria, the loosely organized tribes of the Apennines, and the decaying and disorderly Greek towns of the south.

Second Samnite War (327-304 B.C.)

The strength of this system was now to be tried by a struggle with the one Italian people who were still ready and able to contest with Rome the supremacy of the peninsula. The passive attitude of the Samnites between 342 and 327 was no doubt largely due to the dangers which had suddenly threatened them in South Italy. But the death of Alexander of Epirus, in 332, 1 removed their only formidable opponent there, and left them free to turn their attention to the necessity of checking the steady advance of Rome. In 327, the year after the ominous foundation of a Roman colony at Fregellse, a pretext for renewing the struggle was offered them. The Cumaean colony of Pahepolis 2 had incurred the wrath of Rome by its raids into her territory in Campania. The Samnites sent a force to defend it, and Rome replied by a declaration of war. The two opponents were not at first sight unequally matched, and had the Sabellian tribes held firmly together the issue of the struggle might have been different. As it was, however, the Lucanians to the south actually joined Rome from the first, while the northern clans Marsi, Vestini, Poeligni, Frentani, after a feeble and lukewarm resistance, subsided into a neutrality which was exchanged in 304 for a formal alliance with Rome. An even greater advantage to Rome from the outset was the enmity existing between Samnites and the Apulians, the latter of whom from the first joined Rome and thus gave her a position in the rear of her enemy and in a country eminently well fitted for maintaining a large military force. These weaknesses on the Samnite side were amply illustrated by the events of the war.

The first seven or eight years were marked by one serious disaster to the Roman arms, the defeat at the Caudine Forks (321), but, when in 318 the Samnites asked for and obtained a two years' truce, Rome had succeeded not only in inflicting several severe blows upon her enemies but in isolating them from outside help. The Lucanians to the south were her allies. To the east, in the rear of Samnium, Apulia acknowledged the suzerainty of Rome, and Luceria, captured in 320, had been established as a base of Roman operations. Finally to the north the Romans had easily overcome the feeble resistance of the Vestini and Frentani, and secured through their territories a safe passage for their legions to Apulia. On the renewal of hostilities in 316, the Samnites, bent on escaping from the net which was being slowly drawn round them, made a series of desperate efforts to break through the lines of defence which protected Latium and Campania. Sora and Fregellse on the upper Liris were captured by a sudden attack; the Ausones in the low country near the mouth of the same river were encouraged to revolt by the appearance of the Samnite army; and in Campania another army, attracted by rumours of disturbance, all but defeated the Roman consuls under the very walls of Capua. But these efforts were unavailing. Sora and Fregellse were recovered as quickly as they had been lost, and the frontier there was strengthened by the establishment of a colony at Interamna. The Ausones were punished by the confiscation of their territory, and Roman supremacy further secured by the two colonies of Suessa and Pontia (312). The construction of the famous Via Appia,3 the work of the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, opened a safe and direct route to Campania, while the capture of Nola deprived the Samnites of their last important stronghold in the Campanian lowlands. The failure of these attempts broke the courage even of the Samnites. Their hopes were indeed raised for a moment by the news that Etruria had risen against Rome (310), but their daring scheme of effecting a union with the Etruscans was frustrated by the energy of the Roman generals. Five years later (305) the Romans revenged a Samnite raid into Campania' by an invasion of Samnium itself. Arpinum on the frontier was taken, and at last, after a twenty-two years' struggle, the Second Samnite War was closed by a renewal of the ancient treaty with Rome (304).4

The six years of peace which followed (304-298) were characteristically employed by Rome in still further strengthening her position. Already, two years before the peace, a rash revolt of the Hernici5 had given Rome a pretext for finally annexing the territory of her ancient allies. The tribal confederacy was broken up, and all the Hernican communities, with the exception of three which had not joined the revolt, were incorporated with the Roman state as municipia, with the civil rights of the Roman franchise. Between the Hernican valley and the frontiers of the nearest Sabellian tribes lay what remained of the once formidable people of the .Equi. In their case, too, a revolt (304) was followed by the annexation of their territory, which was marked in this case by the formation there (301) of two Roman tribes (Aniensis and Teretina). Not content with thus carrying the borders of their own territory up to the very frontiers of the Sabellian country, Rome succeeded in finally detaching from the Sabellian confederacy all the tribes lying between the north-east frontier of Latium and the Adriatic Sea. Henceforward the Marsi, Paeligni, Vestini, Marrucini, and Frentani were enrolled among the allies of Rome, and not only swelled her forces in the field but interposed a useful barrier between her enemies to the north in Etruria and Umbria and those to the south in Samnium, while they, connected her directly with the friendly Apulians. Lastly, as a security for the fidelity at least of the nearest of these allies, colonies were planted in the Marsian territories at Carseoli and at Alba Fucentia. A significant indication of the widening range of Rome's influence in Italy, and of the new responsibilities rapidly pressing upon her, is the fact that when in 302 the Spartan Cleonymus landed in the territory of the Sallentini, far away in the south-east, he was met and repulsed by a Roman force. 8

Third Samnite War (298-290 B.C.)

Six years after the conclusion of the treaty which ended the Second Samnite War, news arrived that the Samnites were harassing the Lucanians. Rome at once interfered to protect her allies. Samnium was invaded in force, the country ravaged, and one stronghold after another captured. Unable any longer to hold their own in a position where they were hedged round by enemies, the Samnite leaders turned as a last hope to the communities of northern Etruria, to the free tribes of Umbria, and to the once dreaded Celts. With a splendid daring they formed the scheme of uniting all these peoples with themselves in a last desperate effort to break the power of Rome.

Romans in Northern Etruria

For some forty years after the final annexation of southern Etruria (351 B.C.) matters had remained unchanged in that quarter. Sutrium and Nepete still guarded the Roman frontier; the natural boundary of the Ciminian forest was still intact; and up the valley of the Tiber Rome had not advanced beyond Falerii, a few miles short of the most southerly Umbrian town Ocriculum. But in 311, on the expiry, apparently, of the long truce with Rome, concluded in 351, the northern Etruscans, alarmed no doubt by the rapid advances which Rome was making further south, rose in arms and attacked Sutrium. The attack, however, recoiled disastrously upon the heals of the assailants. A Roman force promptly relieved Sutrium, and its leader, Q. Fabius Rullianus, without awaiting orders from home, boldly plunged into the wilds of the Ciminian forest, and crossing them safely swept with fire and sword over the rich lands to the north. Then turning southward he met and utterly defeated the forces which the Etruscans had hastily raised in the hopes of intercepting him at the Vadimonian Lake. This decisive victory ended the war. The Etruscan cities, disunited among themselves, and enervated by long years of peace, abandoned the struggle for the time, paid a heavy indemnity, and concluded a truce with Rome (309-308). In the same year the promptitude of Fabius easily averted a threatened attack by the Umbrians, but Rome proceeded nevertheless to fortify herself in her invariable fashion against future dangers on this side, by an alliance with Ocriculum, which was followed ten years later by a colony at Nequinum, and an alliance with the Picentes, whose position in the rear of Umbria rendered them as valuable to Rome as the Apulians had proved farther south.

Battle of Sentium (295 B.C.)

Fourteen years had passed since the battle on the Vadimonian Lake, when the Samnites appeared on the borders of Etruria and called on the peoples of northern Italy to rise against the common enemy. Their appeal, backed by the presence of their troops, was successful. The Etruscans found courage to face the Roman legions once more; a few of the Umbrians joined them; but the most valuable allies to the Samnites were the Celts, who had for some time threatened a raid across the Apennines, and who now marched eagerly into Umbria and joined the coalition. The news that the Celts were in motion produced a startling effect at Rome, and every nerve was strained to meet this new danger. While two armies were left in southern Etruria as reserves, the two consuls, Fabius and Decius, both tried soldiers, marched northwards up the valley of the Tiber and into Umbria at the head of four Roman legions and a still larger force of Italian allies. At Sentinum, on the further side of the Apennines, they encountered the united forces of the Celts and Samnites, the Etruscans and Umbrians having, it is said, been withdrawn for the defence of their own homes. The battle that followed was desperate, and the Romans lost one of their consuls, Decius, and more than 8000 men. But the Roman victory was decisive. The Celts were annihilated, and the fear of a second Celtic attack on Rome removed. All danger from the coalition was over. The Etruscan communities gladly purchased peace by the payment of indemnities. The rising in Umbria, never formidable, died away, and the Samnites were left single-handed to bear the whole weight of the wrath of Rome. During four years more, however, they desperately defended their highland homes, and twice at least, in 293 and 292, they managed to place in the field a force sufficient to meet the Roman legions on equal terms. At last, in 290, the consul M. Curius Dentatus finally exhausted their power of resistance. Peace was concluded, and it is significant of the respect inspired at Rome by their indomitable courage that they were allowed to become the allies of Rome, on equal terms and without any sacrifice of independence. 4

Between the close of the Third Samnite War and the landing of Pyrrhus in 281 B.C. we find Rome engaged, as her wont was, in quietly extending and consolidating her power. In southern Italy she strengthened her hold on Apulia by planting on the borders of Apulia and Lucania the strong colony of Venusia. In central Italy the annexation of the Sabine country (290) carried her frontiers eastward to the borders of her Picentine allies on the Adriatic.6 Farther east, in the territory of the Picentes themselves, she established colonies on the Adriatic coast at Hatria and Castrum (285-283).7 By these measures her control of central Italy from sea to sea was secured, and an effectual barrier interposed between her possible enemies in the north and those in the south. North of the Picentes lay the territories of the Celtic _> Senones, stretching inland to the north-east borders of Etruria, and these too now fell into her hands. Ten years after their defeat at Sentinum (285-284) a Celtic force descended into Etruria, besieged Arretium, and defeated the relieving force despatched by Rome. In 283 the consul L. Cornelius Dolabella was sent to avenge the insult. He completely routed the Senones. Their lands were annexed by Rome, and a colony established at Sena on the coast. This success, followed as it was by the decisive defeat of the neighbouring tribe of the Boii, who had invaded Etruria and penetrated as far south as the Vadimonian Lake, awed the Celts into quiet, and for more than forty years there was comparative tranquillity in northern Italy. 8

War with Pyrrhus (281-275 B.C.)

In the south, however, the claims of Rome to supremacy were now to be disputed by a new and formidable foe. At the close of the Third Samnite War the Greek cities on the southern coast of Italy found themselves once more harassed by the Sabellian tribes on their borders, whose energies, no longer absorbed by the long struggles in central Italy, now found an attractive opening southward. Naturally enough the Greeks, like the Capuans sixty years before, appealed for aid to Rome (283-282), and like the Capuans they offered in return to recognize the suzerainty of the great Latin republic. In reply a Roman force under C. Fabricius marched into South Italy, easily routed the marauding bands of Lucanians, Bruttians, and Samnites, and established Roman garrisons in Locri, Croton, Rhegium, and Thurii. At Tarentum, the most powerful and flourishing of the Greek seaports, this sudden and rapid advance of Rome excited the greatest anxiety. Tarentum was already allied by treaty (301) with Rome, and she had now to decide whether this treaty should be exchanged for one which would place her, like the other Greek communities, under the protectorate of Rome, or whether she should find some ally able and willing to assist in making a last stand for independence. The former course, in Tarentum, as before at Capua, was the one favoured by the aristocratic party; the latter was eagerly supported by the mass of the people and their leaders. While matters were still in suspense, the appearance, contrary to the treaty, of a Roman squadron off the harbour decided the controversy. The Tarentines, indignant at the insult, attacked the hostile fleet, killed the admiral, and sunk most of the ships. Still Rome, relying probably on her partisans in the city, tried negotiation, and an alliance appeared likely after all, when suddenly the help for which the Tarentine democrats had been looking appeared, and war with Rome was resolved upon (281-280). 9

King Pyrrhus, whose timely appearance seemed for the moment to have saved the independence of Tarentum, was the most brilliant of the military adventurers whom the disturbed times following the death of Alexander the Great had brought into prominence. High-spirited, generous, and ambitious, he had formed the scheme of rivalling Alexander's achievements in the East, by winning for himself an empire in the West. He aspired not only to unite under his rule the Greek communities of Italy and Sicily, but to overthrow the great Phoenician state of Carthage—-the natural enemy of Greeks in the West, as Persia had been in the East. Of Rome it is clear that he knew little or nothing; the task of ridding the Greek seaports of their "barbarian foes he no doubt regarded as an easy one; and the splendid force he brought with him was intended rather for the conquest of the West than for the preliminary work of chastising a few Italian tribes, or securing the submission of the unwarlike Italian Greeks. Pyrrhus's first measure was to place Tarentum under a strict military discipline; this done he advanced into Lucania to meet the Roman consul Levinus. The battle which followed, on the banks of the Liris, ended in the complete defeat of the Roman troops, largely owing to the panic caused by the elephants which Pyrrhus had brought with him (280).1 The Greek cities expelled their Roman garrisons and joined him, while numerous bands of Samnites, Lucanians, and Bruttians flocked to his standard. But, to the disappointment of his Greek and Italian allies, Pyrrhus showed no anxiety to follow up the advantage he had gained. His heart was set on Sicily and Africa, and his immediate object was to effect such an arrangement with Rome as would at once fulfil the pledges he had given to the Greeks by securing them against Roman interference and set himself free to seek his fortunes westward. But, though his favourite minister Cineas employed all his skill to win the ear of the senate, and, though Pyrrhus himself lent weight to his envoy's words by advancing as near Rome as Anagnia (279), nothing could shake the resolution of the senate, and Cineas brought back the reply that the Romans could
not treat with Pyrrhus so long as he remained in arms upon Italian soil. Disappointed in his hopes of peace, Pyrrhus in the next year (278) turned his forces against the Roman strongholds in Apulia.2 Once more, at Asculum, he routed the legions, but only to find that the indomitable resolution of the enemy was strengthened by defeat. Weary of a struggle which threatened indefinitely to postpone the fulfilment of his dreams of empire, Pyrrhus resolved to quit Italy, and, leaving garrisons in the Greek towns, crossed into Sicily. Here his success at first was such as promised the speedy realization of his hopes. The Sicilian Greeks hailed him as a deliverer; the Carthaginians were driven back to the extreme west of the island, and Eryx and Panormus fell into1 his hands. But at this point fortune deserted him. His efforts to take Lilybaeum were fruitless ; the Carthaginians recovered their courage, while the unstable Greeks, easily daunted by the first threatenings of failure, and impatient of the burdens of war, broke out into open murmurs against him. Soured and disappointed, Pyrrhus returned to Italy (276) to find the Roman legions steadily moving southwards, and his Italian allies disgusted by his desertion of their cause. One of the consuls for the year (275), M. Curius Dentatus, the conqueror of Samnium, was encamped at Beneventum awaiting the arrival of his colleague. Here Pyrrhus attacked him, and the closing battle of the war was fought. It ended in the complete victory of the Romans. Pyrrhus, unable any longer to face his opponents in the field, and disappointed of all assistance from his allies, retreated in disgust to Tarentum and thence crossed into Greece. 3

A few years later (272) Tarentum was surrendered to Rome by its Epirot garrison ; it was granted a treaty of alliance, but its walls were razed and its fleet handed over to Rome. In 270 Rhegium also entered the ranks of Roman allies, and finally in 269 a single campaign crushed the last efforts at resistance in Samnium. Rome was now at leisure to consolidate the position she had won. Between 273 and 263 three new colonies were founded in Samnium and Lucania—Paestum in 273, Beneventum in 268, Aesernia in 263. In central Italy the area of Roman territory was increased by the full enfranchisement (268) 486. of the Sabines, and of their neighbours to the east, the Picentes. To guard the Adriatic coast colonies were established at Ariminum (268), at Firmum, and at Castrum Novum (264), while to the already numerous maritime colonies was added that of Cosa in Etruria.

Rome as the Mistress of Italy

Rome was now the undisputed mistress of Italy. The limits of her supremacy to the north were represented roughly by a line drawn across the peninsula from the mouth of the Arno on the west to that of the Aesis on the east. Beyond this line lay the Ligurians and the Celts ; all south of it was now united as " Italy " under the rule of Rome.

But the rule of Rome over Italy, like her wider rule over the Mediterranean coasts, was not an absolute dominion over conquered subjects. It was in form at least a confederacy under Roman protection and guidance ; and tho Italians, like the provincials, were not the subjects, but tho "allies and friends " of the Roman people. Marvellous «3 are the perseverance and skill with which Romo built up, consolidated, and directed this confederacy, it is yet clear that both her success in forming it and its stability when formed were due in part to other causes than Roman valour and policy. The disunion which, in former times, had so often weakened the Italians in their struggles with Rome still told in her favour, and rendered tho danger of a combined revolt against her authority remote in the extreme. In some cases, and especially in the city states of Etruria, Campania, and Magna Grsscia, where the antagonism of the two political parties, aristocrats and democrats, was keen, Rome found natural and valuable allies in the former. Among the more backward peoples of central Italy, the looseness of their political organization not only lessened their power of resistance, but enabled Rome either to detach tribe after tribe from the confederacy or to attack and crush them singly. Elsewhere she was aided by ancient feuds, such as those between Samnites and Apulians, or Tarentines and Iapygians, or by the imminent dread of a foe—Celt, or Samnite, or Lucanian—whom Roman aid alone could repel. And, while combination against her was thus rendered difficult, if not impossible, by internal dissensions, feuds, differences of interest, of race, of language, and habits, Rome herself, from her position in the centre of Italy, was so placed as to be able to strike promptly, on the first signs of concerted opposition. All these advantages Rome utilized to the utmost. We have no means of deciding how far she applied elsewhere the principle upon which she acted in northern Etruria and Campania, of attaching the aristocratic party in a community to Roman interests, by the grant of special privileges; but it is certain that she endeavoured by every means in her power to perpetuate, and even to increase, the disunion which she had found so useful among her allies. In every possible way she strove to isolate them from each other, while binding them closely to herself. The old federal groups were in most cases broken up, and each of the members united with Rome by a special treaty of alliance. In Etruria, Latium, Campania, and Magna Grsecia the city state was taken as the unit; in central Italy, where urban life was non-existent, the unit was the tribe. The northern Sabellian peoples, for instance,—the Marsi, Poeligni, Vestini, Marrucini, Frentani,—were now constituted as separate communities in alliance with Rome. In many cases, too, no freedom of trade or intermarriage was allowed between the allies themselves, a policy afterwards systematically pursued in the provinces. Nor were all these numerous allied communities placed on the same footing as regarded their relations with Rome herself.

The Latins

To begin with, a sharp distinction was drawn between the "Latini" and the general mass of Italian allies. The " Latins " of this period had little more than the name in common with the old thirty Latin peoples of the days of Spurius Cassius. With a few exceptions, such as Tibur and Praeneste, the latter had either disappeared or had been incorporated with the Roman state, and the Latins of 268 B.C. were almost exclusively the " Latin colonies," that is to say, communities founded by Rome, composed of men of Roman blood, and whose only claim to the title " Latin " lay in the fact that Rome granted to them some portion of the rights and privileges formerly enjoyed by the old Latin cities under the Cassian treaty. Though nominally allies, they were in fact offshoots of Rome herself, bound to her by community of race, language, and interest, and planted as Roman garrisons among alien and conquered peoples. The Roman citizen who joined a Latin colony lost his citizenship,—to have allowed him to retain it would no doubt have been regarded as enlarging too rapidly the limits of the citizen body; but he received in exchange the status of a favoured ally. The Latin colony did not indeed enjoy the equality and independence originally possessed by the old Latin cities. It had no freedom of action outside its own territory, could not make war or peace, and was bound to have the same friends and foes as Rome. But its members had the right of commercium and down to 268 of connubium also with Roman citizens. Provided they left sons and property to represent them at home, they were free to migrate to Rome and acquire the Roman franchise. In war time they not only shared in the booty, but claimed a portion of any land confiscated by Rome and declared " public." These privileges, coupled with their close natural affinities with Rome, successfully secured the fidelity of the Latin colonies, which became not only the most efficient props of Roman supremacy, but powerful agents in the work of Romanizing Italy.

The Italian Allies

Below the privileged Latins stood the itaiian allies; and here again we know generally that there were considerable differences of status, determined in each case by the terms of their respective treaties with Rome. We are told that the Greek cities of Neapolis and Heraclea were among the most favoured; the Bruttii, on the other hand, seem, even before the Hannibalic war, to have been less generously treated. But beyond this the absence of all detailed information does not enable us to go.

Rome, however, did not rely only on this policy of isolation. Her allies were attached as closely to herself as they were clearly separated from each other, and from the first she took every security for the maintenance of her own paramount authority. Within its own borders, each ally was left to manage its own affairs as an independent state. The badges which marked subjection to Rome in the provinces—the resident magistrate and the tribute—were unknown in Italy. But in all points affecting the relations of one ally with another, in all questions of the general interests of Italy and of foreign policy, the decision rested solely wdth Rome. The place of a federal constitution, of a federal council, of federal officers, was filled by the Roman senate, assembly, and magistrates. The maintenance of peace and order in Italy, the defence of the coasts and frontiers, the making of war or peace with foreign powers, were matters the settlement of which Rome kept entirely in her own hands. Each allied state, in time of war, was called upon for a certain contingent of men, but, though its contingent usually formed a distinct corps under officers of its own, its numerical strength was fixed by Rome, it was brigaded with the Roman legions, and was under the orders of the Roman consul.

The Roman State

This paramount authority of Rome throughout the peninsula was confirmed and justified by the fact that Rome Roman herself was now infinitely more powerful than any one of her numerous allies. Her territory, as distinct from that of the allied states, covered something like one-third of the peninsula south of the Aesis. Along the west coast it stretched from Caere to the southern borders of Campania. Inland, it included the former territories of the ^Equi and Hernici, the Sabine country, and even extended eastward into Picenum, while beyond these limits were outlying districts, such as the lands of the Seuonian Celts, with the Roman colony of Sena, and others elsewhere in Italy, which had been confiscated by Rome and given over to Roman settlers. Since the first important annexation of territory after the capture of Veii (396), twelve new tribes had been formed, 6 and the number of male citizens registered at the census had risen from 152,000 to 290,000.7

Colonies and Municipia

Within this enlarged Roman state were now included numerous communities with local institutions and government. At their head stood the Roman colonies ("coloniae civium Romanorum"), founded to guard especially the coasts of Latium and Campania.s Next to these eldest children of Rome came those communities which had been invested with the full Roman franchise, such, for instance, as the old Latin towns of Aricia, Lanuvium, Tusculum, Nomentum, and Pedum. Lowest in the scale were those which had not been considered ripe for the full franchise, but had, like Caere, received instead the " civitas sine suffragio," the civil without the political rights.9 Their members, though Roman citizens, were not enrolled in the tribes, and in time of war served not in the ranks of the Roman legions but in separate contingents. In addition to these organized town communities, there were also the groups of Roman settlers on the public lands, and the dwellers in the village communities of the enfranchised highland districts in central Italy.

The administrative needs of this enlarged Rome were obviously such as could not be adequately satisfied by the system which had done well enough for a small city state with a few square miles of territory. The old centralization of all government in Rome itself had become an impossibility, and the Roman statesmen did their best to meet the altered requirements of the time. The urban communities within the Roman pale, colonies and municipia, were allowed a large measure of local self-government. In all we find local assemblies, senates, and magistrates, to whose hands the ordinary routine of local administration was confided, and, in spite of differences in detail, e.g., in the titles and numbers of the magistrates, the same type of constitution prevailed throughout. But these local authorities were carefully subordinated to the higher powers in Rome. The local constitution could be modified or revoked by the Roman senate and assembly,
and the local magistrates, no less than the ordinary members of the community, were subject to the paramount authority of the Roman consuls, praetors, and censors. In particular, care was taken to keep the administration of justice well under central control. The Roman citizen in a colony or municipium enjoyed of course the right of appeal to the Roman people in a capital case. We may also assume that from the first some limit was placed to the jurisdiction of the local magistrate, and that cases falling outside it came before the central authorities.


But an additional safeguard for the equitable and uniform administration of Roman law, in communities to many of which the Roman code was new and unfamiliar, was provided by the institution of prefects ("praefecti juri dicundo"), who were sent out annually, as representatives of the Roman praetor, to administer justice in the colonies and municipia. To prefects was, moreover, assigned the charge of those districts within the Roman pale where no urban communities, and consequently no organized local government, existed. In these two institutions, that of municipal government and that of prefectures, we have already two of the cardinal points of the later imperial system of government.

The Military System

A word must lastly be said of the changes which the altered position and increased responsibilities of Rome had effected in her military system. For the most part these changes tended gradually to weaken the old and intimate connexion between the Roman army in the field and the Roman people at home, and thus prepared the way for that complete breach between the two which in the end proved fatal to the republic. It is true that service in the legion was still the first duty and the highest privilege of the fully qualified citizen. Every " assiduus " was still liable to active military service between the ages of seventeen to forty-five, and "proletarii" and freedmen were still called out only in great emergencies, and then but rarely enrolled in the legions. But this service was gradually altering in character. Though new legions were still raised each year for the summer campaigns, this was by no means always accompanied, as formerly, by the disbandment of those already on foot, and this increase in the length of time during which the citizen was kept with the standards had, as early as the siege of Veii, necessitated a further deviation from the old theory of military service—the introduction of pay. Hardly less important than these changes were those which had taken place in the organization of the legion itself. In the early days of the republic the same divisions served for the soldier in the legion and the citizen in the assembly. The Roman army in the field, and the Roman people, in the comitia on the Campus, were alike grouped according to their wealth, in classes and centurkie. But by the time of the Latin war the arrangement of the legion had been wholly altered. In the new manipular system, with its three lines, no regard was paid to civic distinctions, but only to length of service and military efficiency, while at the same time the more open order of fighting which it involved demanded of each soldier greater skill, and therefore a more thorough training in arms than the old phalanx. One other change resulted from the new military necessities of the time, which was as fruitful of results as the incipient separation between the citizen and the soldier. The citizen soldiers of early Rome were commanded in the field by the men whom they had chosen to be their chief magistrates at home, and still, except when a dictator was appointed, the chief command of the legions rested with the consuls of the year. But, as Rome's military operations increased in area and in distance from Rome, a larger staff became necessary, and the inconvenience of summoning home a consul in the field from an unfinished campaign became intolerable. The remedy found, that of prolonging for a further period the imperium of the consul, was first applied in 327 B.C. in the case of Q. Publilius Philo, and between 327 and 264 instances of this " prorogatio imperii" became increasingly common. This proconsular authority, originally an occasional and subordinate one, was destined to become first of all the strongest force in the republic, and ultimately the chief prop of the power of the Caesars. Already, within the limits of Italy, Rome had laid the foundation stones of the system by which she afterwards governed the world,—the municipal constitutions, the allied states, the proconsuls, and the prefects.


1 Livy, vii. 29. 3 Livy, viii. 2.
2 Livy, vii. 15. 3 Livy, vi. 26.
Livy, ii. 33 ; Cic. Pro Balho, 23.
Livy, ii. 40.
5 From the Celts in the north especially.

For the status of Csere, and the "Cserite franchise," see Mar-
quardt, Staatsverw., i. 28 sq. ; Madvig, R. Verf., i. 39; Beloch,
Ital. Bund, 120.
Livy, vii. 15. Livy, vi. 26.
Mommesn, R.G., i. 137, note; Beloch, Beloch, Ital. Bund., cap. ix.
Livy, vii. 27. For the whole question of the early treaties with Carthage, see Polybius, iii. 22; Mommsen, R. 67., i. 413, and
Chronol., p. 320 ; Vollmer, Rhein. Mus., xxxii. 614.

For the Samnites in Campania, see Mommsen, R. 6?., i. 353 ; Schwegler-Clason, R. 67., v. 98 sq.; Beloch, Campanien, Berlin, 1879.
Livy, vii. 32.
For the difficulties in the traditional accounts of this war, see Mommsen, R. 67., i. 355 note ; Schwegler-Clason, R. 67., v. 14 sq.
i At the foot of Mount Vesuvius, Livy, viii. 9 ; at Trifanum, Id., oViii. 11.
Livy, viii. 11.
fi Livy, viii. 14 ; Lanuvium, Aricia, Nomentum, Pedum, Tusculum.
Id., loc. cit., " ceteris Latinis populis connubia commerciaque et concilia inter se ademerunt."
For the controversy as to the precise status of Capua and the _ "equites Campani" (Livy, viii. 14), see Beloch, ItaZ. .Bund, 122 -sq.; Id., Campanien, 317; Zumpt, Comment. Epigraph., p. 290.

Livy, viii. 3, 17, 24.
Livy, viii. 22.
Livy, ix. 23.
4 Livy, ix. 29.
5 Livy, ix. 45.
6 Livy, ix. 45.
Livy, x. 9.
8 Livy, x. 2.

1 Livy, ix. 39. Ihne (R. G., i. 351 sq.) throws some doubts on the traditional accounts of this war and of that in 296.
2 Narnia, Livy, x. 10.
3 Livy, x. 27.
4 Livy, Epit., xi,, " pacem petentibus Samnitibus foedus quarto renovatum est."
5 Dion. Hal., Exc., 2335 ; Veil. Pat., i. 14.
6 Livy, Epit., xi. ; Veil. Pat., i. 14.
7 Livy, Epit, xi. 8 Livy, Epit., xii.; Polyb., ii. 20.
8 Livy, Epit., xii.; Plut., Pyrrh. ,13.

1 Plin., N. R., viii. 6.
2 Plut., Pyrrh., 21.
3 Livy, Epit, xiv.; Plut, Pyrrh., 26.

Vell. Pat., i. 14, "suffragii ferendi jus Sabinis datum."
Vell. Pat., i. 14; Livy, Epit., xv. The present writer has followed Beloch (Ital. Bund, 142) in identifying the "Cosa" of Veil., loo. cit, and Livy, Epit, xiv., with Cosa in Etruria ; cf. Plin., N. H., iii. 8, 51. Mommsen and Madvig both place it in Lucania.
6 Mommsen, R. G., i. 428, note; Nissen, Hal. Landeskunde, p. 71.
Beloch, Ital. Bund, 203 ; Mommsen, R. G., i. 428, note.

For the " coloniae Latinae " founded before the First Punic War, see Beloch, 136 sq.
The year of the foundation of Ariminum, the first Latin colony with the restricted rights; Cic. Pro Caec, 35; Momnisen, R. 67., i. 421, note ; Marquardt, Staatsverw., i. 53. Beloch, 155-158, takes a different view.
Beloch, Camp., 39 ; Cic. Pro Balbo, 22.
For the relation of the " socii Italici" to Rome, see Momnisen,
it. 67., i. 422 ; Beloch, Ital. Bund, cap. x.

6 Beloch, 203. The importance of this duty of the allies is expressed in the phrase " socii nominisve Latini quibus ex formula togatorum milites in terra Italia imperare Solent."
6 Four in South Etruria (387), two in the Pomptine territory (358/ two in Latium (332), two in the territory of the southern Volsci ani the Ager Falernus (318), two in the jEquian and Hernican territory (299). The total of thirty-five was completed in 241 by formation of the Velina and Quirina, probably in the Sabine and Picentine districts, enfranchised in 268. See Beloch, 32.
7 Livy, Epit., xvi. ; Eutrop., ii. 18; Mommsen, R. 67., i. 423; Beloch, cap. iv. p. 77 sq.
8 Ostia, Antium, Tarracina, Minturnae, Sinuessa, and, on the Adriatic, Sena and Castrum Novum.
9 To both these classes the term " municipia " was applied.

For details, see Beloch, Ital. Bund, caps, v., vi., vii. The enfran-thised communities in most cases retained the old titles for their magistrates, and hence the variety in their designations.
For the "praefecti," see Mommsen, R. G., i. 419, and Rom.Staais-recht, ii. 569 ; Beloch, 130-133.
Mommsen, R. G., i. 438 ; Madvig, Verf. R. Reichs, ii. 467 so.; l.ivy, viii. 8 ; Polyb., vi. 17-42.
E.g., before the battle of Sentinum (296), Livy, x. 21.
Livy, iv. 59.
Livy, viii. 23, " ut pro consule rem gereret quoad debellatum esset."

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