Ianuarius 2758 auc - January 2758  
Fr. Apulo Caesare et C. Popillio Laena consulibus

Three Ancient Peoples of Italy

Legio XX Adlocvtio


Roman Recipe: Spiced Olives

Latin: Lesson #1




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Three Ancient
Peoples of Italy


The ancient Etruscan town of Velzna stood upon the present day site of Bolsena in Lazio Province (Latium). At an unidentified site nearby was a temple to Voltumna which served as the headquarters for the twelve-city Etruscan League and the site of the annual assemblies of the Etruscans. Excavations at Bolsena have uncovered uge double walls surrounding the group of small hills upon which the city was built. A system of lateral walls within these enabled its defenders to cut off portions of the city and retreat behind further positions. On the highest of the enclosed hills, the acropolis was situated; on the surrounding plateau of Mercatello was the main residential area.
The Volsinienses attacked Roman lands in 392 BCE, but little is known of their relations with the Romans until Lucius Postumius Megellus defeated them in 294. In 265 the Romans were called in to check civil strife in the city, and their influence probably dates from that time. They appear appear to have persuaded the citizens of Volsinii to transfer to another site within their territory, probably Orvieto. Roman citizenship was granted to Volsinii in about 90 BCE, and under Rome it grew proverbially wealthy


Lucania is an ancient territorial division of southern Italy corresponding to most of modern Basilicata, with parts of Campania and Calabria. Before its conquest by the Lucanians, a Samnite tribe, about mid-5th century BCE, it formed part of the Greek-dominated region of Oenotria. Recent discoveries of elaborately painted graves at Paestum, a city taken by the Lucanians in about 400, suggest that by the 4th century
BCE the tribe had developed a culture of great vitality and distinction.
Although they allied with Rome in 298, the Lucanians opposed and were defeated by that power in the Pyrrhic War (280-275), the second Punic War (218-201), and the Social War (90-88). Repeated devastations of the area in these conflicts brought about its decline.

Map of Center and South Italy


The Samnites

These are an ancient warlike tribal group inhabiting the mountainous center of southern Italy. These tribes, who spoke Oscan and were probably an offshoot of the Sabini, apparently referred to themselves not as Samnite, but rather by the Oscan form of the word, which appears in Latin
as Sabine. Four cantons formed the Samnite confederation: Hirpini, Caudini, Caraceni, and Pentri. The league probably had no federal assembly, but rather a war leader could be chosen to lead a campaign. Although allied with Rome against the Gauls in 354 BCE, the Samnites were soon involved in a series of three wars (343-341), (316-304), (298-290) against the Romans.
The Samnites, though intermittently successful, were finally defeated and
surrounded by Latin colonies. Although reduced and depopulated, the Samnites later helped Pyrrhus and Hannibal against Rome. They also fought from 90 BCE in the Social War, and later in the Civil War against Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who defeated them at the Battle of Colline Gate (82 BCE). The longest and most important inscription of the Samnite dialect is the small bronze Tabula
Agnonensis, which is engraved in full Oscan alphabet.


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editing by
Marcus Minucius-Tiberius Audens
designed by
Marcus Philippus Conservatus and Franciscus Apulus Caesar

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