praetor-, p. 241, and Dionys. iii. 10, suffice to stamp Alba as a Latin Athens.


The Beginnings Of Rome


About fourteen miles up from the mouth of the river Tiber hills of moderate elevation rise on both banks of the stream, higher on the right, lower on the left bank. With the latter group there has been closely associated for at least two thousand five hundred years the name of the Romans. We are unable, of course, to tell how or when that name arose; this much only is certain, that in the oldest form of it known to us the inhabitants of the canton are called not Romans, but Ramnians (Ramnes); and this shifting of sound, which frequently occurs in the older period of a language, but fell very early into abeyance in Latin,(1) is an expressive testimony to the immemorial antiquity of the name. Its derivation cannot be given with certainty; possibly "Ramnes" may mean "the people on the stream."

Tities, Luceres

But they were not the only dwellers on the hills by the bank of the Tiber. In the earliest division of the burgesses of Rome a trace has been preserved of the fact that that body arose out of the amalgamation of three cantons once probably independent, the Ramnians, Tities, and Luceres, into a single commonwealth--in other words, out of such a --synoikismos-- as that from which Athens arose in Attica.(2) The great antiquity of this threefold division of the community(3) is perhaps best evinced by the fact that the Romans, in matters especially of constitutional law, regularly used the forms -tribuere- ("to divide into three") and -tribus- ("a third") in the general sense of "to divide" and "a part," and the latter expression (-tribus-), like our "quarter," early lost its original signification of number. After the union each of these three communities--once separate, but now forming subdivisions of a single community--still possessed its third of the common domain, and had its proportional representation in the burgess-force and in the council of the elders. In ritual also, the number divisible by three of the members of almost all the oldest colleges--of the Vestal Virgins, the Salii, the Arval Brethren, the Luperci, the Augurs-- probably had reference to that three-fold partition. These three elements into which the primitive body of burgesses in Rome was divided have had theories of the most extravagant absurdity engrafted upon them. The irrational opinion that the Roman nation was a mongrel people finds its support in that division, and its advocates have striven by various means to represent the three great Italian races as elements entering into the composition of the primitive Rome, and to transform a people which has exhibited in language, polity, and religion, a pure and national development such as few have equalled, into a confused aggregate of Etruscan and Sabine, Hellenic and, forsooth! even Pelasgian fragments.

Setting aside self-contradictory and unfounded hypotheses, we may sum up in a few words all that can be said respecting the nationality of the component elements of the primitive Roman commonwealth. That the Ramnians were a Latin stock cannot be doubted, for they gave their name to the new Roman commonwealth and therefore must have substantially determined the nationality of the united community. Respecting the origin of the Luceres nothing can be affirmed, except that there is no difficulty in the way of our assigning them, like the Ramnians, to the Latin stock. The second of these communities, on the other hand, is with one consent derived from Sabina; and this view can at least be traced to a tradition preserved in the Titian brotherhood, which represented that priestly college as having been instituted, on occasion of the Tities being admitted into the collective community, for the preservation of their distinctive Sabine ritual. It may be, therefore, that at a period very remote, when the Latin and Sabellian stocks were beyond question far less sharply contrasted in language, manners, and customs than were the Roman and the Samnite of a later age, a Sabellian community entered into a Latin canton-union; and, as in the older and more credible traditions without exception the Tities take precedence of the Ramnians, it is probable that the intruding Tities compelled the older Ramnians to accept the --synoikismos--. A mixture of different nationalities certainly therefore took place; but it hardly exercised an influence greater than the migration, for example, which occurred some centuries afterwards of the Sabine Attus Clauzus or Appius Claudius and his clansmen and clients to Rome. The earlier admission of the Tities among the Ramnians does not entitle us to class the community among mongrel peoples any more than does that subsequent reception of the Claudii among the Romans. With the exception, perhaps, of isolated national institutions handed down in connection with ritual, the existence of Sabellian elements can nowhere be pointed out in Rome; and the Latin language in particular furnishes absolutely no support to any such hypothesis.(4) It would in fact be more than surprising, if the Latin nation should have had its nationality in any sensible degree affected by the insertion of a single community from a stock so very closely related to it; and, besides, it must not be forgotten that at the time when the Tides settled beside the Ramnians, Latin nationality rested on Latium as its basis, and not on Rome. The new tripartite Roman commonwealth was, notwithstanding some incidental elements which were originally Sabellian, just what the community of the Ramnians had previously been--a portion of the Latin nation.

Rome The Emporium Of Latium

Long, in all probability, before an urban settlement arose on the Tiber, these Ramnians, Tities, and Luceres, at first separate, afterwards united, had their stronghold on the Roman hills, and tilled their fields from the surrounding villages. The "wolf-festival" (Lupercalia) which the gens of the Quinctii celebrated on the Palatine hill, was probably a tradition from these primitive times--a festival of husbandmen and shepherds, which more than any other preserved the homely pastimes of patriarchal simplicity, and, singularly enough, maintained itself longer than all the other heathen festivals in Christian Rome,

Character Of Its Site

From these settlements the later Rome arose.

The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy Page 20

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