We have already(6) noticed the fact that the territory between the Ciminian range and the Tiber with the towns of Sutrium, Nepete, Falerii, Veii, and Caere appears not to have been taken possession of by the Etruscans till a period considerably later than the more northern districts, possibly not earlier than in the second century of Rome, and that the original Italian population must have maintained its ground in this region, especially in Falerii, although in a relation of dependence.

Relations Of The Etruscans To Latium

From the time at which the river Tiber became the line of demarcation between Etruria on the one side and Umbria and Latium on the other, peaceful relations probably upon the whole prevailed in that quarter, and no essential change seems to have taken place in the boundary line, at least so far as concerned the Latin frontier. Vividly as the Romans were impressed by the feeling that the Etruscan was a foreigner, while the Latin was their countryman, they yet seem to have stood in much less fear of attack or of danger from the right bank of the river than, for example, from their kinsmen in Gabii and Alba; and this was natural, for they were protected in that direction not merely by the broad stream which formed a natural boundary, but also by the circumstance, so momentous in its bearing on the mercantile and political development of Rome, that none of the more powerful Etruscan towns lay immediately on the river, as did Rome on the Latin bank. The Veientes were the nearest to the Tiber, and it was with them that Rome and Latium came most frequently into serious conflict, especially for the possession of Fidenae, which served the Veientes as a sort of -tete de pont- on the left bank just as the Janiculum served the Romans on the right, and which was sometimes in the hands of the Latins, sometimes in those of the Etruscans. The relations of Rome with the somewhat more distant Caere were on the whole far more peaceful and friendly than those which we usually find subsisting between neighbours in early times. There are doubtless vague legends, reaching back to times of distant antiquity, about conflicts between Latium and Caere; Mezentius the king of Caere, for instance, is asserted to have obtained great victories over the Latins, and to have imposed upon them a wine-tax; but evidence much more definite than that which attests a former state of feud is supplied by tradition as to an especially close connection between the two ancient centres of commercial and maritime intercourse in Latium and Etruria. Sure traces of any advance of the Etruscans beyond the Tiber, by land, are altogether wanting. It is true that Etruscans are named in the first ranks of the great barbarian host, which Aristodemus annihilated in 230 under the walls of Cumae;(7) but, even if we regard this account as deserving credit in all its details, it only shows that the Etruscans had taken part in a great plundering expedition. It is far more important to observe that south of the Tiber no Etruscan settlement can be pointed out as having owed its origin to founders who came by land; and that no indication whatever is discernible of any serious pressure by the Etruscans upon the Latin nation. The possession of the Janiculum and of both banks of the mouth of the Tiber remained, so far as we can see, undisputed in the hands of the Romans. As to the migrations of bodies of Etruscans to Rome, we find an isolated statement drawn from Tuscan annals, that a Tuscan band, led by Caelius Vivenna of Volsinii and after his death by his faithful companion Mastarna, was conducted by the latter to Rome. This may be trustworthy, although the derivation of the name of the Caelian Mount from this Caelius is evidently a philological invention, and even the addition that this Mastarna became king in Rome under the name of Servius Tullius is certainly nothing but an improbable conjecture of the archaeologists who busied themselves with legendary parallels. The name of the "Tuscan quarter" at the foot of the Palatine(8) points further to Etruscan settlements in Rome.

The Tarquins

It can hardly, moreover, be doubted that the last regal family which ruled over Rome, that of the Tarquins, was of Etruscan origin, whether it belonged to Tarquinii, as the legend asserts, or to Caere, where the family tomb of the Tarchnas has recently been discovered. The female name Tanaquil or Tanchvil interwoven with the legend, while it is not Latin, is common in Etruria. But the traditional story--according to which Tarquin was the son of a Greek who had migrated from Corinth to Tarquinii, and came to settle in Rome as a --metoikos-- is neither history nor legend, and the historical chain of events is manifestly in this instance not confused merely, but completely torn asunder. If anything more can be deduced from this tradition beyond the bare and at bottom indifferent fact that at last a family of Tuscan descent swayed the regal sceptre in Rome, it can only be held as implying that this dominion of a man of Tuscan origin ought not to be viewed either as a dominion of the Tuscans or of any one Tuscan community over Rome, or conversely as the dominion of Rome over southern Etruria. There is, in fact, no sufficient ground either for the one hypothesis or for the other. The history of the Tarquins had its arena in Latium, not in Etruria; and Etruria, so far as we can see, during the whole regal period exercised no influence of any essential moment on either the language or customs of Rome, and did not at all interrupt the regular development of the Roman state or of the Latin league.

The cause of this comparatively passive attitude of Etruria towards the neighbouring land of Latium is probably to be sought partly in the struggles of the Etruscans with the Celts on the Po, which presumably the Celts did not cross until after the expulsion of the kings from Rome, and partly in the tendency of the Etruscan people towards seafaring and the acquisition of supremacy on the sea and seaboard--a tendency decidedly exhibited in their settlements in Campania, and of which we shall speak more fully in the next chapter.

The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy Page 54

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