About the year 302, with a view thoroughly to check Tuscan piracy, Syracuse sent forth a special expedition, which ravaged the island of Corsica and the Etruscan coast and occupied the island of Aethalia (Elba). Although Etrusco-Carthaginian piracy was not wholly repressed--Antium, for example, having apparently continued a haunt of privateering down to the beginning of the fifth century of Rome--the powerful Syracuse formed a strong bulwark against the allied Tuscans and Phoenicians. For a moment, indeed, it seemed as if the Syracusan power must be broken by the attack of the Athenians, whose naval expedition against Syracuse in the course of the Peloponnesian war (339-341) was supported by the Etruscans, old commercial friends of Athens, with three fifty-oared galleys. But the victory remained, as is well known, both in the west and in the east with the Dorians. After the ignominious failure of the Attic expedition, Syracuse became so indisputably the first Greek maritime power that the men, who were there at the head of the state, aspired to the sovereignty of Sicily and Lower Italy, and of both the Italian seas; while on the other hand the Carthaginians, who saw their dominion in Sicily now seriously in danger, were on their part also obliged to make, and made, the subjugation of the Syracusans and the reduction of the whole island the aim of their policy. We cannot here narrate the decline of the intermediate Sicilian states, and the increase of the Carthaginian power in the island, which were the immediate results of these struggles; we notice their effect only so far as Etruria is concerned. The new ruler of Syracuse, Dionysius (who reigned 348-387), inflicted on Etruria blows which were severely felt. The far-scheming king laid the foundation of his new colonial power especially in the sea to the east of Italy, the more northern waters of which now became, for the first time, subject to a Greek maritime power. About the year 367, Dionysius occupied and colonized the port of Lissus and island of Issa on the Illyrian coast, and the ports of Ancona, Numana, and Atria, on the coast of Italy. The memory of the Syracusan dominion in this remote region is preserved not only by the "trenches of Philistus," a canal constructed at the mouth of the Po beyond doubt by the well-known historian and friend of Dionysius who spent the years of his exile (368 et seq.) at Atria, but also by the alteration in the name of the Italian eastern sea itself, which from this time forth, instead of its earlier designation of the "Ionic Gulf",(3) received the appellation still current at the present day, and probably referable to these events, of the sea "of Hadria."(4) But not content with these attacks on the possessions and commercial communications of the Etruscans in the eastern sea, Dionysius assailed the very heart of the Etruscan power by storming and plundering Pyrgi, the rich seaport of Caere (369). From this blow it never recovered. When the internal disturbances that followed the death of Dionysius in Syracuse gave the Carthaginians freer scope, and their fleet resumed in the Tyrrhene sea that ascendency which with but slight interruptions they thenceforth maintained, it proved a burden no less grievous to Etruscans than to Greeks; so that, when Agathocles of Syracuse in 444 was making preparations for war with Carthage, he was even joined by eighteen Tuscan vessels of war. The Etruscans perhaps had their fears in regard to Corsica, which they probably still at that time retained. The old Etrusco-Phoenician symmachy, which still existed in the time of Aristotle (370-432), was thus broken up; but the Etruscans never recovered their maritime strength.

The Romans Opposed To The Etruscans In Veii

This rapid collapse of the Etruscan maritime power would be inexplicable but for the circumstance that, at the very time when the Sicilian Greeks were attacking them by sea, the Etruscans found themselves assailed with the severest blows oil every side by land. About the time of the battles of Salamis, Himera, and Cumae a furious war raged for many years, according to the accounts of the Roman annals, between Rome and Veii (271-280). The Romans suffered in its course severe defeats. Tradition especially preserved the memory of the catastrophe of the Fabii (277), who had in consequence of internal commotions voluntarily banished themselves from the capital(4) and had undertaken the defence of the frontier against Etruria, and who were slain to the last man capable of bearing arms at the brook Cremera. But the armistice for 400 months, which in room of a peace terminated the war, was so far favourable to the Romans that it at least restored the -status quo- of the regal period; the Etruscans gave up Fidenae and the district won by them on the right bank of the Tiber. We cannot ascertain how far this Romano-Etruscan war was connected directly with the war between the Hellenes and the Persians, and with that between the Sicilians and Carthaginians; but whether the Romans were or were not allies of the victors of Salamis and of Himera, there was at any rate a coincidence of interests as well as of results.

The Samnites Opposed To The Etruscans In Campania

The Samnites as well as the Latins threw themselves upon the Etruscans; and hardly had their Campanian settlement been cut off from the motherland in consequence of the battle of Cumae, when it found itself no longer able to resist the assaults of the Sabellian mountain tribes. Capua, the capital, fell in 330; and the Tuscan population there was soon after the conquest extirpated or expelled by the Samnites. It is true that the Campanian Greeks also, isolated and weakened, suffered severely from the same invasion: Cumae itself was conquered by the Sabellians in 334. But the Hellenes maintained their ground at Neapolis especially, perhaps with the aid of the Syracusans, while the Etruscan name in Campania disappeared from history --excepting some detached Etruscan communities, which prolonged a pitiful and forlorn existence there.

From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy Page 36

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