Bernard) and descended into the valley of the Po. From the former proceeded the Gallic settlement on the middle Danube; from the latter the oldest Celtic settlement in the modern Lombardy, the canton of the Insubres with Mediolanum (Milan) as its capital. Another host soon followed, which founded the canton of the Cenomani with the towns of Brixia (Brescia) and Verona. Ceaseless streams thenceforth poured over the Alps into the beautiful plain; the Celtic tribes with the Ligurians whom they dislodged and swept along with them wrested place after place from the Etruscans, till the whole left bank of the Po was in their hands. After the fall of the rich Etruscan town Melpum (presumably in the district of Milan), for the subjugation of which the Celts already settled in the basin of the Po had united with newly arrived tribes (358?), these latter crossed to the right bank of the river and began to press upon the Umbrians and Etruscans in their original abodes. Those who did so were chiefly the Boii, who are alleged to have penetrated into Italy by another route, over the Poenine Alps (the Great St. Bernard): they settled in the modern Romagna, where the old Etruscan town Felsina, with its name changed by its new masters to Bononia, became their capital. Finally came the Senones, the last of the larger Celtic tribes which made their way over the Alps; they took up their abode along the coast of the Adriatic from Rimini to Ancona. But isolated bands of Celtic settlers must have advanced even far in the direction of Umbria, and up to the border of Etruria proper; for stone-inscriptions in the Celtic language have been found even at Todi on the upper Tiber. The limits of Etruria on the north and east became more and more contracted, and about the middle of the fourth century the Tuscan nation found themselves substantially restricted to the territory which thenceforth bore and still bears their name.

Attack On Etruria By The Romans

Subjected to these simultaneous and, as it were, concerted assaults on the part of very different peoples--the Syracusans, Latins, Samnites, and above all the Celts--the Etruscan nation, that had just acquired so vast and sudden an ascendency in Latium and Campania and on both the Italian seas, underwent a still more rapid and violent collapse. The loss of their maritime supremacy and the subjugation of the Campanian Etruscans belong to the same epoch as the settlement of the Insubres and Cenomani on the Po; and about this same period the Roman burgesses, who had not very many years before been humbled to the utmost and almost reduced to bondage by Porsena, first assumed an attitude of aggression towards Etruria. By the armistice with Veii in 280 Rome had recovered its ground, and the two nations were restored in the main to the state in which they had stood in the time of the kings. When it expired in the year 309, the warfare began afresh; but it took the form of border frays and pillaging excursions which led to no material result on either side. Etruria was still too powerful for Rome to be able seriously to attack it. At length the revolt of the Fidenates, who expelled the Roman garrison, murdered the Roman envoys, and submitted to Lars Tolumnius, king of the Veientes, gave rise to a more considerable war, which ended favourably for the Romans; the king Tolumnius fell in combat by the hand of the Roman consul Aulus Cornelius Cossus (326?), Fidenae was taken, and a new armistice for 200 months was concluded in 329. During this truce the troubles of Etruria became more and more aggravated, and the Celtic arms were already approaching the settlements that hitherto had been spared on the right bank of the Po. When the armistice expired in the end of 346, the Romans on their part resolved to undertake a war of conquest against Etruria; and on this occasion the war was carried on not merely to vanquish Veii, but to crush it.

Conquest Of Veii

The history of the war against the Veientes, Capenates, and Falisci, and of the siege of Veii, which is said, like that of Troy, to have lasted ten years, rests on evidence far from trustworthy. Legend and poetry have taken possession of these events as their own, and with reason; for the struggle in this case was waged, with unprecedented exertions, for an unprecedented prize. It was the first occasion on which a Roman army remained in the field summer and winter, year after year, till its object was attained. It was the first occasion on which the community paid the levy from the resources of the state. But it was also the first occasion on which the Romans attempted to subdue a nation of alien stock, and carried their arms beyond the ancient northern boundary of the Latin land. The struggle was vehement, but the issue was scarcely doubtful. The Romans were supported by the Latins and Hernici, to whom the overthrow of their dreaded neighbour was productive of scarcely less satisfaction and advantage than to the Romans themselves; whereas Veii was abandoned by its own nation, and only the adjacent towns of Capena and Falerii, along with Tarquinii, furnished contingents to its help. The contemporary attacks of the Celts would alone suffice to explain the nonintervention of the northern communities; it is affirmed however, and there is no reason to doubt, that this inaction of the other Etruscans was primarily occasioned by internal factions in the league of the Etruscan cities, and particularly by the opposition which the regal form of government retained or restored by the Veientes encountered from the aristocratic governments of the other cities. Had the Etruscan nation been able or willing to take part in the conflict, the Roman community would hardly have been able --undeveloped as was the art of besieging at that time--to accomplish the gigantic task of subduing a large and strong city. But isolated and forsaken as Veii was, it succumbed (358) after a valiant resistance to the persevering and heroic spirit of Marcus Furius Camillus, who first opened up to his countrymen the brilliant and perilous career of foreign conquest.

From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy Page 38

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