This degeneracy of the most important Samnite city--a degeneracy which beyond doubt was closely connected with the Etruscan habits that lingered there--must have been fatal for the nation at large; although the Campanian nobility knew how to combine chivalrous valour and high mental culture with the deepest moral corruption, it could never become to its nation what the Roman nobility was to the Latin. Hellenic influence had a similar, though less powerful, effect on the Lucanians and Bruttians as on the Campanians. The objects discovered in the tombs throughout all these regions show how Greek art was cherished there in barbaric luxuriance; the rich ornaments of gold and amber and the magnificent painted pottery, which are now disinterred from the abodes of the dead, enable us to conjecture how extensive had been their departure from the ancient manners of their fathers. Other indications are preserved in their writing. The old national writing which they had brought with them from the north was abandoned by the Lucanians and Bruttians, and exchanged for Greek; while in Campania the national alphabet, and perhaps also the language, developed itself under the influence of the Greek model into greater clearness and delicacy. We meet even with isolated traces of the influence of Greek philosophy.

The Samnite Confederacy

The Samnite land, properly so called, alone remained unaffected by these innovations, which, beautiful and natural as they may to some extent have been, powerfully contributed to relax still more the bond of national unity which even from the first was loose. Through the influence of Hellenic habits a deep schism took place in the Samnite stock. The civilized "Philhellenes" of Campania were accustomed to tremble like the Hellenes themselves before the ruder tribes of the mountains, who were continually penetrating into Campania and disturbing the degenerate earlier settlers. Rome was a compact state, having the strength of all Latium at its disposal; its subjects might murmur, but they obeyed. The Samnite stock was dispersed and divided; and, while the confederacy in Samnium proper had preserved unimpaired the manners and valour of their ancestors, they were on that very account completely at variance with the other Samnite tribes and towns.

Submission Of Capua To Rome-- Rome And Samnium Come To Terms-- Revolt Of The Latins And Campanians Against Rome-- Victory Of The Romans-- Dissolution Of The Latin League-- Colonization Of The Land Of The Volsci

In fact, it was this variance between the Samnites of the plain and the Samnites of the mountains that led the Romans over the Liris. The Sidicini in Teanum, and the Campanians in Capua, sought aid from the Romans (411) against their own countrymen, who in swarms ever renewed ravaged their territory and threatened to establish themselves there. When the desired alliance was refused, the Campanian envoys made offer of the submission of their country to the supremacy of Rome: and the Romans were unable to resist the bait. Roman envoys were sent to the Samnites to inform them of the new acquisition, and to summon them to respect the territory of the friendly power. The further course of events can no longer be ascertained in detail;(20) we discover only that--whether after a campaign, or without the intervention of a war--Rome and Samnium came to an agreement, by which Capua was left at the disposal of the Romans, Teanum in the hands of the Samnites, and the upper Liris in those of the Volscians.

The consent of the Samnites to treat is explained by the energetic exertions made about this very period by the Tarentines to get quit of their Sabellian neighbours. But the Romans also had good reason for coming to terms as quickly as possible with the Samnites; for the impending transition of the region bordering on the south of Latium into the possession of the Romans converted the ferment that had long existed among the Latins into open insurrection. All the original Latin towns, even the Tusculans who had been received into the burgess-union of Rome, took up arms against Rome, with the single exception of the Laurentes, whereas of the colonies founded beyond the bounds of Latium only the old Volscian towns Velitrae, Antium, and Tarracina adhered to the revolt. We can readily understand how the Capuans, notwithstanding their very recent and voluntarily offered submission to the Romans, should readily embrace the first opportunity of again ridding themselves of the Roman rule and, in spite of the opposition of the optimate party that adhered to the treaty with Rome, should make common cause with the Latin confederacy, whereas the still independent Volscian towns, such as Fundi and Formiae, and the Hernici abstained like the Campanian aristocracy from taking part in this revolt. The position of the Romans was critical; the legions which had crossed the Liris and occupied Campania were cut off by the revolt of the Latins and Volsci from their home, and a victory alone could save them. The decisive battle was fought near Trifanum (between Minturnae, Suessa, and Sinuessa) in 414; the consul Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus achieved a complete victory over the united Latins and Campanians. In the two following years the individual towns, so far as they still offered resistance, were reduced by capitulation or assault, and the whole country was brought into subjection. The effect of the victory was the dissolution of the Latin league. It was transformed from an independent political federation into a mere association for the purpose of a religious festival; the ancient stipulated rights of the confederacy as to a maximum for the levy of troops and a share of the gains of war perished as such along with it, and assumed, where they were recognized in future, the character of acts of grace. Instead of the one treaty between Rome on the one hand and the Latin confederacy on the other, there came at best perpetual alliances between Rome and the several confederate towns.

From the Abolition of the Monarchy in Rome to the Union of Italy Page 48

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