When he died (465) and with him the power of the Syracusans in Italy went to wreck, it was too late; Samnium, weary of the thirty-seven years' struggle, had concluded peace in the previous year (464) with the Roman consul Manius Curius Dentatus, and had in form renewed its league with Rome. On this occasion, as in the peace of 450, no disgraceful or destructive conditions were imposed on the brave people by the Romans; no cessions even of territory seem to have taken place. The political sagacity of Rome preferred to follow the path which it had hitherto pursued, and to attach in the first place the Campanian and Adriatic coast more and more securely to Rome before proceeding to the direct conquest of the interior. Campania, indeed, had been long in subjection; but the far-seeing policy of Rome found it needful, in order to secure the Campanian coast, to establish two coast-fortresses there, Minturnae and Sinuessa (459), the new burgesses of which were admitted according to the settled rule in the case of maritime colonies to the full citizenship of Rome. With still greater energy the extension of the Roman rule was prosecuted in central Italy. As the subjugation of the Aequi and Hernici was the immediate sequel of the first Samnite war, so that of the Sabines followed on the end of the second. The same general, who ultimately subdued the Samnites, Manius Curius broke down in the same year (464) the brief and feeble resistance of the Sabines and forced them to unconditional surrender. A great portion of the subjugated territory was immediately taken into possession of the victors and distributed to Roman burgesses, and Roman subject-rights (-civitas sine suffragio-) were imposed on the communities that were left--Cures, Reate, Amiternum, Nursia. Allied towns with equal rights were not established here; on the contrary the country came under the immediate rule of Rome, which thus extended as far as the Apennines and the Umbrian mountains. Nor was it even now restricted to the territory on Rome's side of the mountains; the last war had shown but too clearly that the Roman rule over central Italy was only secured, if it reached from sea to sea. The establishment of the Romans beyond the Apennines begins with the laying out of the strong fortress of Atria (Atri) in the year 465, on the northern slope of the Abruzzi towards the Picenian plain, not immediately on the coast and hence with Latin rights, but still near to the sea, and the keystone of the mighty wedge separating northern and southern Italy. Of a similar nature and of still greater importance was the founding of Venusia (463), whither the unprecedented number of 20,000 colonists was conducted. That city, founded at the boundary of Samnium, Apulia, and Lucania, on the great road between Tarentum and Samnium, in an uncommonly strong position, was destined as a curb to keep in check the surrounding tribes, and above all to interrupt the communications between the two most powerful enemies of Rome in southern Italy. Beyond doubt at the same time the southern highway, which Appius Claudius had carried as far as Capua, was prolonged thence to Venusia. Thus, at the close of the Samnite wars, the Roman domain closely compact--that is, consisting almost exclusively of communities with Roman or Latin rights--extended on the north to the Ciminian Forest, on the east to the Abruzzi and to the Adriatic, on the south as far as Capua, while the two advanced posts, Luceria and Venusia, established towards the east and south on the lines of communication of their opponents, isolated them on every side. Rome was no longer merely the first, but was already the ruling power in the peninsula, when towards the end of the fifth century of the city those nations, which had been raised to supremacy in their respective lands by the favour of the gods and by their own capacity, began to come into contact in council and on the battle-field; and, as at Olympia the preliminary victors girt themselves for a second and more serious struggle, so on the larger arena of the nations, Carthage, Macedonia, and Rome now prepared for the final and decisive contest.

Notes For Book II Chapter VI

1. It may not be superfluous to mention that our knowledge Archidamus and Alexander is derived from Greek annals, and that the synchronism between these and the Roman is in reference to the present epoch only approximately established. We must beware, therefore, of pursuing too far into detail the unmistakable general connection between the events in the west and those in the east of Italy.

2. These were not the inhabitants of Satricum near Antium (II. V. League With The Hernici), but those of another Volscian town constituted at that time as a Roman burgess-community without right of voting, near Arpinum.

3. That a formal armistice for two years subsisted between the Romans and Samnites in 436-437 is more than improbable.

4. The operations in the campaign of 537, and still more plainly the formation of the highway from Arretium to Bononia in 567, show that the road from Rome to Arretium had already been rendered serviceable before that time. But it cannot at that period have been a Roman military road, because, judging from its later appellation of the "Cassian way," it cannot have been constructed as a -via consularis- earlier than 583; for no Cassian appears in the lists of Roman consuls and censors between Spurius Cassius, consul in 252, 261, and 268--who of course is out of the question--and Gaius Cassius Longinus, consul in 583.


Struggle Between Pyrrhus And Rome, And Union Of Italy

Relations Between the East and West

After Rome had acquired the undisputed mastery of the world, the Greeks were wont to annoy their Roman masters by the assertion that Rome was indebted for her greatness to the fever of which Alexander of Macedonia died at Babylon on the 11th of June, 431. As it was not too agreeable for them to reflect on the actual past, they were fond of allowing their thoughts to dwell on what might have happened, had the great king turned his arms--as was said to have been his intention at the time of his death--towards the west and contested the Carthaginian supremacy by sea with his fleet, and the Roman supremacy by land with his phalanxes.

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Theodor Mommsen
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