The Peoples of Pre-Roman Italy

The Peoples of Pre-Roman Italy


The geographical notion of Italy, in the most ancient classical tradition, is subject to fluctuations. At the end of the 6th century. BC, it was the region in which the Greeks had founded many coastal colonies, on the Ionian and Tyrrhenian. In the second half of the 5th century, the Italy it was a region originally included between the Strait and the Calabrian isthmus, a territory later extended to the Gulf of Posidonia on the Tyrrhenian Sea and Taranto on the Ionian Sea, whose population (Morgeti and Siculi) would have been driven to Sicily by the Enotri, èthnos originally from the Itali, and by the Opici, residents of Campania. The koinè linguistics represented by Oscan favored the extension of the name Italy to the whole of the South, up to Circeo. After the Roman conquest of the Cisalpine area occupied by the Gauls, in the middle of the 2nd century. BC, Cato identified the Italy with the current peninsula, interpreting the widespread awareness of a geographical concept inherited from previous contacts with the people of the Oscan language and which was enriching itself with political contents with the expansion of Rome.

Before the Roman domination the main populations of the Italy they were: the Latins (in the northern part of ancient Lazio) and the Falisci (between the Cimini Mountains and the Tiber); the Volsci, the Equi, the Ernici (in the eastern and southern part of Lazio); the Sabines (in the area of ​​Terni and Rieti), the Umbrians (in eastern Umbria and in part of Romagna), the Marsi and Peligni (around the Fucino), the Picenti and the Pretuzi (between the Foglia and Pescara), the Vestini and the Marrucini (on the two banks of the Pescara); the Campani (in Campania), the Samnites (in the internal Apennine areas of Campania, Molise and southern Abruzzo), the Frentani (on the coasts of Molise and southern Abruzzo), the Lucani (in Lucania), the Bruzi (in today’s Calabria); the Iapigi (in modern Puglia), divided into Dauni in the north, Peucezi in the center and Messapi, Sallentini, Calabri to the south; the Etruscans; the Greeks (Magna Graecia and Sicily); the Ligurians (on the Tyrrhenian coast to the north of the Arno and inland up to the confluence of the Po with the Ticino); the Veneti (between the Tagliamento, the Alps, the Po and the Adriatic); the Gauls (between the Ligurians and the Venetians), divided into Insubri, Cenomani, Lingoni, Boi, Senoni; the Sicilians and the Sicans (in Sicily, where, in the western tip, there were Elimi and Phoenicians); the Corsicans (Corsica and northern Sardinia); the Sardinians. they were Elimi and Phoenicians); the Corsicans (Corsica and northern Sardinia); the Sardinians. they were Elimi and Phoenicians); the Corsicans (Corsica and northern Sardinia); the Sardinians.

This order was achieved through complex processes of ethnogenesis which took place starting from the prehistoric age. The Etruscans, between the 8th and 7th centuries, extended their dominion from Etruria to the Po Valley, in Lazio, in Campania. But they soon lost the Po Valley area, invaded by the Celts (5th century), who from Lombardy, through Emilia, went as far as the Marche; then Campania (5th century) and northern Lazio (4th century). The Sabellic bloodlines, descending at the end of the 5th century. in the Italy southern, overlapped with pre-existing lineages, Ausoni and Enotri. The latter two, with the Sicilians, belonged to the same group as the Latins. Complex and not yet fully resolved problems involve studying the origin of the various populations, and attributing to them archaeologically documented civilizations.

Roman unification

The subjugation and unification of these peoples was a long and difficult work for Rome. The main stages were: the conquest of primacy in Lazio, during the royal age and the first republican period; the struggle with the Aequi, the Volsci and the southern Etruscans, in the 5th century. B.C; the destruction of Veii (396); the recovery after the Gallic catastrophe which led to an extension from Cimino to Terracina (390); the First Samnite War (343-341); the Latin war and the dissolution of the league (338); the other Samnite wars, the victory over the coalitions and the Pyrrhic war at the beginning of the 3rd century. Thus Rome, in the first half of the 3rd century, had the hegemony of the peninsula from the Arno and Esino to the Strait of Messina.

In the conquered territories Rome founded, from the beginning of the 5th century, colonies of Latin law in which Romans and Latins participated. With the beginning of the 4th century. preferred direct annexations with the foundation of new tribes and the deduction of Roman colonies or with the conferral of municipal autonomy, both with full citizenship and citizenship without suffrage (i.e. without political rights). Finally, other communities were qualified as federated, on the basis of treaties rarely granting parity and very different from each other. In this way the Romans dominated a population that was about double theirs. In the 2nd century. BC the Italic federates began to ask for Roman citizenship, which they obtained in 89 BC after a bitter struggle (social war). With the granting of citizenship, the language, customs and institutions of Rome spread everywhere. At the time of Pompey and Caesar, Gallia Cispadana and Transpadana also obtained the right of citizenship.

Augustus divided the Italy in 11 regions: 1. CAMPANIA (also including Lazio, up to the Tiber); 2. Apulia and Calabria ; 3. Lucania et Bruttii ; 4. Samnium ; 5. Picenum ; 6. Umbria ; 7. Etruria ; 8. Aemilia ; 9. Liguria ; 10. Venetia et Histria ; 11. ROYAL TRANSPADANA

Then the development of the Empire, by its very vastness and its complex organization, diminished the pre-eminence of the Italy in the Roman state: the provinces regained their economic importance, while the Italy it was impoverished by the large estates. Administrative autonomy was greatly attenuated with the introduction of the curatores, with Traiano, and of the consulares established by Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius with the name of iuridici. Participation in the ruling class of the Empire decreased, the emperors themselves were increasingly chosen from among the provincials. The edict of Caracalla (212 AD), granting all provincials Roman citizenship, sanctioned the parification. In the 3rd century. there. it was administered by correctores. With Diocletian it became one of the 12 dioceses. With Constantine he lost the capital. Immediately afterwards, aggregated into a single prefecture with Africa, it also lacked administrative features. The decline of the Italy created in the 5th century. the conditions for the barbarian invasions. Rome was conquered several times and in 476 Odoacer, king of the Heruli, deposed Romulus Augustulus, the last Roman emperor of the West.

The Peoples of Pre-Roman Italy