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Unification of Italy under Roman rule

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The name "Italy" was originally only the region of a small people of Italians or Italians (F iταλοί, vituli, hence Oscan Vitellium), which occupied the southern extremity of Bruttium (now the provinces of Reggio and Catanzaro) to the bays of Scilac and Terino (the name was first mentioned by the Reginian Hypnis around 500 BC, but the written and pronounced digamma of the word indicates its deep antiquity). Soon the name Italy was extended to the whole of Bruttium up to the Laia River and to the area of the city of Methanonta.

The main stages of the unification of Italy under the rule of Rome can be divided into the following stages::

When the Oscans had a legend about their common origin with the Greeks, Italy began to be called the country occupied by them. Already in the treaty of 241 BC with Carthage, Italy is understood as the entire peninsula up to the Rubicon, and in the next century this name is strengthened for the whole country up to the Alps. The Alps became part of Italy only under Diocletian, when three more regions were added to the 11 regions into which Augustus divided Italy.

Initially, Rome was an ordinary city of Latium and was part of the union of 30 Latin cities. At the end of the imperial era, Rome took a dominant position in Latium, its growth and expansion began to alarm the Latins In connection with the expulsion from Rome of the Etruscan king Tarquinius the Proud (510 BC). the Etruscan king Porsena besieged Rome. The Latins and Campanian Greeks came to Rome's aid. By their combined efforts, the victory was achieved.

However, after repelling the general danger, relations between the Romans and the Latins deteriorated and resulted in the so-called 1st Latin War. It lasted for several years and ended in peace by 493 BC. Rome was forced to enter into a new alliance with the Latins on the terms of non-interference in their internal affairs, mutual military assistance and an equal division of the spoils.

The peace and alliance of Rome with the Latins is explained by the common danger from the Volscians, Equi and Sabines. But Rome's more formidable opponent during the 5th century BC was the rich Etruscan city of Veii. The Romans sought to take over the fertile region of Veientium and control both banks of the Tiber River, which was used to export salt. The salt depots were located in Rome at the foot of the Aventine, where the Salt Road that ran through the land of the Sabines began. Veii was conquered only at the beginning of the 4th century BC.

Further expansion of the Romans was temporarily suspended: they themselves became the target of attack from the Celts, or Gauls. As early as the sixth century BC, some of the Gallic tribes left the Danube River Valley, and in the 5th century BC they appeared in Northern Italy. They settled in the Po Valley and founded the Mediolan Fortress. Milan). In the 4th century BC, the Gauls began to move south into Etruria. Then the Etruscans united with the Romans. In 390 BC, a battle took place at the Aliya River (a tributary of the Tiber), in which the Gauls won. They marched on Rome, took it, and burned it. Only the fortified Capitol remained in Roman hands. The departure of the Gauls from Rome is described in various ways. A more plausible version is that Rome bought off the Gauls with gold.

The Gallic invasion weakened Rome. It took a lot of effort and money to rebuild the city and re-enclose it with a wall. The Volscians, Aequians, and Etruscans took advantage of the weakening of Rome and attacked it. They were supported by the Latins and Guernicians, which led to the actual collapse of the Roman-Latin union.

During the 4th century BC, the Romans and other Italians were repeatedly threatened by the Gallic threat, which led to the resumption of the Roman-Latin alliance (358 BC), which was joined by other communities in Central Italy. Relying on this alliance, Rome coped with difficulties and even pushed back the Etruscans and Volscians, to whose lands it brought new colonists.

Rome's international prestige also grew, and this was reflected in the conclusion of treaties with other city-states and tribal alliances: with the Samnites, with a number of cities — Latin Tusculum, with the Etruscan Cere, with Carthage. Thus, in the middle of the 4th century BC, Rome developed into a strong state of Italy.

After the establishment of the Romans in the southern part of Latium, Campania was the neighboring region, which did not represent a single whole either ethnically or politically. In the mountainous part of Central Italy, an alliance of Samnite tribes was formed. In 343 BC, they attacked the largest Campanian city, Capua. The Campanians turned to Rome for help. The temptation to establish itself on Campanian soil was too great, and Rome decided to go to war against the Samnites. This 1st Samnite War (343-341 BC) ended in Roman victory.

The Roman successes alarmed the Latins. The leaders of the Latin cities came to Rome to demand the election of one of the consuls and half of the Roman Senate from among the Latins. The refusal of the Romans caused the so-called 2nd Latin War (340-338 BC). The Latins and Campanians were defeated.

The Romans captured Capua and Naples. This led to the 2nd Samnite War (327-304 BC). The Romans then attempted to enter the mountainous Samnium, but were ambushed by the Samnites in Caudium (321 BC) and forced to surrender. The victors subjected them to a humiliating rite: disarmed, half-naked soldiers, led by consuls and military tribunes, were led like cattle under the taunts and insults of the Samnites, "under the yoke", that is, into a kind of gate made of weapons taken from the Romans. It took Rome several years to recover from the Caudine defeat. Lessons have been learned from it. The Romans made modifications to their battle formations. At the end of the fourth century BC, the preponderance of the Romans was unquestionable. In 304 BC, the Samnites requested peace.

But soon new masses of Gauls were moving across the Alps into northern Italy. The Etruscans joined the anti-Roman campaign. The Samnites took advantage of the Romans ' difficult situation. This triggered the 3rd Samnite War (298-290 BC). The Romans managed to win. A great contribution to the victory was made by the talented commander Manius Curius Dentatus. As a result of the 3rd Samnite War, the Samnite Federation ceased to exist.

285 BC-the Gauls invaded Etruria again, but were defeated. On the Adriatic coast, the Seine of Gaul, the first Roman colony in the Gallic land, was founded.

Related topics

Roman Republic, The Etruscans, Latinas, Equas, The Gallic Invasion, Military reform Camille, Samnite Wars, War with Pyrrhus