In a short time the Aborigines and Trojans became involved in war with Turnus, the king of the Rutulians. Lavinia had been betrothed to him before the arrival of Aeneas, and, furious at finding a stranger preferred to him, he declared war against both Latinus and Aeneas.
Neither side could congratulate themselves on the result of the battle; the Rutulians were defeated, but the victorious Aborigines and Trojans lost their leader Latinus.
Feeling their need of allies, Turnus and the Rutulians had recourse to the celebrated power of the Etruscans and Mezentius, their king, who was reigning at Caere
, a wealthy city in those days. From the first he had felt anything but pleasure at the rise of the new city, and now he regarded the growth of the Trojan state as much too rapid to be safe to its neighbours, so he welcomed the proposal to join forces with the Rutulians.
To keep the Aborigines from abandoning him in the face of this strong coalition and to secure their being not only under the same laws, but also the same designation, Aeneas called both nations by the common name of Latins.
From that time the Aborigines were not behind the Trojans in their loyal devotion to Aeneas. So great was the power of Etruria that the renown of her people had filled not only the inland parts of Italy
but also the coastal districts along the whole length of the land from the Alps
to the Straits of Messina
. Aeneas, however, trusting to the loyalty of the two nations who were day by day growing into one, led his forces into the field, instead of awaiting the enemy behind his walls.
The battle resulted in favour of the Latins, but it was the last mortal act of Aeneas His tomb — whatever it is lawful and right to call him — is situated on the bank of the Numicius. He is addressed as ‘Jupiter Indiges.’