A name given by the Roman writers to the primitive race, who were thought to have blended
with the Siculi, and founded subsequently the nation of the Latins. The name is equivalent to
the Greek αὐτόχθονες
, as indicating an indigenous race.
According to tradition, they dwelt originally around Mount Velino, and Lake Fucinus, extending
as far as Carseoli, and towards Reate. This was Cato's account (Dionys. H.
). The Aborigines are depicted by Sallust and Vergil as savages living in
hordes, without manners, law, or agriculture, on the produce of the chase, and on wild fruits.
This, however, does not agree with the traces of their towns in the Apennines; but the whole
account was, perhaps, little else than an ancient speculation on the progress of mankind from
rudeness to civilization. The Aborigines are said to have revered Ianus and Saturn. The latter
taught them husbandry, and induced them to choose settled habitations, as the founders of a
better way of life. From this ancient race, as has already been remarked, blending with a
remnant of the Siculi, the nation of the Latins was said to have sprung; and between Saturn
and the time assigned for the Trojan settlement, only three kings of the Aborigines are
enumerated—Picus, Faunus, and Latinus. As to the name of this early race, the old
and genuine one seems to have been Casci; and the appellation Aborigines was only given
them by the later Roman writers. Regarding the historical aborigines of Italy, see Italia