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MARRUCI´NI

Eth. MARRUCI´NI (Eth. Μαρρουκῖνοι, Pol., Strab.; Μαρρουκινοί, Ptol.), a nation of Central Italy, inhabiting a narrow strip of territory on the S. bank of the river Aternus, extending from the Adriatic to the ridge of the Apennines. (Strab. v. p.241.) They were bounded on the N. by the Vestini, from whom they were separated by the Aternus, and on the S. by the Frentani, while to the W. and SW. they apparently extended inland as far as the lofty mountain barriers of the Majella and the Morrone, which separated them from the Peligni, and effectually cut them off from all intercourse with their neighbours on that side, except by the valley of the Aternus. The southern limit of their territory is not stated by any ancient author, but was probably formed by the river Foro, which falls into the Adriatic about 7 miles from the mouth of the Aternus (Pescara). Pliny, indeed, extends the district of the Frentani as far as the Aternus (Plin. Nat. 3.12. s. 17), thus cutting off the Marrucini altogether from the sea; but there seems little doubt that this is erroneous. [FRENTANI] The Marrucini were, undoubtedly, like the other tribes in their immediate neighbourhood, of Sabine origin, and appear to have been closely connected with the Marsi; indeed, the two names are little more than different forms of the same, a fact which appears to have been already recognised by Cato (ap. Piscian. ix. p. 871). But, whether the Marrucini were an offset of the Marsi, or both tribes were separately derived from the common Sabine stock, we have no information. The Marrucini appear in history as an independent people, but in almost constant alliance with the Marsi, Peligni, and Vestini. There is, indeed, little doubt that the four nations formed a kind of league for mutual defence [p. 2.279]Liv. 8.29; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 101); and hence we find the Marrucini generally following the lead and sharing the fortunes of the Marsi and Peligni. But in B.C. 311 they appear to have taken part with the Samnites, though the other confederates remained neuter; as in that year, according to Diodorus, they were engaged in open hostilities with Rome. (Diod. 19.105.) No mention of this is found in Livy, nor is their name noticed in B.C. 308, when the Marsi and Peligni appear in hostility to Rome; but a few years after, B.C. 304, all three nations, together with the Frentani, united in sending ambassadors to sue for peace, and obtained a treaty of alliance on favourable terms. (Liv. 9.41, 45; Diod. 20.101.) From this time the Marrucini became the firm and faithful allies of Rome; and are repeatedly mentioned among the auxiliaries serving in the Roman armies. (Dionys. xx. Fr. Didot.; Pol. 2.24; 59.44.40; Sil. Ital. 8.519.) During the Second Punic War their fidelity was unshaken, though their territory was repeatedly traversed and ravaged by Hannibal (Liv. 22.9, 26.11; Pol. 3.88); and we find them, besides furnishing their usual contingent to the Roman armies, providing supplies for Claudius Nero on his march to the Metaurus, and raising a force of volunteers to assist Scipio in his expedition to Africa. (Liv. 27.43, 28.45.) In the Social War, however, they followed the example of the Marsi and Peligni, and, though their name is less often mentioned than that of their more powerful neighbours, they appear to have borne an important part in that momentous contest. (Appian, App. BC 1.39, 46; Liv. Epit. lxxii.; Oros. 5.18.) Thus Herius Asinius, who is called by Livy “praetor Marrucinorum,” and was slain in one of the battles between Marius and the Marsi, is particularly noticed as one of the chief leaders of the Italian allies. (Liv. Epit. lxxiii.; Vell. 2.16; Appian, App. BC 1.40.) But before the close of the year 89 B.C. they were defeated, and their territory ravaged by Sulpicius, the lieutenant of Pompeius, and soon after reduced to submission by Pompeius himself. (Liv. Epit. lxxvi.; Oros. 5.18; Appian, App. BC 1.52.)

The Marrucini were at this time admitted to the Roman franchise, and became quickly merged in the ordinary condition of the Italian subjects of Rome, Hence their name is from henceforth rarely found in history; though it is incidentally noticed by Cicero, as well as by Caesar, who traversed their territory on his march from Corfinium into Apulia. (Cic. Clu. 19; Caes. B.C. 1.23, 2.34.) In B.C. 43, also, they were among the most prominent to declare themselves against Antonius. (Cic. Phil. 7.8) From these notices it is evident that they still retained their municipal existence as a separate people; and we learn from the geographers that this continued to be the case under the Roman Empire also; but the name gradually sank into disuse. Their territory was comprised, as well as that of the Vestini, in the Fourth Region of Augustus; in the subsequent distribution of the provinces, it is not quite clear to which it was assigned, the Liber Coloniarum including Teate among the “Civitates Piceni,” while P. Diaconus refers it, together with the Frentani, to the province of Samnium. (Strab. v. p.241; Plin. Nat. 3.12. s. 17; Ptol. 3.1.60; Lib. Col. p. 258; P. Diac. 2.20.)

The territory of the Marrucini (ager Marrucinus, Plin.; Μαρρουκίνη, Strab.), though of small extent, was fertile, and, from its situation on the E. of the Apennines, sloping towards the sea, enjoyed a much milder climate than that of the neighbouring Peligni, Hence it produced oil, wine, and corn in abundance, and appears to have been noted for the excellence of its fruit and vegetables. (Plin. Nat. 15.19. s. 21; Columell. 10.131.) It would appear to have been subject to earthquakes (Plin. Nat. 2.83. s. 85, 17.25. s. 38); and hence, probably, arose the apprehension expressed by Statius, lest the mountains of the Marrucini should be visited by a catastrophe similar to that which had recently occurred in Campania. (Stat. Silv. 4.4. 86.)

The only city of importance belonging to the Marrucini was TEATE now Chieti, which is called by several writers their metropolis, or capital city. At a later period its municipal district appears to have comprised the whole territory of the Marrucini. INTERPROMIUM known only from the Itineraries, and situated on the Via Valeria, 12 miles from Corfinium, at the Osteria di S. Valentino, was never more than a village or vicus in the territory of Teate. Pollitium, mentioned by Diodorus (19.105) as a city of the Marrucini, which was besieged by the Romans in B.C. 311, is wholly unknown. ATERNUM, at the mouth of the river of the same name, served as the port of the Marrucini, but belonged to the Vestini. (Strab. v. p.241.)

[E.H.B]

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