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Eth. CARNI (Eth. Κάρνοι), an Alpine tribe, who inhabited the ranges of those mountains which separated Venetia from Noricum, extending from Rhaetia on the W. to the confines of Istria on the E. Their limits, however, are not very clearly defined. Strabo appears to confine them to the mountain country, and regards the plain about Aquileia as belonging to Venetia (iv. p. 206, v. p. 216). Ptolemy, on the contrary, divides the province into two portions, distinguishing the territory of the Carni from Venetia, and assigning to the former the two cities of Aquileia and Concordia near the coast, as well as Forum Julii in the interior. (Ptol. 3.1.29.) Pliny also calls the district about Aquileia “Carnorum regio,” but no mention is found of the Carni in the account given by Livy of the foundation of that city, which lie certainly appears to have regarded as situated in Venetia. (Liv. 39.22,45, 55.) The proper abode of the Carni would therefore seem to have been the mountain ranges that sweep in a kind of semicircle round the plain of the Frioul; and which were thence distinguished as the Alpes Carnicae, though in later times better known as the Alpes Juliae. [ALPES] Here they were bounded by the Rhaetians on the W., by the Noricans on the N.. and by the Taurisci and Iapodes on the E. Tergeste, on the very confines of Istria, was, before it became a Roman town, a village of the Carni. (Strab. vii. p.314.) We have no express statement in any ancient author, concerning their origin, but there seem to be good reasons for believing them to be a Celtic race ; and the Fasti Triumphales record the triumph of M. Aemilius Scaurus in B.C. 115, “de Galleis Karneis.” (Gruter. Inscr. p, 298. 3.) This is the only notice we have of the period of their conquest by the Romans, none of the extant historians having deemed the event worthy of mention ; nor have we any account of the period at which they were reduced to a state of more complete subjection; but the names of Julium Carnicum, and Forum Julii, given to the two Roman towns which were established within their territory, sufficiently point out that this took place either under Caesar himself, or (more probably) under Octavian. The construction of a Roman road through the heart of this territory, which led from Aquileia up the valley of the Tilavemptus (Tagliamento) to Julium Carnicum (Ziglio), and thence across the southern chain of the Alps to Aguntum (Innichen), in the valley of the Drave, must have completely opened out their mountain fastnesses. But the Carni continued to exist as a distinct tribe, down to a late period of the Roman Empire, and gave to the mountain region which they occupied the name of Carnia or Carniola. The latter form, which first appears in Paulus Diaconus (Hist. 6.52), has been retained down to the present day, though the greater part of the modern duchy of Carniola (called in German Krain), was not included within the limits of the Carni, as these are defined by Strabo and Pliny. The name of the adjoining province of Carinthia (in German Kärnthen) is evidently also derived from that of the Carni. The name of that people may very probably be derived from the Celtic root Carn, a point or peak (connected with the German Horn), and have reference to their abode among the lofty and rugged summits of the Alps. (Zeuss, Die Deutschen, p. 248.)

The topography of the land of the Carni is given under the general head VENETIA: it being impossible to define with certainty the limits of the Carni and Veneti, the distinction established by Ptolemy having certainly not been generally observed. The only two towns of any consideration which we can assign with certainty to the Carni, are Julium Carnicum (Zuglio), and Forum Julii (Cividale), the latter of which became, towards the close of the Roman Empire, a place of great importance, and gave to the whole surrounding province the name, by which it is still known, of the Friuli, or Frioul. Pliny mentions two other towns, named Ocra and Segeste, as belonging to the Carni, but which no longer existed in his time. (Plin. Nat. 3.18. s. 23.)


hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.18
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 22
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 3.1
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