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Eth. EUGA´NEI a people of Northern Italy, who play but an unimportant part in historical times, but appear at an earlier period to have been more powerful and widely spread. Livy expressly tells us (1.1) that they occupied the whole tract from the Alps to the head of the Adriatic, from which they were expelled by the Veneti. And it is quite in accordance with this statement that Pliny describes Verona as inhabited partly by Rhaetians, partly by Euganeans, and that Cato enumerated 34 towns belonging to them. (Plin. Nat. 3.19. s. 23, 20. s. 24.) They appear to have been driven by the Veneti into the valleys of the Alps on the Italian side of the chain, where they continued to subsist in the time of Pliny as a separate people, and had received the Latin franchise. But they must also have occupied the detached group of volcanic hills between Patavium and Verona, which are still known as the Euganean Hills (Colli Euganei), a name evidently transmitted by uninterrupted tradition, though not found in any ancient geographer.

Lucan indeed speaks of the “Euganeus collis,” which he associates with the baths of Aponus, and it is probable that the “Euganei lacus” of Martial refer to the same waters. (Lucan 7.192; Martial, 4.25. 4.) The latter author in another passage gives the name of Euganean to the town of Ateste at the foot of the same hills, and Sidonius Apollinaris applies the epithet of “Euganeae chartae” to the writings of Livy. (Id. 10.93; Sidon. Apoll. Paneg. Anthem. 189.) Hence it is evident that the tradition of their having previously occupied these regions survived long after their expulsion by the Veneti. According to Cato, the mountain tribes of the Triumpilini and Camuni, considerably further west (in the Val Camonica and Val Trompia) were also of Euganean race (ap. Plin. Nat. 3.20. s. 24).

We have no indication of the national affinities of the Euganeans. Ancient writers appear to have regarded them as a distinct race from the Veneti and from the Rhaetians, as well as from the Gauls who subsequently invaded this part of Italy; but from what stock they proceeded we have no account at all. The notion of their Greek descent (Plin. l.c.) was evidently a mere etymological fancy, based upon the supposed derivation of their name from ἐυγενε̂ις, “the well-born.”

The chief tribe of the Euganei was called, according to Pliny, Stoeni or Stoni, a name which is also found in Strabo among the minor Alpine tribes (Στόνοι, Strab. iv. p.204), but we have no clue to their position, [E.H.B] [p. 1.874]

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Lucan, Civil War, 7.192
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.19
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 3.20
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