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ITA´LIA (Ἰταλία, Eth. Ἰταλιώτης), was the name given in ancient as well as in modern times to the country still called Italy; and was applied, from the time of Augustus, both by Greek and Latin writers, in almost exactly the same sense as at the present day. It was, however, at first merely a geographical term; the countries comprised under the name, though strongly defined by natural limits, and common natural features, being from the earliest ages peopled by different races, which were never politically united, till they all fell under the Roman: yoke, and were gradually blended, by the pervading influence ot Roman institutions and the Latin language, into one common nationality. [p. 2.75]

1. NAME.

The name of Italy was very far from being originally applied in the same extensive signification which it afterwards obtained. It was confined, in the first instance, to the extreme southern point of the Italian peninsula, not including even the whole of the modern Calabria, but only the southern peninsular portion of that country, bounded on the N. by the narrow isthmus which separates the Terinaean and Scylletian gulfs. Such was the distinct statement of Antiochus of Syracuse (ap. Strab. vi. p.255); nor have we any reason to reject his testimony upon this point, though it is certain that this usage must have ceased long before the time of that historian, and is not found in any extant ancient author. At a subsequent period, but still in very early times, the appellation was extended to the whole tract along the shores of the Tarentine gulf, as far as Metapontum, and from thence across to the gulf of Posidonia on the western sea; though, according to other statements, the river Laiüs was its northern limit on this side. (Strab. v. p.209, vi. p. 254; Antiochus, ap. Dionys. 1.73.) This appears to have been the established usage among the Greeks in the fifth century B.C. Antiochus expressly exeluded the Iapygian peninsula from Italy, and Thucydides clearly adopts the same distinction (7.33). The countries on the shores of the Tyrrhenian sea, north of the Posidonian gulf, were then known only by the names of Opica and Tyrrhenia; thus Thucydides calls Cumae a city in Opicia, and Aristotle spoke of Latium as a district of Opica. Even Theophrastus preserves the distinction, and speaks of the pine-trees of Italy, where those of the Bruttian mountains only can be meant, as opposed to those of Latium. (Thuc. 6.4; Arist. ap. Dionys 1.72; Theophr. H. P. 5.8.)

The name of Italia, as thus applied, seems to have been synonymous with that of Oenotria; for Antiochus, in the same passage where he assigned the narrowest limits to the former appellation, confined that of Oenotria within the same boundaries, and spoke of the Oenotri and Itali as the same people (ap. Strab. vi. p.254; ap. Dionys. 1.12). This is in perfect accordance with the statements which represent the Oenotrians as assuming the name of Italians (Itali) from a chief of the name of Italus plied (Dionys. A. R. 1.12, 35; Verg. A. 1.533; Arist. Pol. 7.10), as well as with the mythical genealogy according to which Italus and Oenotrus were brothers. (Serv. ad Aen. l.c.). Thucydides, who represents Italus as coming from Arcadia (6.2), probably adopted this last tradition, for the Oenotrians were generally represented as of Arcadian origin. Whether the two names were originally applied to same people, or (as is perhaps more probable) the Itali were merely a particular tribe of the Oenotrians, whose name gradually prevailed till it was extended to the whole people, we have no means of determining. But in this case, as in most others, it is clear that the name of the people was antecedent to that of the .country, and that Italia, in its original signification, meant merely the land of the Itali; though at a later period, by its gradual extension, it had altogether lost this national meaning. It is impossible for us to trace with accuracy the suecessive steps of this extension, nor do we know at what time the Romans first adopted the name of Italia as that of the whole peninsula. It would be still more interesting to know whether they received this usage from the Greeks, or found it already prevalent among the nations of Italy; but it is difficult to believe that tribes of different races, origin, and language, as the Etruscans, Umbrians, Sabellians, and Oenotrians, would have concurred in calling the country they inhabited by one general appellation. If the Greek account already given, according to which the name was first given to the Oenotrian part of the peninsula, is worthy of confidence, it must have been a word of Pelasgic origin, and subsequently adopted by the Sabellian and Oscan races, as well as by the Romans themselves.

The etymology of the name is wholly uncertain. The current tradition among the Greeks and Romans, as already noticed, derived it from an Oenotrian or Pelasgic chief, Italus; but this is evidently a mere fiction, like that of so many other eponymous heroes. A more learned, but scarcely more trustworthy, etymology derived the name from Italos or Itulos, which, in Tyrrhenian or old Greek, is said to have signified an ox; so that Italia would have meant “the land of cattle.” (Timaeus, ap. Gell. 11.1; Varr. R.R. 2.1.9.) The ancient form here cited is evidently connected with the Latin “vitulus;” and it is probable that the name of the people was originally Vitulos, or Vitalos, in its Pelasgic form; we find the same form retained by the Sabellian nations as late as the first century B.C., when the Samnite denarii (struck during the Social War, B.C. 90--88) have the inscription “Vitelu” for Italia.

It is probable that the rapid extension of the Roman power, and the successive subjugation of the different nations of Central and Southern Italy by its victorious arms, tended also to promote the extension of the one common name to the whole; and there seems little doubt that as early as the time of Pyrrhus, this was already applied in nearly the same sense as afterwards continued to be the usage,--as comprising the whole Italian peninsula to the frontiers of Cisalpine Gaul, but excluding the latter country, as well as Liguria. This continued to be the customary and official meaning of the name of Italy from this time till the close of the Republic; and hence, even after the First Triumvirate, Gallia Cisalpina, as well as Transalpina, was allotted to Caesar as his province, a term which was never applied but to countries out of Italy; but long before the close of this period, the name of Italy would seem to have been often employed in its more extensive, and what may be termed its geographical, meaning, as including the whole land from the foot of the Alps to the Sicilian straits. Polybius certainly uses the term in this sense, for he speaks of the Romans as having subdued all Italy, except the land of the Gauls (Gallia Cisalpina), and repeatedly describes Hannibal as crossing the Alps into Italy, and designates the plains on the banks of the Padus as in Italy. (Pol. 1.6, 2.14, 3.39, 54.) The natural limits of Italy are indeed so clearly marked and so obvious, that as soon as the name came to be once received as the designation of the country in general, it was almost inevitable that it should acquire this extension; hence, though the official distinction between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul was retained by the Romans to the very end of the Republic, it is clear that the more extended use of the name was already familiar in common usage. Thus, already in B.C. 76, Pompeius employs the expression “in cervicibus Italiae,” of the passes of the Alps into Cisalpine Gaul (Sail. Hist. 3.11); and Decimus Bruus [p. 2.76]in B.C. 43, distinctly uses the phrase of quitting Italy, when he crosses the Alps. ( Fam. 11.20.) So also both Caesar and Cicero, in his Philippics, repeatedly use the name of Italy in the wider and more general sense, though the necessity of distinguishing the province of Cisalpine Gaul, leads the latter frequently to observe the official distinction. (Caes. Gal. 5.1, 6.44, 7.1; Cic. Phil. 4.4, 5.12.) But, indeed, had not this use of the name been already common, before it came to be officially adopted, that circumstance alone would scarcely have rendered it so familiar as we find it in the Latin writers of the Augustan age. Virgil, for instance, in celebrating the praises of Italy, never thought of excluding from that appellation the plains of Cisalpine Gaul, or the lakes at the foot of the Alps. From the time, indeed, when the rights of Roman citizens were extended to all the Cisalpine Gauls, no real distinction any longer subsisted between the different parts of Italy; but Cisalpine Gaul still formed a separate province under D. Brutus in B.C. 43 (Cic. Phil. 3.4, 5, 4.4, 5.9, &c.), and it is probable, that the union of that province with Italy took place in the following year. Dio Cassius speaks of it, in B.C. 41, as an already established arrangement. (D. C. 48.12; Savigny, Verm. Schr. iii. p. 318.)

From the time of Augustus onwards, the name of Italia continued to be applied in the same sense throughout the period of the Roman empire, though with some slight modifications of its frontiers on the side of the Alps; but during the last ages of the Western empire, a singular change took place, by which the name of Italia came to be specially applied (in official language at least) to the northern part of what we now call Italy, comprising the five provinces of Aemilia, Flaminia, Liguria, Venetia, and Istria, together with the Cottian and Rhaetian Alps, and thus excluding nearly the whole of what had been included under the name in the days of Cicero. This usage probably arose from the division of the whole of Italy for administrative purposes into two great districts, the one of which was placed under an officer called the “Vicarius Urbis Romae,” while the other, or northern portion, was subject to the “Vicarius Italiae.” (Not. Dig. 2.18; Gothofr. ad Cod. Theod. 11.1, leg. 6; Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 21.) The practice was confirmed for a time by the circumstance that this part of Italy became the seat of the Lombard monarchy, which assumed the title of the kingdom of Italy ( “Regnum Italiae” ) ; but the ancient signification still prevailed, and the name of Italy was applied throughout the middle ages, as it still is at the present day, within the boundaries established by Augustus.

The other names applied by ancient writers, especially by the Latin and later Greek poets, to the Italian peninsula, may be very briefly disposed of. Dionysius tells us that in very remote ages Italy was called by the Greeks Hesperia, or Ausonia, and by the natives Saturnia. (Dionys. A. R. 1.35.) Of these three names, HESPERIA (Ἑσπερία), or “the Land of the West,” was evidently a mere vague appellation, employed in the infancy of geographical discovery, and which was sometimes limited to Italy, sometimes used in a much wider sense as comprising the whole West of Europe, including Spain. [HISRPANIA.] But there is no evidence of its having been employed in the more limited sense, at a very early period. The name is not found at all in Homer or Hesiod; but, according to the Iliac Table, Stesichorus represented Aeneas as departing from Troy for Hesperia, where in all probability Italy is meant; though it is very uncertain whether the poet conducted Aeneas to Latium. (Schwegler, Röm. Gesch. vol. i. p. 298.) But even in the days of Stesichorus the appellation was probably one confined to the poets and logographers. At a later period we can trace it as used by the Alexandrian poets, from whom in all probability it passed to the Romans, and was adopted, as we know, by Ennius, as well as by Virgil and the writers of the Augustan age. (Agathyllus, ap. Dionys. 1.49; Apollon. 3.311; Ennius, Ann. Fr. p. 12; Verg. A. 1.530, 3.185, &c.)

The name of AUSONIA on the contrary, was one derived originally from one of the races which inhabited the Italian peninsula, the Aurunci of the Romans, who were known to the Greeks as the Ausones. These Ausonians were a tribe of Opican or Oscan race, and it is probable that the name of Ausonia was at first applied much as that of Opicia or Opica was by Thucydides and other writers of the fifth century B.C. But, as applied to the whole peninsula of Italy, the name is, so far as we know, purely poetical; nor can it be traced farther back than the Alexandrian writers Lycophron and Apollonius Rhodius, who employed it familiarly (as did the Latin poets in imitation of them) as a poetical equivalent for Italy. [AUSONES]

As for the name of SATURNIA though it is found in a pretended Greek oracle cited by Dionysius (Σατορνίαν αἶαν, Dionys. A. R. 1.19), it may well be doubted whether it was ever an ancient appellation at all. Its obvious derivation from the name of the Latin god Saturnus proves it to have been of native Italian, and not of Greek, invention, and probably this was the only authority that Dionysius had for saying it was the native name of Italy. But all the traditions of the Roman mythology connect Saturnus so closely with Latium, that it seems almost certain the name of Saturnia (if it was ever more than a poetical fabrication) originally belonged to Latium only, and was thence gradually extended by the Romans to the rest of Italy. Ennius seems to have used the phrase of “Saturnia terra” only in reference to Latium; while Virgil applies it to the whole of Italy. (Ennius, ap. Varr. L. L. 5.42; Verg. G. 2.173.) It is never used in either sense by Latin prose writers, though several authors state, as Dionysius does, that it was the ancient name of Italy. (Festus, v. Saturnia, p. 322; Just. 43.1.)


There are few countries of which the boundaries are more clearly marked out by nature than those of Italy. It is well described by one of its modern poets as the land “ChApennin parte el mar circonda e l'Alpe;
” and this single line at once enumerates all the principal physical features that impart to the country its peculiar physiognomy. Italy consists of a great peninsula, projecting in a SE. direction into the Mediterranean sea, and bounded on the W. by the portions of that sea commonly known as the Tyrrhenian and Sicilian seas, but comprised by the Romans under the name of Mare Inferum, or the Lower Sea; on the E. by the Adriatic, or the Upper Sea (Mare Superum), as it was commonly termed by the Romans; while to the N. it spreads out into a broad expanse, forming, as it were, the base or root by which it adheres to the continent of Europe, and [p. 2.77]around which sweeps the great chain of the Alps, forming a continuous barrier from the shores of the Mediterranean near Massilia to the head of the Adriatic at Trieste (Tergeste). From the western extremity of this vast mountain chain, where the ranges of the Maritime Alps abut immediately on the sea-shore, branches off the inferior, but still very considerable, chain of the Apennines, which, after sweeping round the Ligurian gulf, stretches in an unbroken line directly across to the shores of the Adriatic, and then, turning abruptly to the SE., divides the whole peninsula throughout its entire length, until it ends in the promontory of Leucopetra, on the Sicilian sea. [APENNINUS.]

The precise limits of Italy can thus only be doubtful on its northern frontier, where the massive ranges of the Alps, though presenting, when viewed on the large scale, a vast natural barrier, are in fact in. dented and penetrated by deep and irregular valleys, which render it often difficult to determine the natural boundary; nor has this been always adopted as the political one. Along the coast of Liguria, between Massilia and Genua, the Maritime Alps send down successive ranges to the sea, forming great headlands, of which the most striking are: that between Noli and Finale, commonly regarded by modern geographers as the termination of the Maritime Alps; and the promontory immediately W. of Monaco, which still bears the remains of the Tropaea Augusti, and the passage of which presents the greatest natural difficulties to the construction of a road along this coast. This mountain headland would probably be the best point to fix as the natural limit of Italy on this side, and appears to have been commonly regarded in ancient times as such; but when Augustus first extended the political limits of Italy to the foot of the Alps, he found it convenient to carry them somewhat further W., and fixed on the river Varus as the boundary; thus including Nicaea, which was a colony of Massilia, and had previously been considered as belonging to Gaul. (Strab. iv. pp. 178, 184, v. p. 209; Plin. Nat. 3.4. s. 5, 5. s. 6, 7; Mela, 2.4.9; Ptol. 3.1.1; Lucan 1.404.) Though this demarcation does not appear to have been always followed; for in the Itinerary of Antoninus (p. 296) we again find the Alpis Maritima (meaning the mountain headland above described) fixed as the boundary between Italy and Gaul: it was generally adopted, and has continued without alteration to the present day.

The extreme NE. limit of Italy, at the head of the Adriatic Gulf, is equally susceptible of various determination, and here also Augustus certainly transgressed the natural limits by including Istria within the confines of Italy. (Plin. Nat. 3.18. s. 22; Strab. v. p.209, vii. p. 314.) But here, also, the reasons of political convenience, which first gave rise to this extension, have led to its subsequent adoption, and Istria is still commonly reckoned a part of Italy. The little river Forrnio, which flows into the Adriatic between Trieste and Capo d'Istria, was previously established as the boundary of Italy on this side: but the range of the Julian Alps, which, after sweeping round the broad plain of the Frioul, suddenly approaches close to the Adriatic, near the sources of the Timavus, and presents a continuous mountain barrier from thence to Trieste, would seem to constitute the true natural limit.

Even between these two extremities, the chain of the Alps does not always form so simple and clearlymarked a frontier as might at first be expected. It would not, indeed, be difficult to trace geographically such a line of boundary, by following the water-shed or line of highest ridge, throughout: but the imperfect knowledge of the Alps possessed by the ancients was scarcely sufficient for such a purpose; and this line was not, in ancient, any more than in modern times, the actual limit of different nationalities. Thus, the Rhaetians, who in the days of Strabo and Pliny were not comprised in Italy, inhabited the valleys and lower ridges of the Alps on the S. side of the main chain, down quite to the borders of the plains, as well as the northern declivities of the same mountains. Hence, a part of the Southern Tirol, including the valley of the Adige above Trent, and apparently the whole of the Valteline, though situated on the southern side of the Alps, were at that time excluded from Italy: while, at a later period, on the contrary, the two provinces of Rhaetia Prima and Rhaetia Secunda were both incorporated with Italy, and the boundary, in consequence, carried far to the N. of the central line of geographical limit. In like manner the Cottian Alps, which formed a separate district, under a tributary chieftain, in the days of Augustus, and were only incorporated with Italy by Nero, comprised the valleys on both sides of the main chain; and the provinces established in the latter periods of the Empire under the names of the Alpes Cottiae and Alpes Maritimae, appear to have been constituted with equally little reference to this natural boundary. (Walekenaer, Géogr. des Gaules, vol. ii. pp. 21--36, 361, 395.)

While Italy is bounded on the N. by the great natural barrier of the Alps, it is to the chain of the Apennines, by which it is traversed in its entire length, that it mainly owes its peculiar configuration. This great mountain chain may be considered as the back-bone or vertebral column of the Italian peninsula, which sends down offsets or lateral ridges on both sides to the sea, while it forms, throughout its long course, the water-shed or dividing ridge, from which the rivers of the peninsula take their rise. A detailed description of the Apennines has already been given under the article APENNINUS: they are here noticed only as far as they are connected with the general features of the physical geography of Italy.


The first part of the chain of the Apennines, which extends from the point of their junction with the Maritime Alps along the N. shore of the Gulf of Genoa, and from thence across the whole breadth of Italy to the Adriatic near Ariminum, constitutes the southern boundary of a great valley or plain, which extends, without interruption, from the foot of the Apennines to that of the Alps. This broad expanse of perfectly level country, consisting throughout of alluvial soil, is watered by the great river Padus, or Po, and its numerous tributaries, which bring down the waters from the flanks both of the Alps and Apennines, and render this extensive plain one of the most fertile tracts in Europe. It extends through a space of above 200 geog. miles in length, but does not exceed 50 or 60 in breadth, until it approaches the Adriatic, where the Alps beyond Vicenza trend away rapidly to the northward, sweeping in a semicircle round the plains of the Friuli (which are a mere continuation of the great plain of the Po), until they again approach the Adriatic near Trieste. At the same time the Apennines also, as they approach towards the Adriatic, gradually recede from the [p. 2.78]banks of the Padus; so that Ariminuni (Rimini), where their lowest slopes first descend to the seashore, is distant nearly 60 geog. miles from the mouth of that river, and it is almost as much more from thence to the foot of the Alps. It is this vast plain, together with the hill-country on each side of it, formed by the lower slopes of the mountains, that constituted the country of the Cisalpine Gauls, to which the Romans gave the name of GALLIA CISALPINA The westernmost part of the same tract, including the upper basin of the Po, and the extensive hilly district, now called the Monferrato, which stretches from the foot of the Apennines to the south bank of the Po, was inhabited from the earliest periods by Ligurian tribes, and was included in LIGURIA, according to the Roman use of the name. At the opposite extremity, the portion of the great plain E. and N. of the Adige (Athesis), as well as the district now called the Friuli, was the land of the Veneti, and constituted the Roman province of VENETIA The Romans, however, appear to have occasionally used the name of Gallia Cisalpina, in a more lax and general sense, for the whole of Northern Italy, or everything that was not comprised within the limits of Italy as that name was understood prior to the time of Augustus. At the present day the name of Lombardy is frequently applied to the whole basin of the Po, including both the proper Gallia Cisalpina, and the adjacent parts of Liguria and Venetia.

The name of NORTHERN ITALY may be conveniently adopted as a geographical designation for the same tract of country; but it is commonly understood as comprising the whole of Liguria, including the sea-coast; though this, of course, lies on the S. side of the dividing ridge of the Apennines. In this sense, therefore, it comprises the provinces of Liguria, Gallia Cisalpina, Venetia and Istria, and is limited towards the S. by the Macra (Magra) on the W. coast, and by the Rubicon on that of the Adriatic. In like manner, the name of CENTRAL ITALY is frequently applied to the middle portion, comprising the northern half of the peninsula, and extending along the W. coast from the mouth of the Macra to that of the Silarus, and on the E. from the Rubicon to the Frento: while that of SOUTHERN ITALY is given to the remaining portion of the peninsula, including Apulia, Calabria, Lucania, and Bruttium. But it must be borne in mind that these names are merely geographical distinctions, for the convenience of description and reference, and do not correspond to any real divisions of the country, either natural or political.


The country to which this name is applied differs essentially from that which lies to the N. of the Apennines. While the latter presents a broad level basin, bounded on both sides by mountains, and into which the streams and rivers converge from all sides, the centre of the Italian peninsula is almost wholly filled up by the broad mass of the Apennines, the offsets and lateral branches of which, in some parts, descend quite to the sea, in others leave a considerable intervening space of plain or low country: but even the largest of these level tracts is insignificant as compared with the great plains of Northern Italy. The chain of the Apennines, which from the neighbourhood of Ariminum assumes a generally SE. direction, is very far from being uniform and regular in its character. Nor can it be regarded, like the Alps or Pyrenees, as forming one continuous ridge, from which there branch off lateral arms or ranges, separated by deep intervening valleys. This is, indeed, the case, with tolerable regularity, on the eastern side of the mountains, and hence the numerous rivers which descend to the Adriatic pursue nearly parallel courses at right angles to the direction of the main chain. But the central mass of the mountains, which comprises all the loftiest summits of the Apennines, is broken up and intersected by deep longitudinal valleys, sometimes separated only by narrow ridges of moderate elevation, at others by rugged ranges rising abruptly to a height equal to that of the loftiest summits of the chain. The number of these valleys, occurring in the very heart of the Apennines, and often almost entirely enclosed by the mountains, is a feature in the physical geography of Italy which has in all ages exercised a material influence on its fortunes. The upland valleys, with their fine summer pasturages, were a necessary resource to the inhabitants of the dry plains of the south; and the peculiar configuration of these valleys opened out routes through the heart of the mountain districts, and facilitated mutual communication between the nations of the peninsula.

It is especially in the southern part of the district we are now considering that the Apennines assume this complicated and irregular structure. Between the parallels of 44° and 42° 30‘ N. lat. they may be regarded as forming a broad mountain chain, which has a direction nearly parallel with the line of coast of the Adriatic, and the centre of which is nowhere distant more than 40 geog. miles from the shore of that sea, while it is nearly double the same distance from that of the Tyrrhenian. Hence there remains on the W. side of the mountains an extensive tract of country, constituting the greater part of Etruria and the S. of Umbria, which is wholly distinct from the mountain regions, and consists in part of fertile plains, in part of a hilly, but still by no means mountainous, district. The great valleys of the Arno and the Tiber, the two principal rivers of Central Italy, which have their sources very near one another, but flow the one to the W. the other to the S., may be considered as the key to the geography of this part of the peninsula. Between them lies the hilly tract of Etruria, which, notwithstanding the elevation attained by some isolated summits, has nothing of the character of a mountain country, and a large part of which, as well as the portions of Umbria bordering on the valley of the Tiber, may be deservedly reckoned among the most fertile districts in Italy. South of the Tiber, again, the broad volcanic plains of Latium expand between the Apennines and the sea; and though these are interrupted by the isolated group of the Alban hills, and still more by the rugged mountains of the Volscians, which, between Terracina and Gaëta, descend quite to the sea-shore, as soon as these are passed, the mountains again recede from the sea-coast, and leave a considerable interval which is filled up by the luxuriant plain of Campania.

Nothing can be more striking than the contrast presented by different parts of the countries thus comprised under the name of Central Italy. The snow still lingers in the upland pastures of Samnium and the Abruzzi, when the corn is nearly ripe in the plains of the Roman Campagna. The elevated districts of the Peligni, the Vestini, and the Marsi, were always noted for their cold and cheerless climate, and were better adapted for pasturage than the growth of corn. Even at Carseoli, only 40 miles [p. 2.79]distant from the Tyrrhenian sea, the olive would no longer flourish (Ovid, Ov. Fast. 4.683); though it grows with the utmost luxuriance at Tibur, at a distance of little more than 15 miles, but on the southern slope of the Apennines. The richness and fertility of the Campanian plains, and the beautiful shores of the Bay of Naples, were proverbial; while the Samnite valleys, hardly removed more than a day's journey towards the. interior, had all the characters of highland scenery. Nor was this contrast confined to the physical characters of the regions in question. the rude and simple mountaineers of the Sabine or Marsic valleys were not less different from the luxurious inhabitants of Etruria and Campania; and their frugal and homely habits of life are constantly alluded to by the Roman poets of the empire, when nothing but the memory remained of those warlike virtues for which they had been so distinguished at an earlier period.

Central Italy,, as the term is here used, comprised the countries known to the Romans as ETRURIA, UMBRIA (including the district adjoining the Adriatic previously occupied by the Galli Senones), PICENUM the land of the SABINI, VESTINI, MARSI, PELIGNI, MARRUCINI, and FRENTANI all SAMNIUM together with LATIUIM (in the. widest sense of the name) and CAMPANIA A more detailed account of the physical geography of these several regions, as well as of the people that inhabited them, will be found in the respective articles.


Southern Italy, according to the distinction above established, comprises the southern part of the peninsula, from the river Silarus on the W., and the Frento. on the E., to the Iapygian promontory on the Ionian,, and that of Leucopetra towards the Sicilian, sea. It thus includes the four provinces or districts of APULIA, CALABRIA (in the Roman sense of the name), LUCANIA and BRUTTIUM The physical geography of this region is in great part determined by the chain of the Apennines, which, from the frontiers of Samnium, is continued through the heart of Lucania in a broad mass of mountains, which is somewhat narrowed as it enters the Bruttian peninsula, but. soon spreads out again sufficiently to fill up almost the whole of that district from shore to shore. The extreme southern mass of the Apennines forms, indeed, a detached mountain range, which in its physical characters and, direction is more closely connected with the mountains in, the NE. of Sicily than with the proper chain of the Apennines [APENNINUS]; so that. the. notion entertained by many ancient writers that Sicily had formerly been joined to the mainland at Rhegium, though wholly false with reference to historical times, is undoubtedly true, in a geological sense. The name of the Apennines. is, however, universally given by geographers to the whole range which terminates in the bold promontory of Leucopetra (Capo dell' Armi).

East of the Apennines, and S. of the Frento, there extends! a broad plain from the foot of the mountains to the sea, forming the greater part of Apulia, or the tract now known as, Puglia piana; while, S. of this, an extensive tract of hilly country (not, however, rising to any considerable elevation) branches off from the Apennines near Venusia, and extends along the frontiers of Apulia and: Lucania, till it approaches the sea between Egnatia and Brundusium. The remainder of the peninsula of Calabria or Messapia, though it may be considered in some degree as, a continuation of the same tract, presents nothing that can be called a range of hills, much less of mountains, as it is erroneously represented on many maps. [CALABRIA] Between the central mass of the Apennines (which occupies the heart of Lucania) and the gulf of Tarentum, is another broad hilly tract, gradually descending as it approaches the shores of the gulf, which are bordered by a strip of alluvial plain, varying in breadth, but nowhere of great extent.

The Apennines do not attain to so great an elevation in the southern part of the Italian peninsula as in its more central regions; and, though particular summits rise to a considerable height, we do not here meet with the same broad mountain tracts or upland valleys as further northward. The centre of Lucania is, indeed, a rugged and mountainous country, and the lofty groups of the Monti delta Maddalena, S. of Potenza, the Mte. Pollino, on the frontiers of Bruttium, and the Sila, in the heart of the latter district, were evidently, in ancient as well as modern times, wild and secluded districts, almost inaccessible to civilisation. But the coasts both of Lucania and Bruttium were regions of the greatest beauty and fertility; and the tract extending along the shores of the Tarentine gulf, though now wild and desolate, is cited in ancient times as an almost proverbial instance of a beautiful and desirable country. (Archil. ap. Athen. 12.523.) The peninsula of Calabria or Messapia, as already remarked by Strabo, notwithstanding the absence of streams and the apparent aridity of the soil, is in reality a district of great fertility, as is also the tract which extends along the coast of the Adriatic from Egnatia to the mouth of the Aufidus; and, though the plains in the interior of Apulia are dry and dusty in summer, they produce excellent corn, and are described by Strabo as “bringing forth all things in great abundance.” (Strab. vi. p.284.)

The general form and configuration of Italy was well known to the ancient geographers. Polybius, indeed, seems to have had a very imperfect notion of it, or was singularly unhappy in his illustration; for he describes it as of a triangular form, having the Alps for its base, and its two sides bounded by the sea, the Ionian and Adriatic on the one side, the Tyrrhenian: and Sicilian on the other. (Pol. 2.14.) Strabo justly objects to this description, that Italy cannot be called a triangle, without allowing a degree of curvature and irregularity in the sides, which would. destroy all resemblance to that figure; and that it is, in fact, wholly impossible to compare it to any geometrical figure. (Strab. v. p.210.) There is somewhat more truth in the resemblance suggested by Pliny,--and which seems to have been commonly adopted, as it is referred to also by Rutilius (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 6; Rutil. Itin. 2.17)--to the leaf of an oak-tree, though this would imply that the. projecting portions or promontories on each side were. regarded; as more considerable than they really are. With the exception of the two great peninsulas or promontories of Calabria (Messapia) and Bruttium, which, are attached to its lower extremity, the remainder of Italy, from the Padus and the Macra southwards, has a general oblong form; and Strabo truly enough describes it, when thus considered, as much about the same shape and size with the Adriatic Sea. (Strab. v. p.211.)

Its dimensions are very variously stated by ancient writers. Strabo, in the comparison just cited, calls it little less than 6000 stadia (600 geog. miles) long, and about 1300 stadia in its greatest breadth; [p. 2.80]of these the latter measurement is almost exactly correct, but the former much overstated, as he is speaking there of Italy exclusive of Cisalpine Gaul. The total length of Italy (in the wider sense of the word), from the foot of the Alps near Aosta (Augusta Praetoria) to the lapygian promontory, is about 620 geog. miles, as measured in a direct line on a map; but from the same point to the promontory of Leucopetra, which is the extreme southern point of Italy, is above 660 geog. miles. Pliny states the distance from the same starting-point to Rhegium at 1020 M. P., or 816 geog. miles, which is greatly overstated, unless we suppose him to follow the windings of the road instead of measuring the distance geographically. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 6.) He also states the greatest breadth of Italy, from the Varus to the Arsia, at 410 M. P., which is very nearly correct; the actual distance from the Varus to the head of the Adriatic, measured in a straight line, being 300 geog. miles (375 M., P.), while from thence to the Arsia is about 50 geog. miles. Pliny adds, that the breadth of the peninsula, from the mouths of the Tiber to those of the Aternus, is 136 M. P., which considerably exceeds the truth for that particular point; but the widest part of the peninsula, from Ancona across to the Monte Arqentaro, is 130 geog., or 162 Roman, miles.


Italy was not less renowned in ancient than in modern times for its beauty and fertility. For this it was indebted in great part to its climate, combined with the advantages of its physical configuration. Extending from the parallel of 30° N. lat. to 46° 30‘, its southern extremity enjoyed the same climate with Greece, while its northern portions were on a par with the S. of France. The lofty range of Apennines extending throughout its whole length, and the seas which bathe its shores on both sides, contributed at once to temper and vary its climate, so as to adapt it for the productions alike of the temperate and the warmest parts of Europe. Hence the variety as well as abundance of its natural produce, which excited the admiration of so many ancient writers. The fine burst of enthusiasm with which Virgil sings the praises of his native land is too well known to require notice (Virg. Georg 2.136--176) ; but even the prosaic Dionysius and Strabo are kindled into almost equal ardour by the same theme. The former writer remarks, that of all countries with which he was acquainted Italy united the most natural advantages: for that it did not, like Egypt or Babylonia, possess a soil adapted for agriculture only; but while the Campanian plains rivalled, if they did not surpass, in fertility all other arable lands, the olives of Messapia, Daunia, and the Sabines, were not excelled by any others; and the vineyards of Etruria, the Falernian and the Alban hills, produced wines of the most excellent quality, and in the greatest abundance. Nor was it less favourable to the rearing of flocks, whether of sheep or goats; while its pastures were of the richest description, and supported innumerable herds both of horses and cattle. Its mountain sides were clothed with magnificent forests, affording abundance of timber for ship-building and all other purposes, which could be transported to the coast with facility by its numerous navigable rivers. Abundance of warm springs in different parts of the country supplied not only the means of luxurious baths, but valuable medical remedies. Its seas abounded in fish, and its mountains contained mines of all kinds of metals; but that which was the greatest advantage of all was the excellent temperature of its climate, free alike from the extremes of heat and cold, and adapted for all kinds of plants and animals. (Dionys. A. R. 1.36, 37.) Strabo dwells not only on these natural resources, but on its political advantages as a seat of empire; defended on two sides by the sea, on the third by almost impassable mountains; possessing excellent ports on both seas, yet not affording too great facilities of access; and situated in such a position, with regard to the great nations of Western Europe, on the one side, and to Greece and Asia, on the other, as seemed to destine it for universal dominion. (Strab. vi. p.286.) Pliny, as might be expected, is not less enthusiastic in favour of his native country, and Varro adds that of all countries it was that in which the greatest advantage was derived from its natural fertility by careful cultivation. (Plin. Nat. 3.5. s. 6, 37.13. s. 77; Varr. R. R. 1.2.)

It is probable that the climate of Italy did not differ materially in ancient times from what it is at the present day. The praises bestowed on it for its freedom from excessive heat in summer may surprise those who compare it in this respect with more northern climates; but it is to be remembered that ancient writers spoke with reference to the countries around the Mediterranean, and were more familiar with the climate of Africa, Syria, and Egypt, than with those of Gaul or Germany. On the other hand, there are passages in the Roman writers that seen to indicate a degree of cold exceeding what is found at the present day, especially in the neighbourhood of Rome. Horace speaks of Soracte as white with snow, and the Alban hills as covered with it on the first approach of winter (Hor. Carm. 1.9, Ep. 1.7. 10); and Juvenal even alludes to the Tiber being covered with ice, as if it were an ordinary occurrence (6.522). Some allowance may be made for poetical exaggeration; but still it is probable that the climate of Italy was somewhat colder, or rather that the winters were more severe than they now are, though this remark must be confined within narrow limits; and it is probable that the change which has taken place is far less than in Gaul or Germany.

Great stress has also been laid by many modern writers upon the fact that populous cities then existed, and a thriving agricultural population was found, on sites and in districts now desolated by malaria; and hence it is inferred that the climate has become much more unhealthy in modern times. But population and cultivation have in themselves a strong tendency to repress the causes of malaria. The fertile districts on the coasts of Southern Italy once occupied by the flourishing Greek colonies are now pestilential wastes; but they became almost desolate from other causes before they grew so unhealthy. In the case of Paestum, a marked diminution in the effects of malaria has been perceived, even from the slight amount of population that has been attracted thither since the site has become the frequent resort of travellers, and the partial cultivation that has resulted from it. Nor can it be asserted that Italy, even in its most flourishing days, was ever free from this scourge, though particular localities were undoubtedly more healthy than at present. Thus, the Maremma of Tuscany was noted, even in the time of Pliny, for its insalubrity (Plin. Ep. 5.6); the neighbourhood of Ardea was almost uninhabited from the same cause, at a still earlier [p. 2.81]period (Strab. v. p.231); and Cicero even extols the situation of Rome, as compared with the rest of Latium, as “a healthy spot in the midst of a pestilential region.” (Cic. de Rep. 2.6) But the imperial city itself was far from being altogether exempt. Horace abounds with allusions to the prevalence of fevers in the summer and autumn (Ep. 1.7, Sat. 2.6. 19, Carm. 2.14. 16), though the dense population must have tended materially to repress them. Even at the present day the most thickly peopled parts of Rome are wholly exempt from malaria. (This question is more fully discussed under the article LATIUM

The volcanic phenomena displayed so conspicuously in some parts of Italy did not fail to attract the attention of ancient writers. The eruptions of Aenaria, which had occurred soon after the first settlement of the Greek colonists there, were recorded by Timaeus (ap. Strub. v. p. 248); and the fables connected with the lake Avernus and its neighbourhood had evidently a similar origin. Strabo also correctly argued that Vesuvius was itself a volcanic mountain, long before the fearful eruption of A.D. 79 gave such signal proof that its fires were not, as he supposed, extinct. (Strab. v. p.247.) This catastrophe, fearful as it was, was confined to Campania; but earthquakes (to which Italy is so subject at the present day) appear to have been not less frequent and destructive in ancient times, and were far from being limited to the volcanic regions. They are mentioned as occurring in Apulia, Picenum, Umbria, Etruria, Liguria, and other parts of Italy; and though their effects are generally noticed somewhat vaguely, yet the leading phenomena which accompany them at the present day--the subsidence of tracts of land, the fall of rocks and portions of mountains, the change of the course of rivers, the irruption of the sea, as well as the overthrow of buildings, and sometimes of whole towns and cities--are all mentioned by ancient writers. (Liv. 22.5; Jul. Obseq. 86, 96, 105, 106, 122, &c.) Slight shocks were not unfrequent at Rome itself, though it never suffered any serious calamity from this cause. But the volcanic action, which had at a far distant period extended over broad tracts of Central Italy, and given rise to the plains of the Campagna and the Phlegraean Fields, as well as to the lofty groups of the Alban and Ciminian hills, had ceased long before the age of historical record; and no Roman writer seems to have suspected that the Alban lake had once been a crater of eruption, or that the “silex” with which the Via Appia was paved was derived from a stream of basaltic lava. [LATIUM]

The volcanic region (in this geological sense) of Central Italy consists of two separate tracts of country, of considerable extent; the one comprising the greater part of Old Latium (or what is now called the Campagna of Rome), together with the southern part of Etruria; and the other occupying a large portion of Campania, including not only Vesuvius and the volcanic hills around the lake Avernus, but the broad and fertile plain which extends from the Bay of Naples to the banks of the Liris. These two tracts of volcanic origin are separated by the Volscian mountains, a series of calcareous ranges branching off from the Apennines, and filling up the space from the banks of the Liris to the borders of the Pontine marshes, which last form a broad strip of alluvial soil, extending from the volcanic district of the Roman Campagna to the Monte Circello. The volcanic district of Rome, as we may term the more northern of the two, is about 100 miles in length, by 30 to 35 in breadth; while that of Campania is about 60 miles long, with an average, though very irregular, breadth of 20. North of the former lie the detached summits of Mte. Amiata and: Radicofani, both of them composed of volcanic rocks; while at a distance of 60 miles E. of the Campanian basin, and separated from it by the intervening mass of the Apennines, is situated the isolated volcanic peak of Mt. Vultur (Voltore), a mountain whose regular conical form, and the great crater-shaped basin on its northern flank, at once prove its volcanic character; though this also, as well as the volcanoes of Latium and Etruria, has displayed no signs of activity within the historical era. (Daubeny, On Volcanoes, ch. xi.).

It is scarcely necessary to enumerate in detail the natural productions of Italy, of which a summary view has already been given in the passages cited from ancient authors, and the details will be found under the heads of the several provinces. But it is, worth while to observe how large a portion of those productions, which are at the present day among the chief objects of Italian cultivation, and even impart to its scenery some of its most peculiar characters, are of quite modern introduction, and were wholly unknown when the Greek and Roman writers were extolling its varied resources and inexhaustible fertility. To this class belong the maize and rice so extensively cultivated in the plains of Lombardy, the oranges of the Ligurian coast and the neigh-bourhood of Naples, the aloes and cactuses which clothe the rocks on the sea-shore in the southern provinces; while the mulberry tree, though well known in ancient times, never became an important object of culture until after the introduction of the silk-worm in the 13th century. Of the different kinds of fruits known to the ancient Romans, many were undoubtedly of exotic origin, and of some the period of their introduction was recorded; but almost all of them throve well in Italy, and the gardens and orchards of the wealthy Romans surpassed all others then known in the variety and excellence of their produce. At the same time, cultivation of the more ordinary descriptions of fruit was so extensive, that Varro remarks: “Arboribus consita Italia est, ut tota pomarium videatur.” (R. R. 1.2.6.)

Almost all ancient writers concur in praising the metallic wealth of Italy; and Pliny even asserts that it was, in this respect also, superior to all other lands; but it was generally believed that the government intentionally discouraged the full exploration of these mineral resources. (Plin. Nat. 3.20. s. 24, 37.13. s. 77; Strab. vi. p.286; Dionys. A. R. 1.37; Verg. G. 2.166.)

It is doubtful whether this policy was really designed to husband their wealth or to conceal their poverty; but it is certain that Italy was far from being really so rich in metallic treasures as was supposed, and could bear no comparison in this respect with Spain. Gold was unquestionably found in some of the streams which flowed from the Alps, and in some cases (as among the Ictymuli and Salassi) was extracted from them in considerable quantities; but these workings, or rather washings, appear to have been rapidly exhausted, and the goldworks on the frontiers of Noricum, celebrated for their richness by Polybius, had ceased to exist in the days of Strabo. (Strab. iv. p.208.) Silver is enumerated, also, among the metallic treasures of [p. 2.82]Italy; but we have no specific account of its production, and the fact that silver money was unknown to the ancient nations of Italy sufficiently shows that it was not found in any great quantity. The early coinage of Italy was of copper, or rather bronze; and this metal appears to have been extracted in large quantities, and applied to a variety of purposes by the Etruscans, from a very early period. The same people were the first to explore the iron mines of Ilva, which continued to be assiduously worked by the Romans.; though the metal produced was thought inferior to that of Noricum. Of other minerals, cinnabar (minium) and calamine (cadmium) are noticed by Pliny. The white marble of Luna, also, was extensively quarried by the Romans, and seems to have been recognised as a superior material for sculpture to any of those derived from Greece.


The configuration of Italy is unfavourable to the formation of great rivers. The Padus is the only stream which deserves to rank among the principal rivers of Europe: even the Arnus and the Tiber, celebrated as are their names in history, being inferior in magnitude to many of the secondary streams, which are mere tributaries of the Rhine, the Rhone, or the Danube. In the north of Italy, indeed, the rivers which flow from the perpetual snows of the Alps are furnished with a copious and constant supply of water; but the greater part of those which have their sources in the Apennines, though large and formidable streams when swollen by heavy rains or the snows of winter, dwindle into insignificance at other times, and present but scanty streams of water winding through broad beds covered with stones and shingle. It is only by comparison with Greece that Italy (with the exception of Cisalpine Gaul) could be praised for its abundance of navigable rivers.

The PADUS or Po, is by far the most important river of Italy, flowing from W. to E. through the very midst of the great basin or trough of Northern Italy, and receiving, in consequence, from both sides, all the waters from the southern declivities of the Alps, as well as from the northern slopes of the Apennines. Hence, though its course does not exceed 380 geog. miles in length, and the direct distance from its sources in the Mons Vesulus (Mte. Viso) to its mouth in the Adriatic is only 230 miles, the body of water which it brings down to the sea is very large. Its principal tributaries are as follows, beginning with those on the N. bank, and proceeding from W. to E. :--(1) the Duria Minor (Doria Riparia), which joins the Po near Turin Augusta Taurinorum; (2 ) the Stura (Stura); (3) the Orgus (Oreo); (4) the Duria Major, or Dora Baltea; (5) the Sessites (Sesia); (6) the Ticinus (Ticino); (7) the Lambrus (Lambro); (8) the Addua (Adda); (9) the Ollius (Oglio); (10) the Mincius (Mincio). Equally numerous, though less important in volume and magnitude, are its tributaries from the S. side, the chief of which are:--(1) the Tanarus (Tanaro), flowing from the Maritime Alps, and much the most considerable of the southern feeders of the Po; (2) the Trebia (Trebbia); (3) the Tarus (Taro); (4) the Incius (Enza); (5) the Gabellus (Secchia); (6) the Scultenna (Panaro); (7) the Renus (Reno); (8) the Vatrenus (Santerno). (Plin. Nat. 3.16. s. 20.)

The first river which, descending from the Alps, does not join the Padus, is the Athesis or Adige, which in the lower part of its course flows nearly parallel with the greater river for a distance of above 50 miles. E. of this, and flowing from the Alps direct to, the Adriatic, come in succession, the Medoacus or Brenta, the Plavis or Piave, the Tilavemptus (Tagliamento), and the Sontius (Isonzo), besides many smaller streams, which will be noticed under the article VENETIA

Liguria, S. of the Apennines, has very few streams worthy of notice, the mountains here approaching so close to the coast as to leave but a short course for their waters. The most considerable are, the Varus (Var), which forms the western limit of the province; the Rutuba (Roja), flowing through the land of the Intemelii, and the Macra (Magra), which divides Liguria from Etruria.

The rivers of Central Italy, as already mentioned, all take their rise in the Apennines, or the mountain groups dependent upon them. The two most important of these are the Arnus (Arno) and Tiberis (Tevere). The Ausar (Serchio), which now pursues an independent course to the sea a few miles N. of the Arnus, was formerly a confluent of that river. Of the smaller streams of Etruria, which have their sources in the group of hills that separate the basin of the Arno from that of the Tiber, the most considerable are the Caecina (Cecina), the Umbro (Ombrone), and the Arminia (Fiora). The great valley of the Tiber, which has a general southerly direction, from its sources in the Apennines on the confines of Etruria and Umbria to its mouth at Ostia, a distance in a direct line of 140 geog. miles, is the most important physical feature of Central Italy. That river receives in its course many tributary streams, but the only ones which are important in a geographical point of view are the CLANIS the NAR and the ANIO Of these the Nar brings with it the waters of the Velinus, a stream at least as considerable as its own.

South of the Tiber are the LIRIS (Garigliano or Liri), which has its sources in the central Apennines near the lake Fucinus; and the VUTLTURNUS (Volturno), which brings with it the collected waters of almost the whole of Samnium, receiving near Beneventum the tributary streams of the Calor (Calore), the Sabatus (Sabbato), and the Tamarus (Tamaro). Both of these rivers flow through the plain of Campania to the sea: south of that province, and separating it from Lucania, is the SILARUS (Sele), which, with its tributaries the Calor (Calore) and Tanager (Negro), drains the western valleys of the Lucanian Apennines. This is the last river of any magnitude that flows to the western coast of Italy: further to the S. the Apennines approach so near to the shore that the streams which descend from them to the sea are mere mountain torrents of trifling length and size. One of the most considerable of them is the Laüs (Lao), which forms the limit between Lucania and Bruttium. The other minor streams of those two provinces are enumerated under their respective articles.

Returning now to the eastern or Adriatic coast of Italy, we find, as already noticed, a large number of streams, descending from the Apennines to the sea, but few of them of any great magnitude, though those which have their sources in the highest parts of the range are formidable torrents at particular seasons of the year. Beginning from the frontiers of Cisalpine Gaul, and proceeding from N. to S., the most important of these rivers are:--(l) the Ariminus (Marecchia); (2) the Crustumius (Conca); (3) the Pisaurus (Foglia); (4) the Metaurus (Metauro); [p. 2.83](5) the Aesis (Esino); (6) the Potentia (Potenza); (7) the Flusor (Chienti); (8) the Truentus (Tronto); (9) the Vomanus (Vomano); (10) the Aternus (Aterno or Pescara); (11) the Sagrus (Sangro); (12) the Trinius (Trigno); (13) the Tifernus (Bimferno); (14) the Frento (Fortore); (15) the Cerbalus (Coervaro); (16) the Aufidus (Ofanto), which has much the longest course of all the rivers falling into the Adriatic.

Beyond this, not a single stream worthy of notice flows to the Adriatic; those which have their sources in the central Apennines of Lucania all descending towards the Tarentine gulf; these are, the Bradanus (Bradano), the Casuentus (Basiento), the Aciris (Agri), and the Siris (Sinno). The only rivers of Bruttium worthy of mention are the Crathis (Crati) and the Neaethus (Neto).

(The minor streams and those noticed in history, but of no geographical importance, are enumerated in the descriptions of the several provinces.)

The Italian lakes may be considered as readily arranging themselves into three groups:--1. The lakes of Northern Italy, which are on a far larger scale than any of the others, are all basins formed by the rivers which descend from the high Alps, and the waters of which are arrested just at their exit from the mountains. Hence they are, as it were, valleys filled with water, and are of elongated form and considerable depth; while their superfluous waters are carried off in deep and copious streams, which become some of the principal feeders of the Po. Such are the Lacus Verbanus (Lago Maoggiore), formed by the Ticinus; the Lacus Larius (Lago di Como), by the Addua; the Lacus Sebinus (Lago d'Iseo), by the Ollius; and the Lacus Benacus (Lago di Garda), by the Mincius. To these Pliny adds the Lacus Eupilis, from which flows the Lamber or Lambro, a very trifling sheet of water (Plin. Nat. 3.19. s. 23) ; while neither he, nor any other ancient writer, mentions the Logo di Lugano, situated between the Lake of Como and Lago Maggiore, though it is inferior in magnitude only to the three great lakes. It is first mentioned by Gregory of Tours in the 6th century, under the name of Ceresius Lacus, an appellation probably ancient, though not now found in any earlier author. 2. The lakes of Central Italy are, with few exceptions, of volcanic origin, and occupy the craters of long extinct volcanoes. Hence they are mostly of circular or oval form, of no great extent, and, not being fed by perennial streams, either require no natural outlet, or have their surplus waters carried off by very inconsiderable streams. The largest of these volcanic lakes is the Lacus Vulsiniensis, or Logo di Bolsena, in Southern Etruria, a basin of about 30 miles in circumference. Of similar character and origin are, the Lacus Sabatinus (Lago di Bracciano) and Lacus Ciminus (Lago di Vico), in the same district; the Lacus Albanus (Logo d'Albano) and Lacus Nemorensis (Lago di Nemi), in Latium; and the Lake Avernus in Campania. 3. Wholly differing from the preceding are the two most considerable lakes in this portion of Italy, the Lacus Trasimenus (Lago di Perugia) and Lacus Fucinus (Lago Fucino or Lago di Celano); both of which are basins surrounded by hills or mountains, leaving no natural outlet for their waters, but wholly unconnected with volcanic agency.

The mountains of Italy belong almost exclusively either to the great chain of the Alps, which bounds it on the N., or to that of the Apennines. The principal summits of the latter range have been already noticed under the article APENNINUS. The few outlying or detached summits, which do not properly belong to the Apennines are :--(1) the Monte Amiata or Monte di Santa Fiora, in the heart of Etruria, which rises to a height of 5794 feet above the sea (2) the MONS CIMINUS, a volcanic group of very inferior elevation; (3) the MONS ALBANUS, rising to above 3000 feet; (4) the MoNs VESUIUS, in Campania, attaining between 3000 and 4000 feet; (5) the MONS VULTUR, on the opposite side of the Apennines, which measures 4433 feet; and (6) the MONS GARGANUS, an isolated mass, but geologically connected with the Apennines, while all the preceding are of volcanic origin, and therefore geologically, as well as geographically, distinct from the neighbouring Apennines.

To these may be added the two isolated mountain promontories of the Mons Argentarius (Monte Argentaro) on the coast of Etruria, and Mons Circeius (Monte Circello) on that of Latium,--both of them rising like rocky islands, joined to the mainland only by low strips of alluvial soil.


The inquiry into the origin and affinities of the different races which peopled the Italian peninsula before it fell altogether under the dominion of Rome, and the national relations of the different tribes with which the rising republic came successively into contact, is a problem which has more or less attracted the attention of scholars ever since the revival of letters. But it is especially of late years that the impulse given to comparative philology, combined with the spirit of historical criticism, has directed their researches to this subject. Yet, after all that has been written on it, from the time of Niebuhr to the present day, it must be admitted that it is still enveloped in great obscurity. The scantiness of the monuments that remain to us of the languages of these different nations; the various and contradictory statements of ancient authors concerning them; and the uncertainty, even with regard to the most apparently authentic of these statements, on what authority they were really founded; combine to embarrass our inquiries, and lead us to mistrust our conclusions. It will be impossible, within the limits of an article like the present, to enter fully into the discussion of these topics, or examine the arguments that have been brought forward by different writers upon the subject. All that can be attempted is to give such a summary view of the most probable results, as will assist the student in forming a connected idea of the whole subject, and enable him to follow with advantage the researches of other writers. Many of the particular points here briefly referred to will be more fully investigated in the several articles of the different regions and races to which they relate.

Leaving out of view for the present the inhabitants of Northern Italy, the Gauls, Ligurians, and Veneti, the different nations of the peninsula may be grouped under five heads:--(1) the Pelasgians; (2) the Oscans; (3) the Sabellians; (4) the Umbrians; (5) the Etruscans.


All ancient writers concur in ascribing a Pelasgic origin to many of the most ancient tribes of Italy, and there seems no reason to doubt that a large part of the population of the peninsula was really of Pelasgic race, that is to say, that it belonged to the same great nation or family [p. 2.84]which formed the original population of Greece, as well as that of Epirus and Macedonia, and of a part at least of Thrace and Asia Minor. The statements and arguments upon which this inference is based are more fully discussed under the article PELASGI It may here suffice to say that the general fact is put forward prominently by Dionysius and Strabo, and has been generally adopted by modern writers from Niebuhr downwards. The Pelasgian population of Italy appears in historical times principally, and in its unmixed form solely, in the southern part of the peninsula. But it is not improbable that it had, as was reported by traditions still current in the days of the earliest historians, at one time extended much more widely, and that the Pelasgian tribes had been gradually pressed towards the south by the successively advancing waves of population, which appear under the name of the Oscans or Ausonians, and the Sabellians. At the time when the first Greek colonies were established in Southern Italy, the whole of the country subsequently known as Lucania and Bruttium was occupied by a people whom the Greeks called OENOTRIANS (Οἴνωτροι), and who are generally represented as a Pelasgic race. Indeed we learn that the colonists themselves continued to call this people, whom they had reduced to a state of serfdom, Pelasgi. (Steph. B. sub voce Χῖος.) We find, however, traces of the tradition that this part of Italy was at one time peopled by a tribe called SICULI, who are represented as passing over from thence into the island to which they gave the name of Sicily, and where alone they are found in historical times. [SICILIA] The name of these Siculi is found also in connection with the earliest population of Latium [LATIUM]: both there and in Oenotria they are represented by some authorities as a branch of the Pelasgic race, while others regard them .as a distinct people. In the latter case we have no clue whatever to their origin or national affinities.

Next to the Oenotrians come the Messapians or Iapygians, who are represented by the Greek legends and traditions as of Pelasgic or Greek descent; and there seem reasonable grounds for assuming that the conclusion was correct, though no value can be attached to the mythical legends connected with it by the logographers and early Greek historians. The tribes to whom a Pelasgic origin is thus assigned are, the Messapians and Salentines, in the lapygian peninsula; and the Peucetians and Daunians, in the country called by the Romans Apulia. A strong confirmation of the inference derived in this case from other authorities is found in the traces still remaining of the Messapian dialect, which appears to have borne a close affinity to Greek, and to have differed from it only in much the same degree as the Macedonian and other cognate dialects. (Mommsen, Unter Italische Dialekten, pp. 41--98.)

It is far more difficult to trace with any security the Pelasgic population of Central Italy, where it appears to have been very early blended with other national elements, and did not anywhere subsist in an unmingled form within the period of historical record. But various as have been the theories and suggestions with regard to the population of Etruria, there seems to be good ground for assuming that one important element, both of the people and language, was Pelasgic, and that this element was predominant in the southern part of Etruria, while it was more feeble, and had been comparatively effaced An the more northern districts. [ETRURIA] The very name of Tyrrhenians, universally given by the Greeks to the inhabitants of Etruria, appears indissolubly connected with that of Pelasgians; and the evidence of language affords some curious and interesting facts in corroboration of the same view. (Donaldson, Varronianus, 2d edit. pp. 166--170; Lepsius, Tyrrhen. Pelasger, pp. 40--43.)

If the Pelasgic element was thus prevalent in Southern Etruria, it might naturally be expected that its existence would be traceable in Latium also; and accordingly we find abundant evidence that one of the component ingredients in the population of Latium was of Pelasgic extraction, though this did not subsist within the historical period in a separate form, but was already indissolubly blended with the other elements of the Latin nationality. [LATIUM] The evidence of the Latin language, as pointed out by Niebuhr, in itself indicates the combination of a Greek or Pelasgic race with one of a different origin, and closely akin to the other nations which we find predominant in Central Italy, the Umbrians, Oscans, and Sabines.

There seems to be also sufficient proof that a Pelasgic or Tyrrhenian population was at an early period settled along the coasts of Campania, and was probably at one time conterminous and connected with that of Lucania, or Oenotria; but the notices of these Tyrrhenian settlements are rendered obscure and confused by the circumstance that the Greeks applied the same name of Tyrrhenians to the Etruscans, who subsequently made themselves masters for some time of the whole of this country. [CAMPANIA]

The notices of any Pelasgic population in the interior of Central Italy are so few and vague as to be scarcely worthy of investigation; but the traditions collected by Dionysius from the early Greek historians distinctly represent them as having been at one time settled in Northern Italy, and especially point to Spina on the Adriatic as a Pelasgic city. (Dionys. A. R. 1.17-21; Strab. v. p.214.) Nevertheless it hardly appears probable that this Pelasgic race formed a permanent part of the population of those regions. The traditions in question are more fully investigated under the article PELASGI There is some evidence also, though very vague and indefinite, of the existence of a Pelasgic population on the coast of the Adriatic, especially on the shores of Picenum. (These notices are collected by Niebuhr, vol. i. pp. 49, 50, and are discussed under PICENUM


At a very early period, and certainly before the commencement of historical record, a considerable portion of Central Italy appears to have been in the possession of a people who were called by the Greeks Opicans, and by the Latins Oscans, and whom we are led to identify also with the Ausonians [AUSONES] of the Greeks, and the Auruncans of Roman writers. From them was derived the name of Opicia or Opica, which appears to have been the usual appellation, in the days both of Thucydides and Aristotle, for the central portion of the peninsula, or the country north of what was then called Italy. (Thuc. 6.4; Arist. Pol. 7.10.) All the earliest authorities concur in representing the Opicans as the earliest inhabitants of Campania, and they were still in possession of that fertile district when the Greek colonies were planted there. (Strab. v. p.242.) We find also statements, which have every character of authenticity, that this same people then occupied the mountainous, region afterwards [p. 2.85]called Samnium, until they were expelled, or rather subdued, by the Sabine colonists, who assumed the name of Samnites. (Id. v. p. 250.) [SAMNIUM] Whether they were more widely extended we have no positive evidence; but there seems a strong presumption that they had already spread themselves through the neighbouring districts of Italy. Thus the Hirpini, who are represented as a Sarnnite or Sabellian colony, in all probability found an Oscan population established in that country, as did the Samnites proper in the more northern province. There are also strong arguments for regarding the Volscians as of Oscan race, as well as their neighbours and inseparable allies the Aequians. (Niebuhr, vol. i. pp. 70--73; Donaldson, Varronianus, pp. 4, 5.) It was probably also an Oscan tribe that was settled in the highlands of the Apennines about Reate, and which from thence descended into the plains of Latium, and constituted one important element of the Latin nation. [LATIUM] It is certain that, if that people was, as already mentioned, in part of Pelasgic origin, it contained also a very strong admixture of a non-Pelasgic race: and the analogy of language leads us to derive this latter element from the Oscan. (Donaldson, l.c.) Indeed the extant monuments of the Oscan language are sufficient to prove that it bore a very close relation to the oldest form of the Latin; and Niebuhr justly remarks, that, had a single book in the Oscan language been preserved, we should have had little difficulty in deciphering it. (Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 68.)

It is difficult to determine the precise relation which this primitive Oscan race bore to the Sabines or Sabellians. The latter are represented as conquerors, making themselves masters of the countries previously occupied by the Oscans; but, both in Samnium and Campania, we know that the language spoken in historical times, and even long after the Roman conquest, was still called Oscan; and we even find, the Samnites carrying the same language with them, as they gradually extended their conquests, into the furthest recesses of Bruttium. (Fest. s. v. Bilingues Brutates, p. 35.) There seems little doubt that the Samnite conquerors were a comparatively small body of warriors, who readily adopted the language of the people whom they subdued, like the Normans in France, and the Lombards in Northern Italy. (Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 67.) But, at the same time, there are strong reasons for supposing that the language of the Sabines themselves, and therefore that of the conquering Sabellian race, was not radically distinct from that of the Oscans, but that they were in fact cognate dialects, and that the two nations were members of the same family or race. The questions concerning the Oscan language, so far as it is known to us from existing monuments, are more fully adverted to under the article OSCI1; but it must be borne in mind that all such monuments are of a comparatively late period, and represent only the Sabello-Oscan, or the language spoken by the combined people, long after the two races had been blended into one; and that we are almost wholly without the means of distinguishing what portion was derived from the one source or the other.


This name, which is sometimes used by ancient writers as synonymous with that of the Sabines, sometimes to designate the Samnites in particular (Plin. Nat. 3.12. s. 17; Virgil, Georg. 2.167; Hor. Sat. 1.9. 29, 2.1. 36; Heindorf. ad loc.), is commonly adopted by modern historians as a general appellation, including the Sabines and all those races or tribes which, according to the distinct tradition of antiquity, derived their origin from them. These traditions are of a very different character from most of those transmitted to us, and have apparently every claim to be received as historical. And though we have no means of fixing the date of the migrations to which they refer, it seems certain that these cannot be carried back to a very remote age; but that the Sabellian races had not very long been established in the extensive regions of Central Italy, where we find them in the historical periods Their extension still further to the S. belongs distinctly to the historical age, and did not take place till long after the establishment of the Greek colonies in Southern Italy.

The Sabines, properly so called, had their original abodes, according to Cato (ap. Dionys. 2.49), in the lofty ranges of the central Apennines and the upland valleys about Amiternum. It was from thence that, descending towards the western sea, they first began to press upon the Aborigines, an Oscan race, whom they expelled from the valleys about Reate, and thus gradually extended themselves into the country which they inhabited under the Romans, and which still preserves its ancient name of La Sabina. But, while the nation itself had thus shifted its quarters nearer to the Tyrrhenian Sea, it had sent out at different periods colonies or bodies of emigrants, which had established themselves to the E. and S. of their original abodes. Of these, the most powerful and celebrated were the Samnites (Σαυνῖται), a people who are universally represented by ancient historians as descended from the Sabines (Strab. v. p.250; Fest. v. Samnites; Varr. L. L. 7.29); and this tradition, in itself sufficiently trustworthy, derives the strongest confirmation from the fact already noticed, that the Romans applied the name of Sabelli (obviously only another form of Sabini) to both nations indiscriminately. It is even probable that the Samnites called themselves Sabini, or Savini, for the Oscan name “Safinim” is found on coins struck during the Social War, which in all probability belong to the Samnites, and certainly not to the Sabines proper. Equally distinct and uniform are the testimonies to the Sabine origin of the Piceni or Picentes (Plin. Nat. 3.13. s. 18; Strab. v. p.240), who are found in historical times in possession of the fertile district of Picenum, extending from the central chain of the Apennines to the Adriatic. The Peligni also, as we learn from the evidence of their native poet (Ovid, Ov. Fast. 3.95), claimed to be of Sabine descent; and the same may fairly be assumed with regard to the Vestini, a tribe whom we find in historical times occupying the very valleys which are represented as the original abodes of the, Sabines. We know nothing historically of the origin of this people, any more than of their neighbours the Marrucini; but we find them both associated so frequently with the Peligni and the Marsi, that it isa probable the four constituted a common league or confederation, and this in itself raises a presumption that they were kindred races. Cato already remarked, and without doubt correctly, that the name of the Marrucini was directly derived from that of [p. 2.86]the Marsi (Cato, ap. Priscian. 9.9); and there can be no doubt that the same relation subsisted between the two nations: but we are wholly in the dark as to the origin of the Marsi themselves. Several circumstances, however, combine to render it probable that they were closely connected with the Sabines, but whether as a distinct offset from that people, or that the two proceeded from one common stock, we have no means of determining. [MARSI]

The Frentani, on the other hand, are generally represented as a Samnite race; indeed, both they and the Hirpini were so closely connected with the Samnites, that they are often considered as forming only a part of that people, though at other times they figure as independent and separate nations. But the traditions with regard to the establishment of the Hirpini and the origin of their name [HIRPINI], seem to indicate that they were the result of a separate migration, subsequent to that of the body of the Samnites. South of the Hirpini, again, the Lucanians are universally described as a Samnite colony, or rather a branch of the Samnites, who extended their conquering arms over the greater part of the country called by the Greeks Oenotria, and thus came into direct collision with the Greek colonies on the southern coasts of Italy. [MAGNA GRAECIA] At the height of their power the Lucanians even made themselves masters of the Bruttian peninsula; and the subsequent revolt of the Bruttii did not clear that country of these Sabellia; invaders, the Bruttian people being apparently a mixed population, made up of the Lucanian conquerors and their Oenotrian serfs. [BRUTTII] While the Samnites and their Lucanian progeny were thus extending their power on the S. to the Sicilian strait, they did not omit to make themselves masters of the fertile plains of Campania, which, together with the flourishing cities of Capua and Cunae, fell into their hands between 440 and 420 B.C. [CAMPANIA.]

The dominion of the Sabellian race was thus established from the neighbourhood of Ancona to the southern extremity of Bruttium: but it must not be supposed that throughout this wide extent the population was become essentially, or even mainly, Sabellian. That people appears rather to have been a race of conquering warriors; but the rapidity with which they became blended with the Oscan populations that they found previously established in some parts at least of the countries they subdued, seems to point to the conclusion that there was no very wide difference between the two. Even in Samnium itself (which probably formed their stronghold, and where they were doubtless more numerous in proportion) we know that they adopted the Oscan language; and that, while the Romans speak of the people and their territory as Sabellian, they designate their speech as Oscan. (Liv. 8.1, 10.19, 20.) In like manner, we know that the Lucanian invaders carried with them the same language into the wilds of Bruttium; where the double origin of the people was shown at a late period by their continuing to speak both Greek and Oscean. (Fest. p. 35.) The relations between these Sabellian conquerors and the Oscan inhabitants of Central Italy render it, on the whole probable, that the two nations were only branches from one common stock (Niebuhr, vol. i. p. 104), related to one another very much like the, Normans, Danes, and Saxons. Of the language of the Sabines themselves we have unfortunately scarcely any remains: but there are some words quoted by ancient authors as being at once Sabine and Oscan; and Varro (himself a native of Reate) bears distinct testimony to a connection between the two. (Varr. L. L. 7.28, ed. Müller.) On the other hand, there are evidences that the Sabine language had considerable affinity with the Umbrian (Donaldson, Varron. p. 8); and this was probably the reason why Zenodotus of Troezen (ap. Dionys. 2.49) derived the Sabines from an Urmbrian stock. But, in fact, the Umbrian and Oscan languages were themselves by no means so distinct as to exclude the supposition that the Sabine dialect may have been intermediate between the two, and have partaken largely of the characters of both.


The general tradition of antiquity appears to have fixed upon the Umbrians as the most ancient of all the races inhabiting the Italian peninsula. (Plin. Nat. 3.14. s. 19; Flor. 1.17; Dionys. A. R. 1.19.) We are expressly told that at the earliest period of which any memory was preserved, they occupied not only the district where we find them in historical times, but the greater part of Etruria also; while, across the Apennines, they held the fertile plains (subsequently wrested from them by the Etruscans and the Gauls) from the neigh-bourhood of Ravenna to that of Ancona, and apparently a large part of Picenum also. Thus, at this time, the Umbrians extended from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian sea, and from the mouths of the Padus nearly to those of the Tiber. Of their origin or national affinities we learn but little from ancient authors; a notion appears to have arisen among the Romans at a late period, though not alluded to by any writer of authority, that they were a Celtic or Gaulish race (Solin. 2.11; Serv. ad Aen. 12.753; Isidor. Orig. 9.2), and this view has been adopted by many modern authors. (Walckenaer, Géogr. des Gaules, vol. i. p. 10 ; Thierry, Hist. des Gaulois, vol. i.) But, in this instance, we have a much safer guide in the still extant remains of the Umbrian language, preserved to us in the celebrated Tabulae Engubinae [IGUVIUM]; and the researches of modern philologers, which have been of late years especially directed to that interesting monument, have sufficiently proved that it has no such close affinity with the Celtic as to lead us to derive the Umbrians from a Gaulish stock. On the other hand, these inquiries have fully established the existence of a general resemblance between the Umbrian, Oscan, and oldest Latin languages ; a resemblance not confined to particular words, but extending to the gram-matical forms, and the whole structure of the language. Hence we are fairly warranted in concluding that the Umbrians, Oscans, and Latins (one important element of the nation at least), as well as the Sabines and their descendants, were only branches of one race, belonging, not merely to the same great family of the Indo-Teutonic nations, but to the same subdivision of that family. The Umbrian may very probably have been, as believed by the Romans, the most ancient branch of these kindred tribes; and its language would thus bear much the same relation to Latin and the later Oscan dialects that Moeso-Gothic does to the several Teutonic tongues. (Donaldson, Varron. pp. 78, 104, 105; Schwegler, Rönmische Geschichte, vol. i. p. 176.)


While there is good reason to suppose a general and even close affinity between the nations of Central Italy which have just been reviewed, there are equally strong grounds for regarding the Etruscans as a people of wholly different [p. 2.87]race and origin from those by which they were surrounded. This strongly marked distinctness from the other Italian races appears to have been recognised both by Roman and Greek writers. Dionysius even affirms that the Etruscans did not resemble, either in language or manners, any other people whatsoever (Dionys. A. R. 1.30); and, however we may question the generality of this assertion, the fact in regard to their language seems to be borne out by the still existing remains of it. The various' theories that have been proposed concerning their origin, and the views of modern philologers in regard to their language, are more fully discussed under the article ETRURIA. : It may suffice here to state that two points may be considered as fairly established:--1. That a considerable part of the population of Etruria, and especially of the more southern portions of that country, was (as already mentioned) of Pelasgic extraction, and continued to speak a dialect closely akin to the Greek. 2. That, besides this, there existed in Etruria a people (probably a conquering race) of wholly different origin, who were the proper Etruscans or Tuscans, but who called themselves Rasena; and that this race was wholly distinct from the other nations of Central Italy. As to the ethnical affinities of this pure Etruscan race, we are almost as much in the dark as was Dionysius; but recent philological inquiries appear to have established the fact that it may be referred to the same great family of the Indo-Teutonic nations, though widely separated from all the other branches of that family which we find settled in Italy. There are not wanting, indeed, evidences of many points of contact and similarity, with the Umbrians on the one hand and the Pelasgians on the other; but it is probable that these are no more than would naturally result from their close juxtaposition, and that mixture of the different races which had certainly taken place to a large extent before the period from which all our extant monuments are derived. It may, indeed, reasonably be assumed, that the Umbrians, who appear to have been at one time in possession of the greater part, if not the whole, of Etruria, would never be altogether expelled, and that there must always have remained, especially in the N. and E., a subject population of Umbrian race, as there was in the more southern districts of Pelasgian.

The statement of Livy, which represents the Rhaetians as of the same race with the Etruscans (5.33), even if its accuracy be admitted, throws but little light on the national affinities of the latter; for we know, in fact, nothing of the Rhaetians, either as to their language or origin.

It only remains to advert briefly to the several branches of the population of Northern Italy. Of these, by far the most numerous and important were the Gauls, who gave to the whole basin of the Po the name of Gallia Cisalpina. They were universally admitted to be of the same race with the Gauls who inhabited the countries beyond the Alps, and their migration and settlement in Italy were referred by the Roman historians to a comparatively recent period. The history of these is fully given under GALLIA CISALPINA Adjoining the Gauls on the SW., both slopes of the Apennines, as well as of the Maritime Alps and a part of the plain of the Po, were occupied by the LIGURIANS, a people as to whose national affinities we are almost wholly in the dark. [LIGURIA] It is certain, however, from the positive testimony of ancient writers, that they were a distinct race from the Gauls (Strab. ii. p.128), and there seems no doubt that they were established in Northern Italy long before the Gallic invasion. Nor were they by any means confined to the part of Italy which ultimately-retained their name. At a very early period we learn that they occupied the whole coast of the Mediterranean, from the foot of the Pyrenees to the frontiers of Etruria, and the Greek writers uniformly speak of the people who occupied the neighbourhood of Massilia, or the modern Provence, as Ligurians, and not Gauls. (Strab. iv. p.203.) At the same period, it is probable that they were more widely spread also in the basin of the Po than we find them when they appear in Roman history. At that time the Taurini, at the foot of the Cottian Alps, were the most northern of the Ligurian tribes; while S. of the Padus they extended probably as far as the Trebia. Along the shores of the Mediterranean they possessed in the time of Polybius the whole country as far as Pisae and the mouths of the Arnus, while they held the fastnesses of the Apennines as far to the E. as the frontiers of the Arretine territory. (Pol. 2.16.) It was not till a later period that the Macra became the established boundary between the Roman province of Liguria and that of Etruria.

Bordering on the Gauls on the E., and separated from them. by the river Athesis (Adige), were the VENETI a people of whom we are distinctly told that their language was different from that of the Gauls (Pol. 2.17), but of whom, as of the Ligurians, we know rather what they were not, than what they were. The most probable hypothesis is, that they were an Illyrian race (Zeuss, Die Deutschen, p. 251), and there is good reason for referring their neigh-bours the ISTRIANS to the same stock. On the other hand, the CARNI a mountain tribe in the extreme NE. of Italy, who immediately bordered both on the Venetians and Istrians, were more probably a Celtic race [CARNI].

Another name which we meet with in this part of Italy is that of the EUGANEI, a people who had dwindled into insignificance in historical times, but whom Livy describes as once great and powerful, and occupying the whole tracts from the Alps to the sea. (Liv. 1.1.) Of their national affinities we know nothing. It is possible that where Livy speaks of other Alpine races besides the Rhaetians, as being of common origin with the Etruscans (5.33), that he had the Euganeans in view; but this is mere conjecture. He certainly seems to have regarded them as distinct both from the Venetians and Gauls, and as a more ancient people in Italy than either of those races.


The history of ancient Italy is for the most part inseparably connected with that of Rome, and cannot be considered apart from it. It is impossible here to attempt to give even an outline of that history; but it may be useful to the student to present at one view a brief sketch of the progress of the Roman arms, and the period at which the several nations of Italy successively fell under their yoke, as well as the measures by which they were gradually consolidated into one homogeneous whole, in the form that Italy assumed under the rule of Augustus. The few facts known to us concerning the history of the several nations, before their conquest by the Romans, will be found in their respective articles; that of the Greek colonies in Southern Italy, and [p. 2.88]their relations with the surrounding tribes, are given under the head of MAGNA GRAECIA

1. Conquest of Italy by the Romans, B.C. 509--264.

The earliest wars of the Romans with their immediate neighbours scarcely come here under our consideration. Placed on the very frontier of three powerful nations, the infant city was from the very first engaged in perpetual hostilities with the Latins, the Sabines, and the Etruscans. And, however little dependence can be placed upon the details of these wars, as related to us, there seems no doubt that, even under the kings, Rome had risen to a superiority over most of her neighbours, and had extended her actual dominion over a considerable part of Latium. The earliest period of the Republic, on the other hand (from the expulsion of the Tarquins to the Gaulish invasion, B.C. 509--390), when stripped of the romantic garb in which it has been clothed by Roman writers, presents the spectacle of a difficult and often dubious struggle, with the Etruscans on the one hand, and the Volscians on the other. The capture of Veil, in B.C. 396, and the permanent annexation of its territory to that of Rome, was the first decisive advantage acquired by the rising republic, and may be looked upon as the first step to the domination of Italy. Even the great calamity sustained by the Romans, when their city was taken and in part destroyed by the Gauls, B.C. 390, was so far from permanently checking their progress, that it would rather seem to have been the means of opening out to them a career of conquest. It is probable that that event, or rather the series of predatory invasions by the Gauls of which it formed a part, gave a serious shock to the nations of Central Italy, and produced among them much disorganisation and consequent weakness. The attention of the Etruscans was naturally drawn off towards the N., and the Romans were able to establish colonies at Sutrium and Nepete; while the power of the Volscians appears to have been greatly enfeebled, and the series of triumphs over them recorded in the Fasti now marks real progress. That of M. Valerius Corvus, after the destruction of Satricum in B.C. 346 (Liv. 7.27; Fast. Capit.), seems to indicate the total subjugation of the Volscian people, who never again appear in history as an independent power. Shortly after this, in B.C. 343, the Romans for the first time came into collision with the Samnites. That people were then undoubtedly at the height of their power: they and their kindred Sabellian tribes had recently extended their conquests over almost the whole southern portion of the peninsula (see above, p. 86); and it cannot be doubted, that when the Romans and Samnites first found themselves opposed in arms, the contest between them was one for the supremacy of Italy. Meanwhile, a still more formidable danger, though of much briefer duration, threatened the rising power of Rome. The revolt of the Latins, who had hitherto been among the main instruments and supports of that power, threatened to shake it to its foundation; and the victory of the Romans at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius, under T. Manliuas and P. Decius (B.C. 340), was perhaps the most important in their whole history. Three campaigns sufficed to terminate this formidable war (B.C. 340--338). The Latins were now reduced from the condition of dependent allies to that of subjects, whether under the name of Roman citizens or on less favourable terms [LATIUM]; and the greater part of Campania was placed in the same condition.

At this time, therefore, only seventy years before the First Punic War, the Roman dominion still comprised only Latium, in the more limited sense of the name (for the Aequi and Hernici were still independent), together with the southern part of Etruria, the territory of the Volscians, and a part of Campania. During the next fifty years, which was the period of the great extension of the Roman arms and influence, the contest between Rome and Samniumn was the main point of interest; but almost all the surrounding nations of Italy were gradually drawn in to take part in the struggle. Thus, in the Second Samnite War (B.C. 326--304), the names of the Lucanians and Apulians--nations with which (as Livy observes, 8.25) the Roman people had, up to that period, had nothing to do--appear as taking an active part in the contest. In another part of Italy, the Marsi, Vestini, and Peligni, all of them, as we have seen, probably kindred races with the Samnites, took up arms at one time or another in support of that people, and were thus for the first time brought into collision with Rome. It was not till B.C. 311 that the Etruscans on their side joined in the contest: but the Etruscan War at once assumed a character and dimensions scarcely less formidable than that with the Samnites. It was now that the Romans for the first time carried their arms beyond the Ciminian Hills; and the northern cities of Etruria, Perusia, Cortona, and Arretium, now first appear as taking part in the war. [ETRURIA] Before the close of the contest, the Umbrians also took up arms for the first time against the Romans. The peace which put an end to the Second Samnite War (B.C. 304) added nothing to the territorial extent of the Roman power; but nearly contemporary with it, was the revolt of the Hernicans, which ended in the complete subjugation of that people (B.C. 306); and a few years later the Aequians, who followed their example, shared the same fate, B.C. 302. About the same time (B.C. 304) a treaty was concluded with the Marsi, Marrucini, Peligni, and Frentani, by which those nations appear to have passed into the condition of dependent allies of Rome, in which we always subsequently find them. A similar treaty was granted to the Vestini in B.C. 301.

In B.C. 298, the contest between Rome and Samnium was renewed, but in this Third Samnite War the people of that name was only one member of a powerful confederacy, consisting of the Samnites, Etruscans, Umbrians, and Gauls; nevertheless, their united forces were defeated by the Romans, who, after several successful campaigns, compelled both Etruscans and Samnites to sue for peace (B.C. 290). The same year in which this was concluded witnessed also the subjugation of the Sabines, who had been so long the faithful allies of Rome, and now appear, for the first time after a long interval, in arms: they were admitted to the Roman franchise. (Liv. Epit. xi.; Vell. 1.14.) The short interval which elapsed before hostilities were generally renewed, afforded an opportunity for the subjugation of the Galli Senones, whose territory was wasted with fire and sword by the consul Dolabella, in 283; and the Roman colony of Sena (Sena Gallica) established there, to secure their permanent submission. Already in B.C. 282, the war was renewed both with the Etruscans and the Samnites; but this Fourth Samnite War, as it is often called, was soon merged in one of a more extensive character. The Samnites were at first assisted by the Lucanians [p. 2.89]and Bruttians, the latter of whom now occur for the first time in Roman history (Liv. Epit. xii.); but circumstances soon arose which led the Romans to declare war against the Tarentines; and these called in the assistance of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. The war with that monarch (the first in which the Romans were engaged with any non-Italian enemy) was at the same time decisive of the fate of the Italian peninsula. It was, indeed, the last struggle of the nations of Southern Italy against the power of Rome: on the side of Pyrrhus were ranged, besides the Tarentines and their mercenaries, the Samnites, Lucanians, and Bruttians; while the Latins, Campanians, Sabines, Umbrians, Volscians, Marrucini, Peligni, and Frentani, are enumerated among the troops which swelled the ranks of the Romans. (Dionys. xx. Fr. Didot.) Hence, the final defeat of Pyrrhus near Beneventum (B.C. 275) was speedily followed by the complete subjugation of Italy. Tarentum fell into the hands of the Romans in B.C. 272, and, in the same year, the consuls Sp. Carvilius and Papirius Cursor celebrated the last of the many Roman triumphs over the Samnites, as well as the Lucanians and Bruttians. Few particulars have been transmitted to us of the petty wars which followed, and served to complete the conquest of the peninsula. The Picentes, who were throughout the Samnite wars on friendly terms with Rome, now appear for the first time as enemies; but they were defeated and reduced to submission in B.C. 268. The subjection of the Sallentines followed, B.C. 266, and the same year records the conquest of the Sarsinates, probably including the other mountain tribes of the Umbrians. A revolt of the Volsinians, in the following year (B.C. 265), apparently arising out of civil dissensions, gave occasion to the last of these petty wars, and earned for that people the credit of being the last of the Italians that submitted to the Roman power. (Florus, 1.21.)

It was not till long after that the nations of Northern Italy shared the same fate. Cisalpine Gaul and Liguria were still regarded as foreign provinces; and, with the exception of the Senones, whose territory had been already reduced, none of the Gaulish nations had been assailed in their own abodes. In B.C. 232 the distribution of the “Gallicus ager” (the territory of the Senones) became the occasion of a great and formidable war, which, however, ultimately ended in the victory of the Romans, who immediately proceeded to plant the two colonies of Placentia and Cremona in the territory of the Gauls, B.C. 218. The history of this war, as well as of those which followed, is fully related under GALLIA CISALPINA It may here suffice to mention, that the final conquest of the Boii, in B.C. 191, completed the subjection of Gaul, south of the Padus; and that of the Transpadane Gauls appears to have been accomplished soon after, though there is some uncertainty as to the exact period. The Venetians had generally been the allies of the Romans during these contests with the Gauls, and appear to have passed gradually and quietly from the condition of independent allies to that of dependents, and ultimately of subjects. The Istrians, on the contrary, were reduced by force of arms, and submitted in B.C. 177. The last people of Italy that fell under the yoke of Rome were the Ligurians. This hardy race of mountaineers was not subdued till after a long series of campaigns; and, while the Roman arms were over-throwing the Macedonian and Syrian empires in the East, they Were still constantly engaged in an inglorious, but arduous, struggle with the Ligurians, on their own immediate frontiers. Strabo observes, that it cost them eighty years of war to secure the coast-line of Liguria for the space of 12 stadia in width (iv. p. 203); a statement nearly correct, for the first triumph over the Ligurians was celebrated in B.C. 236, and the last in B.C. 158. Even after this last period it appears to have been a long time before the people were finally reduced to a state of tranquillity, and lapsed into the condition of ordinary Roman subjects.

2. Italy under the Romans.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that the several nations of Italy, from the periods at which they successively yielded to the Roman arms and acknowledged the supremacy of the Republic, became her subjects, in the strict sense of the word, or were reduced under any uniform system of administration. The relations of every people, and often even of every city, with the supreme head, were regulated by special agreements or decrees, arising out of the circum-stances of their conquest or submission. How various and different these relations were, is sufficiently seen by the instances of the Latins, the Campanians, and the Hernicans, as given in detail by Livy (8.11-14, 9.43). From the loss of the second decade of that author, we are unfortunately deprived of all similar details in regard to the other nations of, Italy; and hence our information as to the relations established between them and Rome in the third century B.C., and which continued, with little alteration, till the outbreak of the Social War, B.C. 90, is unfortunately very imperfect. We may, how-ever, clearly distinguish two principal classes into which the Italians were then divided; those who possessed the rights of Roman citizens, and were thus incorporated into the Roman state, and those who still retained their separate national existence as dependent allies, rather than subjects properly so called. The first class comprised all those communities which had received, whether as nations or separate cities, the gift of the Roman franchise; a right sometimes, conferred as a boon, but often also imposed as a penalty, with a view to break up more effectually the national spirit and organisation, and bring the people into closer dependence upon the supreme authority. In these cases the citizenship was conferred without the right of suffrage; but in most, and perhaps in all such instances, the latter privilege was ultimately conceded. Thus we find the Sabines, who in B.C. 290 obtained only the “civitas sine suffragio,” admitted in B.C. 268 to the full enjoyment. of the franchise (Vell. 1.14): the same was the case also, though at a much longer interval, with Formiae, Fundi, and Arpinum, which did not receive the right of suffrage till B.C. 188 (Liv. 8.41, 10.1, 38.36), though they had borne the title of Roman citizens for more than a century. To the same class belonged those of the Roman colonies which were called “coloniae civium Romanorum,” and which, though less numerous and powerful than the Latin colonies, were scattered through all parts of Italy, and included some wealthy and important towns. (A list of them is given by Madvig, de Coloniis, pp. 295--303, and by Marquardt, Handb. der Römischen Alterthiimer, vol. iii. pt. i. p. 18.)

To the second class, the “Socii” or “Civitates Foederatae,” which, down to the period of the Social War, included by far the largest part of the Italian [p. 2.90]people, belonged all those nations that had submitted to Rome upon any other terms than those of citizenship; and the treaties (foedera), which determined their relations to the central power, included almost every variety, from a condition of nominal equality and independence (aequum foedus), to one of the most complete subjection. Thus we find Heraclea in Lucania, Neapolis in Campania, and the Camertes in Umbria, noticed as possessing particularly favourable treaties (Cic. pro Balb. 8, 20, 22); and even some of the cities of Latium itself, which had not received the Roman civitas, continued to maintain this nominal independence long after they had become virtually subject to the power of Rome. Thus, even in the days of Polybius, a Roman citizen might retire into exile at Tibur or Praeneste (Pol. 6.14; Liv. 43.2), and the poor and decayed town of Laurentum went through the form of annually renewing its treaty with Rome down to the close of the Republic. (Liv. 8.11.) Nor was this independence merely nominal: though politically dependent upon Rome, and compelled to follow her lead in their external relations, and to furnish their contingent of troops for the wars, of which the dominant republic alone reaped the benefit, many of the cities of Italy continued to enjoy the absolute control of their own affairs and internal regulations; the troops which they were bound by their treaty to furnish were not enrolled with the legions, but fought under their own standards as auxiliaries; they retained their own laws as well as courts of judicature, and, even when the Lex Julia conferred upon all the Italian allies the privileges of the Roman civitas, it was necessary that each city should adopt it by an act of its own. (Cic. pro Balb. 8) Nearly in the same position with the dependent allies, however different in their origin, were the so-called “Coloniae Latinae;” that is, Roman colonies which did not enjoy the rights of Roman citizenship, but stood in the same relation to the Roman state that the cities of the Latin League had formerly done. The name was, doubtless, derived from a period when these colonies were actually sent out in common by the Romans and Latins; but settlements on similar terms continued to be founded by the Romans alone, long after the extinction of the Latin League; and, before the Social War, the Latin colonies included many of the most flourishing and important towns of Italy. (For a list of them, with the dates of their foundation, see Madvig, de Coloniis, l.c.; Mommsen, Römischle Mfisnz-Wesen, pp. 230--234; and Marquardt, l.c. p. 33.) These colonies are justly regarded by Livy as one of the main supports of the Republic during the Second Punic War (Liv. 27.9, 10), and, doubtless, proved one of the most effectual means of consolidating the Roman dominion in Italy. After the dissolution of the Latin League, B.C. 338, these Latin colonies (with the few cities of Latium that, like Tibur and Praeneste, still retained their separate organisation) formed the “nomen Latinum,” or body of the Latins. The close connection of these with the allies explains the frequent recurrence of the phrase “socii et nomen Latinum” throughout the later books of Livy, and in other authors in reference to the same period.

A great and general change in the relations previously subsisting between the Italian states and Rome was introduced by the Social War (B.C. 90--89), and the settlement which took place in consequence of it. Great as were the dangers with which Rome was threatened by the formidable coalition of those who had so long been her bravest defenders, they would have been still more alarming had the whole Italian people taken part in it. But the allies who then rose in arms against Rome were almost exclusively the Sabellians and their kindred races. The Etruscans and Umbrians stood aloof, while the Sabines, Latins, Volscians, and other tribes who had already received the Roman franchise, supported the Republic, and furnished the materials of her armies. But the senate hastened to secure those who were wavering, as well as to disarm a portion at least of the openly disaffected, by the gift of the Roman franchise, including the full privileges of citizens: and this was subsequently extended to every one of the allies ill succession as they submitted. There is some uncertainty as to the precise steps by which this was effected, but the Lex Julia, passed in the year 90 B.C., appears to have conferred the franchise upon the Latins (the “nomen Latinum,” as above defined) and all the allies who were willing to accept the boon. The Lex Plautia Papiria, passed the following year, B.C. 89, completed the arrangement thus begun. (Cic. pro Balb. 8, pro Arch. 4; A. Gel. 4.4; Appian, App. BC 1.49; Vell. 2.16.)

By the change thus effected the distinction between the Latins and the allies, as well as between those two classes and the Roman citizens, was entirely done away with; and the Latin colonies lapsed into the condition of ordinary municipia. At the same time that all the free inhabitants of Italy, as the term was then understood (i. e. Italy S. of the Macra and Rubicon), thus received the full rights of Roman citizens, the same boon was granted to the inhabitants of Gallia Cispadana, while the Transpadani appear to have been at the same time raised to the condition and privileges of Latins, that is to say, were placed on the same footing as if all their towns had been Latin colonies. (Ascon. in Pison. p. 3, ed. Orell. ; Savigny, Vermischte Schriften, vol. iii. pp. 290--308 ; Marquardt, Handb. vol. iii. pt. i. p. 48.) This peculiar arrangement, by which the Jus Latii was revived at the very time that it became naturally extinct in the rest of Italy, is more fully explained under GALLIA CISALPINA In B.C. 49, after the outbreak of the Civil War, Caesar bestowed the full franchise upon the Transpadani also (D. C. 41.36); and from this time all the free inhabitants of Italy became united under one common class as citizens of Rome.

The Italians thus admitted to the franchise were all ultimately enrolled in the thirty-five Roman tribes. The principle on which this was done we know not; but we learn that each municipium, and sometimes even a larger district, was assigned to a particular tribe: so that every citizen of Arpinum, for instance, would belong to the Cornelian tribe, of Beneventum to the Stellatine, of Brixia to the Fabian, of Ticinum to the Papian, and so on.2 But in so doing, all regard to that geographical distribution of the tribes which was undoubtedly kept in view in their first institution was necessarily lost; and we have not sufficient materials for attempting to determine how the distribution was made. A knowledge of it must, however, have been of essential importance so long as the Republic continued ; and [p. 2.91]in this sense we find Cicero alluding to “Italia tributim descripta” as a matter of interest to the candidates for public offices. (Q. Cic. de Petit. Cons. 8

3. Italy under the Roman Empire.

No material change was introduced into the political condition of Italy by the establishment of the imperial authority at Rome; the constitution and regulations that existed before the end of the Republic continued, with only a few modifications, in full force. The most important of these was the system of municipal organisation, which pervaded every part of the country, and which was directly derived from the days of Italian freedom, when every town had really possessed an independent government. Italy, as it existed under the Romans, may be still regarded as an aggregate of individual communities, though these had lost all pretensions to national independence, and retained only their separate municipal existence. Every municipium had its own internal organisation, presenting very nearly a miniature copy of that of the Roman republic. It had its senate or council, the members of which were called Decuriones, and the council itself Ordo Decurionumy or often simply Ordo; its popular assemblies, which, however, soon fell into disuse under the Empire; and its local magistrates, of whom the principal were the Duumviri, or sometimes Quatuorviri, answering to the Ronman consuls and praetors: the Quinquennales, with functions analogous to those of the censors; the Aediles and Quaestors, whose duties nearly corresponded with those of the same magistrates at Rome. These different magistrates were annually elected, at first by the popular assembly, subsequently by the Senate or Decurions: the members of the latter body held their offices for life. Nor was this municipal government confined to the town in which it was resident: every such Municipium possessed a territory or Ager, of which it was as it were the capital, and over which it exercised the same municipal jurisdiction as within its own walls. This district of course varied much in extent, but in many in-stances comprised a very considerable territory, including many smaller towns and villages, all which were dependent, for municipal purposes, upon the central and chief town. Thus we are told by Pliny, that many of the tribes that inhabited the Alpine valleys bordering on the plains of Gallia Cisalpina, were by the Lex Pompeia assigned to certain neigh-bouring municipia (Lege Ponmpeia attributi municipiis, Plin. Nat. 3.20. s. 24), that is to say, they were included in their territory, and subjected to their jurisdiction. Again, we know that the territories of Cremona and Mantua adjoined one another, though the cities were at a considerable distance. In like manner, the territory of Beneventum comprised a large part of the land of the Hirpini. It is this point which gives a great importance to the distinction between municipal towns and those which were not so; that the former were not only themselves more important places, but were, in fact, the capitals of districts, into which the whole country was divided. The villages and minor towns included within these districts were distinguished by the terms “fora, conciliabula, vici, castella,” and were dependent upon the chief town, though sometimes possessing a subordinate and imperfect local organisation of their own. In some cases it even happened that, from local circumstances, one of these subordinate places would rise to a condition of wealth and prosperity far surpassing those of the municipium, on which it nevertheless continued dependent. Thus, the opulent watering-place of Baiae always remained, in a municipal sense, a mere dependency of Cumae

The distinction between colonial and municipia, which had been of great importance under the Roman republic, lost its real significance, when the citizens of both alike possessed the Roman franchise. But the title of colonia was still retained by those towns which had received fresh colonies towards the close of the Republic under Caesar or the Trium-virate, as well as under the Empire. It appears to have been regarded as an honorary distinction, and as giving a special claim upon the favour and protection of the founder and his descendants ; though it conferred no real political superiority. (Gel. 16.13.) On the other hand, the Praefecturae--a name also derived from the early republican period--were distinguished from the colonies and municipia by the circumstance that the juridical functions were there exercised by a Praefectus, an officer sent direct from Rome, instead of by the Duumviri or Quatuorviri (whose legal title was IIviri or IIIIviri Juri dicundo) elected by the municipality. But as these distinctions were comparatively unimportant, the name of “municipia” is not unfrequently applied in a generic sense, so as to include all towns which had a local self-government. “Oppida” is sometimes employed with the same meaning. Pliny, however, generally uses “oppida” as equivalent to “municipia,” but exclusive of colonies: thus, in describing the eighth region, he says, “Coloniae Bononia, Brixillum, Mutina, etc. . . . . Oppida Caesena, Claterna, Forum Clodi, etc.” (3.15. s. 20, et passim). It is important to observe that, in all such passages, the list of “oppida” is certainly meant to include only municipal towns; and the lists thus given by Pliny, though disfigured by corruption and carelessness, were probably in the first instance derived from official sources. Hence the marked agreement which may be traced between them and the lists given in the Liber Coloniarum, which, not-withstanding the corruptions it has suffered, is unquestionably based upon good materials. (Concerning the municipal institutions of Italy, see Savigny, Vermischte Schriften, vol. iii. pp. 279--412, and Gesch. des Röm. Rechts, vol. i.; Marquardt, Handb. d. Röm. Alterthümer, vol. iii. pt, i. pp. 44--55; Hoeck, Röm. Geschichte, book 5, chap. 3; and the article GALLIA CISALPINA

The municipal organisation of Italy, and the territorial distribution connected with it, lasted through-out the Roman empire, though there was always a strong tendency on the part of the central authority and its officers to encroach upon the municipal powers: and in one important point, that of their legal jurisdiction, those powers were materially circumscribed. But the municipal constitution itself naturally acquired increased importance as the central power became feeble and disorganised: it survived the fall of the Western Empire, and continued to subsist under the Gothic and Lombard conquerors, until the cities of Italy gradually assumed a position of independence, and the municipal constitutions which had existed under the Roman empire, became the foundation of the free republics of the middle ages. (Savigny, Gesch. des Römischen Rechts im Mittel Alter, vol. i.)

The ecclesiastical arrangements introduced after the establishment of Christianity in the Roman empire, appear to have stood in close connection with the municipal limits. Almost every town which was then a flourishing municipium became the see of a [p. 2.92]bishop, and the limits of the diocese in general coincided with those of the municipal territory.3 But in the period of decay and confusion that followed, the episcopal see often remained after the city had been ruined or fallen into complete decay: hence the ecclesiastical records of the early ages of Christianity are often of material assistance in enabling us to trace the existence of ancient cities, and identify ancient localities.

4 Political and Administrative Division under the Roman Empire.

It is not till the reign of Augustus that any division of Italy for administrative purposes occurs, and the reason is obvious. So long as the different nations of Italy preserved the semblance of independence, which they maintained till the period of the Social War, no uniform system of administration was possible. Even after that period, when they were all merged in the condition of Roman citizens, the municipal institutions, which were still in full force, appear to have been regarded as sufficient for all purposes of internal management; and the general objects of the State were confided to the ordinary Roman magistrates, or to extraordinary officers appointed for particular purposes.

The first division of Italy into eleven regions by Augustus, appears to have been designed in the first instance merely to facilitate the arrangements of the census; but, as the taking of this was closely coupled with the levying of taxes, the same divisions were soon adopted for financial and other administrative purposes, and continued to be the basis of all subsequent arrangements. The divisions established by Augustus, and which have fortunately been preserved to us by Pliny (the only author who mentions their institution), were as follows:

  • I. The First Region comprised Latium (in the more extended sense of that name, including the land of the Hernicans and Volscians), together with Campania, and the district of the Picentini. It thus extended from the mouth of the Tiber to that of the Silarus ; and the Anio formed its boundary on the N.
  • II. The Second Region, which adjoined the preceding on the SE., included Apulia, Calabria, and the land of the Hirpini, which was thus separated from the rest of Samnium.
  • III. The Third Region contained Lucania and Bruttium: it was bounded by the Silarus on the NW. and by the Bradanus on the NE.
  • IV. The Fourth Region contained all Samnium, except the Hirpini, together with the Frentani, Marrucini, Marsi, Peligni, Aequiculi, Vestini, and Sabini. It thus extended from the Anio to the frontiers of Picenum, and from the boundary of Umbria on the N. to Apulia on the S. It was separated from the latter district by the river Tifernus, and from Picenum by the Aternus.
  • V. The Fifth Region was composed solely of the ancient Picenum (including under that name the territory of Hadria and of the Praetutii), and extended along the Adriatic from the mouth of the Aternus to that of the Aesis.
  • VI. The Sixth Region contained Umbria, together with the land N. of the Apennines, once occupied by the Senonian Gauls, and which extended along the coast of the Adriatic from the Aesis to the Ariminus. On the W. it was separated from Etruria by the Tiber, along the left bank of which it extended as far as Ocriculum.
  • VII. The Seventh Region consisted of the ancient Etruria, and preserved the ancient limits of that country: viz. the Tiber on the E., the Apennines on the N., and the Tyrrhenian sea on the W., from the mouth of the Tiber to that of the Macra.
  • VIII. The Eighth Region, or Gallia Cispadana, extended from the frontiers of Liguria near Placentia, to Ariminum on the Adriatic, and was bounded by the Apennines on the S., and by the Padus on the N.
  • IX. The Ninth Region comprised Liguria, extending along the sea-coast from the Macra to the Varus, and inland as far as the Padus, which formed its northern boundary from the confluence of the Trebia to its sources in Mt. Vesulus.
  • X. The Tenth Region was composed of Venetia, including the land of the Carni, with the addition of Istria, and a part of Gallia Cisalpina, previously occupied by the Cenomani, extending as far W. as the Addua.
  • XI. The Eleventh Region comprised the remainder of Gallia Transpadana, or the whole tract between the Alps and the Padus, from the sources of the latter river to its confluence with the Addua.

It is probable, both from the silence of Pliny, and from the limited scope with which these divisions were first instituted, that the regions had originally no distinctive names applied to them: but these would be gradually adopted, as the division acquired increased political importance. No difficulty could arise, where the limits of the Region coincided (or nearly so) with those of a previously existing people, as in the cases of Etruria, Liguria, Picenum, &c. In other instances the name of a part was given to the whole: thus, the first region came to be called Regio Campaniae; and hence, in the Liber Coloniarum, the “Civitates Campaniae” include all Latium also. [CAMPANIA] The name of Regio Samnil or Samnium was in like manner given to the fourth region, though perhaps not till after the northern part of it had been separated from the rest under the name of Valeria.

The division introduced by Augustus continued with but little alteration till the time of Constantine. The changes introduced by Hadrian and M. Aurelius regarded only the administration of justice in Italy generally (Spartian. Hadr. 22; Capit. M. Ant. 11); but in this, as well as in various other regulations, there was a marked approach to the assimilating the government of Italy to that of the provinces; and the term “Consularis,” applied to the judicial officers appointed by Hadrian merely to denote their dignity, soon came to be used as an official designation for the governor of a district, as we find it in the Notitia. But the distinction between Italy and tile provinces is still strongly marked by Ulpian, and it was not till the fourth century that the term “Provincia” came to be applied to the regions or districts of Italy (Mommsen, ad Lib. Col. pp. 193, 194.)

The changes introduced into the divisions of Augustus, either before the time of Constantine or under that emperor, were the following:--1. The fourth region was divided into two, the southern [p. 2.93]portion containing Samnium (to which the land of the Hirpini, included by Augustus in the second region, was reunited), together with the Frentani and Peligni; while the land of the Sabines, the Marsi, and the Vestini, constituted a separate district, which bore the name of VALERIA from the great highway, the Via Valeria, by which it was traversed. 2. The portion of the sixth region which lay between the Apennines and the Adriatic (originally inhabited by the Gauls) was separated from Umbria properly so called, and distinguished by the name of Picenum Annonarium, while the true Picenum was called, for the sake of distinction, Picenum Suburbicarium. 3. The eighth region, or Gallia Cispadana, was divided into two, of which the westernmost portion assumed the name of AEMILIA, from the highroad of that name; an appellation which seems to have come into common use as early as the time of Martial (3.4, 6.85): while the eastern portion, much the smaller of the two, received that of FLAMINIA, though the highroad of that name only extended to Ariminum, on the very frontier of this district. This new division seems to have been generally united with Picenum Annonarinm, though retaining its separate name. 4. The Alpes Cottiae, a mountain district which in the time of Augustus had still retained its nominal independence, though incorporated with the Roman empire by Nero, seems to have continued to form a separate district till the time of Constantine, who united it with the ninth region, the whole of which now came to be known as the Alpes Cottiae: while, still more strangely, the name of Liguria was transferred from this region, to which it properly belonged, to the eleventh region, or Gallia Transpadana; so that late writers speak of Mediolanum as the capital of Liguria. [LIGURIA] 5. The only other change that requires notice was the division of Etruria into two portions, called Tuscia Annonaria and Tuscia Urbicaria. This, as well as the similar distinction between the two Picenums, had its origin in the administrative arrangements introduced by Maximian, who, when he established the imperial residence at Milan, imposed upon the northern and adjoining provinces the task of finding supplies (annonae) for the imperial court and followers, while the other portions of Italy were charged with similar burdens for the supply of Rome. (Mommsen, ad Lib. Col. pp. 198--200.) Hence Trebellius Pollio, writing in the reign of Diocletian, after enumerating the districts of Southern and Central Italy, comprises all that lay N. of Flaninia and Etruria under the general appellation of “omnis annonaria regio.” (Treb. Poll. Trig. Tyr. 24.)

In addition to these changes, Constantine, in the general reorganisation of his empire, united to Italy the two provinces of Rhaetia (including Vindelicia), as well as the three great islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. These last, together with all the central and southern provinces of Italy, were placed under the jurisdiction of the Vicarius Urbis Romae, while all the northern provinces were subject to the Vicarius Italiae. The minor arrangements seem to have frequently varied in detail, but the seventeen provinces into which the “Dioecesis Italiae” was now divided, are thus enumerated in the Notitia Dignitatum (ii. pp. 9, 10):--

1. Venetia.
2. Aemilia.
3. Liguria (i. e. Gallia Transpadana).
4. Flaminia et Picenum Annonarium.
5. Tuscia et Umbria.
6. Picenum Suburbicarium.
7. Campania.
8. Sicilia.
9. Apulia et Calabria.
10. Lucania et Bruttii.
11. Alpes Cottiae (Liguria).
12. Raetia Prima.
13. Raetia Secunda.
14. Samnium.
15. Valeria.
16. Sardinia.
17. Corsica.

This list substantially agrees with that in the Libellus Provinciarum (published by Gronovius, Lugd. Bat. 1739), a document of the time of Theodosius I., as well as with that given by Paulus Diaconus in his geographical description of Italy (Hist. Lang. 2.14--22), though he has added an eighteenth province, to which he gives the name of “Alpes Apennini;” which can be no other than the northern part of Etruria, or Tuscia Annonaria. Of the seventeen provinces enumerated in the Notitia eight were placed under governors who bore the title of Consulares, seven under Praesides, and the two southernmost under Correctores, a title which appears to have been at one time common to them all.

(For further details on the administrative divisions of Italy during the latter period of the Roman empire, see the Notitia Dignitatum in Partibus Occidentis, Bonn, 1840, with Böcking's valuable commentary; Mommsen, über die Lib. Colon. in the Schriften der Römischen Feldmesser, vol. ii. Berlin, 1852; Marquardt, Handb. der Röm. Alterthümer, vol. iii. pt. i. pp. 55--71.)

The divisions thus established before the close of the Western Empire, were continued after its fall under the Gothic monarchy, and we find them frequently alluded to as subsisting under their old names in Cassiodorus and Procopius. It was not till the establishment of the Lombards in Italy that this division gave place to one wholly different, which became the foundation of that which subsisted in the middle ages. The Lombards divided the part of Italy in which they established their power, including all the N., or what is now called Lombardy, together with a part of Tuscany and Umbria, into a number of military fiefs or governments, under the name of Duchies (Ducatus): the Duchy of Friuli, Duchy of Verona, Duchy of Pavia, &c. Besides those immediately subject to the Lombard kings, two of these were established further to the S.,--the Duchy of Spoleto and Duchy of Benevento, which enjoyed a semi-independent position: and the last of these was extended by successive conquests, from the Greek Empire, till it comprised almost the whole of the S. of Italy, or the modern kingdom of Naples. The Greek emperors, however, still retained possession of the Exarchate of Ravenna, together with the district called the Pentapolis, comprising a considerable part of Picenum, and what was called the Duchy of Rome, including a part of Etruria and Umbria, as well as Latium. In the S. also they always kept possession of some of the maritime places of Campania, Naples, Gaëta, and Salerno, as well as of a part of Calabria, and the cities of Otranto and Gallipoli. After the fall of the Lombard kingdom, in A.D. 774, though they had now lost their. possessions in the N., the Exarchate and the Pentapolis, the Byzantine emperors [p. 2.94]for a long time extended their dominion over a considerable part of the S., and wrested from the dukes of Benevento the districts to which they gave the names of the Capitanata and the Basilicata (a part of the ancient Apulia and Lucania), and of which they retained possession till the 11th century. It was then that a new enemy first appeared on the scene, and the Normans, under Robert Guiscard, completed the final expulsion of the Greek emperors from Italy. The capture of Bari in 1071, and of Salerno in 1077, destroyed the last vestiges of the dominion that had been founded by the generals of Justinian. (D'Anville, États formés en Europe après la Chute de l'Empire Romain, 4to. Paris, 1771.)


The statements transmitted to us from antiquity concerning the amount of the population in different cities and countries are for the most part of so vague a character and such uncertain authority as to be little worthy of consideration ; but we have two facts recorded in connection with that of Italy, which may lead us to form at least an approximate estimate of its numbers. The first of these data is the statement given by Polybius, as well as by several Roman writers on the authority of Fabius, and which there is every reason to believe based on authentic documents, of the total amount of the forces which the Romans and their allies were able to oppose to the threatened invasion of the Gauls in B.C. 225. According to the detailed enumeration given by Polybius, the total number of men capable of bearing arms which appeared on the registers of the Romans and their allies, amounted to above 700,000 foot and 70,000 horsemen. Pliny gives them at 700,000 foot and 80,000 horse; while Eutropius and Orosius state the whole amount in round numbers at 800,000. (Pol. 2.24; Plin. Nat. 3.20. s. 24; Eutrop. 3.5; Oros. 4.13.) It is evident, from the precise statements of Polybius, that this was the total amount of the free population of military age (τὸ σύμπαν πλῆθος τῶν δυναμένων ὅπλα Βαστάζειν), and not that which could be actually brought into the field. if we estimate the proportion of these to the total free population as 1 to 4, which appears to have been the ratio currently adopted in ancient times, we should obtain a total of 3,200,000 for the free population of the Italian peninsula, exclusive of the greater part of Cisalpine Gaul, and the whole of Liguria4 : and even if we adopt the proportion of 1 to 5, more commonly received in modern times, this would still give a total of only 4,000,000, an amount by no means very large, as the population of the same parts of Italy at the present day considerably exceeds 9,000,000. (Serristori, Statistica d'Italia.) Of the amount of the servile population we have no means of forming an estimate: but it was probably not large at this period of the Roman history; and its subsequent rapid increase was contemporaneous with the diminution of the free population. The complaints of the extent to which this had taken place as early as the time of the Gracchi, and their lamentations over the depopulation of Italy (Plut. T. Gracch. 8), would lead us to suppose that the number of free citizens had greatly fallen off. If this was the case in B.C. 133, the events of the next half century--the sanguinary struggle of the Social War, which swept off, according to Velleius Paterculus (2.15), more than 300,000 men in the vigour of their age, and the cruel devastation of Samnium and Etruria by Sulla--were certainly not calculated to repair the deficiency. But, notwith-standing this, we find that the census of B.C. 70, which included all the new citizens recently admitted to the Roman franchise, and did not yet comprise any population out of Italy, nor even the Transpadane Gauls, gave a result of 910,000 Roman citizens (capita civium); from which we may fairly infer a free population of at least 4,500,000. (Liv. Epit. xcviii. ed. Jahn, compared with Phlegon, ap. Phot. Bibl. p. 84. ed. Bekker.) The rapid extension of a Roman population in Gallia Cispadana, as well as Venetia and Liguria, had evidently more than compensated for the diminution in the central provinces of the peninsula.

Of the populousness of Italy under the Empire, we have no data on which to found an estimate. But there are certainly no reasons to suppose that it ever exceeded the amount which it had attained under the Republic. Complaints of its depopulation, of the decay of flourishing towns, and the desolation of whole districts, are frequent in the writers of the Augustan age and the first century of the Christian era. We are told that Caesar in B.C. 46, already found a dreadful diminution of the population (δεινὴν ὀλιγανθρωπίαν, D. C. 43.25); and the period of the Triumvirate must have tended greatly to aggravate the evil. Augustus seems to have used every means to recruit the exhausted population: but that his efforts were but partially successful is evident from the picture which Strabo (writing in the reign of Tiberius) gives us of the state of decay and desolation to which the once populous provinces of Samnium, Apulia, and Lucania, were in his day reduced; while Livy confirms his statement, in regard even to districts nearer Rome, such as the land of the Aequians and Volscians. (Strab. v. p.249, vi. pp. 253, 281; Liv. 6.12.) Pliny, writing under Vespasian, speaks of the “latifundia” as having been “the ruin of Italy;” and there seems no reason to suppose that this evil was afterwards checked in any material degree. The splendour of many of the municipal towns, and especially the magnificent public buildings with which they were adorned, is apt to convey a notion of wealth and opulence which it seems hard to combine with that of a declining population. But it must be remembered that these great works were in many, probably in most instances, erected by the munificence either of the emperors or of private individuals; and the vast wealth of a few nobles was so far from being the sign of general prosperity, that it was looked upon as one of the main causes of decay. Many of the towns and cities of Italy were, however, no doubt very flourishing and populous: but numerous testimonies of ancient writers seem to prove that this was far from being the case with the country at large; and it is certain that no ancient author lends any countenance to the notion entertained by some modern writers, of “the incredible multitudes of people with which Italy abounded during the reigns of the Roman emperors” (Addison, [p. 2.95]Remarks on Italy). (See this question fully discussed and investigated by Zumpt, über den Stand der Bevölkerung im Alterthum. 4to. Berlin, 1841.)

Gallia Cisalpina, including Venetia and the part of Liguria N. of the Apennines, seems to have been by far the most flourishing and populous part of Italy under the Roman empire. Its extraordinary natural resources had been brought into cultivation at a comparatively late period, and were still unex-hausted: nor had it suffered so much from the civil wars which had given a fatal blow to the prosperity of the rest of Italy. It would appear also to have been comparatively free from the system of cultivation by slave labour which had proved so ruinous to the more southern regions. The younger Pliny, indeed, mentions that his estate near Comum, and all those in its neighbourhood, were cultivated wholly by free labourers. (Plin. Ep. 3.19.) In the latter ages of the Empire, also, the establishment of the imperial court at Mediolanum (which continued from the time of Maximian to that of Honorius) must have given a fresh stimulus to the prosperity of this favoured region. But when the Empire was no longer able to guard the barrier of the Alps against the irruptions of barbarians, it was on Northern Italy that the first brunt of their devastations naturally fell; and the numerous and opulent cities in the plains of the Padus were plundered in succession by the Goths, the Huns, and the Lombards.


Considering the celebrity of Italy, and the importance which it enjoyed, not only under the Romans but during the middle ages, and the facility of access which has rendered it so favourite a resort of travellers in modern times, it seems strange that our knowledge of its ancient geography should be still very imperfect. Yet it cannot be denied that this is the case. The first disadvantage under which we labour is, that our ancient authorities themselves are far from being as copious or satisfactory as might be expected. The account given by Strabo, though marked by much of his usual good sense and judgment, is by no means sufficiently ample or detailed to meet all our requirements. He had also comparatively little interest in, and was probably himself but imperfectly acquainted with, the early history of Rome, and therefore did not care to notice, or inquire. after, places which had figured in that history, but were in his time sunk into decay or oblivion. Mela dismisses the geography of Italy very hastily, as being too well known to require a detailed description (2.4.1): while Pliny, on the contrary, apologises for passing but lightly over so important and interesting a subject, on account of the impossibility of doing it justice (3.5. s. 6). His enumeration of the different regions and the towns they contained is nevertheless of the greatest value, and in all probability based upon authentic materials. But he almost wholly neglects the physical geography, and enumerates the inland towns of each district in alphabetical order, so that his mention of them gives us no assistance in determining their position. Ptolemy's lists of names are far less authentic and trustworthy than those of Pliny; and the positions which he professes to give are often but little to be depended on. The Itineraries afford valuable assistance, and perhaps there is no country for which they are more useful and trustworthy guides; but they fail us exactly where we are the most in want of assistance,--in the more remote and unfrequented parts of Italy, or those districts which in the latter ages of the Empire had fallen into a state of decay and desolation. One of the most important aids to the determination of ancient localities is unquestionably the preservation of the ancient names, which have often been transmitted almost without change to the present day; and even where the name is now altered, we are often enabled by ecclesiastical records to trace the ancient appellation down to the middle ages; and prove both the fact and the origin of its alteration. In numerous instances (such as Aletium, Sipontum, &c.) an ancient church alone records the existence and preserves the name of the decayed city. But two circumstances must guard us against too hasty an inference from the mere evidence of name: the one, that it not unfrequently happened, during the disturbed periods of the middle ages, that the inhabitants of an ancient town would migrate to another site, whether for security or other reasons, and transfer their old name to their new abode. Instances of this will be found in the cases of ABELLINUM, AUFIDENA, &c., and the most remarkable of all in that of CAPUA Another source of occasional error is that the present appellations of localities are sometimes derived from erroneous traditions of the middle ages, or even from the misapplication of ancient names by local writers on the first revival of learning.

One of the most important and trustworthy auxiliaries in the determination of ancient names and localities, that of inscriptions, unfortunately requires, in the case of Italy, to be received with much care and caution. The perverted ingenuity or misguided patriotism of many of the earlier Italian antiquarians frequently led them either to fabricate or interpolate such documents, and this with so much skill and show of learning, that many such fictitious or apocryphal inscriptions have found their way into the collections of Gruter, Muratori, and Orelli, and have been cited in succession by numerous modern writers. Mommsen has conferred a great service upon the student of Italian antiquities by subjecting all the recorded inscriptions belonging to the kingdom of Naples to a searching critical inquiry, and discarding from his valuable collection (Inscriptiones Reyni Neapolitani Latinae, fol. Lips. 1852) all those of dubious authenticity. It is much to be desired that the same task may be undertaken for those of the rest of Italy.

The comparative geography of ancient and modern Italy had more or less engaged the attention of scholars from the first revival of learning. But of the general works on the subject, those before the time of Cluverius may be regarded more as objects of curiosity than as of much real use to the student. Biondo Flavio (Blondus Flavius) is the earliest writer who has left us a complete and connected view of Italian topography, in his Ltalia Illustrata (first published in 1474, afterwards with his other works at Basle, in 1531 and 1559): after him came Leandro Alberti, whose Descrizione di tutta Italia (Venice, 1551) contains some valuable notices. But the great work of Cluverius (Italia Antiqua, 2 vols. fol. Lugd. Bat. 1624) altogether superseded those which had preceded him, and became the foundation of all subsequent inquiries. Cluverius has not only brought together, with the most praiseworthy diligence, all the passages of [p. 2.96]ancient authors bearing upon his subject, but he had himself travelled over a great part of Italy, noting the distances and observing the remains of ancient towns. It is to be regretted that he has not left us more detailed accounts of these remains of antiquity, which have in many cases since disappeared, or have not been visited by any more recent traveller. Lucas Holstenius, the contemporary and friend of Cluver, who had also visited in person nany of the more unfrequented districts of Italy, has left us, in his notes on Cluverius (Adnotationes ad Cluverii Italiam Antiquam, 8vo. Romae, 1666), a valuable supplement to the larger work, as well as many important corrections on particular points.

It is singular how little we owe to the researches of modern travellers in Italy. Not a single book of travels has ever appeared on that country which can be compared with those of Leake or Dodwell in Greece. Swinburne's Travels in the Two Sicilies is one of the best, and greatly superior to the more recent works of Keppel Craven on the same part of Italy (Tour through the Southern Provinces of the Kingdom of Naples, 4to. Lond. 1821; Excursions in the A bruzzi and Northern Provinces of Naples, 2 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1838). Eustace's well-known book (Classical Tour through Italy in 1802) is almost wholly worthless in an antiquarian point of view. Sir R. Hoare's Classical Tour, intended as a sort of supplement to the preceding, contains some valuable notes from personal observation. Dennis's recent work on Etruria (Cities and Cemeteries of the Etruscans, 2 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1848) contains a far more complete account of the antiquities and topography of that interesting district than we possess concerning any other part of Italy. Sir W. Gell's Topography of Rome and its Vicinity (2 vols. 8vo. Lond. 1834; 2nd edit. 1 vol. 18465 ), taken in conjunction with the more elaborate work of Nibby on the same district (Analisi della Carta dei Dintorni di Roma, 3 vols. 8vo. Rome, 1849), supplies much valuable information, especially what is derived from the personal researches of the author, but is far from fulfilling all that we require. The work of Westphal on the same subject (Die Römische Kampagne, 4to. Berlin, 1829) is still more imperfeet, though valuable for the care which the author bestowed on tracing out the direction and remains of the ancient roads throughout the district in question. Abeken's Mittel Italien (8vo. Stuttgart, 1843) contains a good sketch of the physical geography of Central Italy, and much information concerning the antiquities of the different nations that inhabited it; but enters very little into the topography of the regions he describes. The publications of the Instituto Archeologico at Rome (first commenced in 1829, and continued down to the present time), though directed more to archaeological than topographical researches, still contain many valuable memoirs in illustration of the topography of certain districts, as well as the still existing remains in ancient localities.

The local works and histories of particular districts and cities in Italy are innumerable. But very few of them will be found to be of any real service to the student of ancient geography. The earlier works of this description are with few exceptions characterised by very imperfect scholarship, an almost total want of criticism, and a blind credulity, or still blinder partiality to the native city of each particular author. Even on those points on which their testimony would appear most likely to be valuable,--such as notices of ruins, inscriptions, and other remains of antiquity,--it must too often be received with caution, if not with suspicion. A striking exception to this general remark will be found in the treatise of Galateo, De Situ Iapygiae (8vo. Basel, 1551; republished by Graevius in the Thesaurus Antiquitatum Italiae, vol. ix. part v.): those of Barrio on Calabria (the modern province of the name) and Antonini on Lucania (Barrius, de Antiquitate et Situ Calabriae, fol. Romae, 1737; Antonini, La Lucania, 4to. Naples, 1741), though not without their merit, are of far inferior value. The results of these local researches, and the conclusions of their authors, will be for the most part found, in a condensed form, in the work of the Abate Romanelli (Antica Topograjfa Istorica del Regno di Napoli, 3 vols. 4to. Naples, 1815), which, notwithstanding the defects of imperfect scholarship and great want of critical sagacity, will still be found of the greatest service to the student for the part of Italy to which it relates. Cramer, in his well-known work, has almost implicitly followed Romanelli, as far as the latter extends; as for the rest of Italy he has done little more than abridge the work of Cluverius, with the corrections of his commentator Holstenius. Manner, on the contrary, appears to have composed his Geographic von Italien without consulting any of the local writers at all, and consequently without that detailed acquaintance with the actual geography of the country which is the indispensable foundation of all inquiries into its ancient topography. Reichard's work, which appears to enjoy some reputation in Germany, is liable in a still greater degree to the same charge:6 while that of Forbiger is a valuable index of references both to ancient and modern writers, but aspires to little more. Kramer's monography of the Lake Fucinus (Der Fuciner See, 4to. Berlin, 1839) may be mentioned as a perfect model of its kind, and stands unrivalled as a contribution to the geography of Italy. Niebuhr's Lectures on the Geography of Italy (in his Vorträge über Alte Länder u. Völker-kcunde, pp. 318--576) contain many valuable and important views, especially of the physical geography in its connection with the history of the inhabitants, and should be read by every student of antiquity, though by no means free from errors of detail. [E.H.B]

ITA´LICA (Ἰτάλικα, Strab. iii. p.141; Ptol. 2.4.13; Ἰταλική Appian, App. Hisp. 38; Steph. B. sub voce a Roman city, in the country of the Turdetani, in Hispania Baetica, on the right bank of the Baetis, opposite HISPALIS (Seville), from which it was distant only 6 M. P. to the NW. (Itin. Ant. p. 413, comp. p. 432.) It was founded by Scipio Africanus, on the site of the old Iberian town of Sancios, in the Second Punic War (B.C. 207), and peopled with his disabled veterans; whence its name, “the Italian city.” It had the rank of a municipium: it is mentioned more than once in the history of the Civil Wars: and it was the native place of the emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius the Great, and, as some say, of the poet Silius Italicus. (See Dict. of Greek and Roan. Biog. s. v.) [p. 2.97]Its coins, all of the imperial age, bear military emblems which attest the story of its origin, and on some of them is the title JULIA AUGUSTA. The city flourished under the Goths, and, for some time, under the Moors, who preserved the old name, in the form Talika or Talca; but, in consequence of a change in the bed of the river, its inhabitants abandoned it, and migrated to Seville. Hence, in contradistinction to the city which (although far more ancient, see HISPALIS) became thus its virtual successor, Italica received the name of Old Seville (Sevilla la Vieja), under which name its ruins still exist near the wretched village of Santi Ponce, while the surrounding country retains the ancient name, los campos de Talca. The chief object in the ruins is the amphitheatre, which was in good preservation till 1774, “when it was used by the corporation of Seville for river dikes, and for making the road to Badajoz.” (Ford.) Mr. Ford also states, that “on Dec. 12, 1799, a fine mosaic pavement was discovered, which a poor monk, named Jose Moscoso, to his honour, enclosed with a wall, in order to save it from the usual fate in Spain. Didot, in 1802, published for Laborde a splendid folio, with engravings and description. . . . . Now, this work is all that remains, for the soldiers of Soult converted the enclosure into a goat-pen.” The only other portion of the ruins of Italica to be seen above. ground consists of some vaulted brick tanks, called La Casa de los Baños, which were the reservoirs of the aqueduct brought by Adrian from Tejada, 7 leagues distant. (Caes. B.C. 2.20; Bell. Alex. 53; Gell. Noct. Att. 15.13; Oros. 5.23; Geog. Rav.; Florez, Esp. S. vol. xii. pp. 227, foll.; Coins, ap. Florez, Med. de Esp. vol. ii. p. 477; Mionnet, vol. i. p. 17, Suppl. vol. i. p. 31; Sestini, p. 61; Eckhel, vol. i. p. 23; Ukert, vol. ii. pt. 1. p. 372; Ford, Handbook of Spain, pp. 63, 64.) [P. S.]

1 See also Mommsen, Oskische Studies, 8vo. Berlin, 1845, and Nachtrtdge, Berl. 1846, and his Unter Italischen Dialekte, Leipzig, 1850, pp. 99--316; Klenze, Philologiscdie Abhandlungen, 8vo. Berlin, 1839.

2 This did not, however, interfere with the personal right, where this previously existed, so that a Roman citizen already belonging to another tribe, who settled himself in any municipium, retained his own tribe.

3 A glance at the list of bishoprics existing in any of the provinces of Central Italy (Etruria, for instance, or Umbria), as compared with the names of the towns enumerated by Pliny in the same district, will at once show the connection between the two. (Bingham's Ecclesiastical Antiquities, book ix. chap. v.

4 The Cenomani and Veneti were among the allies who sent assistance to the Romans on this occasion, but their actual contingent of 20,000 men is all that is included in the estimate of Polybius. They did not, like the Italian allies, and doubtless could not, send registers of their total available resources.

5 It is this edition which is always referred to in the present work.

6 Some severe, but well merited, strictures on this work are contained in Niebuhr's Lectures on Roman History (vol. iii. p. 94.2d edit.).

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