Key to Umbria
 

First Phase of the War (328 - 312 BC)


Red dots = Roman colonies mentioned below

Black asterisks = battles mentioned below: at the Caudine Forks, near Caudium, in 321 BC; and

at the pass at Lautulae, near Tarracina, in 315 BC

Adapted from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

This war seems to have been triggered by the foundation in 328 BC of the Latin colony at Fregellae, on the left bank of the Liris river at its confluence with the Sacco, in a location that the Samnites probably regarded as within their sphere of influence.  From the Roman perspective, the low-point of this war came in 321 BC, when the Samnites inflicted a humiliating defeat on them at the Caudine Forks.  This defeat was followed by a truce, the terms of which might have required the Romans  to abandon their colonies at Fregellae and/or Cales.

Reorganisation of Roman Territory (318 BC)

Falerna and Oufentina Tribes (318 BC)

In 318 BC, during this period of relative peace, Livy recorded that,:

  1. “At Rome, two tribes were added, the Oufentina and the Falerna” (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 6).

The locations of these two tribes are not disputed:

  1. the Falerna was named for the ager Falernus, on the coastal plain west of Cales; and

  2. the Oufentina was named for the river Ufens, which flowed through the erstwhile territory of nearby Privernum (see below).

Thus, the we might reasonably assume that, in each of these areas:

  1. the amount of confiscated land that was available for settlement (Roman ager publicus); and

  2. the number of Roman citizen settled on it;

merited the organisation of a new voting district by 318 BC.



Prefects at Capua (318 BC)

The first Roman prefect mentioned by Livy (other than in a military context) was sent to Capua in 318 BC:

  1. “... prefects began to be elected and sent out to Capua, after Lucius Furius, the praetor, had given [the Capuans] laws —both steps being taken at the instance of the Capuans themselves, as a remedy for the distress occasioned by internal discord.” (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 5-6). 

According to Corey Brennan (referenced below, at p. 61) two separate steps are recorded here, both taken at the request of the Capuans:

  1. the praetor had given them laws; and

  2. they began to receive prefects who were elected in (and presumably sent from) Rome.

However, Adrian Sherwin-White (referenced below, at p. 43) deduced that this this sending of prefects was not yet a permanent arrangement.  According to Robert Knapp (referenced below, at p. 25):

  1. “After  318 BC, affairs seem to have settled down at Capua.  There may have been some interference from time to time by a Roman prefect, but there is no evidence for this.”

Falerna Tribe (318 BC)

Immediately after his account of the sending of prefects to Capua in 318 BC, Livy noted that:

  1. “At Rome two tribes were added, the Oufentina and the Falerna” (‘History of Rome’, 9: 20: 6).

The names of these two tribes suggest that they were each established for citizens settled on land that had been confiscated in 340 BC:

  1. the Oufentina was given the name of the river Oufens, which ran through its territory of Privernum; and

  2. the Falerna was named for the ager Falernus in Campania.

We might reasonably assume therefore that the level of citizen settlement in the ager Falernus was significant.

There is nothing in the surviving sources to indicate that the prefects mentioned by Livy, who were sent to Capua from 318 BC, had any jurisdiction in this territory.  Nevertheless,as noted above, it is possible that the legal affairs of the settlers in the ager Falernus were administered by a Roman prefect who had his seat at Capua.  If so, then this arrangement presumably ended with the revolt of 216 BC.



Prefecture Constituted at Privernum in 318 BC ?

Festus (‘De verborum significatione’, 262 Lindsay) included Privernum in his list of Roman prefectures, indicating that (from an unknown date) it had been the seat of a Roman prefect: this official:

  1. would have been delegated by the praetor in Rome to administer justice to Roman citizens; and

  2. his jurisdiction (the praefectura) would have extended across the ager Romanus on which they lived. 

We might reasonably assume that the jurisdiction of the Roman prefect who was based at Privernum extended across territory that the Romans had confiscated from the originally-Volscian centre here.

Livy recorded a number of episodes that relate to the confiscation of this territory: 



As noted above, the citizens who had been settled on land in the valley of the river Ufens were assigned to a new tribe, the Oufentina, in 318 BC.  Epigraphic evidence suggests that they included the citizens colonists at Tarracina, which was located at the point where the river reached the sea.  This suggests that:

either the land confiscated from Privernum in 340 BC had extended along the length of the Ufens from Privernum to the sea; or

Privernum had suffered further confiscation in 329 BC (that went unrecorded by Livy), in order to facilitate the foundation of the colony.

It is at least possible that , as part of the reorganisation of this territory in 318 BC, Privernum was constituted as a prefecture, thereby becoming the seat of a Roman prefect who had jurisdiction over the citizens (possibly including the citizen  colonists) who were assigned to the new Oufentina tribe at that point. 


Resumption of Hostilities

In 315 BC, shortly after the resumption of hostilities, the Samnites scored another major victory, this time at the pass at Lautulae (near Tarracina).  Thereafter, they were able to ravage the coast of Latium, as far as Ardea.  At this point, the people of the Volscian town of Sora, on the right bank of the Liris, killed the Roman soldiers that were garrisoned there and defected from the Romans to the Samnites. 

The Romans recovered  quite quickly from these set-backs, and were able to:

  1. regain control of Sora in 314 BC;

  2. re-establish the colonies at Fregellae and Cales in 313 BC (if they had actually been abandoned); and

  3. found three new colonies on the borders of Samnium (at Interamna Lirenas, Suessa and Saticula) in 312 BC.

As Timothy Cornell (referenced below, 1995, at pp. 354-5) observed:

  1. “The result was that, by 312 BC, Samnium was surrounded by military allies of Rome and confronted in the sensitive Liris - Volturnus region by strings of Latin colonies on strategic sites ...  [This was] the turning point of the war ... [The Romans] were no longer in any serious danger of defeat.”

Also in 312 BC, Appius Claudius Caecus, as censor, built the Via Appia (marked on the map above), which Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2007, pp. 373-4) described as:

  1. “... the first road that the Romans constructed for imperial purposes.”

Second Phase of the War (312 - 304 BC)

War in Etruria (311- 308 BC)


Roman Position in and around Etruria after the war of 311 - 308 BC

Black asterisks = battles: Sutrium and Perusia (310/9 BC); Mevania (308 BC)

Red dots = Etruscan cities with truces: Caere (100 years from 353 BC);

Arretium, Cortona and Perusia (30 years from 310/9 BC); Tarquinii (40 years from 308 BC)

Volsinii (one year, agreed in 308 BC)

Blue dots = Umbrians who were probably given treaties: Camertes (310/9 BC); Ocriculani (308 BC)

Adapted from the Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

Livy noted that, in 312 BC, after almost 40 years of peace in Etruria:

  1. ... the rumour of an Etruscan war sprang up.  In those days, there was no other race ( apart the risings of the Gauls) whose arms were more dreaded, not only because their territory lay so near, but also because of their numbers.  Accordingly, ... [the Romans prepared for war, in case] the Etruscans should first take the field”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 25: 1-5).

Thus, after almost 40 years of peace, a war in Etruria was on the horizon.  Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 344) suggested that the Etruscans:

  1. “... chose ... to make their move [against Rome at this decisive point in the Samnite War] because they wished to preserve the balance of power in central Italy ...”

However, the Romans were able to deal with both the Etruscans and the Samnites at the same time by assigning one consul assigned  to each theatre of war in 310/9 and 308 BC. 

I describe this Etruscan war in the following page: in summary:

  1. In the dictator year of 310/9 BC, the Romans:

  2. defeated an Etruscan army that had besieged at Sutrium;

  3. probably made an alliance with the Umbrian Camertes in order to reduce the danger of  an incursion by the Gallic Senones; and

  4. entered upper Etruria for the first time and fought two major battles near Perusia that culminated in 30 year truces with Arretium, Cortona and Perusia.

  5. In 308 BC, they:

  6. forced Tarquinii (whose earlier 40 year truce had expired in 311 BC) to agree another 40 year truce;

  7. harried the territory of Volsinii and agreed a one-year truce;

  8. inflicted a major defeat on the Umbrians at Mevania; and

  9. probably made an alliance with the Umbrian Ocriculani, whose territory on the Tiber bordered that of the Faliscans and the Sabines.

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ record that, in 309 BC:

  1. Lucius Papirius Cursor, as dictator, was awarded a triumph over the Samnites; and

  2. Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus, as proconsul, was awarded a triumph over the Etruscans.

In fact, as explained in the following page, ‘309 BC’ is a fictitious dictator year: the likelihood is that, if these triumphs were actually awarded at all, they belong to the later part of Fabius’ second year as consul, which scholars usually designate as 310/9 BC. 

I discuss Papirius’ involvement in Samnium in this dictator year on the following pages because:

  1. the difficult source material is best discussed in the context of those for the Etruscan War; and

  2. whatever it amounted to, it had little obvious impact on the overall course of the Samnite War.

Hernician War (307 - 306 BC)


Blue dots (Anagnia and Frusino) = rebels in the Hernician War

Yellow dots (Aletrium, Ferentinum, Verulae) = non-combatants in the Hernician War

Adapted from Linguistic Landscape of Central Italy

As already discussed, the Hernici had submitted to Rome in 358 BC, and part their territory in the upper Sacco valley was confiscated for viritane citizen settlement and designated as the Poblilia voting district.  From this point, while the Hernici retained their independence, they did so under the hegemony of Rome.

Thus, it was a serious matter when (according to Livy) the Romans discovered that Hernician soldiers had been serving in a Samnite army that had surrendered to them at Alifae in 307 BC.  For this reason, the captured Hernici were separated from the other prisoners-of-war and:

  1. “... sent to the Senate in Rome ...  There, an enquiry was held as to whether they had been conscripted or had fought voluntarily for the Samnites against the Romans, after which they were parcelled out amongst the Latins to be guarded.  [In the following year], the new consuls, Publius Cornelius Arvina and Quintus Marcius Tremulus, ... [initiated] fresh action, [which] the Hernici resented.  The people of Anagnia assembled a concilium populorum omnium (council of all the Hernician people) except for those of Aletrium, Ferentinum and Verulae, [after which, the assembled rebels] declared war on Rome”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 42: 8-11).

In response, while Cornelius remained in Samnium, Marcius was sent to deal with: 

  1. “The new enemies (for, by this time, the Romans had declared on the men of Anagnia and other Hernici) ... [These rebels], having lost three camps in the space of a few days, negotiated a truce of 30 days so that they could send envoys to the Senate in Rome ... The Senate sent them back to Marcius, having passed a resolution empowering him to deal with them as he saw fit.  He received their ... unconditional surrender”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 2-7).

After further activity in Samnium:

  1. “Marcius returned to Rome, which he entered in a triumph over the Hernici.  An equestrian statue was decreed to him and erected in front of the temple of Castor in the Forum”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 24).

The ‘fasti Triumphales’ record that, in this year, Marcius was awarded a triumph ‘over the Anagnini and Hernici’.  

Incorporation of Anagnia

Livy noted that, after the Roman victory:

  1. “Their own laws were restored to the three Hernican peoples of Aletrium, Verulae, and Ferentinum [who had remained loyal throughout the war],because they preferred them to Roman citizenship ... [However], the people of Anagnia and the others that had borne arms against Rome were:

  2. admitted to citizenship without voting right;

  3. prohibited from holding councils; ... and

  4. allowed no magistrates other than those who had charge of religious rites”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 43: 24).

In other words, while Aletrium, Verulae, and Ferentinum retained their nominal independence under Roman hegemony, Anagnia was incorporated into the Roman state


In a subsequent passage in which Livy recorded the causes of the Aequan War in 304 BC (discussed on my page on the the period between the second and third Samnite wars), he noted that the recalcitrant Aequi had accused the Romans of:

  1. “... trying to intimidate them into becoming Roman citizens under threats of war.  [The Aequi asserted that the experience of the Hernici in 306 BC had demonstrated] the undesirability of such a thing:

  2. those who had been permitted to do so [i.e. Aletrium, Verulae, and Ferentinum] had [chosen instead] to retain their own laws ... ; while

  3. those who had been given no option [i.e., for example, Anagnia] had had  citizenship thrust upon them as a punishment”, (‘History of Rome’, 9: 45: 8-9). 

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 593) observed that:

  1. “This passage is good evidence for the fundamentally aggressive nature of the civitas sine suffragio.”

Prefecture Constituted at this Point ?

There is no indication from Livy that the Hernici suffered further land confiscation at this time.  However, Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, at pp 307-8, entry 15 and note 44) pointed out that scholars generally assume that they:

  1. “... lost the land around Anagnia  ... on the basis of the fact that Festus (‘De verborum significatione’, 262 Lindsay) mentions a praefectura Anagnia.”

This indicates that, from an unknown date, Anagnia hosted a Roman prefect who had jurisdiction over citizens who were settled in its vicinity.  When Anagnia itself was eventually enfranchised (probably after the Social War), it was assigned to the Poblilia, as were Aletrium, Verulae and Ferentium.  In other words, it seems likely that the Pobilia voting district was:

  1. established in the upper Sacco valley on land that had been confiscated from the Hernicii in 358 BC;

  2. extended southwards along the valley to take in citizens who were settled on land confiscated from Anagnia in 306 BC; and

  3. extended again after the Social War to include (inter alia) Anagnia, Aletrium, Verulae and Ferentium.

From some time after 306 BC until the Social War, Anagnia would have been the seat of a Roman prefect whose jurisdiction extended across this extended voting district.



As we shall see, Anagnia led a revolt of the Hernici against Rome in 306-5 BC, after which its people were forced to accept Roman citizenship without voting rights (while Aletrium, Velitrae and Ferentinum, which had remained loyal to Rome, retained their independence).  Again, there is no indication from Livy that Anagnia suffered land confiscation at this time.  However, Saskia Roselaar (referenced below, at pp 307-8, entry 15 and note 44) pointed out that scholars generally assume that:

  1. “The Hernici lost the land around Anagnia [at this point] ... on the basis of the fact that Festus (262 L) mentions a praefectura Anagnia.”

Anagnia itself was assigned to the Pobilia when it was eventually enfranchised (probably after the Social War), as did Aletrium, Velitrae and Ferentinum.  In other words, it seems likely that the Pobilia voting district was:

  1. established in the upper Sacco valley on land that had been confiscated from the Hernicii in 358 BC;

  2. extended southwards along the valley to take in citizens who were settled on land confiscated from Anagnia in 306 BC (at which point Anagnia became the seat of a Roman prefect whose jurisdiction extended across this extended voting district); and

  3. extended again after the Social War to include (inter alia) Anagnia, Aletrium, Velitrae and Ferentinum.




Frusino

Our surviving sources link the town of nearby Volscian town of Frusino to this conflict:

  1. Following his account of Roman activity in Samnium in 306 BC, Diodorus Siculus recorded that:

  2. “[The Romans] declared war on the Anagnitae, who were acting unjustly, and, taking Frusino, they distributed the land”, (‘Library of History’, 20: 80: 4).

  3. Livy recorded that:

  4. “The Frusinonians were fined a third part of their lands [in 303 BC], because it was discovered that they had incited the Hernici to rebel [three years before]; and the heads of that conspiracy ... were beaten with rods and beheaded”, (‘History of Rome’, 10: 1: 3).

Stephen Oakley (referenced below, 2005, at p. 557 and note 1) suggested that:

  1. “... the easiest interpretation of the evidence is that Frusino revolted in 307-6 BC and was captured by Marcius in 306 BC, but that its punishment was effected only after the Samnites had made peace [in 304 BC.  If so, then] Diodorus will have merged the narrative of several years into one ...”

Prefectures Constituted at this Point ?

Festus (‘De verborum significatione’, 262 Lindsay) also included Frusino in his list of Roman prefectures, which (as noted above) indicates that, from an unknown date, it hosted a Roman prefect who had jurisdiction over citizens who were settled in its territory.  When Frusino itself was enfranchised after the Social War, it was assigned to the Oufentina tribe.  Lily Ross Taylor (referenced below, at p. 90 and note 31) suggested that this reflected the much earlier tribal assignation of viritane settlers in its erstwhile territory in 303 BC. 

As noted above, the Oufentina had been formed in 318 BC for settlers Ufens valley that had been confiscated from Privernum.

Thus, we might reasonably assume that

the Oufentina was established in 318 BC for viritane and perhaps colonial settlers on land that had once belonged to Privernum, at which point Privernum itself was constituted as a prefecture (as discussed above);

this tribe was extended to include territory that was confiscated from Frusino in 303 BC; and

the prefecture at Frusino was constituted in or relatively soon after this confiscation.



Read more:

P. Camerieri, “Il Castrum e la Pertica di Fulginia in Destra Tinia”, in: 

  1. G. Galli (Ed.), “Foligno, Città Romana: Ricerche Storico, Urbanistico e Topografiche sull' Antica Città di Fulginia”, (2015) Foligno,  at pp. 75-108

J. C. Yardley and D. Hoyos, “Livy: Rome's Italian Wars: Books 6-10”, (2013), Oxford World's Classics

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume III: Book X”, 2007 (Oxford)

S. Sisani, “Fenomenologia della Conquista: La Romanizzazione dell' Umbria tra il IV Secolo a.C. e la Guerra Sociale”, (2007) Rome

S. Oakley, “A Commentary on Livy, Books VI-X:Volume III: Book IX”, 2005 (Oxford)

S. Sisani, “Lucius Falius Tinia: Primo Quattuorviro del Municipio di Hispellum”, Athenaeum, 90.2 (2002) 483-505

G. Bradley, "Ancient Umbria", (2000) Oxford

K. Lomas, “Roman Italy, 338 BC - 200 AD: A Sourcebook”, (1996, reprinted 2003) London

T. Cornell, “The Beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (ca. 1000-264 BC)”, (1995) London and New York

A. Drummond, “The Dictator Years”, Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 27:4 (1978), 550-72

R. Ogilvie, “Notes on Livy IX”, Yale Classical Studies, 23 (1973) 159-68

W. Harris, “Rome in Etruria and Umbria”, (1971) Oxford

E. Salmon, “Roman Colonisation under the Republic”, (1970) New York

E. Salmon, “Samnium and the Samnites’, (1967) Cambridge

J. B. Ward Perkins. “Etruscan and Roman Roads in Southern Etruria”, Journal of Roman Studies, 47:1/2 (1957), 139-43

W. B. Anderson, “Contributions to the Study of the Ninth Book of Livy”, Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, 39 (1908) 89-103

G. Dennis, Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria”, (1848) London


Roman Conquest: Main page   Pre-Roman Umbrian League ?     Samnite League     

Battle of Sentunum      Literary Sources 

 

Return to the History Index

 


Roman Conquest:

Second Samnite War (328 - 304 BC) 


Home   Cities    History    Art    Hagiography    Contact


Roman ConquestMain page   Pre-Roman Umbrian League ?   

Samnite League      Battle of Sentunum      Literary Sources

(Note that the page “Literary Sources” expands on all the classical references in the account below