The Extension of Italy to Its Natural Boundaries

Natural Boundaries of Italy

The Italian confederacy as it emerged from the crises of the fifth century—or, in other words, the State of Italy—united the various civic and cantonal communities from the Apennines to the Ionian Sea under the hegemony of Rome. But before the close of the fifth century these limits were already overpassed in both directions, and Italian communities belonging to the confederacy had sprung up beyond the Apennines and beyond the sea. In the north the republic, in revenge for ancient and recent wrongs, had already in 471 annihilated the Celtic Senones; in the south, through the great war from 490 to 513, it had dislodged the Phoenicians from the island of Sicily. In the north there belonged to the combination headed by Rome the Latin town of Ariminum (besides the burgess-settlement of Sena), in the south the community of the Mamertines in Messana, and as both were nationally of Italian origin, so both shared in the common rights and obligations of the Italian confederacy. It was probably the pressure of events at the moment rather than any comprehensive political calculation, that gave rise to these extensions of the confederacy; but it was natural that now at least, after the great successes achieved against Carthage, new and wider views of policy should dawn upon the Roman government—views which even otherwise were obviously enough suggested by the physical features of the peninsula. Alike in a political and in a military point of view Rome was justified in shifting its northern boundary from the low and easily crossed Apennines to the mighty mountain-wall that separates northern from southern Europe, the Alps, and in combining with the sovereignty of Italy the sovereignty of the seas and islands on the west and east of the peninsula; and now, when by the expulsion of the Phoenicians from Sicily the most difficult portion of the task had been already achieved, various circumstances united to facilitate its completion by the Roman government.

Sicily a Dependency of Italy

In the western sea which was of far more account for Italy than the Adriatic, the most important position, the large and fertile island of Sicily copiously furnished with harbours, had been by the peace with Carthage transferred for the most part into the possession of the Romans. King Hiero of Syracuse indeed, who during the last twenty-two years of the war had adhered with unshaken steadfastness to the Roman alliance, might have had a fair claim to an extension of territory; but, if Roman policy had begun the war with the resolution of tolerating only secondary states in the island, the views of the Romans at its close decidedly tended towards the seizure of Sicily for themselves. Hiero might be content that his territory—namely, in addition to the immediate district of Syracuse, the domains of Elorus, Neetum, Acrae, Leontini, Megara, and Tauromenium—and his independence in relation to foreign powers, were (for want of any pretext to curtail them) left to him in their former compass; he might well be content that the war between the two great powers had not ended in the complete overthrow of the one or of the other, and that there consequently still remained at least a possibility of subsistence for the intermediate power in Sicily. In the remaining and by far the larger portion of Sicily, at Panormus, Lilybaeum, Agrigentum, Messana, the Romans effected a permanent settlement.

Sardinia Roman
The Libyan Insurrection

They only regretted that the possession of that beautiful island was not enough to convert the western waters into a Roman inland sea, so long as Sardinia still remained Carthaginian. Soon, however, after the conclusion of the peace there appeared an unexpected prospect of wresting from the Carthaginians this second island of the Mediterranean. In Africa, immediately after peace had been concluded with Rome, the mercenaries and the subjects of the Phoenicians joined in a common revolt. The blame of the dangerous insurrection was mainly chargeable on the Carthaginian government. In the last years of the war Hamilcar had not been able to pay his Sicilian mercenaries as formerly from his own resources, and he had vainly requested that money might be sent to him from home; he might, he was told, send his forces to Africa to be paid off. He obeyed; but as he knew the men, he prudently embarked them in small subdivisions, that the authorities might pay them off by troops or might at least separate them, and thereupon he laid down his command. But all his precautions were thwarted not so much by the emptiness of the exchequer, as by the collegiate method of transacting business and the folly of the bureaucracy. They waited till the whole army was once more united in Libya, and then endeavoured to curtail the pay promised to the men. Of course a mutiny broke out among the troops, and the hesitating and cowardly demeanour of the authorities showed the mutineers what they might dare. Most of them were natives of the districts ruled by, or dependent on, Carthage; they knew the feelings which had been provoked throughout these districts by the slaughter decreed by the government after the expedition of Regulus(1) and by the fearful pressure of taxation, and they knew also the character of their government, which never kept faith and never pardoned; they were well aware of what awaited them, should they disperse to their homes with pay exacted by mutiny. The Carthaginians had for long been digging the mine, and they now themselves supplied the men who could not but explode it. Like wildfire the revolution spread from garrison to garrison, from village to village; the Libyan women contributed their ornaments to pay the wages of the mercenaries; a number of Carthaginian citizens, amongst whom were some of the most distinguished officers of the Sicilian army, became the victims of the infuriated multitude; Carthage was already besieged on two sides, and the Carthaginian army marching out of the city was totally routed in consequence of the blundering of its unskilful leader.

When the Romans thus saw their hated and still dreaded foe involved in a greater danger than any ever brought on that foe by the Roman wars, they began more and more to regret the conclusion of the peace of 513 —which, if it was not in reality precipitate, now at least appeared so to all—and to forget how exhausted at that time their own state had been and how powerful had then been the standing of their Carthaginian rival. Shame indeed forbade their entering into communication openly with the Carthaginian rebels; in fact, they gave an exceptional permission to the Carthaginians to levy recruits for this war in Italy, and prohibited Italian mariners from dealing with the Libyans. But it may be doubted whether the government of Rome was very earnest in these acts of friendly alliance; for, in spite of them, the dealings between the African insurgents and the Roman mariners continued, and when Hamilcar, whom the extremity of the peril had recalled to the command of the Carthaginian army, seized and imprisoned a number of Italian captains concerned in these dealings, the senate interceded for them with the Carthaginian government and procured their release. The insurgents themselves appeared to recognize in the Romans their natural allies. The garrisons in Sardinia, which like the rest of the Carthaginian army had declared in favour of the insurgents, offered the possession of the island to the Romans, when they saw that they were unable to hold it against the attacks of the un-conquered mountaineers of the interior (about 515); and similar offers came even from the community of Utica, which had likewise taken part in the revolt and was now hard pressed by the arms of Hamilcar. The latter suggestion was declined by the Romans, chiefly doubtless because its acceptance would have carried them beyond the natural boundaries of Italy and therefore farther than the Roman government was then disposed to go; on the other hand they entertained the offers of the Sardinian mutineers, and took over from them the portion of Sardinia which had been in the hands of the Carthaginians (516). In this instance, even more than in the affair of the Mamertines, the Romans were justly liable to the reproach that the great and victorious burgesses had not disdained to fraternize and share the spoil with a venal pack of mercenaries, and had not sufficient self-denial to prefer the course enjoined by justice and by honour to the gain of the moment. The Carthaginians, whose troubles reached their height just about the period of the occupation of Sardinia, were silent for the time being as to the unwarrantable violence; but, after this peril had been, contrary to the expectations and probably contrary to the hopes of the Romans, averted by the genius of Hamilcar, and Carthage had been reinstated to her full sovereignty in Africa (517), Carthaginian envoys immediately appeared at Rome to require the restitution of Sardinia. But the Romans, not inclined to restore their booty, replied with frivolous or at any rate irrelevant complaints as to all sorts of injuries which they alleged that the Carthaginians had inflicted on the Roman traders, and hastened to declare war;(2) the principle, that in politics power is the measure of right, appeared in its naked effrontery. Just resentment urged the Carthaginians to accept that offer of war; had Catulus insisted upon the cession of Sardinia five years before, the war would probably have pursued its course. But now, when both islands were lost, when Libya was in a ferment, and when the state was weakened to the utmost by its twenty-four years' struggle with Rome and the dreadful civil war that had raged for nearly five years more, they were obliged to submit It was only after repeated entreaties, and after the Phoenicians had bound themselves to pay to Rome a compensation of 1200 talents (292,000 pounds) for the warlike preparations which had been wantonly occasioned, that the Romans reluctantly desisted from war. Thus the Romans acquired Sardinia almost without a struggle; to which they added Corsica, the ancient possession of the Etruscans, where perhaps some detached Roman garrisons still remained over from the last war.(3) In Sardinia, however, and still more in the rugged Corsica, the Romans restricted themselves, just as the Phoenicians had done, to an occupation of the coasts. With the natives in the interior they were continually engaged in war or, to speak more correctly, in hunting them like wild beasts; they baited them with dogs, and carried what they captured to the slave market; but they undertook no real conquest. They had occupied the islands not on their own account, but for the security of Italy. Now that the confederacy possessed the three large islands, it might call the Tyrrhene Sea its own.

Method of Administration in the Transmarine Possessions
Provincial Praetors

The acquisition of the islands in the western sea of Italy introduced into the state administration of Rome a distinction, which to all appearance originated in mere considerations of convenience and almost accidentally, but nevertheless came to be of the deepest importance for all time following—the distinction between the continental and transmarine forms of administration, or to use the appellations afterwards current, the distinction between Italy and the provinces. Hitherto the two chief magistrates of the community, the consuls, had not had any legally defined sphere of action; on the contrary their official field extended as far as the Roman government itself. Of course, however, in practice they made a division of functions between them, and of course also they were bound in every particular department of their duties by the enactments existing in regard to it; the jurisdiction, for instance, over Roman citizens had in every case to be left to the praetor, and in the Latin and other autonomous communities the existing treaties had to be respected. The four quaestors who had been since 487 distributed throughout Italy did not, formally at least, restrict the consular authority, for in Italy, just as in Rome, they were regarded simply as auxiliary magistrates dependent on the consuls. This mode of administration appears to have been at first extended also to the territories taken from Carthage, and Sicily and Sardinia to have been governed for some years by quaestors under the superintendence of the consuls; but the Romans must very soon have become practically convinced that it was indispensable to have superior magistrates specially appointed for the transmarine regions. As they had been obliged to abandon the concentration of the Roman jurisdiction in the person of the praetor as the community became enlarged, and to send to the more remote districts deputy judges,(4) so now (527) the concentration of administrative and military power in the person of the consuls had to be abandoned. For each of the new transmarine regions—viz. Sicily, and Sardinia with Corsica annexed to it—there was appointed a special auxiliary consul, who was in rank and title inferior to the consul and equal to the praetor, but otherwise was—like the consul in earlier times before the praetorship was instituted—in his own sphere of action at once commander-in-chief, chief magistrate, and supreme judge. The direct administration of finance alone was withheld from these new chief magistrates, as from the first it had been withheld from the consuls;(5) one or more quaestors were assigned to them, who were in every way indeed subordinate to them, and were their assistants in the administration of justice and in command, but yet had specially to manage the finances and to render account of their administration to the senate after having laid down their office.

Organization of the Provinces

This difference in the supreme administrative power was the essential distinction between the transmarine and continental possessions. The principles on which Rome had organized the dependent lands in Italy, were in great part transferred also to the extra-Italian possessions. As a matter of course, these communities without exception lost independence in their external relations. As to internal intercourse, no provincial could thenceforth acquire valid property in the province out of the bounds of his own community, or perhaps even conclude a valid marriage. On the other hand the Roman government allowed, at least to the Sicilian towns which they had not to fear, a certain federative organization, and probably even general Siceliot diets with a harmless right of petition and complaint.(6) In monetary arrangements it was not indeed practicable at once to declare the Roman currency to be the only valid tender in the islands; but it seems from the first to have obtained legal circulation, and in like manner, at least as a rule, the right of coining in precious metals seems to have been withdrawn from the cities in Roman Sicily.(7) On the other hand not only was the landed property in all Sicily left untouched—the principle, that the land out of Italy fell by right of war to the Romans as private property, was still unknown to this century—but all the Sicilian and Sardinian communities retained self- administration and some sort of autonomy, which indeed was not assured to them in a way legally binding, but was provisionally allowed. If the democratic constitutions of the communities were everywhere set aside, and in every city the power was transferred to the hands of a council representing the civic aristocracy; and if moreover the Sicilian communities, at least, were required to institute a general valuation corresponding to the Roman census every fifth year; both these measures were only the necessary sequel of subordination to the Roman senate, which in reality could not govern with Greek —ecclesiae—, or without a view of the financial and military resources of each dependent community; in the various districts of Italy also the same course was in both respects pursued.

Tenths and Customs
Communities Exempted

But, side by side with this essential equality of rights, there was established a distinction, very important in its effects, between the Italian communities on the one hand and the transmarine communities on the other. While the treaties concluded with the Italian towns imposed on them a fixed contingent for the army or the fleet of the Romans, such a contingent was not imposed on the transmarine communities, with which no binding paction was entered into at all, but they lost the right of arms,(8) with the single exception that they might be employed on the summons of the Roman praetor for the defence of their own homes. The Roman government regularly sent Italian troops, of the strength which it had fixed, to the islands; in return for this, a tenth of the field-produce of Sicily, and a toll of 5 per cent on the value of all articles of commerce exported from or imported into the Sicilian harbours, were paid to Rome. To the islanders these taxes were nothing new. The imposts levied by the Persian great-king and the Carthaginian republic were substantially of the same character with that tenth; and in Greece also such a taxation had for long been, after Oriental precedent, associated with the -tyrannis- and often also with a hegemony. The Sicilians had in this way long paid their tenth either to Syracuse or to Carthage, and had been wont to levy customs-dues no longer on their own account. "We received," says Cicero, "the Sicilian communities into our clientship and protection in such a way that they continued under the same law under which they had lived before, and obeyed the Roman community under relations similar to those in which they had obeyed their own rulers." It is fair that this should not be forgotten; but to continue an injustice is to commit injustice. Viewed in relation not to the subjects, who merely changed masters, but to their new rulers, the abandonment of the equally wise and magnanimous principle of Roman statesmanship—viz., that Rome should accept from her subjects simply military aid, and never pecuniary compensation in lieu of it—was of a fatal importance, in comparison with which all alleviations in the rates and the mode of levying them, as well as all exceptions in detail, were as nothing. Such exceptions were, no doubt, made in various cases. Messana was directly admitted to the confederacy of the -togati-, and, like the Greek cities in Italy, furnished its contingent to the Roman fleet. A number of other cities, while not admitted to the Italian military confederacy, yet received in addition to other favours immunity from tribute and tenths, so that their position in a financial point of view was even more favourable than that of the Italian communities. These were Segesta and Halicyae, which were the first towns of Carthaginian Sicily that joined the Roman alliance; Centuripa, an inland town in the east of the island, which was destined to keep a watch over the Syracusan territory in its neighbourhood;(9) Halaesa on the northern coast, which was the first of the free Greek towns to join the Romans, and above all Panormus, hitherto the capital of Carthaginian, and now destined to become that of Roman, Sicily. The Romans thus applied to Sicily the ancient principle of their policy, that of subdividing the dependent communities into carefully graduated classes with different privileges; but, on the average, the Sardinian and Sicilian communities were not in the position of allies but in the manifest relation of tributary subjection.

Italy and the Provinces

It is true that this thorough distinction between the communities that furnished contingents and those that paid tribute, or at least did not furnish contingents, was not in law necessarily coincident with the distinction between Italy and the provinces. Transmarine communities might belong to the Italian confederacy; the Mamertines for example were substantially on a level with the Italian Sabellians, and there existed no legal obstacle to the establishment even of new communities with Latin rights in Sicily and Sardinia any more than in the country beyond the Apennines. Communities on the mainland might be deprived of the right of bearing arms and become tributary; this arrangement was already the case with certain Celtic districts on the Po, and was introduced to a considerable extent in after times. But, in reality, the communities that furnished contingents just as decidedly preponderated on the mainland as the tributary communities in the islands; and while Italian settlements were not contemplated on the part of the Romans either in Sicily with its Hellenic civilization or in Sardinia, the Roman government had beyond doubt already determined not only to subdue the barbarian land between the Apennines and the Alps, but also, as their conquests advanced, to establish in it new communities of Italic origin and Italic rights. Thus their transmarine possessions were not merely placed on the footing of land held by subjects, but were destined to remain on that footing in all time to come; whereas the official field recently marked off by law for the consuls, or, which is the same thing, the continental territory of the Romans, was to become a new and more extended Italy, which should reach from the Alps to the Ionian sea. In the first instance, indeed, this essentially geographical conception of Italy was not altogether coincident with the political conception of the Italian confederacy; it was partly wider, partly narrower. But even now the Romans regarded the whole space up to the boundary of the Alps as -Italia-, that is, as the present or future domain of the -togati- and, just as was and still is the case in North America, the boundary was provisionally marked off in a geographical sense, that the field might be gradually occupied in a political sense also with the advance of colonization.(10)

Events on the Adriatic Coasts

In the Adriatic sea, at the entrance of which the important and long- contemplated colony of Brundisium had at length been founded before the close of the war with Carthage (510), the supremacy of Rome was from the very first decided. In the western sea Rome had been obliged to rid herself of rivals; in the eastern, the quarrels of the Hellenes themselves prevented any of the states in the Grecian peninsula from acquiring or retaining power. The most considerable of them, that of Macedonia, had through the influence of Egypt been dislodged from the upper Adriatic by the Aetolians and from the Peloponnesus by the Achaeans, and was scarcely even in a position to defend its northern frontier against the barbarians. How concerned the Romans were to keep down Macedonia and its natural ally, the king of Syria, and how closely they associated themselves with the Egyptian policy directed to that object, is shown by the remarkable offer which after the end of the war with Carthage they made to king Ptolemy III. Euergetes, to support him in the war which he waged with Seleucus II. Callinicus of Syria (who reigned 507-529) on account of the murder of Berenice, and in which Macedonia had probably taken part with the latter. Generally, the relations of Rome with the Hellenistic states became closer; the senate already negotiated even with Syria, and interceded with the Seleucus just mentioned on behalf of the Ilians with whom the Romans claimed affinity.

For a direct interference of the Romans in the affairs of the eastern powers there was no immediate need. The Achaean league, the prosperity of which was arrested by the narrow-minded coterie- policy of Aratus, the Aetolian republic of military adventurers, and the decayed Macedonian empire kept each other in check; and the Romans of that time avoided rather than sought transmarine acquisitions. When the Acarnanians, appealing to the ground that they alone of all the Greeks had taken no part in the destruction of Ilion, besought the descendants of Aeneas to help them against the Aetolians, the senate did indeed attempt a diplomatic mediation; but when the Aetolians returned an answer drawn up in their own saucy fashion, the antiquarian interest of the Roman senators by no means provoked them into undertaking a war by which they would have freed the Macedonians from their hereditary foe (about 515).

Illyrian Piracy
Expedition against Scodra

Even the evil of piracy, which was naturally in such a state of matters the only trade that flourished on the Adriatic coast, and from which the commerce of Italy suffered greatly, was submitted to by the Romans with an undue measure of patience, —a patience intimately connected with their radical aversion to maritime war and their wretched marine. But at length it became too flagrant. Favoured by Macedonia, which no longer found occasion to continue its old function of protecting Hellenic commerce from the corsairs of the Adriatic for the benefit of its foes, the rulers of Scodra had induced the Illyrian tribes—nearly corresponding to the Dalmatians, Montenegrins, and northern Albanians of the present day—to unite for joint piratical expeditions on a great scale.

With whole squadrons of their swift-sailing biremes, the veil-known "Liburnian" cutters, the Illyrians waged war by sea and along the coasts against all and sundry. The Greek settlements in these regions, the island-towns of Issa (Lissa) and Pharos (Lesina), the important ports of Epidamnus (Durazzo) and Apollonia (to the north of Avlona on the Aous) of course suffered especially, and were repeatedly beleaguered by the barbarians. Farther to the south, moreover, the corsairs established themselves in Phoenice, the most flourishing town of Epirus; partly voluntarily, partly by constraint, the Epirots and Acarnanians entered into an unnatural symmachy with the foreign freebooters; the coast was insecure even as far as Elis and Messene. In vain the Aetolians and Achaeans collected what ships they had, with a view to check the evil: in a battle on the open sea they were beaten by the pirates and their Greek allies; the corsair fleet was able at length to take possession even of the rich and important island of Corcyra (Corfu). The complaints of Italian mariners, the appeals for aid of their old allies the Apolloniates, and the urgent entreaties of the besieged Issaeans at length compelled the Roman senate to send at least ambassadors to Scodra. The brothers Gaius and Lucius Coruncanius went thither to demand that king Agron should put an end to the disorder. The king answered that according to the national law of the Illyrians piracy was a lawful trade, and that the government had no right to put a stop to privateering; whereupon Lucius Coruncanius replied, that in that case Rome would make it her business to introduce a better law among the Illyrians. For this certainly not very diplomatic reply one of the envoys was—by the king's orders, as the Romans asserted—murdered on the way home, and the surrender of the murderers was refused. The senate had now no choice left to it. In the spring of 525 a fleet of 200 ships of the line, with a landing- army on board, appeared off Apollonia; the corsair-vessels were scattered before the former, while the latter demolished the piratic strongholds; the queen Teuta, who after the death of her husband Agron conducted the government during the minority of her son Pinnes, besieged in her last retreat, was obliged to accept the conditions dictated by Rome. The rulers of Scodra were again confined both on the north and south to the narrow limits of their original domain, and had to quit their hold not only on all the Greek towns, but also on the Ardiaei in Dalmatia, the Parthini around Epidamnus, and the Atintanes in northern Epirus; no Illyrian vessel of war at all, and not more than two unarmed vessels in company, were to be allowed in future to sail to the south of Lissus (Alessio, between Scutari and Durazzo). The maritime supremacy of Rome in the Adriatic was asserted, in the most praiseworthy and durable way, by the rapid and energetic suppression of the evil of piracy.

Acquisition of Territory in Illyria
Impression in Greece and Macedonia

But the Romans went further, and established themselves on the east coast. The Illyrians of Scodra were rendered tributary to Rome; Demetrius of Pharos, who had passed over from the service of Teuta to that of the Romans, was installed, as a dependent dynast and ally of Rome, over the islands and coasts of Dalmatia; the Greek cities Corcyra, Epidamnus, Apollonia, and the communities of the Atintanes and Parthini were attached to Rome under mild forms of symmachy. These acquisitions on the east coast of the Adriatic were not sufficiently extensive to require the appointment of a special auxiliary consul; governors of subordinate rank appear to have been sent to Corcyra and perhaps also to other places, and the superintendence of these possessions seems to have been entrusted to the chief magistrates who administered Italy.(11) Thus the most important maritime stations in the Adriatic became subject, like Sicily and Sardinia, to the authority of Rome. What other result was to be expected? Rome was in want of a good naval station in the upper Adriatic—a want which was not supplied by her possessions on the Italian shore; her new allies, especially the Greek commercial towns, saw in the Romans their deliverers, and doubtless did what they could permanently to secure so powerful a protection; in Greece itself no one was in a position to oppose the movement; on the contrary, the praise of the liberators was on every one's lips. It may be a question whether there was greater rejoicing or shame in Hellas, when, in place of the ten ships of the line of the Achaean league, the most warlike power in Greece, two hundred sail belonging to the barbarians now entered her harbours and accomplished at a blow the task, which properly belonged to the Greeks, but in which they had failed so miserably. But if the Greeks were ashamed that the salvation of their oppressed countrymen had to come from abroad, they accepted the deliverance at least with a good grace; they did not fail to receive the Romans solemnly into the fellowship of the Hellenic nation by admitting them to the Isthmian games and the Eleusinian mysteries.

Macedonia was silent; it was not in a condition to protest in arms, and disdained to do so in words. No resistance was encountered. Nevertheless Rome, by seizing the keys to her neighbour's house, had converted that neighbour into an adversary who, should he recover his power, or should a favourable opportunity occur, might be expected to know how to break the silence. Had the energetic and prudent king Antigonus Doson lived longer, he would have doubtless taken up the gauntlet which the Romans had flung down, for, when some years afterwards the dynast Demetrius of Pharos withdrew from the hegemony of Rome, prosecuted piracy contrary to the treaty in concert with the Istrians, and subdued the Atintanes whom the Romans had declared independent, Antigonus formed an alliance with him, and the troops of Demetrius fought along with the army of Antigonus at the battle of Sellasia (532). But Antigonus died (in the winter 533-4); and his successor Philip, still a boy, allowed the Consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus to attack the ally of Macedonia, to destroy his capital, and to drive him from his kingdom into exile (535).

Northern Italy

The mainland of Italy proper, south of the Apennines, enjoyed profound peace after the fall of Tarentum: the six days' war with Falerii (513) was little more than an interlude. But towards the north, between the territory of the confederacy and the natural boundary of Italy—the chain of the Alps—there still extended a wide region which was not subject to the Romans. What was regarded as the boundary of Italy on the Adriatic coast was the river Aesis immediately above Ancona. Beyond this boundary the adjacent properly Gallic territory as far as, and including, Ravenna belonged in a similar way as did Italy proper to the Roman alliance; the Senones, who had formerly settled there, were extirpated in the war of 471-2,(12) and the several townships were connected with Rome, either as burgess-colonies, like Sena Gallica,(13) or as allied towns, whether with Latin rights, like Ariminum,(14) or with Italian rights, like Ravenna. On the wide region beyond Ravenna as far as the Alps non-Italian peoples were settled. South of the Po the strong Celtic tribe of the Boii still held its ground (from Parma to Bologna); alongside of them, the Lingones on the east and the Anares on the west (in the region of Parma)—two smaller Celtic cantons presumably clients of the Boii— peopled the plain. At the western end of the plain the Ligurians began, who, mingled with isolated Celtic tribes, and settled on the Apennines from above Arezzo and Pisa westward, occupied the region of the sources of the Po. The eastern portion of the plain north of the Po, nearly from Verona to the coast, was possessed by the Veneti, a race different from the Celts and probably of Illyrian extraction. Between these and the western mountains were settled the Cenomani (about Brescia and Cremona) who rarely acted with the Celtic nation and were probably largely intermingled with Veneti, and the Insubres (around Milan). The latter was the most considerable of the Celtic cantons in Italy, and was in constant communication not merely with the minor communities partly of Celtic, partly of non-Celtic extraction, that were scattered in the Alpine valleys, but also with the Celtic cantons beyond the Alps. The gates of the Alps, the mighty stream navigable for 230 miles, and the largest and most fertile plain of the then civilized Europe, still continued in the hands of the hereditary foes of the Italian name, who, humbled indeed and weakened, but still scarce even nominally dependent and still troublesome neighbours, persevered in their barbarism, and, thinly scattered over the spacious plains, continued to pasture their herds and to plunder. It was to be anticipated that the Romans would hasten to possess themselves of these regions; the more so as the Celts gradually began to forget their defeats in the campaigns of 471 and 472 and to bestir themselves again, and, what was still more dangerous, the Transalpine Celts began anew to show themselves on the south of the Alps.

Celtic Wars

In fact the Boii had already renewed the war in 516, and their chiefs Atis and Galatas had—without, it is true, the authority of the general diet—summoned the Transalpine Gauls to make common cause with them. The latter had numerously answered the call, and in 518 a Celtic army, such as Italy had not seen for long, encamped before Ariminum. The Romans, for the moment much too weak to attempt a battle, concluded an armistice, and to gain time allowed envoys from the Celts to proceed to Rome, who ventured in the senate to demand the cession of Ariminum—it seemed as if the times of Brennus had returned. But an unexpected incident put an end to the war before it had well begun. The Boii, dissatisfied with their unbidden allies and afraid probably for their own territory, fell into variance with the Transalpine Gauls. An open battle took place between the two Celtic hosts; and, after the chiefs of the Boii had been put to death by their own men, the Transalpine Gauls returned home. The Boii were thus delivered into the hands of the Romans, and the latter were at liberty to expel them like the Senones, and to advance at least to the Po; but they preferred to grant the Boii peace in return for the cession of some districts of their land (518). This was probably done, because they were just at that time expecting the renewed outbreak of war with Carthage; but, after that war had been averted by the cession of Sardinia, true policy required the Roman government to take possession as speedily and entirely as possible of the country up to the Alps. The constant apprehensions on the part of the Celts as to such a Roman invasion were therefore sufficiently justified; but the Romans were in no haste. So the Celts on their part began the war, either because the Roman assignations of land on the east coast (522), although not a measure immediately directed against them, made them apprehensive of danger; or because they perceived that a war with Rome for the possession of Lombardy was inevitable; or, as is perhaps most probable, because their Celtic impatience was once more weary of inaction and preferred to arm for a new warlike expedition. With the exception of the Cenomani, who acted with the Veneti and declared for the Romans, all the Italian Celts concurred in the war, and they were joined by the Celts of the upper valley of the Rhone, or rather by a number of adventurers belonging to them, under the leaders Concolitanus and Aneroestus.(15) With 50,000 warriors on foot, and 20,000 on horseback or in chariots, the leaders of the Celts advanced to the Apennines (529). The Romans had not anticipated an attack on this side, and had not expected that the Celts, disregarding the Roman fortresses on the east coast and the protection of their own kinsmen, would venture to advance directly against the capital. Not very long before a similar Celtic swarm had in an exactly similar way overrun Greece. The danger was serious, and appeared still more serious than it really was. The belief that Rome's destruction was this time inevitable, and that the Roman soil was fated to become the property of the Gauls, was so generally diffused among the multitude in Rome itself that the government reckoned it not beneath its dignity to allay the absurd superstitious belief of the mob by an act still more absurd, and to bury alive a Gaulish man and a Gaulish woman in the Roman Forum with a view to fulfil the oracle of destiny. At the same time they made more serious preparations. Of the two consular armies, each of which numbered about 25,000 infantry and 1100 cavalry, one was stationed in Sardinia under Gaius Atilius Regulus, the other at Ariminum under Lucius Aemilius Papus. Both received orders to repair as speedily as possible to Etruria, which was most immediately threatened. The Celts had already been under the necessity of leaving a garrison at home to face the Cenomani and Veneti, who were allied with Rome; now the levy of the Umbrians was directed to advance from their native mountains down into the plain of the Boii, and to inflict all the injury which they could think of on the enemy upon his own soil. The militia of the Etruscans and Sabines was to occupy the Apennines and if possible to obstruct the passage, till the regular troops could arrive. A reserve was formed in Rome of 50,000 men. Throughout all Italy, which on this occasion recognized its true champion in Rome, the men capable of service were enrolled, and stores and materials of war were collected.

Battle of Telamon

All this, however, required time. For once the Romans had allowed themselves to be surprised, and it was too late at least to save Etruria. The Celts found the Apennines hardly defended, and plundered unopposed the rich plains of the Tuscan territory, which for long had seen no enemy. They were already at Clusium, three days' march from Rome, when the army of Ariminum, under the consul Papus, appeared on their flank, while the Etruscan militia, which after crossing the Apennines had assembled in rear of the Gauls, followed the line of the enemy's march. Suddenly one evening, after the two armies had already encamped and the bivouac fires were kindled, the Celtic infantry again broke up and retreated on the road towards Faesulae (Fiesole): the cavalry occupied the advanced posts during the night, and followed the main force next morning. When the Tuscan militia, who had pitched their camp close upon the enemy, became aware of his departure, they imagined that the host had begun to disperse, and marched hastily in pursuit. The Gauls had reckoned on this very result: their infantry, which had rested and was drawn up in order, awaited on a well-chosen battlefield the Roman militia, which came up from its forced march fatigued and disordered. Six thousand men fell after a furious combat, and the rest of the militia, which had been compelled to seek refuge on a hill, would have perished, had not the consular army appeared just in time. This induced the Gauls to return homeward. Their dexterously-contrived plan for preventing the union of the two Roman armies and annihilating the weaker in detail, had only been partially successful; now it seemed to them advisable first of all to place in security their considerable booty. For the sake of an easier line of march they proceeded from the district of Chiusi, where they were, to the level coast, and were marching along the shore, when they found an unexpected obstacle in the way. It was the Sardinian legions, which had landed at Pisae; and, when they arrived too late to obstruct the passage of the Apennines, had immediately put themselves in motion and were advancing along the coast in a direction opposite to the march of the Gauls. Near Telamon (at the mouth of the Ombrone) they met with the enemy. While the Roman infantry advanced with close front along the great road, the cavalry, led by the consul Gaius Atilius Regulus in person, made a side movement so as to take the Gauls in flank, and to acquaint the other Roman army under Papus as soon as possible with their arrival. A hot cavalry engagement took place, in which along with many brave Romans Regulus fell; but he had not sacrificed his life in vain: his object was gained. Papus became aware of the conflict, and guessed how matters stood; he hastily arrayed his legions, and on both sides the Celtic host was now pressed by Roman legions. Courageously it made its dispositions for the double conflict, the Transalpine Gauls and Insubres against the troops of Papus, the Alpine Taurisci and the Boii against the Sardinian infantry; the cavalry combat pursued its course apart on the flank. The forces were in numbers not unequally matched, and the desperate position of the Gauls impelled them to the most obstinate resistance. But the Transalpine Gauls, accustomed only to close fighting, gave way before the missiles of the Roman skirmishers; in the hand-to-hand combat the better temper of the Roman weapons placed the Gauls at a disadvantage; and at last an attack in flank by the victorious Roman cavalry decided the day. The Celtic horsemen made their escape; the infantry, wedged in between the sea and the three Roman armies, had no means of flight. 10,000 Celts, with their king Concolitanus, were taken prisoners; 40,000 others lay dead on the field of battle; Aneroestus and his attendants had, after the Celtic fashion, put themselves to death.

The Celts Attacked in Their Own Land

The victory was complete, and the Romans were firmly resolved to prevent the recurrence of such surprises by the complete subjugation of the Celts on the south of the Alps. In the following year (530) the Boii submitted without resistance along with the Lingones; and in the year after that (531) the Anares; so that the plain as far as the Po was in the hands of the Romans. The conquest of the northern bank of the river cost a more serious struggle. Gaius Flaminius crossed the river in the newly-acquired territory of the Anares (somewhere near Piacenza) in 531; but during the crossing, and still more while making good his footing on the other bank, he suffered so heavy losses and found himself with the river in his rear in so dangerous a position, that he made a capitulation with the enemy to secure a free retreat, which the Insubres foolishly conceded. Scarce, however, had he escaped when he appeared in the territory of the Cenomani, and, united with them, advanced for the second time from the north into the canton of the Insubres. The Gauls perceived what was now the object of the Romans, when it was too late: they took from the temple of their goddess the golden standards called the "immovable," and with their whole levy, 50,000 strong, they offered battle to the Romans. The situation of the latter was critical: they were stationed with their back to a river (perhaps the Oglio), separated from home by the enemy's territory, and left to depend for aid in battle as well as for their line of retreat on the uncertain friendship of the Cenomani. There was, however, no choice. The Gauls fighting in the Roman ranks were placed on the left bank of the stream; on the right, opposite to the Insubres, the legions were drawn up, and the bridges were broken down that they might not be assailed, at least in the rear, by their dubious allies.

The Celts Conquered by Rome

In this way undoubtedly the river cut off their retreat, and their way homeward lay through the hostile army. But the superiority of the Roman arms and of Roman discipline achieved the victory, and the army cut its way through: once more the Roman tactics had redeemed the blunders of the general. The victory was due to the soldiers and officers, not to the generals, who gained a triumph only through popular favour in opposition to the just decree of the senate. Gladly would the Insubres have made peace; but Rome required unconditional subjection, and things had not yet come to that pass. They tried to maintain their ground with the help of their northern kinsmen; and, with 30,000 mercenaries whom they had raised amongst these and their own levy, they received the two consular armies advancing once more in the following year (532) from the territory of the Cenomani to invade their land. Various obstinate combats took place; in a diversion, attempted by the Insubres against the Roman fortress of Clastidium (Casteggio, below Pavia), on the right bank of the Po, the Gallic king Virdumarus fell by the hand of the consul Marcus Marcellus. But, after a battle already half won by the Celts but ultimately decided in favour of the Romans, the consul Gnaeus Scipio took by assault Mediolanum, the capital of the Insubres, and the capture of that town and of Comum terminated their resistance. Thus the Celts of Italy were completely vanquished, and as, just before, the Romans had shown to the Hellenes in the war with the pirates the difference between a Roman and a Greek sovereignty of the seas, so they had now brilliantly demonstrated that Rome knew how to defend the gates of Italy against freebooters on land otherwise than Macedonia had guarded the gates of Greece, and that in spite of all internal quarrels Italy presented as united a front to the national foe, as Greece exhibited distraction and discord.

Romanization of the Entire of Italy

The boundary of the Alps was reached, in so far as the whole flat country on the Po was either rendered subject to the Romans, or, like the territories of the Cenomani and Veneti, was occupied by dependent allies. It needed time, however, to reap the consequences of this victory and to Romanize the land. In this the Romans did not adopt a uniform mode of procedure. In the mountainous northwest of Italy and in the more remote districts between the Alps and the Po they tolerated, on the whole, the former inhabitants; the numerous wars, as they are called, which were waged with the Ligurians in particular (first in 516) appear to have been slave-hunts rather than wars, and, often as the cantons and valleys submitted to the Romans, Roman sovereignty in that quarter was hardly more than a name. The expedition to Istria also (533) appears not to have aimed at much more than the destruction of the last lurking-places of the Adriatic pirates, and the establishment of a communication by land along the coast between the Italian conquests of Rome and her acquisitions on the other shore. On the other hand the Celts in the districts south of the Po were doomed irretrievably to destruction; for, owing to the looseness of the ties connecting the Celtic nation, none of the northern Celtic cantons took part with their Italian kinsmen except for money, and the Romans looked on the latter not only as their national foes, but as the usurpers of their natural heritage. The extensive assignations of land in 522 had already filled the whole territory between Ancona and Ariminum with Roman colonists, who settled here without communal organization in market-villages and hamlets. Further measures of the same character were taken, and it was not difficult to dislodge and extirpate a half-barbarous population like the Celtic, only partially following agriculture, and destitute of walled towns. The great northern highway, which had been, probably some eighty years earlier, carried by way of Otricoli to Narni, and had shortly before been prolonged to the newly-founded fortress of Spoletium (514), was now (534) carried, under the name of the "Flaminian" road, by way of the newly-established market-village Forum Flaminii (near Foligno), through the pass of Furlo to the coast, and thence along the latter from Fanum (Fano) to Ariminum; it was the first artificial road which crossed the Apennines and connected the two Italian seas. Great zeal was manifested in covering the newly- acquired fertile territory with Roman townships. Already, to cover the passage of the Po, the strong fortress of Placentia (Piacenza) had been founded on the right bank; not far from it Cremona had been laid out on the left bank, and the building of the walls of Mutina (Modena), in the territory taken away from the Boii, had far advanced —already preparations were being made for further assignations of land and for continuing the highway, when sudden event interrupted the Romans in reaping the fruit of their successes.

Notes for Chapter III

1. III. II. Evacuation of Africa

2. That the cession of the islands lying between Sicily and Italy, which the peace of 513 prescribed to the Carthaginians, did not include the cession of Sardinia is a settled point (III. II. Remarks On the Roman Conduct of the War); but the statement, that the Romans made that a pretext for their occupation of the island three years after the peace, is ill attested. Had they done so, they would merely have added a diplomatic folly to the political effrontery.

3. III. II. The War on the Coasts of Sicily and Sardinia

4. III. VIII. Changes in Procedure

5. II. I. Restrictions on the Delegation of Powers

6. That this was the case may be gathered partly from the appearance of the "Siculi" against Marcellus (Liv. xxvi. 26, seq.), partly from the "conjoint petitions of all the Sicilian communities" (Cicero, Verr. ii. 42, 102; 45, 114; 50, 146; iii. 88, 204), partly from well- known analogies (Marquardt, Handb. iii. i, 267). Because there was no -commercium- between the different towns, it by no means follows that there was no -concilium-.

7. The right of coining gold and silver was not monopolized by Rome in the provinces so strictly as in Italy, evidently because gold and silver money not struck after the Roman standard was of less importance. But in their case too the mints were doubtless, as a rule, restricted to the coinage of copper, or at most silver, small money; even the most favourably treated communities of Roman Sicily, such as the Mamertines, the Centuripans, the Halaesines, the Segestans, and also in the main the Pacormitaus coined only copper.

8. This is implied in Hiero's expression (Liv. xxii. 37): that he knew that the Romans made use of none but Roman or Latin infantry and cavalry, and employed "foreigners" at most only among the light-armed troops.

9. This is shown at once by a glance at the map, and also by the remarkable exceptional provision which allowed the Centuripans to buy to any part of Sicily. They needed, as Roman spies, the utmost freedom of movement We may add that Centuripa appears to have been among the first cities that went over to Rome (Diodorus, l. xxiii. p. 501).

10. This distinction between Italy as the Roman mainland or consular sphere on the one hand, and the transmarine territory or praetorial sphere on the other, already appears variously applied in the sixth century. The ritual rule, that certain priests should not leave Rome (Val. Max. i. i, 2), was explained to mean, that they were not allowed to cross the sea (Liv. Ep. 19, xxxvii. 51; Tac. Ann. iii. 58, 71; Cic. Phil. xi. 8, 18; comp. Liv. xxviii. 38, 44, Ep. 59). To this head still more definitely belongs the interpretation which was proposed in 544 to be put upon the old rule, that the consul might nominate the dictator only on "Roman ground": viz. that "Roman ground" comprehended all Italy (Liv. xxvii. 5). The erection of the Celtic land between the Alps and Apennines into a special province, different from that of the consuls and subject to a separate Standing chief magistrate, was the work of Sulla. Of course no one will Urge as an objection to this view, that already in the sixth century Gallia or Ariminum is very often designated as the "official district" (-provincia-), usually of one of the consuls. -Provincia-, as is well known, was in the older language not—what alone it denoted subsequently—a definite space assigned as a district to a standing chief magistrate, but the department of duty fixed for the individual consul, in the first instance by agreement with his colleague, under concurrence of the senate; and in this sense frequently individual regions in northern Italy, or even North Italy generally, were assigned to individual consuls as -provincia-.

11. A standing Roman commandant of Corcyra is apparently mentioned in Polyb. xxii. 15, 6 (erroneously translated by Liv. xxxviii. ii, comp. xlii. 37), and a similar one in the case of Issa in Liv. xliii. 9. We have, moreover, the analogy of the -praefectus pro legato insularum Baliarum- (Orelli, 732), and of the governor of Pandataria (Inscr. Reg. Neapol. 3528). It appears, accordingly, to have been a rule in the Roman administration to appoint non-senatorial -praefecti- for the more remote islands. But these "deputies" presuppose in the nature of the case a superior magistrate who nominates and superintends them; and this superior magistracy can only have been at this period that of the consuls. Subsequently, after the erection of Macedonia and Gallia Cisalpina into provinces, the superior administration was committed to one of these two governors; the very territory now in question, the nucleus of the subsequent Roman province of Illyricum, belonged, as is well known, in part to Caesar's district of administration.

12. III. VII. The Senones Annihilated

13. III. VII. Breach between Rome and Tarentum

14. III. VII. Construction of New Fortresses and Roads

15. These, whom Polybius designates as the "Celts in the Alps and on the Rhone, who on account of their character as military adventurers are called Gaesatae (free lances)," are in the Capitoline Fasti named -Germani-. It is possible that the contemporary annalists may have here mentioned Celts alone, and that it was the historical speculation of the age of Caesar and Augustus that first induced the redactors of these Fasti to treat them as "Germans." If, on the other hand, the mention of the Germans in the Fasti was based on contemporary records —in which case this is the earliest mention of the name—we shall here have to think not of the Germanic races who were afterwards so called, but of a Celtic horde.

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