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Nature, though she lavished upon the Celts her most brilliant gifts, had denied them those more solid and enduring qualities which lead to the highest human development, alike in morality and politics. They preferred a pastoral life to an agricultural, and had none of that attachment to their native soil which characterized the Italians and the Germans. Their fondness for congregating in towns and villages did not lead them to develop political constitutions. As a nation they had little sense of unity; their individual communities were equally deficient in sincere patriotism, consistent purpose, and united effort. Ever ready to rove, they were the true soldiers-of-fortune in antiquity, and possessed all the qualities of good soldiers, but of bad citizens,—qualities which explain the historical fact that the Celts have shaken all states and founded none. These people at a very early period settled in modern France; from there they crossed over to Britain in the north, and in the south passed the Pyrenees, and contested the possession of Spain with the Iberian tribes. Our history is immediately concerned with their movements in the opposite direction, when, leaving their homes in the West, they retraced their steps and poured over the Alps in ceaseless streams. Their hordes, on passing the Graian Alps by the little St. Bernard, first formed the Celtic canton of the Insubres, with Milan as its capital. The canton of the Cenonmani, with the towns of Brescia and Verona, soon followed. The Ligurians were dislodged, and the possessions of the Etruscans on the left bank of the Po were soon wrested from their grasp; Melpum fell, and soon the invaders crossed the Po, and assailed the Etruscans and Umbrians in their original home. Isolated roving bands no doubt reached the borders of Etruria proper, and about the middle of the fourth century the Tuscan nation were practically restricted to that land which still bears their name. About the year 426 B.c. the Etruscans were thus engaged in war with three enemies: in the north with the encroaching Celts; in the south with the Samnites, who had invaded Campania; and with the Romans. A fresh outbreak of hostilities between Rome and Veii was due to the revolt of the people of Fidenae, who had murdered the Roman envoys and called in the help of Lars Tolumnius, king of Veii. This king was slain by the consul Aulus Cornelius Cossus, and the war ended favorably to the Romans. After a truce, during which the position of Etruria grew more and more critical, war broke out again in 406 B.c. between Rome and Veii: the latter received support from 396-358 B.C.
Capena and Falerii, but, owing to their struggles with the Celts, and their dislike for the regal form of government in Veii, the Etruscan nation as a whole gave no aid to the hard-pressed Veientines. The city fell in 396 B.C., and was destroyed by the triumphant Romans, to whom the heroism of Marcus Furius Camillus had first opened up the brilliant and perilous career of foreign conquest. Tradition tells us that Melpum and Veii fell on the same day; whether this be so or not, the double assault from the north and the south, and the fall of the two frontier strongholds, were the beginning of the end of the great Etruscan nation. For a moment, however, it seemed as if the folly of Rome was destined to turn aside from the head of the Etruscans the sword of the foreign barbarian. In 391 B.C. Clusium, situated in the heart of Etruria, was hard pressed by the Celtic Senones; so low was Tuscan pride, that Clusium begged aid from the destroyers of Veii. Rome, however, in place of substantial help, dispatched envoys, who attempted to impose on the Celts by haughty language; when this failed, the tnvoys violated the law of nations by fighting in the ranks of the men of Clusium. To the demand of the barbarians for the surrender of these envoys the Romans refused to listen. Then the Brennus, or king of the Gallic host, abandoned the siege of Clusium, and turned against Rome. The battle of the Allia in 390 B.C., and the capture and destruction of Rome, taught the Romans a bitter lesson. The horrors of this catastrophe, the burning of the city, the saving of the Capitol by the sacred geese, and the brave Marcus Manlius, the scornful throwing down into the scale of the Gallic sword, have left a lasting impression on the imagination of posterity; but the victory of the Gauls had no permanent consequences —nay, it only served to knit more closely the ties of union between Latium and rebuilt Rome. The Gauls often returned to Rome during this century. Camillus, indeed, crowned his great career by defeating them at Alba in 367 B.C.; the dictator Gaius Sulpicius Peticus routed a Gallic host in 358 B.C., and eight years later Lucius Furius Camillus, the son of the celebrated general, dislodged the Gauls from the Alban mount, where they had encamped during the winter. But these plundering incursions only served to make all Italy regard Rome as the bulwark against the barbarians, and thus to further her claim, not only to supremacy in Italy, but also to universal empire. The Etruscans had attempted to recover what they had lost in the Veientine war, while the Celts 5*7-343 B.C.
were assailing Rome. When the barbarians had departed, Rome turned once more on her old enemy. The whole of southern Etruria, as far as the Ciminian range, passed into Roman hands, and the advanced frontier line was secured by the fortresses of Sutrium and Nepete, established respectively in 383 and 373 B.C. Moreover, four new tribes were formed in the territories of Veii, Capena,
and Falerii, in 387 B.C., and the whole country became rapidly Romanized. A revolt of Tarquinii, Falerii, and Caere, about 358 B.C., against Roman aggression was soon crushed; and Caere had to cede half its territory, and withdraw from the Etruscan league. The relation of political subjection in which Caere stood to Rome was called " citizenship without the power of voting" (civitas sine suffragio) ; thus the state lost its freedom, but could still administer its own affairs. This occurred in 351 B.c.; and eight years later 387-343 B.C.
Falerii withdrew from the Etruscan league, and became a perpetual ally of Rome. Thus the whole of southern Etruria became subject to Roman supremacy.
Gradually the conflicts in northern Italy ceased, and the various nations settled side by side within more denned limits. The stream of Celtic immigrations over the Alps flowed back; whether from the desperate efforts of the Etruscans, and the strong barrier of the Romans, or from some causes operating on the other side of the Alps, we cannot determine. In a general way the Celts now ruled between the Alps and the Apennines, and as far south as the Abruzzi: but their dominion did not sink deep into the land, nor had it the character of exclusive possession. In the flat country occupied by the Celts Etruscan settlements still existed. Mantua was a Tuscan city even in the days of the empire, as also was Hatria on the Po; and Etruscan corsairs still rendered the Adriatic unsafe far on into the third century B.C. Further, although mere fragments of the former supremacy of the Etruscans were now left in these districts, such civilization as we find among the Celts and Alpine peoples was due to Tuscan influence. To this we must ascribe the fact that the Celts in the plains of Lombardy abandoned their roving warrior-life, and permanently settled in that district. But the Etruscan nation was now hemmed in on all sides. Its possessions in Campania, and in the district north of the Apennines and south of the Ciminian forest, were lost forever—its day of power had passed away. Socially and politically the whole nation had completely degenerated. Unbounded luxury and gross immorality had eaten out the heart of the people. Gladiatorial combats first came into vogue among the Etruscans; sensual indulgence of every sort sapped the nation's vigor. The abolition of royalty, which had been carried out in every city about the time of the siege of Veii, introduced the worst form of aristocratic government. The federal bond had always exercised but little restraint; now the abuse of power by the nobles caused social revolution and bitter distress. The energies of the nation were broken from the day of Veii and of Melpum. Earnest attempts were still once or twice made to escape from the Roman supremacy, but in these instances the stimulus was communicated to the Etruscans from without— from another Italian stock, the Samnites.
ADVANCE OF ROME TO THE CONQUEST OF ITALY.
WE have now reached a turning-point in the fortunes of Rome. In the last chapter it was shown that she had abandoned her old defensive attitude towards Etruria, and had succeeded in annexing the southern portion of that country, and in repelling the restless Celtic hordes. Her next foes are no longer foreign intruders, but men of her own stock, or of Italian race.
We may briefly summarize the steps by which Rome became mistress of Italy as follows: The subjugation of the Latins and Campanians; the gallant struggles of the Samnites, both on their own behalf and on behalf of the rest of the still independent Italians; and the invasion and defeat of Pyrrhus. With regard to the first point, we must for a moment revert to the old position of Rome in Latium, as exercising a hegemony, based upon complete equality between the Roman state on the one hand and the Latin confederacy on the other. That these relations were violently shaken by the abolition of the monarchy at Rome we know from tradition, which has painted in glowing colors the victory at Lake Regillus, gained by the Romans about 499 B.c. More certain proof is afforded by the renewal of the perpetual league between Rome and Latium by Spurius Cassius six years later. At what time the rest of Latium followed Rome's lead and abolished the regal power we do not know, but probably this took place at an early period. Although we are without definite information on each point, it is easy to understand how the basis of equal rights soon became impracticable; how Rome not only bore the brunt of most of the wars, but also naturally appropriated the substantial fruits of the victories; how she not only decided the question of war or peace, but practically appointed from her own body the federal generals and chief officers, and assumed the direction of every campaign, and how in founding colonies she supplied most of the colonists.