The first authentic history of Rome begins about 400. The city then possessed, possibly, three hundred square miles of territory. The number of tribes had been increased to twenty-five. Later it became thirty-five.

In 391 a horde of Celtic barbarians crossed the Apennines into Etruria and attacked CLUSIUM. Here a Celtic chief was slain by Roman ambassadors, who, contrary to the sacred character of their mission, were fighting in the ranks of the Etrurians. The Celts, in revenge, marched upon Rome. The disastrous battle of the ALLIA, a small river about eleven miles north of the city, was fought on July 18, 390. The Romans were thoroughly defeated and their city lay at the mercy of the foe. The Celts, however, delayed three days before marching upon Rome. Thus the people had time to prepare the Capitol for a siege, which lasted seven months, when by a large sum of money the barbarians were induced to withdraw.

During this siege the records of the city's history were destroyed, and we have no trustworthy data for events that happened previous to 390.

The city was quickly rebuilt and soon recovered from the blow. In 387 the lost territory adjacent to the Tiber was annexed, and military colonies 
 were planted at Sutrium and Nepete upon the Etruscan border, and also at Circeii and Setia. [Footnote: These military colonies, of which the Romans subsequently planted many, were outposts established to protect conquered territory. A band of Roman citizens was armed and equipped, as if for military purposes. They took with them their wives and children, slaves and followers, and established a local government similar to that of Rome. These colonists relinquished their rights as Roman citizens and became Latins; hence the name LATIN COLONIES.] The neighboring Latin town of TUSCULUM, which had always been a faithful ally, was annexed to Rome.

The trying times of these years had caused numerous enemies to spring up all around Rome; but she showed herself superior to them all, until finally, in 353, she had subdued the whole of Southern Etruria, and gained possession of the town of CAERE, with most of its territory. The town was made a MUNICIPIUM, the first of its kind.

The inhabitants, being of foreign blood and language, were not allowed the full rights of Roman citizenship, but were permitted to govern their own city in local matters as they wished. Many towns were subsequently made MUNICIPIA. Their inhabitants were called CIVES SINE SUFFRAGIO, "citizens without suffrage."

During the next ten years (353-343) Rome subdued all the lowland countries as far south as TARRACÍNA. To the north, across the Tiber, she had acquired most of the territory belonging to VEII and CAPÉNA.

In 354 she formed her first connections beyond the Liris, by a treaty with the SAMNITES, a race that had established itself in the mountainous districts of Central Italy. This people, spreading over the southern half of Italy, had in 423 captured the Etruscan city of CAPUA, and three years later the Greek city of CUMAE. Since then they had been practically masters of the whole of Campania.

After the treaty of 354 mentioned above, both the Romans and Samnites had, independently of each other, been waging war upon the Volsci. The Samnites went so far as to attack Teánum, a city of Northern Campania, which appealed to Capua for aid. The Samnites at once appeared before Capua, and she, unable to defend herself, asked aid of Rome.

Alarmed at the advances of the Samnites, Rome only awaited an excuse to break her treaty. This was furnished by the Capuans surrendering their city unconditionally to Rome, so that, in attacking the Samnites, she would simply be defending her subjects.

Thus began the SAMNITE WARS, which lasted for over half a century with varying success, and which were interrupted by two truces. It is usual to divide them into three parts, the First, Second, and Third Samnite Wars.


The accounts of this war are so uncertain and confused that no clear idea of its details can be given. It resulted in no material advantage to either side, except that Rome retained Capua and made it amunicipium, annexing its territory to her own.

THE LATIN WAR (340-338).

The cities of the LATIN CONFEDERACY had been for a long time looking with jealous eyes upon the rapid progress of Rome. Their own rights had been disregarded, and they felt that they must now make a stand or lose everything. They sent to Rome a proposition that one of the Consuls and half of the Senate be Latins; but it was rejected. A war followed, in the third year of which was fought the battle of Trigánum, near Mount Vesuvius. The Romans, with their Samnite allies, were victorious through the efforts of the Consul, TITUS MANLIUS TORQUÁTUS, one of the illustrious names of this still doubtful period. The remainder of the operations was rather a series of expeditions against individual cities than a general war.

In 338 all the Latins laid down their arms, and the war closed. The Latin confederacy was at an end. Rome now was mistress. Four of the Latin cities, TIBUR, PRAENESTE, CORA, and LAURENTUM, were left independent, but all the rest of the towns were annexed to Rome. Their territory became part of the Ager Románus, and the inhabitants Roman plebeians.

Besides acquiring Latium, Rome also annexed, as municipia, three more towns, Fundi, Formiae, and Velítrae, a Volscian town.

LATIUM was now made to include all the country from the Tiber to the Volturnus.