Latium ( // LAY-shee-əm, US also /-/ -shəm; Latin: [ˈɫatiʊ̃] ) is the region of central western Italy in which the city of Rome was founded and grew to be the capital city of the Roman Empire.
Latium was originally a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil (Old Latium) on which resided the tribe of the Latins or Latians.It was located on the left bank (east and south) of the River Tiber, extending northward to the River Anio (a left-bank tributary of the Tiber) and southeastward to the Pomptina Palus (Pontine Marshes, now the Pontine Fields) as far south as the Circeian promontory. The right bank of the Tiber was occupied by the Etruscan city of Veii, and the other borders were occupied by Italic tribes. Subsequently, Rome defeated Veii and then its Italic neighbours, expanding its dominions over Southern Etruria and to the south, in a partly marshy and partly mountainous region. The latter saw the creation of numerous Roman and Latin colonies: small Roman colonies were created along the coast, while the inland areas were colonized by Latins and Romans without citizenship. The name Latium was thus also extended to this area south of Rome (Latium adiectum), up to the city of the ancient Oscan city of Casinum, defined by Strabo as "the last city of the Latins".
The modern descendant, the Italian Regione of Lazio, also called Latium in Latin, and occasionally in modern English, is somewhat larger still, though less than twice the size of Latium vetus et adiectum, including a large area of ancient Southern Etruria and Sabina.
The ancient language of the Latins, the tribespeople who occupied Latium, was the immediate predecessor of the Old Latin language, ancestor of Latin and the Romance languages. Latium has played an important role in history owing to its status as the host of the capital city of Rome, at one time the cultural and political center of the Roman Empire. Consequently, Latium is home to celebrated works of art and architecture.
The earliest known Latium was the country of the Latini, a tribe whose recognised center was a large, dormant volcano, Mons Albanus ("the Alban Mount", today's Colli Albani), 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the southeast of Rome, 64 kilometres (40 mi) in circumference. In its center is a crater lake, Lacus Albanus (Lago Albano), oval in shape, a few km long and wide. At the top of the second-highest peak (Monte Cavo) was a temple to Jupiter Latiaris, where the Latini held state functions before their subjection to Rome, and the Romans subsequently held religious and state ceremonies. The last pagan temple to be built stood until the Middle Ages when its stone and location were reused for various monasteries and finally a hotel. During World War II, the Wehrmacht turned it into a radio station, which was captured after an infantry battle by American troops in 1944, and it currently is a controversial telecommunications station surrounded by antennae considered unsightly by the population within view.[ citation needed ]
The selection of Jupiter as a state god and the descent of the name Latini to the name of the Latin language are sufficient to identify the Latins as a tribe of Indo-European descent. Virgil, a major poet of the early Roman Empire, under Augustus, derived Latium from the word for "hidden" (English latent) because in a myth Saturn, ruler of the golden age in Latium, hid (latuisset)from Jupiter there. A major modern etymology is that Lazio comes from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land" meaning the Roman Campagna.
The region that would become Latium had been home to settled agricultural populations since the early Bronze Age and was known to the Ancient Greeks and even earlier to the Mycenaean Greeks.The name is most likely derived from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", expressing the idea of "flat land" (in contrast to the local Sabine high country). The Etruscans, from their home region of Etruria, exerted a strong cultural and political influence on Latium from about the 8th century BC onward. However, they were unable to assert political hegemony over the region, which was controlled by small, autonomous city-states in a manner roughly analogous to the state of affairs that prevailed in Ancient Greece. Indeed, the region's cultural and geographic proximity to the cities of Magna Graecia had a strong impact upon its early history.
By the 10th century BC, archaeology records a slow development in agriculture from the entire area of Latium with the establishment of numerous villages.The Latins cultivated grains (spelt and barley), grapes (Vitis vinifera), olives, apples, and fig trees. The various Latini populi (lit. "Latin peoples") lived in a society led by influential clans (gentes). These clans were a sign of their tribal origin, which continued in Rome as the thirty curiae which organized Roman society. However, as a social unit the gens was replaced by the family which was headed by the paterfamilias - the oldest male who held supreme authority over the family.
A fixed local center seemed necessary as the center of the region cannot have been one of the villages, but must have been a place of common assembly, containing the seat of justice and the common sanctuary of the district, where members of the clans met for purposes of administration and amusement, and where they obtained a safer shelter for themselves in case of war: in ordinary circumstances such a place was not at all or but scantily inhabited. Such a place was called in Italy "height" (capitolium, the mountain-top), or "stronghold" (arx, from arcere); it was not a town at first, but it became the nucleus of one, as houses naturally gathered around the stronghold and were afterwards surrounded with the "ring" (urbs, connected with urvus and curvus).
The isolated Alban range, that natural stronghold of Latium, which offered to settlers a secure position, would doubtless be first occupied by the newcomers. Here, along the narrow plateau above Palazzuola between the Alban lake (Lagiod di Castello) and the Alban mount (Monte Cavo), extended the town of Alba Longa, which was regarded as the primitive seat of the Latin stock, and the mother city of Rome as well as of all the other Old Latin communities; here on the slopes lay the very ancient Latin districts of Lanuvium, Aricia, and Tusculum. Here too are found some primitive works of masonry, which usually mark the beginnings of civilization.
The district-strongholds there later gave rise to the considerable towns of Tibur and Praeneste. Labici too, Gabii, Nomentum in the plain between the Alban and Sabine hills and the Tiber, Rome on the Tiber, Laurentum and Lavinium on the coast, were all more or less ancient centers of Latin colonization, not to speak of many other less famous and in some cases almost forgotten.
All these villages were politically sovereign, and each of them was self-governing. The closeness of descent and their common language not only pervaded all of them, but manifested itself in an important religious and political institution—the Latin League. The Latins were tied together by religious associations, including worship of Venus, Jupiter Latiaris, and of Diana at the Lake of Ariccia. So, by virtue of her proximity to the sanctuary of Jupiter, the village of Alba Longa held a position of religious primacy among the Latin villages.Originally, thirty villages were entitled to participate in the league, known as the Alban colonies. Only a few of the individual names of these villages are recorded. The ritual of this league was the "Latin festival" (feriae Latinae), at which, on the Mount of Alba, upon a day annually appointed by the chief magistrate for the purpose, an ox was sacrificed by the assembled Latin stock to the "Latin god" (Jupiter Latiaris). Each community taking part in the ceremony had to contribute to the sacrificial feast. However; the sacred grove of Aricia, the Nemus Dianae, on the Lake of Aricia, was always among the most popular place of pilgrimage for the Latins.
Although Alba Longa enjoyed a position of religious primacy, the Alban presidency never held any significant political power over Latium, e.g. it was never the capital of a Latin state.It is probable that the extent of the Latin League's jurisdiction was somewhat unsettled and thus fluctuated; yet it remained for its existence not an accidental aggregate of various communities, but the positive expression of the relationship of the Latin stock. The Latin League may not have at all times included all Latin communities, but it never granted the privilege of membership to any that were not Latin.
Very early in its existence, Rome acquired the presidency of the league, and Alba Longa appeared as a rival for which it was destroyed in the mid-7th century BC; the league as it was had been dissolved and the foremost families were compelled to move to Rome: Alba Longa, the mother city, was dissolved into Rome, the daughter.According to Livy, Alba Longa was razed to the ground - spare the temples - by King Tullus of Rome. The Latin festival would still be held on the Alban mount, but by Roman magistrates.
Having destroyed Alba Longa, Rome was in command of the Latin festival and thus held presidency over the Latin peoples.By the mid-7th century BC, Rome had secured itself as a maritime power and secured its salt supply; the Via Salaria (lit. "salt road") was paved from Rome down to Ostia on the northern bank of the river Tiber - the closest salt-field in Western Italy. At the same time archaeologists detect an urban transformation of Rome: Roman huts were being replaced by houses and there was a social space, or forum , that was built by c. 620 BC. The influence of the Etruscans played an important role, and migrants came from Etruscan towns. Soon (according to tradition) it was followed by the rule of Etruscan kings, the Tarquins (traditionally, 616-509 BC).
While Rome may have acquired considerable territory (some 350 sq. miles)in Latium, its kings never exercised absolute power over Latium. The Latin cities did, however, look to Rome for protection; for Rome had more manpower than any other city in Latium. This was due to a generous policy of asylum: Roman kindness was unique in its readiness to grant citizenship to outsiders; in fact, citizenship was even granted to former slaves. The children of freedmen provided an important source for Roman armies and would have given them a definite edge in manpower over other cities of the time.
The emperor Augustus officially united all of present-day Italy into a single geo-political entity, Italia , dividing it into eleven regions. Latium – together with the present region of Campagna immediately to the southeast of Latium and the seat of Naples – became Region I.
After the Gothic War (535–554) A.D. and the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) conquest, this region regained its freedom, because the "Roman Duchy" became the property of the Eastern Emperor. However the long wars against the barbarian Longobards weakened the region, which was seized by the Roman Bishop who already had several properties in those territories.
The strengthening of the religious and ecclesiastical aristocracy led to continuous power struggles between lords and the Roman bishop until the middle of the 16th century. Innocent III tried to strengthen his own territorial power, wishing to assert his authority in the provincial administrations of Tuscia, Campagna and Marittima through the Church's representatives, in order to reduce the power of the Colonna family. Other popes tried to do the same.
During the period when the papacy resided in Avignon, France (1309–1377), the feudal lords' power increased due to the absence of the Pope from Rome. Small communes, and Rome above all, opposed the lords' increasing power, and with Cola di Rienzo,they tried to present themselves as antagonists of the ecclesiastical power. However, between 1353 and 1367, the papacy regained control of Latium and the rest of the Papal States.
From the middle of the 16th century, the papacy politically unified Latium with the Papal States, so that these territories became provincial administrations of St. Peter's estate; governors in Viterbo, in Marittima and Campagna, and in Frosinone administered them for the papacy.
After the short-lived Roman Republic (18th century), the region's annexation to France by Napoleon Bonaparte in February 1798, Latium became again part of the Papal States in October, 1799.
On 20 September 1870, the capture of Rome, during the reign of Pope Pius IX, and France's defeat at Sedan, completed Italian unification, and Latium was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.
Latium, often referred to by the Italian name Lazio, is a government region, i.e. one of the first-level administrative divisions of the state. There are twenty regions in Italy. Originally meant as administrative districts of the central state, the regions acquired a significant level of autonomy following a constitutional reform in 2001. The modern region of Latium contains the national capital Rome.
Lazio or Latium is one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy. Situated in the central peninsular section of the country, it has 5,714,882 inhabitants – making it the second most populated region of Italy – and its GDP of more than €197 billion per year means that it has the nation's second largest regional economy. The capital of Lazio is Rome, which is also the capital and largest city of Italy.
The Tiber is the third-longest river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing 406 km (252 mi) through Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio, where it is joined by the River Aniene, to the Tyrrhenian Sea, between Ostia and Fiumicino. It drains a basin estimated at 17,375 km2 (6,709 sq mi). The river has achieved lasting fame as the main watercourse of the city of Rome, which was founded on its eastern banks.
The Etruscan civilization was developed by a people of Etruria in ancient Italy with a common language and culture who formed a federation of city-states. After conquering adjacent lands, its territory covered, at its greatest extent, roughly what is now Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio, as well as what are now the Po Valley, Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy, southern Veneto, and western Campania.
The tale of the founding of Rome is recounted in traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves as the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth. The most familiar of these myths, and perhaps the most famous of all Roman myths, is the story of Romulus and Remus, twins who were suckled by a she-wolf as infants. Another account, set earlier in time, claims that the Roman people are descended from Trojan War hero Aeneas, who escaped to Italy after the war, and whose son, Iulus, was the ancestor of the family of Julius Caesar. The archaeological evidence of human occupation of the area of modern-day Rome dates from about 14,000 years ago.
Veii was an important ancient Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and 16 km (9.9 mi) north-northwest of Rome, Italy. It now lies in Isola Farnese, in the comune of Rome. Many other sites associated with and in the city-state of Veii are in Formello, immediately to the north. Formello is named after the drainage channels that were first created by the Veians.
Etruria was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what are now most of Tuscany, northern Lazio, and northern and western Umbria.
Tiberinus was the ninth king of Alba Longa, according to the traditional history of Rome handed down by Titus Livius. He was the successor of Capetus, the eighth king of Alba Longa. The Alban kings claimed descent from Aeneas, a Trojan prince who brought a remnant of the Trojan populace to Italy following the sack of Troy, and settled in Latium. Alba was built by Ascanius, the son of Aeneas and Lavinia, and founder of the Alban royal line. The Alban kings, including Tiberinus, bore the cognomenSilvius, after the son of Ascanius, who was said to have been born in the woods.
The Latin League was an ancient confederation of about 30 villages and tribes in the region of Latium near the ancient city of Rome, organized for mutual defense. The term "Latin League" is one coined by modern historians with no precise Latin equivalent.
The Province of Frosinone is a province in the Lazio region of Italy, with 91 comuni. Its capital is the city of Frosinone. It has an area of 3,247 square kilometres (1,254 sq mi) and a total population of 493,605 (2016).
The Albans were Latins from the ancient city of Alba Longa, southeast of Rome. Some of Rome's prominent patrician families such as the Julii, Servilii, Quinctii, Geganii, Curiatii and Cloelii were of Alban descent.
The kings of Alba Longa, or Alban kings, were a series of legendary kings of Latium, who ruled from the ancient city of Alba Longa. In the mythic tradition of ancient Rome, they fill the 400-year gap between the settlement of Aeneas in Italy and the founding of the city of Rome by Romulus. It was this line of descent to which the Julii claimed kinship. The traditional line of the Alban kings ends with Numitor, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus. One later king, Gaius Cluilius, is mentioned by Roman historians, although his relation to the original line, if any, is unknown; and after his death, a few generations after the time of Romulus, the city was destroyed by Tullus Hostilius, the third King of Rome, and its population transferred to Alba's daughter city.
A Roman colonia was originally a Roman outpost established in conquered territory to secure it. Eventually, however, the term came to denote the highest status of a Roman city. It is also the origin of the modern term colony.
Etruscan cities were a group of ancient settlements that shared a common Etruscan language and culture, even though they were independent city-states. They flourished over a large part of the northern half of Italy starting from the Iron Age, and in some cases reached a substantial level of wealth and power. They were eventually assimilated first by Italics in the south, then by Celts in the north and finally in Etruria itself by the growing Roman Republic.
Monte Cavo, or less occasionally, "Monte Albano," is the second highest mountain of the complex of the Alban Hills, near Rome, Italy. An old volcano extinguished around 10,000 years ago, it lies about 20 km (12 mi) from the sea, in the territory of the comune of Rocca di Papa. It is the dominant peak of the Alban Hills. The current name comes from Cabum, an Italic settlement existing on this mountain.
Alba Longa was an ancient Latin city in Central Italy, 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Rome, in the vicinity of Lake Albano in the Alban Hills. Founder and head of the Latin League, it was destroyed by the Roman Kingdom around the middle of the 7th century BC, and its inhabitants were forced to settle in Rome. In legend, Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, had come from the royal dynasty of Alba Longa, which in Virgil's Aeneid had been the bloodline of Aeneas, a son of Venus.
The Roman–Etruscan Wars were a series of wars fought between ancient Rome and the Etruscans. Information about many of the wars is limited, particularly those in the early parts of Rome's history, and in large part is known from ancient texts alone. The conquest of Etruria was completed in 265–264 BC.
The Latial culture ranged approximately over ancient Old Latium. The Iron Age Latial culture coincided with the arrival in the region of a people who spoke Old Latin. The culture was likely therefore to identify a phase of the socio-political self-consciousness of the Latin tribe, during the period of the kings of Alba Longa and the foundation of the Roman Kingdom.
The Latins, sometimes known as the Latians, were an Italic tribe which included the early inhabitants of the city of Rome. From about 1000 BC, the Latins inhabited the small region known to the Romans as Old Latium, that is, the area between the river Tiber and the promontory of Mount Circeo 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Rome. Following the Roman expansion, the Latins spread into the Latium adiectum, inhabited by Osco-Umbrian peoples.
Old Latium is a region of the Italian peninsula bounded to the north by the river Tiber, to the east by the central Apennine mountains, to the west by the Mediterranean Sea and to the south by Monte Circeo. It was the territory of the Latins, an Italic tribe which included the early inhabitants of the city of Rome. Later it was also settled by various Italic tribes such as the Rutulians, Volscians, Aequi, and Hernici. The region was referred to as "old" to distinguish it from the expanded region, Latium, that included the region to the south of Old Latium, between Monte Circeo and the river Garigliano – the so-called Latium adiectum. It corresponded to the central part of the modern administrative region of Lazio, Italy, and it covered an area measuring of roughly 50 Roman miles. It was calculated by Mommsen that the region's area was about 1860 square kilometres.