Latium

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Latium and Campania Latium et Campania.png
Latium and Campania

Latium ( /ˈlʃiəm/ LAY-shee-əm, US also /-ʃəm/ -shəm; [1] [2] [3] [4] Latin:  [ˈɫat̪iʊ̃] ) 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.

Contents

Definition

Casinum Cassino, Anfiteatro Romano.png
Casinum

Latium was originally a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil (Latium vetus) on which resided the tribe of the Latins or Latians. [5] 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. [6] 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". [7]

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.

Geography

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) [8] from Jupiter there. [9] A major modern etymology is that Lazio comes from the Latin word "latus", meaning "wide", [10] expressing the idea of "flat land" meaning the Roman Campagna.

History

Latium, Enric Serra Auque, 1888. Biblioteca Museu Victor Balaguer Enric Serra Auque- Latium- 3824.JPG
Latium, Enric Serra Auqué, 1888. Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer

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. [11] 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 (modern day Tuscany) 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. [11] 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). [12] These clans were a sign of their tribal origin, which continued in Rome as the thirty curiae which organized Roman society. [13] 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. [14] [15]

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). [16]

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. [17]

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. [18]

Latin League

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. [15] 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. [19] 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. [19] 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. [20]

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. [15] 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. [21]

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. [20] According to Livy, Alba Longa was razed to the ground - spare the temples - by King Tullus of Rome. [22] The Latin festival would still be held on the Alban mount, but by Roman magistrates. [20]

Roman hegemony

Having destroyed Alba Longa, Rome was in command of the Latin festival and thus held presidency over the Latin peoples. [23] 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. [24] 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. [24] 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). [12]

While Rome may have acquired considerable territory (some 350 sq. miles) [25] 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. [25] 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. [26]

Roman Republic and after

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. [27]

Bust of Augustus wearing the Civic Crown. Glyptothek, Munich Augustus Bevilacqua Glyptothek Munich 317.jpg
Bust of Augustus wearing the Civic Crown. Glyptothek, Munich

After the Gothic War (535–554) A.D. and the Roman 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. [28]

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. [28]

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, [29] 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. [28]

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. [28]

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. [30]

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. [31]

Modern region of Latium

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.

See also

Related Research Articles

Lazio Region of Italy

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Tiber Major river in central 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 kilometres (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 square kilometres (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.

Founding of Rome Mythical tale

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, Italy dates from about 14,000 years ago.

Veii Ancient Etruscan city in Isola Farnese, Italy

Veii was an important ancient Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and only 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 Region of Central Italy

Etruria was a region of Central Italy, located in an area that covered part of what are now Tuscany, Lazio, and Umbria.

Tiberinus Silvius

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.

Tullus Hostilius Third King of Rome

Tullus Hostilius was the legendary third king of Rome. He succeeded Numa Pompilius and was succeeded by Ancus Marcius. Unlike his predecessor, Tullus was known as a warlike king who according to the Roman Historian Livy, believed the more peaceful nature of his predecessor had weakened Rome. It has been attested that he sought out war and was even more warlike than the first king of Rome, Romulus. Accounts of the death of Tullus Hostillus vary. In the mythological version of events Livy describes, he had angered Jupiter who then killed him with a bolt of lightning. Non mythological sources on the other hand describe that he died of plague.

Alban Hills

The Alban Hills are the caldera remains of a quiescent volcanic complex in Italy, located 20 km (12 mi) southeast of Rome and about 24 km (15 mi) north of Anzio. The 950 m (3,120 ft) high Monte Cavo forms a highly visible peak the centre of the caldera, but the highest point is Maschio delle Faete approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) to the east of Cavo and 6 m (20 ft) taller. There are subsidiary calderas along the rim of the Alban Hills that contain the lakes Albano and Nemi. The hills are composed of peperino, a variety of tuff that is useful for construction and provides a mineral-rich substrate for nearby vineyards.

Volsinii

Volsinii or Vulsinii, is the name of two ancient cities of Etruria, one situated on the shore of Lacus Volsiniensis, and the other on the Via Clodia, between Clusium (Chiusi) and Forum Cassii (Vetralla). The latter was Etruscan and was destroyed by the Romans in 264 BC following an attempted revolt by its slaves, while the former was founded by the Romans using the remainder of the Etruscan population rescued from the razed city.

Latin League

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.

Province of Frosinone Province of Italy

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.

Kings of Alba Longa

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.

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.

The Ager Romanus is the geographical rural area that surrounds the city of Rome. Politically and historically, it has represented the area of influence of Rome's municipal government. It is limited to the south by the Monti Prenestini range, Alban hills and Pontine Marshes; to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea; to the north by the hills surrounding Lake Bracciano and to the east by the Monti Tiburtini range.

Alba Longa Ancient city of Latium in central Italy

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.

Latins (Italic tribe) Italic tribe

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.

Latium was the region of ancient Italy in which Rome was situated.

Old Latium

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.

References

Citations

  1. "Lazio". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt . Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  2. "Latium". Collins English Dictionary . HarperCollins . Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  3. "Latium" (US) and "Latium". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press . Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  4. "Lazio". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 6 May 2019.
  5. Mogens Herman Hansen (2000). A Comparative Study of Thirty City-state Cultures: An Investigation. Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. pp. 209–. ISBN   978-87-7876-177-4.
  6. Cary, M.; Scullard, H. H. (1975). A History of Rome: Down to the Reign of Constantine (3rd ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 31. ISBN   0312383959.
  7. Strabo, Geographica, V, 3,9.
  8. Aeneid, VIII.323.
  9. Bevan 1875 , pp. 530–531
  10. "Latin - Origin and meaning of the name Latin by Online Etymology Dictionary". www.etymonline.com. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  11. 1 2 Emilio Peruzzi, Mycenaeans in early Latium, (Incunabula Graeca 75), Edizioni dell'Ateneo & Bizzarri, Roma, 1980
  12. 1 2 (in French) Giovanni Colonna, Milieu, peuplement, phases naturelles, in Naissence de Rome, cataloged by the Petit Palais, 1977
  13. Fox, p. 112.
  14. Fox, pp. 112–113.
  15. 1 2 3 M. Cary, H.H. Scullard p. 32
  16. Mommsen pp. 36–37
  17. Mommsen pp. 37–38
  18. Mommsen p. 38
  19. 1 2 Mommsen p. 39
  20. 1 2 3 Viscount James Bryce Bryce The World's History: The Mediterranean nations . London (1902). p. 343
  21. Mommsen p. 40
  22. Livy, Ab urbe condita 1.29
  23. Mommsen p. 103
  24. 1 2 Fox, pp. 111–112
  25. 1 2 M. Cary, H.H. Scullard pp. 54–55
  26. Fox p. 276
  27. Fulminante, Francesca (2014). The Urbanisation of Rome and Latium Vetus. pp. 35–60. ISBN   9781107030350.
  28. 1 2 3 4 Touring club italiano, ed. (1981). Lazio, non-compresa Roma e dintorni (in Italian). pp. 61–83. ISBN   9788836500154.
  29. Musto, Ronald G., Cola Di Rienzo, Oxford Biographies, 21 novembre 2012, DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0122
  30. Susan Vandiler, Imperial City: Rome under Napoleon, p. 20
  31. CONSIGLIO REGIONALE DEL LAZIO (ed.). "LA NASCITA DELLE REGIONI A STATUTO ORDINARIO" (PDF). consiglio.regione.lazio.it (in Italian)..

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  • Fox, Robin Lane, The Classical World: An Epic History From Homer to Hadrian. Basic Books, 2006.