Gradual Conquest of the Peninsula - Italy under the Roman Rule

The invasion of the Gauls is a great notch in the line of the Roman annals. From this epoch to the time of the complete subjugation of the peninsula by the Romans (365-490, or - B.C. 389-264) is a period of 125 years. Of this period, the first fifty years were spent in repairing the shattered Commonwealth. Her strength having been fairly renewed, the republic shook off all impediments, announced to Latins and Hernicans that she required their cooperation no longer, and boldly declared her resolution to conquer central Italy. The series of wars against Etruscans, Latins, Hernicans, Gauls, Volscians, and Samnites, sometimes singly, sometimes in combination, by which she carried her resolution into effect, is usually known in Roman history by the general designation of the 'Samnite Wars' (412 -463), the Samnites being the leaders in this onset of the nations on Rome, the issue of which was to determine whether Rome or Samnium should govern Italy. Extricating herself by her valor from this confused conflict of nations, Rome, about the year 463, found herself mistress of Central Italy - Samnites, Latins, etc., all her subjects. A consequence of the con duct of the Latins and Hernicans during these Samnite wars was, that the famous triple confederacy between these two nations and the Romans was brought to an end precisely when it had fully served its purpose, and when its longer continuance would have impeded the growth in Italy of that Roman unity which it had fostered. The 'Samnite Wars' were succeeded by a short but brisk war, designated in Roman history 'the War with Pyrrhus and the Greeks in Italy.' Pyrrhus was an able and enterprising Greek prince, whom the Greek towns of southern Italy - fearful of being overwhelmed by the conquering barbarians, as they called them, of the Tiber, before whom even the Samnites had given way - had invited over from his native kingdom of Epirus, that he might place himself at the head of a con federacy which they were forming against Rome. Full of enmity towards their conquerers, all the recently-subdued nations of Central and Northern Italy welcomed the arrival of Pyrrhus; and all Southern Italy followed his standard. His enterprise, however, failed, notwithstanding several victories; and about the year B.C. 275, Pyrrhus having withdrawn from Italy,

The confederacy against the Roman Commonwealth crumbled to pieces, and the whole peninsula lay at their mercy. Before describing the manner in which the peninsula, thus acquired, was laid out and governed by the Romans, it will be necessary to continue our narrative of the gradual development of the constitution within, during the period which had elapsed since the Gaulish invasion.