History of Rome

ABOUT the year 754 B.C., at that point of Central Italy, nearly fifteen miles from the Tuscan Sea, where the Anio joins the Tiber, there stood on a height, called the Palatine Mount, a little village namedRoma, the centre of a small township, consisting probably of 5000 or 6000 inhabitants, all of them husbandmen and shepherds. This Rome was one of the border townships of Latium, a territory of fertile and undulating table-land extending from the Tiber to the Liris, and from the sea-coast to the hills of the interior. The whole surface of Latium was under diligent cultivation, and was covered with villages similar to Rome, which together constituted what was called the Latin nation.

Rome, we have said, was a frontier township of Latium. It was situated precisely at that point where the territories of Latium adjoined those of two other nations - of the Sabines, a hardy Oscan race of shepherds inhabiting the angular district between the Anio and the Tiber; and of the Etruscans, a remarkable people, of unknown but probably Oriental origin, who had arrived in the north of Italy some centuries later than the Pelasgians, and conquering all before them, whether Pelasgians or Oscans, by the force of superior civilization, had settled chiefly in the region between the Arnus and the Tiber, corresponding to modern Tuscany. Between these three races - Oscans Pelasgians and Etruscans - either apart, or in various combinations, all Italy, with the exception perhaps of some portions near the Alps, was divided: the Oscan predominating in the interior; the Pelasgians or rather Pelasgo-Oscans, along the coasts, as in Latium; and the Etruscans in the parts above-mentioned. While the Italian peninsula was thus occupied but by three great races or main stocks; the political divisions or nations into which it was parceled out were so numerous, however, that it would be scarcely possible to give a complete list of them.

Situated so near to the Sabine and Etruscan frontiers, an intercourse, sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, must naturally have been carried on between the Latins of Rome and the Sabines and Etruscans, with whom they were in contact. A chain of events, which history cannot now trace, but which is indicated in a poetic manner by a number of early Roman legends, led to the incorporation of Rome with two neighboring towns - one of them a small dependency of the Etruscans, situated on the Caelian Hill, and probably named Lucerum; another a Sabine village on the Quirinal Hill, called Quirium. The Etruscans, or Etrusco-Latins as they seem rather to have been, of Lucerum, were received on a subordinate footing; the Sabines of Quirium on one of equality; but the joint city continued to bear its old name of Roma. The population of this new Rome consisted, therefore, of three tribes - the ancient Romans, who called themselves Ramnes, the Sabines of Quirium, who called themselves Tities; and the Etrusco-Latins of Lucerum, who were named Luceres.