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The Latins (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
: ''Latini''), sometimes known as the Latians, were an
Italic tribe The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on th ...
which included the early inhabitants of the city of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
(see
Roman people grc, Ῥωμαῖοι, , native_name_lang = , image = Pompeii family feast painting Naples.jpg , image_caption = 1st century AD wall painting from Pompeii Pompeii (, ) was an ancient city located in what is now the '' ...
). From about 1000 BC, the Latins inhabited the small region known to the Romans as
Old Latium Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya Old () is a village in Baranya (county), Baranya county, Hungary. Populated places in Baranya County {{Baranya-geo-stub ..., Hungary *Old, Northamptonshire Old (previously Wold and be ...
(in Latin ''Latium vetus''), that is, the area between the river
Tiber The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the in and flowing through , , and , where it is joined by the River , to the , between and . It estimated at . The river has achi ...

Tiber
and the promontory of
Mount Circeo 290px, The Acropolis (High Place) of Mount Circeo as seen from the Ancient Tower Ruins with Sabaudia in the distance. Monte Circeo or Cape Circeo ( it, Promontorio del Circeo , la, Mons Circeius) is a mountain remaining as a promontory A promon ...
southeast of Rome. Following the Roman expansion, the Latins spread into the
Latium adiectum Latium adiectum or Latium Novum is an ancient Roman geographical term used at least as early as the 1st century AD, when mention of it occurs in Pliny in conjunction with Latium antiquum, the original territory of the Latini tribe. Says Pliny of th ...
, inhabited by
Osco-Umbrian The Osco-Umbrian, Sabellic or Sabellian languages are a group of Italic languages, the Indo-European languages that were spoken in Central and Southern Italy by the Osco-Umbrians before being replaced by Latin, as the power of Ancient Rome expanded. ...
peoples. Their language,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, belonged to the
Italic
Italic
branch of Indo-European. Speakers of Italic languages are assumed to have migrated into the
Italian Peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Reg ...
during the late
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
(1200–900 BC). The material culture of the Latins, known as the
Latial culture The Latial culture ranged approximately over ancient Old Latium Old Latium ( la, Latium vetus or ') 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 M ...
, was a distinctive subset of the
proto-Villanovan culture The Proto-Villanovan culture was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age ...
that appeared in parts of the Italian peninsula in the first half of the 12th century BC. The Latins maintained close culturo-religious relations until they were definitively united politically under Rome in 338 BC, and for centuries beyond. These included common festivals and religious sanctuaries. The rise of Rome as by far the most populous and powerful Latin state from 600 BC led to volatile relations with the other Latin states, which numbered about 14 in 500 BC. In the period of the Tarquin monarchy ( 550–500 BC), Rome apparently acquired political hegemony over the other states. After the fall of the Roman monarchy around 500 BC, there appears to have been a century of military alliance between Rome and the other Latin states to confront the threat posed to all Latium by raiding by the surrounding Italic mountain tribes, especially the
Volsci The Volsci (, , ) were an Italic Osco-Umbrian The Osco-Umbrian, Sabellic or Sabellian languages are a group of Italic languages, the Indo-European languages that were spoken in Central and Southern Italy by the Osco-Umbrians before being replaced ...

Volsci
and
Aequi 300px, Location of the Aequi (Equi) in central Italy, 5th century BC. The Aequi ( grc, Αἴκουοι and Αἴκοι) were an Italic tribe The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is ...
. This system progressively broke down after roughly 390 BC, when Rome's aggressive expansionism led to conflict with other Latin states, both individually and collectively. In 341–338 BC, the Latin states jointly fought the
Latin War The (Second) Latin War (340–338 BC)The Romans customarily dated events by noting the consuls who held office that year. The Latin War broke out in the year that Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus and Publius Decius Mus were consuls and ende ...
against Rome in a final attempt to preserve their independence. The war resulted in 338 BC in a decisive Roman victory. The other Latin states were either annexed or permanently subjugated to Rome.


Name etymology

The name ''Latium'' has been suggested to derive from the Latin word ''latus'' ("wide, broad"), referring, by extension, to the plains of the region (in contrast to the mainly mountainous Italian peninsula). If this is true, then ''Latini'' originally meant "men of the plain".


Origins

The Latins belonged to a group of
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
-speaking (IE) tribes, conventionally known as the
Italic tribes The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the ...
, that populated central and southern Italy during the Italian
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
, which began around 900 BC. The most widely accepted theory suggests that Latins and other proto-Italic tribes first entered Italy in the late Bronze Age proto-Villanovan culture, then part of the central European
Urnfield culture The Urnfield culture ( 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second princ ...
system. In particular various authors, such as
Marija Gimbutas Marija Gimbutas ( lt, Marija Gimbutienė, ; January 23, 1921 – February 2, 1994) was a Lithuanian archaeologist Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is ...
, had noted important similarities between the
proto-Villanovan culture The Proto-Villanovan culture was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age ...
, the South-German Urnfield culture of
Bavaria Bavaria (; German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language ...

Bavaria
-
Upper Austria Upper Austria (german: Oberösterreich ; bar, Obaöstareich) is one of the nine states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The Stat ...
M.Gimbutas - Bronze Age Cultures in Central and Eastern Europe p.339-345 and Middle-Danube Urnfield culture. According to David W. Anthony proto-Latins originated in today's eastern
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
, kurganized around 3100 BC by the
Yamna culture The Yamnaya culture (russian: Ямная культура, Yamnaya kul'tura, ua, Ямна культура, Yamna kul'tura lit. 'culture of pits') also known as the Yamnaya Horizon, Yamna culture, Pit Grave culture or Ochre Grave culture, was ...
,David W. Anthony - The Horse, The Wheel and Language pg.344 while Kristian Kristiansen associated the proto-Villanovans with the Velatice-Baierdorf culture of
Moravia Moravia ( , also , ; cs, Morava ; german: link=no, Mähren ; pl, Morawy ; szl, Morawa; la, Moravia) is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geography, geographical areas which at some point in time had a cult ...

Moravia
and Austria. This is further confirmed by the fact that the subsequent
Latial culture The Latial culture ranged approximately over ancient Old Latium Old Latium ( la, Latium vetus or ') 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 M ...
,
Este culture . The Este culture or Atestine culture was an Iron Age Europe, Iron Age archaeological culture existing from the late Italian Bronze Age (10th-9th century BC, proto-venetic phase) to the Ancient Rome, Roman period (1st century BC). It was located i ...
and
Villanovan culture The Villanovan culture (c. 900–700 BC), regarded as the earliest phase of the Etruscan civilization The Etruscan civilization () of List of ancient peoples of Italy, ancient Italy covered a territory, at its greatest extent, of roughly what i ...
, which introduced iron-working to the
Italian peninsula The Italian Peninsula (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Reg ...
, were so closely related to the Central European
Urnfield culture The Urnfield culture ( 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second princ ...
(c. 1300–750 BC), and
Hallstatt culture The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a loc ...

Hallstatt culture
(which succeeded the Urnfield culture), that it is not possible to tell them apart in their earlier stages. Furthermore, the contemporary
Canegrate culture The Canegrate culture was a civilization of Prehistoric Italy which developed from the recent Bronze Age Europe, Bronze Age (13th century BC) until the Iron Age Europe, Iron Age, in the areas of what are now western Lombardy, eastern Piedmont, an ...
of Northern Italy represented a typical western example of the western Hallstatt culture, whose diffusion most probably took place in a
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...
-speaking context. Similarly, several authors have suggested that the
Beaker culture The Bell Beaker culture (or, in short, Beaker culture) is an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, buildings and monuments from a specif ...

Beaker culture
of Central and Western Europe was a candidate for an early Indo-European culture, and more specifically, for an ancestral European branch of Indo-European dialects, termed "North-west Indo-European", ancestral to Celtic, Italic, Germanic and Balto-Slavic branches. All these groups were descended from Proto-Indo-European speakers from Yamna-culture, whose migrations in Central Europe probably split off Pre-Italic, Pre-Celtic and Pre-Germanic from Proto-Indo-European. Leaving archaeology aside, the geographical distribution of the ancient languages of the peninsula may plausibly be explained by the immigration of successive waves of peoples with different languages, according to Cornell. On this model, it appears likely that the "West Italic" group (including the Latins) were the first wave, followed, and largely displaced by, the East Italic (Osco-Umbrian) group. This is deduced from the marginal locations of the surviving West Italic niches. Besides Latin, putative members of the West Italic group are Faliscan (now regarded as merely a Latin dialect), and perhaps
Sicel The Sicels (; la, Siculi; grc, Σικελοί ''Sikeloi'') were an Italic tribe who inhabited eastern Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank ...
, spoken in central
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...

Sicily
. The West Italic languages were thus spoken in limited and isolated areas, whereas the "East Italic" group comprised the
Oscan Oscan is an extinct Indo-European language The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian subcontinent and th ...
and
Umbrian Umbrian is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the Life#Biology, p ...
dialects spoken over much of central and southern Italy. The chronology of Indo-European immigration remains elusive, as does the relative chronology between the Italic IE languages and the non-IE languages of the peninsula, notably the
Etruscan__NOTOC__ Etruscan may refer to: Ancient civilisation *The Etruscan language, an extinct language in ancient Italy *Something derived from or related to the Etruscan civilization **Etruscan architecture **Etruscan art **Etruscan cities **Etruscan ...
, which is considered related to the
Raetic Rhaetic or Raetic (), also known as Rhaetian, was a language spoken in the ancient region of Rhaetia File:REmpire Rhetia.png, 250px, Province of Raetia highlighted. Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Rom ...
spoken in the
Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest and most extensive mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt ...

Alps
. Other examples of non-IE languages in Iron Age Italy are the
Camunic language The Camunic language is an extinct language that was spoken in the 1st millennium BC in the Valcamonica and the Valtellina in Northern Italy, both of the Central Alps. The language is sparsely attested to an extent that makes any classification att ...
, spoken in the Alps, and the unattested ancient Ligurian and Paleo-Sardinian languages. Most scholars consider that Etruscan is a pre-IE survival, a
Paleo-European language The Paleo-European languages, or Old European languages, are the mostly unknown languages that were spoken in Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large regio ...
part of an older European linguistic substratum, spoken long before the arrival of proto Indo-European speakers. Some scholars have earlier speculated that Etruscan language could have been introduced by later migrants. The ancient Greek historian
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an Classical Greece, ancient Greek writer, geographer, and historian born in the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Achaemenid Empire, Persian Empire (now Bodrum, Turkey). He ...
preserves the tradition that the ''Tyrrhenoi'' (Etruscans) originated in
Lydia Lydia (Lydian language, Lydian: ‎𐤮𐤱𐤠𐤭𐤣𐤠, ''Śfarda''; Aramaic: ''Lydia''; el, Λυδία, ''Lȳdíā''; tr, Lidya) was an Iron Age Monarchy, kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the mod ...

Lydia
in
Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and the westernmost protrusion of the Asian continent. It makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region ...
, but Lydians spoke an
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
language, completely different from the Etruscan language. Despite, a possible support for an eastern origin for Etruscan may be provided by two inscriptions in a language closely related to Etruscan found on the island of
Lemnos Lemnos or Limnos ( el, Λήμνος; grc, Λῆμνος) is a Greece, Greek island in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Lemnos (regional unit), Lemnos regional unit, whic ...

Lemnos
in the northern
Aegean sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean sea
(see
Lemnian language The Lemnian language was spoken on the island of Lemnos Lemnos or Limnos ( el, Λήμνος; grc, Λῆμνος) is a Greece, Greek island in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality wi ...
), some scholars believe that the Lemnian language might have arrived in the
Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
during the Late Bronze Age, when Mycenaean rulers recruited groups of mercenaries from Sicily, Sardinia and various parts of the Italian peninsula. Other scholars, however, argue that the presence of a language similar to Etruscan in Lemnos was due to Etruscan commercial adventurers arrived from the west shortly before 700 BC. The archaeological evidence available from Iron Age Etruria shows no sign of any invasion, migration, or arrival of small immigrant-elites from the Eastern Mediterranean who may have imposed their language. Between the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, Etruria shows above all contacts with Central Europe and the
Urnfield culture The Urnfield culture ( 1300 BC – 750 BC) was a late Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second princ ...
, as there is great consensus that the subsequent
orientalizing period In the Archaic Greece, Archaic phase of ancient Greek art, the Orientalizing period or Orientalizing revolution (also spelled "Orientalising") is the cultural and art history, art historical period that began during the later part of the 8th ...
was an artistic-cultural phenomenon not exclusively Etruscan, also spread to other areas of Italy and the Greek world, and that can be better explained by trade and exchange rather than by migrations. Genetic studies on samples of Etruscan individuals, both on mitochondrial and autosomal DNA, are also against an eastern origin of the Etruscans and have supported a deep, local origin. A 2019 Stanford genetic study, which has analyzed the autosomal DNA of Iron Age samples from the areas around Rome, has concluded that Etruscans were similar to the Latins from
Latium vetus Latium ( , ; ) 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. Definition Latium was originally a small triangle of fertile, volcanic soil (Latium vetus) on w ...
. According to British archeologist Phil Perkins, "there are indications that the evidence of DNA can support the theory that Etruscan people are autochthonous in central Italy".


Language

The tribe spoke the
Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
(specifically
Old Latin Old Latin, also known as Early Latin or Archaic Latin ( la, prīsca Latīnitās, lit=the Latinity of the ancients) was the Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a ...
), a member of the western branch of the
Italic languages The Italic languages form a branch of the Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family native to western and southern Eurasia. It comprises most of the languages of Europe together with those of the northern Indian sub ...

Italic languages
, in turn a branch of the
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
(IE) family of languages in Europe The oldest extant inscription in the Latin language is believed to be engraved on the ''
Lapis Niger The Lapis Niger (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...
'' ("Black Stone") discovered in 1899 in the
Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citize ...

Roman Forum
, dating from around 600 BC: in the mid-
Roman kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civili ...
, according to the traditional Roman chronology, but more likely close to its inception. Written in a primitive form of Archaic Latin, it indicates that the Romans remained Latin-speakers in the period when some historians have suggested that Rome had become "Etruscanised" in both language and culture. It also lends support to the existence of the
Kings of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two different meanings of magistrate have often overlapped and ...
in this era, whom some historians regarded as mythical: the inscription contains the word ''recei'', the word for "king" in the
dative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as we ...
singular in archaic Latin - ''regi'' in classical Latin, or to the ''
rex sacrorum In ancient Roman religion, the ''rex sacrorum'' ("king of the sacred", also sometimes ''rex sacrificulus'') was a senatorial priesthood reserved for patricians. Although in the historical era, the ''pontifex maximus The (Latin Latin (, ...
'', rather than the political king of Rome.


Material culture

There is no archaeological evidence at present that Old Latium hosted permanent settlements during the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric Periodization, period that was characterized by the use of bronze, in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the Three-age sys ...
. Some very small amounts of
Apennine culture Apennine may refer to: *The Apennine Mountains The Apennines or Apennine Mountains (; grc-gre, links=no, Ἀπέννινα ὄρη or Ἀπέννινον ὄρος; la, Appenninus or  – a singular with plural meaning;''Apenninus'' (Greek ...
pottery shards have been found in Latium, most likely belonging to transient pastoralists engaged in
transhumance Transhumance is a type of pastoralism or nomadism, a seasonal movement of livestock between fixed summer and winter pastures. In montane regions (''vertical transhumance''), it implies movement between higher pastures in summer and lower val ...

transhumance
. It thus appears that the Latins occupied Latium Vetus not earlier than around 1000 BC. Initially, the Latin immigrants into Latium were probably concentrated in the low hills that extend from the central Apennine range into the coastal plain (much of which was then marshy and malarial, and thus uninhabitable). A notable area of early settlement were the
Alban Hills The Alban Hills are the caldera A caldera is a large cauldron A cauldron (or caldron) is a large cast iron Cast iron is a group of iron-carbon alloys with a carbon content more than 2%. Its usefulness derives from its relatively low ...
, a plateau about 20 km (13 mi) SE of Rome containing a number of extinct volcanoes and 5 lakes, of which the largest are ''lacus Nemorensis'' (
Lake Nemi Lake Nemi ( it, Lago di Nemi, la, Nemorensis Lacus, also called Diana's Mirror, la, Speculum Dianae) is a small circular volcanic lake in the Lazio region of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica It ...
) and ''lacus Tusculensis'' (
Lake Albano Lake Albano (Italian: ''Lago Albano'' or ''Lago di Castel Gandolfo'') is a small volcanic crater lake A volcanic crater lake is a lake in a crater that was formed from explosive activity or collapse during a types of volcani ...

Lake Albano
). These hills provided a defensible, well-watered base.Britannica ''Latium'' Also the hills on the site of Rome, certainly the
Palatine A palatine or palatinus (in Latin; plural ''palatini''; cf. derivative spellings below) is a high-level official attached to imperial or royal courts in Europe since Roman Empire, Roman times.
Palatine
and possibly the
Capitoline and the Servian Wall The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Roman Forum, Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the seven hills of Rome, Seven Hills of Rome. The hill was earlier known ...
and the
Quirinal The Quirinal Hill (; la, Collis Quirinalis; it, Quirinale ) is one of the Seven Hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber File:Rome flood marker.jpg, Rome H ...
, hosted permanent settlements at a very early stage. The Latins appear to have become culturally differentiated from the surrounding Osco-Umbrian Italic tribes from c. 1000 BC onwards. From this time, the Latins exhibit the features of the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
Latial culture The Latial culture ranged approximately over ancient Old Latium Old Latium ( la, Latium vetus or ') 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 M ...
found in Etruria and the Po valley. In contrast, the Osco-Umbrian tribes do not exhibit the same features of the Latins, who thus shared the broadly same material culture as the Etruscans. The variant of Villanovan found in Latium is dubbed the
Latial culture The Latial culture ranged approximately over ancient Old Latium Old Latium ( la, Latium vetus or ') 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 M ...
. The most distinctive feature of Latial culture were cinerary urns in the shape of miniature ''tuguria'' ("huts"). In Phase I of the Latium culture (c. 1000–900 BC) these hut-urns only appear in some burials, but they become standard in Phase II cremation burials (900–770 BC). They represent the typical single-roomed hovels of contemporary peasants, which were made from simple, readily available materials:
wattle-and-daub Wattle and daub is a composite building method used for making walls and buildings, in which a woven lattice of wooden strips called wattle is daubed with a sticky material usually made of some combination of wet soil, clay, sand, animal dung and ...
walls and straw roofs supported by wooden posts. The huts remained the main form of Latin housing until about 650 BC. The most famous exemplar was the ''
Casa Romuli The ''Casa Romuli'' ("Hut of Romulus"), also known as the ''tugurium Romuli'', was the reputed dwelling-place of the legendary founder and first king of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
'' ("Hut of
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamora ...
") on the southern slope of the Palatine Hill, supposedly built by the legendary founder of Rome with his own hands and which reportedly survived until the time of emperor
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
(ruled 30 BC - AD 14). Around 650 BC began a period of urbanisation, with the establishment of political city-states in Latium. The most notable example is Rome itself, which was originally a group of separate settlements on the various hills. It appears that they coalesced into a single entity around 625 BC, when the first buildings were established on the site of the later
Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citize ...

Roman Forum
.


Social culture


Relics of Indo-European culture

According to the mainstream Kurgan hypothesis, the earliest Indo-Europeans were a nomadic
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
people, originating in the
Eurasian steppes The Eurasian Steppe, also simply called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. It stretches through Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Europe ...
(southern Russia, northern Caucasus and central Asia). Their livelihood was based on horses and herding. In the historical era, the same socio-cultural lifestyle was maintained, in the same regions, by peoples descended from the
Proto-Indo-Europeans The Proto-Indo-Europeans are a hypothetical prehistory, prehistoric population of Eurasia who spoke Proto-Indo-European language, Proto-Indo-European (PIE), the ancestor of the Indo-European languages according to linguistic reconstruction. ...
(PIEs) known to the Greco-Romans as
Scythians The Scythians (from grc, Σκύθης , ) or Scyths, also known as Saka and Sakae ( ; egy, 𓋴𓎝𓎡𓈉 The ancient Egyptian Hill-country or "Foreign land" hieroglyph (𓈉) is a member of the sky, earth, and water hieroglyphs. A ...
,
Sarmatians The Sarmatians (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
and
Alans The Alans or Alāns (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...

Alans
, whose languages belonged to the
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subreg ...
branch of IE. On the basis of common steppe-nomadic features in the cultures of the various Indo-European peoples in the historical era, scholars have reconstructed elements of proto-Indo-European culture. Relics of such elements have been discerned in Roman and Latin customs. Examples include: # The kinship-system of PIEs is considered by anthropologists to best fit the so-called "Omaha" system, i.e. a patrilineal exogamous society, i.e. a society in which descent is recognised through the father's line and spouses are taken from outside the kinship-group. This is certainly the case with Roman society. # Supreme sky-god: It has been securely reconstructed that the chief god of PIEs was a male sky-god, known as "Father Sky", from which descends the chief Latin god,
Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the List of Solar System objects by size, largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but ...
, deriving from archaic "Dieus - pater" ("sky-father"). PIEs also venerated a god of thunder and lightning. Among the Latins, this deity appears to have been merged with the sky-god, as Jupiter was ascribed the power to hurl thunderbolts. Among others, Jupiter was ascribed the epithets ''Jupiter Tonitrans'' ("Jupiter the Thunderer"), ''Jupiter Pluvius'' ("Jupiter the Rainmaker"), and ''Jupiter Fulgurator'' ("Jupiter the Thunderbolt-Flinger") # Fire-worship: A central feature of PIE life was the domestic hearth. It is thus considered certain that PIEs worshipped fire. The best-known derivative is the fire-worship of the ancient Iranian religion (see
Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism or Mazdayasna is an Iranian religions, Iranian religion and one of the world's oldest continuously-practiced organized faiths, based on the teachings of the Iranian peoples, Iranian-speaking prophet Zoroaster (also known as ''Za ...
). The Romans kept a perpetual sacred fire burning in the
Temple of Vesta The Temple of Vesta, or the aedes (Latin ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#aedes, Aedes Vestae''; Italian language, Italian: ''Tempio di Vesta''), is an ancient edifice in Rome, Italy. The temple is located in the Roman Forum near the Regia and ...

Temple of Vesta
, who was the goddess of the hearth. To symbolise the hearth, it is the only Roman temple which was round, instead of square. # Horse-sacrifice: Originally a nomadic steppe-people, the life of PIEs was centred on horses. The sacrifice of horses was probably practised to consecrate kings. The Indic ''asvamedha'' ritual involves the sacrifice of a stallion and the ritual copulation with its corpse by the queen, followed by the distribution of the horse's parts. The Romans practised a ritual known as the ''October Equus'', whereby the right-hand horse of a victorious team in a chariot-race was sacrificed to
Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury (planet), Mercury. In English, Mars carries the name of the Mars (mythology), Roman god of war and is often referred to ...
, the god of war. Its head was severed and fought over by two teams of people, and its tail hung from the
Regia The Regia ("Royal house") was a two-part structure in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ear ...

Regia
(the old royal palace in Rome). #
Swastika The swastika symbol, 卐 (''right-facing'' or ''clockwise'') or 卍 (''left-facing'', ''counterclockwise'', or sauwastika), is an ancient religious icon An icon (from the Greek language, Greek 'image, resemblance') is a religious work ...

Swastika
symbol: This symbol, the hooked cross (''crux uncinata'' in Latin), was widely used by IE-speaking peoples in both Europe and Asia (especially in India: the term ''swastika'' is
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...
). According to one theory, it was invented, and used as an ethnic emblem, by the Proto-Indo-Europeans, although it is also a documented symbol of the
Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's past. It is informed by archaeology ...

Stone Age
Vinča culture The Vinča culture (), also known as Turdaș culture or Turdaș–Vinča culture, was a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-l ...
of SE Europe (c. 5500 - 4500 BC), which was probably pre-Indo-European (although it may have been used as a
hieroglyph A hieroglyph (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximat ...
, rather than a cultural symbol, by the Vinca people). Whatever its origin, it was widely adopted by the Indo-Europeans, among whom it probably symbolised the Sun (which was seen as a wheel rolling across the sky) and/or the Sky and was thus closely associated with their male supreme Sky-god. Among the Romans, it was not traditionally associated with the sky god Jupiter. It became associated with the sky god in Celtic southwest Gaul, where numerous dedications to Jupiter have been discovered adorned with swastikas. In the later empire (4th century onwards), when pagan symbolism lost favour due to the advance of Christianity, it came to represent the Universe, or eternal life.


Latin communal tribal cults

Despite their frequent internecine wars, the Latin city-states maintained close culturo-religious relations throughout their history. Their most important common tribal event was the four-day ''Latiar'' or ''
Feriae Latinae The ''Feriae Latinae'' or Latin Festival was an ancient Roman religious festival held in April on the Alban Mount. The date varied, and was determined and announced by the consuls A consul is an official representative of the government of on ...
'' ("Latin Festival"), held each winter on the sacred ''mons Albanus'' (
Monte Cavo 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 from the sea, in the territory of the ''comu ...

Monte Cavo
, Alban Hills, SE of Rome), an extinct volcano. The climax of the festival was a number of sacrifices to Jupiter Latiaris ("Jupiter of Latium"); the sacrificed meat was shared by the representatives of the Latin communities. These elaborate rituals, as did all Roman religious ceremonies, had to be performed with absolute precision and, if any procedural mistakes were made, had to be repeated from the start. The Latin Festival continued to be held long after all ''Latium Vetus'' was integrated into the Roman Republic after 338 BC (from then on, the
Roman consul A consul held the highest elected political office The incumbent is the current holder of an office An office is a space where an Organization, organization's employees perform Business administration, administrative Work (human acti ...
s presided over them) and into the Roman imperial era. The historian
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
, writing around AD 20, ascribed Rome's disastrous defeat by the Carthaginian general
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
at the
Battle of Lake Trasimene The Battle of Lake Trasimene was fought when a Carthaginian Empire, Carthaginian force under Hannibal ambushed a Roman Republic, Roman army commanded by Gaius Flaminius on 21 June 217 BC, during the Second Punic War. It took place on the nort ...

Battle of Lake Trasimene
in 217 BC to the impiety of the consul
Gaius Flaminius Gaius Flaminius (c. 275 BC217 BC) was a leading Roman politician in the third century BC. Twice Roman consul, consul, in 223 and 217, Flaminius is notable for the ''Lex Flaminia'', a land reform passed in 232, the construction of the Circus Flamin ...
, who, in his eagerness to join his army at its assembly-point of
Arretium Arezzo ( , , ; lat, Arretium) is a city and ''comune'' in Italy and the capital of the Province of Arezzo, province of the same name located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about southeast of Florence at an elevation of Above mean sea level, above sea l ...
, omitted to attend the Latin Festival. Latin cultural-religious events were also held at other common cult-centres e.g. the major common shrine to Diana at . This may be the sacred grove to Diana which a fragment of Cato's ''Origines'' recorded dedicated, probably c. 500 BC, by various Latin communities under the leadership of the dictator of
Tusculum Tusculum is a ruined Classical Rome, Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy. Tusculum was most famous in Roman times for the many great and luxurious patrician country villas sited close to the city, yet a comfortable distanc ...
, Egerius Baebius. Cornell argues that the temple of Diana reportedly founded by the Roman king
Servius Tullius Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Historically, the two d ...
on the
Aventine hill The Aventine Hill (; la, Collis Aventinus; it, Aventino ) is one of the Seven Hills on which ancient Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the legend ...
at Rome was also a common Latin shrine, as it was built outside the ''pomerium'' or City boundary. There was also an important Latin cult-centre at
Lavinium Lavinium was a port city of Latium, to the south of Rome, midway between the Tiber river at Ostia Antica, Ostia and Anzio. The coastline then, as now, was a long strip of beach. Lavinium was on a hill at the southernmost edge of the ''Silva Laur ...
. Lavinium hosted the cult of the
Penates In ancient Roman religion, the Di Penates () or Penates ( ) were among the ''dii familiares'', or household deities, invoked most often in domestic rituals. When the family had a meal, they threw a bit into the fire on the hearth for the Penates. ...
, or Latin ancestor-gods. Cornell suggests that the "Sanctuary of the 13 altars" discovered in the 1960s at Lavinium was the site of the Penates cult. Since each of the altars differ in style and date, it has been suggested that each was erected by a separate Latin city-state.


Latins in the Roman origin myth


Aeneas

Under the ever-growing influence of the Italiote Greeks, the Romans acquired their own national origin myth sometime during the early Republican era (500–300 BC). It was centred on the figure of
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek language, Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus (mythology), Venus). His father ...
, a supposed Trojan survivor of the destruction of
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
by the Achaean Greeks, as related in the poet
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
's epic the ''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
'' (composed c. 800 BC). The legend provided the Romans with a heroic "Homeric" pedigree, as well as a (spurious) ethnic distinctiveness from the other Latins. It also provided a rationale (as poetic revenge for the destruction of Troy) for Rome's hostilities against, and eventual subjugation of, the Greek cities of southern Italy, especially (mod.
Taranto Taranto (, also ; ; nap, label=Tarantino Quentin Jerome Tarantino (; born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear narrative, nonlinear storylines, dark humo ...

Taranto
) in the period ending 275 BC. The figure of Aeneas as portrayed in the ''Iliad'' lent itself to his adoption as the Roman "Abraham": a mighty warrior of (minor) royal blood who personally slew 28 Achaeans in the war, he was twice saved from certain death by the gods, implying that he had a great destiny to fulfil. A passage in Homer's ''Iliad'' contains the prophecy that Aeneas and his descendants would one day rule the Trojans. Since the Trojans had been expelled from their own city, it was speculated that Aeneas and other Trojan survivors must have migrated elsewhere. The legend is given its most vivid and detailed treatment in the Roman poet
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...

Virgil
's epic, the ''
Aeneid The ''Aeneid'' ( ; la, Aenē̆is ) is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the p ...
'' (published around AD 20). According to this, the Latin tribe's first king was
Latinus Latinus ( la, Latinus; grc, Λατῖνος) was a figure in both Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...

Latinus
, who gave his name to the tribe and founded the first capital of the Latins,
Laurentum Laurentum was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman city of Latium situated between Ostia Antica, Ostia and Lavinium, on the west coast of the Italian Peninsula southwest of Rome. Roman writers regarded it as the original capital of Italy, before Laviniu ...
, whose exact location is uncertain. The Trojan hero
Aeneas In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas (, ; from Greek language, Greek: Αἰνείας, ''Aineíās'') was a Trojan hero, the son of the Trojan prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite (equivalent to the Roman Venus (mythology), Venus). His father ...
and his men fled by sea after the capture and sack of their city,
Troy Troy (Greek language, Greek: Τροία) or Ilium (Greek language, Greek: Ίλιον) was an ancient city located at Hisarlik in present-day Turkey, south-west of Çanakkale. It is known as the setting for the Greek mythology, Greek myth of the ...

Troy
, by the Greeks in 1184 BC, according to one ancient calculation. After many adventures, Aeneas and his Trojan army landed on the coast of Latium near the mouth of the Tiber. Initially, King Latinus attempted to drive them out, but he was defeated in battle. Later, he accepted Aeneas as an ally and eventually allowed him to marry his daughter, Lavinia. Aeneas supposedly founded the city of
Lavinium Lavinium was a port city of Latium, to the south of Rome, midway between the Tiber river at Ostia Antica, Ostia and Anzio. The coastline then, as now, was a long strip of beach. Lavinium was on a hill at the southernmost edge of the ''Silva Laur ...
(Pratica di Mare,
Pomezia Pomezia () is a municipality (''comune The (; plural: ) is a local administrative division of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern It ...

Pomezia
), named after his wife, on the coast not far from Laurentum. It became the Latin capital after Latinus' death. Aeneas' son (by his previous Trojan wife, a daughter of king ),
Ascanius Ascanius (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), ref ...

Ascanius
, founded a new city,
Alba Longa Alba Longa (occasionally written Albalonga in Italian sources) was an ancient Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication ...
in the Alban Hills, which replaced Lavinium as capital city. Alba Longa supposedly remained the Latin capital for some 400 years under Aeneas' successors, the Latin kings of Alba, until his descendant (supposedly in direct line after 15 generations)
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamora ...
founded Rome in 753 BC. Under a later king
Tullus Hostilius Tullus Hostilius (r. 673–642 BC) was the legendary third king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest in its class. Histo ...
(traditional reign-dates 673–642 BC), the Romans razed Alba Longa to the ground and resettled its inhabitants on the ''mons Caelius'' (
Caelian Hill The Caelian Hill (; la, Collis Caelius; it, Celio ) is one of the famous seven hills of Rome. Geography The Caelian Hill is a sort of long promontory about long, to wide, and tall in the park near the Temple of Claudius. The hill ove ...

Caelian Hill
) in Rome. There is controversy about how and when Aeneas and his Trojans were adopted as ethnic ancestors by the Romans. One theory is that the Romans appropriated the legend from the Etruscans, who in turn acquired themselves the legend from the Greeks. There is evidence that the Aeneas legend was well known among the Etruscans by 500 BC: excavations at the ancient Etruscan city of
Veii Veii (also Veius; it, Veio) was an important ancient Etruscan civilization, Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and only north-northwest of Rome, Italy. It now lies in Isola Farnese, in the Comuni of the Province of Rome, c ...

Veii
discovered a series of statuettes portraying Aeneas fleeing Troy carrying his father on his back, as in the legend. Indeed, the Bulgarian linguist Vladimir Georgiev argued that the original Etruscans were in fact descendants of those Trojan refugees and that the Aeneas legend has a historical basis. Georgiev disputes the mainstream view that Etruscan was not Indo-European: he argues that Etruscan was closely related to the Indo-European
Hittite Hittite may refer to: * Hittites, ancient Anatolian people ** Hittite language, the earliest-attested Indo-European language ** Hittite grammar ** Hittite phonology ** Hittite cuneiform ** Hittite inscriptions ** Hittite laws ** Hittite religion ** ...
and
Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominant scale or acoustic scale, a musica ...
languages. Georgiev's thesis hasn't received support from other scholars. Excavations at Troy have yielded a single written document, a letter in
Luwian The Luwians were a group of Anatolian peoples who lived in central, western, and southern Anatolia, in present-day Turkey, in the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. They spoke the Luwian language, an Indo-European language of the Anatolian languages, ...
. But as Luwian (which certainly is closely related to Hittite) was used as a kind of diplomatic ''lingua franca'' in Anatolia, it cannot be argued conclusively that Luwian was the everyday language of Troy. Cornell points out that the Romans may have acquired the legend directly from the Italiote Greeks. The earliest Greek literary reference to Rome as a foundation of Aeneas dates to c. 400 BC. There is also much archaeological evidence of contacts between the cities of archaic Latium and the Greek world e.g. the archaic sanctuary of the Penates at Lavinium, which shows "heavy Greek influence in architectural design and religious ideology", according to Cornell. But whatever the origin of the legend, it is clear that the Latins had no historical connection with Aeneas and none of their cities were founded by Trojan refugees. Furthermore, Cornell regards the city of Alba Longa itself as probably mythical. Early Latial-culture remains have been discovered on the shore of the Alban lake, but they indicate a series of small villages, not an urbanised city-state. In any case, traces of the earliest phase of Latial culture also occur at Rome at the same time (c. 1000 BC), so archaeology cannot be used to support the tradition that Rome was founded by people from Alba Longa. If Alba Longa did not exist, then nor did the "Alban kings", whose genealogy was almost certainly fabricated to "prove" Romulus' descent from Aeneas. The genealogy's dubious nature is shown by the fact that it ascribes the 14 Alban kings an average reign of 30 years' duration, an implausibly high figure. The false nature of the Aeneas-Romulus link is also demonstrated by the fact that, in some early versions of the tradition, Romulus is denoted as Aeneas' grandson, despite being chronologically separated from Aeneas by some 450 years.


Romulus

Romulus himself was the subject of the famous legend of the suckling she-wolf (''lupa'') that kept Romulus and his twin alive in a cave on the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the seven hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber ...

Palatine Hill
(the ''
Lupercal : The she-wolf is of unknown origin, the suckling twins were added circa 1500 The Lupercal (from Latin '' wikt:lupa, lupa'' "female wolf The wolf (''Canis lupus''), also known as the gray wolf or grey wolf, is a large canine native to ...
'') after they had been thrown into the river
Tiber The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the in and flowing through , , and , where it is joined by the River , to the , between and . It estimated at . The river has achi ...

Tiber
on the orders of their wicked uncle,
Amulius In Roman mythology, Amulius was king of Alba Longa who ordered the death of his infant, twin grandnephews Romulus, the eventual Foundation of Rome, founder and king of Rome, and Romulus and Remus, Remus. He was deposed and killed by them after the ...
. The latter had usurped the throne of Alba from the twins' grandfather, king
Numitor In Roman mythology Roman mythology is the body of myths of ancient Rome as represented in the Latin literature, literature and Roman art, visual arts of the Romans. One of a wide variety of genres of Roman folklore, ''Roman mythology'' may also ...
, and then confined their mother,
Rhea Silvia Rhea (or Rea) Silvia (), also known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus 350px, Altar to Mars (divine father of Romulus and Remus) and Venus (their divine ancestress) depicting elements of their legend. Tiberinus, ...
, to the Vestal convent. They were washed ashore by the river, and after a few days with the wolf, were rescued by shepherds. Mainstream scholarly opinion regards Romulus as an entirely mythical character, and the legend fictitious. On this view, Romulus was a name fabricated to provide Rome with an eponymous founding hero, a common feature of classical foundation-myths; it is possible that Romulus was named after Rome instead of ''vice versa''. The name contains the Latin diminutive ''-ulus'', so it means simply "Roman" or "little Roman". It has been suggested that the name "Roma" was of Etruscan origin, or that it was derived from the Latin word ''ruma'' ("teat"), presumably because the shape of the Palatine Hill and/or Capitoline Hill resembled a woman's breasts. If Romulus was named ''after'' the city, it is more likely that he was historical. Nevertheless, Cornell argues that "Romulus probably never existed... His biography is a complex mixture of legend and folk-tale, interspersed with antiquarian speculation and political propaganda". In contrast,
Andrea Carandini Andrea Carandini (born November 3, 1937) is an Italy, Italian professor of archaeology specialising in ancient Rome. Among his many excavations is the villa of Settefinestre. Biography The son of Italian diplomat Count Nicolò Carandini (1896&ndas ...
, an archaeologist who has spent most of his career excavating central Rome, advanced the theory that Romulus was a historical figure who indeed founded the city in c. 753 BC, as related by the ancient chroniclers, by ploughing a symbolic sacred furrow to define the city's boundary. But Carandini's views have received scant support among fellow scholars. In contrast to the legend of Aeneas, which was clearly imported into the Latin world from an extraneous culture, it appears that the Romulus legend of the suckling she-wolf is a genuine indigenous Latin myth.


Political unification under Rome (550–338 BC)

The traditional number of Latin communities for the purposes of the joint religious festivals is given as 30 in the sources. The same number is reported, probably erroneously, as the membership of the Romano-Latin military alliance, labelled the "
Latin League The Latin League (c. 7th century BC – 338 BC)Stearns, Peter N. (2001) ''The Encyclopedia of World History'', Houghton Mifflin. pp. 76–78. . was an ancient confederation of about 30 villages and tribes in the region of Latium Latium ( , ; ...
" by modern scholars. But it appears that c. 500 BC there were just 15 independent Latin city-states in Latium Vetus, including Rome itself (the other 15 were annexed by the former as they expanded, especially Rome). The size of the city-state territories in c. 500 BC were estimated by Beloch (1926): The table above shows the tiny size of Latium Vetus - only about two-thirds the size of the English county of
Kent Kent is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Robert ...

Kent
. Rome was by far the largest state, controlling some 35% of the total land area. The next four largest states ranged from just under half the size of Rome down to a fifth of the size; the remaining ten ranged from a tenth of the size down to less than a twentieth. From an early stage, the external relations of the Latin city-states were dominated by their largest and most powerful member, Rome. The vast amount of archaeological evidence uncovered since the 1970s has conclusively discredited A. Alföldi's once-fashionable theory that Rome was an insignificant settlement until about 500 BC, and thus that the Republic was not established before about 450, and possibly as late as 400 BC. There is now no doubt that Rome was a unified city (as opposed to a group of separate hilltop settlements) by c. 625 BC and had become the second-largest city in Italy (after Tarentum, 510 hectares) by around 550 BC, when it had an area of about 285 hectares (1.1 sq mile) and an estimated population of 35,000. Rome was thus about half the size of contemporary
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...
(585 hectares, including
Piraeus Piraeus ( ; el, Πειραιάς ; grc, Πειραιεύς ) is a port city The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Trieste.html"_;"title="Barcola_near_Trieste">Barcola_near_Trieste,_a_small_local_port A_port_is_a_ Barcola_near_Tr ...

Piraeus
) and far larger than any other Latin city. The size of Rome at this time lends credence to the Roman tradition, dismissed by Alföldi, that in the late regal period (550–500 BC), traditionally the rule of the Tarquin dynasty, Rome established its political hegemony over the other city-states of Old Latium. According to Livy, king
Tarquin the Proud Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (died 495 BC) was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome, reigning from 535 BC until the popular uprising in 509 BC that led to the establishment of the Roman Republic. He is commonly known as Tarquin the Proud, fr ...
bound the Latin city-states into a military alliance under Roman leadership. Reportedly, Tarquin also annexed Pometia (later
Satricum Satricum (modern Le Ferriere), an ancient town of Latium vetus, lay on the right bank of the Astura river some SE of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map ...
) and
Gabii Gabii was an ancient city of Latium Latium ( , ; ) 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. Definition Latium was originally a small triangle of fer ...
; established control over
Tusculum Tusculum is a ruined Classical Rome, Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy. Tusculum was most famous in Roman times for the many great and luxurious patrician country villas sited close to the city, yet a comfortable distanc ...
by a marriage alliance with its leader, Octavus Mamilius; and established Roman colonies at Signia and Circeii. He was engaged in besieging Ardea when the revolt against his monarchy broke out. Rome's political control over Latium Vetus is apparently confirmed by the text of the first recorded Romano-Carthaginian treaty, dated by the ancient Greek historian
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the ...

Polybius
to 507 BC, a date accepted by Cornell (although some scholars argue a much later date). The treaty describes the Latin cities of
Lavinium Lavinium was a port city of Latium, to the south of Rome, midway between the Tiber river at Ostia Antica, Ostia and Anzio. The coastline then, as now, was a long strip of beach. Lavinium was on a hill at the southernmost edge of the ''Silva Laur ...
and Ardea, among others, as "Roman subjects". Although the text acknowledged that not all the Latin cities were subjects of Rome, it clearly placed them under Rome's hegemony, as it provided that if Carthage captured any Latin city, it was obliged to hand it over to Rome's control. Rome's sphere of influence is implied as extending as far as
Terracina Terracina is an Italy, Italian city and ''comune'' of the province of Latina, located on the coast southeast of Rome on the Via Appia ( by rail). The site has been continuously occupied since antiquity. History Ancient times Terracina appears in ...
, 100 km to the south. The fall of the Roman monarchy was probably a more lengthy, violent and international process than the swift, bloodless and internal coup related by tradition. The role in the revolution played by the Etruscan
Lars Porsenna Lars Porsena (Etruscan: Pursenas; sometimes spelled Lars Porsenna) was an Etruscan civilization, Etruscan king known for his Roman-Etruscan Wars#War with Clusium in 508 BC, war against the city of Rome. He ruled over the city of Clusium (Etruscan l ...
, king of
Clusium Clusium ( grc-gre, Κλύσιον, ''Klýsion'', or , ''Kloúsion''; Umbrian:''Camars'') was an ancient city in Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a ...
, who led an invasion of Roman territory at the time of the revolution, was probably distorted for propaganda reasons by later Roman chroniclers. Livy claims that Porsenna aimed to restore Tarquin to his throne, but failed to take Rome after a siege.
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
suggests that Porsenna's army succeeded in occupying the City. The fact that there is no evidence of Tarquin's restoration during this occupation has led some scholars to suggest that it was Porsenna who was the real agent in the expulsion of Tarquin, and that he aimed to replace him as king of Rome. Any danger of an Etruscan takeover of Rome was removed by Porsenna's defeat at in 504 BC. There followed a war between Rome and the other Latin city-states, which probably took advantage of the political turmoil in Rome to attempt to regain/preserve their independence. It appears that Tusculum and Aricia took the lead in organising an anti-Roman alliance. One ancient source names Egerius Baebius, the leader of Tusculum, as the "Latin dictator" (i.e. commander-in-chief of the Latin forces). It appears that Baebius dedicated a sacred grove to Diana at ''lucus Ferentinae'' (a wood near Aricia) in c. 500 BC in the presence of representatives of Latin states, including Tusculum, Aricia, Lanuvium, Lavinium, Cora, Tibur, Pometia and Ardea. This event was probably contemporaneous with, and connected with, the launch of the Latin alliance. The Latins could apparently count on the support of the
Volsci The Volsci (, , ) were an Italic Osco-Umbrian The Osco-Umbrian, Sabellic or Sabellian languages are a group of Italic languages, the Indo-European languages that were spoken in Central and Southern Italy by the Osco-Umbrians before being replaced ...

Volsci
Italic tribe. In addition, they were joined by the deposed Roman king Tarquin the Proud and his remaining followers. The Romans apparently prevailed, scoring a notable victory over the Latin forces at
Lake Regillus A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in lan ...
sometime in the period 499-493 BC (the exact year is disputed among scholars). Instead of restoring their previous hegemony, the Romans apparently settled for a military alliance on equal terms with the Latins. According to the sources, the ''
foedus Cassianum According to Roman tradition, the ''Foedus Cassianum'' ( in English) or the Treaty of Cassius was a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign stat ...
'' was a bilateral treaty between the Romans on one side and the other Latin city-states combined. It provided for a perpetual peace between the two parties; a defensive alliance by which the parties pledged mutual assistance in case of attack; a promise not to aid or allow passage to each other's enemies; the equal division of spoils of war (half to Rome, half to the other Latins) and provisions to regulate trade between the parties. In addition the treaty probably provided for overall command of the allies' joint forces to alternate between a Roman and a commander from one of the other Latin city-states each year. As the nature of the Tarquinian hegemony over the Latins is unknown, it is impossible to tell how the terms of the Cassian treaty differed from those imposed by the Tarquins. But it is likely that Tarquin rule was more onerous, involving the payment of tribute, while the Republican terms simply involved a military alliance. The impetus to form such an alliance was probably provided by the acute insecurity caused by a phase of migration and invasion of the lowland areas by Italic mountain tribes in the period after 500 BC. The Latins faced repeated incursions by the
Hernici 250px, Map showing location of the Hernici in central Italy. The Hernici were an Italic tribe of ancient Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a Northern ...
,
Aequi 300px, Location of the Aequi (Equi) in central Italy, 5th century BC. The Aequi ( grc, Αἴκουοι and Αἴκοι) were an Italic tribe The Italic peoples were an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is ...
and
Volsci The Volsci (, , ) were an Italic Osco-Umbrian The Osco-Umbrian, Sabellic or Sabellian languages are a group of Italic languages, the Indo-European languages that were spoken in Central and Southern Italy by the Osco-Umbrians before being replaced ...

Volsci
, whose territories surrounded Latium Vetus on its eastern and southern sides. The new Romano-Latin military alliance proved strong enough to repel the incursions of the Italic mountain tribes in the period 500–400 BC. During the succeeding century, after Rome had recovered from the catastrophic Gallic invasion of 390 BC, the Romans began a phase of expansionism. In addition to the establishment of a series of
Latin colonies Latin Rights (also latin citizenship, Latin: ''ius Latii'' or ''ius latinum'') were a set of legal rights that were originally granted to the Latins (Latin: "Latini", the People of Latium, the land of the Latins) under Roman law. "''Latinitas'' ...
on territories annexed from the mountain tribes, Rome annexed a number of neighbouring Latin city-states in steady succession. The increasing threat posed by Roman encroachment led the more powerful Latin states, such as
Praeneste Palestrina (ancient ''Praeneste''; grc, Πραίνεστος, ''Prainestos'') is a modern Italian city and ''comune The (; plural: ) is a basic Administrative division, constituent entity of Italy, roughly equivalent to a township or mun ...
, to attempt to defend their independence and territorial integrity by challenging Rome, often in alliance with their erstwhile enemies, mountain-tribes such as the Volsci. Finally, in 341 BC, all the Latin city-states combined in what proved to be a final effort to regain/preserve their independence. The so-called
Latin War The (Second) Latin War (340–338 BC)The Romans customarily dated events by noting the consuls who held office that year. The Latin War broke out in the year that Titus Manlius Imperiosus Torquatus and Publius Decius Mus were consuls and ende ...
ended in 338 with a decisive Roman victory, following which Rome annexed most of ''Latium Vetus''. A few of the larger Latin states, such as Praeneste and Tibur, were allowed to retain a degree of political autonomy, but only in a subordinate status as Roman ''
socii The ''socii'' ( in English) or ''foederati ''Foederati'' (, singular: ''foederatus'' ) were peoples and cities bound by a treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law Internationa ...
'' ("allies"), tied to Rome by treaties of military alliance.


Aftermath


Genetic studies

A genetic study published in ''
Science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of ...
'' in November 2019 examined the remains of six Latin males buried near
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
between 900 BC and 200 BC. They carried the paternal haplogroups
R-M269 Haplogroup R-M269 is the sub-clade of human Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b that is defined by the SNP marker M269. According to ISOGG 2020 it is phylogenetically classified as R1b1a1b. It underwent intensive research and was previously classified a ...
, T-L208, Haplogroup R-M269, R-311, R-PF7589 and Haplogroup R-M269#R-P312, R-P312 (two samples), and the maternal haplogroups Haplogroup H (mtDNA)#H1, H1aj1a, Haplogroup T (mtDNA), T2c1f, Haplogroup H (mtDNA)#H2, H2a, Haplogroup U (mtDNA)#Haplogroup U4, U4a1a, Haplogroup H (mtDNA)#H11, H11a and Haplogroup H (mtDNA)#H10, H10. These examined individuals were distinguished from preceding populations of Italy by the presence of 30% steppe ancestry. Two out of six individuals from Latin burials were found have a mixture of local Iron Age ancestry and ancestry from an Aegean Sea, Eastern mediterranean population. Among modern populations, four out of six were closest to Northern Italy, Northern and Central Italy, Central Italians, and then Spaniards, while the other two were closest to Southern Italians. Overall, the genetic differentiation between the Latins, Etruscans and the preceding proto-Villanovan population of Italy was found to be insignificant. Examined individuals from the city of Rome during the time of the Roman Empire (27 BCE – 300 CE) bore almost no genetic resemblance to Rome's founding populations, and were instead shifted towards the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. The Imperial population of Rome was found to have been extremely diverse, with barely any of the examined individuals being of primarily European ancestry. It was suggested that the observed genetic replacement of the city's founding populations was a result of heavy migration of merchants and slaves from the populous urban centres of the Middle East and Greece. During late antiquity, after the Imperial era, Rome's population was drastically reduced as a result of political instability, epidemics and economic changes. In this period, more European ancestry is evident in Rome; its inhabitants started to again approximate present-day Italians, and can be modeled as a genetic mixture of Imperial-era inhabitants of the city of Rome and populations from central or northern Italy. In the following Early Medieval period, invasions of barbarians brought further European ancestry into Rome, resulting in the further loss of genetic link to the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. By the Middle Ages, the people of Rome again genetically resembled European populations."The genetic contribution of Greek chromosomes to the Sicilian gene pool is estimated to be about 37% whereas the contribution of North African populations is estimated to be around 6%.",


Physical appearance

As regards to the data on the Biological pigment, pigmentation of eyes, hair and skin, the following results were obtained from the study on ancient DNA of the 11 individuals of the Iron Age/Republican period, coming from Latium and Abruzzo, and the 27 individuals of Medieval/Early Modern period, coming from Latium. For Iron Age/Republic period, the eye color is blue in 27% of the examined and dark in the remaining 73%. Hair color is 9% blond or dark blond and 91% dark brown or black. The skin color is intermediate for 82%, intermediate or dark for 9% and dark or very dark for the remaining 9%. By contrast, the following results were obtained for Medieval/Early Modern period: the eye color is blue in 26% of the examined and dark in the remaining 74%. Hair color is 22% blond or dark blond, 11% Red hair, red and 67% dark brown or black. The skin color is pale for 15%, intermediate for 68%, intermediate or dark for 10% and dark or very dark for the remaining 7%.


See also

* Ancient peoples of Italy * Valle Latina


References


Sources


Ancient sources

* Dio Cassius ''Roman History'' (c. AD 250) * Dionysius of Halicarnassus ''Roman Antiquities'' (c. 10 BC) *
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally re ...

Homer
''
Iliad The ''Iliad'' (; grc, Ἰλιάς, Iliás, ; sometimes referred to as the ''Song of Ilion'' or ''Song of Ilium'') is an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Moder ...

Iliad
'' (c. 800 BC) *
Livy Titus Livius (; 59 BC – AD 17), known in English as Livy ( ), was a Ancient Rome, Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled , covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditiona ...
''Ab Urbe Condita Libri (Livy), Ab urbe condita'' (c. AD 20)


Modern sources

* Alföldi, Andreas (1966): ''Early Rome and the Latins'' * * * ''Encyclopædia Britannica'' 15th Ed. (1995): Micropædia: "Latium" * * *


Further reading

*Barker, Graeme. ''Landscape and Society: Prehistoric Central Italy''. London: Academic Press, 1981. *Bietti Sestieri, Anna Maria, Ellen Macnamara, and Duncan R Hook. ''Prehistoric Metal Artefacts From Italy (3500-720BC)In the British Museum''. London: British Museum, 2007. *Bradley, Guy Jolyon, Elena Isayev, and Corinna Riva. ''Ancient Italy: Regions without Boundaries''. Exeter, UK: University of Exeter Press, 2007. *Brown, A. C. ''Ancient Italy before the Romans''. Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1980. *Forsythe, Gary. ''A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War''. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. *Ridgway, David. ''Ancient Italy In Its Mediterranean Setting: Studies In Honour of Ellen Macnamara''. London: Accordia Research Institute, University of London, 2000. *Whitehouse, Ruth. ''Underground Religion: Cult and Culture In Prehistoric Italy''. London: Accordia Research Centre, University of London, 1992.


External links


Distinguishing the terms: Latins and Romans
{{DEFAULTSORT:Latins (Italic Tribe) Latins (Italic tribe), Ancient Italic peoples Ancient Italian history History of Rome Latial culture