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OF THE POPULATION OF ITALY.
SECTION I.-General Observations.
ITALY, before it was subdued by the arms of Rome, had been for ages divided between a variety of separate nations, who differed from each other in manners and in the degrees of civilization which they had severally attained. They were also distinguished by their languages and by traditions preserved among them respecting their origin. Such traditions bore record in several instances of a period when the tribes to which they belonged entered Italy from other countries. The last recorded immigration before the extension of the Roman arms, was that of the Gauls into the Cisalpine country, which may be said to fall within the period of history; and the reality of the event is confirmed by the fact that people of the same race were well known beyond the Alps. The arrival of Pelasgi in the northern, and of Oenotrians in the southern districts, testified by the traditions or by the mythical genealogies of the Greeks, is supposed to have been supported by indications of affinity with the people of Thessaly and the Peloponnesus. The origin of the Etruscans from an eastern country is not less positively asserted by ancient stories; but in this instance we do not find a similar confirmation, and many modern writers follow the opinion of Dionysius the Halicarnassian, and look upon the Etruscans as an indigenous people of Italy or its northern borders.
Several learned men in ancient Rome, among whom the principal were Cato, Varro, Cincius, Fabius Maximus, Valerius Antias, Licinius Macer, occupied themselves in exploring the
antiquity of the Italian nations while they yet existed as separate races and had their own languages and literature. If these writers had been aware of the importance of philological researches, they might have left us full and satisfactory information on the subject which they undertook to investigate. But this was far from being the case, and we can collect from the ancients very little knowledge concerning the idioms of primitive Italy and their mutual relations. The defect has been made up in part by the discovery of inscriptions on coins, and others on monuments of brass and stone, in different places; but many of these inscriptions, for want of a clue, have not been as yet satisfactorily deciphered. Still the information afforded by them is of great value, and has lately been applied successfully to the study of Italian ethnography.
Several modern writers have endeavoured to explore the history of the Italian nations, by the aid of lights reflected upon it from different sources. The native Italians who have attempted this subject, have been chiefly collectors of antiquities: not one of them, without excepting even Lanzi, has brought to the task the spirit of critical and philosophical investigation which is requisite for success. Frêret, Gibbon, and Heyne entered upon it in a different manner. Niebuhr has brought to bear upon it the resources of his immense learning. If clear and consistent truth could be elicited from the multifarious traditions, and conjectural, and often contradictory hints, which are to be gleaned from the vast field of ancient literature, nothing would have remained after Niebuhr which any other writer could have attempted with a prospect of success. But sources of information exist of which Niebuhr has not availed himself, and the obscurity in which he has left many subjects connected with the old Italian history has been partially cleared up by some of his survivors, who are still employed in this investigation.
In the following sections on the population of Italy, I shall briefly survey the principal facts which bear upon the subject, and shall endeavour to point out what are the results which have been established on satisfactory evidence, and what conclusions are probable, though as yet subject to doubts that may hereafter be solved.
In the first place I shall attempt to form an idea of the subdivision of Italy, between the different nations who occupied its various provinces, while yet independent of Rome.
Paragraph 2.-Subdivision of the Italian nations.
The ancient nations of Italy, excluding the Ligures and Veneti, who may be considered rather as bordering tribes than as forming part of the Italian population, may be divided on the most general survey into three departments.* 1. The Umbrians, who may perhaps be termed the original or the earliest known inhabitants of Northern Italy, that is of nearly all Italy lying between the Alps and the river Tiber. 2. The Etruscans, who at a remote period dispossessed the Umbrians of a great part of their territory. 3. The inhabitants of Lower Italy, southward of the Tiber, who consisted of several nations, termed Siculi, Oenotrians, Aborigines, Latins, Sabines, Opici or Ausones.
SECTION II. Of the Umbrians.
The Umbri, by the Greeks termed "Oμ¤poi, and 'Oμhpikoi or "Оμρiσкоi,† are represented as the most ancient and, in early times, the most extensively spread nation of Northern Italy.‡ During the ages of Roman warfare for the subjugation of Italy, Umbria had become much contracted, and the country known by that name contained only some districts between the Apennines and the Adriatic, with the cities of Ravenna and Ariminum. The coast of Umbria, which in earlier times had reached from the mouth of the Po to the Picentine, or as Niebuhr supposes, supposes, as far southward as Mount Garganus or Drion, had been overrun and in great part occupied by the Senones, the latest of the Gallic colonies in the Cisalpine. By these encroachments the Umbri were driven from the
The Cisalpine Gauls are excluded, as well as the Greek colonists, as being manifestly foreigners.
Polybius terms them "Oubpot; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, "OμbptoкOL; Strabo, ̓Ομβρικοί.
Dionysius Halicarn. lib. i. cap. 19.
§ Strabo, lib. v. Τὸ δὲ ̓Αρίμινον ̓Ομβρικῶν ἐστὶ κατοικία καθάπερ καὶ ἡ
maritime region on the Adriatic. There is some reason to suppose that in a more remote period the country of the Umbri had reached even to the coast of the Lower Sea or the Tyrrhene, for Herodotus declares that the Lydian colony from whom he supposed the Etruscans to have descended, landed in the country of the Umbri;* and a similar account is given by Scymnus Chius, who, as Professor Otfried Müller remarks, derived his information from Ephorus and Timæus. After a long-continued struggle, as it should seem, the Etruscans succeeded in dispossessing the Umbrians of a great part of their territory in the West, as did the Gauls in a subsequent age in Northern Italy. Pliny says that the Tuscans conquered three hundred of the Umbrian towns. "Umbrorum gens antiquissima Italiæ existimatur, ut quos Ombrios a Græcis putent dictos, quod inundationi terrarum imbribus superfuissent. Trecenta eorum oppida Thusci debellasse reperiuntur.' + Müller has observed that sufficient confirmations may be found, by local researches, of the tradition which ascribes an Umbrian origin to many places afterwards possessed by the Etruscans. "The river Umbro, which divides Etruria in the midst, evidently receives its name from the Umbrians; there was also a region called Umbria situated upon it. Cortona must formerly have been Umbrian. The ancient name of Clusium, Camers or Camars, proves that the Umbrian race of the Camertes dwelt there. It may be still shown that the Umbrian nation of the Sarsinates once possessed also Perusia. The Castellum Amerinum, situated on the Vadimonian Lake, proves that the inhabitants of the ancient Umbrian city Ameria, dwelt on this side of the Tiber, in Proper Etruria. It is plain that at least the eastern and southern parts of Etruria were formerly Umbrian: the Umbrians may have partly driven away and partly subdued the Siculians, the original inhabitants of these parts." That this was the fact we learn from several coincidental notices. Pliny informs us that a mixed people of Siculi and Liburnians were expelled from the coast of the Adriatic by the Umbri. Dionysius even hints that the Oeno
* Herod. lib. i. cap. 94. See also Florus, lib. i. cap. 17.
Plinii Hist. Nat. lib. iii. c. 14.