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political organization? Let us see how far we can CHAP. answer these questions with respect to Rome. The language of the Romans was not called Ro- Language of
the Romans. man, but Latin. Politically, Rome and Latium were clearly distinguished, but their language appears to have been the same. This language is different from the Etruscan, and from the Oscan; the Romans, therefore, are so far marked out as distinct from the great nations of central Italy, whether Etruscans, Umbrians, Sabines, or Samnites. On the other hand, the connexion of the Latin Partly con
nected with language with the Greek is manifest. Many com- that of mon words, which no nation ever derives from the literature of another, are the same in Greek and Latin; the declensions of the nouns and verbs are, to a great degree, similar. It is probable that the Latins belonged to that great race which, in very early times, overspread both Greece and Italy, under the various names of Pelasgians, Tyrsenians, and Siculians. It may be believed, that the Hellenians were anciently a people of this same race, but that some peculiar circumstances gave to them a distinct and superior character, and raised them so far above their brethren, that, in after-ages, they disclaimed all connexion with them?
i The Pelasgians, in the opinion own comedies, the story of which of Herodotus, were a barbarian was borrowed from Philemon, race, and spoke a barbarian lan- says, guage.-I. 57, 58. This merely « Philemo scripsit, Plautus vertit means that they did not speak barbare.” Greek. No one doubts the con
Trinummus, Prolog. v. 19. nexion between Greek and Latin; That :is, “translated into Latin.”' yet Plautus, speaking of one of his The discovery of affinities in lan
CHAP. But in the Latin language there is another element
y besides that which it has in common with the Greek. that of the This element belongs to the languages of central
Italy, and may be called Oscan. Further, Niebuhr has remarked, that whilst the terms relating to agriculture and domestic life are mostly derived from the Greek part of the language, those relating to arms and war are mostly Oscan?. It seems, then, not only that the Latins were a mixed people, partly Pelasgian and partly Oscan; but also that they arose out of a conquest of the Pelasgians by the Oscans : so that the latter were the ruling class of the united nation; the former were its sub
jects. Differences The Latin language, then, may afford us a clue to Romans and the origin of the Latin people, and so far to that of
the Romans. But it does not explain the difference
the other Latins.
guages, when they are not so close same family in the other languages as to constitute merely a difference of the Indo-Germanic stock, that of dialect, belongs only to philolo- the connexion belongs rather to gers. Who, till very lately, sus- the general resemblance subsisting pected that Sanskrit and English between all those languages, than had any connexion with each other? to the closer likeness which may
. He instances on the one hand, subsist between any two of them Domus, Ager, Aratrum, Vinum, towards one another. And this Oleum, Lac, Bos, Sus, Ovis; more distant relationship exists, I while on the other hand, Duellum, doubt not, between the Oscan and Ensis, Hasta, Sagitta, &c., are even the Etruscan languages, and quite different from the corre. the other branches of the Indosponding Greek terms. See Nie- Germanic family; and so far Greek, buhr, Rom. Gesch. Vol. I. p. 82. as well as Sanskrit, Persian, or Ed. 1827.
German, may be rightly used as The word “scutum” was, in the an instrument to enable us to first edition of this work, intro- decypher the Etruscan inscripduced inadvertently into the list of tions. Lanzi's fault consisted in Latin military terms, unconnected assuming too close a resemblance with Greek; as it is evidently of between Greek and Etruscan; in the same family with OKŪTOS : but supposing that they were sisters, yet there are so many words of the rather than distant cousins.
between the Romans and Latins, to which the pe- CHAP. culiar fates of the Roman people owe their origin. S We must inquire, then, what the Romans were, which the other Latins were not; and as language cannot aid us here, we must have recourse to other assistance, to geography and national traditions. And thus, at the same time, we shall arrive at an answer to the second question in Roman history, What was the earliest form of civil society at Rome? If we look at the map, we shall see that Rome Distinct
geographical lies at the farthest extremity of Latium, divided josition of
Rome. from Etruria only by the Tiber, and having the Sabines close on the north, between the Tiber and the Anio. No other Latin town, so far as we know, was built on the Tiber 3; some were clustered on and round the Alban hills, others lined the coast of the Mediterranean, but from all these Rome, by its position, stood aloof. Tradition reports that as Rome was thus apart Inter
mixture of from the rest of the Latin cities, and so near a neigh- Sabine and
Etruscan bour to the Etruscans and Sabines, so its popula- institutions
and people. tion was in part formed out of one of these nations, and many of its rites and institutions borrowed from the other. Tradition describes the very first founders of the city as the shepherds and herdsmen of the
3 I had forgotten what may be nuta di Dragoncella. But Westthe single exception of Ficana, phal places Ficana at Trafusa, which, according to Festus, stood which is at some distance from the on the road to Ostia, at the ele- Tiber; so that, according to him, venth milestone from Rome : that the statement in the text would be is, according to Sir W. Gell and absolutely correct. others, at the spot now called Te
CHAP. banks of the Tiber, and tells how their numbers II. - were presently swelled by strangers and outcasts
from all the countries round about. It speaks of a threefold division of the Roman people, in the very earliest age of its history; the tribes of the Ramnenses, Titienses, and Luceres. It distinctly acknowledges the Titienses to have been Sabines ; and in some of its guesses at the origin of the Luceres, it connects their name with that of the Etruscan Lucumones“, and thus supposes them to have been composed of Etruscans.
We know that for all points of detail, and for keeping a correct account of time, tradition is worthless. It is very possible that all Etruscan rites and usages came in with the Tarquinii, and were falsely carried back to an earlier period. But the mixture of the Sabines with the original people of the Palatine hill, cannot be doubted; and the stories of the asylum, and of the violence done to the Sabine women, seem to show that the first settlers of the Palatine were a mixed race, in which other blood was largely mingled with that of the Latins. We may conceive of this earlier people of Mamers, as of the Mamertini of a more historical period : that they were a band of resolute adventurers from various parts, practised in arms, and little scrupulous how they used them. Thus the origin of the highest Roman nobility may have greatly resembled that
• So Junius Gracchanus, as 55; and so also Cicero, de Requoted by Varro, de L. L., V. sec. publicâ, II. 8.
larger band of adventurers who followed the standard CHAP. of William the Norman, and were the founders of the nobility of England. The people or citizens of Rome were divided into Division of
the Roman the three tribes of the Ramnenses, Titienses, and people into
three tribes. Luceres , to whatever races we may suppose them to belong, or at whatever time and under whatever circumstances they may have become united. Each of these tribes was divided into ten smaller bodies called curiæ; so that the whole people consisted of thirty curiæ : these same divisions were in war represented by the thirty centuries which made up the legion, just as the three tribes were represented by the three centuries of horsemen; but that the soldiers of each century were exactly a hundred, is apparently as unfounded a conclusion, as it would be if we were to argue in the same way as to the military force of one of our English hundreds. I have said that each tribe was divided into ten Tribes made
up of curiæ : curiæ; it would be more correct to say, that the curiæ of union of ten curiæ formed the tribe. For the state grew out of the junction of certain original elements; and these were neither the tribes, nor even the curiæ, but the gentes or houses which made up the curiæ. The first element of the whole system
5 These in Livy's first book are Priscus and the augur, Attus Nacalled merely “Centuriæ equi- vius, were supposed to represent tum," ch. 13. But in the tenth the three tribes, and their number book, ch. 6, they appear as “ An. was fixed on that principle : just tiquæ tribus." Both expressions as the thirty centuries of foot come to the same thing, for the soldiers represented the thirty three centuries of horsemen, as ap- curiæ. pears by the story of Tarquinius