2. Beginnings of Rome
3. Institutions of Early Rome
4. Etruscan Kings of Rome
5. Reorganization of Kingdom

6. Struggle against Kingship
7. Struggle for Economic Rights
8. Struggle for Equal Laws
9. Struggle for Political Equality
10. Conquest of Latium
11. Conquest of Central Italy
12. Conquest of Southern Italy
13. Supremacy of Rome in Italy
14. First Punic War
15. Second Punic War
16. Conquests in East
17. Reduction of Roman Conquests
18. Rome as a World Power
19. Times of Gracchi
20. Times of Marius and Sulla
21. Times of Pompey and Caesar
22. Times of Antony and Octavius

23. Reign of Augustus
24. Julian Emperors
25. Flavian Emperors
26. Five Good Emperors
27. Decline of Empire
28. Reorganization of Empire
29. Extinction of Western Empire
Outlines of Roman History
by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company (1901).



Table of contents




Beginning of the Roman Conquest, I.The Great Latin War (B.C. 340-338), II.The Pacification of Latium, III.


   Character of the New Period.—The next period of Roman history is that in which Rome began her great career of conquest, in which she extended her dominion from the banks of the Tiber to the shores of the Italian peninsula. We are now to see how Rome became the great conquering nation of the world. The years which lie before us are therefore years which are filled with the clash of arms and the stories of battles. But they are also years in which Rome learned new lessons of government and law; and in which she came into contact with more civilized peoples, and became herself more civilized.

   Roman Territory about the Tiber.—To understand the course of the Roman conquests, we should first keep in mind the extent of her territory at the beginning of this period. Much of the land about the Tiber, which she had lost with the expulsion of the kings, she had gradually recovered. So that now her territory included lands not only in Latium, but also in Etruria toward the north, and in the Volscian country toward the south. The Roman territory at the beginning of this period was not large, but it was compact and well organized into twenty-seven local tribes-twenty-three in the country and four in the city. The most formidable and dangerous neighbors of Rome at this time were the Etruscans on the north and the Samnites on the south.

   The First Samnite War in Campania (B.C. 343-341).—In extending their territory, the Romans first came into contact with the Samnites, the most warlike people of central Italy. But the first Samnite war was, as we shall see, scarcely more than a prelude to the great Latin war and the conquest of Latium. The people of Samnium had from their mountain home spread to the southwest into the plains of Campania. They had already taken Capua from the Etruscans, and Cumae from the Greeks. Enamored with the soft climate of the plains and the refined manners of the Greeks, the Samnites in Campania had lost their primitive valor, and had become estranged from the old Samnite stock. In a quarrel which broke out between the old Samnites of the mountains and the Campanians, the latter appealed to Rome for help, and promised to become loyal Roman subjects. Although Rome had previously made a treaty with the Samnites, she did not hesitate to break this treaty, professing that she was under greater obligations to her new subjects than to her old allies. In this way began the first contest between Rome and Samnium for supremacy in central Italy—a contest which took place on the plains of Campania.

   Battles of Mt. Gaurus and Suessula.—Very little is known of the details of this war. According to a tradition, which is not very trustworthy, two Roman armies were sent into the field—the one for the protection of Campania, and the other for the invasion of Samnium. The first army, it is said, met the Samnites at Mt. Gaurus, near Cumae, and gained a decisive victory. The Samnites retreated toward the mountains, and rallied at Suessula, where they were again defeated by the two Roman armies, which had united against them. So brilliant was the success of the Romans that the Carthaginians, it is said, sent to them a congratulatory message and a golden crown. Although these stories may not be entirely true, it is quite certain that the Romans obtained control of the northern part of Campania.

   Mutiny of the Roman Legions.—This success, however, was marred by a mutiny of the Roman soldiers, who were stationed at Capua for the winter, and who threatened to take possession of the city as a reward for their services. They submitted only on the passage of a solemn law declaring that every soldier should have a just share in the fruits of war, regular pay, and a part of the booty; and that no soldier should be discharged against his will.

   Rome withdraws from the War.—The discontent of the soldiers in the field soon spread to the Latin allies. The Latins had assisted the Romans and had taken a prominent part in the war; and while the Roman army was in a state of mutiny, they were the chief defenders of Campania against the Samnites. The Campanians, therefore, began to look to the Latins instead of the Romans, for protection; and they too shared in the general defection against Rome. Under these circumstances, Rome saw the need of subduing her own allies before undertaking a war with a foreign enemy. She therefore made a treaty with the Samnites, withdrew from the war, and prepared for the conquest of Latium.


   The Demands of the Latins.—The relations between Rome and the Latin cities had been different at different times. In very early times, we remember, Rome was at the head of the Latin confederacy. Later she was united to the Latin league by a treaty of equal alliance, formed by Sp. Cassius. This treaty had been dissolved, and was afterward renewed. But the Latins believed that Rome wished to resume her old position as head of Latium; and this they were not willing to permit. They therefore decided that the time had now come to demand absolute equality with Rome; and if this were refused, to declare their independence. They at first sent an embassy to Rome, demanding that Romans and Latins should be united in one republic, on terms of perfect equality, and that one consul and half of the senate be chosen from the Latins. This proposal was scornfully rejected. One senator, Manlius, declared that he would stab the first Latin who was admitted to the senate. Meeting with such a rebuff, the Latins renounced their allegiance to the “Roman Jupiter” and commenced their war for independence.

   The Parties to the War.—When Rome withdrew from the first Samnite war, and formed a treaty with Samnium, the Latins continued to fight in behalf of the Campanians. The Latins and Campanians, therefore, continued their friendly relations, and became the common enemies of Rome and Samnium. By such a curious turn of fortune, Rome was able to fight her previous allies, the Latins, with the aid of her previous enemy, the Samnites.

   Battle of Mt. Vesuvius and the Defeat of the Latins.—As Latium was now a hostile country, the Roman armies, under Manlius Torquatus and Decius Mus, were obliged to march around the northeastern boundaries of Latium, to join the Samnite forces. When they had formed a union in Samnium, they invaded Campania. They soon gained a decisive victory near Mt. Vesuvius. Driven from Campania, the Latins continued the war with resolute courage, but without avail. Tibur, Praeneste, Aricia, Lanuvium, Velitrae, and Antium were conquered in succession; and in the third year the last city, Pedum, also surrendered, and the Latin revolt was at an end. (For these cities see map, p. 46.)

   Stories of Manlius and Decius.—There are two famous stories which are told in connection with this war, and which illustrate two traits of the Roman character—stern authority and patriotic devotion. The first story is told of Titus Manlius, the son of the consul commanding the army. The young Manlius, contrary to his father’s orders, left the ranks to fight a single combat with one of the enemy’s champions. The enemy was slain, and Manlius carried the spoils in triumph to his father. But the father, instead of congratulating his son on his success, condemned him to death for disobedience of orders. From this time the “Manlian orders” became a synonym for the severest discipline. The other story is told of Decius Mus, the consul, who, in response to a miraculous vision, sacrificed his own life that the Roman army might prevail.


   Rome’s Policy of Pacification.—The chief result of the great Latin war was the breaking up of the Latin confederacy, and the adoption of a more efficient method of governing the Latin towns. The repeated revolts of the Latins had shown the danger of dealing with a number of towns united in a league, or confederacy. The only safety seemed to lie in destroying the league and dealing with each city by itself. This was the Roman policy of isolation. It was also evident that all the cities were not equally fit to exercise the right of Roman citizenship; and upon this was based the distinction between perfect and imperfect citizenship. The subject towns of Latium and those of Campania were thus treated in various ways.

   Towns fully Incorporated.—In the first place, many of the towns of Latium were fully adopted into the Roman state. Their inhabitants became full Roman citizens, with all the private and public rights, comprising the right to trade and intermarry with Romans, the right to vote in the assemblies at Rome, and the right to hold any public office. Their lands became a part of the Roman domain. The new territory was organized into two new tribes, making now the total number twenty-nine.

   Towns partly Incorporated.—But most of the towns of Latium. received only a part of the rights of citizenship. To their inhabitants were given the right to trade and the right to intermarry with Roman citizens, but not the right to vote or to hold office. This imperfect, or qualified, citizenship (which had before been given to the town of Caere) now became known as the “Latin right.”

   Latin and Roman Colonies.—In order to keep in subjection a refractory town, or to form an outpost on the frontier, it was customary to send out a body of citizen soldiers, who occupied the town. These were known as military, or Latin, colonies, and were made up of persons who possessed the Latin right. At the same time Rome established on the seacoast maritime, or Roman, colonies, as they were called, composed entirely of full Roman citizens.

   Dependent Allies.—There were certain other towns which were not incorporated with Rome at all. They were allowed to retain their local government, but were compelled to make a treaty, by which they were obliged to cede their public lands to Rome, and to lend their support in time of war.

   This wise method of treating the various subject communities cemented more closely the Latin cities to Rome; and was the beginning of an important policy, which was more fully carried out in the subsequent organization of Italy and of the Mediterranean world.


Arnold, Hist., Ch. 29, “The Great Latin War” (
How and Leigh, Ch. 13, “Subjugation of Latium” (1).
Liddell, Ch. 20, “Great Latin War” (1).
Ihne, Hist., Bk. III., Ch. 6, “Great War with the Latins” (2).
Mommsen, Vol. I., Bk. II., Ch. 5, “Subjugation of the Latins” (2).


   MAP OF LATIUM AND CAMPANIA after the Latin conquest, locating the chief towns, and distinguishing between (a) towns fully incorporated, (b) towns partly incorporated, (c) subject allies, (d) Latin colonies, and (e) Roman colonies.—How and Leigh, p. 103, also map between pp. 402 and 403 (1); Shuckburgh, maps on pp. 30 and 128 (1); Liddell, p. 193 (1); Pelham, pp. 81, 82 (1).

1 The figure in parenthesis refers to the number of the topic in the
Appendix, where a fuller title of the book will be found.


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