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).



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The Second Samnite War (B.C. 326-304), I.The Third Samnite War (B.C. 298-290), II.Results of the Samnite Wars, III.


    Renewal of the Struggle for Central Italy.—The question as to who should be supreme in central Italy, Rome or Samnium, was not yet decided. The first struggle had been interrupted by the Latin war; and a twelve years’ peace followed. The Samnites saw that Rome was becoming stronger and stronger. But they could not prevent this, because they themselves were threatened in the south by a new enemy. Alexander of Epirus, the uncle of Alexander the Great, had invaded Italy to aid the people of Tarentum, and also with the hope of building up a new empire in the West. Rome also regarded Alexander as a possible enemy, and hastened to make a treaty with him against the Samnites. But the death of Alexander left the Tarentines to shift for themselves, and left the Samnites free to use their whole force against Rome in the decisive struggle now to come for the mastery of central Italy.

   Cause of the War again in Campania.—The direct cause of the second Samnite war, like that of the first, grew out of troubles in Campania. Here were situated the twin cities of Palaepolis (the old city) and Neapolis (the new city), which were still in the hands of the Greeks, but under the protection of the Samnites. Many disputes arose between the people of these cities and the Roman settlers in Campania. Palaepolis appealed to the Samnites for help, and a strong garrison was given to it. The Romans demanded that this garrison should be withdrawn. The Samnites refused. The Romans then declared war and laid siege to Palaepolis, which was soon captured by Q. Publilius Philo.

   Battle at the Caudine Forks (B.C. 321).—In the early part of the war the Romans were nearly everywhere successful. They formed alliances with the Apulians and Lucanians on the south, and they also took the strong city of Luceria in Apulia; so that the Samnites were surrounded by the Roman army and their allies. But in spite of these successes, the great Samnite general, Pontius, inflicted upon the Romans one of the most humiliating defeats that they ever suffered. The Roman consuls in Campania, deceived by the false report that Luceria was besieged by the whole Samnite force, decided to hasten to its relief by going directly through the heart of the Samnite territory. In passing through a defile in the mountains near Caudium, called the “Caudine Forks,” the whole Roman force was entrapped by Pontius and obliged to surrender. The army was compelled to pass under the yoke; and the consuls were forced to make a treaty, yielding up all the territory conquered from the Samnites. But the Roman senate refused to ratify this treaty, and delivered up the offending consuls to the Samnites. Pontius, however, refused to accept the consuls as a compensation for the broken treaty; and demanded that the treaty should be kept, or else that the whole Roman army should be returned to the Caudine Forks, where they had surrendered. Rome refused to do either, and the war was continued.

   Uprising of the Etruscans.—After breaking this treaty and recovering her army, Rome looked forward to immediate success. But in this she was disappointed. Everything seemed now turning against her. The cities in Campania revolted, the Samnites conquered Luceria in Apulia and Fregellae on the Liris, and gained an important victory in the south of Latium near Anxur. To add to her troubles, the Etruscans came to the aid of the Samnites and attacked the Roman garrison at Sutrium. The hostile attitude of the Etruscans aroused Rome to new vigor. Under the leadership of Q. Fabius Maximus Rullianus, the tide was turned in her favor. Many victories were gained over the Etruscans, closing with the decisive battle at Lake Vadimonis, and the submission of Etruria to Rome.

   Capture of Bovianum and End of the War.—Rome now made desperate efforts to recover her losses in the south. Under the consul L. Papirius Cursor, who was afterward appointed dictator, the Romans recaptured Luceria and Fregellae. The Samnites were defeated at Capua and driven out of Campania. The war was then carried into Samnium, and her chief city, Bovianum, was captured. This destroyed the last hope of the Samnites. They sued for peace and were obliged to give up all their conquests and to enter into an alliance with Rome.


   The Italian Coalition against Rome.—Although Rome was successful in the previous war, it required one more conflict to secure her supremacy in central Italy. This war is known as the third Samnite war, but it was in fact a war between Rome and the principal nations of Italy—the Samnites, the Umbrians, the Etruscans, and the Gauls. The Italians saw that either Rome must be subdued, or else all Italy would be ruled by the city on the Tiber. This was really a war for Italian independence.

   Cause of the War in Lucania.—Rome and Samnium both saw the need of strengthening themselves for the coming conflict. Rome could depend upon the Latins, the Volscians, and the Campanians in the south. She also brought under her power the Aequians and the Marsians on the east. So that all her forces were compact and well in hand. The Samnites, on the contrary, were obliged to depend upon forces which were scattered from one end of the peninsula to the other. They determined first to win over to their side the Lucanians, who were their nearest neighbors on the south, but who had been the allies of Rome in the previous war. This attempt of the Samnites to get control of Lucania led to the declaration of war by Rome.

   The War carried into Etruria.—The Samnites now made the most heroic efforts to destroy their hated rival. Three armies were placed in the field, one to defend Samnium, one to invade Campania, and the third to march into Etruria. This last army was expected to join the Umbrians, the Etruscans, and the Gauls, and to attack Rome from the north. This was a bold plan, and alarmed the city. Business was stopped, and all Roman citizens were called to arms. The Roman forces moved into Etruria under the consuls Q. Fabius Rullianus and Decius Mus, the son of the hero who sacrificed himself in the battle at Mt. Vesuvius. The hostile armies were soon scattered, and the Samnites and Gauls retreated across the Apennines to Sentinum (map, p. 81).

   Battle of Sentinum (B.C. 295).—Upon the famous field of Sentinum was decided the fate of Italy. Fabius was opposed to the Samnites on the right wing; and Decius Mus was opposed to the Gauls on the left. Fabius held his ground; but-the Roman left wing under Decius was driven back by the terrible charge of the Gallic war chariots. Decius, remembering his father’s example, devoted himself to death, and the Roman line was restored. The battle was finally decided in favor of the Romans; and the hope of a united Italy under the leadership of Samnium was destroyed.

   End of the Italian Coalition.—After the great battle of Sentinum, the Gauls dispersed; Umbria ceased its resistance; and the Etruscans made their peace in the following year. But the Samnites continued the hopeless struggle in their own land. They were at last compelled to submit to Curius Dentatus, and to make peace with Rome. Another attempt to form a coalition against Rome, led by the Lucanians, failed; and Rome was left to organize her new possessions.


   Rome’s Position in Central Italy.—The great result of the Samnite wars was to give Rome the controlling position in central Italy. The Samnites were allowed to retain their own territory and their political independence. But they were compelled to give up all disputed land, and to become the subject allies of Rome. The Samnites were a brave people and fought many desperate battles; but they lacked the organizing skill and resources of the Romans. In this great struggle for supremacy Rome succeeded on account of her persistence and her great fortitude in times of danger and disaster; but more than all else, on account of her wonderful ability to unite the forces under her control.

   Increase of the Roman Territory.—As a result of these wars, the Roman territory was extended in two directions. On the west side of the peninsula, the greater part of Campania was brought into the Roman domain; and the Lucanians became the subject allies of Rome. On the east side the Sabines were incorporated with Rome, receiving the partial right of citizenship, which in a few years was extended to full citizenship. Umbria was also subdued. The Roman domain now stretched across the Italian peninsula from sea to sea. The inhabitants of Picenum and Apulia also became subject allies.

   The New Colonies.—In accordance with her usual policy, Rome secured herself by the establishment of new colonies. Two of these were established on the west side—one at Minturnae at the month of the Liris River, and the other at Sinuessa in Campania (map, p. 80). In the south a colony was placed at Venusia, which was the most powerful garrison that Rome had ever established, up to this time. It was made up of twenty thousand Latin citizens, and was so situated as to cut off the connection between Samnium and Tarentum.


Pelham, Bk. II., Ch. 2, “Conquest of Italy” (
Michelet, Bk. II., Ch. 2, “Conquest of Central Italy” (6).
How and Leigh, Ch. 15, “Conquest of the Italians” (1).
Arnold, Hist., Ch. 33, “Third Samnite War” (2).
Mommsen, Vol. I., Bk. II., “Struggle of the Italians against Rome” (2).


   ROMAN ROADS.—How and Leigh, p. 555 (1); Leighton, p. 111 (1); Ramsay and Lanciani, pp. 76-78 (8); Guhl and Koner, pp. 341-344 (16); Harper’s Dict. Antiqq., “Via” (8).

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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