Latium and Rome

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


Latium, the cradle of Rome, consisted originally of the coastal plain from the mouth of the Tiber to the Circeian promontory, and its adjacent foothills. In the south its habitable zone was narrowed by the Pomptine marshes and by the Mons Lepinus, a spur from the Apennines extending toward the sea. On its northern and western border the lower valleys of the Tiber and of its tributary the Anio — the ‘Roman Campagna’ of the present day — formed a wider belt of open land. The centre of the region consisted of a group of volcanic hills, the principal of which, the Mons Albanus, rose to a little above 3000 feet.1


Habitable Zone Sixth Century Seventh Century Native Tradition Roman Writer 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    On the environs of Rome see T. Ashby, The Roman Campagna in Classical Times (1927, reprinted 1970);Google Scholar
  2. B. Tilly, Vergil’s Latium (1947).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    T. Frank, Economic History of Rome (2nd ed. 1927).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    On Latial culture see the massive corpus by P. G. Gierow, The Iron Age Culture of Latium, I (1966), II. i (1964). For resemblances to and differences from southern Villanovan see t, 483 ff. Supporters of a ‘long’ chronology place the beginning in the tenth century, those of a ‘short’ chronology put it c. 800 B.C.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pliny, Nat Hist. iii. 68–9. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, iv. 49, the number of Latin communities participating in the festival of Jupiter Latiaris in the sixth century was forty-seven. The Prisci Latini were those who occupied the narrow area, between the Anio and Tiber, that separated Rome from the Sabine country: see A. N. Sherwin-White, The Roman Citizenship (1973), 9Google Scholar
  6. and A. Bernardi, ‘Dai Populi Albenses ai Prisci Latini nel Lazio arcaico’, Athenaeum 1964, 223 ff.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    For a discussion of the foundation-legends see De Sanctis, Storia, t, ch. vi; Ogilvie, Livy, 32 ff.; and, for Aeneas, G. K. Galinsky, Aeneas, Sicily and Rome (1969).Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    On Romulus and Remus see C. J. Classen, Historia 1963, 447 ff. The origin of the second brother, Remus, is obscure. The twins may represent the Roman form of an early Indo-European myth, or they may have arisen from a misunderstanding of the Etruscan and Greek forms of the one and the same name. Or the story of Remus may have originated in the fifth or fourth century, when the plebeiansformed a quasi-independent community on the Aventine, the hill with which Remus was especially associated.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    See E. D. Phillips, ‘Odysseus in Italy’, JHS 1953, 53ff.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    See G. K. Galinsky, Aeneas, Sicily and Rome (1969)Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Lavinium, modern Pratica di Mare some sixteen miles south of Rome, is closely linked with Aeneas and the Trojan origin of Rome. It was Aeneas’s first foundation in Italy according to Timaeus, who learned from local informants that among the holy objects kept at Lavinium was a Trojan earthenware jar which presumably contained the Trojan penates; these were originally the gods of the store cupboard (penus) which later were identified with the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux. The tradition that the Trojan penates had come to Rome from Lavinium is strengthened by the discovery there of the archaic inscription to Castor and Pollux (CASTORSI PODLOQVEIQVE QVROIS) already mentioned (see p. 33). In addition, the fact that there was a cult ofAeneas Indiges, i.e. the divine ancestor, near Lavinium, recorded by Fabius Pictor and Naevius, has been confirmed by the discovery of a fou rt h - century inscription LARE AINEIA D(ONUM): see S. Weinstock, JRS 1960, 114 ff. There was no public cult of Aeneas at Rome itself. Beside the discovery in 1955 of the thirteen altars which suggest a federal centre at Lavinium (p. 33), an even more recent find has been made of a seventh-century tomb, surrounded by a stone circle which would have formed the base of a tumulus. In addition, in the fourth century a small shrine was erected within the circle, indicating that some famous person was venerated there. It is extremely probable that this is in fact the hero-shrine (Heroon) which tradition (Dionys. Halic. i. 64) records was erected by the Latins to Aeneas. Another indication of the importance of Lavinium is the fact that in later times after 338 B.C. high Roman magistrates (consuls, dictators, etc.) had to go there to sacrifice to the Penates and Vesta at the beginning and end of their periods of office.Google Scholar
  12. On Lavinium see now F. Castagnoli, Lavinium, i (1972), ii (in course of publication).Google Scholar
  13. For the Heroon see also P. Sommella, Rend. d. pontifie. accad. rom. di archeol., 44 (1971–2), 47 ff.Google Scholar
  14. G. K. Galinsky, Vergilius (1974), xx. 2 ff.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    The Roman authors no doubt reckoned a varying number of generations between the foundation of the city and the fall of Troy. On this problem see F. W. Walbank, Polybius, i (1957), 665 ff.Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    An excellent introduction to, and assessment of, the problems concerning early Rome is given by A. Momigliano, ‘An Interim Report on the Origins of Rome’, JRS 1963, 95 ff. (= Terzo Contrib. (1966), 545 ff.). Numerous papers on this topic are included in that volume (pp. 545–695) and in his Quarto Contrib. (1969), 273–499.Google Scholar
  17. The archaeological evidence is published in the monumental work of E. Gjerstad, Early Rome, i–vi (1953–73), vol. iv being to some extent resumptive of the earlier volumes; vol. v deals with the literary evidence and vol. vi provides an historical survey.Google Scholar
  18. A more popular summary is provided by R. Bloch, The Origins of Rome (1960)Google Scholar
  19. while a brief sketch is given by H. H. Scullard, The Etruscan Cities and Rome (1967), ch. ix. Much of great value will be found in Ogilvie, Livy, i–v (1965).Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    The date of the beginning of the Iron Age at Rome, including the huts on the Palatine, is controversial, but the early or mid-eighth century is widely accepted. H. Müller-Karpe (Von Anfang Roms, 1959, and Zur Stadtwerdung Roms, 1963)Google Scholar
  21. who puts it as early as the tenth century and connects it with the arrival of survivors of the Mycenaean civilisation, has been criticised by E. Gjerstad, Opuscula Romana (1962), 1 ff.Google Scholar
  22. and M. Pallottino, Studi Etruschi 1960, 11 ff., 1963, 3 ff.Google Scholar
  23. and others. H. Riemann, Gôttingische Gelehrte Anzeiger 1960, 16 ff., argues for an intermediate date in the ninth century.Google Scholar
  24. 23.
    On the institutions which are attributed to Romulus in the account found in Dionysius ii. 7–29, see J. P. V. D. Balsdon, JRS 1971, 15 ff.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    The tradition of Sabine influence in early Rome is rejected by J. Poncet, Recherches sur la légende sabine, des origines de Rome (1967) and Aufstieg NRW, I. i (1972)Google Scholar
  26. 48.
    ff but for a criticism of his use of the ancient sources see R. M. Ogilvie, Cl. Rev. 1968, 327 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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