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Samnites(săm`nīts), people of ancient Italy. Their country was SamniumSamnium
, ancient country of central and S Italy, mostly in the S Apennines. It was E of Campania and Latium and NE of Apulia.
..... Click the link for more information. . The Samnites were Oscan-speaking and therefore should be included among the Sabelli. The Tabula Agnonensis, a bronze tablet that carries an inscription engraved in the full Oscan alphabet, is an important record of the language. The loose confederation of agricultural tribes, expanding in the 4th cent. B.C., came into conflict with the Romans over Campania. There was probably a good deal of warfare before the three Samnite Wars (343–341 B.C., c.326–304 B.C., 298–290 B.C.), in which the Romans won control of central and S Italy. Although the Samnites continued to fight against Rome with Pyrrhus, Hannibal and later Marius in the Social War, they were crushed (82 B.C.) by Sulla before the gates of Rome; most of them were killed. Some survivors were sold into slavery; the rest were Romanized.
ancient Italic tribes of the Osco-Umbrian-Sabel-lian branch, including the Hirpini, Pentri, Caraceni, and Caudi-ni.
The Samnites were mountain tribes who engaged primarily in livestock raising. Coming down from the mountains in the fifth century B.C., some of the Samnites occupied the western and southwestern Apennine Peninsula. These Samnite tribes, mixing with the local Aurunci, Aenotrians, and others, became known as the Campanians, Lucanians, and Bruttii. They preserved features of a primitive communal system until they were conquered by Rome.
In the fourth century B.C. a military alliance of tribes was formed headed by the Samnites and called the Samnite Federation. In the second half of the fourth century and the early third century B.C., the Samnites waged wars against Rome, which ended with their defeat. They supported Pyrrhus and Hannibal during their campaigns against Rome. The Samnites fought against Rome in the Social War of 90–88 B.C. They were almost entirely exterminated by the Roman general Sulla in the first century B.C.