Samnite Wars

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Samnite Wars: Latin Wars
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Samnite Wars


in ancient times, wars between Rome and the Samnite Federation (an alliance of the Samnites and Sabel-lians) in central Italy.

Roman legend tells of Rome’s struggle with the Samnites over Campania in 343–341 B.C., called the First Samnite War. After the war, the Romans gained control of Capua and Cu-mae, while the Samnites took control of Teanum. The Roman seizure of Naples led to the Second Samnite War of 327–304 B.C. After successful Roman operations against Samnite garrisons in the cities of Campania, the Roman forces were utterly defeated at Caudine Forks in 321. In 315 the Etrurian cities came over to the Samnite side, but this did not prevent the Romans, who had reorganized their army and changed tactics, from seizing many cities in Samnium. In 304 a peace treaty was signed, by which the Samnites were forced to cede Campania to Rome.

The establishment of the Samnites in Lucania precipitated the Third Samnite War of 298–290 B.C. Military actions took place in Samnium and Umbria, where the Etruscans and Gauls fought together with the Samnites. After initial setbacks, the Romans routed the Samnites and Gauls at Sentinum in 295. In 290 B.C. the Samnites were forced to capitulate. The Samnite Federation was disbanded, and the Samnite communes were turned into Roman allies with limited rights. As a result of the Samnite wars, the Romans became firmly established in central Italy.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.