Samnites


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Related to Samnites: Pyrrhus, Sabines, Etruscans, Samsonite, Umbrians

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.
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. 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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Samnites

 

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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Since 1999, the Sangro Valley Project has searched for remains of the Samnites at Monte Pallano in Italy's Abruzzo region.
The team has found some 300 broken pieces of terracotta statues and wall plaques associated with a Samnite religious sanctuary from the second or third century B.C.
Whereas Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, is famous as an enemy of Rome (282-72 B.C.), few remember that Alexander the Molossian, king of Epirus, was overcome by the Lucanians and Samnites.(58) The event is even more minor than the victory of Marcellus over the Insubres.
Notice how effectively Livy uses the imagery of blindness and sight in this passage: the legionaries reflect that they were `caeci', `blind', when they entered the pass, but now they `intueri', `look at one another', and `proponere sibimet ipsi ante oculos', `imagine in their minds' eyes', every detail of the impending scene.(15) They even envisage the `voltus superbi', `proud faces', of the Samnites leering at them as they surrender.
The reader becomes a spectator and is made aware of a multiplicity of viewpoints within the narrative, both Roman and Samnite.(21) Livy's account of the Caudine Forks surrender certainly gives precedence to the viewpoint of the humiliated Roman legionaries, but their sense of shame is contingent upon the coexisting viewpoint of the victorious Samnites.
temporarily take on the role of Livy's fiendish Samnites, enjoying their power to humiliate, even if they gradually begin to diverge from the Samnite model by feeling some respect for the common Vitellian soldiers.
Principal wars: Third Samnite War (298-290); war with Pyrrhus (281-272).
Birth date and early career unknown, but was the son of Spurius Papirius; magister equitum (340); first elected consul (326); in the face of a serious Samnite threat, served as dictator (325-324); awarded a triumph on his return to Rome (324); consul again in both 320 and 319, he received a second triumph for his capture of Satricum (near Anzio) (319); consul for the fourth and fifth times (315, 313); he was again made dictator (310-309), and defeated the Etruscans at Lake Vadimo (310); marched south to defeat the Samnites at Longula (309); on his return to Rome he was awarded a third triumph.
Principal wars: Second Samnite War (327-304); Etruscan War (311-309).
The first proper Roman road was constructed in 312BC during the Samnite wars to provide fast, reliable communications and supply links between Rome and Capua.
In Italy, the only power that rivaled Rome in the center of the peninsula were the Samnite tribes to the east of the Latin League.