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In the 3rd century BC and in less than fifty years, the city of Rome extends its dominion to the entire Itálica peninsula. What at the beginning were defensive wars to restrain the neighboring towns, they turn into the main engine of the republic. The success of Rome is not only attributable to its troops but also with the relations that it maintains with the submissive towns. When founding colonies annex territories and export their social organization but, at the same time, tolerate the structures and local customs, including religion and habits that allow mixed marriages. In addition it always maintains good relations with the aristocracy of the conquered towns creating personal bonds between their own class leaders and those of the ones they conquered. Habitually it does not impose excessive taxes but, however, it forces drafting to continue her campaigns. As the booty and the land acquired during the conquests are distributed among the Roman soldiers and their allies, the levies is another nexus to unite Rome with these towns.  Administrative, policy-wise and legally, the relations of Rome with the diverse territories annexed in the itálica peninsula have different modalities:

 _implantación of colonies of Roman or Latin citizens.

_concessión to some cities of status _revocable status _ of “civitas sine suffrage”. That is to say, the citizens have the same right and obligations that a Roman citizen but without right to vote. Frequently the category of “civitas sine suffrage” is the first step to reach complete citizenship.

 _The “foedus aequum”, a type of treaty that considers the other town in very egalitarian terms and grants great autonomy to them but imposes having a mutual defense

 _Another “foedus”, something more restrictive and more common, besides the mutual defense, is the demand of provisions for troops to Rome and the prohibition to have enemies who are not  also enemies of the Romans.

_The “deditio” implies, for a conquered territory, a total surrender. It is also possible that its inhabitants be transported to another area and even to be replaced with Roman or Latin citizens.



Rome, recently turned into a republic, faces the remaining towns of the Straight to assure its total dominion of this zone.

In 498 BC., thirty Latin tribes form a confederation, Latin Liga, under the command of the city of Túsculo where Tarquinio, the Magnificent one, last king of Rome, has taken refuge. The so called “First Latin War” lasts five years and after the Roman triumph in the Régilo lake, Rome signs foedus with the Latin cities. Half a century later, Rome returns to meet another Latin Liga that Rome proposes to form a republic where Rome and the Latin cities of the Straight are in equality of conditions. Before the Roman refusal, the Latins ally themselves with the volscos of Anzio (Antium), the sidicinos and the campanos. Rome, on the other hand, allies itself peculiarly with its habitual enemies, the samnitas, and in addition with the laurentes to Straight and the pelignos. The Roman army puts under the volscos and its territory with the samnitas is distributed. Both armies under the command of Latin and campanos Decio and Manlio defeat the coalition next to the Vesubio in 339 BC. The following year, Manlio returns to overcome in Trifano the Latins, that leave Campania. This Second Latin War that lasts only two years (340-338 BC) finishes with the surrender of the city of Anzio and the fleet volsca. The new Latin League dissolves and their cities separately agree their statutes with Rome. In the same Anzio, in Ostia and Terracina Roman colonies are formed. And to Lanuvio and Aricia, among others, Roman citizenship is granted to them. In the period between the two Latin Wars, Rome defeats  the veyentes, its next Etruscan neighbors in Cremera (477 BC.) and, after multiple discords, almost a century later the city of Veyes is surrounded.  Rome also wins the ecuos in Mount Algido (458 BC), to these and the volscos in Corbione (446 BC) and the same year to the sabinos. The Straight is definitively under the dominion of Rome.



The samnitas towns are inhabited by the Apennines to the south-east of Rome and its territory includes part of the Adriatic coast but, they do not however have an exit towards the Tirreno. For that reason, they realise continuous incursions in the Campania. The city of Capua, overcomed by the samnitas requests aid from Rome offering deditio and they defeat the town of samnio in Monte Gauro and Suessula.


What was called the First Samnita War lasts two years (343-341 BC) because as soon as the Romans are themselves surrounded in the Second Latin War, to have the free hands, they sign a peace treaty that does not content to any of the parts.

The Second Samnita War extends however more than twenty years (327-304 BC) with alternating periods of relative peace. The samnitas threaten Naples (Neápolis), city of the hellenistic scope that is aided by Rome. The Romans settle down with Naples foedus aequum, that is to say, an alliance between equals that allows the Neapolitans to conserve its Greek language, organization and customs.  A year later, Rome penetrates in the Apulia trying to isolate the south the samnita territory but it is defeated in the Caudine Forks and forced to accept a humiliating surrender. In the following confrontation, five years later (315 BC), in Lautulae next to Terracina, the Romans return to be defeated. Then, instead of  continuing the hostilities, they construct the Apia Way that links Rome and Capua and improves their communication and they find diverse colonies throughout this roadway. They return to the Apulia, they release Luceria where they leave a permanent garrison that soon will become a colony and establish foedus with the cities of Arpi, Canusium and Teanum.

A new coalition of Samnites and Etruscans are defeated by Rome which also takes Boviano, the Samnite capital. The Campania is annexed to Roman territory. In 298 BC, a new coalition joins the  Samnites and Etruscans, the people of the Sabina and Umbria in the south Lucania tribes, and in addition they hire mercenary Gauls, and the Third Samnita War begins.  Rome sends Celery Claudius to fight the Etruscans and several armies to stop the samnitas in the south. These go to the north and get to be united there with the rest of the troops of the coalition. After several confrontations, they defeat the Romans in the battle of Sentino.

Although still new battles are taking place and even victories are being won for some of the towns allied against Rome, the expansion of the republic is now unstoppable.

In 293 BC. in Aquilona, the samnitas suffer a defeat of such proportions that they can no longer recuperate and they are finally Romanised. Mario Dentato Curium conquers the territory of the sabinos leaving open the passage towards the Adriatic. In Etruria, different Etruscan cities like Arezzo, Cortona and Perugia that had surrendered a long time ago sign a deal with Rome. And in the 265 BC, the Romans take and destroy Volsinii. The Roman dominion arrives until the Arno river in the north of the itálica peninsula and until the colonies of Great Greece in the south.


 Between 280 and 275 BC. diverse confrontations and successive alliances between Romans take place, Carthaginians, Samnitas, Etruscan, Epirotas, Macedonians and city of Great Greece in the south of the Itálica peninsula and Sicily who take the name from Pírricas Wars.

The city of Tarento, which Rome offended violates the treaty that prevents it from taking its fleet to tarentinas waters, declares war on Romans and requests aid of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. It disembarks with a great army and elephants in its military in the itálica peninsula. Publio Levino, who has control of the Roman troops, leaves to encounter them and is overcome near Heraclea. In 279, Pyrrhus again defeats the Roman army of Publio Decio Mus at the battle of Asculum. Nevertheless both battles are so expensive for epirotas that they give rise to the expression “Pyrrhic Victory”. Faced with the threat of Pyrrhus, Rome and Carthage sign an alliance to fight against the common enemy. Meanwhile, Sicily asks for aid from Pyrrhus in front of the Carthaginians. This march to Sicily, where several police endorse him, he is proclaimed king of the island. He faces and defeats the troops of Carthage and his mamertinos allies in several occasions but, called again from Italy, he abandons Sicily.

After that moment, his luck changes. In his trip he is defeated by the ships of Carthage and it is his own fleet is destroyed by a storm after he stopped to assault the city of Locri. Manio Dentato Curium awaits him in the peninsula with a new Roman army and although he establishes new alliances in Siracusa and demands the aid of Macedonia and of the samnitas, finally he is defeated by Rome in the battle of Benevento. After that he abandons Italy. The Pírricas Wars demonstrates the military power of Rome and the incapacity of the Greek states to support and to maintain the colonies of Greater Greece. They finished by integrating themselves in the Roman republic by means of different foedera and its hellenistic contribution was essential to the development of the Roman culture. From then, Rome dominates all the itálica peninsula of north to the south.



The annexation of the islands of Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia was the first Roman expansion outside the itálica peninsula. And one takes place not only by means of the war and the conquest but also by circumstances derived from a complex and money changing system of alliances.

In Sicily, 289 BC, the Agatocles tyrant is assassinated. Its army of mercenaries from Samnio and Campania sack the city of Mesina and kill its inhabitants with their swords. They then call themselves “mamertinos” in honor to their God of war, Mamers.

The mamertinos support Carthage in their confrontation with Pyrrhus of Eprius and controlled when he is proclaimed king of the island. But Pyrrhus marches back to the itálica peninsula and without an effective authority in Sicily, is engaged in looting in diverse cities of the northeast. In 266 BC., Hierón becomes king of Sicily and returns to check the mamertinos.

These are divided in two factions, one of who asks for aid from Carthage that has a garrison barracks in Mesina. The other, however, requests the aid of Rome offering in return the delivery of the city without conditions (deditio).

Thinking about a subsequent conquest of Syracuse, the only significant population of the island, the Romans accede; send troops to Mesina and the Carthaginian garrison withdraws. Nevertheless, Carthage and Syracuse finish allying themselves and march against Mesina. When the soldiers of Syracuse are overcome by Rome, king Hierón changes sides and agrees to a foedum that turns into the vassal king of the Roman republic.

The battle of Lilibeo (Lylibeum) gives to the victory to the Romans in this First Punic War although with numerous losses. Sicily becomes a Roman province in 237 BC. and Carthage, besides evacuating the island, is forced to pay an enormous indemnification.

Without economic possibilities, Carthage must face a revolt of its mercenaries that return to Carthaginian territory in Africa. It is called the War of the Mercenaries that during two years jeopardizes the Punic Empire.

Once the problem in North Africa is mastered, the army of Carthage marches to Sardinia where also the Carthaginian barracks have revolted.  Rome threatens again declaring war with the false excuse that the Carthaginian Navy will go against the republic. The Carthaginians cannot face a new conflict with the Romans and they are forced not only to leave Sardinia but to pay an indemnification still greater than the previous one.

 In Corsica, occupied during the First Punic War by Lucio Cornelio Escipión in 259 BC, the Carthaginians are not expelled until years later. In fact, Rome limits itself during a long period to assure the control of Corsica and Sardinia without trying to further its Romanization.

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