Latin Wars

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Central Italy around 500 BC Chr.

The term Latin Wars is understood to mean two armed conflicts between the Roman Republic on the one hand and a federation of Latin cities on the other. Both conflicts ended in Rome's favor, which allowed Rome to expand its influence and territory on the Apennine Peninsula . It thus laid an essential cornerstone for the establishment of the Roman Empire .

First Latin War (around 498–493 BC)

The Latinerbund was an alliance of about 30 cities, villages and tribes on the Apennine peninsula , which was founded in the 6th century BC. Was founded. Around the year 498 BC In BC the alliance with the Roman Republic got into a war, in which it was probably a matter of removing the supremacy of the city of Rome. The acts of war essentially consisted of mutual raids. The actual cause that led to the outbreak of open hostilities has not been recorded. Only in Titus Livius is there an indication that the regent of Tusculum , Octavius ​​Mamilius , had incited the Latin tribes against the Roman Republic. A victory of the Latin Association should enable the return of his expelled father-in-law Lucius Tarquinius Superbus to Rome. The climax of the dispute was the battle at Regillus Lacus , which may have been legendary as there are no reliable eyewitness accounts. Only the stories from Livy and Dionysius in the Homeric style about the course of the battle are available. The years 509 and 496 as well as 493 BC apply. BC as a possible date of the battle. In it, according to Roman tradition, the Roman army defeated the levies of the Latin cities Lavinium and Tusculum. The war then ended with a peace treaty ( Foedus Cassianum ), in which Rome allied itself with the Latin League. It is also possible that Rome was accepted as a leading member of the league. More detailed provisions of the treaty regulated the common defense under a Roman general and the division of the booty.

Second Latin War (340–338 BC)

Rome soon became the dominant power within the Latin Union and determined its policy. Since 343 BC The city-state and its allies were in the First Samnite War when the Latins began to strive for more equality and independence from Rome. In 340 BC A Latin delegation called for the establishment of a common state in which the Latin allies were to participate equally in the Roman Senate. When the Romans refused, war broke out.

Rome quickly ended the war against the Samnites and allied with them. First the Latins invaded the Samnium region . But already in the following year 339 BC They suffered a defeat in the battle of Vesuvius . A year later, the Romans defeated the Latin army in 338 BC. At the battle of Trifanum . Then the Roman army went on the offensive and conquered the individual Latin cities, some of which were Romanized (preservation of Roman citizenship ) and some became colonies of the city. The province of Latium later emerged from the conquered territory (approx. 6,000 km²) .


  • Jochen Bleicken : History of the Roman Republic. 2nd edition, Oldenbourg, Munich 1982, pp. 118-119.
  • Adrian Goldsworthy : The Wars of the Romans. Brandenburgisches Verlagshaus, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89488-136-4 .
  • Theodor Mommsen : Roman history. Volume 1, Berlin 1854.
  • Robert M. Ogilvie : The early Rome and the Etruscans (dtv history of the ancient world). Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1983, ISBN 3-423-04403-9 ; engl. Original edition: Robert M. Ogilvie: Early Rome And The Etruscans (Fontana History Of The Ancient World). Collins & Sons, 1976.

Individual evidence

  1. Titus Livius, from urbe condita 2,18,2.
  2. Robert M. Ogilvie : The early Rome and the Etruscans . Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1983, pp. 103-105.