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Peoples on the Italian Peninsula at the beginning of the Iron Age
  • Ligurians
  • Veneter
  • Etruscan
  • Picener
  • Umbrian
  • Latins
  • Oscar
  • Messapaper
  • Greeks
  • The Osker (Latin Osci , originally also Opici , Opsci , Obsci , Greek  Ὀπικοί Opikoi or Ὀσκοί Oskoi ) were an old Italian Indo-European people whose main settlement area was in today's Campania and neighboring parts of Lazio . They spoke the Oscar language , which was also spoken by the Samnites native to southern Italy , and were influenced by Greek culture .

    The beginnings of the Oscar date back to the Roman royal period (around the 1st half of the 1st millennium BC until the establishment of the Roman Republic in 509 BC). During this period there is no consensus in science about where they lived and what language they spoke. The Oscar language, spoken by several independent tribes, is documented for the first time at the end of this period. By far the most important and richest tribe from a military point of view were the Samnites, who lived in the 2nd half of the 4th century BC. BC rivaled Rome, at times as allies, at times as opposing warriors, until they were finally subdued by Rome with considerable difficulties and integrated into the Roman state.

    The Oscans were between the Samnites and the Romans. Although they always enjoyed going to war, they were never a militarily serious factor. The Romans defeated the Oscars in the first battle every time they relied on their military skills. Initially, however, the Oscars were able to maintain their independence by pitting other states, especially the Romans and the Samnites, against each other. This independence then ended with the Second Samnite War , when the Romans saw it necessary to first subjugate the neighboring tribes before invading Samnium . After this war, the Oscars quickly assimilated to Roman culture and the memory of them only survived in a few place names and in literature.

    Their language, Oskish , belongs to the family of Italian languages , which also includes Latin , Faliski , Umbrian and South Pikean . They and their writing were spread over almost all of southern Italy.

    Classic sources

    According to Aristotle , the Opici lived "on the Tyrrhenian Sea " and were called Ausonians . Antiochus of Syracuse also referred to the Opici as Ausonians and located them in Campania. Strabo, however, although he is the main source for the fragments of Antiochus, distinguished himself between the Oscans and the Ausonians and noted that although the Oscans had disappeared, the Romans continued to use their dialect as a written language, and that the open sea around Sicily continued the "Ausonian Sea" is called, although the Ausonians never lived near it. The Ausones appeared in the later sources due to a sound shift in Latin as Aurunker : * Ausuni> * Auruni> * Aurunici> * Aurunci.

    Oscar in the early republic

    A people referred to by Titus Livius as Aurunker appears first in history. 503 BC The Latin colonies Cora and Pometia rose against the Roman authorities and received support from the Aurunker.


    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short: "Osci. A Latin Dictionary" . Tufts University: Perseus Digital Library (2010 [1879])
    2. Aristotle: " Pol. 7.10 "
    3. Strabo: "Geography 5.4.3"
    4. Strabo: "Geography 5.4.6"
    5. ^ William Smith: "Aurunci, Ausones" , in: "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography" , Vol. I. Boston, 1854 (Little, Brown & Company).