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Volscian settlements.

The Volsci were an ancient Italic people, well known in the history of the first century of the Roman Republic. They then inhabited the partly hilly, partly marshy district of the south of Latium, bounded by the Aurunci and Samnites on the south, the Hernici on the east, and stretching roughly from Norba and Cora in the north to Antium in the south.

The Volsci spoke Volscian, a Sabellic Italic language, which was closely related to Oscan and Umbrian, but also to Latin, more distantly. They were among the most dangerous enemies of Rome, and frequently allied with the Aequi, whereas the Hernici from 486 BC onwards were the allies of Rome.

In the Volscian territory lay the little town of Velitrae (modern Velletri), the birthplace of Caesar Augustus. From this town comes an inscription dating probably from early in the 3rd century BC; it is cut upon a small bronze plate (now in the Naples Museum), which must have once been fixed to some votive object, dedicated to the god Declunus (or the goddess Decluna).

Virgil's character of the warrior maiden Camilla in the Aeneid is a Volscian. Also, the legendary Roman warrior Coriolanus earned his cognomen after taking the Volscian town of Corioli in 493 BC. The supposed rise and fall of this hero is chronicled in Shakespeare's Coriolanus. Both Gaius Marius, seven time Roman consul and military reformer, and the Roman orator and writer Cicero were natives of Arpinum, deep in Volscian territory.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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