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where they would have a field to furnish them with food, at the same time that they found a cliff or a ravine to use in their fortifications. All around were spread the colonies of strangers and the villages of natives or of early settlers, neither so close to each other as to create any positive want of land or means, nor, on the contrary, so far removed as to obviate the necessity of quarrel and warfare between races to whom the sword was intrusted rather than the ploughshare. The province of history, however, scarcely includes conjectural descriptions; and it is enough for our present purpose to bear in mind the numbers and the hostilities of the people neighbouring to Rome.” Any traveller or reader of travels will recollect the mountains which, with snowy plumes, close in, like sentinels, on the north, the east, and the south, about the plain where the Romans were set to learn the fortitude and the confidence which it was the will of the Ruler they knew not they should acquire. The west, it will likewise be remembered, was begirt by the waves of the Mediterranean. Above the calm mountains and the broken plain shone the same sky of old that yet overhangs them. Its fervid color and its dissolving haze, each existing to the greater beauty of the other, were familiar to the Romans, as to the nations before them, and to their own posterity. In their eyes, likewise, the mountains were arrayed, at sunset, in the purple man
2 “How many realms, pastoral and warlike, lay Along the plain, each with its schemes of power, Its little rivalships '' etc. Rogers's Italy.
tles which are still put on, unblemished and unworn; and above their heads the noon, kindled with fire, drenched with rain, or divided by the contest between the sunlight and the storm, was as variable and impassioned as others who have lived beneath it can remember. It may have been thus that the ardor of the Romans was kindled by the changeful and exciting air they breathed, as by the scenes they looked upon; yet it is quite apparent that there must have been some other element besides, to have kept the nerves of the nation in string as long as they actually were. But if the atmosphere was colder,” not only before cultivation began, but also before desolation succeeded, then the strength which was aroused was maintained by the natural influences of the climate as well as by those of the neighbourhood and the homes on the seven hills. The position of Rome was probably no matter of choice, but of necessity, at the time of its foundation;" yet the inhabitants of the city, when it became the great one of the earth, have set us an example of accounting for the situation selected by their ancestors by the enumeration of its natural advantages.” It is here important to define these at the outset of our history; the more so, as the geographical circumstances of Rome have often been mistaken or neg
3 See Chapter XXIII. of Arnold's sunt.” Cic., De Republ., II. 11. History of Rome, and Tournon, See Strabo, V. 3, sect. 7. Etudes Statistiques sur Rome, Tom. 5 See the lines from Propertius at I. pp. 204 et seq. the head of the chapter, and com
* “Illa de urbis situ . . . . . quae pare Cicero's eulogy, Rep., II. 3. a Romulo casu aut necessitate facta
lected, while, to us who propose to pursue the course of Roman liberty, there can be nothing worthier attention than to fix and sound the sources from which the stream derived its origin. The climate, as we have seen, was one to excite, at least for a time, ambition and impetuosity; the neighbourhood was so peopled as to render war natural, and warlike habits indispensable; while, further still, the sea to which the Tiber flowed would open a way to various intercourse and different civilization. Nor is this all we have to regard; but the site of the city upon the hills is to be considered as one of the inducements to strife, because of its security; while the irregularity and the separation of the parts into which Rome was divided within itself are as the outward plan of the domestic disorders hereafter to be told. It is not here that the weary questions concerning the primitive population and the subsequent migrations which occupied Italy can be renewed." From beyond the northern mountains and the seas surrounding every other side of the peninsula, horde pursued horde and colony followed colony of stranger races; each one ejecting or else submitting to its predecessor, until the country was parcelled and reparcelled amongst the adventurers who sought it for its spoils. Every fresh arrival, therefore, was the signal for contests of greater or less ferocity, in proportion to the strength and the numbers of the new and the former comers; nor was the strife, however it might be excited, continued simply for the sake of covetousness to assail or possessions to defend. Contrary principles, as far as they may thus be styled, in customs and in creeds, were staked against each other; and the changes of century after century were as much apparent in the different objects for which men lived, as in the varying boundaries within which the separate nations were temporarily established. No other country has even the traditions to exhibit of so many convulsions in preparation of its later destinies. Among the almost countless variety of races thus poured through every part of Italy, three are to be named above the rest, in consequence of the relations they sustain to Rome. The three are the Latin, the Sabine, and the Etruscan people, of which the last held the territory to the north, the Sabine that to the east, and the Latin that to the south and southeast” of the seven hills, at the time when the city of Romulus is supposed to have been founded. Among each of the three races there existed a confederacy” of little compactness, but of such general extent that Rome itself is sometimes conjectured to have belonged to one or to another league. Wars were of continual occurrence, not only amongst the different nations, but amongst the separate settlements of either nation; and there are many signs in the early legends of Rome which entitle us to imagine, at least, that the beginning of its independence was in some such conflict with its neighbouring and kindred people, against whom it obtained assistance from other neighbours who were not its kindred. Sometimes, there are traces of a colony upon the hills;” anon, the colony is transformed into a secession;" and then, again, the taper-tradition flickers, and nothing can be seen of any connection with the tribes or the towns of the environs." But amidst these gathering questions, which it is right to mention, but vain to attempt to solve, some testimonies of firmer kind appear, of which the credibility is a fact, however impossible it be to declare their positive and undeniable certainty. One is to the manner in which hostilities" appear to have led to some more peaceable communications between the Italian people; and the possibility of partial union, at least, amongst them began to be apparent, perhaps not so much, however, to themselves, as to those who read their doubtful history. Another evidence is still more trustworthy in respect to the junction of mem
* See Malden's History of Rome, tion des Peuples, Liv. II. ptie. 2; in the Library of Useful Knowledge, or the early Chapters of Niebuhr's Ch. 3.; Brotonne, Hist, de la Filia- great History of Rome.
7 Florus mentions especially the 8 Micali, Stor. Ant. Pop. Ital, Latins and the Etruscans, in speak- Cap. XXI. ing of Rome : — “Mediusque inter Latium et Tuscos, quasi in quodam bivio collocatus.” I. 9.
WOL. I. 35
9 And even from Arcadia and * It might be added, and rapine. Troy. See, also, Niebuhr's chap- “Ces peuplades errantes ne vivalent ter, entitled “Traditions on the que de guerre, c'est à dire de vol.” Founding of the City.” Boulland, Hist. des Transformations
19 From Alba. Göttling, Röm. des Peuples, p. 225. Staatsverfassung, Sect. 29.
11 Becker, Röm. Alterthümer, Vol. II. p. 11.