The New International Encyclopædia/Hirpini
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HIRPINI, hẽr-pī'nḯ (from Sabine hirpus, wolf). A people of ancient Italy, who inhabited the southern portion of Samnium. They have been considered by some authorities as merely a Samnite tribe, while by others they are looked upon as an independent nation. The country they inhabited was the wild and mountainous district traversed by the Sabatus, Calor, and Tamarus, tributaries of the Vulturnus, and on the east side of the Apennine ridge by the upper course of the Aufidus. In the early history of Rome the Hirpini are found identifying themselves with their Samnite neighbors against their common foes. They seem to have been subdued in the early part of the third century B.C., as in B.C. 268. Beneventum, the key of all their military positions, was colonized by Roman settlers. In the Second Punic War, revolting from their conquerors, they joined the Carthaginian invaders, and though they were unable to recapture their stronghold of Beneventum, they remained faithful to Hannibal till the defeat of Hasdrubal at the Metaurus restored the empire of Italy to his opponents. In the year of that event the Hirpini made peace with their old masters by betraying into their hands the garrisons of their allies. From this time till the outbreak of the Social War, the Hirpini seem to have continued steadfast in their allegiance. On that occasion, however, they set the example of revolt to the allies, and might have become formidable enemies had not the rapid successes of Sulla induced them to repair their error by a complete submission. At the close of this war the Hirpini obtained the franchise, and do not again appear in history as an independent people.