The History of Rome (Mommsen)/Book 1/Chapter 4
THE BEGINNINGS OF ROME.
Ramnes. About fourteen miles up from the mouth of the river Tiber hills of moderate elevation rise on both banks of the stream, higher on the right, lower on the left bank. With the latter group there has been closely associated for at least two thousand five hundred years the name of the Romans. We are unable, of course, to tell how or when that name arose: this much only is certain, that in the oldest form of it known to us the inhabitants of the canton are called, not Romans, but (by a shifting of the sound that easily occurs in the earlier period of a language, but fell very early into abeyance in Latin) Ramnians (Ramnes), a fact which constitutes an expressive testimony to the immemorial antiquity of the name. Its derivation cannot be given with certainty; possibly "Ramnes" may mean "foresters" or "bushmen."
But they were not the only dwellers on the hills by the bank of the Tiber. In the earliest division of the burgesses of Rome a trace has been preserved of the fact that that body arose out of the amalgamation of three cantons once probably independent, the Ramnians, Tities, and Luceres, into a single commonwealth—in other words, out of such a synoikismos as that from which Athens arose in Attica. The great antiquity of this threefold division of the community is perhaps best evinced by the fact that the Romans, in matters of constitutional law especially, regularly used the forms "tribuere" (to "divide into three") and "tribus" (a "third") in the sense of "partition" and "part," and the latter expression ("tribus") early lost, like our "quarter," its original signification of number. After the union, each of these three formerly separate communities but now subdivisions of a single community still possessed its third of the common domain, and had its proportional representation in the burgess-force and in the council of the elders. In ritual also, the number divisible by three of the members of almost all the oldest colleges—of the Vestal Virgins, the Salii, the Arval Brethren, the Luperci, the Augurs—probably had reference to that threefold partition. These three elements into which the primitive body of burgesses in Rome was divided have had theories of the most extravagant absurdity engrafted upon them. The irrational opinion that the Roman nation was a mongrel people finds its support in that division, and its advocates have striven by various means to represent the three great Italian races as elements entering into the composition of the primitive Rome, and to transform a people which has exhibited in language, polity, and religion, a pure and national development such as few have equalled, into a confused aggregate of Etruscan and Sabine, Hellenic and, forsooth! even Pelasgian fragments.
Setting aside self-contradictory and unfounded hypotheses, we may sum up in a few words all that can be said respecting the nationality of the component elements of the primitive Roman commonwealth. That the Ramnians were a Latin stock cannot be doubted, for they gave their name to the new Roman commonwealth, and therefore must have substantially determined the nationality of the united community. Respecting the origin of the Luceres nothing can be affirmed, except that there is no difficulty in the way of our pronouncing them, like the Ramnians, a Latin community. The second, on the other hand, of these communities is with one consent derived from Sabina. This view can at least be traced to a tradition preserved in the Titian brotherhood, which represented that brotherhood as having been instituted, on occasion of the Tities being admitted into the collective community, for the preservation of their distinctive Sabine ritual. It would appear, therefore, that at a period very remote, when the Latin and Sabellian stocks were beyond question far less sharply contrasted in language, manners, and customs than were the Roman and the Samnite of a later age, a Sabellian community entered into a Latin canton-union; and, as in the older and more credible traditions without exception the Tities take precedence of the Ramnians, it is probable that the intruding Tities compelled the older Ramnians to accept their synoikismos. A mixture of different nationalities certainly therefore took place; but it hardly exercised an influence greater than, for example, the settlement which occurred some centuries afterwards at Rome of the Sabine Attus Clauzus, or Appius Claudius and his clansmen and clients. The earlier admission of the Tities among the Ramnians does not entitle us to class the community among mongrel peoples any more than does that subsequent reception of the Claudii among the Romans. With the exception, perhaps, of isolated national institutions transplanted in connection with ritual, the existence of Sabellian elements can nowhere be pointed out in Rome; and the Latin language in particular furnishes absolutely no support to such an hypothesis. It would in fact be more than surprising if the Latin nation should have had its nationality in any sensible degree affected by the insertion of a single community from a national stock most closely related to it; besides which, it must not be forgotten that at the time when the Tities settled beside the Ramnians, Latin nationality rested on Latium as its basis, and not on Rome. The new tripartite Roman commonwealth was, notwithstanding some elements which, it is possible, were originally Sabellian, just what the community of the Ramnians had previously been, a portion of the Latin nation.
Rome the emporium of Latium. Long, in all probability, ere an urban settlement arose on the Tiber, these Ramnians, Tities, and Luceres, at first separate, afterwards united, had their stronghold on the Roman hills, and tilled their fields from the surrounding villages. The "wolf-festival" (Lupercalia) which the gens of the Quinctii celebrated on the Palatine hill, was probably a tradition from these primitive ages—a festival of countrymen and shepherds which preserved, more than any other, the homely pastimes of patriarchal simplicity, and, singularly enough, maintained itself longer than other heathen festivals in Christian Rome.
From these settlements the later Rome arose. The founding of a city, in the strict sense, such as the legend assumes, is of course to be reckoned altogether out of the question: Rome was not built in a day. But the serious I consideration of the historian may well be directed to the inquiry in what way Rome could so early attain that prominent political position which it held in Latium, so different from what the physical character of the locality would have led us to anticipate. The site of Rome is less healthy and less fertile than that of most of the old Latin towns. Neither the vine nor the fig succeed well in the immediate environs, and there is a want of springs that yield copious supplies of water; for neither the otherwise excellent fountain of the Camenæ before the Porta Capena, nor the Capitoline well, afterwards enclosed within the Tullianum, furnish it in any abundance. Another disadvantage arose from the frequency with which the river overflowed its banks. Its very slight fall rendered it unable to carry off the water, which during the rainy season descends in largo quantities from the mountains, with sufficient rapidity to the sea, and in consequence it flooded the low-lying lands and the valleys that open between the hills, and converted them into swamps. For a settler the locality was anything but attractive. Even in antiquity the opinion was expressed that the first body of immigrant cultivators could scarcely have resorted in search of a suitable settlement to that unhealthy and unfruitful spot in a region otherwise so highly favoured, and that it must have been necessity, or rather some special motive, which led to the establishment of a city there. Even the legend betrays its sense of the strangeness of the fact: the story of the foundation of Rome by refugees from Alba under the leadership of the sons of an Alban prince, Romulus and Remus, is nothing but a naïve attempt of primitive quasi-history to explain the singular circumstance that the place should have arisen on a site so unfavourable, and to connect at the same time the origin of Rome with the general metropolis of Latium. Such tales, which claim the name of history, but which are merely improvised explanations of no very ingenious character, it is the first duty of history to dismiss; but it may perhaps be allowed to go a step further, and after weighing the special relations of the locality to propose a positive conjecture, not regarding the way in which the place originated, but regarding the circumstances which occasioned its rapid and surprising prosperity and led to its occupying its peculiar position in Latium.
Let us notice first of all the earliest boundaries of the Roman territory. Towards the east the towns of Antemnæ, Fidenæ, Cænina, Collatia, and Grabii lie in the immediate neighbourhood, some of them not five miles distant from the gates of the Servian Rome; and the boundary of the canton must have been in the close vicinity of the city gates. On the south we find at a distance of fourteen miles, the powerful communities of Tusculum and Alba; and the Roman territory appears not to have extended in this direction beyond the Fossa Cluilia, five miles from Rome. In like manner, towards the south-west, the boundary betwixt Rome and Lavinium already occurred at the sixth milestone. While in a landward direction the Roman canton was thus everywhere confined within the narrowest possible limits, from the earliest times, on the other hand, it stretched without hindrance on both banks of the Tiber towards the sea. Between Rome and the coast there occurs no locality that is mentioned as an ancient canton-centre, and no trace of any ancient canton-boundary. The legend, indeed, which lias its definite explanation of the origin of everything, professes to tell us that the Roman possessions on the right bank of the Tiber, the "seven hamlets" (septem pagi), and the important salt-works at its mouth, were taken by King Romulus from the Veientes, and that King Ancus fortified on the right bank the tête du pont, the "mount of Janus" (Janiculum), and founded on the left the Roman Piræeus, the seaport at the river's "mouth" (Ostia). But we have evidence more trustworthy than that of legend, that the possessions on the right bank of the Tiber must have belonged to the original territory of Rome; for in this very quarter, at the fourth milestone on the later road to the port, lay the grove of the creative goddess (Dea Dia), the primitive chief seat of the Arval festival and Arval brotherhood of Rome. In fact, from time immemorial the clan of the Romilii, the chief probably of all the Roman clans, was settled in this very quarter: the Janiculum formed a part of the city itself, and Ostia was a burgess colony, or, in other words, a suburb.
This cannot have been the result of mere accident. The Tiber was the natural highway for the traffic of Latium; and its mouth, on a coast scantily provided with harbours, became necessarily the anchorage of seafarers. Moreover, the Tiber formed from very ancient times the frontier defence of the Latin stock against their northern neighbours. There was no place better fitted for an emporium of the Latin river and sea traffic, and for a maritime frontier fortress of Latium, than Rome. It combined the advantages of a strong position and of immediate vicinity to the river; it commanded both banks of the stream down to its mouth; it was so situated as to be equally convenient for the river navigator descending the Tiber or the Anio, and for the seafarer with vessels of so moderate a size as those which were then used; and it afforded greater protection from pirates than places situated immediately on the coast. That Rome was indebted accordingly, if not for its origin, at any rate for its importance, to these commercial and strategical advantages of its position, there are numerous indications to show—indications which are of very different weight from the statements of quasi-historical romances. Thence arose its very ancient relations with Cære, which was to Etruria what Rome was to Latium, and accordingly became Rome's most intimate neighbour and commercial ally. Thence arose the unusual importance of the bridges over the Tiber, and of bridge-building generally in the Roman commonwealth. Thence came the galley in the city arms; thence, too, the very ancient Roman port duties on the exports and imports of Ostia, which were from the first levied only on what was to be exposed for sale (promercale), not on what was for the shipper's own use (usuarium), and which were therefore in reality a tax upon commerce. Thence, to anticipate, the comparatively early appearance in Rome of coined money, and of commercial treaties with transmarine states. In this sense, then, it is certainly not improbable that Rome may have been, as the legend assumes, a creation rather than a growth, and the youngest rather than the eldest among the Latin cities. Beyond doubt the country was already in some degree cultivated, and the Alban range as well as many other heights of the Campagna were occupied by strongholds, when the Latin frontier emporium arose on the Tiber. Whether it was a resolve of the Latin confederacy, or the clear-sighted genius of some unknown founder, or the natural development of traffic, that called the city of Rome into being, it is vain even to surmise.
But in connection with this view of the position of Rome as the emporium of Latium another observation suggests itself. At the time when history begins to dawn on us, Rome appears, in contradistinction to the league of the Latin communities, as an united city. The Latin habit of dwelling in open villages, and of using the common stronghold only for festivals and assemblies, or in case of special need, was subjected to restriction at a far earlier period, probably, in the canton of Rome than anywhere else in Latium. The Roman did not cease to manage his farm in person, or to regard it as his proper home; but the unwholesome atmosphere of the Campagna could not but induce him to take up his abode as much as possible on the more airy and salubrious city hills; and by the side of the cultivators of the soil there must have been a numerous non-agricultural population, partly foreigners, partly native, settled there from very early times. This to some extent accounts for the dense population of the old Roman territory, which may be estimated at the utmost at 115 square miles, partly of marshy or sandy soil, and which, even under the earliest constitution of the city, furnished a force of 3300 freemen, and must have therefore numbered at least 10,000 free inhabitants. But further, every one acquainted with the Romans and their history is aware that it is their civic and mercantile character that forms the basis of whatover is peculiar in their public and private life, and that the distinction between them and the other Latins and Italians in general is pre-eminently the distinction between citizen and rustic. Rome, indeed, was not a mercantile city, like Corinth or Carthage, for Latium was an essentially agricultural country, and Rome was in the first instance, and continued to be, pre-eminently a Latin city. But the distinction between Rome and the mass of the other Latin towns must certainly be traced back to its commercial position, and to the type of character produced by that position in its citizens. If Rome was the emporium of the Latin districts, we can readily understand how, along with, and in addition to Latin husbandry, urban life should have attained vigorous and rapid development there, and thus have laid the foundation for its distinctive career.
It is far more important, and more practicable, to follow out the course of this mercantile and strategical growth of the city of Rome, than to attempt the useless task of analyzing the insignificant and but little diversified communities of primitive times. The course of this development may still be so far recognized in the traditions regarding the successive circumvallations and fortifications of Rome, the formation of which necessarily kept pace with the growth of the Roman commonwealth in importance as a city.
The Palatine city and the Seven Mounts. The town, which in the course of centuries grew up as Rome, in its original form embraced according to trustworthy testimony only the Palatine, or "square Rome" (Roma quadrata), as it was called in later times from the irregularly quadrangular form of the Palatine hill. The gates and walls that enclosed this original city remained visible down to the period of the Empire: the sites of two of the former, the Porta Romana, near S. Giorgio in Velabro, and the Porta Mugionis, at the Arch of Titus, are still known to us, and the Palatine ring-wall is described by Tacitus from his own observation, at least on the sides looking towards the Aventine and Cælian. Many traces indicate that this was the centre and original seat of the urban settlement. On the Palatine was to be found the sacred symbol of that settlement, the "outfit vault" (mundus), as it was called, in which the first settlers deposited a sufficiency of everything requisite for a household, and added a clod of their dear native earth. There, too, was situated the building in which the curies assembled for religious and other purposes, each at its own hearth (curiæ veteres). There was the meeting-house of the "Leapers" (curia Saliorum, the place where the sacred shields of Mars were preserved, the sanctuary of the "Wolves" (Lupercal), and the residence of the priest of Jupiter. On and near this hill the legend of the founding of the city placed the scenes of its leading incidents, and the straw-covered house of Romulus, the shepherd's hut of his foster-father Faustulus, the sacred fig-tree towards which the cradle with the twins had floated, the cornelian cherry-tree that sprang from the shaft of the spear which the founder of the city had hurled from the Aventine over the valley of the Circus into this enclosure, and other such sacred relics were pointed out to the believer. Temples, in the proper sense of the term, were still at this period unknown, and accordingly the Palatine has nothing of that sort to show belonging to the primitive age. The meeting-places of the community were early transferred elsewhere, and therefore their original site is unknown; only it may be conjectured that the free space round the mundus, afterwards called the Area Apollinis, was the primitive place of assembly for the burgesses and the senate, and the stage erected over the mundus itself the primitive seat of justice of the Roman community.
The "festival of the Seven Mounts" (septimontium), again, preserved the memory of the more extended settlement which gradually formed round the Palatine. Suburbs grew up one after another, each protected by its own separate though weaker circumvallations, and joined on to the original ring-wall of the Palatine, as in fen districts the outer dikes are joined on to the main dike. The "Seven Rings" were the Palatine itself; the Cermalus, the declivity of the Palatine in the direction of the morass that in the earliest times extended between it and the Capitoline (Velabrum): the Velia, the ridge connecting the Palatine with the Esquiline, which in subsequent times was almost wholly obliterated by the buildings of the Empire; the Fagutal, the Oppius, and the Cispius, the three summits of the Esquiline; lastly, the Sucūsa, or Subūra, a fortress constructed outside of the earthen rampart which protected the new town on the Carinæ, in the low ground between the Esquiline and the Quirinal beneath S. Pietro in Vincoli. These additions, manifestly the results of a gradual growth, clearly suggest to a certain extent the earliest history of the Palatine Rome, especially when we compare with them the Servian division into regions, which was afterwards formed on the basis of this earliest arrangement.
The Palatine was the original seat of the Roman community, the oldest, and originally the only ring-wall. The urban settlement, however, began in Rome, as everywhere, not within, but under the protection of the stronghold, and the oldest settlements with which we are acquainted, and which afterwards formed the first and second regions in the Servian division of the city, lay in a circle around the Palatine. Such were that on the declivity of the Cermalus, including the "street of the Tuscans," a name which was probably a memorial of the commercial intercourse subsisting between the Cærites and Romans, an intercourse already perhaps carried on with vigour in the Palatine city; and the settlement of the Velia, both of which afterwards formed, along with the stronghold-hill itself, a region in the Servian city. Further, there were the suburb on the Cælian, which probably embraced only its extreme point above the Colosseum; that on the Carinæ, the spur which projects from the Esquiline towards the Palatine; and, lastly, the valley and outwork of the Subura, from which.the whole region afterwards derived its name. These two regions constituted together the incipient city; and the Suburan region, which stretched over the valley lying below the stronghold, perhaps from the Arch of Constantine to S. Pietro in Vincoli, appears to have been of higher standing, and was perhaps older than the settlements incorporated by the Servian arrangement in the Palatine region, because in the ranking of the regions the former takes precedence of the latter. A remarkable memorial of the distinction between these two portions of the city was preserved in one of the oldest sacred customs of the subsequent Rome, the sacrifice of the October horse yearly offered in the Campus Martius: down to a late period a struggle took place at this festival for the horse's head between the men of the Subura and those of the Via Sacra, and according as victory lay with the former or with the latter, the head was nailed either to the Mamilian Tower (site unknown) in the Subura, or to the king's palace under the Palatine. It was the two halves of the old city that thus competed with each other on equal terms. At that time, accordingly, the Esquiliæ (which name strictly used is exclusive of the Carinæ) were in reality what they were called, the "out-buildings" (ex-quiliæ, like inquilinus, from colere) or suburb: this became the third region in the later city division, and it was reckoned of inferior consideration as compared with the Suburan and Palatine regions. Other neighbouring heights also, such as the Capitol and the Aventine, may probably have been occupied by the community of the Seven Mounts; the "bridge of piles" in particular (pons sublicius), thrown over the natural pier of the island in the Tiber, must have existed even then (the pontifical college alone is sufficient evidence of that), and the tête du pont on the Etruscan bank, the height of the Janiculum, would not be left unoccupied; but the community had not as yet brought either within the circuit of its fortifications. The regulation, which was adhered to as a ritual rule down to the latest times, that the bridge should be composed simply of wood without iron, manifestly shows that in its original practical use it was meant to be a flying bridge, which must be capable of being easily at any time broken off or burnt. We recognize in this circumstance how insecure for a long time and liable to interruption was the command of the passage of the river on the part of the Roman community.
No relation is discoverable between the urban settlements thus gradually formed and the three communities into which from an immemorially early period the Roman commonwealth was in political law divided. As the Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres appear to have been communities originally independent, they must indeed have had their settlements originally apart; but they certainly did not dwell in separate circumvallations on the Seven Hills, and all fictions to this effect in ancient or modern times must be consigned by the intelligent inquirer to the same fate with the battle of the Palatine and the charming tale of Tarpeia. On the contrary, each of the three tribes of Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres must have been distributed throughout the two regions of the oldest city, the Subura and Palatine, and the suburban region as well: with this may be connected the fact, that afterwards, not only in the Suburan and Palatine, but in each of the regions subsequently added, to the city, there were three pairs of Argean chapels. The Palatine city of the Seven Mounts had probably a history of its own; no other tradition of it has survived than simply that of its having once existed. But as the leaves of the forest make room for the new growth of spring, although they fall unseen by human eyes, so has this unknown city of the Seven Mounts made room for the Rome of history.
The Hill-Romans on the Quirinal. But the Palatine city was not the only one that in ancient times existed within the circle afterwards enclosed by the Servian walls; opposite to it, in its immediate vicinity, there lay a second city on the Quirinal. The "old stronghold" (Capitolium vetus) with a sanctuary of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and a temple of the god of Fidelity, in which state treaties were publicly deposited, forms the evident counterpart of the later Capitol with its temple to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, and with its temple of Fides Romana likewise destined as it were for a repository of international law, and furnishes clear proof that the Quirinal also was once the centre of an independent commonwealth. The same fact may be inferred from the double worship of Mars on the Palatine and the Quirinal; for Mars was the type of the warrior, and the oldest chief divinity of the burgess communities of Italy. Connected with this is the further circumstance that his ministers, the two primitive colleges of the "Leapers" (Salii) and of the "Wolves" (Luperci), existed in the later Rome in duplicate: by the side of the Salii of the Palatine there were also Salii of the Quirinal; by the side of the Quinctian Luperci of the Palatine there was a Fabian guild of Luperci, which in all probability had their sanctuary on the Quirinal.
All these indications, which in themselves even are of great weight, become more significant when we recollect that the accurately known circuit of the Palatine city of the Seven Mounts excluded the Quirinal, and that afterwards in the Servian Rome, while the three first regions corresponded to the former Palatine city, a fourth region was formed out of the Quirinal along with the neighbouring Viminal. Thus, too, we discover an explanation of the reason why the strong outwork of the Subura was constructed beyond the city wall in the valley between the Esquiline and Quirinal; it was at that point, in fact, that the two territories came into contact, and the Palatine Romans, after having taken possession of the low ground, were under the necessity of constructing a stronghold for protection against those of the Quirinal.
Lastly, even the name has not been lost by which the men of the Quirinal distinguished themselves from their Palatine neighbours. As the Palatine city took the name of "the Seven Mounts," its citizens called themselves the "Mount-men" (montani), and the term "mount," while applied to the other heights belonging to the city, was above all associated with the Palatine, so the Quirinal height as well as the Viminal belonging to it, although they were not lower, but on the contrary somewhat higher than the former, never in the strict use of the language received any other name than "hill" (collis): in ritual records, indeed, the Quirinal was not unfrequently designated as the "Hill," without further addition. In like manner, the gate leading from this height was usually called the "Hill-gate" (Porta Collina); the priests of Mars settled there those "of the Hill" (Salii Collini), in contrast to those of the Palatine (Salii Palatini), and the fourth Servian region formed out of this district the Hill-region (tribus Collina). The name of Romans, primarily associated with the locality, was probably appropriated by these "Hill-men" as well as by those of the "Mounts;" and the former perhaps designated themselves as "Romans of the Hill" (Romani Collini). That a diversity of race may have lain at the foundation of this distinction between the two neighbouring cities is possible; but evidence sufficient to warrant our pronouncing a community established on Latin soil to be of alien lineage is, in the case of the Quirinal community, totally wanting.
Relation between the Palatine and Quirinal communities. Thus the site of the Roman commonwealth was still at this period occupied by the Mount-Romans of the Palatine and the Hill-Romans of the Quirinal as two separate communities confronting each other and doubtless in many respects at feud, in some degree resembling the Montigiani and the Trasteverini in modern Rome. That the community of the Seven Mounts greatly preponderated over that of the Quirinal, even at an early period, may with certainty be inferred both from the greater extent of its newer portions and suburbs, and from the position of inferiority in which the former Hill-Romans were obliged to acquiesce under the later Servian arrangement. But even within the Palatine city there was hardly a true and complete amalgamation of the different constituent elements of the settlement. We have already mentioned how the Subura and the Palatine annually contended for the horse's head; the several Mounts also, nay, even the several curies (there was as yet no common hearth for the city, but the various hearths of the curies subsisted side by side, although in the same locality) probably felt themselves to be as yet more separated than united, and Rome as a whole was probably rather an aggregate of urban settlements than a single city. It appears, from many indications, that the houses of the old and powerful families were constructed somewhat in the style of fortresses and were rendered capable of defence—a precaution, it may be presumed, not unnecessary. It was the magnificent scheme of fortification ascribed to King Servius Tullius, that first surrounded, not merely those two cities of the Palatine and Quirinal, but also the heights of the Aventine and the Capitoline which were not comprehended within their enclosure, with a single great ring- wall, and thereby created the new Rome—the Rome of history. But ere this mighty work was undertaken, the relations of Rome to the surrounding country had beyond doubt undergone a complete revolution. As the period, during which the husbandman guided his plough on the seven hills of Rome just as on the other hills of Latium, and the usually unoccupied places of refuge on particular summits alone presented the germs of a more permanent settlement, corresponds to the earliest epoch of the Latin stock, an epoch barren of traffic and barren of action; as thereafter the flourishing settlement on the Palatine and in the "Seven Rings" was coincident with the occupation of the mouths of the Tiber by the Roman community, and with the progress of the Latins to a more stirring and freer intercourse, to an urban civilization in Rome especially, and perhaps also to a better consolidated political union in the individual states as well as in the confederacy; so the Servian wall, which was the foundation of a single great city, was connected with the epoch at which the city of Rome was able to contend for, and at length to achieve, the sovereignty of the Latin confederacy.
- A similar change of sound is exhibited in the case of the following formations, all of them of a very ancient kind: pars portio, Mars mors, farreum, ancient form for horreum, Fabii Fovii, Valerias Volesus, vacuus vocivus.
- The synoikismos did not necessarily involve an actual collective residence at one spot; but while each resided as formerly on his own land, there was thenceforth only one council and court-house for the whole. Thucyd. ii. 15; Herodot. i. 170.
- We might even, looking to the Attic τριττύς and the Umbrian trifo, raise the question whether a triple division of the community was not a fundamental principle of the Græco-Italians; in that case the triple division of the Roman community would not be referable to the amalgamation of several once independent tribes. In order to the establishment, however, of a hypothesis so much at variance with tradition, such a threefold division would require to present itself more generally throughout the Græco-Italian field than seems to be the case, and to appear uniformly everywhere as the ground-scheme. The Umbrians may possibly have adopted the word tribus only when they came under the influence of Roman rule; it cannot with certainty be traced in Oscan.
- After the older opinion that Latin is to be viewed as a mixed language, made up of Greek and non-Greek elements, has been now abandoned on all sides, cautious inquirers even (e. g. Schwegler, R. G. i. 184, 193) still seek to discover in Latin a mixture of two nearly related Italian dialects. But we ask in vain for the linguistic or historical facts which render such an hypothesis necessary. When a language presents the appearance of being an intermediate link between two others, every philologist knows that the phenomenon may quite as probably depend, and more frequently does depend, on organic development than on external intermixture.
- That the Quinctian Luperci had precedence in rank over the Fabian is evident from the circumstance, that the fabulists attribute the Quinctii to Romulus, the Fabii to Remus (Ovid. Fast. ii. 373, seq.; Vict. De Orig. 22). That the Fabii belonged to the Hill-Romans is shown by the sacrifice of their gens on the Quirinal (Liv. v. 46, 52), whether that sacrifice may or may not have been connected with the Lupercalia.
Moreover, the Lupercus of the former college is called in inscriptions (Orelli 2253) Lupercus Quinctialis vetus; and the prænomen Kæso, which was most probably connected with the Lupercal worship (v. Rhein. Mus. N. F. xv. 179), is found exclusively among the Quinctii and Fabii: the forms commonly occurring in authors, Lupercus Quinctilius and Quinctilianus, are therefore inaccurate, and the college belonged, not to the comparatively recent Quinctilii, but to the far older Quinctii. When, again, the Quinctii (Liv. i. 30), or Quinctilii (Dion. iii. 29), are named among the Alban clans, the latter reading is to be preferred, while the Quinctii are to be regarded as an old Roman gens.
- Although the name "Hill of Quirinus" was afterwards ordinarily used to designate the height where the Hill-Romans had their abode, we need not on that account regard the name "Quirites" as having been originally reserved for the burgesses on the Quirinal. For the earliest indications point, as regards them, to the name Collini; while it is indisputably certain that the name Quirites denoted from the first, as well as subsequently, simply the full burgess, and had no connection with the distinction between montani and collini (comp. chap. v. infra). In fact, Mars Quirinus, the spear-bearing god of Death, was originally worshipped as well on the Palatine as on the Quirinal; the oldest inscriptions found at what was atterwards called the Temple of Quirinus designate this divinity simply as Mars, but at a later period, for the sake of distinction, the god of the Mount-Romans more especially was called Mars, the god of the Hill-Romans more especially Quirinus.
When the Quirinal is called Collis Agonalis, "Hill of Sacrifice," it is so designated only as the centre of the religious rites of the Hill-Romans.
- The evidence alleged for this (comp. e. g. Schwegler, R. G. i. 480) mainly rests on an etymologico-historical hypothesis started by Varro, and as usual unanimously echoed by later writers, that the Latin quiris and Quirinus are akin to the name of the Sabine town Cures, and that the Quirinal hill accordingly had been peopled from Cures. The linguistic affinity of these words is probable; but how little warrant there is for deducing from it such a historical inference must be obvious at once. That the old sanctuaries on this eminence (where, besides, there was also a "Collis Latiaris") were Sabine, has been asserted, but has not been proved. Mars Quirinus, Sol, Salus, Flora, Semo Sancus, or Deus Fidius, were indeed Sabine, but they were also Latin divinities, formed evidently during the epoch when Latins and Sabines still lived undivided. When a name like that of Semo Sancus (which moreover occurs in connection with the Tiber-island) is especially associated with the sacred places of the Quirinal, which afterwards diminished in importance (comp. the Porta Sanqualis deriving its name therefrom), every unbiassed inquirer will recognize in such a circumstance only a proof of the high antiquity of that worship, not a proof of its derivation from a neighbouring land. In so speaking we do not mean to deny that it is possible that old distinctions of race may have co-operated in producing this state of things; but if such was the case, they have, so far as we are concerned, totally disappeared, and the views current among our contemporaries as to the Sabine element in the constitution of Rome are only fitted seriously to warn us against such baseless speculations leading to no result.