chapter  I
8 Pages


ALTHOUGH conquered with difficulty, after numerous and generally stubborn wars, Italy was none the less Rome’s most easily assimilated possession, for ethnic reasons which created a sort of family tie between it and the capital. The Latin element was very strong there and had some kinship with the Etruscans, who long left their trace upon it.2 We should expect then that long contact and, in the main, common interests would quickly establish a closer connexion between Rome and her former enemies, making the latter seem much less like subjects than fellow countrymen. We should assume that a common culture, the ease and rapidity of communications throughout the land, the progressive extension of the right of Roman citizenship would promote a vigorous local life in every part of Italy, and that full evidence of it would be preserved for us in the farsounding echoes of literature, the abundance of ruins and the multitude of epigraphical records.