The Latins (oh the gods save their poor souls) fought another war with the Romans (what a wow) starting in the year 340 BC. This is the last time the Latins appear in an open conflict with Rome partly because they just had enough of it and partly because after this war the led a mostly okay-ish life under the Romans and didn’t want to be defeated in war yet again.
Things You need to Know About Romans
So the Latin league fought against the Roman Republic. Why you ask? To know the answer we must go back to the First Samnite War.
(Before that there are some simple things I must tell you. First, the Latins did not have any central government. They were tiny city-states of sort with shared language, culture and some legal and religious institutions. Second, they had fashioned a mutual military alliance, the Foedus Cassianum to assist each other in times of raids, invasions or war. Third, Rome was a major, rather the leading partner in this alliance this scared the Latins. A LOT. Also there’s just a lot of history between the two including shifting alliances, Gallic attacks and annexing Latin towns. All in all relations were pretty fragile and the balance could tip over from peace to war any time.)
When the First Samnite war ended in Rome in 341 BC, the Samnites decided to attack the Sidicini who in turn turned to Rome for help, but Rome decided it was too late and declined. So the desperate Sidicini asked the Latins for help who complied. So the Sidicini, the Campani and the Latins invaded Samnium.
After raiding and looting, the Latins were willing to retreat and give up fighting but the Samnites went to Rome and challenged its authority over the Campani and the Latins, asking her (yes Rome is a ‘her’ deal with it) to rein in her people and prevent future attacks. Rome could order around and boss over the Campani but the Latins weren’t really Rome’s subjects. Rome couldn’t prevent them from going to war against whomever they wanted. So what follows is very dramatic if you ask me.
The Campani turned against Rome and encouraged the Latins to join them. The Latins plotted in secret with the Campani for war against Rome pretending all the while that they were going to war with the Samnites. However, there was an information leak and at Rome the sitting consuls left office before the actual expiry of their term, so that the new consuls could enter office early in preparation for the war to come. The consuls elected for 340 BC were Titus Manlius Torquatus and Publius Decius Mus.
(Many historians think that all this is just made-up to justify war so I guess I wasted your time with conspiracy theories huh…)
Outbreak, War and other in Rome
So Rome knows the Latins are going to stab her in the back and decides to prepare to go to war but she also asks the Latins to send the top ten eligible bachelors uhm I mean leading men so that she can ask them why they were willing to betray her. Little did she know (she got to know) that the colonies of Signia and Velitrae and the Volsci were in the plan as well.
Meanwhile, the Latins called a meeting, where a certain Lucian Annius of Setia (also consul of the Latins) suggested that they could justify this betrayal by telling the sad tale of allies being turned into subjects and proposing that one consul and half the senate should be elected from among the Latins, and so give Latins and Romans an equal share in the government.
Annius became the spokesperson of the Latins and went with the Latin delegation to Rome. There, in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the Senate warned them not to pick up arms against the Samnites. When he presented his demands, Annius was obviously rebuked (by Torquatus) and the demands were denied.
Now so as to why the war actually took place, a very absurd but germane-to-the-Romans-back-then account has been provided. The senators invoked the gods as guardians of their treaties with the Latins, but Annius (because he was dumb) rejected the divine power of Jupiter, the king of gods.
When he stormed out of the temple, Annius slipped on the stairs and lost consciousness in the fall, some say he got killed. Whatever the reason, when Torquatus saw him lying there, he vowed to strike down the Latin armies s just as the gods had struck the Latin envoy. Thus war was declared among cheering Romans and embarrassed Latins.
(again historians believe that this is all fictional, Livy was a liar and everthything he wrote was apocryphal and that literally everything we know about this war may be just someone’s fantasies run amok.)
The South-Eastern campaign (340 BC)
(This useless bit of information tells you about what happened. So it is not useless. Wow I make no sense pretty much like everything Livy wrote in a fit of passion.)
Quick overview only. The Latins enter Samnium the Roman-Samnite army avoids Latium and enters Campanian grounds, attacks Latins and Campanians near Mount Vesuvius, battle happens, Consuls Publius Decius Mus and Titus Manlius Torquatus Imperiosus (Titus blah blah for our convenience) lead Rome to victory. Decius dies. Manlius kills son for inadvertent disobedience. The end.
Finally, They are Subjugated in 339 – 338 BC
(Gods how I was waiting for this.)
Another year passed, and with it came the defeat of the Latins at the hands of Manlius at the Battle of Trifanum (both forces found themselves face to face, dumped their baggage and started fighting). The Latins were defeated once and for all in 338 BC at the Battle of Antium on the river Astura (that is such a cool name for anything btw). Gaius Maenius led the naval forces of Rome to defeat the joint forces of the Latin armies of Antium, Lanuvium, Aricia and Velitrae.
The Latins were kicked out of Campania and they took their last stand against the Roman forces at Latium that was ultimately unsuccessful. Latin towns were Romanized and some were recognized as Roman colonies. The Latin League was disbanded and the Latins were incorporated within the Roman population with partial rights and varying levels of citizenship.
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