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The Samnites - the ancient Italic people of Italy

Samnite soldiers from a tomb frieze in Nola from the 4th century BC.

Samnite soldiers from a tomb frieze in Nola from the 4th century BC.

The Molise region of Italy with its two capital cities Isernia and Campobasso which the Samnites founded.

The Molise region of Italy with its two capital cities Isernia and Campobasso which the Samnites founded.

In 1980, I visited my Italian relatives in Isernia, Italy for the first time. I spoke no Italian and they spoke no English, so it was an interesting three day visit. I was on tour of the European continent that summer and left the tour for three days to meet my relatives.

It was a visit of a lifetime. Despite the language difference, I got through the three days speaking Spanish and speaking English with my teenage cousin, Lia who knew English the best of everyone in the family. Between the two of us we made it through the three days.

What was so interesting, is that my Italian relatives took me back to the days before Christ and even before the Roman Empire in Italy. They introduced me to my Samnite heritage by taking me to the Samnite ruins of the town of Pietrabbondante in the Molise mountains in the heart of the province of Molise. Here was an entire Samnite town complete with houses, an ampitheater, and temple. The ruins were amazing to view and my young cousins ran around the mountain ruins and much to my imagination I could see the Samnite children doing the same so many centuries ago. For a moment, time stood still.

After that, we went for some refreshment. Deep in the woods was an old water well with water and a fresh spring of water coming down from the mountains. When they handed me the cup of water, I was expecting fresh spring water. To my surprise it was sulphur water and smelled and tasted like rotten eggs. Not wanting to hurt my relatives feelings I drank, smiled and said how wonderful it was. They all burst out laughing and said they hated the taste of the water, too, but to drink it was supposed to bring good health and good luck and was an original well of the Samnite Italic people from so long ago.

I was amazed by my Italian visit and I was curious. These Samnites were my people and I had descended from them. Just who were these Samnite people of Italy?


The Samnites

The Samnites were an Italic people living in Samnium in south-central Italy even before the founding of Rome. Today, this is the Abruzzi-Molise region of Italy. And, the Italic people are the Indo-European ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Italic language.

Interestingly, not all the various peoples of Italy are linguistically or ethnically closely related. Some of the Italians in this area spoke Italic languages and others belonged to another Indo-European branch (the Ligurians, Venetics, Leponis) or were non-Indo-European (the Etruscans, the Raetics)

The Samnites were an Oscan-speaking people and historians believe an off-shoot of the Sabines,(the Umbrians) an Italic tribe of people that lived in the central Apennines of ancient Italy before the founding of Rome. The Samnites lived in this Molise area from 500 BC to 100 AD and the city of Isernia was theirs, the home of my Italian relatives.

The Samnites formed a confederation consisting of four tribes of peoples:

  • Hirpini
  • Caudini
  • Caraceni
  • Pentri

It is the Pentri tribe of the Samnites that built and lived in Pietrabbondante, the city of Samnite ruins. By the time of the Romans and their empire in Italy and across Europe the these Samnite tribes were allied with Rome against the Gauls (Celtics) in northern Italy around 354 BC, but sadly, later became the enemies of the Romans.

Eventually the Samnites were be involved in three fierce wars against the Romans:

  • The First Samnite War - 343-341 BC
  • The Second Samnite War 327-304 BC
  • The Third Samnite War 298-290 BC

And around 90 BC the Samnites also fought in the Social War against Rome, which was a war of negotiations, and eventually won and became full Roman citizens and assimilated into Roman rule, law and life.

But, during their lifetime, the Samnites were the original Italic people of Italy and the true Italians that inhabited Italy among other non-Italic tribes and the Celts.

Actually this confederation of people called themselves the Safineis and their region Safinim, as this was the Oscan name for themselves. This is attested by one inscription archaeologists have found and one coin legend. It was the Romans who gave them the name Samnites and their region Samnium. And, at some point in pre-history, a population speaking a common Oscan language extended over both Samnium and Umbria.

The earliest written record of the Samnites and Rome is a treaty recorded in 354 BC which set the border at the Lires River. This treaty was recorded by Roman historian, Titus Livius Patavinus, known simply as Livy. And, Diodorus Siculus of Sicily was a Greek historian who wrote the monumental, universal history, Bibliotheca historia between 60 and 30 BC and also included the Samnites in his history.

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We know of the Samnites and their contentious wars with the Romans from the historical writings of these two men.

The Oscan alphabet of the Samnites.

The Oscan alphabet of the Samnites.

Tabula Osca originally found in Agone, Italy in the Molise region. It is written in the Oscan language.  Today it is on display in the British Museum.

Tabula Osca originally found in Agone, Italy in the Molise region. It is written in the Oscan language. Today it is on display in the British Museum.

Tabula Bantina, discovered in 1793 in Banzi, Italy.  Written in Oscan language.  Bronze tablet today at the Naples (Italy) Museum.  From first century BC.

Tabula Bantina, discovered in 1793 in Banzi, Italy. Written in Oscan language. Bronze tablet today at the Naples (Italy) Museum. From first century BC.


The Italian Language

The Samnites spoke their own language which was Oscan and it was spoken from approximately 500 BC to 100 BC. The language is known from inscriptions dating as far back as the fifth century BC. The most important Oscan inscriptions were found on the Tabula Bantina, the Oscan Tablet (or Tabula Osca) and the Ceppus Abellanus.

Oscan had much in common with Latin (a Romance language). In phonology, Oscan also showed differences from Latin, similar to the P-Celtic/Q-Celtic change in Celtic languages. But. Oscan was not a Celtic language at all.

The Oscan language is considered the most conservative of all the known Italic languages. And, Oscan was written using the Latin and Greek alphabets as well as in the Old Italic alphabet.

The Samnites derived from a fusion of Indo-Europeans with local peoples during the Iron Age. From these Osco-Umbrian origins came various Sabine groups that populated most of central and south Italy around 600 BC.

The Samnite branch of the Sabines inhabited the areas of Molise, Abruzzo, Lazio and Campania. Within one hundred years Samnium became the home to the most important Oscan speaking people, the Samnites.

The Romans, around 300 BC, described all Oscan speaking people as "Sabellines" and "Samnites" for the actual inhabitants of Samnium.

When comparisons of the original Samnite language Oscan's core vocabulary are made, they indicate that Oscan, Sabine, and the Latin languages all derive from Sanskrit meaning they all shared Indo-European origins.

However, once the Samnites had been defeated by the Romans and assimilated into the Roman life their Oscan language eventually evolved into Latin and they became Latin speakers.

The Latins were part of the ancient Indo-European people and settled in the Lazio region of Italy around the second millennium BC. They founded Rome and became known as Romans. (Lazio-Latium)

They also established themselves outside the Lazio region (the Roman Empire) and spread the Latin language to the peoples they conquered.

The Indo-European Language Family Tree:

  • Romance - Italian
  • Celtic
  • Albanian
  • Greek
  • Slavic
  • Baltic
  • Germanic

The Italian language derives from the Latin vernacular which was a Romance language. Romance meaning not in the romantic sense but romance meaning 'from Rome.'

  • Northern Italy - Celtic influence
  • Central Italy - Roman influence
  • Southern Italy - Greek Influence

The Romance Languages are all Latin based:

  • Italian
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Catalan (in Spain)
  • Romanian
  • Latino (Latin America)

Of all the Romance languages, Italian retained the closest resemblance to Latin but fell into many different dialects and became known as 'vulgar' Italian or "of the vernacular."

The dialect that prevailed all over Italy was the Florentine dialect, and it gave origin to the Italian language for several reasons. This dialect had not strayed as far from the Latin and Tuscany's placement in Italy, at the center, made it easier for the language to be spread more effectively both north and south in the Italian Peninsula.

Also, during medieval times (12-13th centuries) the municipal cities, like Florence, flourished which gave them the impetus to trade and therefore gave them the necessity to overcome the language dialect differences.

The origin of Italian literature began in Florence with the writings of Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio who all wrote their works in the Florentine vernacular, therefore, this became the standard Italian throughout the country.

The original Latin language is more than 2000 years old and has influenced and is the base of all Romance languages spoken today.

The ruins of Pietrabbondante today in the region of Molise and a Samnite city.

The ruins of Pietrabbondante today in the region of Molise and a Samnite city.

Samnite warrior helmet.

Samnite warrior helmet.

More ruins at Pietrabbodante in Molise and home of the Samnites.

More ruins at Pietrabbodante in Molise and home of the Samnites.

A Samnite house

Samnite daily life

The Samnites gained a reputation as fierce and formidable warriors renowned for their brilliant cavalry and prompt attack and then they just as quickly disappeared. They were the first tribe to defeat Hannible in 217 BC.

Soldiering was a large part of the Samnite lifestyle. The warriors were only men and carried a rectangular shield tapered at the bottom and flared at the top. Warriors wore leather greave (skin armor) on the left leg to just below the knee and a band on the right ankle.

Their sword arm was protected with a leather armguard. Whey wore short hair and close beards and a winged helmet with crest, visor and plume on their heads. Their weapons were a short sword or javelin.

All Samnite warriors were required to swear a secret oath to follow their commander's every order and to fight to the death.

When not fighting, they lived in the mountainous areas of Molise. The Samnites were pantheistic believing in many gods. In fact, it was through the gods that the Samnites believed they arrived in the Molise area of Italy. The story is an interesting one.

Circe, a sorceress, and daughter of the Sun god, detained Ulysses and his crew for a year on her island off the coast of Italy. According to legend, Circe then bore Ulysses two sons named Latinos and Ayrios (the barbarian). From these two sons sprang two great Italian societies - the Oscans and the Etruscans.

The Oscans eventually divided into two tribes - the Osci (laborers of the plain) and the Sabelli (sheep herders of the mountains). The Samnites, an off-shoot of the Sabelli, became the sheep herders of the Molise mountains.

And, it was throughout these Molise hills and mountains that the Samnites built more than one hundred hill-forts for defense. They chose highly defensible positions, for example in Frosolone, with its jagged rock formations.

Pietrabbondante was considered their most elaborate, cultural, religious and political sanctuary of the Petri tribe of Samnites. It was built atop a mountain. and it contained a theater with entry corridors (parados) and arches, and an orchestra with semi-circular tiered seating called the cavea.

Above all that sat the massive temple with a flight of stairs leading to the vestibule or pronaos. Archaeologists date the temple from the end of the second century BC. Within 150 years of the Iron Age, these village type settlements dominated the Molise region of the Italian Peninsula.

The villages and farmsteads of the Samnites were settled on open land lower than the hill forts. Palisades likely enclosed the villages offering some protection. There were no big landowners among the Samnites as everyone used pastoral land communally.

The Samnites' business transactions were inscribed on animal hides, clay tablets and they read from right to left. Their written language was standardized about the end of the 5th century BC.

Ancient Samnium had a high number of free persons as the Samnites did not keep slaves. Their emphasis was on group identity. It was a patriarchal society who respected the customs and beliefs of other peoples.

From the time of the Iron Age, the Samnites were goat and sheep herders for the meat, milk and wool. The seasonal herd migration was sacred and their routes in the Molise mountains formed the network of tralluri (pathways) that would be used for more than two thousand years. Ancient inscriptions, like sign-posts, have been found along the main routes.

They lived the semi-nomadi life of shepherds which gave the Samnites a love of independence. Large settlements such as Isernia, Venafro, Larino, Bojano, and Aquilona minted their own coins and had a monetary system in place.

Young Samnite men and women were not allowed to express emotion or romantic feelings toward one another. At annual gatherings, men chose their brides with the approval of the elders. The first choice of brides went to warriors who had distinguished themselves in battle.

The town of Pietrabbondante, Italy today.

The town of Pietrabbondante, Italy today.

The Battle of Caudine Forks.  Second Samnite War.

The Battle of Caudine Forks. Second Samnite War.

Read about Isernia, Italy

The Samnite Wars and lex Julia

Once the Romans emerged and founded Rome, the Samnites were allied with Rome against the Gauls, a Celtic tribe situated in northern Italy. Sadly, though, the Samnites ended up becoming the enemies of Rome. The Samnites and the Romans ended up fighting three wars for the control of Italy.

The Samnites ended up being one of Rome's most formidable rivals as the wars extended over a half century involving almost all the states of Italy and ended in Roman domination of the Samnites and the Molise area.

First Samnite War (343-341 BC)

According to the historian Livy, this war began because of outside events and not because of enmity between the Romans and Samnites. The Samnites, apparently without provocation, attacked the Sidicini, an Italic tribe living in Campania. Once they won the battle, the Samnites tried to take over all of Campania.

The Campani asked Rome for help against the Samnites and in doing so, Campania surrendered to Rome and became officially part of Rome. In turn, the Samnites ordered their armies to march out at once and ravage Campanian territory. With this Rome formally declared war against the Samnites.

Although formidable warrriors, the Samnites fell to the Romans and retreated back to their Molise mountains.

Second Samnite War (326-304 BC)

With Rome having recovered from the first Samnite War, they sought to instigate a new war against the Samnites. The Romans built colonies in Samnium which the Samnites could not stand so the Samnites declared war on the Romans.

The Romans then confronted the Samnites in the middle of the Liris Valley which began this second war which lasted twenty years with the Romans on the offensive.

During this war the Samnites were led by Gaius Pontius who commanded this war. He is best known for his victory over the Roman legions at the Battle of Caudine Forks in 321 BC. He won a series of early victories against the Romans but failed to take advantage of those victories and the Romans continued to press into Samnite territory.

The Battle of Caudine Forks began when Roman generals lead an invading force into Samnium and were trapped in a mountain pass (Caudine Forks). The Romans could neither advance nor retreat.

To avoid annihilation, the Romans surrendered and agreed to Samnite terms. This is where Gaius Pontius made his mistake. He humiliated the Romans with a subjugation by which the Roman soldiers had to bow and pass under a yoke made of Roman spears. This was the ultimate humiliation for a Roman soldier to lose his spear, bow and pass under them, and be taken hostage.

The war stalled for five years as Samnite terms went into effect and Rome had to wait for this hostage treaty to expire. During these five years Rome strengthened its army and bode its time.

From 320-319 BC, Rome had its revenge on the Samnites and defeated them in one of the greatest battles in Roman history, according to Livy. But, the Samnites lived to fight another day and answered the Romans with a crushing defeat of the Romans. Until 314 BC, success seemed to be on the side of the Samnites.

By 311 BC the tide turned and the Romans defeated the Samnites and extended their power into north Etruria and Umbria. The Samnites, not happy, laid low for a while.

Third Samnite War (298-290 BC)

The Roman Republic continued to expand its power into central Italy. The Samnites after some time could not stand the Roman encroachment and so joined forces with the Etruscans, the Umbrians and the Gauls to the north to fight for Italy. This was the first attempt by the Italics to unite against Rome.

At this time, the Samnites were led by Gellius Egnatius. The Samnites had clearly been defeated by the Romans in the Second War, however, Egnatius marched into Etruia and convinced the Etruscans to become his ally against Rome.

When this happened, the Roman legions withdrew from Samnium for a short period of time. At this juncture, Egnatius next appealed to the Gauls, and the Umbrians to become allies as he knew that Rome would return at some point to fight.

A crucial battle for control of Italy took place in 295 BC at Sentinum in Umbria, in central Italy, where more troops were engaged than in any previous battle. Eventually, the Etruscans and the Umbrians withdrew from the fighting which left only the Samnites and the Gauls against the Roman legions.

The Romans crushed the Samnites and the Gauls, however the Samnites continued to fight until around 291 BC. The Romans again defeated the Samnites and Rome emerged from this war dominating all of the Italian Peninsula with the exception of the Po Valley, which belonged to the Gauls and the extreme south of Italy which belonged to the Greeks.

Having been defeated by the Romans three times, the Samnites were assimilated into Roman rule and life. And, the Roman victory in the Samnite wars resulted in effective Roman dominance of the Italian Peninsula. Under their law, lex Julia, the Romans had the right to demand tribute money from conquered people, which Rome did. Under this law, Rome could also confiscate all conquered lands which they also did.

The Italic peoples were being forced into poverty and slavery to the Romans with no hope of remedy. This is when the Social War (90 BC) by the Italics began by revolt. The Samnites, in particular, would not be second class citizens to the Romans. They would not live the life of being conquered.

The Samnites entered into negotiations with the Romans and through lex Julia the Romans granted full Roman citizenship to the Samnites. The Samnites were then permitted all the rights any Roman citizen was permitted. The Samnites, therefore, were elevated to the upper class of the Romans and they then peacefully assimilated into Roman life and became known as Romans.

Thus, ended the Samnite history of one of the greatest Italic peoples of Italy. They became full Roman citizens and Rome continued their control of the Abruzzo-Molise region without further revolts, wars. or uprisings. Isernia and Pietrabbondate became Roman cities.



© 2014 Suzette Walker


Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on March 29, 2015:

ladhyguitarpicker: Thanks so much for your comments and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. Yes, I do venture out from hubs on Germany. LOL! My ethnic background is German and Italian so this is right up my alley. Thanks for your visit.

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on March 23, 2015:

Enjoyed your hub very much. It wasn't from Germany but it was very good. My grandfather was from Rome and grandmother from Sicily. They were very good people. I didn't know much about the Samnites. Thanks, Stella

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on October 04, 2014:

Easy Exercise: I am so glad you read this and I hope you show this to them. Isernia, where the Samnites originally are from, is only an hour or so outside of Rome and easy to get to. From there it is only about another 30 minutes up the mountain to Piediamondante the home of the Samnites. I hope they see it. Thanks so much for reading and for leaving comments. Most appreciated.

Kelly A Burnett from United States on October 04, 2014:

My son and his family are headed to italy next month and I will be sure to share this wonderful hub with them so many details and part of history that I have learned. Thank you so much!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 15, 2014:

Hi travel-man: This was a labor of love to write because of my Italian heritage. I found it really interesting and heartening that the Samnites would not accept defeat from the Romans and negotiated to become full Roman citizens. Your heritage sounds so interesting also and I am glad you have been to Italy and especially Spain on your travels. I have visited Spain many times and have been to every region but the Basque region. I love Madrid and especially Malaga because it is on the Costa del Sol. Thank you so much for your encouragement with the ebook. I know, I have several hubs I could combine into an ebook, I just need to have the time to do it. I am interested in seeing the Philippines one day as I have never traveled to Asia or the eastern countries. Thanks so much for your input and your comments. Most appreciated.

Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on August 09, 2014:

A very meaningful family reunion! The places I visited in Italy as a sailor were Le Spezia near Milan, Gioia Tauro, Messina, Salerno and a distant look at Rome while our ship was docked at the sea nearby at the span of 2002 until 2005.

I hope I could do the same with my blood lineage in Spain as the history of Alcala clan originated there, especially in Madrid. Whenever I came across with people who have the same surname as mine, I immediately befriended them on Facebook. I was in Algeciras, Spain (near Malaga where international actor Antonio Banderas is famous) in 2002 as a sailor and came to know a little of my family roots, esp. the famed Universidad de Alcala in Madrid.

P.S. You can make an eBook out of your historical hubs.

From Philippines,

Ireno Alcala aka travelman1971

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on July 09, 2014:

Thanks so much Examiner. Yes, different peoples inhabited Italy in ancient times. I found this so interesting because of my heritage. So glad you enjoyed this. I have had a cousin and his son from Italy visiting for the past week or so and I haven't been on HP. Thanks for your input.

The Examiner-1 on July 02, 2014:

That was interesting Suzette. I knew that there were different sections of Italy but I did not know about the Romans.


Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 30, 2014:

Grazie, Mike. I am please you enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for your visit and comments.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 30, 2014:

MG Singh: I am sorry this was so exhaustive to you, but, I had to include all the pertinent information. I guess I should give out medals to those who read my hubs! LOL! You deserve one. Thanks so much for your interest and for reading this looooong hub! Your visit is most appreciated!

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 29, 2014:

Good morning suzette. Very nice piece of informative writing. Or as they say, 'molto bella'

MG Singh from UAE on June 28, 2014:

Very exhaustive and informative post. Thank you for it.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 27, 2014:

Ciao Mike: The south had more of a Greek influence to it rather than Latin, so It doesn't surprise me that they use different words. I am learning Italian slowly also. My cousin does not speak English but his son does. And, his son is coming with him. Also, my aunt and my mom are fluent in Italian. They spoke Italian as children before English. I have one other cousin who speaks Italian. Other than that the rest of us speak English and I speak Spanish and that does help. My cousin posts on FB also and it is a wonderful way to keep in touch. Both his kids also keep in touch on FB. It is fun to go back and forth with them.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 27, 2014:

Ciao Suzette: Here is what I found on Wikipedia about Italic type.

I noticed in my parents dialect that some of the common Italian words were changed: chicken was gallina instead of pollo and wine was mere instead of vino. The southern dialects also truncated a lot of words. I'm learning modern Italian (slowly) from my cousin Saverio when he posts his stuff on facebook and I translate it. Does your cousin speak English?

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 27, 2014:

Ciao, Mike: I guess you could say we are paisans! It's a small world isn't it? My relatives speak the Molise dialect and I am the same as you; I can understand it pretty much but not speak it, so I am practicing Italian with Rosetta Stone. One of my Italian cousins from Isernia is visiting next week here in America so that should be fun. As far as the Italic fonts formed by the ancient italic alphabet, I don't know. When the Samnites were conquered by the Romans they began speaking Latin and Italian as we know it is Latin based, not Italic based. So, I can't answer your question, but you could write a hub about it! LOL! Thanks so much for visit and lovely comments. Most appreciated.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 27, 2014:

Chitrangada: I am so glad you enjoyed this. I am happy you have been to Italy for a holiday. You have seen some beautiful sights. Thanks so much for your comments and I appreciated your visit.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 27, 2014:

Vellur: Thanks so much and I am glad you enjoyed reading this. Thanks for your visit.

Mike Russo from Placentia California on June 26, 2014:

Wow! great work. I love the pictures and the video. I can really appreciate this. I saw Foggia on one of the maps. My parents are from San Fernando di Apulia which is very close to Foggia. They spoke a dialect of the region, which I can understand, but can not speak fluently. I still have relatives there that I communicate with on Facebook via the translation feature. I wonder how the italic fonts were formed from the ancient italic alphabet? Thanks for sharing your research. voting up and everything except funny.


Mike Russo

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 26, 2014:

Wonderful and a very well researched article!

I have been to Italy for a holiday and sight seeing, but did not know about the history of Samnites. Very interesting read and pictures look rare, the kind we see in a museum.

Thanks for sharing this informative and educative hub!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 25, 2014:

An interesting and a fascinating read about the Samnites, great hub. Voted up interesting and informative.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

Dear Kim: I bet my relatives would love you. I am always ready to go to Isernia, but this summer my Italian cousin is coming here with his son. Next week in fact. I have been on the computer learning more Italian like crazy! I have to brush up on my Italian! LOL! I think Guido (the son) knows enough English so between us I think we might be able to communicate. I think Guido just graduated from high school and I think this is his graduation present. We shall see. Anyway, never a dull moment here. Thank you so much for your insightful comments. I would love to do Italy with you. It would be a hoot. My relatives over there are so funny and fun to be around. You are just plumb too! LOL! I might as well learn some Appalachian while I'm at it. Thanks again for your visit. I always enjoy your visits.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

Oh Jackie, you always make me laugh. I was a teacher. I am retired now. But I taught Spanish and I took my students to Spain so we had a great time. So glad you enjoyed reading this. thanks so much!

ocfireflies from North Carolina on June 25, 2014:


My bags are packed

I am ready to go

to Isernia, Italy

where all is lovely

charming and bold.

I can't help but be a broken record for you never produce anything but stellar hubs, and this one is no different. V+/Share

You are just plumb (to use some of my Appalachian influence-smiles)



Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

ologsinquito: Thanks so much for your interest and I am pleased you enjoyed this. Thanks for your comments and visit.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

Bill: I am so pleased you are enjoying this series. It has been so interesting for me. It has expanded my knowledge also. Thanks for your support and visit. Most appreciated.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on June 25, 2014:

Before Rome; wow that is history! If you are not a teacher; you should be! These are fantastic reads plus the whole composition. ^+

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

Lady Guinevere: I am so glad you found this interesting and enjoyed this. Who knew my relatives went back to before the Romans? Researching this was so interesting for me too. Thanks for the pin and the share. Most appreciated.

ologsinquito from USA on June 25, 2014:

This really is fascinating, and so well written. Thanks for doing all this research.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 25, 2014:

I hope I'm not the only one who finds this series fascinating because it really is excellent. Thank you once again for expanding my knowledge.

Debra Allen from West Virginia on June 25, 2014:

This was so interesting. I am so glad that you wrote all this up. I never really liked the Roman history and now see a different side of things. I often wondered what was before The Roman Empire. Now I know. Thanks so much.

Pinned and shared for you.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

CMHypno: I agree, history is always written by the conqueror's that 's the Romans. It would have been quite a different world had the Samnites of the Celts won instead of the Romans. Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. Most appreciated.

CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on June 25, 2014:

Fascinating Suzette. Thanks for so much great information on the Samnites, an ancient civilisation I didn't know very much about before. It's interesting to ponder on what Europe would be like today if the the Romans had not conquered such a huge Empire and had remained just a province of Italy

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

Thanks so much Will and I am pleased you found this interesting and informative.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

Nell: At least the Celtics allowed their women to be warriors and hold powerful positions in their society. The Samnites had none of it. They were strictly patriarchal and no women warriors. They picked their wives during an annual event. How passionate is that? LOL! Yes, we both were conquered by the Romans, but who wasn't back then? You guys got them out of the British Isles. The Samnites became Romans citizens and assimilated into Roman life so I am Roman also. Oh, dear!

Anyway, wouldn't it have been fun to live back then? Or did we? I sometimes think we live several lives. LOL!

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on June 25, 2014:

Very informative and interesting Hub! Voted up.

Nell Rose from England on June 25, 2014:

lol! yes we have something in common, we were conquered by those guys too! for 400 years! but then we kicked them out, and king arthur reigned! or so they!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on June 25, 2014:

Thanks so much Nell for your kind comments. Well, you have the Briton Celts in you so you are a warrior also. You have Queen Boudicca! You are descendant of a warrior queen for heaven's sake. This was an amazing story when I first went to visit my Italian relatives. As they say, something got 'lost in the translantion.' I didn't understand the whole story, but when I read a National Geographic article about the Samnites, I really then understood my heritage and and the significance of Pietrabbondante. I sent a copy of the National Geographic magazine to my relatives in Italy and they chuckled. They were like, "yes, we know all of this." So, I didn't quite 'get it all' in 1980, but I fully understand it now. This was really run to research and write and I love being a Samnite, but we were conquered by the Romans!

Nell Rose from England on June 25, 2014:

Wow Suzette, I never knew about any of this! To be honest I always thought it was Romans and that was that! The Samnites were really fascinating, and were warriors, imagine being related by genetics, I am jealous! lol! Seriously, I can feel a HOTD coming on here, wonderful stuff, voted up and shared all over!

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