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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates

THE HISTORY OF OLD ROME

I. The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson


The History of Old Rome

CHAPTER II - The Earliest Migrations into Italy

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

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Page 19

The house and the fixed hearth, which the husbandman constructs instead of the light hut and shifting fireplace of the shepherd, are represented in the spiritual domain and idealized in the goddess Vesta or --Estia-- almost the only divinity not Indo-Germanic yet from the first common to both nations. One of the oldest legends of the Italian stock ascribes to king Italus, or, as the Italians must have pronounced the word, Vitalus or Vitulus, the introduction of the change from a pastoral to an agricultural life, and shrewdly connects with it the original Italian legislation. We have simply another version of the same belief in the legend of the Samnite stock which makes the ox the leader of their primitive colonies, and in the oldest Latin national names which designate the people as reapers (-Siculi-, perhaps also -Sicani-), or as field-labourers (-Opsci-). It is one of the characteristic incongruities which attach to the so-called legend of the origin of Rome, that it represents a pastoral and hunting people as founding a city. Legend and faith, laws and manners, among the Italians as among the Greeks are throughout associated with agriculture. (7)

7. Nothing is more significant in this respect than the close connection of agriculture with marriage and the foundation of cities during the earliest epoch of culture. Thus the gods in Italy immediately concerned with marriage are Ceres and (or?) Tellus (Plutarch, Romul. 22; Servius on Aen. iv. 166; Rossbach, Rom. Ehe, 257, 301), in Greece Demeter (Plutarch, Conjug. Praec. init.); in old Greek formulas the procreation of children is called --arotos--(ii. The Family and the State, note); indeed the oldest Roman formof marriage, -confarreatio-, derives its name and its ceremony from the cultivation of corn. The use of the plough in the founding of cities is well known.

Cultivation of the soil cannot be conceived without some measurement of it, however rude. Accordingly, the measures of surface and the mode of setting off boundaries rest, like agriculture itself, on a like basis among both peoples. The Oscan and Umbrian -vorsus- of one hundred square feet corresponds exactly with the Greek --plethron--. The principle of marking off boundaries was also the same. The land-measurer adjusted his position with reference to one of the cardinal points, and proceeded to draw in the first place two lines, one from north to south, and another from east to west, his station being at their point of intersection (-templum-, --temenos-- from --temno--); then he drew at certain fixed distances lines parallel to these, and by this process produced a series of rectangular pieces of ground, the corners of which were marked by boundary posts (-termini-, in Sicilian inscriptions -termones-, usually --oroi--).

This mode of defining boundaries, which is probably also Etruscan but is hardly of Etruscan origin, we find among the Romans, Umbrians, Samnites, and also in very ancient records of the Tarentine Heracleots, who are as little likely to have borrowed it from the Italians as the Italians from the Tarentines: it is an ancient possession common to all. A peculiar characteristic of the Romans, on the other hand, was their rigid carrying out of the principle of the square; even where the sea or a river formed a natural boundary, they did not accept it, but wound up their allocation of the land with the last complete square.

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