In the great struggle of the nationalities within the wide circuit
of the Roman empire, the secondary nations seem at this period on
the wane or disappearing. The most important of them all, the
Phoenician, received through the destruction of Carthage a mortal
wound from which it slowly bled to death.
The districts of Italy
which had hitherto preserved their old language and manners,
Etruria and Samnium, were not only visited by the heaviest blows
of the Sullan reaction, but were compelled also by the political
levelling of Italy to adopt the Latin language and customs in
public intercourse, so that the old native languages were reduced
to popular dialects rapidly decaying.
There no longer appears
throughout the bounds of the Roman state any nationality entitled
even to compete with the Roman and the Greek.