Gary Forsythe: A Critical History of Early Rome: 'By 264 B.C. peninsular Italy was firmly under Roman military control. Its population consisted of three different categories of people. First of all, there were the Roman citizens. They occupied the actual territory of the Roman state, which stretched across central Italy from the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic, extended southward in a strip down along the Volscian coast to the Bay of Naples, and included northern Campania. According to Roman census figures, which seem to be credible from the early third century B.C. onwards, the adult male Roman population at this time numbered more than a quarter of a million. Secondly, there were the states allied to Rome. In geography and population they formed the largest of the three categories. They were the various Etruscan, Umbrian, Picene, Sabellian, Messapic, and Greek communities of northern and southern Italy, who still exercised local autonomy over their own affairs but were bound to Rome by individual bilateral treaties. Generally speaking, these states were governed by republican constitutions of various configurations, and political power was largely in the hands of local landed elites, who had the same basic social, economic, and political interests and outlook as the Roman aristocracy. The third category of people in Roman Italy were the Latin colonies scattered throughout the peninsula. Since their inhabitants enjoyed Latin status and had Rome as their mother-city, they were closely bound to the Roman state by law, language, culture, and sentiment. Though numerically the smallest of the three categories, their numbers were deployed geographically to best safeguard Roman interests in the lands of the allied communities. Rome held the commanding central position of this legal structure, which integrated all these peoples into a single military organization. Both the Italian allies and the Latin colonies were bound directly to Rome by individual treaties which spelled out their rights and obligations. As long as domestic tranquillity was maintained, Rome was content to allow the allied...


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