The Guerres samnites put at the catches two rising powers of Italy, the Romains, Masters of the Latium, and the mountain dwellers Samnites, inhabitants of the Samnium, who seek to extend their territory on the rich person Campanie and the Greek cities of the coast like Naples.
In 354, a treaty passed between Rome and the confederation samnite delimit the zones of respective influence and envisage a co-operation in the event of external aggression, which could be the case with the Gallic incursions these years.
First War samnite (- 343 to -341)
Starting the First War samnite the Romans intervene in -343 to protect their allied Capoue, which, according to the Roman historians, was put under the protection of Rome and is threatened by Samnites.
Samnites are overcome in -341 by the military powerful orator Publius Decius Mus. But Rome cannot exploit its success and must fold up because of the rising of the Latin , which threaten Rome directly. This war also had as a consequence the establishment of bonds privileged with Capoue, which becomes allied of Rome.
Peace lasts 14 years, during which the Romans subdue the revolt of the Latin Ligue and get rid of the Gallic danger. They found colonies in territory samnite, of which Cales in -337 and Fregellae in -328 in the area of the average valley of Liri which controls the passage between Latium and the Campania.
Second War samnite (- 327 to -304)
The foundation of Fregellae causes an immediate hostile reaction of Samnites. The conflict will last 40 years. In -326, the Romans gain their first successes, the Greek city of Naples drives out the garrison samnite and called upon them. In -324, Samnites settle with Pompéi. After several years of wars of borders, the Roman consuls decide, into -321, to carry the war in territory samnite, initiative which ends in the humiliating capture of two legions by the samnite Caius Pontius with the battle of the Fourches Caudines, in -321. The hostilities end into -316 and the trève is in favor of Samnites, which obtain Romans the transfer of the Roman colony of Fregellae. The Romans annex Capoue, and start into -312 the construction of the Via Appia which connects Rome to Capoue.
Rome made profitable this lull to reinforce its position in Campania and to conclude a series from alliances with cities of Apulie of North. The hostilities begin again into -314, the Romans gain the victory of Ardéa and Fregallae is taken again into -313. But the Romans must deal with vast coalition gathering Samnites, the Etruscans, the Ombriens, the Marses, the Herniques and the Péligniens and the Salentins. The Etruscans are overcome in Sutrium then in the Ciminienne forest by Quintus Fabius Maximus Rullianus, then by Lucius Papirius Cursor with the lake Vadimon. In -306, Rome crushes the Hernique revolt and appendix their territory. The following year, the populations of the Abruzzi undergo the same fate. The hostilities with Samnites are completed into -305 (or -304) by the Bataille of Bovianum. Peace will be concluded with them the following year. In -304, Marses, Péligniens, the Marrucins and the Volsques are in their turn crushed and subjected. The Èques, overcome by a campaign flash, are annexed.
This war made it possible to the Romans to ensure their domination on all central Italy. As their practice, they ensured their new conquests by the construction of a strategic road who connected Rome to the Adriatic by central Apennin and while basing of news colonies on the new acquired territories, in Minturnes, Sinuessa and Venusia.
Third War samnite (- 298 to -290)
In -298, the hostilities begin again with Samnites. In -295, Samnites succeeded in making penetrate an army in Italy of North, assisted by their Etruscan allies and ombriens, which was in war against Rome since -302. Moreover, they benefitted from the presence from Gallic which since -299 made regular incursions in Italy of North. The Romans crushed this coalition with the Bataille of Sentinum into -295. The territory samnite was invaded and the Romans gained the Bataille of Aquilonia into -293. In spite of the defeat of Quintus Fabius Maximus Gurges in -292, Samnites capitulated in -290, Rome controls their cities and annexed their territory.
- Rome, size and decline of the Republic, Marcel Glay, 1990, edition Perrin
- List of the wars of the Roman Republic
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