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a more complete destruction. The Cyclopean ruins are their only monument. The

Greek historians, when referring to them, do so in a tone of contempt and hatred;

and the few traditions which are thus left on record of the primitive people are

unfavorable to their character. Dark deeds of blood are vaguely hinted at. Thus

we are told that the women of Lemnos strangled all their husbands in a single

night; also that Phocian prisoners were stoned to death by the people of Argylla.

Such references, however, are but another example of the proverbial dislike

displayed by warlike tribes towards the primitive agricultural and pastoral

peoples whom they displace. The Pelasgians were of precisely this peaceable type.

They worshipped the subterranean gods who give the wealth of the field and the

mine. They loved the earth for its gold and its corn. The worship of the dragons,

the serpent gods, the great and violent agents of transformation and destruction,

such as the wind, the storm, the fire, seemed to them the worship of magicians

rather than of men.

The peace loving and industrious Pelasgians were assailed with merciless severity

by the warlike races coming from the East. It seemed also that nature became

hostile. About the time when Italy was invaded by the new peoples there were

earthquakes in divers places. Volcanic eruptions made the land a terror. Severe

droughts parched the fields into dust and stubble. Then the priests told the

Pelasgians that their promise to give a tenth of all they had to the gods had not

been fulfilled, for the tenth of the children had been spared. Then human nature

revolted. The Pelasgi gave up in despair and scattered into foreign lands. They

were pursued, taken, made into slaves. So did the people of Central Greece to

those who came within their power. So did the Hellenes who settled in Magna

Graecia to the native population of OEnotria. So did the invaders of the western

coast to those whom they found in Latium and Etruria. It thus happened that that

portion of the original population of Italy which did not fly into foreign parts

was gradually absorbed by the conquering tribes of Oscans and Umbrians and


The next stage in the ethnic history of the ancient Italy is that which considers

the races last mentioned. The relations of the Umbrians to the Pelasgi, whether

they were or were not themselves Pelasgic in their origin or kinship, can never

perhaps be ascertained. Certain it is that in the earliest times those people

were spread from sea to sea in the northern part of Central Italy, and were not

by any means confined to the district of country which afterwards retained their

name. There are many traditions of their power and greatness. By and by, however,

the Etruscans on the west began to make conquests, and are said to have taken

three hundred Umbrian towns. The territorial limits of the parent state were thus

greatly curtailed, and the Umbrians were finally confined to the country east of

the Apennines.

The science of language has shown conclusively that the Umbrians were of the same

family with the other Italic races-the Oscans, the Latins, and the Etruscans. It

appears that the celebrated tribe of the Sabines was Umbrian in its origin.

Indeed, the territory of these hardy mountaineers was originally a part of the

parent state. It is also known that the Senonian Gauls, inhabiting the shores of

the upper Adriatic, expelled the Umbrians from a portion of the territory which

they had originally occupied in that region, thus further curtailing their

original territory.

After the Romans began their bold career, they came in contact with the Umbrians

beyond the Ciminian forest. The relations of the two people were at first

friendly, but afterwards, when Rome was engaged in the Etruscan war, a portion of

the Umbrian tribes-which seem withal to have had no common government- took sides

with the Etruscans, and were thus with the other enemies of Rome involved in a

common ruin. As soon as Etruria was subjugated the consul Fabius turned his arms

against the remaining tribes, and the whole territory was, in a brief period,

obliged to yield to Roman domination.

The second of these ancient peoples of Italy was the Etruscans. Their language

and institutions were quite strongly discriminated from those of the Umbrians,

the Oscans, and