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The inhabitants (1)

Ancient tribes

Rutuli

   Rutuli (Rhoutouloi), a people of ancient Italy, who, according to a tradition generally received in later times, were settled at a very early period in a part of Latium, adjoining the sea-coast, their capital city being Ardea. The prominent part that they and their king Turnus bear in the legendary history of Aeneas and the Trojan settlement, especially in the form in which this has been worked up by Virgil, has given great celebrity to their name, but they appear to have been, in fact, even according to these very traditions, a small and unimportant people. Their king Turnus himself is represented as dependent on Latinus; and it is certain that in the historical period Ardea was one of the cities of the Latin League (Dionys. v. 61), while the name of the Rutuli had become merged in that of the Latin people. Not long before this indeed Livy represents the Rutuli as a still existing people, and the arms of Tarquinius Superbus as directed against them when he proceeded to attack Ardea, just before his expulsion. (Liv. i. 56, 57.) According to this narrative Ardea was not taken, but we learn from much better authority (the treaty between Rome and Carthage preserved by Polybius, iii. 22) that it had fallen under the power of the Romans before the close of the monarchy, and it is possible that the extinction of the Rutuli as an independent people may date from this period. The only other mention of the Rutuli which can be called historical is that their name is found in the list given by Cato (ap. Priscian. iv. 4. p. 629) of the cities that took part in the foundation of the celebrated temple of Diana at Aricia, a list in all probability founded upon some ancient record; and it is remarkable that they here figure as distinct from the Ardeates. There were some obscure traditions in antiquity that represented Ardea as founded by a colony from Argos [ARDEA], and these are regarded by Niebuhr as tending to prove that the Rutuli were a Pelasgic race. (Nieb. vol. i. p. 44, vol. ii. p. 21.) Schwegler, on the other hand considers them as connected with the Etruscans, and probably a relic of the period when that people had extended their dominion throughout Latium and Campania. This theory finds some support in the name of Turnus, which may probably be connected with Tyrrhenus, as well as in the union which the legend represents as subsisting between Turnus and the Etruscan king Mezentius. (Schwegler, Rom. Gesch. vol. i. pp. 330, 331.) But the whole subject is so mixed up with fable and poetical invention, that it is impossible to feel confidence in any such conjectures.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


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