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The inhabitants (1)
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
- Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD)
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