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Rome

ROME. Of the Indo-European tribes who entered Italy, the Latins formed a separate branch, occupying an enclave round the mouth of the Tiber and the Latium Plain. They were surrounded, and indeed constricted, by the Etruscan Empire in the north, the Greek maritime colonies in the south, and by related but hostile Italic tribes who held the rest of the peninsula and the arc of hill-country, which fenced off the Latin plain. Therefore, a sense of unity arose in the Latin speaking communities, and their scattered groups were linked into leagues and confederacies. The lowlanders built defendable stockaded retreats to which the plainsmen could retire with flocks and families, and located such forts on hills and outcrops of higher land. In this way Rome came into being. Vergil’s idyllic picture of primitive Rome in the Eighth Book of his Aeneid is not far from the truth. The most ancient acropolis could have been the Palatine hill, where the stockade of one shepherd community was built.