The Volsci (UK: //, US: / , - /-,, Latin: [ˈwɔɫskiː]) were an Italic Osco-Umbrian tribe, well known in the history of the first century of the Roman Republic. At the time they inhabited the partly hilly, partly marshy district of the south of Latium, bounded by the Aurunci and Samnites on the south, the Hernici on the east, and stretching roughly from Norba and Cora in the north to Antium in the south. Rivals of Rome for several hundred years, their territories were taken over by and assimilated into the growing republic by 300 BCE. Rome's first emperor Augustus was of Volscian descent.
Description by the ancient geographers
In the Volscian territory lay the little town of Velitrae (modern Velletri), home of the ancestors of Caesar Augustus. From this town comes an inscription dating probably from early in the 3rd century BCE; it is cut upon a small bronze plate (now in the Naples Museum), which must have once been fixed to some votive object, and dedicated to the god Declunus (or the goddess Decluna).
Conflict with ancient Rome
According to the semi-legendary history of early Rome, its seventh and last king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was the first to go to war against the Volsci, commencing two centuries of conflict between the two states.
Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, the legendary Roman warrior, earned his cognomen after capturing the Volscian town of Corioli in 493 BCE. The reputed rise and fall of this Roman hero is chronicled in Plutarch's Parallel Lives, which served as the basis for the Shakespeare play, Coriolanus.
However, if Livy's account of the war between Rome and Clusium is accurate, it would seem that the relationship between Rome and the Volsci was not always hostile. Livy writes that at the approach of the Clusian army in 508 BCE, with the prospect of a siege, the Roman senate arranged for the purchase of grain from the Volsci to feed the lower classes of Rome.
- Camilla in Virgil's Aeneid, a Volscian Warrior Maiden (like the legendary Amazons).
- Attius Tullus Aufidius, leader of the Volsci during the Roman–Volscian wars.
Prominent Romans of Volscian ancestry
Roman Gentes of Volscian origin
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- Livy Ab urbe condita 2.10
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