The Latin League
(c. 7th century BC - 338 BC
) was a confederation of about 30 villages and tribes in the region of Latium
near ancient Rome
organized for mutual defense.
Latin League creation
It was originally created for protection against enemies from surrounding areas under the leadership of the city of Alba Longa
. During the 6th century BC, the Etruscan
kings tried to establish their rule over Aricia
but the league's policies prevented the Etruscans
' invasion. The early Roman Republic
formed an alliance with the Latin League in 493 BC. According to Roman tradition, this treaty, the foedus Cassianum
, followed a Roman victory over the league in the Battle of Lake Regillus
. The treaty provided that both Rome and the Latin League would share loot from military conquests (which would later be one of the reasons for the Latin War
341-338 BC), and provided that any military campaigns between the two be led by Roman generals. This alliance helped repel attacks from such peoples as the Aequi
and the Volsci
- nomadic tribes of the Apennine Mountains
- who were prevented from invading Latium by the blending of armies. It is still unclear if the Latins
had accepted Rome as one into the League, or if the treaty had been signed as between the Roman State and the Latin League.
Roman overtaking the League
The increasing power of Rome gradually led to its domination of the league. The renewal of the original treaty in 358 BC formally established Roman leadership and eventually triggered the outbreak of the Latin War (343 BC—338 BC). Following the Roman victory, the league was dissolved.
After 338 BC, the end of the Latin league, Rome renamed the cities municipiae and established coloniae inside them. This meant that the towns were now ruled by Rome (or the Roman republic) and that the people living there were considered Roman colonists.