How the Romans destroyed the largest city in Europe

250 years before the destruction of Carthage, the Romans destroyed another major city, Veii. As in the case of Carthage, this was preceded by a long period of very heavy wars for Rome, in which the Roman army was repeatedly defeated, and the Roman state itself stood on the verge of death.

Unlike Carthage, the city of Veii is located on the mainland. On the same peninsula, as Rome. Moreover, very close to him – just 16 kilometers away. The huge Etruscan metropolis of Veii, with a population of about 350,000, according to modern estimates, was initially much larger and stronger than Rome. According to Roman legends, the first clashes with the Etruscans who inhabited Veii began even under the founder of Rome, Romulus. This is not surprising, because Veyi and Rome immediately found themselves in a situation of rivalry literally because of everything – crossings over the Tiber, control over the profitable Salt Road, and simply adjacent lands.

The Romans expelled their last king, Tarquinius the Proud, in 510 BC. The first of a series of major wars that put an end to the long rivalry between Rome and Veii was associated with this event. Veii and other Etruscan cities supported Tarquinia and seized the Roman lands on the right bank of the Tiber. Only after ten years of continuous war, the young Roman Republic regained its lost territory. At the same time, the Italic tribes of the Volsk and Eqs attacked Rome, so Rome did not continue the difficult and costly war with the Weyas and concluded a truce with him for a period of 40 years.

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The second war began after the fall of Fidena from Rome, located in a strategically important place. He controlled the crossing over the Tiber, 7.5 kilometers from Rome, was located directly on a busy trade route and was economically connected with Veyia, but under the last peace treaty went to Rome. In 428 BC, the inhabitants of Fiden raised a rebellion and killed four Roman envoys, after which they turned for help to the king of Wei, Lars Tolumnius. The Romans declared war to Wayam, which lasted for 12 years. In the end, Rome defeated the enemy troops and captured the Fideny. The city was plundered, all its inhabitants sold into slavery. With Veyyami concluded another truce, another 20 years.

The third and last war began exclusively on the Roman initiative. After the end of the truce, the ambassadors of the Roman Republic came to the city of Veii and demanded that Rome be compensated for the damage caused by the previous war. The authorities of Veyi refused rudely. The following year, Rome declared war on Wayam. Veii were part of the so-called “Twelve Grad”, a confederation of the largest Etruscan cities. But the relatives did not come out to help Vayyam. Some of them, the coastal Vulci and Ceres, were allies of Rome. The Romans, in case of reinforcement, approached the city with a double ring of fortifications. But the huge Veii, occupying a plateau of about 190 hectares, it was very difficult to close a solid dense ring of troops. Not surprisingly, the besieged made a major raid, inflicted heavy losses on the Romans and burned the siege structures.

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The fears of the Romans turned out to be well-founded, and the tribes of capenates and faliski, who were adjacent to the Veii, were against them. Their combined army attacked one of the siege camps of the Romans, at the same time the besieged made a sortie by large forces. The operation was so successful that the Romans in this area were completely defeated and fled. The siege lasted a total of about ten years and was accompanied by numerous battles both around the city and in adjacent territories. In the 396th year, after the next grave defeats, the Romans elected dictator Camille. He began by ordering the execution of everyone who escaped from Wei. In Rome, held a new set of troops, with cruel punishments against draft dodgers. The Allied forces of the Latins and the Guernals called for help. Camille did not immediately go to Veii, but first he defeated the falsies and capenates, to deprive the besieged foreign aid. Arriving at Veii, the dictator threw all his strength into the dig, which was dug around the clock in six shifts. When it was finished, the troops of Rome went on the assault around the perimeter of the siege, and a selective detachment entered the city by underground.

The city was taken, all the surviving population sold into slavery. The Romans themselves did not need so many slaves, so it is believed that most of them were bought by slave traders from Carthage and Sicily. Camill received a well-deserved triumph. For the first time the Romans crushed an opponent equal to them in strength. Rome annexed more than half a thousand square kilometers of land belonging to the Veyyam. After defeating the Allies of Veii, he annexed their lands, which was the beginning of the unstoppable expansion of Rome to the rest of the peninsula. The town of Veyi itself, which had been in ruins for a long time, was restored and inhabited by the Romans under the emperor Octavian Augustus.

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