Before becoming a great empire that would mark the face of the world forever, the still republican city of Rome had to face a series of military conflicts that questioned its very existence, as well as its preponderance and its form of organization . One of the latter was the so-called Social War .
Social War was a military conflict that happened between the years of 91 and 88 a. C, with the confrontation on the one hand by the Roman Republic and, on the other hand, by different Italic peoples connected
These peoples, until then allies of Rome, felt mistreated by the city, since they should be treated as allies (which they were officially), but they were treated as a possession. Social War
The citizenship Roman was a very sensitive issue for these allies, as this gave many advantages in the form of rights, on the one hand being very attractive, but that could not be enjoyed in a massive way.
Among the advantages were an equitable distribution of land and a greater benefit from the sharing of the spoils of war. Although the Italic Allies contributed the majority of soldiers to the legions, Rome had the best share and that increased with the corresponding fall of the Allies.
In exchange for supporting his projects, the tribune of the plebs, Marco Livio Druso, promised the Italic allies Roman citizenship, a promise that could not be kept as he was murdered (a common death among political offices in Ancient Rome), presumably by order or, at least, by the influence of the Senate. Social War
So the allies, seeing that the Senate was totally reticent about granting them citizenship and that they would never be treated in the same way as the other Romans, despite providing the same service, decided to “nip in the bud”
The Etruscan, Samnite, Picene, Lucan, Umbrian, Apulian, Marrucian allies, among others, confederated and constituted a republic, elected their own Senate, minted their own currency, raised a new capital (called Italica) and declared war on Pomegranate. Social War
Things did not start well for the city that would later conquer much of the known world, as they were defeated in several battles in 91 BC. C, year in which revolts broke out across the peninsula against the Romans.
The troops of the Italic Confederates were made up of veterans from previous campaigns of the Roman Republic, so their armor and tactics were identical to the Roman army. Social War
Thus, we will also speak of the Samnite and the Marsi legions.
Due to its geographical situation in relation to Rome, which is located in the central part of the Italian peninsula and from which practically all the Latins (from present-day Lazio) followed loyally, the allies divided their forces into two fronts, north and south, while the Romans had to do their own thing, dedicating each of their consuls to one of the fronts. Social War
Publio Rutilio Lupo, consul in charge of the northern front, was defeated in 90 a. C in the Toledo valley.
One of his assistants was Caius Mario, who would eventually assume sole command and prove over the years to be one of Rome’s best strategists and author of the army reform, which would allow the eternal city to conquer the world.
In the year 89 a. C, Lucio Cornelio Sila would take control of the southern army
Sulla, who would eventually get involved in a civil war against Mario, would become a dictator, persecuting, among others, Julius Caesar himself and would become one of the commanders and politicians of reference in Ancient Rome.
Little by little, the Romans managed to recover from the initial defeats and regain lost ground , going on the offensive. In 89, Sulla defeated a large Samnite army. Social War
In 88, the only real enemies left to Rome were precisely the Samnites, even as the Romans accepted that they had to negotiate, not just to end the war, but to ensure peace in the future.
In the end and despite losing the conflict, the Italic allies managed to gain the long-awaited citizenship
Rome was a military power, but the Romans were also pragmatic negotiators, they knew they could come to an understanding with their old allies to stand strong against their new enemies, for example, the Germanic tribes.
Over the centuries and the so-called “Romanization”, the differences between Romans and Italic allies evaporated. Social War