Italy Early History

Early Cultures and Iron Age

During the Iron Age, several cultures followed each other that can be differentiated into three major geographic nuclei, that of Ancient Lazio, that of Magna Grecia and that of Etruria. One of these cultures, the Ligurians, were an enigmatic people who inhabited northern Italy, Switzerland, and southern France. Another people, the Etruscans, had their historical nucleus in Tuscany, and they had an uncertain origin. From Tuscany they spread south to Lazio and the northern part of Campania, where they collided with the Greek colonies; towards the north of the Italian peninsula they occupied the area around the valley of the river Po, in the present region of Lombardy. Towards the V century a. C. began to deteriorate strongly its power to a great extent when having to face almost at the same time the invasions of the Celts and the attacks of the Greeks and Carthaginians. Around 40 a. C., Etruria (name of the country of the Etruscans) was conquered by the Romans, sooner or later, were the rest of the peripheral towns.


Ancient Rome designates an agricultural community founded around the 8th century (BC) that expanded from the city of Rome and grew over centuries to become an empire, which in its heyday spanned from Great Britain to the Sahara desert and from the Iberian Peninsula to the Euphrates, causing an important cultural flourishing in each place in which he ruled. At first, after its foundation (according to tradition in 753 BC) Rome was an Etruscan monarchy. Later (509 BC) it was a Latin Roman republic, and in 27 (BC) it became an empire.

The period of greatest splendor is known as Roman Peace, due to the relative state of harmony that prevailed in the regions that were under Roman rule. César Augusto closed the doors of the Temple of Janus, which remained open during periods of war, when he believed that he had defeated Cantabrians and Asturians in the year 24 BC It is usually accepted as the start date of the Roman peace 29 (BC), when August declares the end of civil wars, and their duration until the death of Marco Aurelio (year 180).

With the emperor Diocletian the Empire was reorganized, but after Constantine I the Great it was not unified again since Theodosius I the Great divided it between his two sons, Arcadius and Flavius ​​Honorius, awarding one the Byzantine Empire – based in Constantinople – and on the other the Western Roman Empire. Barbarian invasions will end the Western Empire in 476, ushering in the Middle Ages.

Middle Ages (5th to 13th centuries)

The Ostrogoths were a group of Goths who had been subjugated by the Huns, but after their liberation from them Theodoric the Great with the blessing of the Eastern Emperor, led his people to Italy in 488. In the peninsula the Herulus Odoacer ruled after deposing the last Roman emperor in 476, but after a campaign in the north of the peninsula, Theodoric took the capital, Ravenna, killing Odoacer in 493. In 526 the death of Theodoric ended the peace, Italy inheriting his grandson, Atalarico, that he died without children, which produced a crisis that led to the disappearance of the kingdom.

Under Justinian I, the Byzantine Empire began a series of campaigns with the aim of rebuilding Mediterranean unity. The weakness of the Ostrogoth kingdom, and the Byzantine wishes to recapture the city of Rome made Italy a target. In 535 General Belisarius invaded Sicily and marched across the peninsula, taking Naples and reaching Rome in 536. He continued north and took Mediolanum (Milan) and Ravenna in 540, and by 561 he had pacified the area.

Among the different Germanic peoples who had abandoned their ancient abode to live on better lands The Lombards, who Justinian I had allowed to settle in Pannonia, were counted on condition that they defended the frontier. The pressure of the Lombards on the Pope caused the King of the Frankish people, Pepin the Short, to carry out between 756 and 758 repeated campaigns in northern Italy, a country that belongs to European Union according to The situation worsened after Pepin’s death, but the reunification of the Franks under Charlemagne led to a new intervention in Italy in 774. After a brief battle, Charlemagne seized the kingdom of Lombardy, which, maintaining its autonomy, was He joined the Carolingian Empire. Between the 10th and 13th centuries, certain maritime republics enjoyed economic prosperity, thanks to their commercial activity, within a framework of broad political autonomy. Generally, the definition refers specifically to four cities: Amalfi, Pisa, Genoa and Venice. Other cities in the area also enjoyed independence (autonomous government in the form of an oligarchic republic, currency, army, etc.), had participated in the Crusades, had a naval fleet, had founders, “consuls of the nationes”, who watched over the commercial interests of their respective cities in the Mediterranean ports, and can be included by right among the maritime republics. Among these, Gaeta, Ancona, Trani and Noli should be highlighted. and they can be included by right between the maritime republics. Among these, Gaeta, Ancona, Trani and Noli should be highlighted. and they can be included by right between the maritime republics. Among these, Gaeta, Ancona, Trani and Noli should be highlighted.

Italy Early History