The Sannitis (or Sabelli) were an ancient italic people appropriated in a territory, said Sannio, correspondent to the actual territories of northern Campania, of tall Puglia, of big part of Molise (except the line frentano), of the low Abruzzo and of the tall Lucania. Together of reunited tribe in the League sanniticas, progressively extended, during the first halves the The millennium B.C. his/her own area of influence, thin to arrive to englobe their southern neighbors the Oscis, to which were linguistically very similar. In the IV century B.C. they came in contact with the Roman Republic, then power in full ascent. Between 343 and 290 B.C. the three Wars sannitiches enacted the supremacy of the Romans on the Sannitis, cracked but not revoked by defections and rebellions in the following centuries. The Sannitis were therefore completely romanizzati, in a long trial that concluded him only in the first centuries of the The millennium d.C.


Thanks to the archaeological results, today we know that the Sannitis as the Sabinis, itself same Safinoses defined because you participate in the Safinas Tutas (ethnically intended as society of stock among the shed similar human groups on the whole areale centromeridionale), as Safnios defined his/her own national territory. The different denominations to us come through the Latin language explain him with the circumstance that in Latin archaic her / f / intervocalic it was not present and you/he/she was pronounced as / b /, for which Safnio became Sabnium and then Samnium, while Safinos became Sabnites and finally Samnites. Other name with which the Sannitis were known is Samentes, name then remained in the vernacular they live for pointing out, note, the Sannitis; Samentes derives from an ancient voice osca from the meaning similar to goats, in reference to the bucolic customs of the Sannitis.


The Sabinis that had longly waged war with the Umbris their neighbors, not could prevail on them, they decided to sacrifice how much would have been born in that year, if you/they had brought victory on the Umbris. This happened and they maintained therefore the vote, but having been oppressed then by serious famine, to free from such calamity they decided to again consecrate to the gods their born children, because so you/they would have had the abundance. And these, consecrate to the god Mars, sews together that they were to the adult age you/they were sent by their parents to look for other abode.

According to the legend, therefore, the tribe sabellica of the Pentris, driven by the "ox", you/he/she would be stopped to north of the river Tifernus (near the today's Matese), and you/he/she would have founded the city of Bovianum that was, according to the Roman historian Tito Livio, capital of the Sannio. Bovianum annually remembered with the ver sacrum the arrival of the tribe pentrica driven by the ox that it gives the name to the city. A second tribe, that of the Irpinis driven by the "wolf" (in osco hirpus) you/he/she would be stopped in the valleys of the Heat and the Saturday; a bystander, driven by the "woodpecker" (picus) you/he/she would be stopped to south of the Terminio in the said country therefore of the Picentinis; a fourth grade, driven by the "wild boar" (aber, from where Abella, the actual Avella), south of the Partenio would be appropriated to, in the "Conca Avellana".

The League Sannitica

The territory progressively occupied by the confederation expanded sannita him, but reaches to touch the Low Lazio and the zone in Naples the Sannitis owed compare him with the Romans, with which you/they stipulated in first place a pact of friendship in 354 to.C.[2]. Eleven years later, in 343 B.C., the city etrusca of Capua was busy from the Sannitis and churches help to the Roman Senate, that welcomed the supplication. The first war sannitica was brief and the Romans prevailed, despite some initial difficulties, thanks to the Battle of Suessula (341 B.C.) Her inside social tensions and the worry for the possible unfaithfulness of other subdued italic people just induced however the Senate to stipulate a great deal an essay of mild peace with the Sannitis.

Beautiful Casus of the second war sannitica was the foundation of the Roman colony of Fregellae, in territory sannitico; the conflict blazed in 326 B.C. and the Sannitis could recently count on the support of other subdued people to the Romans and that ache they bore the yoke of it. Initially the war was favorable to the Sannitis: driven from Cheerful Ponzio, the Romans humiliated in the Pitchforks Caudine (321 B.C.), that imposed a truce to the Senate. Hostilities took back in 316 B.C. and the Sannitis initially had again the best, expanding himself/herself/itself toward the Lazio thanks to the support of the League Ernica; Rome nevertheless he/she succeeded in having the best on the League before and finally, in the battle of Boviano (305 B.C.), on the same Sannitis, that the following year accepted an essay of peace whose terms formally traced that precedent, but that of done it always opened the road to one great Roman presence in the Sannio.

The definitive subjugation of the Sannitis in Rome was enacted by the third war (298-290 B.C.). Worried by the Roman expansionism, the Sannitis gathered in a new coalition Etruschi and Umbri, but the Romans came from there to head with the battle of Sentino (295 B.C.); was isolated, they suffered the definitive defeat in the 293 Aquilonia battle B.C. The Sannitis were seen confined in a narrow territory and they were not able to put anymore seriously in discussion the Roman hegemony, even if they preserved a certain degree of autonomy and identity.

Battle of the Pitchforks

The place of the Pitchforks

Although still today the exact place where the 321 facts happened B.C. is vague, Arpaia remains the site with great supporters. It is worth, however, to consider the thesis of Simone Porcaro in his "The sannitis and the samnium" (To.G.M. oct. 2004, Ceppaloni BN) where with abundance of details it sustains that among the territories of the ancient Caudinis and Irpini there is no place more proper than that of the narrow one of Balba (today Beard) where he could be you turn the facts, along the SS 88 that Benevento connects to Avellino. He sustains that the term hidden necessarily owes to be used for an action of war or guerrilla brought in a closed place, with narrow passage in entrance and possibly in exit, without escape of sort.

The narrow one of Balba introduces him really in this way: an entry, from the in general Benevento, still today wide few meters, a length of around two kilometers with tall and steep walls for the whole line and an exit to the side of Avellino also it hold, in short a real trap as Tito Livio describes her/it. The topography of the territory in matter has also suffered few or void changes in around two millennia, considering that the rests of the ancient aqueduct Sanniticos that follow the course of Saturday and the SS 88 are still well visible and tall from the level of the road only a pair of meters.

But because the Romans had to pass really for this place? It is simple: must cross the street briefest from Capua to Lucera (the Luceriam Irpina) and must avoid the Taburno they passed for Saticola (Sant'agata de' Goths), Castro Casinatium (Montesarchio), Mountain tiglio (Beltiglio) and finally the narrow one of Balba. Still today from those parts there are some locutions that you/they remember an ancient memory: "nobody wants to put you the pitchfork"; or still: "I cannot go to the pitchfork." The same toponimo Balba could derive from the following Roman centuriazione for the Balbuses to which those earths rich in woods and waters were given. To loss of Arpaia and neighboring zones the facts: there are no traces of valid places for an ambush, they were to the epoch swampy territories and it seems that there were especially straight of the lakes, Arpaia and Forchia, they have more recent origins.

The Battle of the Pitchforks Caudine (321 B.C.), where the Sannitis harshly imposed him on the Romans, in a painting Roman