CHAPTER XV
THE HISTORY OF THE ETRUSCANS (continued)

FIFTH CENTURY B.C.

FOR Etruria this proved to be nearly a hundred years of continuous strife accompanied by the progressive decay of national morale. The first quarter of the century may be regarded as part of the preceding era of greatness; then the disasters began.

Rome had fastened upon Etruria with that bulldog grip which she never relinquished until she had worried her old conqueror to death. No sooner was she free from the Etruscan yoke (about 500 B.C.) than she set about preparing yokes for others. In 499 B.C. (or 496 B.C.) she defeated the united Latin tribes in the battle of Lake Regillus. That was followed by a compact with these people which made Rome the virtual leader of a League of the Latins, thus forming a hostile block within Etruscan territory. Very soon Rome found grounds for a quarrel with Etruscan Veii, and for eighty years or so the two were intermittently at war, victory on its pendulum swinging first to one side, then to the other. As we have already seen, the last honours fell to Rome in 396 B.C., when Veii ceased to be.

In 474 B.C. the Etruscans were dealt a deadly blow by another enemy. They had gone to war with the Greek colony of Cumae. Hieron of Syracuse came to the assistance of Cumae, and the Etruscans were heavily defeated on sea near that town. The Greek triumph was widely celebrated; Pindar made it the subject of the first Pythian ode, and Hieron sent

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