Deportation of the Apuani


In 181 BC a campaign was launched in Liguria against the Apuani who were heavily defeated because they didn’t suspect an attack from the arriving consuls. The Apuani were one of the easternmost tribes of Liguria living in the mountains north of Pisae (modern Pisa). The early engagements were thus the first period in Roman expansion into Liguria. The consuls didn’t want a continual war and decided to relocate the entire tribe to Taurania in Samnium; land which was now in possession of the state. They were told to bring their possessions and families with them but they protested abandoning their local gods and ancestral burial grounds. The Romans had continually campaigned in this area for years and suffered constant raids from the Ligurians. They wanted them to leave forever to ensure the security of this part of Italy.

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Ultimately, the Apuani gave up and 40,000 men with their families were deported to Samnium. The government paid for their transition to a new life with 150,000 denarii and the consuls handled land grants. The new settlements were called Ligures Baebiani and Ligures Corneliani but only Baebiani has been uncovered by archaeologists. The names of these villages were taken from the consuls Marcus Baebius Tamphilus and Publius Cornelius Cethegus. After the deportation, a triumph was held but it was odd as far as triumphs go. They didn’t win a war, they’d just attacked and their enemies gave up immediately. Victims for sacrifice were marched in front of the chariot but since the Apuani surrendered there weren’t prisoners or loot to deal with. Due to this is was largely uninteresting and a minor note compared to the piles of gold at other triumphs (Livy 40.38).

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In 179 the consul Fulvius Flaccus was assigned Liguria for campaigning and moved to Pisae. He took his legions north and attacked the Apuani living in the Macra (modern Magra) a river north of Pisa marking a boundary between Italy and Liguria. After their surrender he deported 7,000 Apuani to Samnium via Neapolis (Naples) where they received land and integrated with the previously deported Apuani (Livy 40.41). We have to speculate about their journey as the evidence for the travel is minor. We could say that they were marched across the land to monitor them and led into Samnium or it could have been a sea journey. Neapolis is only mentioned in the second instance in 179 BC which means that it could have been a sea route the second time instead of both times. Regardless of how they were transported the routes would probably have been fairly close to each other. The hypothetical route is on the map.

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Livy Book 40, Chapters 37-38, 41

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