An ancient country of central and southern Italy. The expansionist desires of its rulers led to the Samnite Wars (343–290 bc ) and the ultimate defeat of Samnium by Rome.
Ancient country in SC Italy.
VOLTURNO (anc. Volturnus, from volvere, to roll), a river of central Italy, which rises in the neighbourhood of Alfedena in the central Apennines of Samnium, runs S.
Farther south no very lofty summits are found till we come to the group of Monti del Matese, in Samnium (6660 ft.), which according to the division here adopted belongs to Southern Italy.
The whole of the district known in ancient times as Samnium (a part of which retains the name of Sannio, though officially designated the province of Campobasso) is occupied by an irregular mass of mountains, of much inferior height to those of Central Italy, and broken up into a number of groups, intersected by rivers, which have for the most part a very tortuous course.
Proceeding south from the Trigno, already mentioned as constituting the limit of Central Italy, there are (1) the Biferno and (2) the Fortore, both rising in the mountains of Samnium, and flowing into the Adriatic west of Monte Gargano; (3) the Cervaro, south of the great promontory; and (4) the Ofanto, the Aufidus of Horace, whose description of it is characteristic of almost all the rivers of Southern Italy, of which it may be taken as the typical representative.
The second region included Apulia and Calabria (the name by which the Romans usually designated the district known to the Greeks as Messapia or lapygia), together with the land of the Hirpini, which had usually been considered as a part of Samnium.