Roma diu Valentia vocitata: The Origins of Romans and Latins

Giampietro Fabbri


In this study, some of the most relevant names occurring in the myths concerning the foundation of Rome are analysed in order to obtain confirmations or new informations on the origin of the city and its early inhabitants. In particular, the role of Latin and Etruscan tribes in populating the Roman hills is investigated. The contribution of these peoples is considered together with that of other ancient peoples who have been recognised as migrated in ancient Italy mainly during the II millennium BC, according to a recent diffusion model based on the time and space distributions of ancient and current geographical names and ethnonyms. The analysis of the names reported in the foundation myths leads to the conclusion that Latins originally were a people of the Etruscan federation as well as the peoples who inhabited Volsinii and Felsina at the beginning of the I millennium BC. Moreover, the name of Romans originally was an exonym by which Latins called other peoples of the Etruscan confederation and later was extended to indicate all the inhabitants of Rome. Lastly, most of the names of the mythological founders of Rome or their ancestors are eponyms of the peoples that populated ancient Lazio and contributed to the rise of Rome.

Full Text:



Ammannato, F. 1984: “Appunti di Giacomo Boni sullo scavo del Lapis Niger”, Bullettino della Commissione Archeologica Comunale di Roma 89.2, 245-248.

Amplolo, C. 2013: “Le origini di Roma rivisitate: concordismo, ipertradizionalismo acritico, contesti. I”, Annalli dell Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Classe di Lettere e Filosofia 5.1 , 217-284.

Anonymous, 250 BC: “Book of Genesis”, Bible.

Aristoteles, IV century BC: Politics.

Azarpay, G. 1988: "The Roman Twins in Near Eastern Art", Iranica Antiqua 23, 349-64.

Banti, L. 1969: Il mondo degli Etruschi, Roma.

Beckwith, C. I. 2009: Empires of the silk road, Princeton.

Bonfante, G. and Bonfante, L. 2002: The Etruscan Language: an Introduction, Revised Edition, Manchester.

Burman, A. C. 2018: De Lingua Sabina: A Reappraisal of the Sabine Glosses, Cambridge (online at

Camporeale, G. 2004: “Etruscan Civilization” in A. Camporeale and P. Bernardini (eds) The Etruscans Outside Etruria, Los Angeles, 12-77.

Carandini, A. 2013: La fondazione di Roma raccontata da Andrea Carandini, Bari-Roma.

Cardarelli, A. 2010 “The collapse of the Terramare culture and growth of new economic and social system during the late Bronze Age in Italy”, Scienze dell’Antichità 15, 449-520.

Carter, J. B. 1909: “The Death of Romulus”, American Journal of Archaeology 13.1, 19-29.

Caesar, C. J. 50 BC: Commentarii de bello gallico.

Censorinus, 238 AD: De die natali.

Diamond, J. 1998: Armi, acciaio e malattie, Torino (1997: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, New York).

Diodorus, S. I century BC: Bibliotheca historica.

Dionysius, H. I 8 BC: Roman Antiquities.

Domingo, R. 2008: “Constitutional Background of Roman Law”, SSRN Electronic Journal (online at

Drompp, M. R. 2011: The Lone Wolf in Inner Asia, Journal of the American Oriental Society 131.4, 515-526.

Fabbri, G. 2017: “Supartshas and Swagwautas - colonisers of the ancient word. Part I: Origins and early migrations” Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology 4.4, 5-25.

Fabbri, G. 2018a: “Supartshas and Swagwautas - colonisers of the ancient word. Part II: Origins and early migrations” Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology 5.1, 5-23.

Fabbri, G. 2018b: “Savena, Volvona Ravona: The Origins of Bologna”, Global Journal of Archaeology & Anthropology 7.2, 33-39. DOI: 10.19080/GJAA.2018.07.555708.

Fabbri, G. 2019: “THYRGWAUNAS vs. GWAULGWAUNAS: The Etruscan Case”, Annals of Global History 1.3, 20-39.

Fabbri, G. 2020: “Sabus and Vacuna: Proto-Scythian Eponyms in Ancient Italic Peoples”, Annals of Global History 2.2, 30-46.

Facchetti, G. M. 2000: L'enigma svelato della lingua etrusca. Roma.

Farron, S. 1981: “The death of Turnus viewed in the perspective of its historical background”, Acta Classica 24, 97-106

Ferri, G. 2010: Tutela segreta ed evocatio nel politeismo romano, Roma.

Festus, S. P. II century AD: De verborum significatione.

Fusco, U. 2014: "Fondatori di Roma; Capostipiti dei Latini e dinastia di Alba Longa; Cronologia della fondazione della città", in A. Carandini (ed.) La Leggenda di Roma 4, Borgaro Torinese, 358-439.

Gellius, A. 179 AD: Noctes Atticae.

Gimbutas, M. 1965: Bronze Age cultures in Central and Eastern Europe, Boston.

Gimbutas, M. 2017: I Balti, Milano (1963 The Balts, New York).

Grandazzi, A. 1993: “La Roma quadrata: mythe ou réalité ?”, Mélanges de l'école française de Rome 105.2, 493-545.

Herodotus, 430 BC: Histories.

Hill, H. 1961: “Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the Origins of Rome”, The Journal of Roman Studies 51, 88-93.

Homer, VIII BC: Ilias.

Jacoby, F., Schepens, G. and Radicke, J. 1999: Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, Leiden.

Jeremiah, 586 BC: “Book of Jeremiah”, Bible.

Keller, W. 1971: Gli Etruschi, Milano (1970: Denn sie entzündeten das Licht, Droemer).

Lehmann, J. 1977: Gli Ittiti, Milano (1975: Die Hethiter, Munich-Vienna).

Livius, T. 9 BC: Ab Urbe Condita.

Mastrocinque, A. 1998: “Roma quadrata”, Mélanges de l'école française de Rome 110.2, 681-697.

Moscati, S. 1988: Civiltà del mistero, Roma.

Müller, C. O. 1828: Die Etrusker, Breslau.

Musti, D. 1991: “La storiografia del novecento sul mondo antico”, Rivista di cultura classica e medioevale 33. 2, 99-113.

North, J. A. 2008: “Caesar at the Lupercalia”, The Journal of Roman Studies 98, 144-160.

Pallottino, M. 2016: L’Etruscologia, Milano (1940: La civilisation étrusque, Paris).

Pittau, M. 2018: Dizionario comparativo Latino Etrusco, Dublin.

Plinius, G. S. 77: Naturalis Historia.

Plutarchus, L. M. I-II century AD: Life of Caesar.

Plutarchus, L. M. I-II century AD: Life of Marius.

Plutarchus, L. M. I-II century AD: Life of Romulus.

Propertius, S. A. 28 BC: Elegiae.

Ptolemaeus, C. 150: Geography:

Quartarone, L. 2015: “The origins of Turnus, Vergilian invention, and Augustan Rome”, Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 55, 379–392.

Rose, H. J. 1933: “The Cult of Volkanus at Rome”, The Journal of Roman Studies 23, 46-63.

Sanders, H. A. 1908: “The Chronology of Early Rome”, Classical Philology 3, 316-329.

Servius, M. H. IV century AD: In Vergilii Aeneidem commentarii.

Simokattes, T. VII century AD: Theophylacti Simocattae historiae.

Stephanus of Byzantium, VI century AD: Ethnica.

Szemerényi, O. 1980: Four old iranian ethnic names: Scythian - Skudra - Sogdian - Saka, Vienna.

Solinus, G, J, III century AD: Collectanea rerum memorabilium.

Strabo, 23 AD: Geography.

Taracha, P. 2009: Religions of Second Millennium Anatolia, Wiesbaden

Toynbee, A. J. 1977: Il racconto dell’uomo, Milano (1976: Mankind and Mother Earth, Oxford).

Ulf, C. 2017: “An ancient question: the origin of Etruscans” in A. Naso (ed.) Etruscology 1, Boston/Berlin, 11-34.

Varro, M. T. 44 BC: De lingua latina.

Vergilius, P. M. 19 BC: Aeneis.

Wiseman, T. P. 1995: “The God of the Lupercal”, The Journal of Roman Studies 85, 1-22.

Wiseman, T. P. 2013: “The Palatine, from Evander to Elagabalus”, The Journal of Roman Studies 103, 234-268.

Xenophon, 370 BC: Anabasis.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Giampietro Fabbri

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

Copyright © Macrothink Institute   ISSN 2332-5518