Osci

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{land, century, early}
{language, word, form}
{god, call, give}
{area, part, region}
{mi², represent, 1st}
{car, race, vehicle}

The Osci (also called Opici, Opsci, Obsci, Ancient Greek: Όπικοί, Όσκοί)[1], were an Italic people of Campania and Latium adiectum during Roman times. They spoke the Oscan language, also spoken by the Samnites of Southern Italy. Although the language of the Samnites was called Oscan, the Samnites were never called Osci, or the Osci Samnites. The linguist, Carl Darling Buck, hypothesized that a population originally speaking the same language dissimilated in name only, and that the Romans, encountering the Osci first, gave their name to the entire language.[2]

Traditions of the Opici fall into the legendary period of Italian history, approximately the first half of the first millennium BC, down to the foundation of the Roman Republic. No agreement can be reached concerning their location and language. At the end of that time the Oscan language appeared and was spoken by a number of sovereign tribal states. By far the most important in military prowess and wealth was the Samnites. They rivalled Rome for about 50 years in the 2nd half of the 4th century BC, sometimes siding with it, and sometimes being against it, until they were finally subdued with considerable difficulty by the unique Roman military system and were incorporated into the Roman state.

Between the Samnites and the Romans were the Oscans. Though often eager to go to war, they were never a power to be taken seriously militarily. They cost the Romans no more than a single battle to defeat on every trial of their prowess. Their final disposition more closely resembled the farces with which they regaled Roman audiences than a serious war. They kept their independence by playing off one state against another, especially the Romans and Samnites. That sovereignty fell victim at last to the Second Samnite War, when the Romans prior to invading Samnium found it necessary to secure the border tribes. After the war they assimilated shortly to Roman culture. Their memory survived only in place names and in literature.

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