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The Apuani were one of the most formidable and powerful of the Ligurian tribes who lived in ancient north-western Italy, mentioned repeatedly by Livy. From the circumstances related by him, it appears that they were the most easterly of the Ligurian tribes, who inhabited the lofty group of mountains bordering on Etruria, and appear to have occupied the valleys of the Macra (modern Magra) and Ausar (modern Serchio). Although they extended eastwards along the chain of the Apennines to the frontiers of the Arretines and the territory of Mutina (modern Modena) and Bononia (modern Bologna), the upper valley of the Macra about Pontremoli, an area later known as Lunigiana, and the adjoining Upper Garfagnana were their center.
To oppose their inroads, the Romans generally made Pisae (modern Pisa) the headquarters of one of their armies, and from thence carried their arms into the heart of the mountains: but their successes seldom effected more than to compel the enemy to disperse and take refuge in their villages and castles, of which the latter were mountain fastnesses in which they were generally able to defy the Roman arms.
They are first mentioned in 187 BCE, when we are told that they were defeated and reduced to submission by the consul C. Flaminius; but the next year they appear again in arms, and defeated the consul Q. Marcius, with the loss of 4,000 men and three standards. This disaster was avenged the next year, but after several successive campaigns the consuls for the year 181-180 BCE, P. Cornelius and M. Baebius, had recourse to the expedient of removing the whole nation from their abodes, and transporting them, to the number of 40,000, including women and children, into the heart of Samnium. Here they were settled in the vacant plains, which had formerly belonged to Taurasia (hence called Campi Taurasini), and appear to have become a flourishing community. The next year 7,000 more, who had been in the first instance suffered to remain, were removed by the consul Fulvius to join their countrymen. We meet with them long afterwards among the populi of Samnium, subsisting as a separate community, under the name of Ligures Baebiani et Corneliani, as late as the reign of Trajan
The establishment of Roman colonies at Pisae and Luca (modern Lucca) a few years afterwards tended to consolidate the conquest thus obtained, and established the Roman dominion permanently as far as the Macra and the port of Luna (modern Luni)
There is no authority for the existence of a city of the name of "Apua", as assumed by some writers.
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography by William Smith (1856).ca:Apuans