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The Osci (also called Opici, Opsci[1], Obsci, Oscans or Opicans) were an Italic tribe of Southern Italy dwelling in Northern Campania and ultimately settling in the border region between Latium and Campania. They also competed with the Etruscans for possession over Campania.

Antichus, who was generally regarded as Thucydides' source for western history, later identified this tribe with the Ausones (Aurunci) who had been conquered and scattered into Campania and elsewhere by the Sabelli. The Oscan name survived through this scattering because the language that they spoke was called Oscan as well.

Conflict and subjugation Edit

In the beginning of the 5th Century BC, the Osci fought Rome for the Ager Pomptinus, the region in Latium between mons Abanus and the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Being that the Osci were farmers and the Ager Pomptinus contained very fertile land, this area would have been very valuable to them. However, the Osci suffered a devastating defeat at the hands of the Romans.

Later in the 5th century, the Samnites, a warlike people who also spoke Oscan, took over the Oscan region and subjugated them.

Subsequently, during the First Samnite War (343-341 BC), Rome gained control of Northern Campania. According to Livy, the Osci were somewhat the cause of the war. He states that it began because the Samnites made an unprovoked attack on the Sidicines (an Oscan canton in Northern Campania). This caused the Sidicines to run to Campania for safety. The Samnites then attacked the Campanians, defeated them, and drove them back within their own walls. In desperation the Osci asked for help from the Romans. They were then under Rome’s control.


  1. From the fertility goddess, Ops

ca:Oscs de:Osker el:Όσκοι es:Oscos eo:Oskoj fr:Osques it:Osci lt:Oskai hu:Oszkok nl:Osken pl:Oskowie ru:Оски sv:Osker

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