Latins, in ancient times, inhabitants of Latium, particularly of the great plain of Latium. The Latins established themselves in many small settlements. Gradually increasing in size, these settlements were joined in religious confederations that later took on political significance. Rome early took a dominant place among the cities of Latium and Roman hegemony was definitely established by 338 B.C.; the smaller states were absorbed and the larger states made subject allies by Rome. The Latins, however, continued to have a special status, and in theory the social and political equality of the Latins continued. There was some rebellion, especially late in the 2d cent. B.C., but generally the Latins remained loyal to Rome. They were admitted to Roman citizenship in 90 B.C. at the time of the Social War.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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