We know a few vestiges and we have short historical witnesses of the Samnites. The only signs are the discovered archeological reperts and the stories of the ancient Rome's historians that were enslaved to party in power.
So these historians worried too much to praise the conquests of the Romans and described very little the Samnites and the Samnium.
The Samnites were politically constituted by four tribes.
Each tribe was named Touto; it was constituted
by several dwelling groups and was managed by the Meddix
Tuticus, that had a roll about the established religion.
The political unit lower to Touto was the Pagus
that was composed by several dwelling groups. It is probable
that each pagus was administered by a Meddix Minor,
subordinated to Meddix of the Touto. The town located on the
palin was named vicus, while that of the mountain scenery
oppidum and it was always fortified. Trebula was an
oppidum of the Caudini's Touto. The other three toutos
were those of the Carricini, Pentri and Irpini. At the end
of fourth century B.C. the Samnites had to face the serious
threat represented by the expansionism designs of the Romans.
The toutos organized oneself making up the Samnite
The most profitable economic activity was the agriculture,
the breeding, the wool's and skin's working; the working of
the cheese products was important too, because they were extensively
traded in the territories of Campania and Puglia. All these
products acted as exchange goods for all others wich weren't
produced on the spot but they were imported. The Samnites
came into touch with the people of Campania and that improved
the trades and the learning of them. Moreover, the cult of
the Samnites was influenced by the Greeks. Trebula, as all
outskirts places of the Samnium, developed most likely an
economy beyond that of sheer subsistence.
Both the climate and the sheep-breeding involved to use woollen garments. The women worked these garments by the spindle and then sold them. The Samnites almost always used bronze ornaments, seldom gold or silver ornaments. The women wore rings, round-necked necklaces and bracelets.
Some bracelets had a spiral shape and ended by a snake's head, as the discoveries into a lot of samnite tombs show. The men wore bracelets with various representations as animals or geometric shapes; they had a short hair, shave and used large tunics tightened at waist by a metal or hard leather belt.
The belt meant that they had cost of age and they were ready to defend their territory.
The language of the Samnites was the Oscan
this term derives from "Osci", the people that preceded the
Samnites in the Centre and South Italy. It was an autonomous
language so widespread that it was understood by the Samnites,
the Lucani and the Mamertini that spread it north of Sicily
where the Greeks were settled. The oscan grammar was like
that latin but the two languages differed from one another
in orthography and in sound of the words. Unfortunately, apart
from a few epigraphs, no literature's books reached us but
only testimonies and fragments handed down by roman men of
The religion was important for the civilization of the Samnites
as to be an element of unity. In fact, all samnite toutos
worshiped the same divinities and, in case of war, the soldiers
took sacred oath that never was violated. In the army of the
Samnites there was a special army corps named "Legio
Linteata"; after a sacred ceremony, the warriors
swore to sacrifice their life just to defend their country
against the enemy. The Samnites worshiped the same divinities
as the people of the Centre and South Italy: Jupiter,
Mars, Apollo, Mercury, Diana and so on. There were
no veneration places for each divinity, but all divinities
were worshiped in the same holy place. The "Tavola
di Agnone", an Oscan inscription, shows that 17 divinities
were worshiped in the same holy place; the holy places
were far away from the dwelling groups and
had a square shape; in the middle of them there were
usually an altar and other elements as sacella, wells, tubs
and all should be essential for the rites. At first they were
simple open-air holy places with lasting steel construction
quite modest or even absent. After the punic wars, the building
of the temples began to expand. A lot of temples were endowed
with architectonic structures because of the damages caused
by the wars.
The dead person was buried in supine position and the crockery
was often put down on him with a form depending on social
condition of the dead person. Between the fifth and third
century B.C., the tombs were simply graves dug in the ground,
on both sides of them there were tufaceous parapets and the
tombs were usually covered by two tombstones. Subsequently
they began to use tiles and big tiles to cover the grave.
The tombs often had an arrangement so the feet of the dead
person were oriented in the East-West direction. From examinations
of the skeletons we can realize about the life conditions
at that time; they were rather difficult because the average
age was 40 years. The ceramics used in the tombs of the fourth
and third century B.C. were mostly imported from Campania,
but not seldom it was produced in the same utilization zone,
as several furnaces discovered in the samnite territory show.
Some of them were discovered at Treglia,
at slopes of Mount "Castello". They have a circular plan 4
m in diameter with a wide praefornium. Therefore, these
furnaces show that the Trebula's inhabitants bore in their
zone the crockery used as funeral outfit, as domestic tools
and for the rites.