Our Ancestors

A Little History

The Valley of the Taro (Taurus on the map), what is the history of this area? There are few documents from before the Feudal era and a very few from the Roman era,and none prior to that time. There is an old legend regarding Ombria a very old town in the valley of the Ceno river. The Ceno joins the Taro in Fornovo and both then proceed Northeast into the Po (Padus on the map). According to the legend Ombria survived the Universal Flood of Noah's time. Therefore if the legend is true we are descendent s of Ombria. There are no facts to support this, but it is known that the valley of the Taro was inhabited as early as 1000 years bc. The inhabitants were Liguri Umbrianti. The general area was known in Roman times as Italian Gaul. Roman historians described these people as tenacious fighters for freedom and independence.

They tenaciously opposed the power of Rome, but were subjugated byRome around 157 BC. They were robust, tall and had long hair. They were nicknamed "capillati" . Their temperament was open mild and honest, however they were fearful warriors . Their clothing was simple, consisting mainly of skins. They ate fruit and vegetables, they hunted and fished and were shepherds rather than farmers. They also imbibed "Zit", a drink based on fermented cereals enriched with honey. It appears they were more akin to beer drinkers than wine drinkers. They also culled out the children by submerging them in the cold Taro. The weak ones didn't make it. The family was considered a little state at the head of which was the "Pater Familias". His power was unlimited including the power of life and death. All this comes down from Titus Livius, (Livy ), the most famous of Rome's historians. Livy, (59 BC to-17 AD) was born in Patavium, (Padua).

The Carthaginian General, Hannibal advanced with his army and elephants from Spain over the Alps into Italian Gaul. The Liguri fiercely opposed to Rome sided with Hannibal against Rome. There is some thought that the Ligurians fortified Borgotaro, Bardi, Compiano to prevent the Roman army from enterring their lands. Subsequently Hannibal thoroughly defeated the Romans in 218 BC at the battle of the river Trebbia. There is much written about the slaughter of the Romans at that battle. The battle of the river Trebbia took place near Placentia, (current day Piacensa ).

Subsequently Hannibal and his Army after defeating Roman Armies many times, were themselves finally defeated. The Romans then decided to punish the Ligurians for siding with Hannibal and subjugated the Ligurians about 157 BC. Over 50,000 Ligurians were taken and sold as slaves. Conquest was the principal industry of Rome. A Roman general was granted all the moneys from the sale of slaves. Ergo the enormous number of slaves used by the Romans. Eventually the Ligurians became solid Roman Citizen's as did all Italian Gaul. So much so that Italian Gaul was a favorite Province and recruiting area for Gaius Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar, (100 BC to 44BC), the greatest Roman of them all and it's greatest general considered Italian Gaul his Roman Province and eventually secured for the Italian Gauls the coveted Roman Citizenship. Borgotaro, Bardi, Compiano and probably other towns in the area became outposts and fortress towns for the Romans.

Prior to the time of Gaius Marius, (157 BC to 86 BC), Roman Legionnaires were recruited exclusively from the landed gentry. One needed to belong and able to pay for your weapons and armor to be a Roman soldier. Eventually the Roman's ran out of recruits. Marius began the practice of recruiting from the "Capiti or Head Count". These were the poor of Rome and Rome's provinces. Because the troops were not affluent some provision needed to be made for them upon retirement to avoid the problem of numbers of unhappy warriors sitting on their tails in Rome. Marius, came up with the novel and extremely controversial proposition to give the veterans conquered Roman lands to live and farm. Despite enormous resistance from the Roman Senate, Marius succeeded in getting his Veterans retirement law passed. Gaius Marius was the uncle of Julius Caesar and passed some of his then radical ideas on to Julius. The Patrician conservative members of the Roman Senate feared these radical reforms and eventually caused the assassination of Julius Caesar. Because of the veteran's retirement law, it is believed a Roman centurion, ( porcigatone or something like that), was given the lands near Borgotaro for his retirement benefit. Ergo Porcigatone was created or so it is believed.

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Buon Viaggio.........