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Social War

Social War or Marsic War [Lat. socii = allies], 91B.C.–88 B.C., struggle brought on by demands of the Italian allies for the privileges of Roman citizenship. The allies had fought on the side of Rome and had helped establish Roman hegemony, but they did not have the rights of the Romans. Most Romans were greatly averse to sharing the citizenship, but Marcus Livius Drusus in 91 B.C. proposed laws granting it to the allies. He was murdered, and a coalition of the allies, chief among them the Marsi, arose in desperation, waged war against Rome, and planned an Italian federation. Led by Quintus Pompaedius Silo and Caius Papius Mutilus, they gained some success but could not overcome the power of Rome. The revolt died down only after Lucius Julius Caesar secured passage of a law (90 B.C.) granting citizenship to allies who had not joined the revolt and to those who laid down their arms immediately. The allies were divided, and the revolt ceased. Citizenship was soon given to all of them.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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