PART 5 – Ch.XXXIII.22
The Pelasgians or proto – Latins (Arimii)
Pelasgians from the northern parts of the
22. The ancient Latin tribes of
On the territory of
The political and
social condition of the Arimanii and Letii from the
Until the 6th
century of the Christian era, the Letii of Germany and
Eumenius, in the panegyric in honor of Constantius, around 297ad, mentions that following his orders, the dispossessed Letii from the territory of the Nervii and the Trevirii, had received back their ancestral estates (Panegyricus Constantio Caesari dictus, c. 21). These Letii of Belgian Gallia were neighbors with the Remii and the Romandii or Viromandui.
The law of Honorius
from 400ad mentions the Laeti Alamanni
(Codex Theodos. Lib. IV. tit. 20.
12. Ed. I. Gothofredi, Tom. II, 1665, p. 434), who performed voluntary military
service to the
Ammianus calls the Letii from the
We find an important note about the Letii of Gallia with the Greek historian Zosimus, who tells us that the emperor Magnentius (350-353) was barbarian of origin, and that he had received a Latin education from the Letii, who were a people in Gallia (Hist. II. c. 54). So, according to Zosimus, the Letii of Gallia constituted a barbarian population of Latin origin.
Notitia Dignitatum utriusque imperii mentions in Gallia: a Praefectus Laetorum Teutonicianorum, a Praefectus Laeatorum Batavorum, a Praefectus Laetorum Francorum, a Praefectus Laetorum Lingonensium, a Praefectus Laetorum Nerviorum, a Praefectus Laetorum Lagensium, etc (Bocking, Not. Dign. II. p. 119 seqq).
In the north-east
The Roman general Aetius, born at Dorostena (Silistria) in Mesia Inferior, making ready in Gallia to repulse the dreadful hordes of Attila, had also gathered along the Roman troupes, as Jornandis writes (De reb. Get. c. 36), an auxiliary army composed of Francs, Sarmati, Armoritiani and Litiani, meaning Leti.
A city of
(Litianii, Litanii) from the
Du Cange, who lived in the 17th century,
considered the Letii or Laetii as populi septentrionales, as northern peoples, and believed that the
Letii, together with the Francs and other barbarian nations, arriving on the
The Letii, Litianii
or Litavii appear settled on the territory of barbarian
population from near the
The name Laetus or Letus, which, as we saw, had in the beginning only a simple ethnographic character with the meaning of Latinus, became during the course of the Middle Ages, under the forms letus, litus, ledus, lidus, a feudal term with the meaning of colon, land tenant, half-free man. (In the Salic law from 798ad, lidus, ledus, litus, letus, laetus, and Latinus in the Latin translation of the codex Speculum Saxonum).
The Letii became a subjugated social class, dispossessed and tributary; a sort of imperfect citizens from the point of view of their civil rights. They had to pay to the Francs, Frisians and Saxons the third part of their harvest.
A certain part of
the Latin tribes, which dwelt in the regions of
Suetonius relates to us the following case,
regarding the Latin language spoken in north
Dio Cassius relates (lib. LV. 1) the same event in the
following way: Drusus, wanting to extend the power of the Romans in north
[1. The river
In the regions of Bohemia the Latin element seems to have once been very extensive, as results from the following names of localities (Spe.-Orts-Repertorium, see Bohmen): Ladung, Latschen, Latschnau, Lattenbausel, Ledenitz, Ledec, Ledetz, Ledska, Letin, Letiny, Letnan, Letnik, Letow, Letowy, Lettendorf, Letti, Lety, Liten, Litensky Mlyn, Litenmuhle].
The following words
of Seneca deserve attention in this
regard: “Livia”, writes he (in Consolatio ad Marcianam, c. 3), “has lost her
son Drusus, who showed great promise of being a great prince in the future, and
who had already managed to be a great commander. He had gone to the ends of
Finally, here is another example: In 16ad Germanicus traversed with the Roman legions the territory of the Cheruscii, to Veser, and built there his forts. Overnight, writes Tacitus, one of the enemy, who knew the Latin language (unus hostium, latinae linguae sciens), rushed his horse close to the Roman fortifications, and started to shout, that Ariminius promises to give each Roman soldier who will come to his side, women, land to cultivate, and 100 sesterts each day, for the length of the war (Ann. Lib. II. c. 13).