The Romans warred against other peoples in Italy for several centuries. Captives were made slaves. Some slaves were shipped to Populonium on the northern shore of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where iron was smelted from ore brought from Ilva (now Elba).
At the southern end of Greece in the south-west of the Peloponnesus lay the mountainous country of Messenia, bounded by Laconia in the east. The Spartans fought the Messenians for many hundreds of years, wanting to turn them into he- lots. Aristomenes, leader of the Messenians, known as the "best of the Hellenes", was a hero of the Second Messenian War (7th century B. C.). He and his men were installed on Mount Gyra.
Polybius, the historian, son of Lycortas, strategist of the Achaean League, returned home after seventeen years as a hostage in Rome. He arrived in Corinth, one of the finest cities of Greece, a few days after it was sacked by the Romans. The tale is set in 146 B. C.
Scipio Africanus surnamed the Elder, the man who defeated Hannibal, spent the last few years of his life in his estate near Cumae in self-imposed exile. The tale is cast in the estate years after Scipio's death. His daughter Cornelia (mother of the Gracchi brothers, future tribunes of the people) tells Polybius, the historian, an episode from her father's life.
"Banished to Gercina, he endured an exile of fourteen years. Then the soldiers who were sent to slay him, found Gracchus on a promontory. He begged a brief interval in which to write his last instructions to his wife Alliaria..." -
In 41 B. C., during the civil wars, Augustus, known as Octavian before he seized one-man power, expropriated the land of many Etruscans and gave it to his soldiers. Thirty-year-old Publius Vergilius Maro, of Mantua, was among those whose father's land was expropriated.