were a mythical people of central Italy
, connected in legendary history with Aeneas
, and Evander
. They were supposed to have descended from their mountain home near Reate (an ancient Sabine town) upon Latium
, whence they expelled the Siceli and subsequently settled down as Latini under a King
Latinus. The most generally accepted etymology of the name (ab origine
), according to which they were the original inhabitants (the Greek autochthones
) of the country, is inconsistent with the fact that the oldest authorities (e.g.
Cato in his Origines
) regarded them as Hellenic immigrants, not as a native Italian people. Other explanations suggested are arborigines
, "tree-born," and aberrigines
, "nomads." Historical and ethnographical discussions have led to no result; the most that can be said is that, if not a general term, "aborigines" may be the name of an Italian stock, about whom the ancients knew no more than ourselves.
- (from an old encyclopedia)
See also: aborigine
(which is the generic term for the first people who inhabit a region)