By the middle of the 4th century BCE, Rome was a significant regional power in the centre of Italy, leading the Latin league of affiliated city-states. Its main rivals at this stage were the Samnites who had their own league of allies and vassals. The first war (343–41 BCE) between the rivals was triggered by a Samite threat to attack Capua. Rome supported Capua and, as a result of the war, absorbed both Capua and its rich Campanian hinterland into its territory. Rome was flexible in its methods of expansion, using conquest, alliance, absorption (often with limited citizenship rights) and colonization. One such colony, Fregallae, provoked the second Samite War (326–304 BCE). The Etruscans joined the Samnites in 311 BCE, but Rome prevailed, and by the war’s end had ringed Samnium with colonies. The Samnites would be finally defeated and absorbed in 290 BCE.
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