1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hirpini

HIRPINI (from an Oscan or Sabine stem hirpo-, “wolf”), an inland Samnite tribe in the south of Italy, whose territory was bounded by that of the Lucani on the S., the Campani on the S.W., the Appuli (Apuli) and Frentani on the E. and N.E. On the N. we find them, politically speaking, identified with the Pentri and Caracēni, and with them constituting the Samnite alliance in the wars of the 4th century B.C. (see Samnites). The Roman policy of separation cut them off from these allies by the foundation of Beneventum in 268 B.C., and henceforward they are a separate unit; they joined Hannibal in 216 B.C., and retained their independence until, after joining in the Social war, which in their part of Italy can hardly be said to have ceased till the final defeat of the Samnites by Sulla in 83 B.C., they received the Roman franchise. Of their Oscan speech, besides the evidence of their place-names, only a few fragments survive (R. S. Conway, The Italic Dialects, pp. 170 ff.; and for hirpo-, ib. p. 200). In the ethnology of Italy the Hirpini appear from one point of view as the purest type of Safine stock, namely, that in which the proportion of ethnica formed with the suffix -no- is highest, thirty-three out of thirty-six tribal or municipal epithets being formed thereby (e.g. Caudini, Compsani) and only one with the suffix -ti- (Abellinates), where it is clearly secondary. On the significance of this see Sabini.  (R. S. C.)