Chapter 613: Experience in Thurii (II)
In the following days, Garni often couldn’t sleep at night as he often thought about how his tribe would be busy herding their livestock and hunting wild animals just to survive. On the other hand, the Theonians had the time and energy to conduct planned and orderly military training regularly. Hence even if the Samnite army he belonged to could really face the Theonian army head-on, they would still not be their opponent!
Later, he learned that there were as many as seven camps like this in Theonia’s territory, giving him a huge blow and becoming one of the reasons for his change of attitude towards Theonia.
The Samnites suddenly became relatively silent and, at the same time, had more expectations for the city of Thurii that they would see soon.
As they continued, the terrain became more flat and open as houses and villages gradually increased.
Not far ahead, a flat road that connects to a stone bridge across the Cosceli river appeared with streams of people coming from the opposite bank of the Cosceli river and finally converging on this main road, making the already dense road even crowded.
In fact, wagons carrying stone, copper ore and slaves of the kingdom traversed this road, which they temporarily stopped for safety during the lively September. In exchange, the Theonian populace from the Bruttian region who came to Thurii for the festivities had increased.
With the rumbling of the wagon wheels, the crying of livestock, the discussion of the travellers and the crying of the children…this flow of people had become the primary source of noise, garbage polluters as the people and livestock’s excrement and leftover food scraps littered the ground. Once someone accidentally stepped on them, an unpleasant smell would fill the air.
And the Samnites and the Potentians had suffered due to it, resulting in their complaints.
In response, the young man explained, “All of the demos in Thurii are the ones responsible for cleaning the roads of Thurii and would usually keep it clean. Except now when too many people come and go as the people of the demos also come to watch the festivities and the games. Hence they can only do a simple cleaning at dusk and early morning…but once the festivities end, the road will become clean again.”
“What is a demos?” Someone asked curiously.
“To explain it simply, a demos is a small town formed by merging several villages in Thurii. Currently, there are sixty-eight demos in Thurii, and they are still increasing.”
The young man’s casual explanation caused the Samnites to be speechless. In the Samnite mountains, it would already be hard to see a village (i.e., a tribal settlement) even after walking a half-day through the mountains. Yet the central city of Theonia has hundreds of villages, which really shocked them, ‘How big is their population?!’
The Samnites began to try using their not-too-bright brains to think. Back when they passed through Nerulum, these Samnites, who are used to seeing only a few people grazing and hunting in the mountains and forests, began to feel a bit uncomfortable because they saw too many people travelling along the way, which might’ve exceeded the population of Abellinum.
“Follow me!” The young man said loudly at this time as he led the Samnites to turn right to a branch road.
“Chieftain Garni, may Savoni* bless you and win the competition!” Genta saw that the slaves guiding them didn’t follow, so he had to wave goodbye to them. (Savoni was the god of war worshipped by the Samnites)
“Genta, thank you for your care, and we would like to invite you, Abellinum!” Garni also replied in a friendly manner, which was what Genta wanted to hear. After all, he had long wanted to do some business with his neighbours. Unfortunately, the Samnites and the Potentians had a strange relationship even though they were no longer at war and he dared not enter the Samnite mountains to trade. But he now became confident after getting Garni’s friendship.
“Crotokatax, thank you very much for your selfless help! Once I sell my livestock, I will definitely invite you to a drink at Cheiristoya Restaurant!” Genta then expressed his gratitude to the young man.
The young man smiled while politely declining, “Thank you for inviting me. However, I am too busy dealing with the festivities and the competition, so I really don’t have the time.”
After seeing off Genta, the young man led the Samnites eastward along the north bank of the Cosceli River, where the houses on both sides of the road gradually increased and mainly were two- and three-storey buildings. But unlike the typical Greek houses, their entrance doesn’t face the road, and the tall buildings stand directly beside each other and close to the sidewalk. So even though the branch road was equally wide, with drains and sidewalks on both sides and wasn’t narrow, it still gives a sense of depression with their views obstructed.
“Why haven’t we arrived in Thurii yet?!” Tatoni complained in annoyance.
The young man smiled and said, “We are already in the city of Thurii.”
“We already entered the city of Thurii?!” Tatoni thought the young man was joking, “We didn’t even see the wall at all.”
“Only the inner part of Thurii has walls, while the other areas don’t have any walls.” The young man explained.
After the South Italian War, many freemen and foreign races poured into Thurii every year, trying to become citizens of the kingdom, which resulted in the population exploding and led to the continuous expansion of Thurii.
“…we are now at the edge of Thurii, at least four kilometres from the inner area.”
‘Four kilometres?’ All Samnites gasped, ‘what a massive city this must be!’
Garni was also shocked as even though he spent half a year in Thurii eight years ago, the city of Thurii at that time wasn’t as big as it is now. Thus it could only be explained that Thurii’s development was too rapid!
“The city of Thurii has no walls? Aren’t you afraid of enemy invasions?!” Moni, the Samnite’s quarterback, participating in the rugby competition, asked with a slight provocation. As the second warrior of this group of Samnites that had participated in the last war, he was both in awe and resentful of Theonia.
The young man looked at him and said aloud, “The Theonian Senate once posed a similar question to the king about building an outer wall. However, King Davos said-” The young man then straightened his chest as he said, “Thurii was the centre of the kingdom of Theonia, with the mountains and the sea as barriers, and the defence of the powerful army and the naval fleet. If even all of that, the enemy still manages to invade and reach Thurii, then there is no need for the kingdom of Theonia to exist!”
Besides those, there is another reason why the city of Thurii didn’t build the outer wall; that is, the city of Thurii is vast, and it is still expanding. Hence even if they constructed the outer wall, it might become another wall after a few years… With such a massive project, they would need countless people and cost the treasury too much, but it would ultimately be unable to play any significant effect. Thus it is better not to build one.
The Samnites naturally don’t know that, so they become silent after listening to the young man.
Then the number of travellers on the branch road was decreasing. After all, most people who have come to Thurii know that Thurii’s food and accommodation became tight during this season, and the nearer they came to the inner area, the higher the price would become. Hence they will go to these houses to negotiate with the owners about renting, which is also why the owners built their houses so tall.
As for why they placed the house’s rear facing the road? It is because even though it is only a branch road, the road will still be crowded and noisy every day. Thus, they made the houses’ rears face the roar, using small windows and thick walls to reduce the noise and for the residents not to see the disturbing scene in the street and have a barely passable living environment.
As they continued to head further, such houses standing on both sides of the road like walls disappeared. After passing the two smiling statues of Hermes, wearing his winged sandals, their line of sight widens again as the familiar traditional Greek houses come into sight.
Without waiting for the crowd to ask, the young man took the initiative to explain, “When the Theonians rebuilt the city of Thurii, his majesty Davos and the statesmen envisioned the future prosperity of Thurii. Thus they reserved a lot of public land around the city, which wasn’t allocated to the citizens as they would use it to expand the urban area in the future. From here onwards, this is the area of the city of Thurii they envisioned. Alas, no one could expect that the city’s expansion would be so rapid that it would extend to the ‘land’ of Thurii’s citizens.
Fortunately, the Ministry of Agriculture has a regulation that strictly forbids the conversion of farmland for other uses. And the inspectors will also regularly check the quality of new houses and limit their height. Otherwise, those people back there would not only have two or three-storey houses built on the roadside on their land but five or even six-storey tall buildings spreading all over their land, which they would rent to preparatory citizens freemen to earn high profit and no longer farm!” Explained the young man with a hint of disgust on his face.
On the other hand, the Samnites could no longer feel anything else apart from marvelling at Thurii’s large population. At the same time, they would see from time to time a temple or altar between these neatly arranged houses and crisscrossing streets.
From what the young man said, they learned that these temples weren’t only dedicated to the Greek gods and goddesses as there were also temples dedicated to the Lucanian god – Asinu, The Bruttian’s goddess – Amara and Brutus, the Messapians and Peucetians’ guardian deity – Lycaon… But what surprised the Samnites the most was that: although the foreign races’ gods and goddesses were also enshrined in a city with the Greeks as the predominant race, the believers wouldn’t have any conflict as they would just do their own things.
Then, the young man pointed ahead and said, “See that, that’s the arena where you will compete.”
A huge building stood beside the road a few hundred metres away, which was the Asinu-Amara arena.
After the South Italian War, with Theonia owning all the lands of South Italia, there were now more cities in the kingdom. Naturally, the number of teams participating in the Rugby and Football Championships increased several times, making Thurii’s two arenas no longer enough. Thus they built three more arenas one after another, with half of the cost taken from the national treasury and half donated by wealthy people in the kingdom.