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Like so many early Latin communities that shared central Italy with the Romans, Alba Longa was both neighbor and rival to Rome. According to tradition, the town was founded by Ascanius, son of the Trojan hero Aeneas. This would make the citizens of alba Longa ancestors of the Romans. Alba Longa was located about twelve miles from Rome on the sacred Alban Mount, an important religious site in early Latium. As religion was already playing an important integral role in Roman politics, Alba Longa's location made it a strategic military and political rival to Rome, adding to the tensions that led up to the conquest.
In any case, by the reign of Tullus Hostilius, Rome and Alba Longa had become bitter rivals over religious and trading issues. Alba Longa was the lead city in a loose alliance of other towns in Latium. Although there exists no chronicle of the Roman conquest of Alba Longa and the events that led up to it, it appears that Rome eliminated her rival sometime during the Sixth Century B.C. Far from being a vindictive conqueror, Rome welcomed her vanquished rivals as friends. The aristocratic families of Alba Longa settled on the Capitoline and other hills around Rome and soon formed an important part of Roman society.
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