Silvan elves are by far the most common elf in Roma. Highly xenophobic, most of them reside in the lands of Gaul, where they have lived since the Sundering. Deeply distrustful of many other races-- in particular humans-- they are willing to go to any lengths to defend their homelands, which brings them into regular conflict with the Republic's expansion efforts. In the past, elves open-minded enough to live amongst humans were an aberration indeed. That all changed with the arrival of Maximus the Conqueror, who from 58 to 50 BC decisively defeated several Silvan tribes, resulting in the expansion of the Roman Republic over the whole of Gaul (mainly present day France and Belgium). Many of these Gallic tribes were either enslaved or forced to pay tribute to Roma by way of auxiliary troops, who fought alongside Roma's legions. This has resulted in the spread of Silvan elves to the far corners of the Republic, so that by present day their presence in Roman society is an uncommon but ordinary occurence. They can usually be found acting as guides or advisors to Rome's legions.
Capricious and unpredictable, the Silvan have been likened to a force of nature, neither truly good nor evil. Their closely-guarded traditions are far removed from simple comparison with the values held by other races. Like a placid lake, Silvan elves can appear serene, beautiful, and enchanting, or as frightening and destructive as a storm. They are paranoid and unfriendly toward other races, especially humans. Despite their barbarism, Silvan elves are an exceptionally well-educated, intelligent race, with a deep and exhaustive knowledge of nature. Curiously, they have no interest in formal arcane study, thus no wizards exist among them, having seen the price their forebearers paid for becoming innured to that kind of magic. Sorcerers and priests are much respected, however, and keep a close relationship with one another for some peculiar reason.
Tall but not particularly hardy, Silvan elves have thin, almost frail bodies, yet they possess a preternatural dexterity and grace that makes them deadly opponents on the field of battle.
For ever intruder that the Silvan allow to leave their lands, another ten are slain without question or remorse and left where they fall to be claimed by the forest. Bones and skulls can often be seen on the outskirts of their borders, many with arrows protruding from ribs or embedded in eye-sockets, before they are obscured by twisting roots and undergrowth or taken away by denizens of the forest. These ghastly displays and their ruthless response to encroachment from outsiders have helped spread their reputation of barbarity across the Republic.
There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Many of the tribes subjugated during the Gallic Wars have become accustomed to regular contact and trade with the people of the Republic, although there is still a great deal of resentment amongst their people and minor uprisings are common. Much of the Silvan's distrust is reserved for humans, although they strongly appose any "civilized" folk who attempt to encroach upon their land. Unsurprisingly, they get along quite well with feral tribes from other races, including Beastmen, Orcs, and in particular the Ffolk (perhaps a holdover from before the Sundering, when both halfling and Silvan served their Sindarin masters).
Most Silvan elves come from the forests of Germania and Gaul, where they struggle daily to protect their lands from invaders from all cardinal directions (mostly Germanic and Celtic tribes). For centuries, Gaul had never been successfully invaded, although the Carthaginians tried to expand into the region for decades. The Gallic Wars marked the end of their autonomy, and despite a number of lesser rebellions in the years since, Roman control of Gaul has not been seriously challenged since.