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Servius Tullius

Tarquinius Priscus

Tarquinius Priscus

The man from Tarquinii
Lucius Tarquinius Priscus was the fifth of the Roman kings.
The surname Priscus is added after Tarquinius' death, when another Tarquinius (Superbus) came to reign.When Lucius Tarquinius arrived in Rome, because having troubles in rome from Tarquinii he was quite rich.  He made himself popular by the elite through being generous and kind. This way he succeeded in becoming the guardian of the children of the king.

How to become king
When the king died his sons were still in the age of puberty. When it came to selecting a new king, Tarquinius sent the boys to a hunting party and had himself elected king


How to build popularity
He expanded the senate with 100 new members and hoped in doing so to strengthen his position.  He had  created a place  for games like these were held in Etruria. Here were organized horse races and box matches.
In this circus were special seats
created for the senators. In later
times this place was to be called
the Circus Maximus.

Power of the priests
When the Sabines attacked Rome Tarquinius priscus wanted to make some alterations in the organization of the army. The augurs didn't want to agree because there could be made no change without the approval of the birds. Tarquinius was furious and asked the diviner to tell him if what he had in mind was possible. The priest consulted the gods and said: "yes, it is possible". See Livius (1.36) to find out if the diviner was right.

Numa's succesor
Tarquinius didn't make any alterations except he doubled the number of men in each of the divisions and won the war. As he did in the war with several Latin cities after that.
He had laid the foundation of the temple of Jupiter at the top of the Capitol, as he had vowed to Jupiter in the Sabine war.
One time a boy who was sleeping in the palace, had his head blazing with fire. The king and queen awakened interpreted this as a prodigy and took the boy Servius Tullius in their custody and raised him  as if he were their own and even made him marry their daughter.

Ancus Marcius' two sons never forgave him for keeping one of them from being king, but still hoped that one of them would succeed Tarquinius. Now they realized their chances had gone.

They decided to kill the one they hated the most and then to demand their right at the throne.  Two shepherds then killed the king in the two sons orders.

Tanaquil's revenge
Tanaquil the kings wife succeeded in keeping the murder secret for a  few days.
In this time she helped Servius Tullius to take the kings place and declare himself king. Ancus Marcius' sons escaped and went into exile.

    Gravetombs in ancient Tarquinii    
    Grave tomb in ancient Tarquinii. The tombs are all that is left of the city, that was situated near modern Tarquinia. The Romans didn't distroy this city though, but the Saracens a millenium later.    

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