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King of Rome

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King of Rome
Capitoline she-wolf Musei Capitolini MC1181.jpg
Tarquinius-Superbus.jpg
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus
Details
First monarchRomulus
Last monarchLucius Tarquinius Superbus
Formation753 BC
Abolition509 BC
ResidenceRome
AppointerCuriate Assembly

The king of Rome (Latin: rex Romae) was the ruler of the Roman Kingdom.[1] According to legend, the first king of Rome was Romulus, who founded the city in 753 BC upon the Palatine Hill. Seven legendary kings are said to have ruled Rome until 509 BC, when the last king was overthrown. These kings ruled for an average of 35 years.

The kings after Romulus were not known to be dynasts and no reference is made to the hereditary principle until after the fifth king Tarquinius Priscus. Consequently, some have assumed that the Tarquins' attempt to institute a hereditary monarchy over this conjectured earlier elective monarchy resulted in the formation of the Republic.

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Roman Kingdom

Roman Kingdom

The Roman Kingdom was the earliest period of Roman history when the city and its territory were ruled by kings. According to oral accounts, the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding c. 753 BC, with settlements around the Palatine Hill along the river Tiber in central Italy, and ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic c. 509 BC.

Roman mythology

Roman mythology

Roman mythology is the body of myths of ancient Rome as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans. One of a wide variety of genres of Roman folklore, Roman mythology may also refer to the modern study of these representations, and to the subject matter as represented in the literature and art of other cultures in any period. Roman mythology draws from the mythology of the Italic peoples and ultimately from Proto-Indo-European mythology.

Romulus

Romulus

Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus and his contemporaries. Although many of these traditions incorporate elements of folklore, and it is not clear to what extent a historical figure underlies the God-like Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the myths surrounding Rome's origins and cultural traditions.

Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill, which relative to the seven hills of Rome is the centremost, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire." The site is now mainly a large open-air museum while the Palatine Museum houses many finds from the excavations here and from other ancient Italian sites.

Dynasty

Dynasty

A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a monarchical system, but sometimes also appearing in republics. A dynasty may also be referred to as a "house", "family" or "clan", among others.

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, or Tarquin the Elder, was the legendary fifth king of Rome and first of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned for thirty-eight years. Tarquinius expanded Roman power through military conquest and grand architectural constructions. His wife was the prophetess Tanaquil.

Hereditary monarchy

Hereditary monarchy

A hereditary monarchy is a form of government and succession of power in which the throne passes from one member of a ruling family to another member of the same family. A series of rulers from the same family would constitute a dynasty.

Elective monarchy

Elective monarchy

An elective monarchy is a monarchy ruled by an elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance. The manner of election, the nature of candidate qualifications, and the electors vary from case to case. Historically, it was common for elective monarchies to transform into hereditary ones over time or for hereditary ones to acquire at least occasional elective aspects.

Roman Republic

Roman Republic

The Roman Republic was a form of government of Rome and the era of the classical Roman civilization when it was run through public representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire, Rome's control rapidly expanded during this period—from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world.

Overview

Early Rome was ruled by the king (rex). The king possessed absolute power over the people; no one could rule over him. The Senate was a weak oligarchy, capable of exercising only minor administrative powers, so that Rome was ruled by its king who was in effect an absolute monarch. The Senate's main function was to carry out and administer the wishes of the king. After Romulus, Rome's first legendary king, Roman kings were elected by the people of Rome, sitting as a Curiate Assembly, who voted on the candidate that had been nominated by a chosen member of the Senate called an interrex. Candidates for the throne could be chosen from any source. For example, one such candidate, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, was originally a citizen and migrant from a neighboring Etruscan city-state. The people of Rome, sitting as the Curiate Assembly, could then either accept or reject the nominated candidate-king.

The king had twelve lictors wielding fasces, a curule chair which served as a throne, a purple toga picta, red shoes, and a white diadem worn on the head. Only the king could wear a purple toga.

The supreme power of the state was vested in the king, whose position gave the following powers:

Chief Executive

Beyond his religious authority, the king was invested with the supreme military, executive, and judicial authority through the use of imperium. The imperium of the king was held for life and protected him from ever being brought to trial for his actions. As the sole holder of imperium in Rome at the time, the king possessed ultimate executive power and unchecked military authority as the commander-in-chief of all Rome's forces. His executive power and his sole imperium allowed him to issue decrees with the force of law. Also, the laws that kept citizens safe from the misuse of magistrates holding imperium did not exist during the time of the kings.

The king was also empowered to appoint or nominate all officeholders. He would appoint a tribunus celerum to serve both as the tribune of Ramnes tribe in Rome and also as the commander of the king's personal bodyguard, the Celeres. The king was required to appoint the tribune upon entering office, and the tribune left office upon the king's death. The tribune was second in rank to the king and also possessed the power to convene the Curiate Assembly and lay legislation before it.

Another officer appointed by the king was the praefectus urbi, who acted as the warden of the city. When the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers, even to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city. The king was the sole person empowered to appoint patricians to the Senate.

Chief Judge

The king's imperium granted him both military powers as well as qualified him to pronounce legal judgement in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Although he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal. This made the king supreme in times of both war and peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could be brought before the king by any patrician during a meeting of the Curiate Assembly.

To assist the king, a council advised the king during all trials, but this council had no power to control the king's decisions. Also, two criminal detectives (Quaestores Parridici) were appointed by him as well as a two-man criminal court (Duumviri Perduellionis) which oversaw for cases of treason.

Chief Legislator

Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had very little power and authority; they were not independent bodies in that they possessed the right to meet together and discuss questions of state. They could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them. While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws that had been submitted by the king, the Senate was effectively an honorable council. It could advise the king on his action but, by no means, could prevent him from acting. The only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation. These issues effectively allowed the King to more or less rule by decree with the exception of the above-mentioned affairs.

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King

King

King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen, which title is also given to the consort of a king, although in some cases, the title of King is given to females such as in the case of Mary, Queen of Hungary.In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contemporary indigenous peoples, the title may refer to tribal kingship. Germanic kingship is cognate with Indo-European traditions of tribal rulership. In the context of classical antiquity, king may translate in Latin as rex and in Greek as archon or basileus. In classical European feudalism, the title of king as the ruler of a kingdom is understood to be the highest rank in the feudal order, potentially subject, at least nominally, only to an emperor. In a modern context, the title may refer to the ruler of one of a number of modern monarchies. The title of king is used alongside other titles for monarchs: in the West, emperor, grand prince, prince, archduke, duke or grand duke, and in the Islamic world, malik, sultan, emir or hakim, etc. The city-states of the Aztec Empire had a Tlatoani, which were kings of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica. The Huey Tlatoani was the emperor of the Aztecs.

Senate of the Roman Kingdom

Senate of the Roman Kingdom

The Senate of the Roman Kingdom was a political institution in the ancient Roman Kingdom. The word senate derives from the Latin word senex, which means "old man". Therefore, senate literally means "board of old men" and translates as "Council of Elders". The prehistoric Indo-Europeans who settled Rome in the centuries before the legendary founding of Rome in 753 BC were structured into tribal communities. These tribal communities often included an aristocratic board of tribal elders, who were vested with supreme authority over their tribe. The early tribes that had settled along the banks of the Tiber eventually aggregated into a loose confederation, and later formed an alliance for protection against invaders.

Oligarchy

Oligarchy

Oligarchy is a conceptual form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people may or may not be distinguished by one or several characteristics, such as nobility, fame, wealth, education, or corporate, religious, political, or military control.

Curiate Assembly

Curiate Assembly

The Curiate Assembly was the principal assembly that evolved in shape and form over the course of the Roman Kingdom until the Comitia Centuriata organized by Servius Tullius. During these first decades, the people of Rome were organized into thirty units called "Curiae". The Curiae were ethnic in nature, and thus were organized on the basis of the early Roman family, or, more specifically, on the basis of the thirty original patrician (aristocratic) clans. The Curiae formed an assembly for legislative, electoral, and judicial purposes. The Curiate Assembly passed laws, elected Consuls, and tried judicial cases. Consuls always presided over the assembly. While plebeians (commoners) could participate in this assembly, only the patricians could vote.

Interrex

Interrex

The interrex was literally a ruler "between kings" during the Roman Kingdom and the Roman Republic. He was in effect a short-term regent.

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, or Tarquin the Elder, was the legendary fifth king of Rome and first of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned for thirty-eight years. Tarquinius expanded Roman power through military conquest and grand architectural constructions. His wife was the prophetess Tanaquil.

City-state

City-state

A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including ancient poleis such as Athens, Sparta, Carthage and Rome, the atlepeme of pre-Columbian Mexico and the Italian city-states during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, such as Florence, Venice, Genoa and Milan.

Lictor

Lictor

A lictor was a Roman civil servant who was an attendant and bodyguard to a magistrate who held imperium. Lictors are documented since the Roman Kingdom, and may have originated with the Etruscans.

Fasces

Fasces

Fasces is a bound bundle of wooden rods, sometimes including an axe with its blade emerging. The fasces is an Italian symbol that had its origin in the Etruscan civilization and was passed on to ancient Rome, where it symbolized a magistrate's power and jurisdiction. The axe, originally associated with the labrys the double-bitted axe, originally from Crete, is one of the oldest symbols of Greek civilization. To the Romans, it was known as a bipennis.

Imperium

Imperium

In ancient Rome, imperium was a form of authority held by a citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from auctoritas and potestas, different and generally inferior types of power in the Roman Republic and Empire. One's imperium could be over a specific military unit, or it could be over a province or territory. Individuals given such power were referred to as curule magistrates or promagistrates. These included the curule aedile, the praetor, the consul, the magister equitum, and the dictator. In a general sense, imperium was the scope of someone's power, and could include anything, such as public office, commerce, political influence, or wealth.

Commander-in-chief

Commander-in-chief

A commander-in-chief or supreme commander is the person who exercises supreme command and control over an armed force or a military branch. As a technical term, it refers to military competencies that reside in a country's executive leadership, a head of state, head of government, or other designated government official.

Celeres

Celeres

The celeres were the bodyguard of the Kings of Rome. Traditionally established by Romulus, the legendary founder and first King of Rome, the celeres comprised three hundred men, ten chosen by each of the curiae. The celeres were the strongest and bravest warriors among the early Roman nobility, and were the bravest and most loyal soldiers in the army. The name of celeres was generally believed to have arisen from their celeritas, or swiftness, but Valerius Antias maintained that their first commander was named "Celer", perhaps the same Celer mentioned by Ovid as the foreman of the first fortification built around the Palatine Hill; it was he, rather than Romulus himself, who slew Remus after he overleapt the wall.

Election

Whenever a Roman king died, Rome entered a period of interregnum. Supreme power in the state would be devolved to the Senate, which had the task of finding a new king. The Senate would assemble and appoint one of its own members as the interrex to serve for a period of five days with the sole purpose of nominating the next king of Rome. After the five-day period, the interrex would appoint (with the Senate's consent) another senator for another five-day term. This process would continue until the election of a new king. Once the interrex found a suitable nominee for the kingship, he would bring the nominee before the Senate and the Senate would examine him. If the Senate confirmed the nomination, the interrex would convene the Curiate Assembly and preside as its chairman during the election of the king.

Once a candidate was proposed to the Curiate Assembly, the people of Rome could either accept or reject the King-elect. If accepted, the King-elect did not immediately take office: two additional acts had to take place before he was invested with the full regal authority and power. First, it was necessary to obtain the divine will of the gods respecting his appointment by means of the auspices, since the king would serve as high priest of Rome. An augur performed this ceremony by conducting the King-elect to the citadel where he was placed on a stone seat as the people waited below. If the King-elect was found worthy of the kingship, the augur announced that the gods had given favourable tokens, thus confirming the King-elect's priestly character. Second, the imperium had to be conferred upon the King. The Curiate Assembly's vote only determined who was to be king, but that act did not bestow the powers of the king upon him. Accordingly, the king himself proposed to the Curiate Assembly a bill granting him imperium, and the Curiate Assembly, by voting in favour of the law, would grant it.

In theory, the people of Rome elected their leader, but the Senate had most of the control over the process.

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Interregnum

Interregnum

An interregnum is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next, and the concepts of interregnum and regency therefore overlap. Historically, longer and heavier interregna have been typically accompanied by widespread unrest, civil and succession wars between warlords, and power vacuums filled by foreign invasions or the emergence of a new power. A failed state is usually in interregnum.

Interrex

Interrex

The interrex was literally a ruler "between kings" during the Roman Kingdom and the Roman Republic. He was in effect a short-term regent.

Augur

Augur

An augur was a priest and official in the classical Roman world. His main role was the practice of augury, the interpretation of the will of the gods by studying events he observed within a predetermined sacred space (templum). The templum corresponded to the heavenly space above. The augur's decisions were based on what he personally saw or heard from within the templum; they included thunder, lightning and any accidental signs such as falling objects, but in particular, birdsigns; whether the birds he saw flew in groups or alone, what noises they made as they flew, the direction of flight, what kind of birds they were, how many there were, or how they fed. This practice was known as "taking the auspices". As circumstance did not always favour the convenient appearance of wild birds or weather phenomena, domesticated chickens kept for the purpose were sometimes released into the templum, where their behaviour, particularly how they fed, could be studied by the augur.

Imperium

Imperium

In ancient Rome, imperium was a form of authority held by a citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from auctoritas and potestas, different and generally inferior types of power in the Roman Republic and Empire. One's imperium could be over a specific military unit, or it could be over a province or territory. Individuals given such power were referred to as curule magistrates or promagistrates. These included the curule aedile, the praetor, the consul, the magister equitum, and the dictator. In a general sense, imperium was the scope of someone's power, and could include anything, such as public office, commerce, political influence, or wealth.

Kings of Rome (753–509 BC)

Since Rome's records were destroyed in 390 BC when the city was sacked, it is impossible to know for certain how many kings actually ruled the city, or if any of the deeds attributed to the individual kings, by later writers, are accurate.

Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines, was also joint king of Rome with Romulus for five years, until his death. However, he is not traditionally counted among the seven kings of Rome.

Name Birth Reign Succession
Romulus c. 770[2] c. 753 – 716 BC
(37 years)[3][2]
Proclaimed himself king after murdering his brother, Remus.
Numa Pompilius c. 753 BC[4] c. 715 – 672 BC
(43 years)[3][4]
Elected king by the Curiate Assembly, after the death of Romulus. Brother in law of Romulus.[5]
Tullus Hostilius ??? c. 672 – 640 BC
(32 years)[3]
Elected king by the Curiate Assembly, after the death of Numa Pompilius.
Ancus Marcius ??? c. 640 – 616 BC
(24 years)[3]
Son in law of Tullus Hostilius,[6] grandson of Numa Pompilius; five years old at the time of his grandfather's death,[7] he was elected king by the Curiate Assembly after the death of Tullus Hostilius.
Lucius Tarquinius Priscus ??? c. 616 – 578 BC
(38 years)[3]
After the death of Ancus Marcius, he became regent due to Marcius' sons being too young, but was soon elected king by the Curiate Assembly. He was the first Etruscan king, and was originally known as Lucumo.
Servius Tullius ??? c. 578 – 534 BC
(44 years)[3]
Son in law of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.[8] He seized the kingship after Ancus' sons had Tarquinius Priscus assassinated under the guise that he was merely filling in while the king was recovering.
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus ??? c. 534 – 509 BC
(25 years)[3]
Son or grandson of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus; seized the kingship after the assassination of Servius Tullius which he and his wife (daughter of Tullius) helped orchestrate.

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Battle of the Allia

Battle of the Allia

The Battle of the Allia was a battle fought c. 387 BC between the Senones – a Gallic tribe led by Brennus, who had invaded Northern Italy – and the Roman Republic. The battle was fought at the confluence of the Tiber and Allia rivers, 11 Roman miles north of Rome. The Romans were routed and subsequently Rome was sacked by the Senones. According to scholar Piero Treves, "the absence of any archaeological evidence for a destruction-level of this date suggests that [this] sack of Rome was superficial only."

Titus Tatius

Titus Tatius

According to the Roman foundation myth, Titus Tatius was the king of the Sabines from Cures and joint-ruler of the Kingdom of Rome for several years.

Romulus

Romulus

Romulus was the legendary founder and first king of Rome. Various traditions attribute the establishment of many of Rome's oldest legal, political, religious, and social institutions to Romulus and his contemporaries. Although many of these traditions incorporate elements of folklore, and it is not clear to what extent a historical figure underlies the God-like Romulus, the events and institutions ascribed to him were central to the myths surrounding Rome's origins and cultural traditions.

Numa Pompilius

Numa Pompilius

Numa Pompilius was the legendary second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus after a one-year interregnum. He was of Sabine origin, and many of Rome's most important religious and political institutions are attributed to him, such as the Roman calendar, Vestal Virgins, the cult of Mars, the cult of Jupiter, the cult of Romulus, and the office of pontifex maximus.

Tullus Hostilius

Tullus Hostilius

Tullus Hostilius was the legendary third king of Rome. He succeeded Numa Pompilius and was succeeded by Ancus Marcius. Unlike his predecessor, Tullus was known as a warlike king who according to the Roman Historian Livy, believed the more peaceful nature of his predecessor had weakened Rome. It has been attested that he sought out war and was even more warlike than the first king of Rome, Romulus. Accounts of the death of Tullus Hostillus vary. In the mythological version of events Livy describes, he had angered Jupiter who then killed him with a bolt of lightning. Non mythological sources on the other hand describe that he died of plague after a rule of 32 years.

Ancus Marcius

Ancus Marcius

Ancus Marcius was the legendary fourth king of Rome, who traditionally reigned 24 years. Upon the death of the previous king, Tullus Hostilius, the Roman Senate appointed an interrex, who in turn called a session of the assembly of the people who elected the new king. Ancus is said to have ruled by waging war as Romulus did, while also promoting peace and religion as Numa Pompilius did.

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, or Tarquin the Elder, was the legendary fifth king of Rome and first of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned for thirty-eight years. Tarquinius expanded Roman power through military conquest and grand architectural constructions. His wife was the prophetess Tanaquil.

Servius Tullius

Servius Tullius

Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of Rome, and the second of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned from 578 to 535 BC. Roman and Greek sources describe his servile origins and later marriage to a daughter of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Rome's first Etruscan king, who was assassinated in 579 BC. The constitutional basis for his accession is unclear; he is variously described as the first Roman king to accede without election by the Senate, having gained the throne by popular and royal support; and as the first to be elected by the Senate alone, with support of the reigning queen but without recourse to a popular vote.

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome, reigning 25 years until the popular uprising that led to the establishment of the Roman Republic. He is commonly known as Tarquin the Proud, from his cognomen Superbus.

During the Republic

Family relations
Family relations

The overthrow of the Roman monarchy of Tarquinius Superbus led to a limited separation of the powers mentioned above.

The actual title of king was retained for the rex sacrorum, who formally remained Rome's first priest. He was forbidden any political or military career, except for a seat in the Senate. However, the Roman desire to prevent the kingship from becoming important went so far that, even in the area of religion, the king of sacrifices was formally, in all but protocol, subordinated to the first of the pontiffs, the pontifex maximus (whose position in origin, rather than with the name of priest, is better described as "minister of religion"), to the extent that at some point in history, the Regia or royal palace at the Forum Romanum, originally inhabited by the king of sacrifices,[9] was ceded to the pontifex maximus.[10] Significantly enough, one of his major public appearances was at the festival of Regifugium, where he impersonated the king being thrown out of the city. Further, the consuls retained religious roles which were considered so important that the office of interrex was retained for the opening prayer of "electional" assemblies in case both consuls died in office, and the ritual of driving a nail into the temple of Jupiter sometimes even induced a dictatorship. The rex sacrorum was not elected publicly, but chosen by the pontifical college.

The king of sacrifices retained some religious rites only he could perform, and acted as quasi-flamen to Janus. The position seems to have continued in existence until the official adoption of the Christian religion. To qualify for the office, patrician ancestry was necessary; however it was once performed by a member of a family otherwise known as plebeian, the Marcii, earning for himself and his descendants the cognomen Rex.

As has been mentioned, the administrative functions in religion, including at some point the housing in the ancient royal court, were ceded to the supreme pontiff.

In the late Republic, the previous role of the king in choosing new senators and dismissing people from the Senate was ceded to the censors. However, the role of choosing senators became rather limited as all magistrates down to the rank of quaestor eventually gained admission to the Senate after the office's expiration.

The modern concept of a head of state, insofar as the republican times excepting the dictatorships are concerned, can hardly be translated to Roman conceptions, but most other powers—the imperium—were ceded to the consuls (the etymology suggests that these were originally the king's chief counsellors) and to the praetors ("leaders")[11] after the creation of that office (about 367, according to Livy); thereby at least roughly separating the judiciary from the executive. According to tradition (which is disputed by historians for the first decades), the consulate was always entrusted to two persons to prevent autocracy. In case of emergencies, the power to appoint a dictator for a six-month term was introduced. Later, proconsuls and propraetors could be given an imperium by appointment of the Senate. Whoever used the imperium to victoriously lead an army could acquire the title of imperator, which later became chief title of the emperors, who were formally included in the system as proconsuls over most (and the strategically most important) parts of the empire, chief senators, and popular tribunes without the title. The republican idea that all promagisterial imperium ends upon entering the city was not observed in the emperors' case.

At the same time, the legislation was practically passed from the Curiate Assembly to the Centuriate Assembly (and Tribal Assembly), with the exception of the formality, more or less, of a lex curiata de imperio, which ratified the elections of the previous Centuriate Assembly. The consuls did, however, retain the power to rule by ordinance.

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Overthrow of the Roman monarchy

Overthrow of the Roman monarchy

The overthrow of the Roman monarchy was an event in ancient Rome that took place between the 6th and 5th centuries BC where a political revolution replaced the then-existing Roman monarchy under Lucius Tarquinius Superbus with a republic. The details of the event were largely forgotten by the Romans a few centuries later; later Roman historians invented a narrative of the events, traditionally dated to c. 509 BC, but this narrative is largely believed to be fictitious by modern scholars.

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome, reigning 25 years until the popular uprising that led to the establishment of the Roman Republic. He is commonly known as Tarquin the Proud, from his cognomen Superbus.

Pontiff

Pontiff

A pontiff was, in Roman antiquity, a member of the most illustrious of the colleges of priests of the Roman religion, the College of Pontiffs. The term "pontiff" was later applied to any high or chief priest and, in Roman Catholic ecclesiastical usage, to bishops, especially the Pope, who is sometimes referred to as the Roman Pontiff or the Supreme Pontiff.

Pontifex maximus

Pontifex maximus

The pontifex maximus was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. Although in fact the most powerful office in the Roman priesthood, the pontifex maximus was officially ranked fifth in the ranking of the highest Roman priests, behind the rex sacrorum and the flamines maiores.

Flamen

Flamen

A flamen was a priest of the ancient Roman religion who was assigned to one of eighteen deities with official cults during the Roman Republic. The most important of these were the three flamines maiores, who served the important Roman gods Jupiter, Mars, and Quirinus. The remaining twelve were the flamines minores. Two of the minores served deities whose names are now unknown; among the others are deities about whom little is known other than the name. During the Imperial era, the cult of a deified emperor also had a flamen.

Janus

Janus

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces. The month of January is named for Janus (Ianuarius). According to ancient Roman farmers' almanacs, Juno was mistaken as the tutelary deity of the month of January, but Juno is the tutelary deity of the month of June.

Patrician (ancient Rome)

Patrician (ancient Rome)

The patricians were originally a group of ruling class families in ancient Rome. The distinction was highly significant in the Roman Kingdom, and the early Republic, but its relevance waned after the Conflict of the Orders. By the time of the late Republic and Empire, membership in the patriciate was of only nominal significance.

Plebeians

Plebeians

In ancient Rome, the plebeians were the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census, or in other words "commoners". Both classes were hereditary.

Marcia gens

Marcia gens

The gens Marcia, occasionally written Martia, was one of the oldest and noblest houses at ancient Rome. They claimed descent from the second and fourth Roman Kings, and the first of the Marcii appearing in the history of the Republic would seem to have been patrician; but all of the families of the Marcii known in the later Republic were plebeian. The first to obtain the consulship was Gaius Marcius Rutilus in 357 BC, only a few years after the passage of the lex Licinia Sextia opened this office to the plebeians.

Cognomen

Cognomen

A cognomen was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. Initially, it was a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name, the nomen gentilicium, in order to identify a particular branch within a family or family within a clan. The term has also taken on other contemporary meanings.

Imperium

Imperium

In ancient Rome, imperium was a form of authority held by a citizen to control a military or governmental entity. It is distinct from auctoritas and potestas, different and generally inferior types of power in the Roman Republic and Empire. One's imperium could be over a specific military unit, or it could be over a province or territory. Individuals given such power were referred to as curule magistrates or promagistrates. These included the curule aedile, the praetor, the consul, the magister equitum, and the dictator. In a general sense, imperium was the scope of someone's power, and could include anything, such as public office, commerce, political influence, or wealth.

Livy

Livy

Titus Livius, known in English as Livy, was a Roman historian. He wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people, titled Ab Urbe Condita, ''From the Founding of the City'', covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome before the traditional founding in 753 BC through the reign of Augustus in Livy's own lifetime. He was on familiar terms with members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and a friend of Augustus, whose young grandnephew, the future emperor Claudius, he exhorted to take up the writing of history.

Source: "King of Rome", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, March 15th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_of_Rome.

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References
  1. ^ Outline of Roman History William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L. New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company (1901)
  2. ^ a b Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Romulus
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Livy, ab urbe condita libri, I
  4. ^ a b Plutarch, Parallel Lives, Numa
  5. ^ Romulus had a wife, Hersilia, whose sister, Tatia, married Numa. They were both the daughters of Titus Tatius, King of the Sabines
  6. ^ Married his daughter, Hostilia
  7. ^ Plutach's Parallel Lives vol. 1 p. 379
  8. ^ Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1.39.
  9. ^ Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War (University of California Press, 2005), p. 136 online.
  10. ^ It is well known that Julius Caesar inhabited it.
  11. ^ Before the formal establishment of the office of praetor below the consulate, this was at least another generic name, and quite possibly another title, of the consuls, cf. the names "praetorium" for the military leader's tent etc.
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