The Etruscan Kings of Rome

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Etruscan horses

616-579 B.C. - L. Tarquinius Priscus

The 5th king of Rome was L. Tarquinius Priscus. According to Livy, he had been born into an Etruscan family and moved to the young city of Rome to improve his fortunes. The king made him the guardian of his children in his will, but ruled until his sons were grown. After the king's death, Tarquin, as guardian, sent them away on a hunting trip. While they were gone, he persuaded the people of the city to elect him as their king. And so an Etruscan became a king of Rome.

To solidify his support, Tarquin created 100 new senators. He waged war against other Italian cities. He was victorious against the Latins and captured their town of Apiolai. To celebrate the great victory he started the tradition of Roman Games (Ludi Romani). The spot where the Roman games began later becamse the Circus Maximus. The Sabines revolted and were conquered as were all cities of Latium.


578-535 B.C. - Servius Tullius

He was succeeded by Servius Tullius, who was probably not related to him. Tarquin's mother Tanaquil had a vision in which she saw the boy Servius as their hope and protector. Tarquin raised the boy as his own son and eventually married him to his daughter. He clearly marked him as his successor. When Tarquin died, his mother helped Servius preserve the fiction that Tarquin was still alive, while Servius consolidated his power. He then became king, the first king who was not elected.

He divided the Roman citizens into tribes and continued to expand and conquer. He enlarged the city and built a city wall enclosing all 7 hills of Rome.

The last of the Etruscan Kings, and the last King of Rome, was L. Tarquinius Superbus, known as Tarquin the Proud.

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Ancient Rome

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