Tarquin the Proud

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Titian, Lucretia


534-510 B.C. - L. Tarquinius Superbus

Tarquin the Proud (L. Tarquinius Superbus) was the last king of Rome. During his tyrannical reign Romans reached the end of their toleration for arbitrary monarchs, and were ready to invent a remarkable form of government, the republic.

The story of the Rape of Lucretia was a popular Roman tale which explained the downfall of Tarquinius. The story goes like this: Roman men spoke of their wives at home and decided to return and surprise them. Only Lucretia, wife to Collatinus, was behaving in a chaste and modest fashion while her husband was gone. Overcome with desire, Tarquin's son, Sextus, returned and raped Lucretia. She told her husband what had happened and urged him to avenge her. She then took her own life. This incident sparked a revolution. The revolt was led by Lucius Junius Brutus and Collatinus, and the result was that Tarquin was exiled from Rome.

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Ancient Rome

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