Tarquinius in Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities

´╝łTarcho). The name of a family in early Roman tradition to which the fifth and seventh kings of Rome belonged. The legend of the Tarquins ran as follows: Demaratus, their ancestor, belonged to the noble family of the Bacchiadae at Corinth, and fled from his native city when the power of his order was overthrown by Cypselus. He settled at Tarquinii in Etruria, where he had mercantile connections. He married an Etruscan wife, by whom he had two sons, Lucumo and Aruns. The latter died in the lifetime of his father, leaving his wife pregnant; but as Demaratus was ignorant of this circumstance, he bequeathed all his property to Lucumo, and died himself shortly afterwards. But, although Lucumo was thus one of the most wealthy persons at Tarquinii, and had married Tanaquil, who belonged to a family of the highest rank, he was excluded, as a stranger, from all power and influence in the State. Discontented with this inferior position, and urged on by his wife, he resolved to leave Tarquinii and remove to Rome. He accordingly set out for Rome, riding in a chariot with his wife, and accompanied by a large train of followers. When they had reached the Ianiculum, an eagle seized his cap, and after carrying it away to a great height placed it again upon his head. Tanaquil, who was skilled in the Etruscan science of augury, bade her husband hope for the highest honour from this omen. Her predictions were soon verified. The stranger was received with welcome, and he and his followers were admitted to the rights of Roman citizens. He took the name of L. Tarquinius, to which Livy adds Priscus. His wealth, his courage, and his wisdom gained him the love both of Ancus Marcius and of the people. The former appointed him guardian of his children; and, when he died, the Senate and the people unanimously elected Tarquinius to the vacant throne. The reign of Tarquinius was distinguished by great exploits in war and by great works in peace. He defeated the Latins and Sabines; and the latter people ceded to him the town of Collatia, where he placed a garrison under the command of Egerius, the son of his deceased brother Aruns, who took the surname of Collatinus. Some traditions relate that Tarquinius defeated the Etruscans also. Among the important works which Tarquinius executed in peace, the most celebrated are the vast sewers by which the lower parts of the city were drained, and which still remain, with not a stone displaced, to bear witness to his power and wealth. He is also said in some traditions to have laid out the Circus Maximus in the valley which had been redeemed from water by the sewers, and also to have instituted the Great or Roman Games, which were henceforth performed in the Circus. The Forum, with its porticoes and rows of shops, was also his work, and he likewise began to surround the city with a stone wall, a work which was finished by his successor, Servius Tullius. The building of the Capitoline Temple is, moreover, attributed to the elder Tarquinius, though most traditions ascribe this work to his son, and only the vow to the father. Tarquinius also made some changes in the constitution of the State. He added one hundred new members to the Senate, who were called patres minorum gentium, to distinguish them from the old senators, who were now called patres maiorum gentium. He wished to add to the three centuries of equites established by Romulus three new centuries, and to call them after himself and two of his friends. His plan was opposed by the augur Attus Navius, who gave a convincing proof that the gods were opposed to his purpose. (See Navius.) Accordingly, he gave up his design of establishing new centuries, but to each of the former Tomb of the Tarquins. centuries he associated another under the same name, so that henceforth there were the first and second Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres. He increased the number of Vestal Virgins from four to six. Tarquinius was murdered, after a reign of thirty-eight years, at the instigation of the sons of Ancus Marcius. But the latter did not secure the reward of their crime, for Servius Tullius, with the assistance of Tanaquil, succeeded to the vacant throne (Livy, i. 34-41). Tarquinius left two sons and two daughters. His two sons, L. Tarquinius and Aruns, were subsequently married to the two daughters of Servius Tullius. One of his daughters was married to Servius Tullius, and the other to M. Brutus, by whom she became the mother of the celebrated L. Brutus, the first consul at Rome. Servius Tullius, whose life is given under Tullius, was murdered, after a reign of forty-four years, by his son-in-law, L. Tarquinius, who ascended the vacant throne. L. Tarquinius Superbus commenced his reign without any of the forms of election. One of the first acts of his reign was to abolish the rights which had been conferred upon the plebeians by Servius; and at the same time all the senators and patricians whom he mistrusted or whose wealth he coveted were put to death or driven into exile. He surrounded himself by a body-guard, by means of which he was enabled to do what he liked. His cruelty and tyranny obtained for him the surname of Superbus. But although a tyrant at home, he raised Rome to great influence and power among the surrounding nations. He gave his daughter in marriage to Octavius Mamilius of Tusculum, the most powerful of the Latin chiefs; and under his sway Rome became the head of the Latin Confederacy. He defeated the Volscians, and took the wealthy town of Suessa Pometia, with the spoils of which he commenced the erection of the Capitol which his father had vowed. In the vaults of this temple he deposited the Sibylline Books, which the king purchased from a Sibyl or prophetess. She had offered to sell him nine books for 300 pieces of gold. The king refused the offer with scorn. Therefore she went away and burned three, and then demanded the same price for the six. The king still refused. She again went away and burned three more, and still demanded the same price for the remaining three. The king now purchased the three books, and the Sibyl disappeared. (See Sibylla.) He next engaged in war with Gabii, one of the Latin cities, which refused to enter into the league. Unable to take the city by force of arms, Tarquinius had recourse to stratagem. His son, Sextus, pretending to be ill-treated by his father, and covered with the bloody marks of stripes, fled to Gabii. The infatuated inhabitants intrusted him with the command of their troops; whereupon he sent a messenger to his father to inquire how he should deliver the city into his hands. The king, who was walking in his garden when the messenger arrived, made no reply, but kept striking off the heads of the tallest poppies with his stick. Sextus took the hint. He put to death or banished all the leading men of the place, and then had no difficulty in compelling it to submit to his father. In the midst of his prosperity, Tarquinius fell through a shameful outrage committed by one of his sons. Tarquinius and his sons were engaged in besieging Ardea, a city of the Rutulians. Here, as the king's sons, and their cousin, Tarquinius Collatinus, the son of Egerius, were feasting together, a dispute arose about the virtue of their wives. As nothing was doing in the field, they mounted their horses to visit their homes by surprise. They first went to Rome, where they surprised the king's daughters at a splendid banquet. They then hastened to Collatia, and there, though it was late in the night, they found Lucretia, the wife of Collatinus, spinning amid her handmaids. The beauty and virtue of Lucretia had fired the evil passions of Sextus. A few days afterwards he returned to Collatia, where he was hospitably received by Lucretia as her husband's kinsman. In the dead of night he entered the chamber with a drawn sword: by threatening to lay a slave with his throat cut beside her, whom he would pretend to have killed in order to avenge her husband's honour, he forced her to yield to his wishes. As soon as Sextus had departed, Lucretia sent for her husband and father. Collatinus came, accompanied by L. Brutus; Lucretius, with P. Valerius, who afterwards gained the surname of Publicola. They found her in an agony of sorrow. She told them what had happened, enjoined them to avenge her dishonour, and then stabbed herself to death. They all swore to avenge her. Brutus threw off his assumed stupidity, and placed himself at their head. They carried the corpse to Rome. Brutus, who was tribunus celerum, summoned the people, and related the deed of shame. All classes were inflamed with the same indignation. A decree was passed deposing the king, and banishing him and his family from the city. The army, encamped before Ardea, likewise renounced their allegiance to the tyrant. Tarquinius, with his two sons, Titus and Aruns, took refuge at Caer├ę in Etruria. Sextus repaired to Gabii, his own principality, where he was shortly after murdered by the friends of those whom he had put to death. Tarquinius reigned twenty-four years. He was banished B.C. 510. The people of Tarquinii and Veii espoused the cause of the exiled tyrant, and marched against Rome. The two consuls advanced to meet them. A bloody battle was fought, in which Brutus and Aruns, the son of Tarquinius, slew each other. Tarquinius next repaired to Lars Porsena, the powerful king of Clusium, who marched against Rome at the head of a vast army. The history of this expedition is related under Porsena. After Porsena quitted Rome, Tarquinius took refuge with his son-in-law, Mamilius Octavius of Tusculum. Under the guidance of the latter, the Latin States espoused the cause of the exiled king, and declared war against Rome. The contest was decided by the celebrated battle of Lake Regillus, in which the Romans gained the victory by the help of Castor and Pollux. Tarquinius himself was wounded, but escaped with his life; his son Sextus is said to have fallen in this battle, though, according to another tradition, as we have already seen, he was slain by the inhabitants of Gabii. Tarquinius Superbus had now no other State to whom he could apply for assistance. He had already survived all his family; and he now fled to Aristobulus at Cumae, where he died a wretched and remorseful old man (Livy, ii. 121). Such is the story of the Tarquins according to the ancient writers; but this story must not be received as a real history. It is the attempt to assign a definite origin to certain Roman institutions, to some features in the military organization, and to some ancient public works in the city, of which the history had been obscured by lapse of time. There can be no real doubt that it indicates as the time when these things were carried out a period during which a family of Etruscan origin held the chief power at Rome; and there is at least much probability (though this is denied by some writers of great authority) that this rule was imposed upon Rome by the dominant power of the Etruscans. See Mommsen, History of Rome (Amer. ed.), i. pp. 174, 321 foll., 590; Ihne, Early Rome (New York, 1878).

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