An'cus Martius or Marcius, (mar'she-us,) the
fourth king of Rome, a grandson of Numa Pompilius,
succeeded Tullus Hostilius about 634 B.C. He is considered
the lawgiver or founder of the plebeian order,
which seems to have received in his reign a distinct political
existence. He waged war with success against
the Latins, founded Ostia, and built the Pons Sublicius,
(Bridge of Piles.) He died about 610, and was succeeded
by Tatquinius Priscus.
See Niebuhr, "Roman History."
Ancus Marcius (r. 640 BC – 616 BC) was the fourth of the
Kings of Rome. He was the son of Marcius (whose father, also
named Marcius, had been a close friend of Numa Pompilius)
and Pompilia (daughter of Numa Pompilius). According to
Festus, Marcius had the surname of Ancus from his crooked
According to Livy, his first act as king was to order the
pontifex maximus to copy the text concerning the performance
of public ceremonies of religion from the commentaries of
Numa Pompilius to be displayed to the public, so that the
rites of religion should no longer be neglected or
He waged war successfully against the Latins, and a number
of them were settled on the Aventine Hill.
According to Livy the war was commenced by the Latins who
anticipated Ancus would follow the pious pursuit of peace
adopted by his grandfather, Numa Pompilius. The Latins
initially made an incursion on Roman lands. When a Roman
embassy sought restitution for the damage, the Latins gave a
contemptuous reply. Ancus accordingly declared war on the
Latins. The declaration is notable since, according to Livy,
it was the first time that the Romans had declared war by
means of the rites of the fetials.
Ancus Marcius marched from Rome with a newly levied army and
took the Latin town of Politorium (situated near the town of
Lanuvium) by storm. Its residents were removed to settle on
the Aventine Hill in Rome as new citizens, following the
Roman traditions from wars with the Sabines and Albans. When
the other Latins subsequently occupied the empty town of
Politorium, Ancus took the town again and demolished it.
The Latin villages of Tellenae and Ficana were also sacked
The war then focused on the Latin town of Medullia. The town
had a strong garrison and was well fortified. Several
engagements took place outside the town and the Romans were
eventually victorious. Ancus returned to Rome with much
booty. More Latins were brought to Rome as citizens and were
settled at the foot of the Aventine near the Palatine Hill,
by the temple of Murcia
Ancus Marcius incorporated the Janiculum into the city,
fortifying it with a wall and connecting it with the city by
a wooden bridge across the Tiber, the Pons Sublicius. On the
land side of the city he constructed the Fossa Quiritium, a
ditch fortification. He also built Rome's first prison, the
He extended Roman territory to the sea, founding the port of
Ostia, establishing salt-works around the port, and taking
the Silva Maesia, an area of coastal forest north of the
Tiber, from the Veientes. He expanded the temple of Jupiter
Feretrius to reflect these territorial successes.
According to a reconstruction of the Fasti Triumphales,
Ancus Marcius celebreated at least one triumph, over the
Sabines and Veientes.
Ancus Marcius was succeeded by Lucius Tarquinius Priscus who
was killed by the sons of Ancus Marcius.
Patrician Marcius Rex -family decended from this king and
remained prominent during the republic and empire.
The fourth king of Rome. He reigned twenty-four years (B.C.
640-616), and is said to have been the son of Numa's daughter.
He took many Latin towns, transported the inhabitants to Rome,
and gave them the Aventine to dwell on. These conquered Latins
formed the original Plebs. He was succeeded by Tarquinius
Priscus. (Livy, i. 32 foll.)