Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

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Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, also called Tarquin the Elder or Tarquin I, was the legendary fifth King of Rome from 616 BC to 579 BC. His wife was Tanaquil.

Contents

Early life

According to Livy, Tarquinius Priscus was the son of Demaratus the Corinthian, and came from the Etruscan city of Tarquinii. Livy claims that his original Etruscan name was Lucumo, but since Lucumo (Etruscan Lauchme) is the Etruscan word for "King", there is reason to believe that Priscus' name and title have been confused in the official tradition. After inheriting his father's entire fortune, Lucius attempted to gain a political office. Disgruntled with his opportunities in Etruria (because of a prejudice against foreigners - his father Demaratus being a Corinthian), he migrated to Rome with his wife Tanaquil, at her suggestion. He had been prohibited from obtaining political office in Tarquinii because of the ethnicity of his father, Demaratus the Corinthian, who came from the Greek city of Corinth. Legend has it that on his arrival in Rome in a chariot, an eagle took his cap, flew away and then returned it back upon his head. Tanaquil, who was skilled in prophecy, interpreted this as an omen of his future greatness. In Rome he attained respect through his courtesy. King Ancus Marcius himself noticed Tarquinius and, by his will, appointed Tarquinius guardian of his own sons.[1]

King of Rome

Upon the death of Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus addressed the Comitia Curiata and convinced them that he should be elected king over Marcius' natural sons, who were still only in their teenage years.[2]

According to Livy, Tarquinius increased the number of the Senate by the addition of 100 men from the minor leading families.[2] Among them was the family of the Octavii, the family of the future first emperor Augustus.[citation needed]

Tarquinius' first war was waged against the Latins. Tarquinius took the Latin town of Apiolae by storm and took great booty from there back to Rome.[2] According to the Fasti Triumphales, the war occurred prior to 588 BC.

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