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The Kingdom of Rome

Romans considered the founding of the city of Rome to be in the year 753 BC. Romans dated their calendars from this date as Year 1.

The location of Rome was one that provided good protection. the Tiber River provided protection on one side, with good transportation. Hills protected the other. The Tiber river was not only used for military movements but also for commercial activity.

The city was probably founded as towns atop the various hills of Rome were united together. The earliest may have been the village atop Palatine hill, giving rise to legend and festivals in Rome.

There were various Italian (Italic Tribes) peoples living on the Italian peninsula before 1000 BC.

 

The Latins, who, like many others, had an independent city-state political world but Rome began to conquer.

The Etruscans to the North began to exert political control over the region. The tribal/chief government became a kingdom. According to legend between 753 BC and 509 BC there were 7 kings of Rome.

The last of the Seven kings (Lucius Tarquinius Sperbus) ruled as a tyrant.

 

According to the Roman Historian Livy (59 BC-17 AD), Superbus’s son, Sextus Tarquinius, raped a woman named Lucretia. Lucretia was the wife of Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus a former governor, and the daughter of a Roman Prefect. When the King, Superbus, sent his son to Lucius’s house to deliver a military message, Lucius was not home but his wife Lucretia honored Sextus and invited him to stay. Sextus quietly made his way around two slaves that slept outside her door and made his way into her room. When she woke up, he identified himself and gave her two options. She could either submit to his sexual advances or he would kill her and a slave and place the bodies together claiming that he had caught her having an affair.
The next day Sextus went back to the military camp, Lucretia went to her father’s home, fell to the ground wrapped her arms around his knees and began to weep. She told he and the witnesses there that what had happened and called on them for revenge against Sextus and the King. While the men debated, Lucretia pulled out a dagger and stabbed herself through the heart. “Collatinus, seeing his wife dead, became distraught. He held her, kissed her, called her name and spoke to her. [...] His friend Brutus [who was called Brutus, a name that was derived from the word for a slow or dimwitted person,] called the grieving party to order, explained that his simplicity [or slowness and shallowness] had been a sham [to keep the king from suspecting anything about his possible ambition], and proposed that they drive the Tarquins from Rome.

 

Grasping the bloody dagger, he swore by Mars and all the other gods that he would do everything in his power to overthrow the dominion of the Tarquinii and that he would neither be reconciled to the tyrants himself nor tolerate any who should be connected to them.”


He then took the dagger and swore an oath, then passed the dagger to the others who all swore the same oath.

They took Lucretia’s bloody body to the Roman Forum and heard complaints against the Tarquins, and determined to drive the ruling family out of Rome. They formed an Army, and blocked the gates of Rome.

Very quickly Brutus, who held an obscure and rarely used authority to call a legislative body into assembly, immediately called a meeting of the Curia. They debated the type of government that Rome ought to be and ultimately decided that a hereditary King was not a part of Rome. Rome became a republic with an unwritten constitution that called for a consul of two men chosen by an “interex” basically an interim leader. Spurius Lucretius Tricipitinus was swiftly elected interrex; he was prefect of the city anyway. He proposed Brutus and Collatinus as the first two consuls and that choice was ratified by the curiae. Now, all of the speakers at the assembly were plebians (wealthy families of Rome). They revolutionaries needed the support of the people at large. they paraded Lucrecia’s body through the streets calling for the plebeians to come to the Forum.

Once there Brutus gave a speach: Inasmuch as Tarquinius neither obtained the sovereignty in accordance with our ancestral customs and laws, nor, since he obtained it — in whatever manner he got it — has he been exercising it in an honourable or kingly manner, but has surpassed in insolence and lawlessness all the tyrants the world ever saw, we patricians met together and resolved to deprive him of his power, a thing we ought to have done long ago, but are doing now when a favourable opportunity has offered. And we have called you together, plebeians, in order to declare our own decision and then ask for your assistance in achieving liberty for our country ....

The vote was for republic and the kingdom was at an end. (All this while Lucrecia’s body was displayed at the Forum. It was this decision that forced future leaders like Caesar and Augustus to use titles other than King and that they had to strategically acquire various positions and powers into one office to have absolute authority.2

When Tarquinus Superbus, the King, heard what was going on in the city he left the army and headed for Rome.
Letters from the revolutionaries made it to the troops at Ardea after the King left and the letters were read by the men left in charge. The troops were called into units for a vote. And voted for Republic.

Sextus was assassinated when he tried to take back part of the kingdom, Superbus and the Tarquin family was exiled and the Republic began.

The Republic lasted nearly 500 years. (Approximately 509 BC - 27 BC) 

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