"However lawless and tyrannical Tarquin may have been asmonarch in his own
country, as a war leader he did finework. Indeed, his fame as a soldier might have
equaled thatof his predecessors, had not his degeneracy in other
thingsobscured its luster."
-Livy, History I, xxxiii
The Seven Kings
The early history of Rome has always been an interesting mixture of heroic
legend and fact. According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC. Romulus
was Rome's first king and after him there were 6 more kings. The period
traditionally lasted for 244 years (753-509 BC) and is known about through the
who compiled his Great History of Rome in a single narrative during the rule
of Augustus, which indicates that he ascertained his information through
various myths and legends. (see Rome's Early Kings
Livy records that the kings were vitally important in the early growth of the
state. He said that the people at this time were, "a rabble of vagrants, mostly runaways and refugees, unrestrained by the power
of the throne, would no doubt have set sail on the stormy sea of democratic
He mainly tells the story of them groping their way to political maturity when
writing of the seven kings. Their names were (click on each name):
(note: If you go to Rome today you can see parts of the Servian Wall
which was once believed to have been built by Servius Tullius).
Romulus was known as a warrior-king and the great builder of Rome's first army
and of her first government.
, Rome's second king, brought a new kind of peace to the land and founded the
The kings had special advisors who were known as the "Senate" (Latin for "old
men"). They were a council of elders from Rome's most prominent families. The
citizens would assemble and vote on whatever decisions were made by the king and
Their religion greatly affected their decisions. In fact the king was also a
chief priest to the gods and he chose more priests from among the Senate
. They would gather together and perform religious ceremonies and they would
also interpret whatever omens had been given.
Around 500 B.C., the Etruscan
tyranny provoked these Latin peoples to active opposition and then a revolt,
the Etruscan king and his followers were driven into exile. Thus, there was
ushered in a new era of Roman history.
Click here to read some quotes by Livy regarding each king:
Livy About Rome's Early Kings