The History of Rome - Rome's First Kings

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"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

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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 historian Livy 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)


kings006_servius.gif 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 politics." 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):


Numa Pompilius

Tullus Hostilius

Ancus Martius

Tarquinius Priscus

Servius Tullus

Tarquinius Superbus

(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.

Numa Pompilius, Rome's second king, brought a new kind of peace to the land and founded the Roman religion.

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 the "Senate."

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

 The History of Rome - Table of Contents

The History of Rome - From Her Dawn to the Third Punic War

The History of Rome - Part One. 743 - 136 B.C. Glossary | Timeline

Also see Roman Emperors - Photos, information , coins and more to come.

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