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Royal Rome

Грачева А.Д.

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The oldest and least known period of history Ancient Rome, which formally lasted from 753 BC (the foundation of Rome) until the overthrow of the last king Tarquinius the Proud and the establishment of the Republic in 509 BC.There are many legends about the origin of the city.

Usually, when considering the Royal period, the following main topics are considered::

Start with a few words about Italy and the Apennine Peninsula. The climate here is favorable for life, besides, it used to be milder, and to be more precise, it was not so sweltering hot. Italians appeared on the peninsula at the turn of 3-2 thousand BC, they migrated in two waves from the northeast. By Italians we mean more than 20 tribes that inhabited this area-Latins, Etruscans, Samnites, etc.The Latins, who established themselves in Latium, acquired a special significance in history. The history of Rome is the history of the Latins. Rome was founded on the Tiber River, 25 km from the Tyrrhenian Sea. As the well-known ancient scholar S. I. Kovalev writes: A small tribe of Latins occupied the northern part of Latium, the so-called Ancient Latium. It lay between two rich regions, Etruria and Campania, inhabited by cultural and commercial tribes. Latium was a hilly plain along the lower Tiber River with an area of about 1.5 thousand square kilometers. Its border is the sea, the Tiber, a tributary of the Tiber (Agnene) and the Sabine Mountains, and then-the mountainous regions of the Equians, Guernicians and Volscians. The center of Latium is the Albanian Hills. The soil in Latium is rich in minerals due to its volcanic origin, and therefore suitable for agriculture.

City plan-Rome

Legend of the founding of Rome

After the fall of Troy, the Trojans sailed to Latium with Aeneas. They were received by the local king Latinus. Aeneas married the daughter of a Latinus named Lavinia. After the death of Latinus, Aeneas became king over the Latins and Trojans. Aeneas ' son Ascanius Iulus built the city of Alba Longa after his father's death and became king there. Later, Numitor reigned here, but he was overthrown by his elder brother Amulius, and his daughter Rhea Silvia became a Vestal. Vestal virgins were supposed to take a vow of celibacy, for violation of which they were buried alive. Rhea Silvia could not keep her vow and soon she had two twin sons from the god Mars: Romulus and Remus. Then Amulius decided to get rid of them and ordered them to be thrown into the Tiber, but the brothers managed to escape - a wave washed them ashore, where they were picked up and fed by a wolf. Later, the children were found by a shepherd, with whom the twins lived until adulthood. When Romulus and Remus grew up and learned of their origins, they punished Amulius and reinstated their grandfather. Soon they founded a new city, which they named Rome in honor of their older brother. But a quarrel arose between the brothers, during which Romulus killed Remus, and named the city after himself.

We can see a similar interpretation of the legend in Plutarch, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and Titus Livy. There is no historical grain in the legend. Legendary information gives us very little to study the history of the city. According to M. V. Belkin, this legend includes two layers: on the one hand, the myth widespread among many peoples, which has received literary processing, about the mysterious origin and miraculous salvation of the hero, fed by some animal, on the other-folklore motifs that explain the origin of the names of the city itself, the hills on which Rome was located, various holidays and rituals. In both cases, one hero-the founder of the city-probably acted. Doubling of the hero could occur when two layers were combined into one legend, but the complete identification of the heroes did not work out. So there was a legend about the twins-Romulus and Remus. At the end of the legend, one of the heroes had to die - this fate fell to Remus - because according to the Romans, both the eponym, that is, the one who gave his name to the city, and the bearer of royal power could be only one person. This opinion can be confirmed with the help of archaeological data: an Etruscan tombstone of the 5th century BC was found. with the image of a she-wolf nursing one child. Although the famous bronze sculpture group Capitoline Wolf, which is now in Rome in the Capitoline Museum, we can see two babies, but the statues of Romulus and Remus were cast in the XVI century, presumably by the master Antonio del Pollaiolo. From the above, we can see that the version about two twins developed somewhat later. S. I. Kovalev believes that the legend received official recognition in the first century AD in connection with the desire to prove the divine origin of the Julii family, from which the first dynasty of Roman emperors emerged. This explains the role that Ascanius-Yul plays in the legend.

Etruscan tombstone 5th century BC
Capitol she-wolf. Lupa Capitolina. XII century. Capitoline Museums, Rome

First settlements in Latium

Rome is often referred to as the "city on the seven hills". Yes, now the city is really located on seven hills (Palatine, Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Caelium, Aventine, Esquiline). But has it always been like this? According to ancient tradition, the foundation of the city is considered to be 754/753 BC. Archaeological excavations have shown that there were settlements here in the IX-VIII centuries BC, but the presence of these settlements does not mean a full-fledged city. The first settlements appeared on the Palatine, then the Capitol and Quirinal were settled, and later the other four hills were developed. Only from the 7th century BC did the gradual settlement of the lowlands between the hills begin, the construction of temples began, the city center-the Forum-began to form, and finally, not earlier than the 6th century BC – the city was surrounded by a wall. Archaeological data show that these are settlements of different tribes. It is generally accepted that the Palatine and part of Caelium belonged to the Latins, and the northern hills to the Sabines. Consequently, Roman society was multi-tribal. In the tradition of Romulus, one can see the desire to unite different tribes into a city. We can see this, for example, in Titus Livy's famous work "The History of Rome from the foundation of the city", in which the author tells us about the abduction of Sabine women by Romulus and the unification of the Roman and Sabine states. Titus Livy writes that soon after the city was founded, many Romans did not have wives, and neighboring tribes did not want their daughters to marry them. Then Romulus went to the trick and invited his Sabine neighbors to the festival of the consuls. The Sabines came in families, along with their daughters. During the festival, the Romans suddenly attacked them and kidnapped the young girls. The indignant Sabines went to war against the Romans, but the captive daughters were already attached to their new husbands and reconciled them to their Sabine relatives. After this, the two states, according to legend, merge into one, and Romulus rules together with the Sabine king Titus Tatius until the latter's death. This is the legend of the union of two neighboring states, but in modern historiography there is no consensus about the time of the merger of the Roman and Sabine tribes.

Remains of huts from the 8th century BC on the Palatine

Kings of Rome

According to tradition, the royal period in Rome lasted 244 years . This means that from 753 BC to 509 BC, seven kings ruled during this time.:

1) Romulus

2) Numa Pompilius

3) Tullus Hostilius

4) Anc Marcius

5) Tarquinius the Ancient

6) Servius Tullius

7) Tarquinius the Proud

The greatest importance for the formation of the Roman community was the rule of the first two kings. Romulus is credited with creating the entire social and military structure of the community: he divided the Romans into thirty curia, established 3 tribes, and arranged a refuge for fugitives. He created a senate of 100 people. Under him, the population was divided into patricians and Plebeians. In addition, Romulus formed a foot and horse army.

The second Roman king is Numa Pompilius. He laid the foundations for the entire religious and economic life of the Roman community. During his reign, the most important priestly colleges were established, a calendar was created, and many temples were built, the most famous of which was the temple of Janus.

The third and fourth kings of Rome are Tullus Hostilius and Ancus Marcius. According to S. I. Kovalev, there are moments of duplication of Romulus and Numa. Tullus Hostilius was a warlike man who destroyed Alba Longa and moved its inhabitants to Rome. He also built the Senate building, which later became known as the" Hostilia Curia " and was considered very ancient. Ancus Marcius seems to have been engaged in expanding the territory of Rome and the sea towards the Etruscan shore of the Tiber.

Beginning with the fifth king, Tarquinius the Ancient, the Etruscans came to power in Rome, either as a result of the military capture of the city, or as a result of a gradual peaceful penetration into the Roman community. It is indisputable that for a century Rome was under the rule of the Etruscans, who had a great influence on various aspects of Roman society. According to legend, starting with Tarquinius the Ancient, we can see a gradual strengthening of the royal power, attempts to disrupt the procedure for electing a new king, possibly making the royal power hereditary.

The sixth king of Rome, according to legend, was Servius Tullius, who is credited with a number of important reforms.

The last Roman king is Tarquinius the Proud. Tradition portrays him as a cruel tyrant, expelling the best citizens from the city, making decisions on his own, regardless of the will of the people and the senate. According to tradition, the last Roman king was exiled. Unauthorized and sole seizure of power has now become deadly. From that moment on, Rome banned kings and instead introduced 2 consuls-husband Palatine Tarquinius and Lucius Julius Brutus. The consuls re-elected 2 consuls each year. They transferred real power to the Senate. That was the beginning The Roman Republic.

Page with images of Roman kings from the book "Portrait of Ancient Rome" by Totti Pompilio.1633 g

The Roman Community in the age of the Kings

The community was based on the gens. Genera were united in curia, curia in tribes. The tradition includes 3 tribal tribes (Titii, Ramni and Lutseri), 30 curia and 300 clans (according to the number of senators). Almost everyone had an attitude to a certain gender. All members of the gens were united by one generic name (nomen) and common collective ownership of land. In addition, the family had common religious festivals and burials. Each family was divided into families, headed by the father of the family (pater familia). The power of the father in that era was almost unlimited. Nemirovsky A. A. in his work "The History of the Ancient World: East, Greece, Rome" writes that the members of the gentile organization were the Roman people of the Quirites (populus Romanus).

Clients clientes (translated from Latin. obedient, dependent) - these are Roman citizens who, for one reason or another, sought patronage from an influential and rich person who became their patron. Both the patron and the client had a number of responsibilities towards each other. The client had to perform various tasks of the patron, for example, perform with him on a hike or lend money. The patron, in turn, could allocate land and livestock to the client, defend them in court, and teach them the law.

Patricians and Plebeians

Patricians and Plebeians are two of the oldest estates of the Roman state, which appeared in the royal period and existed for many centuries. Consider the functions and rights of each of them separately.

Patricians – from pater (translated from Latin. father):

-served in the cavalry and heavy infantry

Plebeians-from pleo (translated from Latin. mass, set):

The problem of the origin of the Patricians and Plebeians is one of the most controversial in historiography. It includes two aspects: first, it is not clear by what principle the division into each of them took place. Secondly, the question of the time of formation of these estates is controversial.

Versions of the origin of the division of patricians and Plebeians

1 theory – B. G. Niebuhr: the Patricians are the indigenous full-fledged population of Rome, and the Plebeians are the alien or conquered population. Patricians are indigenous people and they have a tribal organization, because they have a tribal organization, and therefore civil rights. The Plebeians are outsiders, and they have neither.

2 theory – E. Mayer (economic theory): patricians are rich and Plebeians are poor, or patricians are large landowners and Plebeians are dependent peasants.

3 theory – E. Celer (ethnic theory): Patricians are one ethnic group, and Plebeians are another. It was rejected.

4 theory-Fustel de Coulanges (ethnic and religious theory): Patricians and Plebeians had different cults and gods. A possible criterion for separation is social and economic differences. According to this theory, patricians and Plebeians are ethnically homogeneous and indigenous citizens of Rome.

5 theory – S. I. Kovalev (complex theory): the reason for the division is ethnic, migration, and economic.

An important factor in social relations in the Roman community was the clientele or patronage. The clientele was known to many peoples and was hereditary in Rome.

Political system under the tsars

In imperial Rome, there were three branches of government: the People's Assembly (curiate comitia), the council of Elders (Senate), and officials. At the head of the state was the tsar (rex). He served as a military commander, high priest and judge of the community. His power was non-hereditary, i.e. it was not passed down from father to son. As a consequence, there was a scheme for choosing a new king, which consisted of three stages: :

1. Interregnum-this is the period of interregnum, which was declared after the death of the king. At this time, the Senate (senatus) was choosing a new candidate for the throne.

2. Approval of the chosen candidate in the National Assembly (comitia curiata).

3. Inauguration-the solemn questioning by the augurs (priests) of the will of the gods. This is where the tradition of presidential inauguration originates.

After that, most likely the chosen king claimed The Senate was also awarded the imperium.

Senatus ( Senate) - an advisory body under the tsar. He had real power during the interregnum, since the main state issues were decided by the king alone. Initially, the Senate consisted of an estimated 100 senators, the creation of which is traditionally attributed to Romulus. Later, in the tsarist era, it was expanded to 300 people.

Comitia curiata (People's Assembly) - meetings of the people in the curia. They were called by the tsar to approve various state issues. It had real power, like the Senate, during the interregnum.

Related topics

Rome, Roman Republic, The Roman Empire, The Senate, Plebeians, The Patricians


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