Tarquinius Prisco, the fifth king of Rome

Born in Tarquinia to an Etruscan mother and Greek father, the series of the last three kings of Rome of Etruscan ethnicity opens with Tarquinius.

His rise to power is partly shrouded in myth, we certainly know that despite of a noble lineage and a very rich family, he is opposed in Tarquinia for his Greek half, so he decides to move to Rome with his wife to try to access to public office in a city that had distinguished itself by welcoming different people within its social fabric.

Born Lucullus he will change his name to the more Latin Lucio Tarquinio. Arrived in Rome with a chariot and his wife, as soon as you pass the city gates a flying eagle tears off his hat and then makes it fall back on his head.

For his Etruscan wife and an expert in divinatory arts, those were a clear sign of good omen.

Arriving in the city he immediately stands out. He is educated and very rich so much so that soon King Anco Marzio asks to meet him.

At first a wealthy friendship, then Tarquinius becomes tutor and protector of his children until he himself is adopted by the king until his death, after which he sends his stepbrothers to another city and that’s it, he is elected king by popular acclaim.

His reign, which will last for thirty-eight years, will be characterized by new wars and a new urban structure with important innovations.

Pockets of resistance Sabine and Etruscans continue the conflicts with Rome and are mercilessly bent, a different fate befell the Latins who were spared the cities that after the revolt had surrendered and had decided to pay the damages for the war prepared.

Arezzo, Chiusi, Volterra, Roselle and Vetulonia Fall. The wars lead to the first military reform and Tarquinio decides to increase the number of knights that each tribe owes as a dowry to the strongest ally, that is Rome, bringing them to about six hundred units.

It also increased the members of the centurian assembly bringing it to 1,800 and doubled the number of senators from 100 to two hundred.

He was the first king to celebrate the triumph on a chariot drawn by four horses. The fortunes in battle and the treasures conquered allow him to make major urban investments, the Circus Maximus is born in Rome, and work begins on the sewer Massima and the temple of Capitoline Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill.

On a social level, the Roman ludi are established and thanks to his Etruscan descent, sacrificial rites, divinations, music in public events, toga and fasces are introduced.

Killed by the eldest son of Anco Marzio who returned to the city to claim the throne, he will be buggered by Tarquinio’s wife, Tanaquilla, who will be able to unmask the conspiracy and have his son-in-law, Servio Tullio, elected as sixth king of Rome.

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