Historical story

Tarquinius the Superb:All there is to know about the Last King of Rome

Last updated:2022-07-25

Expulsion of Tarquinius the Superb

A few years ago I wrote a post for the news.it portal on Tarquinio the Superb , famous for having been "expelled" by popular acclaim from the throne of Rome and thus involuntarily starting a new phase in the city's history.

The article is what I propose below.

Tarquinius the Superb

There are not many biographical information on Tarquinio the Superb, but they, apart from some inevitable legendary traits, seem certain and authentic, therefore the human and political portrait that is obtained from them seems to be completely true.

The ascent to the throne of Lucio Tarquinio , this is the real name, happened in a violent way:he killed the reforming king Servio Tullio , who was also his father-in-law having married his daughter Tullia, and he brought power back into the hands of the Tarquini family, which had ruled Rome before.

The appellation of "Superb" it was conferred on him when he prevented his predecessor from carrying out the funeral, citing the pretext that not even Romulus had had a solemn funeral.

Tarquinius immediately behaved like a ruthless tyrant :aware of having reached power illegally and for this reason forced to defend it by establishing a regime of terror, he decided to deal alone with capital matters, doing without advisers, therefore he arrogated himself the right to condemn or absolve at will, to send in exile anyone who does not like to confiscate goods from those who wish.

He reduced the power of the senators, practically never consulting them and deciding alone for wars, peace, treaties and alliances.

Tarquinius achieved many military successes:he defeated the Volsci , conquered the city of Gabi , made peace with the Aequi and renewed the alliance with the Etruscans .

Also he took care to settle with the Latins relations of friendship and kinship, to strengthen which he married his daughter to the noble Ottavio Mamilio Tuscolano.

His great internal enemy was Lucio Giuno Brutus , son of the king's sister, determined to have the monarchy surrendered; he was able to incite the people to rebellion, relying on the unjust conditions to which the citizens were subjected, and finally the tyrant he was deposed and hunted together with his family.

With Tarquinius the Superb the monarchical history of Rome ended:from now on the city would never again be ruled by a king.

Certainly Tarquinius implemented a hateful policy, establishing an absolute and arbitrary personal power, but he distinguished himself positively in public works :during his reign Rome was embellished with imposing buildings, especially of a religious nature, which increased its power and prestige.

In foreign policy, however, the seventh and last king of Rome ensured control of the Lazio coast, where he founded some commercial emporiums in agreement with the local communities; this would seem corroborated by the first treaty between Rome and Carthage, which even if concluded in 509 B.C. therefore, after the deposition of the Superb, it must necessarily and logically assume that there was a favorable historical territorial situation previously created and dating back to the last period of the Monarchy.

A curiosity:Tarquinius the Superb killed his wife Tullia Major to marry his sister Tullia Minor of her, who in turn killed her husband.