Reign of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus

Tarquinius Priscus was the fifth king of Rome and the first of Etruscan birth. After immigrating to Rome, he gained favor with Ancus, who later adopted him as his son. Upon ascending the throne, he waged wars against the Sabines and Etruscans, doubling the size of Rome and bringing great treasures to the city. One of his first reforms was to add 100 new members to the Senate from the conquered Etruscan tribes, bringing the total number of senators to 300. He used the treasures Rome had acquired from the conquests to build great monuments for Rome. Among these were Rome’s great sewer systems, the Cloaca Maxima, which he used to drain the swamp-like area between the Seven Hills of Rome. In its place, he began construction on the Roman Forum. He also founded the Roman games. The most famous of his great building projects is the Circus Maximus, a giant stadium used for chariot races. Priscus followed up the Circus Maximus with the construction of the temple-fortress to the god Jupiter upon the Capitoline Hill. Unfortunately, he was killed after 38 years as king at the hands of one of Ancus Marcius' sons before it could be completed. His reign is best remembered for introducing the Roman symbols of military and civil offices as well as the introduction of the Roman Triumph, being the first Roman to celebrate one. According to Livy, Tarquinius Priscus came from the Etruria. Livy claims that his original Etruscan name was Lucumo, but since Lucumo (Etruscan Lucius) is the Etruscan word for "King", there is reason to believe that Priscus' name and title have been confused in the official tradition. After inheriting his father's entire fortune, Lucius attempted to gain a political office. Disgruntled with his opportunities in Etruria (he had been prohibited from obtaining political office in Tarquinii because of the ethnicity of his father, Demaratus the Corinthian, who came from the Greek city of Corinth), he migrated to Rome with his wife Tanaquil, at her suggestion. Legend has it that on his arrival in Rome in a chariot, an eagle took his cap, flew away and then returned it back upon his head. Tanaquil, who was skilled in prophecy, interpreted this as an omen of his future greatness. In Rome he attained respect through his courtesy. King Ancus Marcius himself noticed Tarquinius and, by his will, appointed Tarquinius guardian of his own sons. [edit]King of Rome Upon the death of Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus addressed the Comitia Curiata and convinced them that he should be elected king over Marcius' natural sons, who were still only in their teenage years. According to Livy, Tarquinius increased the number of the Senate by

he addition of 100 men from the minor leading families. Among them was the family of the Octavii, the family of the future first emperor Augustus. Tarquinius' first war was waged against the Latins. Tarquinius took the Latin town of Apiolae by storm and took great booty from there back to Rome. According to the Fasti Triumphales, the war occurred prior to 588 BC. His military ability was tested by an attack from the Sabines. The Sabines received auxiliaries from five Etruscan cities[citation needed]. Tarquinius doubled the numbers of equites to help the war effort. The Sabines were defeated after dangerous street fighting in Rome. In the peace negotiations that followed, Tarquinius received the town of Collatia and appointed his nephew Aruns Tarquinius, surnamed Egerius, as commander of the garrison which he stationed in that city. Tarquinius returned to Rome and celebrated a triumph for his victories over the Sabines which, according to the Fasti Triumphales, occurred on 13 September 585 BC. Subsequently the Latin cities of Corniculum, old Ficulea, Cameria, Crustumerium, Ameriola, Medullia and Nomentum were subdued and became Roman. Since Tarquinius made it a point to keep the captured Etruscan auxiliaries as prisoners for meddling in the war, the five Etruscan cities who had taken part declared war on Rome. These five cities managed to convince seven other Etruscan cities to join forces with them. The Etruscans soon captured the Roman colony at Fidenae, which thereupon became the focal point of the war. After several bloody battles, Tarquinius was once again victorious and subjugated the Etruscan cities who had taken part in the war. After each of these wars, which were always extremely successful, Tarquinius brought rich plunder to Rome.[citation needed] Tarquinius established the Circus Maximus. Raised seating was erected privately by the senators and equites, and other areas were marked out for private citizens. According to Livy horses and boxers from Etruria were sent for as the first to participate in the thenceforth annual games. After a great flood, the damp lowlands of Rome were drained by the construction of the Cloaca Maxima (great sewer). He also constructed a stone wall around Rome. As his last great act he began the construction of a temple in honour of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill, partially funded by plunder seized from the Sabines. Many of the Roman symbols both of war and of civil office date from his reign, and he was the first to celebrate a Roman triumph, after the Etruscan fashion, wearing a robe of purple and gold, and borne on a chariot drawn by four horses.