Reign of Tullus Hostilius

Tullus Hostilius was much like Romulus in his warlike behavior and completely unlike Numa in his lack of respect for the gods. Tullus waged war against Alba Longa, Fidenae and Veii and the Sabines. It was during Tullus' reign that the city of Alba Longa was completely destroyed and Tullus integrated its population into Rome. According to Livy, Tullus neglected the worship of the gods until, towards the end of his reign, he fell ill and became superstitious. However, when Tullus called upon Jupiter and begged assistance, Jupiter responded with a bolt of lightning that burned the king and his house to ashes. Tullus is attributed with constructing a new home for the Senate, the Curia Hostilia, which survived for 562 years after his death. His reign lasted for 31 years. Tullus Hostilius (r. 673 BC – 642 BC) was the legendary third of the Kings of Rome. He succeeded Numa Pompilius and was succeeded by Ancus Marcius. Unlike his predecessor, Tullus was known as a warlike king. Tullus Hostilius was the grandson of Hostus Hostilius, who had fought with Romulus and died during the Sabine invasion of Rome. The principal feature of Tullus' reign was his defeat of Alba Longa. After Alba Longa was beaten (by the victory of three Roman champions over three Albans), Alba Longa became Rome's vassal state. However, after the Alban dictator Mettius Fufetius subsequently betrayed Rome, Tullus ordered Alba Longa to be destroyed and forced the migration of the Alban citizenry to Rome, where they were integrated and became Roman citizens. Tullus also fought successful wars against Fidenae and Veii and against the Sabines. According to Livy, Tullus paid little heed to religious observances durin

his reign, thinking them unworthy of a king's attention. However, at the close of his reign, Rome was affected by a series of prophecy including a shower of stones on the Alban Mount (in response to which a public religious festival of nine days was held - a novendialis), a loud voice was heard on the summit of the mount complaining that the Albans had failed to show devotion to their former gods, and a pestilence struck in Rome. King Tullus became ill and was filled with superstition. He reviewed the commentaries of Numa Pompilius and attempted to carry out sacrifices recommended by Numa to Jupiter Elicius. However, Tullus did not undertake the ceremony correctly, and both he and his house were struck by lightning and reduced to ashes as a result of the anger of Jupiter. As with those of all the early kings of Rome, the events ascribed to the reign of Tullus Hostilius are treated with skepticism by modern historians. Part of this is due to obvious flaws in the literary tradition describing the kings: much like the confusion the Ancients exhibited in attributing identical accomplishments to both Tarquinius Priscus and Tarquinius Superbus, the accomplishments of Tullus Hostilius are thought by many scholars to be rhetorical doublets of those of Romulus. Both are brought up among shepherds, carry on war against Fidenae and Veii, double the number of citizens, and organize the army. Additionally, Tullus Hostilius' warlike and ferocious character seems be little more than a contrasting stereotype to the peaceable, devout Numa Pompilius; the first Roman annalists may merely have imputed aggressive qualities to Hostilius by naively parsing his gentile name (Hostilius meaning "hostile" in Latin).