The ROMAN KINGDOM, or REGAL PERIOD, was the period of the ancient
Roman civilization characterized by a monarchical form of government
of the city of
Little is certain about the history of the kingdom, as nearly no
written records from that time survive, and the histories about it
that were written during the Republic and Empire are largely based on
legends. However, the history of the
* 1 Origin
* 2.1 Chief Executive * 2.2 Chief Priest * 2.3 Chief Legislator * 2.4 Chief Judge * 2.5 Election of the kings * 2.6 Senate
* 3 Legendary kings of
* 4 Public offices after the monarchy * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 External links
The site of the founding of the
The traditional account of Roman history, which has come down to us
The kings, excluding
The insignia of the kings of
The king was invested with supreme military, executive, and judicial
authority through the use of imperium , formally granted to the king
Comitia Curiata with the passing of the _Lex curiata de imperio
_ at the beginning of each king's reign. The imperium of the king was
held for life and protected him from ever being brought to trial for
his actions. As being the sole owner of imperium in
Another power of the king was the power to either appoint or nominate
all officials to offices. The king would appoint a _tribunus celerum_
to serve as both the tribune of Ramnes tribe in
Another officer appointed by the king was the _praefectus urbi _, who acted as the warden of the city. When the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers and abilities, even to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city.
The king even received the right to be the only person to appoint patricians to the Senate .
What is known for certain is that the king alone possessed the right
to the auspice on behalf of
Main article: Leges regiae
Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had very little power and authority; they were not independent bodies in that they didn't possess the right to meet together and discuss questions of state at their own will. They could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them. While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws that had been submitted by the king, the Senate was effectively an honorary council. It could advise the king on his action but by no means could prevent him from acting. The only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation.
The king's imperium both granted him military powers and qualified him to pronounce legal judgment in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Though he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal. This made the king supreme in times of both war and peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could be brought before the king by any patrician during a meeting of the Curiate Assembly .
To assist the king, a council advised him during all trials, but this council had no power to control his decisions. Also, two criminal detectives (Quaestores Parricidi) were appointed by him as well as a two-man criminal court (Duumviri Perduellionis) which oversaw cases of treason . According to Livy , Lucius Tarquinius Superbus , the seventh and final king of Rome, judged capital criminal cases without the advice of counsellors, thereby creating fear amongst those who might think to oppose him.
ELECTION OF THE KINGS
Whenever a king died,
Once proposed to the Curiate Assembly, the people of
First, it was necessary to obtain the divine will of the gods respecting his appointment by means of the auspices , since the king would serve as high priest of Rome. This ceremony was performed by an augur , who conducted the king-elect to the citadel where he was placed on a stone seat as the people waited below. If found worthy of the kingship, the augur announced that the gods had given favorable tokens, thus confirming the king’s priestly character.
The second act which had to be performed was the conferral of the imperium upon the king. The Curiate Assembly’s previous vote only determined who was to be king, and had not by that act bestowed the necessary power of the king upon him. Accordingly, the king himself proposed to the Curiate Assembly a law granting him imperium, and the Curiate Assembly by voting in favor of the law would grant it.
In theory, the people of
According to legend,
Under the monarchy, the Senate possessed very little power and authority as the king held most of the political power of the state and could exercise those powers without the Senate's consent. The chief function of the Senate was to serve as the king’s council and be his legislative coordinator. Once legislation proposed by the king passed the Comitia Curiata, the Senate could either veto it or accept it as law. The king was, by custom, to seek the advice of the Senate on major issues. However, it was left to him to decide what issues, if any, were brought before them and he was free to accept or reject their advice as he saw fit. Only the king possessed the power to convene the Senate, except during the interregnum , during which the Senate possessed the authority to convene itself.
LEGENDARY KINGS OF ROME
_ Astronomical year numbering _ _ Dates are approximate, consult particular article for details_
YEAR KING OTHER NOTABLE INFORMATION
716–673 BC Numa Pompilius Rome's most important religious and political institutions are attributed to him
616–579 BC Tarquinius Priscus Increased the number of the Senate; Built the Circus Maximus
535–509 BC Tarquinius Superbus Last king of Rome
In addition to the war with the Sabines,
According to the legend,
Numa’s reign was marked by peace and religious reform. He
constructed a new temple to
Numa reformed the Roman calendar by adjusting it for the solar and lunar year, as well as by adding the months of January and February to bring the total number of months to twelve.
Numa reigned for 43 years.
Tullus is attributed with constructing a new home for the Senate, the Curia Hostilia , which survived for 562 years after his death.
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.
His reign lasted for 31 years.
Following the mysterious death of Tullus, the Romans elected a
peaceful and religious king in his place, Numa’s grandson, Ancus
Marcius . Much like his grandfather, Ancus did little to expand the
Ancus further fortified the
Janiculum Hill on the western bank, and
built the first bridge across the
Tiber River . He also founded the
port of Ostia on the
Tyrrhenian Sea and established Rome’s first
He died a natural death, like his grandfather, after 25 years as king, marking the end of Rome's Latin-Sabine kings.
LUCIUS TARQUINIUS PRISCUS
Lucius Tarquinius Priscus was the fifth king of
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 200. He used the treasures
Priscus initiated great building projects. The most famous is the Circus Maximus , a giant stadium for chariot races. After that, he started the building of the temple-fortress to the god Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. However, before it was completed, he was killed by a son of Ancus Marcius, after 38 years as king. His reign is best remembered for introducing the Roman symbols of military and civil offices, and the Roman triumph , being the first Roman to celebrate one.
The City of the Four Regions, roughly corresponding to the city
limits during the later kingdom. The division is traditionally, though
probably incorrectly, attributed to
Priscus was succeeded by his son-in-law
Servius’ reforms made a big change in Roman life: voting rights based on socio-economic status, favoring elites. However, over time, Servius increasingly favored the poor in order to gain support from plebs , often at the expense of patricians. After a 44-year reign, Servius was killed in a conspiracy by his daughter Tullia and her husband Lucius Tarquinius Superbus .
LUCIUS TARQUINIUS SUPERBUS
Tarquinius waged a number of wars against Rome's neighbours,
including against the
However, Tarquin's reign is remembered for his use of violence and
intimidation to control Rome, and his disrespect of Roman custom and
Tensions came to a head when the king's son,
Sextus Tarquinius ,
Lucretia , wife and daughter to powerful Roman nobles. Lucretia
told her relatives about the attack, and committed suicide to avoid
the dishonour of the episode. Four men, led by
Lucius Junius Brutus ,
Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus , Publius Valerius
Poplicola , and
Spurius Lucretius Tricipitinus incited a revolution
that deposed and expelled Tarquinius and his family from
Tarquin was viewed so negatively that the word for king, _rex _, held
a negative connotation in
Brutus and Collatinus became Rome's first consuls , marking the
beginning of the
PUBLIC OFFICES AFTER THE MONARCHY
To replace the leadership of the kings, a new office was created with the title of consul . Initially, the consuls possessed all of the king’s powers in the form of two men, elected for a one-year term, who could veto each other's actions. Later, the consuls’ powers were broken down further by adding other magistrates that each held a small portion of the king’s original powers. First among these was the praetor , which removed the consuls’ judicial authority from them. Next came the censor , which stripped from the consuls the power to conduct the census.
The Romans instituted the idea of a dictatorship . A dictator would have complete authority over civil and military matters within the Roman _imperium_, and was not legally responsible for his actions as a dictator and therefore was unquestionable. However, the power of the dictator was so absolute that Ancient Romans were hesitant in electing one, reserving this decision only to times of severe emergencies. Although this seems similar to the roles of a king, dictators of Rome were limited to serving a maximum six-month term limit. Contrary to the modern notion of a dictator as a usurper, Roman Dictators were freely chosen, usually from the ranks of consuls, during turbulent periods when one-man rule proved more efficient.
The king's religious powers were given to two new offices: the Rex
Sacrorum and the
* ^ Asimov, Isaac (1991). _Asimov\'s Chronology of the World_. New York: HarperCollins. p. 69. ISBN 0-06-270036-7 . * ^ Livy , Ab urbe condita , 1.49 * ^ Livy , _Ab urbe condita _, 1:8 * ^ _A_ _B_ "Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome, Book 1, chapter 8". _www.perseus.tufts.edu_. Retrieved 2015-12-09. * ^ He may have chosen this number from the number of the birds who foretold his sovereignty * ^ Livy , _Ab urbe condita _, 1:8, 13 * ^ Livy , _Ab urbe condita _, 1:9-13 * ^ Livy , _Ab urbe condita _, 1:14-15 * ^ Livy _Ab Urbe_ Book I ch.16 * ^ Plut