SERVIUS TULLIUS was the legendary sixth king of Rome , and the second of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned 575–535 BC. Roman and Greek sources describe his servile origins and later marriage to a daughter of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus , Rome's first Etruscan king, who was assassinated in 579 BC. Servius is said to have been the first Roman king to accede without election by the Senate , having gained the throne by popular support; and the first to be elected by the Senate alone, without reference to the people.
Several traditions describe Servius' father as divine .
Servius' mother as a captured Latin princess enslaved by the Romans;
her child is chosen as Rome's future king after a ring of fire is seen
around his head. The Emperor
Servius was a popular king, and one of Rome's most significant benefactors. He had military successes against Veii and the Etruscans, and expanded the city to include the Quirinal , Viminal and Esquiline hills. He is traditionally credited with the institution of the Compitalia festivals, the building of temples to Fortuna and Diana and, less plausibly, the invention of Rome\'s first true coinage .
Despite the opposition of Rome's patricians , he expanded the Roman franchise and improved the lot and fortune of Rome's lowest classes of citizens and non-citizens. According to Livy, he reigned for 44 years, until murdered by his daughter Tullia and son-in-law Tarquinius Superbus . In consequence of this "tragic crime" and his hubristic arrogance as king, Tarquinius was eventually removed. This cleared the way for the abolition of Rome\'s monarchy and the founding of the Roman Republic , whose groundwork had already been laid by Servius' reforms.
* 1 Background
* 1.1 Ancient sources
* 2 Servius\' origins
* 2.1 Parentage and birth * 2.2 Early life
* 3 Reign
* 3.1 Servian reforms
* 3.1.1 Curiate reform and census * 3.1.2 Classes
* 3.2 Tribal and boundary expansions * 3.3 Economy * 3.4 Religion * 3.5 Assassination
* 4 Historical appraisals
* 4.1 Birth * 4.2 Etruscan Servius * 4.3 Legacy
* 5 References * 6 Bibliography * 7 External links
Before its establishment as a Republic , Rome was ruled by kings
(Latin _reges_, singular _rex_). In Roman tradition , Rome's founder
Romulus was the first.
The oldest surviving source for the overall political developments of
the Roman kingdom and Republic is
PARENTAGE AND BIRTH
Most Roman sources name Servius' mother as Ocrisia, a young noblewoman taken at the Roman siege of Corniculum and brought to Rome, either pregnant by her husband, who was killed at the siege: or as a virgin. She was given to Tanaquil , wife of king Tarquinius , and though slave, was treated with the respect due her former status. In one variant, she became wife to a noble client of Tarquinius. In others, she served the domestic rites of the royal hearth as a Vestal Virgin , and on one such occasion, having damped the hearth flames with a sacrificial offering, she was penetrated by a disembodied phallus that rose from the hearth. According to Tanaquil, this was a divine manifestation, either of the household Lar or Vulcan himself. Thus Servius was divinely fathered and already destined for greatness, despite his mother's servile status; for the time being, Tanaquil and Ocrisia kept this a secret.
Servius' birth to a slave of the royal household made him part of Tarquin's extended _familia_. Ancient sources infer him as protégé, rather than adopted son, as he married Tarquinius' and Tanaquil's daughter, named by some sources as Gegania . All sources agree that before his accession, either in his early childhood or later, members of the royal household witnessed a nimbus of fire about his head while he slept, a sign of divine favour, and a great portent. He proved a loyal, responsible son-in-law. When given governmental and military responsibilities, he excelled in both.
In Livy's account, Tarquinius Priscus had been elected king on the death of the previous king, Ancus Marcius , whose two sons were too young to inherit or offer themselves for election. When Servius' popularity and his marriage to Tarquinius' daughter made him a likely successor to the throne, these sons attempted to seize the throne for themselves. They hired two assassins, who attacked and severely wounded Tarquinius. Tanaquil immediately ordered the palace to be shut, and publicly announced from a palace window that Tarquinius had appointed Servius as regent; meanwhile, Tarquinius died of his wounds. When his death became public knowledge, the senate elected Servius as king, and the sons of Ancus fled to exile in Suessa Pometia . Livy describes this as the first occasion that the people of Rome were not involved in the election of the king. In Plutarch, Servius reluctantly consented to the kingship at the death-bed insistence of Tanaquil.
Early in his reign, Servius warred against Veii and the Etruscans. He is said to have shown valour in the campaign, and to have routed a great army of the enemy. His success helped him to cement his position at Rome. According to the _ Fasti Triumphales _, Servius celebrated three triumphs over the Etruscans, including on 25 November 571 BC and 25 May 567 BC (the date of the third triumph is not legible on the _Fasti_).
Main article: Servian constitution
Most of the reforms credited to Servius extended voting rights to certain groups — in particular to Rome's citizen-commoners (known in the Republican era as plebs ), minor landholders hitherto disqualified from voting by ancestry, status or ethnicity. The same reforms simultaneously defined the fiscal and military obligations of all Roman citizens. As a whole, the so-called Servian reforms probably represent a long-drawn, complex and piecemeal process of populist policy and reform, extending from Servius' predecessors, Ancus Marcius and Tarquinius Priscus, to his successor Tarquinius Superbus , and into the Middle and Late Republic. Rome's military and territorial expansion and consequent changes in its population would have made franchise regulation and reform an ongoing necessity, and their wholesale attribution to Servius "cannot be taken at face value".
Curiate Reform And Census
Until the Servian reforms, the passing of laws and judgment was the prerogative of the _comitia curiata _ (curiate assembly), made up from thirty curiae ; Roman sources describe ten curiae for each of three aristocratic tribes or clans, each supposedly based on one of Rome's central hills, and claiming patrician status by virtue of their descent from Rome's founding families. These tribes comprised approximately 200 _gentes _ (clans), each of which contributed one senator ("elder") to the Senate. The senate advised the king, devised laws in his name, and was held to represent the entire _populus Romanus_ (Roman people) ; but it could only debate and discuss. Its decisions had no force unless approved by the _comitia curiata_. By the time of Servius, if not long before, the tribes of the _comitia_ were a minority of the population, ruling a multitude who had no effective voice in their own government.
Rome's far more populous citizen-commoners could participate in this assembly in limited fashion, and perhaps offer their opinions on decisions but only the _comitia curiata_ could vote. A minority thus exercised power and control over the majority. Roman tradition held that Servius formed a comitia centuriata of commoners to displace the _comitia curiata_ as Rome's central legislative body. This required his development of the first Roman census , making Servius the first Roman censor . For the purposes of the census, citizens assembled by tribe in the Campus Martius to register their social rank, household, property and income. This established an individual's tax obligations, his ability to muster arms for military service when required to do so, and his assignment to a particular voting bloc.
The institution of the census and the _comitia centuriata_ are speculated as Servius' attempt to erode the civil and military power of the Roman aristocracy, and seek the direct support of his newly enfranchised citizenry in civil matters; if necessary, under arms. The _comitia curiata_ continued to function through the Regal and Republican eras, but the Servian reform had reduced its powers to those of a largely symbolic "upper house"; its noble members were expected to do no more than ratify decisions of the _comitia centuriata_.
The census grouped Rome's male citizen population in classes, according to status, wealth and age. Each class was subdivided into groups called _centuriae_ (centuries), nominally of 100 men (Latin _centum_ = 100) but in practice of variable number, further divided as _seniores_ (men aged 46 – 60, of a suitable age to serve as "home guards" or city police) and _iuniores_ (men aged 17 – 45, to serve as front-line troops when required). Adult male citizens were obliged, when called upon, to fulfill military service according to their means, which was supposedly assessed in archaic _asses _. A citizen's wealth and class would therefore have defined their position in the civil hierarchies, and up to a point, within the military; but despite its apparent military character, and its possible origins as the mustering of the citizenry-at-arms, the system would have primarily served to determine the voting qualifications and wealth of individual citizens for taxation purposes, and the weight of their vote — wars were occasional but taxation was a constant necessity — and the comitia centuriata met whenever required to do so, in peace or war. Though each century had voting rights, the wealthiest had the most centuries, and voted first. Those beneath them were convened only in the event of deadlock or indecision; the lowest class was unlikely to vote at all.
The Roman army's _centuria_ system and its order of battle are thought to be based on the civilian classifications established by the census. The military selection process picked men from civilian _centuriae_ and slipped them into military ones. Their function depended on their age, experience, and the equipment they could afford. The wealthiest class of _iuniores_ (aged 17 – 45) were armed as hoplites , heavy infantry with helmet , greaves , breastplate , shields (_clipeus _), and spears (_hastae _). Each battle line in the phalanx formation was composed of a single class. Military specialists, such as trumpeters, were chosen from the 5th class. The highest officers were of aristocratic origin until the early Republic, when the first plebeian tribunes were elected by the plebeians from their own number. Cornell suggests that this centuriate system made the equites, who "consisted mainly, if not exclusively, of patricians" but voted after infantry of the first class, subordinate to the relatively low-status infantry.
TRIBAL AND BOUNDARY EXPANSIONS
The Servian reforms increased the number of tribes and expanded the
city, which was protected by a new rampart, moat and wall. The
enclosed area was divided into four administrative _regiones_
(regions, or quarters); the Suburana, Esquilana, Collina and Palatina.
Servius himself is said to have taken a new residence, on the
Esquiline. The situation beyond the walls is unclear, but
thereafter, membership of a Roman voting-tribe would have depended on
residence rather than kinship, ancestry and inheritance. This would
have brought significant numbers of urban and rural _plebs _ into
active political life; and a significant number of these would have
been allocated to centuries of the first class, and therefore likely
to vote. The city of Rome's division into "quarters" remained in use
until 7 BC, when
Some Roman historians believed
Servius is credited with the construction of Diana\'s temple on the
In Livy's history,
Claims of divine ancestry and divine favour were often attached to charismatic individuals who rose "as if from nowhere" to become dynasts, tyrants and hero-founders in the ancient Mediterranean world. Yet all these legends offer the father as divine, the mother – virgin or not – as princess of a ruling house, never as slave. The disembodied phallus and its impregnation of a virgin slave of Royal birth are unique to Servius. Livy and Dionysius ignore or reject the tales of Servius' supernatural virgin birth; though his parents came from a conquered people, both are of noble stock. His ancestry is an accident of fate, and his character and virtues are entirely Roman. He acts on behalf of the Roman people, not for personal gain; these Roman virtues are likely to find favour with the gods, and win the rewards of good fortune.
The details of Servius' servile birth, miraculous conception and links with divine Fortuna were doubtless embellished after his own time, but the core may have been propagated during his reign. His unconstitutional and seemingly reluctant accession, and his direct appeal to the Roman masses over the heads of the senate may have been interpreted as signs of tyranny. Under these circumstances, an extraordinary personal charisma must have been central to his success. When Servius expanded Rome's influence and boundaries, and reorganised its citizenship and armies, his "new Rome" was still centered on the _Comitium_, the _ Casa Romuli _ or "hut" of Romulus. Servius became a second Romulus, a benefactor to his people, part human, part divine; but his slave origins remain without parallel, and make him all the more remarkable: for Cornell, this is "the most important single fact about him". The story of his servile birth evidently circulated far beyond Rome; Mithridates VI of Pontus sneered that Rome had made kings of _servos vernasque Tuscorum_ (Etruscan slaves and domestic servants).
Painting from the François Tomb at Vulci, depicting the liberation of Caelius Vibenna. Macstarna is on the left
Claudius' story of Servius as an Etruscan named _Macstarna_ was
published as an incidental scholarly comment within the _Oratio
Claudii Caesaris_ of the
Lugdunum Tablet . There is some support for
this Etruscan version of Servius, in wall paintings at the François
Tomb in Etruscan
Vulci . They were commissioned some time in the
second half of the 4th century BC. One panel shows heroic Etruscans
putting foreign captives to the sword. The victims include an
individual named Gneve Tarchunies Rumach, interpreted as a Roman named
Gnaeus Tarquinius, although known Roman history records no Tarquinius
of that praenomen. The victors include Aule and Caile Vipinas –
known to the Romans as the Vibenna brothers – and their ally
Macstrna , who seems instrumental in winning the day.
Servius' political reforms and those of his successor Tarquinius Superbus undermined the bases of aristocratic power and transferred them in part to commoners. Rome's ordinary citizens became a distinct force within Roman politics, entitled to participate in government and bear arms on its behalf, despite the opposition and resentment of Rome's patricians and senate. Tarquinius was ousted by a conspiracy of patricians, not plebeians. Once in existence, the _comitia centuriata_ could not be unmade, or its powers reduced: as Republican Rome's highest court of appeal, it had the capacity to overturn court decisions, and the Republican senate was constitutionally obliged to seek its approval. In time, the _comitia centuriata_ legitimized the rise to power of a plebeian nobility, and plebeian consuls .
Servius' connections to the Lar and his reform of the vici connect
him directly to the founding of
Compitalia , instituted to publicly
and piously honour his divine parentage – assuming the Lar as his
father – to extend his domestic rites into the broader community, to
mark his maternal identification with the lower ranks of Roman society
and to assert his regal sponsorship and guardianship of their rights.
Some time before the Augustan
Compitalia reforms of 7 BC, Dionysius of
Halicarnassus reports Servius' fathering by a Lar and his founding of
Compitalia as ancient Roman traditions. In Servius,
* ^ According to Livy , _Ab Urbe Condita_; the dates are accepted by most ancient Romans writers. * ^ _A_ _B_ Cornell, TJ (1995). _The Beginnings of Rome_. London: Routledge. pp. 135–139. * ^ Based on the reckoning of Roman historians, the Roman kingdom lasted about 250 years; either the list of kings is implausibly short, or their reigns are implausibly long. The earliest kings in particular could represent the attributes and achievements of several distinct personalities. See further discussion in Cornell, 120 - 121, 226. * ^ Cornell, pp. 57 - 60 * ^ Cornell, pp. 120 - 121, 226. * ^ Cornell, p.2 * ^ Cornell, pp. 6, 199 - 122. * ^ Cornell, pp. 21 - 26. * ^ For Claudius' theory on Servius' origins, see the text of the Lyons Tablet . * ^ Livy gives her husband's name as Servius Tullius, chief man of Corniculum (" qui princeps in illa urbe fuerat "); the son is named after the father. See Livy, _Ab urbe condita_, 1.39. Dionysius offers a near identical version as "the most likely". * ^ Plutarch, _Moralia_, On the fortune of the Romans, 10, 64: available online (Loeb) at Thayer's website * ^ Livy, _Ab urbe condita_, 1.39. * ^ Livy, _Ab urbe condita_, 1.39: see also Dionysius, 4. * ^ Plutarch, _Moralia_, On the fortune of the Romans, 10, 64: available online (Loeb) at Thayer's website . Plutarch cites Valerius Antias, Fragment 12; in Peter, Frag. Hist. Rom. p154., for the appearance of the nimbus around the sleeping Servius in adulthood, while as his wife is dying. * ^ Cornell, 131: see Dionysus of Halicarnassus, 4.3. * ^ Livy, _Ab urbe condita_, 1.40 * ^ Livy, 1.41. * ^ Plutarch, _Moralia_, On the fortune of the Romans, 10, 64: available online (Loeb) at Thayer's website : see also Ovid, Fasti, 6.627 ff; Livy, 1#39I.39; Pliny, Natural History, 36 its value cannot therefore be represented as a fraction or equivalent of later Roman coinage (_as_, _sesterce _ or denarius ). See Cornell, pp. 180 - 181. * ^ Cornell, pp.186 - 190, 194 - 196. * ^ See Cornell, p. 179, who is citing Livy, 1.43, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus IV, 16 - 18. Descriptions of the armour and arms to be supplied by members of each class are almost certainly learned, speculative introjections by Livy and Dionysius. * ^ Lendon, J.E., _Soldiers cf their popular association with Servius Tullius. * ^ Feldherr, Andrew. _Spectacle and Society in Livy's History_. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1998 (online) * ^ Cornell, 132-3: these include Caeculus , legendary founder of Praeneste : dynastic founders such as Sargon , Cyrus and Ptolemy Soter : and tyrants and usurpers such as Cypselus , Agathocles and Hiero II . * ^ Servius' extraordinary paternity and maternity as native Roman founder-traditions are discussed in Wiseman, T. P. _Remus: A Roman Myth_. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995, 58 - 60. * ^ Cornell, 130 - 133. * ^ Grandazzi , 45. * ^ Grandazzi, 206 - 211. * ^ Cornell, 131, 146. * ^ Cornell, p. 132. * ^ Eleanor Huzar, in Temporini/Haase (eds), Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt, (ANRW), Sprache und Literatur (Literatur der julisch-claudischen und der flavischen Zeit), 1984, p.623. No evidence remains to attest the quality of Claudius' Etruscan scholarship or his grasp of the Etruscan language, despite his production of a multi-volume work, now lost, on Etruscan history. * ^ In Claudius' speech, Macstarna is Caelius Vibenna's _sodalis fidelissimus_ (most faithful companion) * ^ Cornell, 133 - 141, 143 - 145, 235; Cornell describes these speculated connections as attractive but flimsy, being based entirely on the slight orthographic similarities of "macstrna" and "magister". * ^ Servius' reforms reflect a general trend in the Graeco-Roman world, whose rulers increasingly sought a popular base of support, appealing directly to the commoner-soldiery and if possible, bypassing the aristocracy; in the ancient world, this was effectively the definition of tyranny. See Cornell, 148, 238. * ^ Cornell, pp. 195 - 197, 334 - 335. * ^ Lott, 31: citing Dionysius of Halicarnassus, 4.14.3-4. See also Beard, North, Price, _Religions of Rome, Vol. 1, A History_, Cambridge University Press, 1998. p 184, for Augustan reforms and their connection to older, traditionally Servian social and religious institutions. * ^ Plutarch, _Moralia,_ On the fortune of the Romans, 10.58-63. English version (Loeb) at Thayer's website
* Beard, M., Price, S., North, J., _Religions of Rome: Volume 1, a History_, illustrated, Cambridge University Press , 1998. ISBN 0-521-31682-0 * Cornell, T., _The beginnings of Rome: Italy and Rome from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (c. 1000 – 264 BC)_, Routledge, 1995. ISBN 978-0-415-01596-7 * Grandazzi, Alexandre , _The foundation of Rome: myth and history_, Cornell University Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-8014-8247-2 * Lendon, J.E., _Soldiers " rowspan="1">Preceded by Lucius Tarquinius Priscus KING OF ROME 578–535 Succeeded by Lucius Tarquinius Superbus
* v * t * e
Romulus (753–717 BC)
Numa Pompilius (717–673 BC)
Tullus Hostilius (673–642 BC)
Ancus Marcius (642–617 BC)
Lucius Tarquinius Priscus (616–579 BC)
* v * t * e
Etruscan -related topics
* Origins * Padanian Etruria * Founding of Rome * Tyrrhenus * Tyrrhenians * Tarchon * Caelius Vibenna * Capys * Lucius Tarquinius Priscus * Tanaquil * Servius Tullius * Lucius Tarquinius Superbus * Aruns (son of Tarquinius Superbus) * Lars Porsena * Lars Tolumnius * Titus Vestricius Spurinna
CULTURE AND SOCIETY
Battle of Alalia
* Alphabet * Cippus Perusinus * Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum _ * English words of Etruscan origin * Lemnian language * _ Liber Linteus _ * Pyrgi Tablets * Raetic language * Spanish words of Etruscan origin * _ Tabula Capuana _ * _ Tabula Cortonensis _ * Tyrsenian languages
* v * t * e
Ancient Roman religion and mythology
* Aeneid _
* _ Metamorphoses _ * _Fasti _
* _ The Golden Ass _
CONCEPTS AND PRACTICES
Glossary of ancient Roman religion
* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 77702256 * LCCN : n83302325 * GND : 119010259 * SUDOC : 027436721 * BNF : cb11947842h (data)
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