There is little of historical value in the story of the seven kings of Rome in Livy, Book I, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Books I to IV. Their account of the constitution of the monarchy is, however, proved to be substantially correct by the survival of ancient ceremonies in historical times. The kingship was, according to them, not hereditary, but elective, and the system of election is described below. On the king’s death the Fathers, that is the patricians or nobles who formed the royal council (senate), nominated a series of “between kings” (interreges), any one of whom could nominate a king. The person so nominated was presented to the assembly (comitia) of the people, and if they voted for him and the Fathers ratified the assembly’s vote, he became king.


Military Service Patrician Family Roman People Popular Election Roman Territory 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1968

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  • A. H. M. Jones

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