Rome in the Period of the Kings

  • M. Cary
  • H. H. Scullard


In the sixth century Rome edges a little further into the brighter light of history, though much still remains obscure. In this chapter we shall look very briefly at what the later Romans believed to have been the history of that century and what tradition, combined with archaeology, tells of the amazing growth of the city and its buildings. Thereafter we can turn to the economic, religious, social and political institutions of Rome from early times down to the end of the sixth century and finally consider the fall of the monarchy and the establishment of the Roman Republic.


Regal Period Fourth Century Patrician Family Sixth Century Religious Importance 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    The tomb at Caere is that of the Tarchna family. The Latin equivalent is given as Tarquitius. It is not certain that this should be equated with Tarquinius and thus a possible link be established with the Tarquins of Rome. On this see M. Cristofani, La tombe delle iscrizioni a Cerveteri (1965), esp. appendix 1.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The painting from the so-called François tomb at the Etruscan city of Vulci shows a number of warriors fighting, with their names painted on. In particular Mastarna (Macstrna) is rescuing Caelius Vibenna (Caile Vipinas), Aulus Vibenna killing his opponent, and Marcus Camitilius (Marce Camitlnas) is killing Gnaeus Tarquinius of Rome (Cneve Tarchunies Rumach). If the last-named is to be identified with Tarquinius Priscus, this Etruscan tradition clashes with the Roman story of the latter’s death. The Vibenna brothers are probably historical figures: not only were they known to the Roman tradition but a certain Aulus Vibenna dedicated a bucchero vase at Veü in the mid-sixth century. For the so-called Table of Claudius (a speech which he delivered at Lyons) and for a discussion of the whole problem see A. Momigliano, Claudius2 (1961), 11 ff., 128 ff. (with bibliographies).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The sixth-century date for the sanctuary stands against attempts to date it after 500 as a mere imitation of the federal sanctuary at Aricia. See A. Momigliano, Terzo Contrib. 641 ff., and Ogilvie, Livy, 182, against A. Alföldi, Early Rome and the Latins (1964). This book by Alföldi contains much interesting and ingenious speculation, but its main thesis cannot be sustained, namely that the picture of early Rome in relation to other Latin cities which is given by Livy was deliberately invented by Fabius Pictor in an attempt to show that sixth-century Rome was the leading Latin. city, whereas in fact Rome only gained the predominance in the later fifth century. For a rejection of this thesis, which presupposes wholesale deliberate falsification by Fabius, see Momigliano, Quarto Contrib. 487 ff. (= IRS 1967, 211 ff.), and Ogilvie, Cl. Rev. 1966, 94 ff.;Google Scholar
  4. A. N. Sherwin-White, The Roman Citizenship2 (1973), 190 ff.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    For the archaeological evidence see E. Gjerstad, Early Rome, iv (1966).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    On the triumph see L. B. Warren, JRS 1970, 49 ff.Google Scholar
  7. Several Etruscan tomb-paintings depict Games which resemble the traditional Roman Games, e.g. the Tomb of the Augurs (wrestlers) and Tomb of the Olympiads (runners, horse-racing) at Tarquinii and the Tomb of the Monkey (horsemen, wrestlers, athletes, boxers) at Clusium. See, for example, A. Stenico, Roman and Etruscan Painting (1963), plates 7, 17–19, 34–43.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    On the Servian Wall see G. Saflund Le mura di Roma (1932); Gjerstad, Early Rome, iii. 26 ff. On the strength of a piece of Attic pottery, Gjerstad would date the agger to c. 475, but there is evidence for an earlier phase (cf. Ogilvie, Livy, 179).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    The Capitoline Wolf (without the twins which were added during the Renaissance) is dated by F. Matz, Studies presented to D. M. Robinson (1951), i. 754 ff., to 475–450 B.C.Google Scholar
  10. P. J. Riffs, Introduction to Etruscan Art (1953), 66 f., thinks its attribution to a Veientine artist of the late sixth century remains ‘an open question’Google Scholar
  11. while G. A. Mansuelli, Etruria and Early Rome (1966), 122, is inclined to believe in a Veientine artist. For earlier literature see a list by Löwy, Studi Etruschi 1934, 77.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    On Greek pottery in Rome see E. Gjerstad, Early Rome, iv (1966), 514 ff.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    On Roman religion standard works are W. Warde Fowler, The Religious Experience of the Roman People (1911) and The Roman Festivals (1899);Google Scholar
  14. in German, G. Wissowa, Religion and Kultus der Romer (1912)Google Scholar
  15. and K. Latte, Römische Religionsgeschichte (1960).Google Scholar
  16. See also C. Bailey, Phases in the Religion of Ancient Rome (1932)Google Scholar
  17. and F. Altheim, History of Roman Religion (1938); the latter to be used with caution.Google Scholar
  18. Two excellent introductions are H. J. Rose, Ancient Roman Religion (1949)Google Scholar
  19. and R. M. Ogilvie, The Romans and their Gods (1969).Google Scholar
  20. See also H. J. Rose, Primitive Culture in Italy (1926);Google Scholar
  21. J. Bayet, Histoire politique et psycholgique de la religion romaine (1969).Google Scholar
  22. For a survey of recent work on the religion of the Republic see R. Schilling Aufstieg NRW (1972), I. ii. 317 ff.Google Scholar
  23. 13.
    On the institutions of early Rome see H. Stuart Jones, CAH, vii, ch. xiii; the massive work in Italian by P. de Francisci, Primordia Civitatis (Rome, 1959); and papers by A. Momigliano, collected in Terzo and Quarto Contrib.Google Scholar
  24. 17.
    On the curiae see A. Momigliano, Terzo Contrib. 571 ff. An alternative view is that the number thirty may suggest a later creation (in the Etruscan period?) as subdivisions of the three tribes. R. E. A. Palmer, The Archaic Community of the Romans (1970), argues that the curiae were originally separate ethnic groups who gradually fused together to form the earliest community of Rome; thus they were not phratries, clans or military units, but were earlier than the three tribes which were military non-ethnic units. This view will no doubt be challenged.Google Scholar
  25. 20.
    One much-debated problem about the early triumph is how far the king represented the god, in other words how far did the triumphal insignia suggest divine or only royal characteristics in the triumphator; it is not, however, probable that the idea of divinisation was present. On the early triumph see L. B. Warren, JRS 1970, 49 ff.;Google Scholar
  26. cf. H. S. Versnel, Triumphus (Leiden, 1971).Google Scholar
  27. 21.
    On the calendar see A. K. Michels, The Calendar of the Roman Republic (1967)Google Scholar
  28. but her attribution of the pre-Julian calendar to the decemviral instead of the regal period should probably be rejected: cf. R. M. Ogilvie, Cl. Rev. 1969, 330 ff. Nunia’s’ reform must surely antedate 509 since it contains no reference to the dedication of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in that year, while if Aprilis is an Etruscan word the reform will belong to the sixth century. It is usually believed that the introduction of the new month of January did not result in changing the beginning of the Roman year from March to January and that this change was made only in 153 B.c. However, Mrs Michels argues otherwise (97 ff.) and suggests that the change in 153 was only that the consuls entered office on 1 January instead of March, i.e. the official consular year was brought into line with the older calendar year.Google Scholar
  29. On the Roman calendar see also E. J. Bickerman, Chronology of the Ancient World (1968), 43 ff.Google Scholar
  30. and A. E. Samuel, Greek and Roman Chronology (1972), ch. v.Google Scholar
  31. 23.
    A. Magdalain, Historia 1973, 405 ff., has argued that the duoviri perduellionis were invented by later annalists.Google Scholar
  32. 24.
    Cf. Momigliano, Quarto Contrib. 377 ff., against A. Alföldi, Der fruhrOmische Reiteradel and seine Ehren-bezeichnen (1952). The controversy is continued in Historia 1968, 444 ff. and 385 ff.Google Scholar
  33. 25.
    The problem of how the early army developed has, in the view of many scholars, been solved by P. Fraccaro, Opuscula, ii (1957, reprinting an earlier paper of 1931), but the dating of the different stages is still contested. For a brief summary see Scullard, Hist. Rom. World3, 423 ff.Google Scholar
  34. 28.
    The view that hoplite tactics were not introduced until the mid-fifth century (cf., for example, M. P. Nilsson, JRS 1929, 4 ff.) has been rejected by many: see, for example, Momigliano, Terzo Contrib. 593 ff., and, brieflyGoogle Scholar
  35. E. S. Staveley, Historia 1956, 76. The archaeological evidence also suggests a date in the mid-sixth century:Google Scholar
  36. see A. M. Snodgrass, Arms and Armour of the Greeks (1967), 74 ff. The details of the armour of the five classes, as given by Livy, i. 43, and Dionys. Halic. iv. 16–17, are not reliable and do not derive from an early source.Google Scholar
  37. 29.
    Among the many scholars who placed the Servian reforms later than the regal period was M. Cary (see the second edition of this book, pp. 80 ff.). It is scarcely necessary to list here others who supported this view. Older views are discussed by G. W. Botsford, The Roman Assemblies (1909)Google Scholar
  38. while more recent theories are criticised by E. S. Staveley, Historia 1956, 74 ff. It should be noted that even Mommsen, who regarded much of the detailed account of the kings as fable, nevertheless attributed the Servian constitution to the regal period.Google Scholar
  39. A turning-point in modern assessments of the problem is H. Last’s paper in JRS 1945, 30 ff.Google Scholar
  40. Further vindication of a more traditional position against the extreme sceptics is to be found in P. Fraccaro, JRS 1957, 64;Google Scholar
  41. P. de Francisci, Primordia Civitatis (1959), 672 ff.;Google Scholar
  42. L. R. Taylor, Voting Districts of the Roman Republic (1960), 3 ff.; A. Momigliano, Terzo Contrib. 594 ff.; Ogilvie, 166 ff. A remark by Staveley (op. cit. 76), made in regard to a specific point, may be of wider application: ‘it is hardly sound historical method to prefer another date for the Servian reform to the one unanimously indicated by the ancient authorities on the strength of a theory for which those same authorities provide not the slightest support’. Thus the reforms make good historical sense in the context where tradition placed them, but nevertheless the document recording them which Livy gives (i. 43.1–9) obviously neither derives from the regal period nor quotes the authentic terms of the reforms.Google Scholar
  43. 35.
    A copy of the treaty, engraved on brass, was preserved in the Treasury at Rome and was known to Polybius, who does not claim to have seen the original document himself but said that parts of it could be understood only with considerable difficulty, i.e. the Latin was archaic (no doubt like the Manios or Lapis Niger inscriptions). He quotes two otherearly treaties between Rome and Carthage before the first Punic war. These raise very many questions. One main problem is whether he had antedated the first one, which he placed in the first year of the Republic. For a brief discussion and defence of the Polybian date see H. H. Scullard, Hist. Rom. World, appendix 7; fuller discussion in Walbank, Polybius, i. 337 ff.; A. J. Toynbee, Hannibal’s Legacy (1965), i. 519 ffGoogle Scholar
  44. Cary (Hist. 104) shared the opinion of those scholars who dated the first treaty to 348 (cf. Livy, vii. 17.2 and Dionys. Halic, xvi, 69.1). See also K. E. Petzold, Aufstieg NRW, 1. i (1972), 364 ff.Google Scholar
  45. 42.
    Cf. R. Bloch, The Origins of Rome (1960), 96 ff., and Tite-Live et les premiers siècles de Rome (1965).Google Scholar
  46. For a discussion of these views see M. Pallottino, Studi Etruschi 1963, 31 ff.Google Scholar
  47. 43.
    So varied are the theories about the origin of the Republic and of the consulship which have been advanced in recent years that it is not feasible to try to summarise them all here. For a useful and critical discussion of them see E. S. Staveley, Historia 1956, 72 ff., and especially 90 ff. (with bibliography). One point which has been much discussed even more recently may be mentioned here, namely the praetor maximus.Google Scholar
  48. 44.
    See K. Hanell, Das altromische eponyme Amt (1946).Google Scholar
  49. A brief statement of his views is given by E. Gjerstad in Legends and Facts of Early Roman History (Lund, 1962), and in ch. i of Entretiens Hardt, xiii, 1966; these are developed in more detail in many other of his works.Google Scholar
  50. For criticism see M. Pallottino, Studi Etruschi, 1963, 19 ff, and Momigliano, Rivista Storia Italiana, 1961, 802 ff.; 1963, 882 ff. (=Terzo Contrib. 661 ff.), and JRS 1963, 95 ff. (= ibid 545 ff.), with works cited in JRS 1963, 103, n. 42 for criticism of Hanell’s position.Google Scholar
  51. For evaluation of the views of R. Werner, Der Beginn der römschen Republik (1963), who places the beginning in 472 and thus rejects the early consular Fasti, see Momigliano, Terzo Contrib. 669 ff.;Google Scholar
  52. R. M. Ogilvie, Cl. Rev. 1965, 84 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The representatives of the estate of the late M. Cary and H. H. Scullard 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Cary
    • 1
  • H. H. Scullard
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LondonUK

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