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Rome during period of kings

Bronze statue - Capitoline wolf

Legend about founding of Rome

Numitor – was one of Aeneas descendants, but his brother Amulis overthrew him and then he killed his son while he devoted his daughter (Silvia) to the Vestal Virgin (vow of chastity). However, Silvia gave birth to two twins – Romulus and Remus with God Mars. Amulis ordered to throw children into the river Tiber, but they survived with the help of female wolf that nursed them. King’s shepherd all the way to their adulthood raised children. When they found out the truth, they decided to punish Amulius and to rehabilitate their grandfather. They founded Rome, which was named in honor of older brother. In an argument that occurred, Romulus killed Remus. Varro set founding of Rome in 754 – 753 BC.

 The seven Roman kings

The first period of the Roman history was named A period of the Kings – a fabulous material, which only in certain moments reflects an objective reality.

  1. Romulus – he was credited for an establishment of Old age institution: Curiate, the Senate and army. He also divided population on the patricians and plebeians. After united of the Sabines (with the help of daughter reconciliation – prisoners) Romulus ruled until his death together with Titus Thaci. He led successful wars.
  2. Sabines Numa Pompilius – he was peaceful man who established clerical courses.
  3. Tullus Hostilius – he joined Alba Longa.
  4. Ancus Marcius, he defeated Latin, built a bridge over the river Tiber, and he founded Ostia.
  5. Tarquinius the Elder (Priscus), from Etruria. He built a circus, and laid the foundations of the Capitoline temple. He started war against Latin and the Etruscans.
  6. Servius Tullius – was a Tarquinius pupil, the son of a slave – he brought the reform of citizenship, and he had military success over Veii and he constructed Diana’s temple.
  7. Tarquinius Superbus, he was son-in-law of Servius Tullius, the husband of his daughter Tullia. A tradition represented him as a tyrant; his son violated the wife of his cousin Tarquinius Collatinus – Lucretia (suicide). The uprising – Tarquinius exile and fall of the monarchy.

Almost all names carry etiological character. However, it should be noted that a number of legends was a reflection of a historical reality. Stories about the abduction/rape of the Sabine Women, stories about Titus Tatius were a reflection of the Roman-Sabine Synoecism. Tarquinius reflected the period of Etruscan reign in Rome (VI century). At that time, in the Etruscan town of Caere existed a genus of Tarquinius.

Gender and family

The age of kings was the transition period between the genus and class society. The basic social unit was the patriarchal gender. Members of the same genus have a common heritage, religious holidays, common treasury in earlier times, and a common ground. Lines of the clan system are preserved in the gens part of the Roman name. Head of genus – Principes were elective. The more tribal connections got weakened, the more stronger family became. Family became the basis unit of society and economy. At the head of the family was pater familias – he had unlimited power over of the personalities of women and children. All these people were under his reign – agnate, all people related to him by blood – cognate. The daughter after marrying retained cognate ties and also at the same she crossed to agnates.

Some members of the genus protected individual parties (clients), which in turn obliged themselves to be obedient and faithful (fides). The origin of this kind of protection was ancient, which can be seen from the Law of Twelve Tables, where the offense of patron infidelity was considered a religious offense.

Curiate and tribe

10 genus = curiate, 10 curiates – tribe.

Three tribes make the populus Romanus – and those were: Tities, Ramnes and Luceres.


Early Rome retained military democracy. People in order to address major issues gathered in curiates – curiates comitia. All adult men participated in these debates and elections. At these curiates comities, kings were elected and decisions were made about declaring the war. At these meetings citizens could be on trail for some heavy crimes. Also at these assembly, people read testaments, did adoptionsand accepted new genus in to communities. People gathered on these comities according to curiates and each curiate had one vote.


Originally, it was consisted (according to tradition) of 100 people, then its number increased to 300. In early age, Senate was probably consisted of heads of the genus (princeps). All decisions of the comitia had to get approval from the Senate (Auctoritas Patrum) who was the guardian of ancestor tradition (mos maiorum) and the king’s advisor on important issues. Members were called padre – patres. Towards the end of the King’s period appeared first officials (clerks) – prefect of the city, which controlled Rome in the king’s absence.

Patricians and plebeians

Patricians – (wealthy citizens) those who have fathers, and in the beginning only those make the populus Romanus (Roman citizens). Patricians (lat. patricii) were originally members of the elite social class in ancient Rome. During the late Roman Empire, this name has become only an honorary title that was given to some high government officials. Patricians have formed a closed social group. In ancient Rome Plebeians (lat. plebeii) were full citizens who did not belong to a privileged social group of Patricians, and in sources these citizens have been collectively referred to as the plebs (nation, people).


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