List of Kings of Rome
|Topics in Roman mythology|
|Greek/Roman myth compared|
The earliest kings and their regnal dates are legendary and conventional.
Rome was, according to tradition, founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, twin sons of the mortal woman Rhea Silvia, said to be the first of the Vestal Virgins, and the god Mars. Exposed as infants to die, the twins were raised by a female wolf. That they were also descendants of Aeneas and the Trojan refugees Virgil later told of in his epic poem the Aeneid. Romulus killed Remus, and became the first king of Rome (see founding of Rome).
Most of the succeeding six kings had Etruscan names, suggesting that members of the mature Etruscan civilization to the north of Rome dominated the city. The Roman kings were succeeded, not by their sons, but by their sisters' sons, or by their sons-in-law, men whose right stemmed from marriage to women of the royal line . Though the son of Numas daughter Pompilia became the fourth king, his father was unknown, according to Cicero, (De Re Publica 2.33). The example of Rome is taken to demonstrate that matrilinearity was a characteristic of Etruscan culture. More securely, portents of future greatness associated with the king legends reveal how closely connected with religious cult the position of kingship remained.
|Topics in Roman Government|
|Politics and Law:|
The last king was thrown out by the citizens and replaced by a republican government. The expulsion of the king and the founding of the Republic in 509 BC is sometimes presented as the breaking away of a Latin-speaking population from the control of an Etruscan ruling family.
Unlike many other Italian city-states of that time, the Roman monarchy was not totally based on inheritance. Once a king died, the city entered into a period of interregnum. The city was ruled by an interrex who had the power to nominate the next King. The interrex was nominated by the Senate, but served for an indefinite period of time. Once the interrex found a candidate he then submited him to the Comitia Curiata, an assembly of the people. If he was approved by that body, the Senate then ratified the vote. In theory the people got to elect their leader, however the Senate had most of the control over the process. Traditionally the interregia were less than one year; however, then the average reign of a king would have been over 34 years. If longer interegna are taken into account, it is possible that the seven kings may have had less time on the throne than previously thought.
After the murder of Tarquinius Priscus, his consort Tanaquil placed the husband of her daughter, Servius Tullius, in power as the king over her son Lucius Tarquinius, although he had not been elected to become king. During his reign, Tullius held a referendum on his monarchy, which overwhelmingly approved of him. Servius Tullius was overthrown by his son-in-law Tarquin II (the proud), son of the first Tarquin. Tarquin II would be the last Roman monarch.
During this period, Rome's growth was made possible after the drainage of the swamps that are the natural feature of the site. As the communal hearth tended by the Vestal Virgins was the center of the early kingdom, it was the obvious spot to improve cohesion by constructing a central market (a forum). This resulted in combining the Romans into one people. Napoleon Bonaparte restored the drainage systems, making excavation of the Forum Romanum possible.