|The Story of Rome|
|by Mary Macgregor|
|A vivid account of the story of Rome from the earliest times to the death of Augustus, retold for children, chronicling the birth of a city and its growth through storm and struggle to become a great world empire. Gives short accounts of battles and campaigns, and of the men who expanded the borders of the Roman empire to include all lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Ages 10-14 |
THE CRUEL DEED OF TULLIA
 SERVIUS TULLIUS began to reign in 578 B.C.
Like Pompilius and Ancus, he loved peace, and fought
against none, save only the Etruscans.
With the Latins he made a treaty, after which the two
tribes built a temple to Diana on the Aventine hill,
and here every year sacrifices were offered for Rome
and for Latium.
The city which Romulus had built on the Palatine had
long ago become too small for the Romans. Little by
little, cities had grown up on the neighbouring hills,
and now Servius was able to enclose all the seven hills
of Rome within the city, building around her a great
wall of stone. This wall was called after the king the
"Servian Wall," and so strongly was it built that it was
still standing in the days of Augustus. Beyond the
wall a deep moat was then dug, a hundred feet in
Having thus strengthened the city, Servius divided it
into four regions, while the people were arranged in
Should a citizen be wanted to appear before the king or
the Senate, it was then an easy task to find the tribe
to which he belonged and the region in which he dwelt.
Servius also made a law which pleased the Romans well,
called an ordinance of the king.
This ordinance forbade the nobles to oppress the poor.
It also decreed that, however lowly the birth of a
Roman citizen, if he became rich he might hold
positions of power
 in the State. This encouraged the poor man to be
industrious, for if he could but gain wealth there was
no ambition which he might not be able to satisfy.
But while the ordinance pleased the common people, it
displeased the nobles, who had no wish to see the
plebeians raised to positions which until now had been
sacred to them and to their sons. They bore Servius no
good will for passing this new law.
Trouble, too, was threatening the king through his two
daughters, both of whom, as the Roman custom was, were
But although their names were the same, their natures
were as different as summer is different from winter.
Tullia, the elder, was wicked and ambitious; Tullia,
the younger, good and gentle.
Servius determined to marry his daughters to the sons
of King Tarquinius, whose kindness had placed him on
The princes, as the princesses, were of strangely
different natures. Lucius was proud, his temper
violent; while Aruns was humble and good-natured.
Now the king thought that if the gentle Tullia married
Lucius, he would become a better man; while he hoped
that if his ambitious daughter married Aruns she would
learn from him the grace of humility.
But Servius made a great mistake when he married his
daughters. For before long Lucius hated his quiet
wife, and killed both her and his brother Aruns, so
that he and Tullia the elder might be free to marry
No sooner had Lucius Tarquinius married Tullia, than,
encouraged by her, he joined the discontented nobles,
who hated Servius.
Day by day Lucius grew more bold, more rude to Servius,
and at length he put on the royal robes and sat on the
king's seat in the Senate house, unrebuked by the
Servius was now no longer young, but when he heard
 how Lucius had dared to behave he went at once to the
door of the Senate house, and bade the prince come down
from the throne, and lay aside the royal robes.
But Lucius paid no heed to the king's command. Then,
as the king repeated his words, Lucius seized the old
man and flung him down the stone steps of the Senate
Servius, bruised and dazed by his fall, yet struggled
to his feet, and slowly turned away toward the palace.
Lucius dared not let the king live now that he had
defied him. So, sending his servants after Servius, he
bade them kill the old man.
It was easy to overtake him, and the fellows soon slew
their king, leaving his body lying in the middle of the
When Tullia heard what her husband had done, she had no
grief to spare for her father's cruel death. She
ordered her chariot, and drove quickly to the Forum to
greet her husband as king.
But Lucius did not wish the people to see the triumph
of his wife, and he sternly bade her go home.
Tullia obeyed, heedless of his anger. She had room in
her heart for only one thought. Lucius was king, and
she, she was queen.
So full was her mind of the new honours that would now
be hers, that her chariot had reached the street where
the dead body of her father lay before she was aware.
The driver drew up his horses sharply, seeing his
murdered king lying across his path.
But Tullia angrily bade him drive on, and as he obeyed,
her robe was stained with her father's blood. The
street was ever after called the Via Scelerata, or the
Way of Crime.
Lucius showed no shame for the murder of the king, and
haughtily refused to allow his body to be buried with
the usual rites.
And because of his pride the new king was named
Tarquinius Superbus or Tarquin the Proud.
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