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THE DYNASTY OF THE TARQUINS
 THE tale we have now to tell forces us to pass rapidly
over years of history. After several kings of Roman and
Sabine birth had reigned, a foreigner, of Greek
descent, came to the throne of Rome. This was one
Lucomo, the son of a native of Corinth, who had settled
at Tarquinii in Italy. Growing weary of Tarquinii,
Lucomo left that city, with his family and wealth, and
made his way to Rome. As he came near the gates of the
city an eagle swooped down, lifted the cap from his
head, and, bearing it high into the air, descended and
placed it on his head again. His wife Tanaquil, who was
skilled in augury, told him this was a happy omen, and
that he was destined to become great.
And so he did. His riches, courage, and wisdom brought
him great favor in Rome, and on the death of their king
Ancus the people chose Lucius Tarquinius—as they called
him, from his native city—to reign over them in his
stead. He proved a valiant and successful warrior, and
in times of peace did noble work. He built great sewers
to drain the city, constructed a large circus or
race-course, and a forum or market-place, and built a
wall of stone around the city in place of the old
THE FORUM OF ROME.
 He also began to build a great temple on the Capitoline
Hill, which was designed to be the temple of the gods
of Rome. In the end Lucius was murdered by the sons of
King Ancus, who declared that he had robbed them of the
There is a story of the deed of an augur in his reign
which is worth repeating, whether we believe it or not.
Lucius had little trust in the augur, and said to him,
"Come, tell me by your auguries whether the thing I
have in my mind may be done or not." "It may," said
Attus, the augur. "It is this," said the king,
laughing: "it was in my mind that you should cut this
whetstone in two with this razor. Take them and see if
you can do it."
Attus took the razor and whetstone, and with a bold
stroke cut the latter in two. From that time on Lucius
did nothing without first consulting the augurs, and
testing the purposes of the gods by the flight of
birds, and—so say the legends—he prospered accordingly.
The cause of the death of Lucius was this. One day a
boy who dwelt in the palace fell asleep in its portico,
and as he lay there some attendants who passed by saw a
flame playing lambently around his head. Alarmed at the
sight, they were about to throw water upon him to
extinguish the flame, when Tanaquil, the queen, who had
also seen it, forbade them. She told the king of what
had happened, and said that the boy whom they were
bringing up so meanly was destined to become great and
noble. She bade him, therefore, to rear the child in a
way befitting his destiny.
 The boy, whose name was Servius Tullius, was thereupon
brought up as a prince, and when old enough married the
king's daughter. Lucius reigned forty years, and then
the sons of Ancus, fearing to be robbed of their claim
to the throne by young Servius, who had become very
popular, managed to get an audience with and kill the
The murderers gained nothing by their deed of blood.
Queen Tanaquil shrewdly told the people that Lucius was
only stunned by the blow, and that he wished them to
obey the orders of Servius. To the young man she said,
"The kingdom is yours; if you have no plans of your
own, then follow mine." For several days Servius acted
as king, and then, the people and senate having grown
used to seeing him on the throne, the death of Lucius
was declared and Servius proclaimed king. He had the
consent of the senate, but had not asked that of the
people, being the first king of Rome who reigned
without the votes of the assembly of the Roman people.
Servius Tullius reigned long and won victories, but his
greatest triumphs were those of peace. He formed a
league with the thirty cities of Latium, and is said to
have taken a census of the people of the city, which
was found to have eighty-three thousand inhabitants. To
strengthen his power he married his two daughters to
two sons of Lucius Tarquinius, a well-intended act
which led to a tragic and dreadful deed.
The daughters of Servius were very unlike in nature,
and the same may be said of their husbands, and they
became unequally mated. Lucius
 Tarquinius was proud and full of evil, while his wife,
the elder Tullia, was good and gentle. Aruns Tarquinius
was of a mild and kindly nature, while his wife, the
younger Tullia, was cruel and ambitious. They were thus
sadly mismated. But the evil pair saw in each other
kindred spirits, and in the end Lucius secretly killed
his wife, and the younger Tullia her husband. The
wicked pair then married, and proceeded to carry out
the purposes of their base hearts.
Servius, being himself of humble birth, had favored the
people at the expense of the nobles. He even made a law
that no king should rule after him, but that two men
chosen by the people should govern them year by year.
Thus it was that the commons came to love him and the
nobles to hate him, and when be asked for a vote of the
people on his kingship there was not a voice raised
Lucius, whom his wicked wife steadily goaded to
ambitious aims, conspired with the nobles against the
king. There were brotherhoods of the young nobles,
pledged to support each other in deeds of oppression.
These he joined, and gained their aid. Then he waited
till the harvest season, when the commons were in the
fields, gathering the ripened corn.
This absence of the king's friends gave him the
opportunity he wished. Gathering a band of armed men,
he suddenly entered the Forum, and took his seat on the
king's throne, before the door of the senate-chamber,
from which Servius was accustomed to judge the people.
Word of this act of treason
 was borne to the old king, who at once hastened to the
Forum and sternly asked the usurper why he had dared to
take that seat.
Lucius insolently answered that it was his father's
throne, and that he had the best right to it. Then, as
the aged and unguarded king mounted the steps of the
senate-house, his ambitious son-in-law sprang up,
caught him by the middle, and flung him head-long down
the steps to the ground. Then he went into the
senate-chamber and called the senators together, as
though he were already king.
The old monarch, sadly shaken by his fall, rose to his
feet and made his way slowly towards his home on the
Esquiline Hill. But when he came near it he was
overtaken by some bravos whom Lucius had sent in
pursuit. These killed the unprotected old man, and left
him lying in his blood in the middle of the street.
And now was done a deed which has aroused the
execrations of mankind in all later ages. Tullia, who
had instigated her husband to the murder of her father,
waited with impatience until it was performed. Then,
mounting her chariot, she bade the coachman to drive to
the Forum, where, heedless of the crowd of men who had
assembled. she called Lucius from the senate-house, and
cried to him, in accents of triumph, "Hail to thee,
Wicked as Lucius was, he was not as shameless as his
wife, and sternly bade her to go home. She obeyed,
taking the same street as her father had followed. Soon
reaching the spot where the bleeding body of the old
king lay stretched across the
 way, the coachman drew up his horses and pointed out to
Tullia the dreadful spectacle.
"Drive on," she harshly commanded. "I cannot," he
replied. "The street is too narrow to pass without
crushing the king's body." "Drive on," she again
fiercely ordered, and the coachman did so. Tullia went
to her home with her father's blood upon the wheels of
her chariot, and with the execration of all good men
upon her head. And thus it was that Lucius Tarquinius
and his wicked wife succeeded the good king Servius
upon the throne.
We may tell here briefly the end of this evil pair.
Tarquin the Proud, as he is known in history, reigned
as a tyrant and oppressor, while his wife was viewed
with horror by all virtuous matrons. At length the
people rose against a base deed of the tyrant's son,
and the wicked Tullia fled in terror from her house. No
one sought to stop her in her flight; but all, men and
women alike, cursed her as she passed, and prayed that
the furies of her father's blood might take revenge for
her dreadful deed.
She never saw Rome again. Tarquin sought long to regain
his crown, but in vain, and the wicked usurpers died in
exile. No king ever again ruled over the Romans.
Tarquin's tyranny had given the people enough of kings,
and the law of good Servius Tullius was at last carried