2. Beginnings of Rome
3. Institutions of Early Rome
4. Etruscan Kings of Rome
5. Reorganization of Kingdom

6. Struggle against Kingship
7. Struggle for Economic Rights
8. Struggle for Equal Laws
9. Struggle for Political Equality
10. Conquest of Latium
11. Conquest of Central Italy
12. Conquest of Southern Italy
13. Supremacy of Rome in Italy
14. First Punic War
15. Second Punic War
16. Conquests in East
17. Reduction of Roman Conquests
18. Rome as a World Power
19. Times of Gracchi
20. Times of Marius and Sulla
21. Times of Pompey and Caesar
22. Times of Antony and Octavius

23. Reign of Augustus
24. Julian Emperors
25. Flavian Emperors
26. Five Good Emperors
27. Decline of Empire
28. Reorganization of Empire
29. Extinction of Western Empire
Outlines of Roman History
by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company (1901).



Table of contents




The Traditions of the Later Kings, I.The Etruscan Influence, II.The Growth of the City, III.


   The Later Kingdom.—As we come to the later kingdom, we shall see that many changes took place which made Rome quite different from what it was in the early period. The history is still based upon legends; but these legends are somewhat more trustworthy than the older ones. We shall see that Rome now came under foreign princes; and that the city was greatly improved, and its institutions were changed in many respects. These new kings, instead of being Romans or Sabines, were Etruscans, who gave to Rome something of the character of an Etruscan city.

   Tarquinius Priscus.—The first of these new kings, it is said, came from the Etruscan city of Tarquinii, from which he derived his name. The story is told that, as he approached the city, an eagle came from the sky, and, lifting his cap from his head, replaced it. His wife, who was skilled in the Etruscan art of augury, regarded the eagle as a messenger from heaven, and its act as a sign that her husband was to acquire honor and power. At the death of Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius became king. He carried on many wars with the neighboring peoples, the Latins and the Sabines. He was great in peace as well as in war. He drained the city, improved the Forum, and founded a temple to Jupiter on the Capitoline hill. After a reign of thirty-eight years, he was treacherously slain by the sons of Ancus Marcius.

   Servius Tullius.—The next king was Servius Tullius, who is said to have been the son of a slave in the royal household, and whom the gods favored by mysterious signs. He proved a worthy successor to the first Tarquin. He made a treaty with the Latins, by which Rome was acknowledged as the head of Latium; and as a sign of this union, he built a temple to Diana on the Aventine hill. He enlarged the city and inclosed the seven hills within a single wall. After a reign of forty-four years, he was murdered by his own son-in-law, who became the next king.

   Tarquinius Superbus.—Tradition represents the last king, Tarquinius Superbus, as a cruel despot. He obtained the throne by murder, and ruled without the consent of the senate or the people. He loved power and pomp. He continued the wars with the Latins. He also waged war with the Volscians on the southern borders of Latium; and with the spoils there obtained he finished the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline hill. Although he scorned religion, it is related that he was induced to buy the Sibylline books from the inspired prophetess of Cumae. It is also said that later in life he was frightened by strange dreams, and sent his two sons, with his nephew Brutus, to consult the Greek oracle at Delphi. To one question asked the oracle, the response was given that the person who first kissed his mother should succeed to the power of Tarquin. Brutus showed that he was the person intended, by falling and kissing the earth, the common mother of all. The traditions tell us how at last the proud Tarquin was driven from the throne and the kingdom was ended.

   Significance of the Legends.—We cannot of course accept these stories as real history. We can yet see in them the evidence that Rome was becoming different from what it had been under the early kings. We can see that Rome came under the power of the Etruscans; that it was much improved by the construction of great public works and buildings; and that it acquired a dominant power over the neighboring land of Latium.


   The Kingly Power.—One of the most important features of the Etruscan dynasty was the increase of the kingly power. All the Etruscan kings were represented as powerful rulers. Although they could not change the spirit and character of the people, they gave to Rome a certain kind of strength and influence which it did not have before. This great power of the Etruscan kings was at first used for the good of the people; but finally it became a tyranny which was oppressive and hateful.

   The Insignia of Power.—From the Etruscans came the royal insignia, that is, the symbols of power which were intended to make the person of the king more dignified and respected. These insignia consisted of a golden crown, an ivory scepter, an ivory chair called the “curule chair,” a white robe with a purple border (toga praetexta), and twelve lictors, or royal attendants, each carrying a bundle of rods (fasces) inclosing an ax. This last symbol was a sign of the absolute power of the king.

   The Haruspices.—From Etruria also came the art of the haruspices, or soothsayers, who interpreted the will of the gods. These persons were supposed to ascertain the divine will by observing the lightning and other phenomena of nature, and also by examining the internal organs of animals offered in sacrifice, and even by watching the sacred chickens as they ate their food. The Etruscan soothsayers were supposed to be better versed in divine things than the Roman augurs; and the senate is said to have provided for the perpetual cultivation of the Etruscan ritual.

   Public Works.—The buildings and other public works of the later kings bear the marks of Etruscan influence. The massive and durable style of architecture, especially as seen in the walls and the sewers constructed at this time, shows that they were the works of great and experienced builders, The name of the “Tuscan Street” (vicus Tuscus) which opened into the Forum, preserved the memory of this foreign influence in the Roman city.


   The Servian Walls.—The expansion of the city under the Tarquins is shown, in the first place, by the construction of the new and larger walls which are ascribed to Servius Tullius, and which received his name. Previous to this time the principal city wall was on the Palatine. Some of the other hills were partly fortified. But now a single fortification was made to encircle all the seven hills, by joining the old walls and by erecting new defenses. The walls were generally built of large, rectangular blocks of stone, and so durable were they that they remained the only defenses of the city for many hundreds of years; and parts of them may be seen at the present day.

   The New Temples.—Under the Tarquins, the temples of the city assumed a more imposing architectural appearance. Before this the places of worship were generally altars, set up on consecrated places, and perhaps covered with a simple roof. The Etruscan kings gave a new dignity to the sacred buildings. The most imposing example of the new structures was the temple dedicated to Jupiter Optimus Maximus, on the Capitoline hill, which contained shrines set apart for the worship of Juno and Minerva. Other new temples were the one dedicated to Saturn at the foot of the Capitoline near the Forum, and one dedicated to Diana on the Aventine.

   The Cloaca Maxima.—Among the most remarkable works of the Tarquins were the sewers which were constructed to drain the city. The most important of these was the famous Cloaca Maxima, or great drain, which ran under the Forum and emptied into the Tiber. It was said to be large enough to admit a hay-cart, and one could sail down it in a boat. It was strongly built of stone, in the form of a semicircular arch, such as the Etruscans had used, and its mouth is still visible on the shore of the Tiber.

   The Circus Maximus.—For the amusement of the people, games were introduced from Etruria, and a great circus, called the Circus Maximus, was laid out between the Aventine and the Palatine hill. Here the people assembled once every year, to witness chariot races and boxing and other sports, which were celebrated in honor of the gods who were worshiped on the Capitoline.


Merivale, Gen. Hist., Ch. 4, “The Three Later Kings” (
Liddell, Ch. 3, “Tarquinius Priscus and Servius Tullius” (1).
Parker, Arch. Hist., Ch. 5, “The City on the Seven Hills” (9).
Abbott, Ch. 2, “Monarchical Institutions” (13).
Livy, Bk. I., Chs. 34-39, Stories of Tarquinius Priscus (4).


   THE CITY UNDER THE KINGS.—Dyer, pp. 1-61 (9); Parker, Chs. 2-5 (9); Liddell, pp. 52-55 (1); Arnold. Chs. 3, 5 (2) ; Merivale, Gen. Hist., Ch. 78 (1).

1 The figure in parenthesis refers to the number of the topic in the
Appendix, where a fuller title of the book will be found.


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