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LUCIUS TARQUINIUS PRISCUS

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Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 431 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUCIUS TARQUINIUS PRISCUS, fifth legendary king of Rome (616-578 B.C.). He is represented as the son of a Greek refugee, who removed from Tarquinii in Etruria to Rome, by the advice of his wife, the prophetess Tanaquil. Appointed guardian to the sons of Ancus Marcius, he succeeded in sup-planting them on the throne on their father's death. He laid out the Circus Maximus, instituted the " great " games, built and also in 1 548 when the turbulent szlachta tried to annul by force the marriage of Sigismund Augustus with Barbara Radziwill. In 1553, however, we find him in opposition to the court and thwarting as much as possible the designs of the young king. Nevertheless Tarnowski was emphatically an aristocrat and an oligarch, proud of his ancient lineage and intensely opposed to the democratic tendencies of the szlachta. A firm alliance between the king and the magnates was his ideal of government. On the other hand, though a devout Catholic, he was opposed to the exclusive jurisdiction of the bishops I however, that the original settlement occupied the site of the and would even have limited the authority of Rome in Poland. medieval town of Corneto, to the W.S.W., on the further side of As a soldier Tarnowski invented a new system of tactics which I a deep valley. Some authorities indeed consider, and very likely with good reason, that this was the site of the Etruscan city, and that the Piano di Civita, which lies further inland and commands but little view of the sea, was only occupied in Roman times. The case would be parallel to others in Etruria, e.g. Civita Castellana (anc. Falerii) which also occupies the site of the Etruscan city, while the Roman site, some distance away, is now abandoned. The importance of Tarquinii to archaeologists lies mainly in its necropolis, situated to the S.E. of the medieval town, on the hill which, from the tumuli raised above the tombs, bears the name of Monterozzi. The tombs them-selves are of various kinds. The oldest are tombe a pozzo, or shaft graves, containing the ashes of the dead in an urn, of the Villanova period, the oldest of them probably pre-Etruscan; in some of these tombs hut urns, like those of Latium, are found. Next come the various kinds of inhumation graves, the most important of which are rock-hewn chambers, many of which contain well-preserved paintings of various periods; some show close kinship to archaic Greek art, while others are more recent, and one, the Grotta del Tifone (so called from the typhons, or winged genii of death, represented) in which Latin as well as Etruscan inscriptions appear, belongs perhaps to the middle of the 4th century B.C. Fine sarcophagi from these tombs, some 'showing traces of painting, are preserved in the municipal museum, and also numerous fine Greek vases, bronzes and other objects. Tarquinii is said to have been already a flourishing city when Demaratus of Corinth brought in Greek workmen. It was the chief of the twelve cities of Etruria, and appears in the earliest history of Rome as the home of two of its kings, Tarquinius Priscus and Tarquinius Superbus. From it many of the religious rites and ceremonies of Rome are said to have been derived, and even in imperial times a collegium of sixty haruspices continued to exist there. The people of Tarquinii and Veii attempted to restore Tarquinius Superbus to the throne after his expulsion. In 358 B.C. the citizens of Tarquinii captured and put to death 307 Roman soldiers; the resulting war ended in 351 with a forty years' truce, renewed for a similar period in 308. When Tarquinii came under Roman domination is uncertain, as is also the date at which it became a municipality; in 181 B.C. its port, Graviscae (mod. Porto Clementino), in an unhealthy position on the low coast, became a Roman colony. It exported wine and carried on coral fisheries. Nor do we hear much of it in Roman times; it lay on the hills above the coast road. The flax and forests of its extensive territory are mentioned by classical authors, and we find Tarquinii offering to furnish Scipio with sailcloth in 195 B.C. A bishop of Tarquinii is mentioned in A.D. 456. the great sewers (cloacae), and began the construction of the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol. He carried on war success-fully against the Sabines and subjugated Latium. He is said to have raised the number of the senators to 300, and to have doubled the number of the knights (see NAVius, ATTus). The introduction of many of the insignia both of war and of civil office is assigned to his reign, and he was the first to celebrate a Roman triumph, after the Etruscan fashion, in a robe of purple and gold, and borne on a chariot drawn by four horses. He was assassinated at the instigation of the sons of Ancus Marcius. The legend of Tarquinius Priscus is in the main a reproduction of those of Romulus and Tullas Hostilius. His Corinthian descent, invented by the Greeks to establish a close connexion with Rome, is impossible for chronological reasons; further, according to the genuine Roman tradition, the Tarquinii were of Etruscan, not Greek, origin. There seems to have been originally only one Tarquinius; later, when a connected story of the legendary period was constructed, two (distinguished as the " Elder " and the " Proud ") were introduced, separated by the reign of Servius Tullius, and the name of both was connected with the same events. Thus, certain public works were said to have been begun by the earlier and finished by the later king; both instituted games, acquired the Sibylline books, and reorganized the army. For the constitutional reforms attributed to Tarquinius, see ROME: Ancient History; for a critical examination of the story, Schwegler, Romische Geschichte, bk. xv.; Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Credibility of early Roman History, ch. r r ; W. Ihne, History of Rome, i.; E. Pais, Storia di Roma, i. (1898), who identifies Tarquinius with Tarpeius, the eponymus of the Tarpeian rock, subsequently developed into the wicked king Tarquinius Superbus: Ancient authorities:—Livy i. 34—41; Dion. Hal. iii. 46—73; Cic. de Repub., ii. 200.
End of Article: LUCIUS TARQUINIUS PRISCUS
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