Roman royal period

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The Roman royal period was the first phase in the history of the city of Rome in antiquity and, according to traditional chronology, extended over the period from 753 BC. BC to 510 BC Chr.

The representations that can be found by ancient historians about this time are predominantly considered legends in modern science. The seven hills of Rome have probably been in existence since the 10th century BC. Settled by Latins and Sabines ; after 600 BC The area then came under the control of the Etruscans , who combined the villages into a city and established a kingdom .


The forecast for the city was 753 v. Founded by the brothers Romulus and Remus . Since the two city founders are said to have come from Alba Longa , the nobles of Rome later traced their origins back to Aeneas , who was a hero of the Trojans in the Trojan War . The Alba Longa story is probably a deliberate attempt to retrospectively relate Roman history to the Trojan War, which, according to the Greeks and Romans, was around 1180 BC. Had taken place to join when 753 BC. BC had already prevailed as the alleged date of the city's foundation.

While Timaeus of Tauromenion had dated the founding date of Rome on the basis of the Olympiad calculation first attested to by him, the recalculation of the learned encyclopedist Varro in the 1st century BC. The year 753 BC Canonical. Varro counted from the traditional date of the fall of Troy in 1184 BC. BC the duration of the Trojan War of twelve years and added the result of multiplying the Pythagorean number four by the Roman saeculum (110 years). Since the distance between the myths of Aeneas and Romulus had thereby increased, he added the Latin kings of Alba Longa between the generations of Aeneas and (his traditional grandson) Romulus. The date was used by Titus Livius and Theodor Mommsen , among others, for the Roman chronology.

Six other Roman kings allegedly followed Romulus, but no historically reliable source is available. Since Roman historiography started very late, the “knowledge” about the royal period was based on oral traditions, which often should have contained little more than a small historical core. The later Roman historians then tried to reconstruct the past on the basis of oral tradition; Most of this information is colored propaganda and uncertain or proven to be wrong.

The six legendary kings after Romulus were (see list of ancient Roman kings ):

With the overthrow of the Tarquins, the monarchy is said not to have come to an end for Rome; the Etruscan king of Clusium , Lars Porsenna , conquered Rome shortly after the fall of the kings, but had to do so around 503 BC. To give up again.

Historical reconstruction

On the basis of archeology and the traditional institutions, historians have reconstructed the history of the city in the royal era as follows: Probably between the end of the 7th and the middle of the 6th century BC. BC (due to the inadequate source of information, the information in modern literature fluctuates considerably) the Etruscans occupied the villages. They gave the newly founded city the name Roma , after the Etruscan family Ruma .

In the time of the kings, there was already a fixed division of the people between the nobles, the patricians , and the rest of the people, the plebs . All political rights rested with the patricians. Only they could provide the senators. The Senate only had an advisory role during the royal era - just as it did during the republic - and had no legislative powers or veto rights. In the interior of the autonomous city-state, customary and sacral law prevailed . In cases of serious disputes between family lines (gentes) , the king, who was the highest state priest and judge at the same time, could intervene as an arbitrator by hearing the dispute before a convened court.

The main tasks of the king, however, were foreign policy. He was the first representative of the city and supreme general. The army was composed of the cavalry provided by the nobility and the foot soldiers from the common people.

According to the Roman historian Titus Livius , the people longed for the end of foreign arbitrary rule and changed the political system. Indeed, the strengthened patricity abolished the king. The patricians' claim to power was based on their wealth and military commitment, including their taxes for the financing of wars. In contrast to this, the patricians could not exert any influence in foreign policy. The Etruscan kings, however, refused to involve the nobility more closely in the decisions.

However, the power of the Etruscans dwindled supra-regionally in favor of the patricians. In 474 BC The Etruscans suffered a heavy defeat against a Greek fleet in a sea ​​battle near Kyme . This represented the low point of Etruscan power. In this context, the Roman nobility probably took the opportunity and overthrew the monarchy. The liberation from foreign rule occurred at this time in numerous city-states in the Etruscan region. Rome's quest for self-government was thus not unique.

After the overthrow of the kingship, the senate , the old aristocratic council, assumed a dominant position in the Roman republic . He now also determined the yearly changing annual magistrate (praetor maximus) ; the religious functions previously performed by the kings were taken over by the rex sacrorum . The consulate may have been justified only later, according to many researchers.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. See Susanne Hähnchen : Legal History. From Roman antiquity to modern times. 4th, completely revised and enlarged edition. CF Müller, Heidelberg et al. 2012, ISBN 978-3-8114-9842-6 , p. 13.
  2. ^ Max Kaser : Römische Rechtsgeschichte : Verlag Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1976, 2nd revised edition, ISBN 3-525-18102-7 , pp. 34–37.

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