The Seven Kings of Rome 753 - 509 BCE

Mar 2018
I literally just said that. What I'm disputing is that these 7 Kings could have not existed and simply been wholecloth inventions. That is frankly implausible. I also dispute that they had no written records. There might have been plenty of records that gradually faded, but enough that it could be held in the societal memory from more or less clearly from one generation to the next, until some of it was Chinese whispers, etc, but the core facts remained about right. This was not a despotic and illiterate society where you could easily change the historical legends at will. It just wouldn't have worked.
Sure, not everything has to be confrontational...

My point is that it's easy for kings to be added or removed from the "official" list, especially when there is no one keeping an official list. So I agree that it wasn't completely invented, there were definitely some kings in Roman history in the 6th and 7th centuries. I'm also reasonably convinced by the historicity and dates associated with Tarquinius Superbus and possibly the kings just before him. What I'm not convinced by is the number of kings, or all their names, or when the first king started his reign.
Apr 2019
To the original 7 Kings as listed, there can be added an 8th, Titus Tatius the Sabine (as stated by AlpinLuke) who co-ruled for a time with Romulus. There is also another tradition come down in the sources (Pliny and Tacitus) that Lars Porsenna captured Rome and imposed harsh terms. Pliny believes he ruled as King (read war-chief or warlord if you desire). Livy and Dionysios of Halicarnassus state that Rome did not fall to Porsenna. Porsenna was said to have abandoned the siege of Rome (when he had the upper hand apparently). So he could have been a ninth King (possibly there could be more?).
I do believe the Kings existed, however, I'm not so sure if the names of the Kings that have come down are correct (Romulus - Mr. Rome for example, as said before).
Likes: benzev
Jan 2017
Italy, EU
Titus Tatius as co-ruler of Romulus is one of the legends developed to give a founding myth for the republican system of the two consuls. The most famous legend about it , however, is that Rome chose two consuls so that one could check the other from becoming King.

As explained very well by the scholars Pais and Grossi, Rome came to have two consuls for more complicated reasons.

Also Titus Tatius was a Sabine, but it's unlikely that the sabines were among the original inhabitanst of Rome. Again, a legend developed to give a founding myth to the presence of the sabines in Rome. Another one was that the second King was a Sabine (Numa Pompilius).

The story may have developed as late as the 4th/3d century with Rome assimilitaing the sabines during the Samnite wars (I don't remember the year of the annexation of Sabinia region).

The sabines had traditional feasts for their marriages, in which the men kidnapped the married women (probably this practice derived from some primitive ritual). Hence the "rape of the sabines" story.
Last edited:
Likes: Gisco

Similar History Discussions