Roman Republic

Roman Pre-History

Kings of Rome (traditionally 753 - 509 BC)

In Construction

According to C. Julius Solinus (3rd century AD)

“Varro, a very diligent author, asserts that Romulus founded Rome. ... [He] auspiciously laid down the foundations of the walls when he was 18 years old, 11 days before the Kalends of May [i.e., on 21st April], between the 2nd and 3rd hours, as Lucius Tarruntius (sic), a very notable mathematician, has recorded.  Jupiter was in Pisces, Saturn, Venus, Mars and Mercury in Scorpio, the sun in Taurus and the moon in Libra ... Romulus reigned for 37 years. ... He disappeared at the swamp of Capra, on the Nones of July”, (‘Polyhistor’, 1: 17-20).

He then described (at 1: 21-26) the chronology of the rest of the Regal period, presumably still relying on Varro for the information:

  1. Numa reigned for 43 years;

  2. Tullius Hostilius reigned for 32 years and died in the 35th Olympiad;

  3. Ancus Marcius reigned for 24 years and died in the 41st Olympiad;

  4. Tarquinius Priscus reigned for 37 years;

  5. Servius Tullius Esquilinus reigned for 42 years; and

  6. Tarquinius Superbus reigned for 25 years.

Finally, he noted that:

L. Cincius Alimentus placed it in the 12th Olympiad: Dioysius of Halicarnassus (1: 74: 1) placed it in the 4th year of the 1 12th Olympiad, =729/8 BC; 

  1. F.Fabius Pictor placed it in the 8th Olympiad; Dioysius of Halicarnassus (1: 74: 1) placed it in the 1st year of the 8th Olympiad, =748/7 BC; 

Nepos and Lutatius ... in the second year of the 7th Olympiad.

Pomponius Atticus and Marcus Tullius hold out for the third year of the 6th Olympiad.

After comparing the judgments of us Romans with those of the Greeks, I conclude that Rome was founded at the beginning of the 7th Olympiad, 433 years after the capture of Troy”, (‘Polyhistor’, 1: 27).

Triumphs of the Kings of Rome

Opening lines of the fasti Triumphales (Musei Capitolini)

From ‘Mr Jennings’ on Flickr

The opening entry in the so-called fasti Triumphales, which were inscribed on stones that were on public display (probably on Augustus’ triumphal arch) soon after 19 BC, began by recording that:

Romulus Martis F Rex An De Caeninensibus K Mar

[Romulus] Mart [is F] Rex II [....]”

“Romulus, son of Mars, [triumphed for the first time] over the Caeninenses ...

for the second time [....]”

The next eleven lines are illegible.  John Rich (referenced below, 2014, at p. 246, entries 1-15, has reconstructed the inscription for the Regal period on the basis that he set out at p. 244.  I summarise these entries below, with those lost from the fasti but attested by at least one other source in italics:

  1. Romulus (traditionally 753 - 716 BC)

  2. I: over the people of Caenina;

  3. II: [over the people of Antemnae?]; 

  4. III: over the Veientines;

  5. Tullus Hostilius (traditionally 673 - 642 BC):

  6. I: over the people of Alba;

  7. II: over the people of Alba and Veii; 

  8. III: over the Sabines;

  9. [Ancus Marcius], traditionally 642 - 616 BC):

  10. I: over the Sabines and Veientines;

  11. Tarquinius Priscus, traditionally 616 - 579 BC:

  12. I: over the Latins;

  13. II: Etruscans (588 BC);

  14. III: Sabines (585 BC)

  15. Servius Tullius, traditionally 579 - 534 BC:

  16. I: over the Etruscans (571 BC);

  17. II: over the Etruscans (567 BC); 

  18. III: over the Volsci;

  19. Tarquinius Superbus, traditionally 534 - 509 BC:

  20. I: over the Volsci;

  21. II: over the Sabines.

The first point to make is that all of the dates in this list were deduced in the late Republic and were probably published (perhaps for the first time) in the ‘Liber Annalis’ (47 BC) of  T. Pomponius Atticus or by one of his contemporaries (see, for example, Gary Forsythe, referenced below, .  Moreover, the modus operandi of this construction was probably as follows:

Read more:

Rich J., “The Triumph in the Roman Republic: Frequency, Fluctuation and Policy”, in:

  1. Lange C. J. and Vervaet F. (editors), “The Roman Republican Triumph: Beyond the Spectacle”, (2014 ) Rome, at pp. 197-258

Forsythe G., “Critical History of Early Rome”, (2005)  Berkelely, Los Angeles and London

Linked pages:

Return to Regal Period