The Ancient Library

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On this page: Tarius Rufus – Tarpa – Tarpeia – Tarpeia Gens – Tarquinia – Tarquinius



ancestor of all the Scythians. (Herod, iv. 5.) . [L.S.]


TARPA, SP. MAE'CIUS, was engaged by Pompeius to select the plays that were acted at his games exhibited in b. c. 55 (Cic. ad Fain. vii. 1). Tarpa was likewise employed by Augustus as a dramatic censor. (Hor. Serm. i. 10. 38, Ars Poet. 386 ; Weichert, Pott. Lot. p. 334.)

TARPEIA, the daughter of Sp. Tarpeius, the governor of the Roman citadel on the Saturnian hill, afterwards called the Capitoline, was tempted by the gold on the Sabine bracelets and collars to open a gate of the fortress to T. Tatius and his Sabines. As they entered, they threw upon her their shields, and thus crushed her to death. She was buried on the hill, and her memory was pre­served by the name of the Tarpeian rock, which was given to a part of the Capitoline (Liv. i. 11 ; comp. Dionys. ii. 38, 40). Niebuhr relates that a legend still exists at Rome which relates that the fair Tarpeia ever sits in the heart of the hill, covered with gold and jewels, and bound by a spell (Hist, of Rome, vol. i. p. 230). Varro (L. L. v. 41, ed. Miiller) describes her as a Vestal Virgin ; but Plutarch relates (Num. 10) that Tarpeia was the name of one of the four Vestals, who were first appointed by Numa.

TARPEIA GENS, occurs only in the kingly and the early republican period. - We read of a Sp. Tarpeius, who was the governor of the Roman citadel under Romulus, and whose daughter be­trayed it to the Sabines [tarpeia], and of a Sp. Tarpeius Montanus Capitolinus, who was consul in B. c. 454 with A. Aternius Varus Fontinalis. [ca­pitolinus.]

TARQUINIA. [tarquinius.]

TARQUINIUS, the name of a family in early Roman history, to which the fifth and seventh kings of Rome belonged. The table on the following page represents the genealogy of the family ac­cording to Livy.

The legend of the Tarquins ran as follows. The Tarquins were of Greek extraction. Demaratus, their ancestor, belonged to the noble family of the Bacchiadae at Corinth, and fled from his native city when the power of his order was overthrown by Cypselus. He settled at Tarquinii in Etruria, where he had mercantile connections, for commerce had not been considered disreputable among the Corinthian nobles. He brought great wealth with him, and is said to have been accompanied by the painter Cleophantus, and by Eucheir and Eugram-mus, masters of the plastic arts, and likewise to have introduced among the Etruscans the know­ledge of alphabetical writing. (Plin. H. N. xxxv. 5. s. 43 ; Tac. Ann. xi. 14.) He married an Etruscan wife, by whom he had two sons, Lucumo and Aruns. The latter died in the lifetime of his father, leaving his wife pregnant ; but as Dema­ratus was ignorant of this circumstance, he be­queathed all his property to Lucumo, and died himself shortly afterwards.* But, although Lu­cumo was thus one of the most wealthy persons at Tarquinii, and had married Tanaquil, who belonged to a family of the highest rank, he was excluded,

* It is related by Strabo (viii. p. 378) that Demaratus became the ruler of Tarquinii, but this story is opposed to all other traditions, and should certainly be rejected.


as a stranger, from all power and influence in the state. Discontented with this inferior position, and urged on by his wife, he resolved to leave Tarquinii and remove to Rome, where a new citi­zen had more chance of obtaining distinction. He accordingly set out for Rome, riding in a chariot with his wife, and accompanied by a large train of followers. When they had reached the Janiculum and were already within sight of Rome, an eagle seized his cap, and after carrying it away to a great height placed it again upon his head. Tanaquil, who was skilled in the Etruscan science of augury, bade her husband hope for the highest honour from this omen. Her predictions were soon verified. The stranger was received with welcome, and he and his followers were admitted to the rights of Roman citizens. He took the name of L. Tar-quinius, to which Livy adds Priscus. His wealth, his courage, and his wisdom, gained him the love both of Ancus Marcius and of the people. The former appointed him guardian of his children ; and, when he died, the senate and the people una­nimously elected Tarquinius to the vacant throne.

The reign of Tarquinius was distinguished by great exploits in war, and by great works in peace. The history of his wars is related very differently by Livy and Dionysius. According to the former writer he waged war with the Latins and Sabines with great success. He first destroyed the wealthy town of Apiolae, which belonged to the Sabines, and subsequently took the Latin towns of Cameria, Crustumerium, Medullia, Ameriola, Ficulnea, Cor-niculum, and Nomentum. But his most memorable exploit was the defeat of the Sabines, who had advanced up to the very gates of Rome. They were at first driven back after a doubtful struggle, but were subsequently overthrown with great loss upon the Anio, and compelled to sue for peace. They ceded to the Romans the town of Collatia, where Tarquinius placed a strong garrison, the command of which he entrusted to Egerius, the son of his deceased brother Aruns, who, with his family, took the surname of Collatinus. Several traditions are connected with this war. The king's son, a youth of fourteen, slew a foe with his own hand, and received as a reward a golden bulla and a robe bordered with purple ; and these remained in after times the ornaments and dress of youths of noble rank. In this war, also, Tarquinius is said to have vowed the building of the Capitol.

Livy says nothing more respecting the wars of this king, but Dionysius relates at great length his wars with the Etruscans. According to the latter writer five of the great Etruscan cities sent assist­ance to the Latins, which proved ineffectual ; and subsequently all the twelve cities united their forces against Rome, but were overcome by Tarquinius, and compelled to submit to his authority. They are further stated to have done homage to him by presenting him with a golden crown, an ivory throne and sceptre, a purple tunic and robe figured with gold, and other badges of kingly power, such as the Etruscans used when their twelve cities chose a common chief in war. (Dionys. iii. 57, 59, 61.) Thus, according to this story, Tarquinius ruled over the Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans, as well as Romans ; but no Latin writer mentions this war with the Etruscans, with the exception of Florus (i. 5), and the compiler of the triumphal Fasti. Cicero (de Rep. ii. 20) and Strabo (v. p. 231) relate that Tarquinius also subdued the Aequij

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