Young Folks' History of Rome eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 189 pages of information about Young Folks' History of Rome.
town named Tarquinii, whence came the family name.  He was said to have first taught writing in Italy, and, indeed, the Roman letters which we still use are Greek letters made simpler.  His eldest son, finding that because of his foreign blood he could rise to no honors in Etruria, set off with his wife Tanaquil, and their little son Lucius Tarquinius, to settle in Rome.  Just as they came in sight of Rome, an eagle swooped down from the sky, snatched off little Tarquin’s cap, and flew up with it, but the next moment came down again and put it back on his head.  On this Tanaquil foretold that her son would be a great king, and he became so famous a warrior when he grew up, that, as the children of Ancus were too young to reign at their father’s death, he was chosen king.  He is said to have been the first Roman king who wore a purple robe and golden crown, and in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine Hills he made a circus, where games could be held like those of the Greeks; also he placed stone benches and stalls for shops round the Forum, and built a stone wall instead of a mud one round the city.  He is commonly called Tarquinus Priscus, or the elder.

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There was a fair slave girl in his house, who was offering cakes to Lar, the household spirit, when he appeared to her in bodily form.  When she told the king’s mother, Tanaquil, she said it was a token that he wanted to marry her, and arrayed her as a bride for him.  Of this marriage there sprang a boy called Servius Tullus.  When this child lay asleep, bright flames played about his head, and Tanaquil knew he would be great, so she caused her son Tarquin to give him his daughter in marriage when he grew up.  This greatly offended the two sons of Ancus Martius, and they hired two young men to come before him as wood-cutters, with axes over their shoulders, pretending to have a quarrel about some goats, and while he was listening to their cause they cut him down and mortally wounded him.  He had lost his sons, and had only two baby grandsons, Aruns and Tarquin, who could not reign as yet; but while he was dying, Tanaquil stood at the window and declared that he was only stunned and would soon be well.  This, as she intended, so frightened the sons of Ancus that they fled from Rome; and Servius Tullus, coming forth in the royal robes, was at once hailed as king by all the people of Rome, being thus made king that he might protect his wife’s two young nephews, the two little Tarquins.

CHAPTER V.

The driving out of the Tarquins.

B.C. 578—­309.

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Young Folks' History of Rome from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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