Page 0755



he gained by popular manners and kept by wisdom and moderation. Before the death

of Ancus he conceived the design of dispossessing his wards and obtaining the

government for himself. In this scheme he was entirely successful, and when Ancus

died succeeded without difficulty in procuring his own election to the throne.

With this event what may be called the local history of Rome properly begins. The

new government was one of great civil abilities. The king brought Etruscan

workmen into the city, and began an elaborate system of public works. The Forum

was drained and enclosed with porticoes. The hills of Rome were fortified with

impregnable stone walls. The summit of the Tarpeian was cleared and leveled, and

the building of the Capitol begun. The name of the hill was changed to the

Capitoline. Shows and celebrations, several of which the king had imported from

Etruria, were exhibited on a grander scale than hitherto; and for the

accommodation of these he caused the Circus Maximus to be enlarged and

beautified. Above all these works in importance was the building of the Cloaca

Maxima, the great sewer of Rome, by which the city was drained into the Tiber-a

work whose everlasting masonry still attests the splendid building capacity of

the Etruscan artisans. It appears that the Romans themselves attributed the

execution of this mighty work to the forced labor of captives; but the other

construction, which assigns the Cloaca and Circus to the skill of the masons whom

Tarquin brought from his own country, is far more reasonable.

The legend of this great ruler also ascribes to him the celebration of the first

Roman triumph, the introduction of the Etruscan robe spangled with gold, the

chariot drawn by four white horses, and the triumphal ornaments wherewith the

generals of the Republic, victorious over the enemy, were wont to ascend the

Capitoline Hill. It is thought, moreover, that the costumes and accouterments

which the Roman soldiers wore in battle, as well as the praetexta of the

magistrates and the toga of citizenship, were likewise of Etruscan origin, and

introduced in the times of Tarquin. It is said that the curule chairs and the

fasces of the lictors had a similar origin. More important still than these

manners and customs of office was the introduction of augury, which is known to

have been derived from Etruria, and to have been practiced chiefly by the

prophets of that country.

It is related that when Tarquin had conquered a peace with the surrounding

nations, and then bestowed so large a part of his energies on the public

improvements of the city, he turned his attention to civil affairs, and purposed

to make a new division of the people. The threefold tribal arrangement of the

population into Ramnes, Titienses, and Luceres was to be rejected for a more

convenient distribution. This project, however, was opposed by the conservative

deities, and Tarquin was confronted with unfavorable omens. The augur, Attus

Navius, forbade any change in the old division of the Roman people. (1)

But Tarquin was not easily diverted from his purpose. He told the augur that he

should go and consult the sacred birds, and ascertain whether the thing which he-

the king-now had in mind could be done. The prophet returned with the assurance

that the king's wish should be fulfilled. Tarquin then took a

_______________________________ 1 It is a well established fact, however, that

the lore of the augurs was in vogue with the Latins long before the days of

Tarquin. The conduct of Romulus and Remus in waiting for the flight of birds

sufficiently attests that in the period of wildest myth reliance was had on signs

and omens.