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Early Roman Rulers – Tullus Hostilius and Ancus Marcius

Succeeding Numa Pompilius and becoming the third king of Rome, Tullus Hostilius possessed a more military persona than the ruler before him. In this article, you will learn more about the king who successfully fought wars for Rome, as well as information on the accomplishments of his successor , Ancus Marcius , grandson to a former ruler of Rome.

Tullus Hostilius

Tullus had warriors in his family, as he was the grandson of Hostus Hostilius, who had battled and died with Romulus during the Sabine invasion of Rome. This was just the right bloodline to equip the ruler with the knowledge of combat and staging victorious campaigns against opposing forces.

One of the most revered accomplishments of Tullus was his triumph over Alba Longa, an ancient city located in the central part of Italy. Following this victory, Alba Longa transformed into a vassal state of Rome. Unfortunately, the Alban dictator had different ideas and later betrayed Rome. As a result, Tullus ordered the destruction of the city and forced the remaining people to integrate as citizens of Rome. Other wars that Tullus made his mark in was against Fidenae and Veii, as well as against the Sabines.

A legend linked to the Tullus (as told by Livy) states that he wasn’t much for paying attention to religious observances during his reign of Rome. This belief would change as he neared the end of his hold on the city. After experiencing a couple of odd events, including falling ill, he started to take notice to superstitions. He began to read the words of Numa Pompilius and attempted to offer sacrifice to Jupiter Elicius as Numa had stated, but did not perform the ceremony in the correct manner. This led to his demise , with his home and himself being struck by lightning and reduced to ashes , thought to be the result of an angered Jupiter.

Ancus Marcius

Ruling between 640 BC and 616 BC, Ancus Marcius took the position of fourth king of Rome. He is regarded for having ties to a former ruler of the city , the second king, Numa Pompilius. He was the son of Marcius and Pompilia, who was believed to be the only daughter of the Numa. According to Livy, the first thing Ancus did when he became king was to order the pontifex maximus (another way of saying a ‘high priest’) to copy down the text that dealt with the performance of public ceremonies of religion from the words of Numa Pompilius, He wanted them put on display for all the public to see.

In war, Ancus was successful in battling against the Latins. He is also said to have bested the Sabines and the Veientes. Additional achievements associated with Ancus include:

·    Incorporating the Janiculum into the city by fortifying it with a wall and building a wooden bridge across the Tiber to connect it with the city.
·    Building the first jail in Rome, called the Mamertine prison.
·    Extending the territory under Rome to the sea.
·    Founding the port of Ostia and establishing salt-works about the port.
·    Expanding the temple of Jupiter Feretrius.