Chronicles From the City Founding of Livius Titus, Book I

Chapter 46

The crimes of Tullia and of Lucius Tarquinius ; Their plot against Servius.

But this event did not lessen the hope in Tarquinius of seeking the throne ; on the contrary (it grew) more fiercely in him, inasmuch as he had perceived that concerning the land of the plebs it was done in opposition to the will of the fathers, he reckoned that the opportunity had been given to him for accusing Servius and increasing his power in the senate-house, amongst the fathers, and he himself was a young man of ardent spirit and at home, his wife, Tullia, stirred up his unquiet spirit. For even the Roman palace bore an exemplar of a wickedness worthy of tragedy, such that liberty from the weariness of kings would come all the more quickly, and the last throne would be that which was won by wickedness. This L. Tarquinius—there is little certainty whether he was the son or grandson of Priscus Tarquinius ; nevertheless, I have named him son, according to the majority of authors—also had a brother, Priscus Tarquinius, a youth of gentle disposition. These two, as has been said, had been married to the two Tulliae, daughters of the king and they themselves were quite disparate in character. Thus it had happened by chance that the two violent natures had not been joined together in matrimony, to the good fortune, I believe, of the Roman people, for whom the throne of Servius would be long-standing and the mores of the city could be established. The ferocious Tullia was angered that there was nothing of substance in her husband, neither for desire nor for enterprise ; she turned totally to the other Tarquinius and admired him, and said that man arose from the royal blood ; she spurned her sister because, having obtained a husband, she was dull in womanly enterprise. Their similarity quickly drew them together, as often happens ; bad is most apt for bad ; but the initiation of violation arose from the woman. She was accustomed, in the private discourse of another’s husband, to spare no-one the contumelies of words, about her husband to his own brother, about her sister to her own husband ; and she contended that it would have been more right that she be a widow and he unmarried, than to be joined to an unequal, so as to be made to languish in another’s cowardice ; if the gods had given him to her as husband, of whom she was worthy, she would have soon been about to see the throne in her house, which she saw with her father. She quickly filled the young man with her temerity ; once Arruns Tarquinius and the lesser Tullia had made vacant spots for new matrimonies by near continuous funerals, they were joined in marriage, more by lack of prohibition by Servius than by any approbation.

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