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The ancient history of Italy. Tsarist period

The royal period is the oldest period in the history of Ancient Rome, in which there was an elective monarchy headed by Roman kings. The traditional chronology is from 753 BC (the founding of Rome) to the overthrow of the last king Tarquinius the Proud and the establishment of the Roman Republic in 509 BC.But it all started a little earlier, when the Etruscans were the hegemons of Italy.

Society and culture of the ancient Etruscans

The economy of Etruscan society. Location of cities

The most cultured, along with the Greeks, the people of Italy in the second quarter of the first millennium BC were the Etruscans. Against the background of the Ligurians, Italians, Illyrians, who lived in a primitive communal system, the Etruscans were distinguished by the fact that they had a class society and state organization. The Etruscans settled three regions —

  • modern Tuscany-between the right bank of the Tiber and the Arno;
  • to the north of it — the Padan region,
  • to the south-Campania.
The Etruscan feast scene. The tomb of the Leopards in Tarquinia. V century BC

The Etruscan feast scene. The tomb of the Leopards in Tarquinia. V century BC

Etruscan economic power was based on fertile soils that allowed for rich harvests of grain, flax, and grapes, and on deposits of copper, tin, and iron (on fr. Ylva), which stimulated the development of metal mining and metalworking, the manufacture of weapons, bronze mirrors, dishes and jewelry, on the reserves of stone and clay. On this basis, the construction business and ceramic production progressed.

Etruscan cities were located on high places, surrounded by powerful stone walls, built strictly according to the rules, then adapted to the Greek regular plan. An important part of the city was the temples, similar in appearance to the Greek ones, but more squat. They were distinguished by the fact that they usually had three cella, a portico on the facade, framed by a colonnade, and a gable roof. The pediment was decorated with antefixes and acroteria in the form of figures of animals, birds or monsters — Gorgons, typhons, and later-large terracotta statues of deities. Residential buildings were built on a stone foundation, had wooden walls covered with clay lining. The roofs were tiled, sometimes very intricate: the tiles were either painted or alternated-flat and semicircular. In pottery, the Etruscans imitated the Greeks, producing black-figure and red-figure ceramics, but they were famous for their originality. They were decorated with reliefs or oddly shaped vessels in the form of animals, often black in color, the so-called bucceros. Diversity and specialization in the production of agricultural and handicraft products contributed to the development of intra-Italian and maritime trade. Annual fairs were organized in the grove of Feronia.

The abundance of wood and flax allowed the Etruscans to build ships and become remarkable sailors. The extensive nature of their foreign trade relations is evidenced by the rich inventory of burials. Etruscan necropolises are numerous and well-studied. The tombs of the nobles, carved in the rock, have been preserved in the form of chamber tombs, over which round hills are piled. The walls of the cells are decorated with frescoes, sometimes with inscriptions. Archaeologists found Egyptian vessels, ostrich eggs with the image of sphinxes, ivory, gold and silver products made in Syria and Cyprus, Greek vessels, beads made of Baltic amber in the funeral rooms.

The social structure of Etruscan society

A fairly stratified society corresponded to a high degree of specialization in production and trade development. Labor-intensive work on land reclamation, the construction of cities and tombs involve the use of forced labor. Etruscan necropolises keep traces of ritual killings of slaves. Their presence is evidenced by images of prisoners with their hands tied on an Etruscan vase, reports of ancient authors about the huge number of servants in rich houses, as well as the custom of forcing slaves to fight to the death during the funeral of the nobility. The archaic nature of Etruscan society allows us to speak of the patriarchal nature of slavery. But the slaves were not the only exploited class. Ancient authors mention another dependent stratum from among the impoverished Etruscans and the conquered population, the Greek authors call them Penestes. Among the Etruscans, the dependents were called “lethe”, “lautni”. The process of property and social stratification is indicated by the emigration of impoverished people and their eviction to the colonies. Usually, such losers were grouped around leaders who were defeated in a political struggle, or brave adventurers who sought their fortune in a foreign land.

Etruscan antiphex with the image of the head of the Gorgon Medusa. IV century BC.

Etruscan antiphex with the image of the head of the Gorgon Medusa. IV century BC.

In ancient legends, a certain Avkn appears, the son or brother of the founder of the city of Perusia. Having gathered a squad, he went to the north, to the Padan region, where he founded the city of Felzina. Bologna).

The top of Etruscan society was the military-priestly nobility. Roman authors call its representatives princeps. Modern scholars believe that they headed the privileged stratum (ethera). It could include noble retainers, as well as close chiefs from among the clients.

The Etruscan aristocracy retained the paternal lineages. But the woman held a place of honor in the family. This was expressed in the fact that along with the name of the father, the Etruscans mentioned the name of the mother. Of the Etruscan families known —

  • Tarquinii in the city of Tarquinii, who later ruled in Rome,
  • Virkena – in Volsinii and Veii,
  • Pulenes in Felsin,
  • Cilnia in Arrhythmia, etc.

In addition to the nobility and people of dependent states, there were also non-noble freemen in Etruria, engaged in craft and trade.

Political power in the cities first belonged to the kings, who had military and religious powers. But in the sixth century BC, the kings were replaced by elected officials. They were called differently-zilki, or zilahi, corresponding to (Latin) praetor, purtna-dictator, marunukhi. In different cities there was a different set of these officials, their functions can not be accurately established.

Statue of Apollo from Wei. Clay. Around 500 BC Rome. The villa of Pope Julius. Vulka the sculptor.

Statue of Apollo from Wei. Clay. Around 500 BC Rome. The villa of Pope Julius. Vulka the sculptor.

The Etruscans did not form a single centralized state. Ancient authors report three twelve-grads (Tuscan, Padan, Campanian). These were flimsy religious leagues, headed by Zilahs, or Zilks, chosen from the representatives of the cities, who also had military functions. In practice, there were more than twelve cities in the unions. This was primarily due to the fact that the Etruscan centers were built at a distance from the sea, but usually had their own port on the coast (for example, Pyrgi was the port of Caere, Atria and Spina Felsina) and extended power to the rural district with small towns.

The composition and history of the Tuscan league is best known. Its center was the city of Volsinii with the sanctuary of the deity, whose name or nickname was Vertumnus, or Veltumna. Here the elections of the head of the union and the annual festivals and fairs took place. An important place was occupied by the cities of Veii, where the famous school of sculptors was formed, Clusium, Perusium, Populonia in the Primorsky region, where iron ore was processed from fr. Ylva, Tarquinia, and Caere. Each city had its own army of heavily armed infantrymen, the nobility formed detachments of horsemen, the leaders fought on chariots.

The fall of the Etruscan Hegemony

The need for new lands and markets, the aggravation of social contradictions caused colonization. Competing with the Italian Greeks in the Mediterranean trade, the Etruscans captured in the VI century BC the eastern coast of Corsica and Sardinia, as well as the Campanian cities, where an alliance led by Capua was organized. If in the north the Etruscans peacefully shared the dominion of the Adriatic with the Greeks, in Campania their rivalry led to acute conflicts. The Etruscans ‘ ally against the Greeks was Carthage, which claimed to dominate the Western Mediterranean. The forces of this alliance succeeded in 535 BC. defeat the Greeks at Alalia in Corsica, and the Etruscans spread their power to that island.

The Etruscan sarcophagus of the couple from the Banditaccia necropolis. Polychrome terracotta, VI century BC

The Etruscan sarcophagus of the couple from the Banditaccia necropolis. Polychrome terracotta, VI century BC

The heyday of the Etruscan cities and their commercial and military expansion in Italy and the nearby islands falls in the first half of the sixth century BC. But since the last quarter of the sixth century, the Greeks have taken over them. In 524 BC they defeated the Etruscans in Campania, then in Latium, and in 474 BC in a naval battle near Cumae. At the end of the VI century BC, the Etruscan dynasty was expelled from Rome, and Etruscan influence among the Latins and in the north, where the Celts attacked the Etruscan cities, was weakened.

How to explain the rapid decline of the Etruscan hegemony in Italy? First, the internal weakness of the Etruscan city-states: they were undermined by social contradictions. Secondly, the fragility of their alliances, the rivalry of the cities, which did not allow creating a reliable united front against the Italians, the Greeks, and then the Celts. Despite the loss of political power, the cultural influence of the Etruscans in the north and center of Italy remained significant until the end of the IV century BC. e. It was especially felt in Rome.

In the circle of the Roman nobility, the Etruscan language was fashionable, and the “Etruscan discipline”, i.e., religious and mythological ideas and the system of divination and sacrifice set out in the sacred books, was widely recognized. They talked about the creation of the world by God and the life of people for 12 thousand years. The books contained prescriptions for the construction of cities, buildings and the organization of land space, which was borrowed by the Romans.

The religion of the Etruscans. Supreme Deities

The Etruscan fortune-tellers possessed exceptional authority, recognizing the will of the gods by lightning and by the entrails of animals. These fortune-tellers were called haruspices. The Etruscan pantheon included deities of various orders — “hidden”, i.e. great gods, ancestral souls, and various demons, good and evil.

Among the supreme deities are known Tini, Uni, Menrva, who had similar functions to the Roman Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, and therefore identified with them. Menrva’s consort was Herkle (=rom. Hercules). The Etruscan gods and their cult have Italianate, Greek, Asia Minor, primarily Hittite features, which corresponds to the heterogeneity of their origin. Elements characteristic of the Mediterranean can also be traced in other areas of Etruscan culture. Chamber tombs in architectural and technical terms resemble the tombs of the Balkans, Asia Minor, Sardinia. Images of fighting predators and their attacks on goats and fallow deer, reproductions of chimeras, sphinxes and winged bulls on sarcophagi and utensils have prototypes in Egypt and Near Asia. Over time, the Etruscans increasingly absorbed the Greek elements of culture. They imitated the Greeks in the forms of ceramics, vase painting and plastic, and willingly depicted scenes of the Homeric epic on mirrors and vessels. In turn, the Etruscans influenced their Italian neighbors, particularly Rome. The Romans adopted from them the rules of land surveying, the layout of cities, the construction of houses, the teachings of the Haruspex, the signs of royal power.

The emergence of the State in Rome

Rome is located on the banks of the Tiber River in Latium. The city grew out of the settlements on the hills-Palatine, Esquiline, Caelia, Quirinal, Viminal, and others-that rose above the damp lowlands. The location of the city, thanks to the climate, the navigable river at the mouth of which salt was extracted, the proximity to the sea, which facilitated relations with the Italian and overseas peoples, contributed to its development.

The legend of Romulus and Remus

The ancient history of Rome and Latium is told by legends transmitted by ancient authors. They report that the place where Rome originated was inhabited from ancient times and constantly attracted foreigners. The first of these were the Greeks, first the Arcadian Evander, and soon after the famous hero Hercules, or Hercules. Then, after the fall of Troy, the ships of the Trojan fugitives, led by the hero Aeneas, landed on the coast of Latium near the mouth of the Tiber. According to the most common version, Aeneas lost his wife Creusa and father Anchises on the difficult way to Italy, and was left only with his son Ascanius — Yul.

"Capitoline wolf" (Lupa Capitolina).

“Capitoline wolf” (Lupa Capitolina). It was assumed that it was cast in the V century BC by the Etruscans, at the same time it was installed in Rome as a sign of the unification of the Romans, Sabines and Etruscans. However, the latest research, which in 2006 was carried out by the restorer Anna Maria Karruba, shifted the moment of creation of the statue to the VIII-X centuries AD.

All the Trojans were exhausted by their wanderings, and one of the Trojan women suggested that they stop sailing, and to do this, burn the ships. Her name was Roma. According to one version of the legend, her name was then called Rome (Latin. Roma).

One of the local kings, Latinus received the Trojans amiably and even married his daughter Lavinia to Aeneas. In her honor, Aeneas built the city of Lavinius, and after the death of Latinus, he began to reign over both his people and the Trojans. This united people in memory of the deceased king began to be called Latins.

Meanwhile, Ascanius-Yul grew up. He founded the new city of Alba Longu in the wooded mountains, where he became king. All of his descendants received the nickname of Silviev, which means “Foresters”. The fourteenth king of Alba Longa, Numitor, had no male offspring. He was deposed by his brother Amulius. To protect himself from the pretenders to power, the treacherous Amulius, under the guise of honor, gave Numitor’s daughter, Rhea Silvia, to the priestess of the goddess Vesta, because they had to remain celibate for 30 years. But the young Vestal was visited by the god Mars, after which she had twins, Romulus and Remus. Amulius ordered the babies to be thrown in a basket into the waters of the overflowing Tiber. But the divine twins did not die. After the decline of the water, they began to be fed with their milk by a wolf, and then the royal shepherd Faustulus picked them up and brought them up. Having turned into beautiful young men and learned the secret of their origin, the twins restored their grandfather to the kingdom, but they did not stay in Alba Longa, but gathered a squad and went in search of a place to create a new settlement. They found it on the Palatine and began the ritual of founding the city. A quarrel broke out between the brothers, in which Remus was killed by Romulus. In honor of him, who became the first king, according to another version of the legend, the city was named Rome. The Romans of that time were all young men. The inhabitants of the neighboring towns treated them harshly and did not agree to marry their daughters to such rootless people. Romulus had to go to the trick of inviting his Sabine neighbors and their families to Rome for the feast of Neptune. In the midst of the festival, the Romans rushed to kidnap the Sabine girls. The indignant Sabines gathered and went to war against the Romans. But the Sabine women reconciled their fathers and husbands. The Romans and the Sabines were united in one community. Titus Tatius, a Sabine, became co-ruler with Latinus Romulus. After their death, the second king was the Sabine Numa Pompilius. He regulated religious life and established craft colleges. Behind him, Tullus Hostilius ruled. He conquered Alba Longa, destroyed it, and moved the inhabitants to Rome.

The fourth king was Ancus Marcius, the grandson of Numa. He successfully fought against the Latins, resettled many of them and included them in the Roman community, built a bridge over the Tiber and founded the colony of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.

The hills on which Rome was built.

The hills on which Rome was built.

Then a half-Greek, half-Etruscan foreigner, who had emigrated from Etruria, became king. His name was Tarquinius the Ancient. Under him, Rome began to improve: the central square (forum) was paved, a system of underground sewage channels was created that flowed into the central artery, the great cloaca, a circus was built, a temple was laid on the Capitol, modest huts were replaced with houses on a stone foundation. Tarquinius was killed, and his wife raised the slave girl’s son, Servius Tullius, who had been brought up in their house.

Servius surrounded the city with a defensive wall and carried out reforms, in particular, organized a new army. This king was also killed. The murderer was his son-in-law Tarquinius, who seized the royal power. He ruled tyrannically, for which he received the nickname of the Proud, and was exiled. After this, a Republic was established in Rome.

Dance. A fresco from the Etruscan necropolis in Tarquinia. V century BC.

Dance. A fresco from the Etruscan necropolis in Tarquinia. V century BC.

For a long time, scientists considered the history of ancient Rome to be a fiction of ancient writers. But new archaeological excavations, the discovery of inscriptions and the achievements of linguistic science have shown that the reports of ancient authors, despite a number of fantastic details, contain a lot of reliable information.

So, it turned out that the site of the future city was inhabited already in the middle of the II millennium BC. According to the fragments of Mycenaean ceramics found in Rome and in Etruria and the presence in the Latin language of words known from the tablets of the linear letter “B”, it was found out that the stories about Evander and Hercules contain memories of the attempts of the Achaean Greeks to gain a foothold in the Pritibra region at the end of the II millennium BC.

By comparing different types of sources, it became known that the legend of the abduction of the Sabine women reflects the real fact of the Sinoikism of the Latin and Sabine communities; the historicity of not only the Etruscan kings, but also Numa and Anca Marcius was established. The date of the foundation of Rome by Romulus was confirmed. The Roman scientist Varro (I century BC) attributed this event to 754-753 BC. e. Archaeologists found traces of huts in the Palatine of the middle of the VIII century BC. e. At the same time, new materials have shown that Rome of the beginning of the royal era in the ancient tradition is somewhat embellished.

The social structure of Roman society

At the beginning of the first millennium BC (X — VIII centuries), i.e. in the era of the early Iron Age, ancestral settlements were scattered on the territory of Rome. The inhabitants of the Palatine Hill, like other inhabitants of Latium, burned their dead, and on the Quirinal and Viminal the dead were buried in wooden blocks, as in the Sabine region. Therefore, it is believed that the Palatine and the nearby Velia hill belonged to the Latins, and the northern hills to the Sabines.

These tribes partially evicted and partially assimilated their predecessors — the Ligurs, Siculs, etc. People settled mainly on the hills, but gradually developed the lowlands between them for economic purposes. They lived in huts, round or rectangular in plan, on a wooden frame with clay coating. Next to them, as well as in the surrounding groves, were the shrines of the deities, the patrons of the family and the area. There were graves at a distance from the habitation, and in the woods on the hills and in the marshy meadows people grazed their cattle. Settlements were protected by ditches, embankments, and watchtowers were built.

Little by little, the villages expanded and merged with each other. The villages of Palatina and Velia were the first to unite, then the villages of other hills merged into a single community with them. On the Capitol grew a common fortress for all. The origins of Sinoikism are associated in tradition with the legendary Romulus. Thus, the beginning of the tsarist era marked the beginning of the history of the united Roman community.

Red -figure crater depicting scenes from the myth of Iphigenia. Apulia. IV century BC.

-figure crater depicting scenes from the myth of Iphigenia. Apulia. IV century BC.

At this time, the people of Rome (populus) consisted of three tribal tribes (tribes) corresponding to the Athenian Preclysthenian philae. We only know their late Etruscan names-Titii, Ramni, and Lucera. The Titii were thought to be Sabines, the Ramni were Latins, and the Luceri were Etruscans, which corresponded to the ethnic structure of Rome at the end of the Tsarist era. The Roman population was ethnically heterogeneous from the very beginning. But the Latins and Sabines predominated, and the Etruscans were almost nonexistent. The tribesmen served as a base for recruiting horsemen.

The second element of the society was the 30 curia. Previously, the curia were considered to be the adequate of the phratries. Now it is recognized that the curia is a union of male warriors. The Curia fielded an army on foot.

The basis of the social structure was the gentes. At first there were 100 of them, and under the Etruscan kings — 300.

The Roman gens (gens) of the royal time was a community. Like the Greek, it was paternal and exogamous, characterized by the right of mutual inheritance, the right to receive strangers, to elect and remove elders, and the duty of kindred to help each other.

The kinsmen had a common place of settlement and burial and bore a single generic name (nomen), derived from a real or mythical ancestor. Thus, the Julii, for example, were descended from Ascanius-Yule, who was the grandson of Venus herself. The clan had its own religious cults. The Julii especially worshipped Veiovis and Venus, the Potitii and Pinarii worshipped Hercules, and the Navtii worshipped Minerva. About the number of members of the genus can give an idea of the following fact: 306 relatives of the Fabians, who died at the beginning of the V century BC in the battle of the river Kremer, made up the entire male combat-ready population of this powerful family.

The system of property and power in ancient Rome

The socio-economic basis of the clan was the collective ancestral ownership of land. Together, the relatives used only a part of it in the form of forests and meadows. The main ancestral land fund was distributed among the large paternal families (familia), which included 3-4 generations of descendants of the head of the family (paterfamilias). The Roman family had a common property and represented the main economic unit of the society. Gradually, the importance of the pater familias grew in it, and he became the sole owner of all the property of the family, including the children.

Rome was governed by the Senate, the comitii, and the king. The Senate (senatus from Lat. senex-the elder) was a council of 100, and then 300 elders, the fathers of the family, representing the genera. Comitia in Latin means a gathering, i.e. a popular assembly of male warriors. They gathered in the curia, whence their name-the curiate comitia. On the recommendation of the Senate, a king (rex) was chosen at the comitia, who had the functions of a military leader, priest, and judge. The members of the clans were equal among themselves. All senior heads of families (patres) could enter the senate, so that the entire Roman people (populus) represented the children or descendants of real or potential fathers-senators, patres, why they were called patricians. Thus, the original populus and the patricians coincided.

At the dawn of tsarist times, Rome had all the elements of a military democracy. But even then, Rome began to move beyond the tribal system. The development of the economy, the frequent wars and the growth of the population contributed to the mobility of the people and the rupture of family ties. Along with gentile (tribal) communities, neighborly communities were formed. Patriarchal slavery and private ownership of land within communities developed. This accelerated the stratification between the clans and within the clans, and the primeval principle of authority by seniority, experience, and wisdom was replaced by the principle of nobility and gentility. The oldest Patrician families were the Julii, Horatii, Curiatii, Fabii, and others. Impoverished members of the clans sought help from the wealthier and noblest. The first became clients (clients-obedient, dependent), and the second-their patrons, patrons. The patron allocated land to clients, defended them in court, gave them his name, and the clients formed his battle squad. The bonds of patronage-clientele were considered sacred, and violation of them was punishable by death.

The chimera of Arezzo. Bronze statue of the fifth century BC Archaeological Museum, Florence

The chimera of Arezzo. Bronze statue of the fifth century BC Archaeological Museum, Florence

The picture of social life was complicated by the fact that the growing city was replenished at the expense of the conquered population, as well as voluntary newcomers, sometimes entire families, attracted by the convenience of the place. At first, the newcomers were included in the tribal organization of the three tribes and the thirty curia. But then access to it was stopped, and the migrants found themselves in the position of incomplete, since they were deprived of participation in the curiate comitia and in the Senate. Their number increased, which is why they began to be called plebeians, plebs (from plere-to fill). In their origin, the original plebeians resembled the Athenian Meteks, but in their social position they differed from them, since they received a land grant from the Romans.

The plebeians, like the Patricians, lived in large paternal families that formed part of the gens. But since their families were not part of the three Roman tribes, they did not participate in wars, received only a small allotment of land and could not increase it with land from the general fund (ager publicus), which was formed by conquest. Therefore, the plebs were not engaged in herding, which required large areas, but in agriculture, handicrafts and trade. In his environment, which was not constrained by family ties, the relations of private property and, as a result, property differentiation developed faster. But both rich and poor plebeians were equally disenfranchised.

Thus, within the framework of the tsarist era, social inequality grew. First, the class differences within the populus between the patricians and the clients were revealed, and from the second half of the seventh century BC, the formation of archaic classes-estates, patricians and plebeians-was outlined. In the VI century BC, this process intensified.

To consolidate their power, the tsars had to suppress the tribal elite, whose influence was based on the foundation of the tribal organization, and find a social support in addition to the tribal aristocracy. To this end, the tsars strengthened their property status, expanded their land allotment. More and more freely they disposed of the conquered lands, which were the common property of the people (ager publiens).

Starting with Romulus, they distributed land to individual soldiers themselves, and not through the curia. Servius Tullius introduced the division of the entire Roman territory into 21 districts. These districts were called tribesmen. There were 4 urban and 17 rural tribes, in which there were both gentile and neighboring communities, both patricians and plebeians lived. Thus, Servius Tullius moved the Roman population, as did Cleisthenes in Athens. The same king is credited with the redistribution of land between the rich and the poor.

The kings also belittled the importance of the Patrician nobility by establishing Roman cults and priestly colleges. Already under Numa, along with the veneration of the fire goddess Vesta, a Roman cult was organized in each family unit and house, and a common temple was erected in the forum. Numa also includes the establishment of the all-Roman supreme college of priests-pontiffs.

The ancient Roman army. The reform of Servius Tullius

Servius Tullius. VI century BC.

Servius Tullius. VI century BC.

Due to the increase in population and the growth of property differentiation in its environment, the Romans constantly felt the need for new lands and waged wars for them. All the kings, except Numa, expanded the Roman possessions, sometimes establishing colonies in the conquered parts of Latium. Military actions were carried out by the forces of tribal detachments, so the most important concern of the tsars was the creation of an army independent of the tribal militias. Already Romulus, according to tradition, created a squad of 300 bodyguards-celers. Tarquinius the Ancient doubled the number of horsemen at the expense of his loyal men, and Servius Tullius completely changed the very principle of recruiting an army.

Ancient authors report that Servius divided the entire male population of Rome, i.e., both patricians and plebeians, into six property categories —

  • the 1st category included people who had property valued at at least 100,000 copper assas (coins);
  • the 2nd category included those whose property was valued at at least 75,000 assas;
  • to the 3rd – in 50 000;
  • to the 4th-in 25 000;
  • by the 5th — at 11,500;

All poor people were included in the 6th category-proletarians, whose wealth was only their offspring (proles).
Each property category exhibited a certain number of military units, centuries (hundreds) — a total of 193 centuries:

  • 1st class — 80 centurions of heavily armed infantry, which became the main fighting force, and 18 centurions of horsemen, a total of 98 centurions;
  • 2nd — 22;
  • 3rd — 20;
  • 4th— 22;
  • 5th — 30th centurion;
  • 6th rank — 1 centurion.

The equipment of the warriors of various categories on the descending became more and more easy and cheap. But the reform of Servius Tullius was not only of military importance. On the basis of the centuriate order, a new type of popular assembly grew — centuriate comitia, where the centurium was the voting unit. The actual number of people in the centuries was different: in the proletarian — several hundred, and in the first-rate-several dozen. If we consider that the 1st class accounted for 98 votes out of 193, it becomes clear that the affairs in the centuriate assemblies were decided by the votes of the wealthiest, both patricians and plebeians. Despite the timocratic principle, the reform of Servius Tullius was democratic in nature. It was the first step towards the inclusion of the plebs in the populus, which was transformed from a collection of members of gentile units into a collective of citizens. At the same time, the appearance of new comitia pushed into the background the curiate assemblies, which were mainly responsible for matters related to ancestral cults. This weakened the importance of the patricians in society and strengthened the king.

In modern science, it is believed that a number of later institutions were attributed to Servius Tullius in ancient times. But of course the institution is recognized by them:

  1. territorial division of Rome;
  2. the qualification principle of the division of society;
  3. a common army of patricians and plebeians.

The fall of tsarist power

The strengthening of the royal power was reflected in the fact that the last kings seized the throne without election. It was also expressed in the attributes of kings borrowed from the Etruscans: a golden crown imitating a wreath of oak leaves; a seat decorated with ivory; a scepter with an eagle; a purple tunic embroidered with gold; a painted cloak. Of particular importance were the fascia-a bundle of rods with a battle axe stuck in them. They were carried by the lictor servants who marched before the king. It was a symbol of the power of the punitive, the apparatus of violence that appeared to suppress the exploited and discontented.

Tradition has brought to us the echo of the unrest caused by social contradictions. Various people were dissatisfied — and the few slaves, and the poor, who lost their land, and with it their ties with the family, and the tribal nobility, who lost their privileges with the strengthening of the kings, and the plebeians, who were deprived of their rights. The tsars, strengthening their influence, maneuvered between different social groups. The interests of the impoverished patricians, as well as the plebeians, especially the rich, were taken into account by Servius Tullius. Tarquinius the Proud exploited the commoners on heavy construction work, but at the same time attracted them with distributions from the spoils of war and the opportunity to participate in overseas trade. Its development is evidenced by the conclusion of the first trade agreement with Carthage. But he terrorized the ancestral nobility and completely removed the Senate from administration, ruled with the help of assistants-prefects and confidants. This led in 510 BC to the conspiracy of the aristocrats against Tarquinius and his expulsion from Rome. The ancient tradition, which reflected the aspirations of the ancestral nobility, inaccurately depicted these events as a nationwide democratic cause.

The history of imperial Rome is a process of the growth of the city from scattered settlements and the evolution of society from the beginning of differentiation and the emergence of patriarchal slavery within the tribal system to the formation of archaic classes-the patrician and plebeian estates and the formation of the state. The kings, with their assistants, bodyguards, and lictors, as well as the centuriate comitia, represented a public power that did not coincide with either the self-organizing populus or the broad circle of the plebeians.

According to many modern scholars, the power of the last Roman kings is similar to the early Greek tyranny.

Within the framework of the tsarist era, not only the state emerged, but also the most important elements of the typically ancient socio-political structure that developed during the republican period, the Roman polis, or civitas. A polis is defined as an ancient city-state, or more precisely, as a civil community with an ancient form of ownership. The collective of citizenship and the specific component of the dual ancient form of ownership, ager publicus, were formed in the imperial Rome.

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