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Servius Tullius

Servius Tullius was Rome’s sixth monarch, and he ruled from 578 B.C. to 535 B.C., which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline with World History. The society of Rome was transformed under King Tullius and in a short time after his reign it would become a Republic. King Tullius rise to power was very uncommon for Roman rulers because his ascendency to the throne seemed more like a mythical account than a factual event.

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Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius

King Tullius story began with his mother Ocrisia who was a young noblewoman from the land of Comiculum. During the reign of Rome’s fifth king Tarquinius, the land of Comiculum was attacked and subdued by the Romans. Ocrisia was brought back to Rome and made a personal servant to King Tarquinius’ queen named Tanaquil. Ocrisia was already pregnant when she was made a personal slave to the queen, and she had her child while in servitude. The child was named Servius, and when he was around eight years old, he was sleeping and then all of a sudden flames arose around the youth’s head. The king and queen were informed about this matter, and they witnessed the spectacle for themselves. Another servant had thought to retrieve water to extinguish the flames, but Tanaquil didn’t allow him to put them out. Queen Tanaquil took this as a sign that Servius was destined for greatness. The queen actually believed that he would become the next king of Rome after her husband, and she adopted the boy as her own child.

King Tarquinius had taken over the throne of Rome by stealing power away from an old king named Ancus Marcius. King Tarquinius accomplished this feat by sending the king’s two sons away on an extended hunting trip and by persuading the Senate. When King Marcius’ sons returned from their trip and found out what had occurred, they were outraged, and they secretly plotted to avenge this evil deed against their father and themselves. King Marcius’ sons were young teenage boys so they couldn’t do anything about what had occurred but in time they were able to carry out their plot. They hired two wild shepherds to assassinate King Tarquinius, and when the time was right, the shepherds disposed of the king.

Queen Tanaquil knew that her husband was going to die, but she didn’t know when or how it was going to happen. Long before King Tarquinius was killed the queen had already spread her influence over the Senate. A few minutes after the king was slain she told the people that King Tarquinius was recovering from his wounds and that he placed Servius in charge until he recovered. The people believed the queen and about one week later the queen announced that Servius was now the sole ruler of Rome.

King Servius had a strong bodyguard, so no one challenged his authority. King Marcius’ two sons who carried out the assassination plot had gone into exile to save their own lives. Before King Tullius took over the throne his adopted father King Tarquinius had given him special duties to perform such as governing some parts of the kingdom and overseeing some military operations. King Servius had proven that he was skilled at both endeavors. He used this knowledge later on during his reign to help change the Roman’s way of life. He expanded the population and then created the first census to determine voting rights and how people were to vote. He divided the land of Rome into four sections.

He established new military forces and how Roman citizens were to be used within the Army, he founded Diana’s temple on Aventine Hill, he expanded the city of Rome and he built a wall around the city for the purpose of defense.

King Tullus eventually lost his life to one of his daughters who was a mean spirited woman named Tullia. Before his death, he had married those two daughters of his to King Tarquinius’ natural sons. One of King Tarquinius sons was also named Tarquinius, and he was married to Tullia. Tarquinius and Tullia both plotted and killed their siblings before murdering their father the king. King Servius reign came to an end after a 44-year rule. After his death, King Lucius Tarquinius Superbus became Rome’s final king.

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