Lucius Tarquinius Superbus  

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"When Tarquin the Proud caused one of his nephews to be murdered in the hope of securing the succession for his own son, the other nephew feigned insanity; and it was upon him, in accordance with matriarchal law, that the duty of blood-revenge evolved, when his niece Lucretia was assaulted. As in all patriarchal society, the distinction between paternal and maternal uncles was clearly drawn, the former being called ‘patruus’, the latter ‘avunculus’, a diminutive of avus ; that is, ancestor. Thus our word ‘uncle’, a corruption of avunculus, preserves a trace of the matriarchal order of succession." --The Mothers (1927) by Robert Briffault

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (Unknown – 496 B.C.), more commonly known by his cognomen Tarquinius Superbus, was the seventh King of Rome, reigning from 535 until the Roman revolt in 509 B.C. which would lead to the establishment of the Roman Republic, after his son Sextus Tarquinius's rape of Lucretia, who was an important noblewoman in the kingdom.


Superbus was the seventh emperor of the Roman Kingdom, and a member of the Etruscan dynasty of Rome. The historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus may have divided one historical figure named Tarquin into two separate kings because of problems with dating their legendary events. Superbus was also called Tarquin the Proud and Tarquin II among other titles / names.

Superbus' father, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, was the fifth King of Rome reigning from 616-579 B.C. Priscus came from the Etruscan city of Tarquinii. Livy claims that his first name Lucius was a Latinization of his original Etruscan name Lucumo, but since Lucumo (Etruscan Lauchme) is the Etruscan word for "King", there is reason to believe that Priscus' name and title have been confused in the official tradition. Disgruntled with his opportunities in Etruria, he migrated to Rome with his wife Tanaquil, at her suggestion. It is said that Superbus killed the preceding king, Servius Tullius to make himself king of Rome.

There are few surviving sources on Superbus' reign, and he is described as a tyrant and dictator when ruling the kingdom. He directed much of his attention to ambitious war plans and he eventually annexed various Latin neighbouring city states. In 509 B.C. the people revolted as a result of his son Sextus Tarquinius' rape of Lucretia, who was an important noblewoman in the kingdom.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lucius Tarquinius Superbus" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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