From that moment the insecurity of the aged Tullius and the menace to his authority increased with each succeeding day. For the woman was already looking forward from one crime to another, nor would she allow her husband any rest by night or day, lest the murders they had done before should be without effect.
She had not wanted a [p. 165]
man just to be called a wife, just to endure1
servitude with him in silence; she had wanted one who should deem himself worthy of the sovereignty, who bethought him that he was the son of Tarquinius Priscus, who preferred the possession of the kingship to the hope of it.
“If you are he,” she cried, “whom
I thought I was marrying, I call you both man and king; if not, then I have so far changed for the worse, in that crime is added, in your case, to cowardice. Come, rouse yourself!
You are not come, like your father, from Corinth or Tarquinii, that you must make yourself king in a strange land; the gods of your family and your ancestors, your father's image, the royal palace, with its throne, and the name of Tarquinius create and proclaim you king. Else, if you have no courage for this, why do you cheat the citizens? why do you suffer yourself to be looked on as a prince? Away with you to Tarquinii or Corinth!
Sink back into the rank of your family, more like your brother than your father!” With these and other taunts she excited the young man's ambition.
Nor could she herself submit with patience to the thought that Tanaquil, a foreign woman, had exerted her spirit to such purpose as twice in succession to confer the royal power —upon her husband first, and again upon her son-in-law — if Tullia, the daughter of a king, were to count for nothing in bestowing and withdrawing a throne. Inspired by this woman's frenzy Tarquinius began to go about and solicit support, especially among the heads of the lesser families, whom he reminded of his father's kindness to them, and desired their favour in return; the young men he attracted by gifts; both by the great things he promised to do [p. 167]
himself, and by slandering the king as well, he2
everywhere strengthened his interest.
At length, when it seemed that the time for action was now come, he surrounded himself with a body of armed men and burst into the Forum.
Then, amidst the general consternation which ensued, he seated himself on the throne in front of the Curia, and commanded, by the mouth of a herald, that the senators should come to King Tarquinius at the senate-house. They at once assembled: some of them already prepared beforehand, others afraid that they might be made to suffer for it if they did not come; for they were astounded at this strange and wonderful sight, and supposed that Servius was utterly undone.
Tarquinius then went back to the very beginning of Servius's family and abused the king for a slave and a slave-woman's son who, after the shameful death of his own father, Tarquinius Priscus, had seized the power;
there had been no observance of the interregnum, as on former occasions; there had been no election held; not by the votes of the people had sovereignty come to him, not with the confirmation of the Fathers, but by a woman's gift.
Such having been his birth, and such his appointment to the kingship, he had been an abettor of the lowest class of society, to which he himself belonged, and his hatred of the nobility possessed by others had led him to plunder the leading citizens of their land and divide it amongst the dregs of the populace.
All the burdens which had before been borne in common he had laid upon the nation's foremost men. He had instituted the census that he might hold up to envy the fortunes of the wealthy, and make them available, when he chose to draw upon them, for largesses to the destitute.