Then indeed the old age of Servius began to be every day more disquieted, his reign to be more unhappy. For now the woman looked from one crime to another, and suffered not her husband to rest by night or by day, lest their past murders might go for nothing.
“That what she had wanted was not a person whose wife she might be called, or one with whom she might in silence live a slave; what she had wanted was one who would consider himself worthy of the throne; who would remember that he was the son of Tarquinius Priscus; who would rather possess a kingdom than hope for it.
If you, to whom I consider myself married, are such a one, I address you both as husband and king; but if not, our condition has been changed so far for the worse, as in that person crime is associated with meanness. Why not prepare yourself?
It is not necessary for you, as for your father, (coming here) from Corinth or Tarquinii, to strive for foreign thrones. Your household and country's gods, the image of your father, and the royal palace, and the royal throne in that palace, constitute and call you king. Or if you have too little spirit for this, why do you disappoint the nation?
Why do you stuffer yourself to be looked up to as a prince? Get hence to Tarquinii or Corinth. Sink back again to your (original) race, more like your brother than your father.”
By chiding him in these and other terms, she spurs on the young man; nor can she herself rest; (indignant) that when Tanaquil, a foreign woman, could achieve so great a project, as to bestow two successive thrones on her husband, and then on her son-in-law, she, sprung from royal blood, should have no weight in bestowing and taking away a kingdom.
Tarquinius, driven on by these frenzied instigations of the woman, began [p. 63]
to go round and solicit the patricians, especially those of the younger families;1
reminded them of his father's kindness, and claimed a return for it; enticed the young men by presents; increased his interest, as well by making magnificent promises on his own part, as by inveighing against the king at every opportunity.
At length, as soon as the time seemed convenient for accomplishing his object, he rushed into the forum, accompanied by a party of armed men; then, whilst all were struck with dismay, seating himself on the throne before the senate-house, he ordered the fathers to be summoned to the senate-house by the crier to attend king Tarquinius. They assembled immediately, some being already prepared for the occasion, some through fear, lest their not having come might prove detrimental to them, astounded at the novelty and strangeness of the matter, and considering that it was now all over with Servius.
Then Tarquinius, commencing his invectives against his immediate ancestors:
"that a slave, and born of a slave, after the untimely death of his parent, without an interregnum being adopted, as on former occasions, without any comitia (being held), without the suffrages of the people, or the sanction of the fathers, he had taken possession of the kingdom as the gift of a woman.
That so born, so created king, ever a favourer of the most degraded class, to which he himself belongs, through a hatred of the high station of others, he had taken their land from the leading men of the state and divided it among the very meanest; that he had laid all the burdens, which were formerly common, on the chief members of the community;
that he had instituted the census, in order that the fortune of the wealthier citizens might be conspicuous to (excite) public envy, and that all was prepared whence he might bestow largesses on the most needy, whenever he might please.