The existence of a patrician gens of this name is attested by Livy (1.30
, comp. Dionys. A. R. 3.30
), who expressly mentions the Curiatii among the noble Alban gentes, which, after the destruction of Alba, were transplanted to Rome, and there received among the Patres.
This opinion is not contradicted by the fact that in B. C. 401 and 138 we meet with Curiatii who were tribunes of the people and consequently plebeians, for this phenomenon may be accounted for here, as in other cases, by the supposition that the plebeian Curiatii were the descendants of freedmen of the patrician Curiatii, or that some members of the patrician gens had gone over to the plebeians. The Alban origin of the Curiatii is also stated in the story about the three Curiatii who in the reign of Tullus Hostilius fought with the three Roman brothers, the Horatii, and were conquered by the cunning and bravery of one of the Horatii, though some writers described the Curiatii as Romans and the Horatii as Albans. (Liv. 1.24
, &c.; Dionys. A. R. 3.11
, &c.; Plut. Parall. Gr. et. Rom.
16; Flor. 1.3
; Aurel. Vict. de Vir. Ill.
4; Zonar. 7.6
; Niebuhr, Hist. of Rome,
i. p. 348; comp. HORATIUS.) No members of the patrician Curiatia gens, so far as our records go, rose to any eminence at Rome, and there are but few whose names have come down to us.
The only cognomen of the gens in the times of the republic is FISTUS. For the plebeians who are mentioned without a cognomen, see CURIATIUS.