was an ancient patrician family at Rome (Lydus, de Mensur.
4.1), belonging to the third tribe, the Luceres, and one of the lesser houses. (Dionys. A. R. 5.23
It traced its origin to the hero Horatus, to whom an oak wood was dedicated (Id.
5.14); and from its affinity with the Curiatii of Alba, seems to have been of Latin race. Some writers indeed described the Horatii as Albans, and as the champions of Alba in the combat with the Curiatii. (Liv. 1.24
But the story of the triple combat generally assigned the Horatii to Rome. (Liv. l.c.; Dionys. A. R. 3.12
; Plut. Parall. Gr. et Rom.
16; Flor. 1.3
; Aurel. Vict. de Vir. Ill.
4; Zonar. 7.6
There are some indications of rivalry between the Valeria gens and the Horatia (Dionys. A. R. 5.35
; Liv. 2.8
); and since the Valerii were of Sabellian extraction (Plut. Num. 5
; Dionys. A. R. 2.46
), the feud may have been national as well as political.
In the division of the Roman people (populus and plebs) by Servius Tullius into Agrarian tribes, one of the tribes was the Horatia. Monuments of the Horatia gens were the "sacer campus Horatiorum" (Mart. Epigr.
3.47); the " Horatii Pila," or trophy of the victory over the Alban brethren (Dionys. A. R. 3.21
; Liv. 1.26
; Schol. Bob. in Cic. Milonian.
p. 277, Orelli); the tomb of Horatia, built near the Porta Capena of squared stone (Liv. 1.26
); the graves of the two Horatii near Alba, extant in the 6th century of Rome (Liv. l.c. ;
Niebuhr, R. H.
vol. i. note 870); and the " Sororium Tigillum," or Sister's Gibbet. (Fest. s. v. Soror. Tigill.; Dionys. A. R. 3.22
; Liv. l.c.
) The Horatia Gens had the surnames BARBATUS, COCLES, PULVILLUS. A few members of the gens are mentioned without a cognomen.