Now began the reign of Lucius Tarquinius,1
whose conduct procured him the surname of Superbus, or the Proud.
For he denied the rites of sepulture to his own father-in-law, asserting that Romulus had also perished without burial. He put to death the leading senators, whom he believed to have favoured the cause of Servius and, conscious that a precedent for gaining the kingship by crime might be found in his own career and turned against himself, he [p. 173]
assumed a body-guard.
He had indeed no right to2
the throne but might, since he was ruling neither by popular decree nor senatorial sanction.
Moreover, as he put no trust in the affection of his people, he was compelled to safeguard his authority by fear. To inspire terror therefore in many persons, he adopted the practice of trying capital causes3
by himself, without advisers;
and, under the pretext thus afforded, was able to inflict death, exile, and forfeiture of property, not only upon persons whom he suspected and disliked, but also in cases where he could have nothing to gain but plunder.
It was chiefly the senators whose numbers were reduced by this procedure, and Tarquinius determined to make no new appointments to the order, that it might be the more despised for its very paucity, and might chafe less at being ignored in all business of state.
For this king was the first to break with the custom handed down by his predecessors, of consulting the senate on all occasions, and governed the nation without other advice than that of his own household. War, peace, treaties, and alliances were entered upon or broken off by the monarch himself, with whatever states he wished, and without the decree of people or senate.
The Latin race he strove particularly to make his friends, that his strength abroad might contribute to his security at home. He contracted with their nobles not only relations of hospitality but also matrimonial connections.
To Octavius Mamilius of Tusculum, a man by long odds the most important of the Latin name, and descended, if we may believe report, from Ulysses and the goddess Circe,4
he gave his daughter in marriage, and in this way attached to himself the numerous kinsmen and friends of the man.