Zonaras 7.8 Part I – Lucius Tarquinius Impresses Everyone

Lucius Tarquinius moves to Rome; he charms the king and other potentates with his wit, kindness, and money.

Lucius Tarquinius then claimed the throne for himself. He was the son of Demaratus of Corinth, who had fled to the Tyrsenian city of Tarquinia, where he married a native woman; together, they had a son named Lucumo. He received many things from his father, including the fact that he would, on account of being a foreigner, he would never mix with the chief men of Tarquinia, and on this account he removed himself to Rome. Once he arrived there, he decided to change his name while he was changning his city, and so he took the name Lucius Taquinius, from the city in which he had formerly lived. It is said that as he was wandering to the city, an eagle flew down and removed the hat which he wore upon his head; after it ascended into the air and made a great noise, it again descended and replaced the hat on his head; after this occurrence, Lucius Tarquinius entertained no small hopes and set about establishing himself in Rome with considerable zeal and energy. Consequently, it was only a short time before he came to associate with the chief men of the state. He was liberal and profuse with his money, and he won over the powerful men in the city with his wit and keen understanding. He was therefore elevated to patrician status and given a place in the senate by Ancus Marcius, and was made a general; moreover, Ancus entrusted the care of his own children and the throne to Tarquinius. Lucius Tarquinius showed himself to be a good man by giving money to the poor who needed it, and always being ready to help a fellow citizen if necessary. He never did or said a trifling thing to anyone. If he ever received a good turn from another, he extolled the deed, but if he were ever done ill by another, he either made no mention of the harm, or made it sound like a minor thing unworth of notice, and not only did he abstain from chastizing the one who had injured him, but he even did him a favor in turn. In this way, he won over Marcius and the men around him, and earned the reputation of a wise and good man.

Λούκιος δὲ Ταρκύνιος τὴν ἀρχὴν ᾠκειώσατο, ὃς Δημαράτου μὲν ἦν παῖς Κορινθίου, φυγόντος δὲ καὶ εἰς πόλιν Τυρσηνίδα Ταρκυνίαν ἐγκατοικήσαντος ἐξ αὐθιγενοῦς γυναικὸς ἐκείνῳ ἐτέχθη, Λουκούμων ὀνομασθείς. πολλὰ μέντοι πατρόθεν διαδεξάμενος,
ὅτι μὴ τῶν πρωτείων παρὰ τῶν Ταρκυνησίων ὡς ἔπηλυς κατηξίωτο, πρὸς τὴν ῾Ρώμην μεταναστεύει, τῇ πόλει καὶ τὴν κλῆσιν συμμεταθέμενος, καὶ μετωνομάσθη Λούκιος Ταρκύνιος ἐκ τῆς πόλεως, ἐν ᾗ παρῴκει. λέγεται δὲ μετοικιζομένου ἀετὸς καταπτὰς ἁρπάσαι τὸν πῖλον ὃν εἶχεν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς, καὶ μετεωρισθεὶς καὶ κλάγξας ἐπὶ πολὺ αὖθις αὐτὸν ἐφαρμόσαι τῇ αὐτοῦ κεφαλῇ, ὡς ἐντεῦθεν μηδὲν ἐλπίσαι μικρὸν καὶ προθύμως τῇ ῾Ρώμῃ ἐγκατοικῆσαι· ὅθεν τοῖς πρώτοις οὐ μετὰ πολὺ συνηρίθμητο. τῷ τε γὰρ πλούτῳ χρώμενος ἀφειδέστερον, συνέσει τε καὶ εὐτραπελίᾳ τοὺς δυνατοὺς οἰκειούμενος, ἐς τοὺς εὐπατρίδας καὶ τὴν βουλὴν κατελέχθη παρὰ Μαρκίου, καὶ στρατηγὸς ἀπεδείχθη, καὶ τὴν τῶν παίδων ἐκείνου ἐπιτροπείαν καὶ τῆς βασιλείας πεπίστευτο. ἐδείκνυε γὰρ ἑαυτὸν ἀγαθὸν ἄνδρα, χρημάτων τε τοῖς δεομένοις μεταδιδοὺς καὶ ἑαυτὸν ἕτοιμον παρέχων εἴ τις δέοιτο αὐτοῦ εἰς βοήθειαν· φαῦλον δέ τι οὔτ’ ἔπραττεν οὔτ’ ἔλεγεν οὐδενί. καὶ εἴ τι πρός τινων εὖ ἔπασχεν, ἐξῆρε τὸ γινόμενον, εἰ δέ τι καὶ ἐπαχθέστερον αὐτῷ γένοιτο, ἢ οὐδ’ ἐλογίζετο τὸ λυποῦν ἢ καὶ φαυλίσας παρελογίζετο, οὐ μόνον τε οὐκ ἠμύνετο τὸν λελυπηκότα, ἀλλὰ καὶ εὐηργέτει. τούτοις αὐτόν τε τὸν Μάρκιον καὶ τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν ἐχειρώσατο, καὶ δόξαν ἀνδρὸς ἐκτήσατο σοφοῦ τε καὶ ἀγαθοῦ.

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