Zonaras 7.9 Part V: The Violent End of Servius Tullius

Disaffection with Servius Tullius’ reforms leads to his murder:

Thus all of those things stood. Tullius then married his daughters to the sons of Tarquinius Priscus, and after promising to hand the throne over to them, he put it off with one excuse after another. They did not take the matter lightly, but felt offended; yet Tullius considered them of little concern, and continued to push the Romans toward freedom and democracy, which the Tarquins found even more galling. The younger Tarquin, though he resented all of this, nevertheless bore it. It did not, however, appear just in the older Tarquin’s estimation to tolerate Tullius. Since he found that his wife (who was Tullius’ daughter) did not agree with him, he killed her himself, while arranging for the other Tullia to kill his brother with poison. Once he had fallen in with his brother’s wife, they both contrived together against the life of Tullius. Since many of the senators and patricians were ill-disposed toward Tullius, Tarquinius persuaded them to take up against him, and he went with them immediately to the senate house with his wife in tow. He said many things to remind those who were present of his father’s great deeds, and leveled many criticisms against Tullius. When Tullius heard of all this, and said a word after standing up for himself in haste, Tarquinius grabbed him, picked him up, and threw him down the stairs of the senate house. Tullius, terrified by the boldness of Tarquinius and the fact that he had no assistance, neither said nor did anything further. Tarquinius, immediately seizing the throne, sent some men to intercept Tullius on his way and kill him. Tullius’ daughter, after expressing her love in the senate house and proclaiming him king, went off toward the palace and drove her chariot over the body of her father where it lie.

Καὶ ταῦτα μὲν οὕτως· ὁ Τούλλιος δὲ τοῖς Ταρκυνίοις τὰς θυγατέρας συνῴκισε, καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῖς ἀποδώσειν ἐπαγγειλάμενος ἄλλοτε ἄλλο τι προφασιζόμενος ἀνεβάλλετο. οἱ δὲ οὐδὲν ὑγιὲς ἐφρόνουν, ἀλλὰ ἤχθοντο. ὁ δ’ ἐν οὐδενὶ λόγῳ τούτους πεποίητο, καὶ τοὺς ῾Ρωμαίους πρὸς τὸ δημοκρατικὸν ἐνῆγε καὶ τὸ ἐλεύθερον. ἔτι δὲ μᾶλλον ἐπὶ τούτοις ἤσχαλλον οἱ Ταρκύνιοι. ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν νεώτερος, κἂν ἐχαλέπαινεν, ἔφερεν, τῷ δὲ τῷ χρόνῳ προήκοντι οὐκέτι τοῦ Τουλλίου ἐδόκει ἀνέχεσθαι. ἐπεὶ δὲ μὴ συνευδοκοῦσαν εὕρισκε τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὸν ὁμαίμονα, αὐτὸς μὲν τὴν γυναῖκα, τὸν δ’ ἀδελφὸν διὰ τῆς γυναικὸς ἐκείνου φαρμάκοις διέφθειρε, καὶ συναφθεὶς τῇ συνεύνῳ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ τῷ Τουλλίῳ σὺν αὐτῇ ἐπεβούλευε. καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν τε βουλευτῶν καὶ τῶν εὐπατριδῶν αἰτίας ἔχοντας κατὰ τοῦ Τουλλίου πείσας συνάρασθαί οἱ, ἐξαπιναίως μετ’ αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ συνέδριον παραγέγονεν, ἑπομένης αὐτῷ καὶ τῆς γυναικὸς Τουλλίας· καὶ πολλὰ μὲν εἶπε τῆς τοῦ πατρὸς ἀξίας τοὺς παρόντας ἀναμιμνήσκων, πολλὰ δ’ ἀπέσκωψε πρὸς τὸν Τούλλιον. ἐπεὶ δ’ ἐκεῖνος ταῦτα μαθὼν ἐπέστη σπουδῇ, καί τι δὴ καὶ ἐφθέγξατο, συνήρπασεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἐξάρας ὦσε κατὰ τῶν πρὸ τοῦ βουλευτηρίου ἀναβαθμῶν. καὶ ὁ μέν, ταραχθεὶς πρὸς τὴν τοῦ Ταρκυνίου τόλμαν καὶ ὅτι οὐδέ τις αὐτῷ ἐπεκούρησεν, οὔτ’ εἶπεν ἔτι οὐδὲν οὔτ’ ἐποίησε· Ταρκύνιος δὲ τήν τε βασιλείαν εὐθὺς παρὰ τῆς βουλῆς ἔλαβε καὶ πέμψας τινὰς τὸν Τούλλιον κομιζόμενον οἴκαδε διεχρήσατο. ἡ δὲ θυγάτηρ ἐκείνου ἐν τῷ βουλευτηρίῳ τὸν ἄνδρα καταφιλήσασα καὶ βασιλέα προσαγορεύσασα καὶ ἀπιοῦσα πρὸς τὰ βασίλεια τὸ ὄχημα κατὰ τοῦ νεκροῦ τοῦ πατρὸς ὡς εἶχεν ἐπήλασεν.

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