Zonaras 7.10 Part I: ‘Thus Tullius Ruled, Thus Tullius Died’

The paranoia of Tarquinius leads to undisguised tyranny:

Thus Tullius ruled, and thus Tullius died, after a reign of forty four years. When Tarquinius siezed the throne, he set an armed guard around himself after the example of Romulus, which he made use of both at night and through the day, whether he were at home or in public. For, after what he and his wife had done to his father-in-law, they were afraid of everyone else. He made preparations as a tyrant would, and he took up and got rid of the most powerful men both in and out of the senate. He killed those whom he had a case against in the open, and killed the others in secret. He banished some others. He did not destroy only those who were favorable to Tullius, but also all of those who were unfavorably disposed toward the monarchy, and he thus reduced the strongest part of the senate and the equestrian order. He knew that he was hated by all of the plebeians. On that account, he did not replace any of the men who were killed, but undertook to dissolve the senate altogether, and did not enlist anyone in it or communicate anything worthy of note to those who were in it. He was in the habit of calling them together, not so that they could conduct any necessary business, but so that their thinned ranks could be clear to all, and he thereupon treated them with contempt. He performed most business either by himself or with the aid of his sons. He was not easy to approach or address, and he treated everyone with contempt and savagery; both he and his sons began to behave more tyrannically toward everyone. For that reason, and also because he had his suspicions of his bodyguards, he enlisted an armed band from the Latin tribes and mixed them with his Roman contingent, so that the Latins, in receiving an equal share from him, would turn the common sentiment in his favor; he also hoped that the Romans would instill him with less fear when they were no longer left to their own devices, but were forced to arm themselves with the Latins.

Οὕτω μὲν οὖν ὁ Τούλλιος ἦρξε καὶ οὕτως ἀπέθανε βασιλεύσας τέσσαρας ἐνιαυτοὺς ἐπὶ τεσσαράκοντα, ὁ Ταρκύνιος δὲ τὴν βασιλείαν παρειληφὼς δορυφόρους κατὰ ῾Ρωμύλον ἑαυτῷ περιέστησεν, καὶ νύκτωρ καὶ μεθ’ ἡμέραν αὐτοῖς καὶ οἰκουρῶν καὶ ἀγοράζων ἐκέχρητο. ἐξ ὧν γὰρ αὐτὸς εἰς τὸν κηδεστὴν καὶ ἡ γυνὴ πρὸς τὸν πατέρα ἐποίησαν, καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς ἐδεδίεσαν. ἐπεὶ δὲ ὡς τυραννήσων παρεσκευάσατο, τοὺς δυνατωτάτους τῶν βουλευτῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων συλλαμβάνων ἐκτίννυεν, οἷς μὲν αἰτίαν εἶχεν ἐπενεγκεῖν φανερῶς ἀναιρῶν, οὓς δὲ λάθρᾳ· ἐνίους δέ γε καὶ ὑπερώριζεν. οὐ γὰρ τοὺς τῷ Τουλλίῳ προσκειμένους μόνους, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς πρὸς τὴν μοναρχίαν συναραμένους αὐτῷ προσαπώλλυε, καὶ οὕτω τὸ κράτιστον τῆς βουλῆς καὶ τῆς ἱππάδος ἀνάλωσε. μισεῖσθαί τε ὑπὸ παντὸς τοῦ δήμου ἐπίστευε· διὸ οὐ δὲ ἀντικαθίστη τὸ παράπαν ἀντὶ τῶν ἀπολλυμένων τινάς, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν γερουσίαν καταλῦσαι παντελῶς ἐπιχειρήσας οὔτε ἀντεισῆγεν ἐς αὐτὴν οὐδένα οὔτε τοῖς οὖσιν ἐπεκοίνου τι λόγου ἄξιον. συνεκάλει μὲν γὰρ αὐτούς, οὐ μὴν ὥστε τι τῶν ἀναγκαίων συνδιοικεῖν, ἀλλ’ ἵνα δήλη αὐτῶν ἡ βραχύτης γίνοιτο ἅπασι, κἀντεῦθεν καταφρονοῖντο· τὰ δὲ πλεῖστα καθ’ ἑαυτὸν ἢ καὶ μετὰ τῶν υἱέων ἔπραττε. δυσπρόσιτός τε καὶ δυσπροσήγορος ἦν, καὶ τῇ ὑπεροψίᾳ καὶ τῇ ὠμότητι ὁμοίως ἐχρῆτο πρὸς ἅπαντας, καὶ τυραννικώτερον αὐτός τε καὶ οἱ παῖδες αὐτοῦ προσεφέροντο ἅπασι. διὰ ταῦτα δὲ καὶ τοὺς δορυφόρους ὑπόπτους ἔχων, ἐκ τῶν Λατίνων προσηταιρίσατο δορυφορικόν, καὶ ἐς τὰς τῶν ῾Ρωμαίων τάξεις Λατίνους ἐνέμιξεν, ἵνα οἱ μὲν Λατῖνοι ἰσομοιρίας τοῖς ῾Ρωμαίοις τυχόντες εὔνοιαν αὐτῷ ἐντεῦθεν ὀφείλωσι, καὶ οἱ ῾Ρωμαῖοι ἧττον ἐκφοβῶσιν αὐτόν, μηκέτι κατὰ σφᾶς ὄντες, ἀλλὰ τοῖς Λατίνοις συνοπλιτεύοντες.

Zonaras 7.8 Part V: The Sons of Marcius Return

Tarquinius is slain by the sons of Marcius for usurping their throne:

The sons of Marcius then set upon Tarquinius, since he did not pass the throne on to them, but instead preferred a certain Tullius who was born to him by a captive woman. This indeed was a thing which had caused the nobles substantial distress. The sons of Marcius therefore enlisted the help of some of these nobles and plotted against Tarquinius; their plan was to send, in rustic fashion, two men armed with axes and sickles to attack Tarquinius. When it happened that they did not encounter Tarquinius in public, they went to the doors of his regal home, indeed striving against each other as they needed to come into his presence. When they met him, they fell into an argument with each other, and while Tarquinius paid attention to one of the men as he was pleading his case, the other man slew him.

᾿Επέθεντο μέντοι τῷ Ταρκυνίῳ οἱ τοῦ Μαρκίου παῖδες, ἐπεὶ μὴ τῆς ἀρχῆς αὐτοῖς παρεχώρει, ἀλλά τινα Τούλλιον τεχθέντα οἱ ἐξ αἰχμαλωτίδος προῆγε πάντων· ὃ δὴ μάλιστα τοὺς εὐπατρίδας ἐλύπει. ὧν τινας προσεταιρισάμενοι αὐτῷ ἐπεβούλευσαν, δύο
τινὰς χωριτικῶς ἐσταλμένους, ἀξίναις καὶ δρεπάνοις ὡπλισμένους, αὐτῷ ἐπιθέσθαι παρασκευάσαντες. οἳ ἐπεὶ μὴ ἀγοράζοντι τῷ Ταρκυνίῳ ἐνέτυχον, ἐπὶ τὰς θύρας τῶν βασιλείων ἧκον, ἀλλήλοις δῆθεν διαμαχόμενοι, καί οἱ ἐλθεῖν εἰς ὄψιν ἐδέοντο. καὶ τυχόντες τούτου εἰς λόγους ἀλλήλοις ἀντικατέστησαν, καὶ δικαιολογουμένῳ τῷ ἑνὶ προσέχοντα τὸν Ταρκύνιον ὁ ἕτερος κατειργάσατο.

Zonaras 7.8 Part IV: Punishment of Vestal Virgins

Tarquinius Priscus punishes a Vestal Virgin who violated her oath of chastity:

Later, Tarquinius waged war against the Latin tribes who were rebelling, and subsequently he fought against the Sabines who were aided by the Etruscans; he conquered them all. When he learned that a certain one of the Vestal Virgins (who were ordered to preserve their maidenhood throughout their lives) had engaged in indiscreet intercourse with a man, he had an oblong passage dug underground, in which he placed a couch and a table with an abundance of food. He had the ruined woman sent down there, and after she was led into the chamber, he had it sealed off. Thus, from that event, the custom prevailed that those priestesses who did not take care of their chastity were punished. The men who so defiled these women were forced to place their heads upon cloven logs in the forum, and after being stripped naked and degraded, were deprived of their lives.

Μαχεσάμενος δὲ Λατίνοις ἀποστατήσασιν, ἔπειτα καὶ Σαβίνοις εἰς τὴν ῾Ρωμαΐδα ἐμβαλοῦσι συμμαχουμένοις ὑπὸ Τυρσηνῶν, ἁπάντων ἐκράτησε. τῶν δὲ τῆς ῾Εστίας ἱερειῶν, ἃς παρθενεύειν διὰ βίου νενόμισται, φωράσας τινὰ συμφθαρεῖσαν ἀνδρί, ὑπόγεών τινα κατασκευάσας ὑποδρομὴν προμήκη, κλίνην τε θεὶς ἐν αὐτῇ καὶ λύχνον καὶ τράπεζαν σιτίων ὑπόπλεων, ἐκεῖ τὴν φθαρεῖσαν προπεμπομένην ἐκόμισε, καὶ ζῶσαν εἰσαγαγὼν ἐγκατῳκοδόμησε. καὶ οὕτω τὰς τὴν παρθενίαν μὴ τηρησάσας τῶν ἱερειῶν ἐξ ἐκείνου τιμωρεῖσθαι κεκράτηκεν· οἱ δὲ ταύτας αἰσχύνοντες εἰς ξύλον τὸν αὐχένα δίκρουν ἐμβάλλονται ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ, καὶ μετὰ τοῦτο γυμνοὶ αἰκιζόμενοι ἀποψύχουσιν.