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For other uses, see Latin kings (disambiguation).
Ferdinand Bol's 17th-century mythological painting shows Aeneas, in armor, awarding laurels to the winner of a race; he rules jointly on the same dais with Latinus

The Latin kings of Alba Longa, also referred to as the Latin kings of Rome or Alban kings of Rome, are a series of legendary kings of Latium ruling mainly from Alba Longa. In the mythic tradition of the founding of Rome, they fill the 400-year gap between the settlement of Aeneas in Italy and the establishing of the city walls of Rome by Romulus and Remus. It was this line of descent to which the Julii claimed kinship.

After the defeat and destruction of Alba Longa and the incorporation of Latium into the Roman state, the Alban kingship is succeeded by the series of kings usually called "Etruscan," though only a few members of this line were brought in from neighboring Etruria to reign.

Background[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Alba Longa.

In Roman mythology, the Kingdom of Alba Longa was an ancient monarchy located in the present-day region of Latium in Italy.[1] Its capital was Alba Longa but it included other cities such as Lavinium and Latium.[2][3] Although archaeology has confirmed that Rome was founded by a colony of people from Alba Longa, there are no historical records for the period.[4]

According to legend, after the fall of Troy, the Trojan prince Aeneas led a band of refugees driven by destiny to found a new city, eventually arriving in Italy. The traditional date of the war was established by Eratosthenes as 1183 BC, leaving a gap of some four centuries until the traditional founding of Rome in 753 BC. The genealogy of the Alban kings justified the close ties between Rome and its Latin communities, and enhanced the status of Latin families who could claim descent from a legendary ancestor. Such was the eagerness to claim a Trojan pedigree in the Late Republic that 15 different lists of the Alban kings from Aeneas to Romulus survive.[5]

The son of Aeneas was Ascanius, also known as Iulus, from which the gens name Iulius, as in Gaius Julius Caesar, was supposed to derive. Ascanius is the legendary founder of Alba Longa. His successor was Silvius, his half-brother and the son of Aeneas and Lavinia, and the grandson of Latinus. They never ruled from Alba Longa but resided in Lavinium. Although the exact location of Alba Longa remains difficult to prove, there is archaeological evidence of Iron Age settlements in the area traditionally identified as the site.

The names on the list are formed variously. Some are based on place names around Rome, such as Tiberinus, Aventinus, Alba, and Capetus. Others are rationalizations of mythical figures, or pure inventions to provide notable ancestors for status-seeking Roman families.[6]

List of Latin kings[edit]

The following list is based on Livy[7] and Dionysius of Halicarnassus,[8] who is the source for the length of each reign.

  • Latinus, king of the "Aborigines", who gave his name to the new state of the Latins to be ruled from Laurentum by Aeneas and his own daughter Lavinia, given in marriage to Aeneas.
  • Aeneas, a noble Trojan leading a force fleeing from the collapse of Troy. Listed as the first Latin king by both Livy and Dionysius. He ruled at Lavinium.
  • Ascanius. A prior son of Aeneas and his Trojan wife Creusa. Founder of Alba Longa. Reigned there for 28 years. (BC1169-1141)
  • Silvius. A son of Aeneas and Lavinia, younger half-brother of Ascanius. Reigned for 29 years. (BC1141-1112)
  • Aeneas Silvius. A son of Silvius. Reigned for 31 years. (BC 1112-1081)
  • Latinus Silvius. Possibly a son of Aeneas Silvius. Reigned for 51 years. (BC 1081-1030)
  • Alba Silvius. Possibly a son of Latinus Silvius. Reigned for 39 years. (BC 1030-991)
  • Atys (in Livy) or Capetus (in Dionysius). Possibly a son of Alba. Reigned for 26 years. (BCE 991-965)
  • Capys. Possibly a son of Capetus. Reigned for 28 years. (BC 965-937)
  • Capetus Silvius or Calpetus. Possibly a son of Capys. Reigned for 13 years. (BC 937-924)
  • Tiberinus Silvius. Possibly a son of Capetus II. Reigned for 8 years. (BC 924-916) Reportedly slain in battle near the Albula river and his body was carried away by it. The river was renamed Tiber.
  • Agrippa. Possibly a son of Tiberinus. Reigned for 41 years. (BC 916-875)
  • Romulus Silvius (in Livy) or Alladius (in Dionysius). Possibly a son of Agrippa. Reigned for 19 years. (BCE 875-856) Reportedly a tyrant and contemptuous of the Gods. He frightened the people by throwing thunderbolts at them, until he himself was murdered by one and his house was submerged in the Alban Lake.
  • Aventinus. Possibly a son of Alladius. Reigned for 37 years. (BC 856-819) The Aventine Hill was reportedly named after him.
  • Procas or Proca. Possibly a son of Aventinus. Reigned for 23 years. (BC 819-796)
  • Amulius. A younger son of Procas who reportedly usurped the throne. Reigned for 42 years. (BC 796-754) Slain by his grand-nephews Romulus and Remus.
  • Numitor. The older brother of Amulius. Reportedly succeeded him a year before the foundation of Rome. His successor is not named, but there must have been one, and he must have been of the same dynasty, as Gaius Cluilius, last king of Alba, descended from Aeneas, dies of natural causes while in camp during the siege of Rome under the kingship of Tullus Hostilius.
  • Romulus. First king of Rome, ruling at Rome. The son of Rhea Silvia, daughter of Numitor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donna Rosenberg. World Mythology. NTC Pub. Group, 1994. Pp. 111.
  2. ^ Livy, Valerie M Warrior (ed). The History of Rome, Books 1-5. Indianapolis, Indiana, USA: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2006. Pp. 8.
  3. ^ Andrea Carandini, Stephen Sartarelli. Rome: Day One. English edition. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press, 2011. Pp. 33.
  4. ^ Jane F. Gardner. Roman myths. British Museum Press, 1993. Pp. 31.
  5. ^ Gary D. Farney, Ethnic Identity and Aristocratic Competition in Republican Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 55–56.
  6. ^ Farney, Ethnic Identity and Aristocratic Competition, p. 56.
  7. ^ Titus Livius. "Book I". History of Rome. 
  8. ^ Dionysius of Halicarnassus. "I.66 ff". Roman Antiquities. 

External links[edit]

  • Dionysius of Halicarnassus; Ernest Cary (Translator); William Thayer (Editor) (1937-1950, 2007). Roman Antiquities. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, Chicago: Harvard University, University of Chicago. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 
  • Livius, Titus; D. Spillan (Translator) (1853, 2006). "The History of Rome, Books 1 to 8". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 13 July 2009. 

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