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Siege of Rome
Part of the Roman-Etruscan Wars
Siège de Porsenna.GIF
Date 508 B.C.
Location Rome
Result Roman victory
Roman Republic Etruscians
Publius Horatius Cocles Lars Porsenna
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus

In Etruscan and Roman mythology, the Siege of Rome was waged against the Republic of Rome by the deposed king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and Lars Porsenna after Superbus was overthrown by the Roman people. The war is among the most important events in early Roman and Etruscan mythology or history. It is unknown if the siege ended in failure or was successful, which is one of the reasons why historians and modern scholars alike commonly believe that the siege is totally fiction.

The Ancient Romans thought the Siege of Rome was a historical event that had taken place. By modern times the war was widely believed to be a non-historical event. Whether there is any historical reality behind the Siege of Rome is an open question. Many scholars believe that there is a historical core to the tale, though this may simply mean that Superbus was overthrown by the Roman people earlier that year. Those who believe that the stories of the Siege of Rome derive from a specific historical conflict usually date the siege around 470 B.C. or even later then 450 B.C.




Background and aftermath

The seventh and last king of Rome Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was of Etruscan birth. Under his rule the Etruscans reached the pinnacle of their power. He used violence, murder and terrorism to maintain power in Rome and changed much of the Roman constitution. His unpopularity grew until he was overthrown and the Republic of Rome founded.[1] Superbus fled for Etruria where he had many supporters. Superbus turned to Lars Porsenna the Etruscan king of Clusium, gathered supporters, and besieged Rome from the hill top of Janiculum near the city.[2]

Porsenna was prevented from occupying the city of Rome by Publius Horatius Cocles who held the bridge of Pons Sublicius. This act of Roman heroism persuaded Porsenna not to attack the city of Rome, but instead to send his son Arruns against the Latin city of Aricia. Porsenna withdrew and Superbus enlisted aid from Octavius Mamilius, his son-in-law. Mamilius eventually mobilised the Latin League and led a revolt against the Roman Republic. There is also one other version of the siege which relates that Porsenna's attack was successful and Rome was invaded by the Etruscan army in 508 BC.[3][4][5]

Historical basis


  1. ^ Mike Dixon-Kennedy. "Encyclopedia of Greco-Roman mythology". Google Books.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-22.  
  2. ^ Tim Cornell. "The Beginnings of Rome". Google Books. Retrieved 2009-04-22.  
  3. ^ Livy, The Rise of Rome, xxxi
  4. ^ Grant, The History of Rome, p. 32
  5. ^ Livy, The Rise of Rome, p. 80

External links


Primary sources
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