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Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (died 495 BC), also known as Tarquin the Proud, was the Etruscan king of Rome from 535 to 509 BC, succeeding Servius Tullus. He was overthrown by the people of Rome in 509 BC following his son Sextus Tarquinius' rape of the noblewoman Lucretia, and he failed in his attempts to restore the monarchy.

Biography

Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was the son of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth Etruscan king of Rome, and he married the two daughters of Servius Tullius. He became the father of Titus Tarquinius, Sextus Tarquinius, and Aruns Tarquinius, and, with encouragement from his wife Tullia, Tarquin enlisted the support of Rome's patricians in overthrowing and murdering Tullius. Tarquin became King of Rome in 535 BC, and he refused to bury the dead Servius; he put several pro-Servius senators to death. He never replaced the slain senators, reducing the size of the government, and he never looked to the rest of the Senate for advice. He had the Latin king Turnus Herdonius killed after discovering a plot by Turnus to murder him, and Tarquin incorporated the Latins into his army before going to war with the Volsci. Tarquin conquered Suessa Pometia and then built a temple to Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill. He then used his son Sextus as part of a defection ploy to capture the city of Gabii, with Sextus defecting to Gabii before killing or banishing all of its leading men and compelling the city to surrender. Tarquin made peace with the Aequi, renewed the peace with the Etruscans, defeated the Sabines, and established colonies at Signia and Cerceii. In 509 BC, Tarquin embarked on a campaign against Rutuli to divert the unhappiness of the people of Rome to external matters. However, while Tarquin was gone, his son Sextus Tarquinius raped Lucretia, the wife of his cousin Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, leading to Collatinus, Lucretia's father Spurius Lucretius Tricipinius, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Publius Valerius Publicola swearing an oath to expel the king and his family from Rome. Sextus was assassinated after fleeing to Gabii, and the Romans decided to create a "Roman Republic", electing Brutus and Collatinus as its first consuls. That same year, Tarquin approached the city-states of Tarquinii and Veii for help with restoring him to the throne, but the Etruscan army was defeated at the Battle of Silva Arsia, during which both Junius and Tarquin's son Aruns killed each other. Lars Porsena, King of Clusium, decided to assist Tarquinius, briefly occupying Rome before withdrawing. In 496 BC, Tarquinius launched one last attempt to retake Rome, but his army of Latins and Etruscans was defeated at the Battle of Lake Regillus. Defeated for the last time, Tarquin fled to the court of Aristodemus of Cumae, where he died a year.

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