Tullus Hostilius

Tullus Hostilius (r. 673 BC-641 BC, traditional dates) was the third of the legendary Kings of Rome. He succeeded Numa Pompilius.

His successful wars with Alba, Fidenae and Veii shadow forth the earlier conquests of Latian territory and the first extension of the Roman territory beyond the walls of Rome. It was during his reign that the combat between the Horatii and Curiatii, the representatives of Rome and Alba, took place. He is said to have been struck dead by lightning as the punishment of his pride.

Tullus Hostilius is simply the duplicate of Romulus. Both are brought up among shepherds, carry on war against Fidenae and Veii, double the number of citizens, organize the army, and disappear from Earth in a storm. As Romulus and Numa represent the Ramnes and Tities, so, in order to complete the list of the four traditional elements of the nation, Tullus was made the representative of the Luceres, and Ancus the founder of the Plebs. The distinctive event of this reign is the destruction of Alba, which may be regarded as an historical fact. But when and by whom it was destroyed is uncertain - probably at a later date, by the Latins, and not by the Romans, who would have regarded as impious the destruction of their traditional mother-country.

Tullus Hostilius was chosen by the senators because he was a Roman and because his grandfather had fought with Romulus against the Sabines. After the death of Numa Pompilius the spirit of peace seemed to weaken. Friendly feelings between the Romans and the countrymen of Alba Longa in the hills outside of Rome gave way to quarreling because people began to raid each others fields and gardens, stealing each other's crops and animals.

When the ruler of the Albans complained to Tullus Hostilius, he, like a small boy said, "You started it!" The Alban and Roman armies prepared to fight. The Romans defeated the Albans and they were subjects of the Roman state. When they refused to help Rome in a battle, Hostilius had their leader torn in two by chariots running in opposite directions. He had Alba Longa destroyed and gave the Albans the Caelian Hill to live on.

Tullus Hostilius was a warring king. He engaged in another war with the Sabines.

Legend has it that Tullus was so busy with one war after another that he neglected any service to the gods. A dreadful plague came upon the Romans. Even Tullus was stricken with it. He begged Jupiter for his favour and help. The god's answer was a bolt of lightning which shot down from heaven to burn up the king and his house to ashes.

This was seen as an omen to the Romans that they had better choose a new king who would follow the peaceful example of Numa Pompilius. They chose Ancus Marcius, the grandson of Numa Pompilius.

Preceded by:
Numa Pompilius
King of Rome
673–641 BC
Succeeded by:
Ancus Martius

Template:End boxde:Tullus Hostilius es:Tulio Hostilio fr:Tullus Hostilius hr:Tul Hostilije it:Tullo Ostilio la:Tullus Hostilius nl:Tullus Hostilius fi:Tullus Hostilius he:טולוס הוסטיליוס


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