Episode 8 – Tarquin the Elder

The Tale of Rome. The life and death of the first of the Tarquins, and a curious prophecy that came true.

Partial Transcript

Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 8 — Tarquin the Elder.

Last week we saw the life of Ancus Marcius and Rome’s expansion to the Mediterranean Sea.

This week we’ll see the life of Tarquin, aptly nicknamed “the Elder” –after he managed to send away the two sons of Ancus Marcius away from Rome, and have himself elected king of Rome by a more-than-willing-to-oblige bunch of Senators.

And here I’d like to add that the tale of the Kings of Rome can be roughly divided into two big sections.

The first one consisted of Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, and Ancus Marcius.

So, first a fighter. Then a pacifist. Then another fighter, and finally another pacifist who saw himself forced to wage wars, and ultimately did just that.

And so, today we are officially starting the second part of the tale of the Kings, because the three kings we haven’t seen yet, they all belong to one—the same family. The Tarquins.

And first among these is Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.

Then, we have Servius Tullius, an adopted son of Tarquin the Elder, and lastly, the real son of Tarquin, whom history named Tarquin the Proud, who took the throne by force, and who ended up being such a bad king, that the Romans kicked him out of Rome, and decided never again to have kings.

[…]

Let’s quickly mention here, that this was not out of the customary, since kings often sat at the forum, and acted as judges in people’s differences and disputes.

But then, when the king, too, was going to take his seat, one of the guys, ran to the king, and took out an axe that he had hidden in his robes.

In a single stroke, he lodged the axe, blade-deep, into the head of the king.

[…]

Episode 2 – Immaculate Conception

Romulus and Remus are born, grow and help their grandfather Numitor to retake Albalonga’s throne. Afterwards, they found Rome.

Partial Transcript

Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China.

Welcome to the Tale of Rome, Episode 2 — Immaculate Conception.

Last Week we saw how Aeneas managed to escape Troy, and how he finally settled on the western coast of Italy. And we saw how his son came to found a city named Albalonga.

Today we will see how his grand-grandchildren prepare the stage for us, so that we get to see how Rome as founded.

And to get there, today we’ve got it all.

Traitors.

Vultures bring messages from the gods.

An amazing saving of two babies floating in a basket along a river. We even have a woman conceiving children in a rather miraculous way, something that people in the western civilizations call an “Immaculate Conception.”

After Ascanius, the kingship was passed from father to son for many generations, until we got to the 13th generation, and the power came to rest upon the shoulders of a man called Numitor.

As Numitor became King of Albalonga, his brother Amulius watched, filled with jealousy and hatred.

Soon enough, Amulius decided to take the throne all to himself, and by lying to the people of Albalonga, and by using false rumors, Amulius managed to chase Numitor out of the city.

The sons of Numitor were killed without any mercy.

But Amulius decided to spare the life of Numitor’s daughter, a woman called Rhea Silvia, and instead of killing her, he ordered her to become a Vestal Virgin. By converting her into a Vestal, Amulius felt assured that she would not have any children, and there would be no threat to his own future generations.

A Vestal Virgin, as historians explain to us, spent her whole life dedicated to the service of the goddess Vesta, goddess of the home and the heart.

Vestals had to fulfill three conditions in order to be accepted in the temple of Vesta, where they would be in charge of keeping the divine flame on, for all eternities.

One: they had to be virgin.

Two: they had to come from a prominent family of the society.

Three: they had to be incredibly beautiful.

Episode 1 – Once Upon a Time

Aeneas leaves Troy, stays in Carthage for a while, and later navigates to Italy. There, he joins the forces of King Latinus. Later on, Ascanius founds Albalonga.

Partial Transcription

Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China.

Welcome to the Tale of Rome, Episode 1 — Once Upon a Time.

Rome was founded in the year 753 BC, but to start our tale we need to do two things:

ONE—I want to tell you a bit about this podcast, as a project, and TWO—we need to travel a little bit back in time. Some 500 years back, to the twelfth century BC.

To the Trojan War, to be more exact.

Alright, let’s go with ONE, and let me sum up this podcast in exactly three sentences.

I was born in what once was called West Germany, and being fond of the history of both China and Rome, I began writing historical fiction novels, one of them being set in Roman Egypt during the latter part of the 2nd century AD.

I soon realized I needed more research to write my book, and after going through many other books, documentaries, maps, and podcasts, I decided I had to create my own account of what actually happened before I could continue with my writing.

Knowing that podcasting was a totally new field to me, I first decided to delve into a narration of the story of Rome in Spanish language—a language I acquired in both Miami and Argentina, while always keeping an eye set on an English version of the same podcast, once the time was right.

So, here we have it. Three sentences.

The Spanish podcast is LIVE since April, and this—the English version, is coming to the world right now, as you are hearing me speak.

And I guess, by now you know where my accent comes from, even though I lived for almost half my life in the States.

And yes, I do live in China now, but that is stuff for some other footnote, in some other episode.

Perhaps.

I also like to say that I started podcasting as a way to talk about the things I like to talk about, such as ancient Rome.

Now, let’s go with TWO. Let’s go to the last years of the Trojan War.