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Unwritten Rome$
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T.P. Wiseman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780859898225

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859898225.001.0001

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The Legend of Lucius Brutus

The Legend of Lucius Brutus

(p.293) Chapter Seventeen The Legend of Lucius Brutus
Unwritten Rome

T.P. Wiseman

Liverpool University Press

During the 250 years between the end of the Roman monarchy and the beginning of Roman historiography, the tale of Tarquin's expulsion was told in many different ways. Traces of the various versions can be found embedded in our much later texts as stories of portents – vultures that drove off eagles and killed their chicks, a giant snake that chased away the king and his cronies, a talking dog that portended the king's fall. What they imply is that the liberator Brutus was at first a sole magistrate; only later was a ‘consular’ colleague invented for him, and only in the late fourth century BC was he appropriated as an ancestor by the plebeian Iunii. The Iunii also claimed descent from Daunus the legendary king of Apulia, which may account for the prominence of ‘Daunian’ Ardea in the expulsion story.

Keywords:   Tarquin, Portents, Talking dog, Iunii, Daunus

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