Patricide to be a Queen, True Crime

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Tullia Minor was the last Queen of Rome, and the youngest daughter of Servius Tullius, Rome’s sixth King. Living in approximately 530BC, the exact date of her birth is unknown. What is known is that legend makes her one of the wickedest women to have ever lived in Ancient Rome.

Tullia and her sister (named Tullia Major – as ‘Tullia’ was the feminine version of their father’s name, and the way of things at that time) were married to two brothers, Lucius and Arruns. Tullia Minor was wed to Arruns, and her sister to Lucius. But Tullia much rathered Lucius over her husband, and the feeling was mutual with Lucius – so they did the only thing they could do (or so they thought), they killed their respective spouses, so the two of them could marry. And marry they did!

Once they wed, Tullia got to work. She wanted the Crown! She started talking to her husband, telling him how he would make a much better King than her father. She offered him suggestions on how he could achieve this goal, and she manipulated him right where she wanted him.

In time Lucius was convinced that he would make a better King, and that it was his right, as he was married to the King’s daughter. He began the subtle game of politics, soliciting support from the senate, bestowing presents, speaking ill of the current King etcetera.

Eventually Lucius and Tullia felt that he had gained enough support to make his move. He made his way to the Senate House with an armed escort, and positioned himself on the throne. When the King entered the room and saw Lucius seated there, he obviously protested. Acting quickly, Lucius had the King, a man who had reigned for 44 years, thrown into the street, right into the hands of an assassin arranged by Tullia.

Tullia entered the Senate House in theatrical style, proclaiming her husband as King, and herself as Queen. Lucius was not impressed. He ordered her to return to their home and wait for his arrival. She left the tumult of the Senate House, and who knows, perhaps she was angry at her husband for treating her that way in front of ‘her people’, it is not documented. What is documented is that on her way home, as she was seated in a carriage, driving along the street, she spotted the mutilated remains of her father, lying on the road.

It is said that she went into a rage, and ordered that the carriage ride over her father’s body in an act of complete desecration. The blood from his body stained her body and clothes, and she was said to be frenzied, like an animal. The street was renamed “Vicus Sceleratus” after her barbaric act, meaning “street of Infamy or Wickedness”.

She returned to her husband’s house in this manner, and legend states that her appearance offended the gods. It was determined that a reign that started so badly, could only end badly as well – and that determination was correct! Years later an uprising ended the Roman monarchy and started the Roman republic. King Lucius and his Queen, Tullia, were exiled from Rome. Tullia has been particularly cursed by the great legends of Rome, given her role of Patricide, in the murder of her own father.

Picture: Tullia crushing the corpse of her father.
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