Ancus Marcius (c.677–617 BC ; reigned 642–617 BC) was the legendary fourth
king of Rome. He was the son of Marcius (whose father, also named
Marcius, had been a close friend of Numa Pompilius), who may be identified
with Numa Marcius, and Pompilia (daughter of Numa Pompilius). According
to Festus, Marcius had the surname of Ancus from his crooked arm.
Upon the death of the previous king, Tullus Hostilius, the Roman Senate
appointed an interrex, who in turn called a session of the assembly of
the people who elected the new king.
Ancus Marcius was believed by the Romans to have been the namesake of the
Marcii, a Plebeian family.
First acts as King:
According to Livy, his first act as king was to order the Pontifex Maximus
to copy the text concerning the performance of public ceremonies of religion
from the commentaries of Numa Pompilius to be displayed to the public,
so that the rites of religion should no longer be neglected or improperly
He waged war successfully against the Latins, and a number of them were
settled on the Aventine Hill. According to Livy the war was commenced
by the Latins who anticipated Ancus would follow the pious pursuit of peace
adopted by his grandfather, Numa Pompilius. The Latins initially
made an incursion on Roman lands. When a Roman embassy sought restitution
for the damage, the Latins gave a contemptuous reply. Ancus accordingly
declared war on the Latins. The declaration is notable since, according
to Livy, it was the first time that the Romans had declared war by means
of the rites of the fetials.
Ancus Marcius marched from Rome with a newly levied army and took the Latin
town of Politorium (situated near the town of Lanuvium) by storm.
Its residents were removed to settle on the Aventine Hill in Rome as new
citizens, following the Roman traditions from wars with the Sabines and
Albans. When the other Latins subsequently occupied the empty town
of Politorium, Ancus took the town again and demolished it. The Latin
villages of Tellenae and Ficana were also sacked and demolished.
The war then focused on the Latin town of Medullia. The town had
a strong garrison and was well fortified. Several engagements took
place outside the town and the Romans were eventually victorious.
Ancus returned to Rome with much booty. More Latins were brought
to Rome as citizens and were settled at the foot of the Aventine near the
Palatine Hill, by the temple of Murcia. Ancus Marcius incorporated
the Janiculum into the city, fortifying it with a wall and connecting it
with the city by a wooden bridge across the Tiber, the Pons Sublicius.
On the land side of the city he constructed the Fossa Quiritium, a ditch
fortification. He also built Rome's first prison, the Mamertine prison.
He extended Roman territory to the sea, founding the port of Ostia, establishing
salt-works around the port, and taking the Silva Maesia, an area of coastal
forest north of the Tiber, from the Veientes. He expanded the temple
of Jupiter Feretrius to reflect these territorial successes. According
to a reconstruction of the Fasti Triumphales, Ancus Marcius celebrated
at least one triumph, over the Sabines and Veientes.
Ancus Marcius was succeeded by Lucius Tarquinius Priscus who would later
be executed by the sons of Ancus Marcius. Patrician Marcius Rex -family
is descended from Ancus Marcius and remained prominent during the republic
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