Text #9258

Venning. A Chronology of the Roman Empire
[pp. 34--35]

Reign of Servius Tullius, probably son-in-law of Tarquinius Priscus and agreed by Roman historians to be a freed slave and son of a prisoner-of-war. There is a possibility of identification with a former mercenary captain, the Etruscan ‘Mastarna’ who brought the force of his late commander Caelius Vibenna to Rome to settle the ‘Caelian’ Hill, according to Emperor Claudius’ researches in ancient records. …

Supposed building of ‘Servian Walls’ around all seven hills. No early wall of this extent has been traced, and it is evident that the Gauls in 390/86 were able to penetrate the city fairly easily. Accordingly, it is more likely that there ws a shorter defensive rampart…

Division of Rome into seven urban districts, coupled with reorganization of the citizen body to replace the three original ‘tribes’ with 21 (?) new ones based on locality of residence not family. It is more likely that Servius created the four urban tribes and not all of the 17 rural ones; some of the latter (e.g. the Claudii) are traceable to the early years of the Republic. …

For the record, the four urban tribes were: Palatina, Collatina, Esquilina, Suburana.

The 17 rural tribes were:

Aemilia, Camilia, Claudia, Clustumina, Cornelia, Fabia, Galeria, Horatia, Lemonia, Menenia, Papiria, Pollia, Pupinia, Romilia, Sergia, Voltinia, Voturia

Supposedly the ‘classes’ of citizens, based on wealth, were also created and divided into ‘centuries’; each class was to bear a particular form of weaponry for military service. The details of the divisions and the weaponry required of them are virtually identical in Livy and Dionysius, except regarding the lowest classes; their lists probably came from ancient records which did not specify all the details about the latter’s weaponry. But it is anachronistic to assign the organization back into the sixth centurey BC, and it probably represents the ‘definitive’ requirements for soldiers’ equipment of a later date. What is more likely is that the ‘Servian origin’ of the centuries is genuine. It was arranged for military purposes, and had a logical political role for an ambitious monarch in replacing the earlier arrangement of the soldiery on a tribal/family basis by one under State patronage.

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