Speaker & Affiliation
Rome’s kings have been interpreted in many ways—as Indo-European prototypes, genuinely remembered heroes of the archaic city, inventions of mid-Republican families on the make, foils for despots from eastern potentates to the emperors. The narrative is superficially familiar, but full of strange and unsettling alternatives and variants. This lecture will present some of the complexities of the tradition, before discussing the one seemingly secure aspect of Roman kingship—its grasp on power. What kind of power did Romans think the kings had? And what consequences did this have for their own time?