She conspired to kill her husband so she could marry his brother, then made her new husband kill her Father.
Their reign was cursed and brought about the Roman republic.
Last Queen of 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!
In the poet Ovid’s words, Tullia Minor manipulated Lucius to do the deed, saying:
‘What advantage is there to be equal, you by the murder of my sister and I by the murder of your brother, if it is pleasing to a pious life?
And they had owed to have lived with my husband and you your wife, if we do not dare attempt some great work.
And I make the head and kingdom the dowry of the parent.
If you are a man, go to, to the exact dowry powers having been spoken of.
The kingdom and king is a crime: take the kingdom from the man having been killed, and soak our hands with the blood of the father.'
Once they were wed, Tullia got to work. She wanted a 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.
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.
Put together by Ashley Hall 2014