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The traditions of ancient Rome held that Titus Tatius (d. 748 BC) was the Sabine king of Cures, who, after the rape of the Sabine women, attacked Rome and captured the Capitol with the treachery of Tarpeia. The Sabine women, however, convinced Tatius and the Roman king, Romulus, to reconcile and subsequently they ruled jointly over the Romans and Sabines. Rome was to retain its name and each citizen was to be called a Roman, but as a community they were to be called Quirites; the Sabines were to be incorporated in the state and admitted into the tribes and curies. After this arrangement had lasted for five years it came to an end by the death of Tatius, who was killed out of revenge by the inhabitants of Lavinium, leaving Romulus to rule alone, and Tatius is thus not counted as one of the traditional "Seven Kings of Rome".
He had one daughter Tatia, who married Numa Pompilius (Romulus's successor), and one son, who was the ancestor of the noble family of Tatii.
According to Mommsen, the story of his death, (for which see Plutarch) looks like an historical version of the abolition of blood-revenge. Tatius, who in some respects resembles Remus, is not a historical personage, but the eponymous hero of the religious college called Sodales Titii. As to this body Tacitus expresses two different opinions, representing two different traditions: that it was introduced either by Tatius himself to preserve the Sabine cult in Rome; or by Romulus in honour of Tatius, at whose grave its members were bound to offer a yearly sacrifice. The sodales fell into abeyance at the end of the republic, but were revived by Augustus and existed to the end of the 2nd century A.D. Augustus himself and the emperor Claudius belonged to the college, and all its members were of senatorial rank. Varro mentions him as a king of Rome who enlarged the city and established certain cults, but he may just have been the eponym of the tribe Titiae, or even an invention to serve as a precedent for collegial magistracy.
- Livy, Ab urbe condita, 1:10-14.
- Tacitus, Annals, i. 54, Histories ii. 95.
- Dionysius of Halicarnassus, ii. 36-52.
- Plutarch, Romulus, 19-24.
- Joachim Marquardt, Romische Staatsverwaltung (1885) iii. 446.
- Schwegler, Romische Geschichte, bk. ix. 3, 14; x. 5.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.