Historicity of Early Rome (Regnal Era and Early Republic)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Atamolos, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Atamolos Pontifex, princeps, and augustus

    Dec 22, 2014
    The island from Lost
    It is more or less accepted that the events of the early Regnal period of Roman history (from the reigns of Romulus to Tarquinius Priscus) are almost entirely fictional. As the traditional chronology progresses, events like the overthrow of the monarchy, secessions of the plebs, decemvirate, and the wars with Veii are generally regarded as half-myths. After the sack of Rome in 390 BCE, events are regarded as more-or-less true (with significant embellishments during the period of the early Samnite Wars). So can we establish a plausible, realistic narrative for this period to be expounded upon in ATLs? Here is my honest attempt, let me know what y'all think:

    --800s-700s BCE: settlements on the Tiber gradually start interacting and forming a singular community
    --720s-650s BCE: the "city of Rome" as we might recognize it is founded, possibly under the rule of Etruscan, Sabine, or native kings
    --600s-500s BCE: the institutions of Rome begin to take shape including the senate, the priesthood, the legions, and the assemblies
    --late 500s BCE: Lars Porsenna takes over Rome (probably to oust the last Tarquin) and becomes the final king of Rome, his death leads to the birth of the Republic as we know it
    --early 400s BCE: the Republic is initially led by one (or possibly two) annually elected praetors, the remaining powers of the kings are partitioned between the priests, censors, and other offices over time, the dictatorship is also established at this time as an emergency measure
    --400s-300s BCE: the conflict of the orders takes place, the tribunate is established, the consulship is established and opened to plebeians after the abolition of the consular tribunate, the twelve tables are written, Rome is sacked by the Gauls
    --late 300s BCE: Rome begins to expand outside Latium and loses sporadic battles to the Samnites, the plebeian council is given the ability to pass laws, true recorded history begins (c. 326 BCE)

    In particular, the historicity of many prominent figures is in serious doubt:

    --Lucius Junius Brutus: possibly historical, but the narrative of a man named "Brutus" ousting a proud king may be retrospective in light of Marcus Brutus' leading role in the assassination of Caesar
    --Cincinnatus: likely entirely fictional, though possibly based on the positive traits of several historical figures (one of whom may have borne the name "Cincinnatus")
    --Marcus Furius Camillus: probably a historical person prominent in his opposition to the populist measures of Appius Claudius Caecus (who was almost certainly a real person)

    It would be cool to write a TL covering this period, and the lack of precise historical records would allow for a lot of creative freedom. So my question is this: What are some probable, historical events that could have led to the establishment of the Roman Republic as we know it, with all its contradictions, strengths, and complexities?
  2. Alexander Helios The Last Heir of the Ptolemies

    Jul 2, 2017
    Very fascinating! Do you maybe have any links to further reading on the subject? I was interested in the topic a while back but couldn't find anything.
  3. Atamolos Pontifex, princeps, and augustus

    Dec 22, 2014
    The island from Lost
    I've mostly gotten this from reading some books I've come upon. SPQR by Mary Beard and The Rise of Rome by Anthony Everett are two I heartily recommend. The internet is pretty much useless here and the only serious scholarship I've been able to find on the subject is in published literature. If you find anything online, please don't hesitate to let me know!