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Ancus Marcius

ANCUS MARCIUS (640-616 B.C.), fourth legendary king of Rome. Like Numa, his reputed grandfather, he was a friend of peace and religion, but was obliged to make war to defend his territories. He conquered the Latins, and a number of them he settled on the Aventine formed the origin of the Plebeians. He fortified the Janiculum, threw a wooden bridge across the Tiber, founded the port of Ostia, established salt-works and built a prison.

Ancus Marcius is merely a duplicate of Numa, as is shown by his second name, Numa Marcius, the confidant and pontifex of Numa, being no other than Numa Pompilius himself, represented as priest. The identification with Ancus is shown by the legend which makes the latter a bridge-builder (pontifex), the constructor of the first wooden bridge over the Tiber. It is in the exercise of his priestly functions that the resemblance is most clearly shown. Like Numa, Ancus died a natural death.

See Livy i. 32, 33; Dion Halic. iii. 36-45; Cicero, De Republica, ii. 18. For a critical examination of the story see Schwegler, Romische Geschichte, bk. xiii.; Sir G. Cornewall kewis, Credibility of Early Roman History, ch. xi.; W. Ihne, History of Rome, i.; R. Pais, Storia di Roma, i. (1898), who considers that the name points to the personification of the cult of Mars, and that the military achievements of Ancus are anticipations of later events.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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