Monday, February 04, 2013

Tullus Hostilius

English: Tulius-Hostilius was the third of the...
Tulius-Hostilius 
By Tiffany Parks, published originally on The Pines of Rome

If I never become known for anything else, at least I can claim the honor of having written the most blog posts about Rome's second king, Numa Pompilius, than any other blogger in the world. (Not that I've ever checked that. I just can't imagine anyone else––save an actual scholar––coming up with so much to say about him). Now, whether anyone reads these posts is another story. Here's hoping.

I started my [ahem] weekly history posts a good two years ago, with the legendary founding of Rome byRomulus. Two years later and I'm only up to Rome's third king. Not very impressive. But it's quality, not quantity, that matters, am I right?

Tullus Hostilius. Let's see if we can dissect this guy's reign with just one post (don't count on it).

If our old––and by now very close––friend Numa Pompilius was the most religious of all Rome's kings, and the most peaceful, then Tullus Hostilius was the most aggressive. The most bloodthirsty. The most hostile. Hostile Hostilius! Could that be where the word comes from? Oh, goodness, etymology gets me so excited! With but a moment's worth of Google-powered research, I see that hostile comes from the Latin hostilis (of an enemy), which in turn comes from hostis (enemy). What do you think, was the word hostile derived from this king's antagonistic behavior, or did he earn the name because of his behavior?