Servius Tullius, the sixth king of Rome, reigned from about 578 to about 534 B. C. According to the legendary accounts of his life, he was brought up in the palace of Tar-quinius Priscus. One day, while he was asleep, flames appeared about his head, and Queen Tanaquil prophesied that he would do great things. He grew up in high favor with the king, and received in marriage one of his daughters. The sons of Ancus Marcius, fearing that he would be made heir to the throne, put the king to death; but Tanaquil declared that Tarquinius was not mortally wounded, and caused Servius Tullius to rule in his name. Servius not long after assumed the sovereign power. He added to the city the Viminal, Esquiline, and Quirinal hills, divided the people into tribes, classes, and centuries, and made a new constitution which was designed to give political independence to the commons. His regard for their interests awakened the jealousy of the nobles, and a horrible tragedy was the consequence. His two daughters were married to the two sons of Tarquinius, and both wives and husbands being of unlike natures, Lucius Tarquinius secretly killed his wife, and married his sister-in-law Tullia, who had murdered her husband.

Lucius then plotted with the nobles against the king, and in the summer, when the commons were gathering their harvests, entered the forum with a band of armed men, and seated himself on the throne before the doors of the senate house. Some of his followers slew the king on the way toward the Esquiline hill, and left his body in the road, where the chariot of. his daughter Tullia was driven over it. Many of the incidents of this reign are unquestionably fabulous. The constitution, which is historical, was swept away entirely during the succeeding reign. What are called the walls of Servius Tullius were the walls of Rome down to the time of the emperor Aurelian.