Numa Pompilius was the legendary second king of Rome, succeeding Romulus. He was of Sabine origin, many of Rome's most important religious and political institutions are attributed to him. According to Plutarch, Numa was the youngest of Pomponius's four sons, born on the day of Rome's founding, he banished all luxury from his home. Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines and a colleague of Romulus, gave in marriage his only daughter, Tatia, to Numa. After 13 years of marriage, Tatia died. According to Livy, Numa resided at Cures before being elected king. Titus Livius and Plutarch refer to the story that Numa was instructed in philosophy by Pythagoras but discredit it as chronologically and geographically implausible. Plutarch reports that some authors credited him with Pompilia. Pompilia's mother is variously identified as his second wife Lucretia, she is said to have married the future first pontifex maximus Numa Marcius, by him gave birth to the future king Ancus Marcius. Other authors, according to Plutarch, gave Numa, in addition, five sons, Pinus, Calpus and Numa, from whom the noble families of the Pomponii, Calpurnii and Pompilii traced their descent.
Still other writers, writes Plutarch, believed these were fictional genealogies to enhance the status of these families. After the death of Romulus, there was an interregnum of one year in which the royal power was exercised by members of the Senate in rotation for five days in a row. In 715 BC, after much bickering between the factions of Romulus and Tatius, a compromise was reached, the Sabine Numa was elected by the senate as the next king. At first he refused the offer, his father and Sabine kinsmen, including his teacher and the father of Numa's son-in law, along with an embassy of two senators from Rome, banded together to persuade him to accept. In the account of Plutarch and Livy, after being summoned by the Senate from Cures, was offered the tokens of power amid an enthusiastic reception by the people of Rome, he requested, that an augur should divine the opinion of the gods on the prospect of his kingship before he accepted. Jupiter was consulted and the omens were favourable, thus approved by the Roman and Sabine people as well as the heavens, he took up his position as King of Rome.
According to Plutarch, Numa's first act was to disband the personal guard of 300 so-called "Celeres" with which Romulus permanently surrounded himself. The gesture is variously interpreted as self-protection in the face of their questionable loyalty, a sign of humility, or a signal of peace and moderation. Based on Roman chronology, Numa died of old age in 673 BC, he was succeeded by Tullus Hostilius. Numa was traditionally celebrated by the Romans for his piety. In addition to the endorsement by Jupiter, he is supposed to have had a direct and personal relationship with a number of deities, most famously the nymph Egeria, who according to legend taught him to be a wise legislator. According to Livy, Numa claimed that he held nightly consultations with Egeria on the proper manner of instituting sacred rites for the city. Plutarch suggests that he played on superstition to give himself an aura of awe and divine allure, in order to cultivate more gentle behaviours among the warlike early Romans, such as honoring the gods, abiding by law, behaving humanely to enemies, living proper, respectable lives.
Numa was said to have authored several "sacred books" in which he had written down divine teachings from Egeria and the Muses. Plutarch and Livy record that at his request he was buried along with these "sacred books", preferring that the rules and rituals they prescribed be preserved in the living memory of the state priests, rather than preserved as relics subject to forgetfulness and disuse. About half of these books—Plutarch and Livy differ on their number—were thought to cover the priesthoods he had established or developed, including the flamines, pontifices and fetiales and their rituals; the other books dealt with philosophy. According to Plutarch, these books were recovered some four hundred years at the occasion of a natural accident that exposed the tomb, they were examined by the Senate, deemed to be inappropriate for disclosure to the people, burned. Dionysius of Halicarnassus hints that they were kept as a close secret by the pontifices. Numa is reputed to have constrained the two minor gods Picus and Faunus into delivering some prophecies of things to come.
Numa and prepared by Egeria held a battle of wits with Jupiter himself, in an apparition whereby Numa sought to gain a protective ritual against lightning strikes and thunder. Once, when a plague was ravaging the population, a brass shield fell from the sky and was brought to Numa, he declared that Egeria had told him it was a gift from Jupiter to be used for Rome's protection. He ordered ceremonies to give thanks for the gift and brought about an end to the plague; the Ancile was placed in the care of the Salii. One of Numa's first acts was the construction of a temple of Janus as an indicator of war; the temple was constructed at the foot of a road in the city. After securing peace with Rome's neighbours, the doors of the temples were shut and remained so for the duration of Numa's reign, a unique case in Roman history. Another creation
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