Early Rome was ruled by a king. He was advised by a group of wise old men, known as the Senate. The king had absolute power over the people. He was judge, leader of the army and he created laws.
According to the legend, Romulus was the first king of Rome. There were several kings of Rome: some were good, some were bad. The last king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, known as Tarquin the Proud. This king ruled as a tyrant. Tarquin the Proud had no respect for Roman tradition at all. So he was much hated. When his son Sextus raped a girl named Lucretia, people were furious. Lucretia was a noblewoman who was known for her virtue. This time the King and his son had gone too far. In 509 BC, a group of senators expelled Tarquin the Proud and his family from Rome. The Romans vowed never to have a king again. Instead Rome became a republic: a state without a king or emperor.