|Consul of the Roman Republic|
 1 September 506 BC - 29 August 505 BC
Serving with Titus Herminius Aquilinus
|Publius Valerius Publicola, Marcus Horatius Pulvillus|
|Marcus Valerius Volusus, Publius Postumius Tubertus|
 1 September 490 BC - 29 August 489 BC
Serving with Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus
|Marcus Minucius Augurinus, Aulus Sempronius Atratinus|
|Gaius Julius Iulus (consul 489 BC), Publius Pinarius Mamercinus Rufus|
Spurius Lartius, surnamed either Flavus or Rufus, was one of the leading men of the early Roman Republic, of which he was twice consul. However, his greatest fame was won as one of the defenders of the Sublician bridge against the army of Lars Porsena, the King of Clusium.
The Lartii, whose nomen is also spelled Larcius and Largius, were an Etruscan family at Rome during the early years of the Republic. Their nomen is derived from the Etruscan praenomen Lars. Spurius' brother, Titus Lartius, was twice consul, in 501 and 498 BC, and was also nominated dictator.
Following the expulsion of the king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus from Rome in 509 BC, Lars Porsena, the King of Clusium, resolved to conquer Rome, either to restore the Etruscan monarchy, or possibly for himself. The following year he went to war with Rome, and advanced with his army upon the city. After successfully capturing those parts of the city on the Etruscan side of the Tiber, including the Janiculum, the Clusian army approached the Pons Sublicius, a wooden bridge leading into the city proper. The Roman forces withdrew to the eastern side of the river, as engineers began the work of destroying the bridge's supports. Three Romans remained on the bridge to fend off the Etruscans: Publius Horatius Cocles, Titus Herminius Aquilinus, and Spurius Lartius.
Niebuhr suggests a symbolic importance to these three men: each represented one of the three ancient tribes making up the Roman populace: the Ramnes, or Latins, represented by Horatius; the Titienses, or Sabines, represented by Herminius, and the Luceres, or Etruscans, represented by Lartius.
The bridge was too narrow for more than a few of the approaching army to advance upon its defenders at once, and according to the legend, they held their ground until the bridge was about to collapse. Horatius then urged his colleagues to retreat to safety, leaving him alone on the bridge. There he remained, fighting off one attacker after another, until the bridge at last gave way and plunged into the river. Horatius then jumped into the river. Accounts vary as to whether Horatius survived and swam to shore, or was drowned in the Tiber; in most accounts he survived, but according to Polybius, he defended the bridge alone, and perished in the river.
Lartius was elected consul in 506 BC, the fourth year of the Republic, with Titus Herminius, his companion on the bridge, as his colleague. No significant events occurred during their year of office, and Niebuhr suggests that their names may have been inserted in the consular fasti to fill the gap of one year (perhaps due to Lars Porsena holding the city). Their successors sent a delegation to meet with the envoys of Porsena, and established a treaty, by which the Etruscan King gave up his claims to Rome.
Lartius was consul for the second time in 490 BC, with Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus. He was also warden of the city, and when Gaius Marcius Coriolanus advanced upon Rome at the head of a Volscian army, Lartius and his former colleague, Sulpicius, were amongst the envoys sent to treat with him. In 480, he was appointed interrex to hold the consular elections. The same year, he is said to have urged war with the nearby Etruscan city of Veii.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "Spurius Lartius". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
Publius Valerius Poplicola
Marcus Horatius Pulvillus
| Consul of the Roman Republic
with Titus Herminius Aquilinus
Marcus Valerius Volusus
Publius Postumius Tubertus
Marcus Minucius Augurinus
Aulus Sempronius Atratinus
| Consul of the Roman Republic
with Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus Cornutus
Gaius Julius Iulus
Publius Pinarius Mamercinus Rufus