[1.Preface]Whether the task I have undertaken of writing a complete history of the Roman people from the very commencement of its existence will reward me for the labour spent on it, I neither know for certain, nor if I did know would I venture to say. For I see that this is an old-established and a common practice, each fresh writer being invariably persuaded that he will either attain greater certainty in the materials of his narrative, or surpass the rudeness of antiquity in the excellence of his style. However this may be, it will still be a great satisfaction to me to have taken my part, too, in investing, to the utmost of my abilities, the annals of the foremost nation in the world with a deeper interest; and if in such a crowd of writers my own reputation is thrown into the shade, I would console myself with the renown and greatness of those who eclipse my fame. The subject, moreover, is one that demands immense labour. It goes back beyond 700 years and, after starting from small and humble beginnings, has grown to such dimensions that it begins to be overburdened by its greatness. I have very little doubt, too, that for the majority of my readers the earliest times and those immediately succeeding, will possess little attraction; they will hurry on to these modern days in which the might of a long paramount nation is wasting by internal decay. I, on the other hand, shall look for a further reward of my labours in being able to close my eyes to the evils which our generation has witnessed for so many years; so long, at least, as I am devoting all my thoughts to retracing those pristine records, free from all the anxiety which can disturb the historian of his own times even if it cannot warp him from the truth.
The traditions of what happened prior to the foundation of the City or whilst it was being built, are more fitted to adorn the creations of the poet than the authentic records of the historian, and I have no intention of establishing either their truth or their falsehood. This much licence is conceded to the ancients, that by intermingling human actions with divine they may confer a more august dignity on the origins of states. Now, if any nation ought to be allowed to claim a sacred origin and point back to a divine paternity that nation is Rome. For such is her renown in war that when she chooses to represent Mars as her own and her founder’s father, the nations of the world accept the statement with the same equanimity with which they accept her dominion. But whatever opinions may be formed or criticisms passed upon these and similar traditions, I regard them as of small importance. The subjects to which I would ask each of my readers to devote his earnest attention are these – the life and morals of the community; the men and the qualities by which through domestic policy and foreign war dominion was won and extended. Then as the standard of morality gradually lowers, let him follow the decay of the national character, observing how at first it slowly sinks, then slips downward more and more rapidly, and finally begins to plunge into headlong ruin, until he reaches these days, in which we can bear neither our diseases nor their remedies.
There is this exceptionally beneficial and fruitful advantage to be derived from the study of the past, that you see, set in the clear light of historical truth, examples of every possible type. From these you may select for yourself and your country what to imitate, and also what, as being mischievous in its inception and disastrous in its issues, you are to avoid. Unless, however, I am misled by affection for my undertaking, there has never existed any commonwealth greater in power, with a purer morality, or more fertile in good examples; or any state in which avarice and luxury have been so late in making their inroads, or poverty and frugality so highly and continuously honoured, showing so clearly that the less wealth men possessed the less they coveted. In these latter years wealth has brought avarice in its train, and the unlimited command of pleasure has created in men a passion for ruining themselves and everything else through self-indulgence and licentiousness. But criticisms which will be unwelcome, even when perhaps necessary, must not appear in the commencement at all events of this extensive work. We should much prefer to start with favourable omens, and if we could have adopted the poets’ custom, it would have been much pleasanter to commence with prayers and supplications to gods and goddesses that they would grant a favourable and successful issue to the great task before us.
Book 1: The Earliest Legends
[1.1]To begin with, it is generally admitted that after the capture of Troy, whilst the rest of the Trojans were massacred, against two of them – Aeneas and Antenor – the Achivi refused to exercise the rights of war, partly owing to old ties of hospitality, and partly because these men had always been in favour of making peace and surrendering Helen. Their subsequent fortunes were different. Antenor sailed into the furthest part of the Adriatic, accompanied by a number of Enetians who had been driven from Paphlagonia by a revolution, and after losing their king Pylaemenes before Troy were looking for a settlement and a leader. The combined force of Enetians and Trojans defeated the Euganei, who dwelt between the sea and the Alps and occupied their land. The place where they disembarked was called Troy, and the name was extended to the surrounding district; the whole nation were called Veneti. Similar misfortunes led to Aeneas becoming a wanderer, but the Fates were preparing a higher destiny for him. He first visited Macedonia, then was carried down to Sicily in quest of a settlement; from Sicily he directed his course to the Laurentian territory. Here, too, the name of Troy is found, and here the Trojans disembarked, and as their almost infinite wanderings had left them nothing but their arms and their ships, they began to plunder the neighbourhood. The Aborigines, who occupied the country, with their king Latinus at their head, came hastily together from the city and the country districts to repel the inroads of the strangers by force of arms.
From this point there is a twofold tradition. According to the one, Latinus was defeated in battle, and made peace with Aeneas, and subsequently a family alliance. According to the other, whilst the two armies were standing ready to engage and waiting for the signal, Latinus advanced in front of his lines and invited the leader of the strangers to a conference. He inquired of him what manner of men they were, whence they came, what had happened to make them leave their homes, what were they in quest of when they landed in Latinus’ territory. When he heard that the men were Trojans, that their leader was Aeneas, the son of Anchises and Venus, that their city had been burnt, and that the homeless exiles were now looking for a place to settle in and build a city, he was so struck with the noble bearing of the men and their leader, and their readiness to accept alike either peace or war, that he gave his right hand as a solemn pledge of friendship for the future. A formal treaty was made between the leaders and mutual greetings exchanged between the armies. Latinus received Aeneas as a guest in his house, and there, in the presence of his tutelary deities, completed the political alliance by a domestic one, and gave his daughter in marriage to Aeneas. This incident confirmed the Trojans in the hope that they had reached the term of their wanderings and won a permanent home. They built a town, which Aeneas called Lavinium after his wife. In a short time a boy was born of the new marriage, to whom his parents gave the name of Ascanius.
[1.2]In a short time the Aborigines and Trojans became involved in war with Turnus, the king of the Rutulians. Lavinia had been betrothed to him before the arrival of Aeneas, and, furious at finding a stranger preferred to him, he declared war against both Latinus and Aeneas. Neither side could congratulate themselves on the result of the battle; the Rutulians were defeated, but the victorious Aborigines and Trojans lost their leader Latinus. Feeling their need of allies, Turnus and the Rutulians had recourse to the celebrated power of the Etruscans and Mezentius, their king, who was reigning at Caere, a wealthy city in those days. From the first he had felt anything but pleasure at the rise of the new city, and now he regarded the growth of the Trojan state as much too rapid to be safe to its neighbours, so he welcomed the proposal to join forces with the Rutulians. To keep the Aborigines from abandoning him in the face of this strong coalition and to secure their being not only under the same laws, but also the same designation, Aeneas called both nations by the common name of Latins. From that time the Aborigines were not behind the Trojans in their loyal devotion to Aeneas. So great was the power of Etruria that the renown of her people had filled not only the inland parts of Italy but also the coastal districts along the whole length of the land from the Alps to the Straits of Messina. Aeneas, however, trusting to the loyalty of the two nations who were day by day growing into one, led his forces into the field, instead of awaiting the enemy behind his walls. The battle resulted in favour of the Latins, but it was the last mortal act of Aeneas. His tomb – whatever it is lawful and right to call him – is situated on the bank of the Numicius. He is addressed as “Jupiter Indiges.”
[1.3]His son, Ascanius, was not old enough to assume the government; but his throne remained secure throughout his minority. During that interval – such was Lavinia’s force of character – though a woman was regent, the Latin State, and the kingdom of his father and grandfather, were preserved unimpaired for her son. I will not discuss the question – for who could speak decisively about a matter of such extreme antiquity? – whether the man whom the Julian house claim, under the name of Iulus, as the founder of their name, was this Ascanius or an older one than he, born of Creusa, whilst Ilium was still intact, and after its fall a sharer in his father’s fortunes. This Ascanius, where ever born, or of whatever mother – it is generally agreed in any case that he was the son of Aeneas – left to his mother (or his stepmother) the city of Lavinium, which was for those days a prosperous and wealthy city, with a superabundant population, and built a new city at the foot of the Alban hills, which from its position, stretching along the side of the hill, was called “Alba Longa.” An interval of thirty years elapsed between the foundation of Lavinium and the colonisation of Alba Longa. Such had been the growth of the Latin power, mainly through the defeat of the Etruscans, that neither at the death of Aeneas, nor during the regency of Lavinia, nor during the immature years of the reign of Ascanius, did either Mezentius and the Etruscans or any other of their neighbours venture to attack them. When terms of peace were being arranged, the river Albula, now called the Tiber, had been fixed as the boundary between the Etruscans and the Latins.
Ascanius was succeeded by his son Silvius, who by some chance had been born in the forest. He became the father of Aeneas Silvius, who in his turn had a son, Latinus Silvius. He planted a number of colonies: the colonists were called Prisci Latini. The cognomen of Silvius was common to all the remaining kings of Alba, each of whom succeeded his father. Their names are Alba, Atys, Capys, Capetus, Tiberinus, who was drowned in crossing the Albula, and his name transferred to the river, which became henceforth the famous Tiber. Then came his son Agrippa, after him his son Romulus Silvius. He was struck by lightning and left the crown to his son Aventinus, whose shrine was on the hill which bears his name and is now a part of the city of Rome. He was succeeded by Proca, who had two sons, Numitor and Amulius. To Numitor, the elder, he bequeathed the ancient throne of the Silvian house. Violence, however, proved stronger than either the father’s will or the respect due to the brother’s seniority; for Amulius expelled his brother and seized the crown. Adding crime to crime, he murdered his brother’s sons and made the daughter, Rea Silvia, a Vestal virgin; thus, under the presence of honouring her, depriving her of all hopes of issue.
[1.4]But the Fates had, I believe, already decreed the origin of this great city and the foundation of the mightiest empire under heaven. The Vestal was forcibly violated and gave birth to twins. She named Mars as their father, either because she really believed it, or because the fault might appear less heinous if a deity were the cause of it. But neither gods nor men sheltered her or her babes from the king’s cruelty; the priestess was thrown into prison, the boys were ordered to be thrown into the river. By a heaven-sent chance it happened that the Tiber was then overflowing its banks, and stretches of standing water prevented any approach to the main channel. Those who were carrying the children expected that this stagnant water would be sufficient to drown them, so under the impression that they were carrying out the king’s orders they exposed the boys at the nearest point of the overflow, where the Ficus Ruminalis (said to have been formerly called Romularis) now stands. The locality was then a wild solitude. The tradition goes on to say that after the floating cradle in which the boys had been exposed had been left by the retreating water on dry land, a thirsty she-wolf from the surrounding hills, attracted by the crying of the children, came to them, gave them her teats to suck and was so gentle towards them that the king’s flock-master found her licking the boys with her tongue. According to the story, his name was Faustulus. He took the children to his hut and gave them to his wife Larentia to bring up. Some writers think that Larentia, from her unchaste life, had got the nickname of “She-wolf” amongst the shepherds, and that this was the origin of the marvellous story. As soon as the boys, thus born and thus brought up, grew to be young men they did not neglect their pastoral duties, but their special delight was roaming through the woods on hunting expeditions. As their strength and courage were thus developed, they used not only to lie in wait for fierce beasts of prey, but they even attacked brigands when loaded with plunder. They distributed what they took amongst the shepherds, with whom, surrounded by a continually increasing body of young men, they associated themselves in their serious undertakings and in their sports and pastimes.
[1.5]It is said that the festival of the Lupercalia, which is still observed, was even in those days celebrated on the Palatine hill. This hill was originally called Pallantium from a city of the same name in Arcadia; the name was afterwards changed to Palatium. Evander, an Arcadian, had held that territory many ages before, and had introduced an annual festival from Arcadia in which young men ran about naked for sport and wantonness, in honour of the Lycaean Pan, whom the Romans afterwards called Inuus. The existence of this festival was widely recognised, and it was while the two brothers were engaged in it that the brigands, enraged at losing their plunder, ambushed them. Romulus successfully defended himself, but Remus was taken prisoner and brought before Amulius, his captors impudently accusing him of their own crimes. The principal charge brought against them was that of invading Numitor’s lands with a body of young men whom they had got together, and carrying off plunder as though in regular warfare. Remus accordingly was handed over to Numitor for punishment. Faustulus had from the beginning suspected that it was royal offspring that he was bringing up, for he was aware that the boys had been exposed at the king’s command and the time at which he had taken them away exactly corresponded with that of their exposure. He had, however, refused to divulge the matter prematurely, until either a fitting opportunity occurred or necessity demanded its disclosure. The necessity came first. Alarmed for the safety of Remus he revealed the state of the case to Romulus. It so happened that Numitor also, who had Remus in his custody, on hearing that he and his brother were twins and comparing their ages and the character and bearing so unlike that of one in a servile condition, began to recall the memory of his grandchildren, and further inquiries brought him to the same conclusion as Faustulus; nothing was wanting to the recognition of Remus. So the king Amulius was being enmeshed on all sides by hostile purposes. Romulus shrunk from a direct attack with his body of shepherds, for he was no match for the king in open fight. They were instructed to approach the palace by different routes and meet there at a given time, whilst from Numitor’s house Remus lent his assistance with a second band he had collected. The attack succeeded and the king was killed.
[1.6]At the beginning of the fray, Numitor gave out that an enemy had entered the City and was attacking the palace, in order to draw off the Alban soldiery to the citadel, to defend it. When he saw the young men coming to congratulate him after the assassination, he at once called a council of his people and explained his brother’s infamous conduct towards him, the story of his grandsons, their parentage and bringing up, and how he recognised them. Then he proceeded to inform them of the tyrant’s death and his responsibility for it. The young men marched in order through the midst of the assembly and saluted their grandfather as king; their action was approved by the whole population, who with one voice ratified the title and sovereignty of the king. After the government of Alba was thus transferred to Numitor, Romulus and Remus were seized with the desire of building a city in the locality where they had been exposed. There was the superfluous population of the Alban and Latin towns, to these were added the shepherds: it was natural to hope that with all these Alba would be small and Lavinium small in comparison with the city which was to be founded. These pleasant anticipations were disturbed by the ancestral curse – ambition – which led to a deplorable quarrel over what was at first a trivial matter. As they were twins and no claim to precedence could be based on seniority, they decided to consult the tutelary deities of the place by means of augury as to who was to give his name to the new city, and who was to rule it after it had been founded. Romulus accordingly selected the Palatine as his station for observation, Remus the Aventine.
[1.7]Remus is said to have been the first to receive an omen: six vultures appeared to him. The augury had just been announced to Romulus when double the number appeared to him. Each was saluted as king by his own party. The one side based their claim on the priority of the appearance, the other on the number of the birds. Then followed an angry altercation; heated passions led to bloodshed; in the tumult Remus was killed. The more common report is that Remus contemptuously jumped over the newly raised walls and was forthwith killed by the enraged Romulus, who exclaimed, “So shall it be henceforth with every one who leaps over my walls.” Romulus thus became sole ruler, and the city was called after him, its founder. His first work was to fortify the Palatine hill where he had been brought up. The worship of the other deities he conducted according to the use of Alba, but that of Hercules in accordance with the Greek rites as they had been instituted by Evander. It was into this neighbourhood, according to the tradition, that Hercules, after he had killed Geryon, drove his oxen, which were of marvellous beauty. He swam across the Tiber, driving the oxen before him, and wearied with his journey, lay down in a grassy place near the river to rest himself and the oxen, who enjoyed the rich pasture. When sleep had overtaken him, as he was heavy with food and wine, a shepherd living near, called Cacus, presuming on his strength, and captivated by the beauty of the oxen, determined to secure them. If he drove them before him into the cave, their hoof-marks would have led their owner on his search for them in the same direction, so he dragged the finest of them backwards by their tails into his cave. At the first streak of dawn Hercules awoke, and on surveying his herd saw that some were missing. He proceeded towards the nearest cave, to see if any tracks pointed in that direction, but he found that every hoof-mark led from the cave and none towards it. Perplexed and bewildered he began to drive the herd away from so dangerous a neighbourhood. Some of the cattle, missing those which were left behind, lowed as they often do, and an answering low sounded from the cave. Hercules turned in that direction, and as Cacus tried to prevent him by force from entering the cave, he was killed by a blow from Hercules’ club, after vainly appealing for help to his comrades
The king of the country at that time was Evander, a refugee from Peloponnesus, who ruled more by personal ascendancy than by the exercise of power. He was looked up to with reverence for his knowledge of letters – a new and marvellous thing for uncivilised men – but he was still more revered because of his mother Carmenta, who was believed to be a divine being and regarded with wonder by all as an interpreter of Fate, in the days before the arrival of the Sibyl in Italy. This Evander, alarmed by the crowd of excited shepherds standing round a stranger whom they accused of open murder, ascertained from them the nature of his act and what led to it. As he observed the bearing and stature of the man to be more than human in greatness and august dignity, he asked who he was. When he heard his name, and learnt his father and his country he said, “Hercules, son of Jupiter, hail! My mother, who speaks truth in the name of the gods, has prophesied that thou shalt join the company of the gods, and that here a shrine shall be dedicated to thee, which in ages to come the most powerful nation in all the world shall call their Ara Maxima and honour with shine own special worship.” Hercules grasped Evander’s right hand and said that he took the omen to himself and would fulfil the prophecy by building and consecrating the altar. Then a heifer of conspicuous beauty was taken from the herd, and the first sacrifice was offered; the Potitii and Pinarii, the two principal families in those parts, were invited by Hercules to assist in the sacrifice and at the feast which followed. It so happened that the Potitii were present at the appointed time, and the entrails were placed before them; the Pinarii arrived after these were consumed and came in for the rest of the banquet. It became a permanent institution from that time, that as long as the family of the Pinarii survived they should not eat of the entrails of the victims. The Potitii, after being instructed by Evander, presided over that rite for many ages, until they handed over this ministerial office to public servants after which the whole race of the Potitii perished. This out of all foreign rites, was the only one which Romulus adopted, as though he felt that an immortality won through courage, of which this was the memorial, would one day be his own reward.
[1.8]After the claims of religion had been duly acknowledged, Romulus called his people to a council. As nothing could unite them into one political body but the observance of common laws and customs, he gave them a body of laws, which he thought would only be respected by a rude and uncivilised race of men if he inspired them with awe by assuming the outward symbols of power. He surrounded himself with greater state, and in particular he called into his service twelve lictors. Some think that he fixed upon this number from the number of the birds who foretold his sovereignty; but I am inclined to agree with those who think that as this class of public officers was borrowed from the same people from whom the “sella curulis” and the “toga praetexta” were adopted – their neighbours, the Etruscans – so the number itself also was taken from them. Its use amongst the Etruscans is traced to the custom of the twelve sovereign cities of Etruria, when jointly electing a king, furnishing him each with one lictor. Meantime the City was growing by the extension of its walls in various directions; an increase due rather to the anticipation of its future population than to any present overcrowding. His next care was to secure an addition to the population that the size of the City might not be a source of weakness. It had been the ancient policy of the founders of cities to get together a multitude of people of obscure and low origin and then to spread the fiction that they were the children of the soil. In accordance with this policy, Romulus opened a place of refuge on the spot where, as you go down from the Capitol, you find an enclosed space between two groves. A promiscuous crowd of freemen and slaves, eager for change, fled thither from the neighbouring states. This was the first accession of strength to the nascent greatness of the city. When he was satisfied as to its strength, his next step was to provide for that strength being wisely directed. He created a hundred senators; either because that number was adequate, or because there were only a hundred heads of houses who could be created. In any case they were called the “Patres” in virtue of their rank, and their descendants were called “Patricians.”
[1.9]The Roman State had now become so strong that it was a match for any of its neighbours in war, but its greatness threatened to last for only one generation, since through the absence of women there was no hope of offspring, and there was no right of intermarriage with their neighbours. Acting on the advice of the senate, Romulus sent envoys amongst the surrounding nations to ask for alliance and the right of intermarriage on behalf of his new community. It was represented that cities, like everything else, sprung from the humblest beginnings, and those who were helped on by their own courage and the favour of heaven won for themselves great power and great renown. As to the origin of Rome, it was well known that whilst it had received divine assistance, courage and self-reliance were not wanting. There should, therefore, be no reluctance for men to mingle their blood with their fellow-men. Nowhere did the envoys meet with a favourable reception. Whilst their proposals were treated with contumely, there was at the same time a general feeling of alarm at the power so rapidly growing in their midst. Usually they were dismissed with the question, “whether they had opened an asylum for women, for nothing short of that would secure for them intermarriage on equal terms.” The Roman youth could ill brook such insults, and matters began to look like an appeal to force. To secure a favourable place and time for such an attempt, Romulus, disguising his resentment, made elaborate preparations for the celebration of games in honour of “Equestrian Neptune,” which he called “the Consualia.” He ordered public notice of the spectacle to be given amongst the adjoining cities, and his people supported him in making the celebration as magnificent as their knowledge and resources allowed, so that expectations were raised to the highest pitch. There was a great gathering; people were eager to see the new City, all their nearest neighbours – the people of Caenina, Antemnae, and Crustumerium – were there, and the whole Sabine population came, with their wives and families. They were invited to accept hospitality at the different houses, and after examining the situation of the City, its walls and the large number of dwelling-houses it included, they were astonished at the rapidity with which the Roman State had grown.
When the hour for the games had come, and their eyes and minds were alike riveted on the spectacle before them, the preconcerted signal was given and the Roman youth dashed in all directions to carry off the maidens who were present. The larger part were carried off indiscriminately, but some particularly beautiful girls who had been marked out for the leading patricians were carried to their houses by plebeians told off for the task. One, conspicuous amongst them all for grace and beauty, is reported to have been carried off by a group led by a certain Talassius, and to the many inquiries as to whom she was intended for, the invariable answer was given, “For Talassius.” Hence the use of this word in the marriage rites. Alarm and consternation broke up the games, and the parents of the maidens fled, distracted with grief, uttering bitter reproaches on the violators of the laws of hospitality and appealing to the god to whose solemn games they had come, only to be the victims of impious perfidy. The abducted maidens were quite as despondent and indignant. Romulus, however, went round in person, and pointed out to them that it was all owing to the pride of their parents in denying right of intermarriage to their neighbours. They would live in honourable wedlock, and share all their property and civil rights, and – dearest of all to human nature – would be the mothers of freemen. He begged them to lay aside their feelings of resentment and give their affections to those whom fortune had made masters of their persons. An injury had often led to reconciliation and love; they would find their husbands all the more affectionate, because each would do his utmost, so far as in him lay, to make up for the loss of parents and country. These arguments were reinforced by the endearments of their husbands, who excused their conduct by pleading the irresistible force of their passion – a plea effective beyond all others in appealing to a woman’s nature.
[1.10]The feelings of the abducted maidens were now pretty completely appeased, but not so those of their parents. They went about in mourning garb, and tried by their tearful complaints to rouse their countrymen to action. Nor did they confine their remonstrances to their own cities; they flocked from all sides to Titus Tatius, the king of the Sabines, and sent formal deputations to him, for his was the most influential name in those parts. The people of Caenina, Crustumerium, and Antemnae were the greatest sufferers; they thought Tatius and his Sabines were too slow in moving, so these three cities prepared to make war conjointly. Such, however, were the impatience and anger of the Caeninensians that even the Crustuminians and Antemnates did not display enough energy for them, so the men of Caenina made an attack upon Roman territory on their own account. Whilst they were scattered far and wide, pillaging and destroying, Romulus came upon them with an army, and after a brief encounter taught them that anger is futile without strength. He put them to a hasty flight, and following them up, killed their king and despoiled his body; then after slaying their leader took their city at the first assault. He was no less anxious to display his achievements than he had been great in performing them, so, after leading his victorious army home, he mounted to the Capitol with the spoils of his dead foe borne before him on a frame constructed for the purpose. He hung them there on an oak, which the shepherds looked upon as a sacred tree, and at the same time marked out the site for the temple of Jupiter, and addressing the god by a new title, uttered the following invocation: “Jupiter Feretrius! these arms taken from a king, I, Romulus a king and conqueror, bring to thee, and on this domain, whose bounds I have in will and purpose traced, I dedicate a temple to receive the ‘spolia opima’ which posterity following my example shall bear hither, taken from the kings and generals of our foes slain in battle.” Such was the origin of the first temple dedicated in Rome. And the gods decreed that though its founder did not utter idle words in declaring that posterity would thither bear their spoils, still the splendour of that offering should not be dimmed by the number of those who have rivalled his achievement. For after so many years have elapsed and so many wars been waged, only twice have the “spolia opima” been offered. So seldom has Fortune granted that glory to men.
[1.11]Whilst the Romans were thus occupied, the army of the Antemnates seized the opportunity of their territory being unoccupied and made a raid into it. Romulus hastily led his legion against this fresh foe and surprised them as they were scattered over the fields. At the very first battle-shout and charge the enemy were routed and their city captured. Whilst Romulus was exulting over this double victory, his wife, Hersilia, moved by the entreaties of the abducted maidens, implored him to pardon their parents and receive them into citizenship, for so the State would increase in unity and strength. He readily granted her request. He then advanced against the Crustuminians, who had commenced war, but their eagerness had been damped by the successive defeats of their neighbours, and they offered but slight resistance. Colonies were planted in both places; owing to the fertility of the soil of the Crustumine district, the majority gave their names for that colony. On the other hand there were numerous migrations to Rome mostly of the parents and relatives of the abducted maidens. The last of these wars was commenced by the Sabines and proved the most serious of all, for nothing was done in passion or impatience; they masked their designs till war had actually commenced. Strategy was aided by craft and deceit, as the following incident shows. Spurius Tarpeius was in command of the Roman citadel. Whilst his daughter had gone outside the fortifications to fetch water for some religious ceremonies, Tatius bribed her to admit his troops within the citadel. Once admitted, they crushed her to death beneath their shields, either that the citadel might appear to have been taken by assault, or that her example might be left as a warning that no faith should be kept with traitors. A further story runs that the Sabines were in the habit of wearing heavy gold armlets on their left arms and richly jewelled rings, and that the girl made them promise to give her “what they had on their left arms,” accordingly they piled their shields upon her instead of golden gifts. Some say that in bargaining for what they had in their left hands, she expressly asked for their shields, and being suspected of wishing to betray them, fell a victim to her own bargain.
[1.12]However this may be, the Sabines were in possession of the citadel. And they would not come down from it the next day, though the Roman army was drawn up in battle array over the whole of the ground between the Palatine and the Capitoline hill, until, exasperated at the loss of their citadel and determined to recover it, the Romans mounted to the attack. Advancing before the rest, Mettius Curtius, on the side of the Sabines, and Hostius Hostilius, on the side of the Romans, engaged in single combat. Hostius, fighting on disadvantageous ground, upheld the fortunes of Rome by his intrepid bravery, but at last he fell; the Roman line broke and fled to what was then the gate of the Palatine. Even Romulus was being swept away by the crowd of fugitives, and lifting up his hands to heaven he exclaimed: “Jupiter, it was thy omen that I obeyed when I laid here on the Palatine the earliest foundations of the City. Now the Sabines hold its citadel, having bought it by a bribe, and coming thence have seized the valley and are pressing hitherwards in battle. Do thou, Father of gods and men, drive hence our foes, banish terror from Roman hearts, and stay our shameful flight! Here do I vow a temple to thee, ‘Jove the Stayer,’ as a memorial for the generations to come that it is through thy present help that the City has been saved.” Then, as though he had become aware that his prayer had been heard, he cried, “Back, Romans! Jupiter Optimus Maximus bids you stand and renew the battle.” They stopped as though commanded by a voice from heaven – Romulus dashed up to the foremost line, just as Mettius Curtius had run down from the citadel in front of the Sabines and driven the Romans in headlong flight over the whole of the ground now occupied by the Forum. He was now not far from the gate of the Palatine, and was shouting: “We have conquered our faithless hosts, our cowardly foes; now they know that to carry off maidens is a very different thing from fighting with men.” In the midst of these vaunts Romulus, with a compact body of valiant troops, charged down on him. Mettius happened to be on horseback, so he was the more easily driven back, the Romans followed in pursuit, and, inspired by the courage of their king, the rest of the Roman army routed the Sabines. Mettius, unable to control his horse, maddened by the noise of his pursuers, plunged into a morass. The danger of their general drew off the attention of the Sabines for a moment from the battle; they called out and made signals to encourage him, so, animated to fresh efforts, he succeeded in extricating himself. Thereupon the Romans and Sabines renewed the fighting in the middle of the valley, but the fortune of Rome was in the ascendant.
[1.13]Then it was that the Sabine women, whose wrongs had led to the war, throwing off all womanish fears in their distress, went boldly into the midst of the flying missiles with dishevelled hair and rent garments. Running across the space between the two armies they tried to stop any further fighting and calm the excited passions by appealing to their fathers in the one army and their husbands in the other not to bring upon themselves a curse by staining their hands with the blood of a father-in-law or a son-in-law, nor upon their posterity the taint of parricide. “If,” they cried, “you are weary of these ties of kindred, these marriage-bonds, then turn your anger upon us; it is we who are the cause of the war, it is we who have wounded and slain our husbands and fathers. Better for us to perish rather than live without one or the other of you, as widows or as orphans.” The armies and their leaders were alike moved by this appeal. There was a sudden hush and silence. Then the generals advanced to arrange the terms of a treaty. It was not only peace that was made, the two nations were united into one State, the royal power was shared between them, and the seat of government for both nations was Rome. After thus doubling the City, a concession was made to the Sabines in the new appellation of Quirites, from their old capital of Cures. As a memorial of the battle, the place where Curtius got his horse out of the deep marsh on to safer ground was called the Curtian lake. The joyful peace, which put an abrupt close to such a deplorable war, made the Sabine women still dearer to their husbands and fathers, and most of all to Romulus himself. Consequently when he effected the distribution of the people into the thirty curiae, he affixed their names to the curiae. No doubt there were many more than thirty women, and tradition is silent as to whether those whose names were given to the curiae were selected on the ground of age, or on that of personal distinction – either their own or their husbands’ – or merely by lot. The enrolment of the three centuries of knights took place at the same time; the Ramnenses were called after Romulus, the Titienses from T. Tatius. The origin of the Luceres and why they were so called is uncertain. Thenceforward the two kings exercised their joint sovereignty with perfect harmony.
[1.14]Some years subsequently the kinsmen of King Tatius ill-treated the ambassadors of the Laurentines. They came to seek redress from him in accordance with international law, but the influence and importunities of his friends had more weight with Tatius than the remonstrances of the Laurentines. The consequence was that he brought upon himself the punishment due to them, for when he had gone to the annual sacrifice at Lavinium, a tumult arose in which he was killed. Romulus is reported to have been less distressed at this incident than his position demanded, either because of the insincerity inherent in all joint sovereignty, or because he thought he had deserved his fate. He refused, therefore, to go to war, but that the wrong done to the ambassadors and the murder of the king might be expiated, the treaty between Rome and Lavinium was renewed. Whilst in this direction an unhoped-for peace was secured, war broke out in a much nearer quarter, in fact almost at the very gates of Rome. The people of Fidenae considered that a power was growing up too close to them, so to prevent the anticipations of its future greatness from being realised, they took the initiative in making war. Armed bands invaded and devastated the country lying between the City and Fidenae. Thence they turned to the left – the Tiber barred their advance on the right – and plundered and destroyed, to the great alarm of the country people. A sudden rush from the fields into the City was the first intimation of what was happening. A war so close to their gates admitted of no delay, and Romulus hurriedly led out his army and encamped about a mile from Fidenae. Leaving a small detachment to guard the camp, he went forward with his whole force, and whilst one part were ordered to lie in ambush in a place overgrown with dense brushwood, he advanced with the larger part and the whole of the cavalry towards the city, and by riding up to the very gates in a disorderly and provocative manner he succeeded in drawing the enemy. The cavalry continued these tactics and so made the flight which they were to feign seem less suspicious, and when their apparent hesitation whether to fight or to flee was followed by the retirement of the infantry, the enemy suddenly poured out of the crowded gates, broke the Roman line and pressed on in eager pursuit till they were brought to where the ambush was set. Then the Romans suddenly rose and attacked the enemy in flank; their panic was increased by the troops in the camp bearing down upon them. Terrified by the threatened attacks from all sides, the Fidenates turned and fled almost before Romulus and his men could wheel round from their simulated flight. They made for their town much more quickly than they had just before pursued those who pretended to flee, for their flight was a genuine one. They could not, however, shake off the pursuit; the Romans were on their heels, and before the gates could be closed against them, burst through pell-mell with the enemy.
[1.15]The contagion of the war-spirit in Fidenae infected the Veientes. This people were connected by ties of blood with the Fidenates, who were also Etruscans, and an additional incentive was supplied by the mere proximity of the place, should the arms of Rome be turned against all her neighbours. They made an incursion into Roman territory, rather for the sake of plunder than as an act of regular war. After securing their booty they returned with it to Veii, without entrenching a camp or waiting for the enemy. The Romans, on the other hand, not finding the enemy on their soil, crossed the Tiber, prepared and determined to fight a decisive battle. On hearing that they had formed an entrenched camp and were preparing to advance on their city, the Veientes went out against them, preferring a combat in the open to being shut up and having to fight from houses and walls. Romulus gained the victory, not through stratagem, but through the prowess of his veteran army. He drove the routed enemy up to their walls, but in view of the strong position and fortifications of the city, he abstained from assaulting it. On his march homewards, he devastated their fields more out of revenge than for the sake of plunder. The loss thus sustained, no less than the previous defeat, broke the spirit of the Veientes, and they sent envoys to Rome to sue for peace. On condition of a cession of territory a truce was granted to them for a hundred years. These were the principal events at home and in the field that marked the reign of Romulus. Throughout – whether we consider the courage he showed in recovering his ancestral throne, or the wisdom he displayed in founding the City and adding to its strength through war and peace alike – we find nothing incompatible with the belief in his divine origin and his admission to divine immortality after death. It was, in fact, through the strength given by him that the City was powerful enough to enjoy an assured peace for forty years after his departure. He was, however, more acceptable to the populace than to the patricians, but most of all was he the idol of his soldiers. He kept a bodyguard of three hundred men round him in peace as well as in war. These he called the “Celeres.”
[1.16]After these immortal achievements, Romulus held a review of his army at the “Caprae Palus” in the Campus Martius. A violent thunderstorm suddenly arose and enveloped the king in so dense a cloud that he was quite invisible to the assembly. From that hour Romulus was no longer seen on earth. When the fears of the Roman youth were allayed by the return of bright, calm sunshine after such fearful weather, they saw that the royal seat was vacant. Whilst they fully believed the assertion of the senators, who had been standing close to him, that he had been snatched away to heaven by a whirlwind, still, like men suddenly bereaved, fear and grief kept them for some time speechless. At length, after a few had taken the initiative, the whole of those present hailed Romulus as “a god, the son of a god, the King and Father of the City of Rome.” They put up supplications for his grace and favour, and prayed that he would be propitious to his children and save and protect them. I believe, however, that even then there were some who secretly hinted that he had been torn limb from limb by the senators – a tradition to this effect, though certainly a very dim one, has filtered down to us. The other, which I follow, has been the prevailing one, due, no doubt, to the admiration felt for the man and the apprehensions excited by his disappearance. This generally accepted belief was strengthened by one man’s clever device. The tradition runs that Proculus Julius, a man whose authority had weight in matters of even the gravest importance, seeing how deeply the community felt the loss of the king, and how incensed they were against the senators, came forward into the assembly and said: “Quirites! at break of dawn, to-day, the Father of this City suddenly descended from heaven and appeared to me. Whilst, thrilled with awe, I stood rapt before him in deepest reverence, praying that I might be pardoned for gazing upon him, ‘Go,’ said he, ‘tell the Romans that it is the will of heaven that my Rome should be the head of all the world. Let them henceforth cultivate the arts of war, and let them know assuredly, and hand down the knowledge to posterity, that no human might can withstand the arms of Rome.'” It is marvellous what credit was given to this man’s story, and how the grief of the people and the army was soothed by the belief which had been created in the immortality of Romulus.
[1.17]Disputes arose among the senators about the vacant throne. It was not the jealousies of individual citizens, for no one was sufficiently prominent in so young a State, but the rivalries of parties in the State that led to this strife. The Sabine families were apprehensive of losing their fair share of the sovereign power, because after the death of Tatius they had had no representative on the throne; they were anxious, therefore, that the king should be elected from amongst them. The ancient Romans could ill brook a foreign king; but amidst this diversity of political views, all were for a monarchy; they had not yet tasted the sweets of liberty. The senators began to grow apprehensive of some aggressive act on the part of the surrounding states, now that the City was without a central authority and the army without a general. They decided that there must be some head of the State, but no one could make up his mind to concede the dignity to any one else. The matter was settled by the hundred senators dividing themselves into ten “decuries,” and one was chosen from each decury to exercise the supreme power. Ten therefore were in office, but only one at a time had the insignia of authority and the lictors. Their individual authority was restricted to five days, and they exercised it in rotation. This break in the monarchy lasted for a year, and it was called by the name it still bears – that of “interregnum.” After a time the plebs began to murmur that their bondage was multiplied, for they had a hundred masters instead of one. It was evident that they would insist upon a king being elected and elected by them. When the senators became aware of this growing determination, they thought it better to offer spontaneously what they were bound to part with, so, as an act of grace, they committed the supreme power into the hands of the people, but in such a way that they did not give away more privilege than they retained. For they passed a decree that when the people had chosen a king, his election would only be valid after the senate had ratified it by their authority. The same procedure exists to-day in the passing of laws and the election of magistrates, but the power of rejection has been withdrawn; the senate give their ratification before the people proceed to vote, whilst the result of the election is still uncertain. At that time the “interrex” convened the assembly and addressed it as follows: “Quirites! elect your king, and may heaven’s blessing rest on your labours! If you elect one who shall be counted worthy to follow Romulus, the senate will ratify your choice.” So gratified were the people at the proposal that, not to appear behindhand in generosity, they passed a resolution that it should be left to the senate to decree who should reign in Rome.
[1.18]There was living, in those days, at Cures, a Sabine city, a man of renowned justice and piety – Numa Pompilius. He was as conversant as any one in that age could be with all divine and human law. His master is given as Pythagoras of Samos, as tradition speaks of no other. But this is erroneous, for it is generally agreed that it was more than a century later, in the reign of Servius Tullius, that Pythagoras gathered round him crowds of eager students, in the most distant part of Italy, in the neighbourhood of Metapontum, Heraclea, and Crotona. Now, even if he had been contemporary with Numa, how could his reputation have reached the Sabines? From what places, and in what common language could he have induced any one to become his disciple? Who could have guaranteed the safety of a solitary individual travelling through so many nations differing in speech and character? I believe rather that Numa’s virtues were the result of his native temperament and self-training, moulded not so much by foreign influences as by the rigorous and austere discipline of the ancient Sabines, which was the purest type of any that existed in the old days. When Numa’s name was mentioned, though the Roman senators saw that the balance of power would be on the side of the Sabines if the king were chosen from amongst them, still no one ventured to propose a partisan of his own, or any senator, or citizen in preference to him. Accordingly they all to a man decreed that the crown should be offered to Numa Pompilius. He was invited to Rome, and following the precedent set by Romulus, when he obtained his crown through the augury which sanctioned the founding of the City, Numa ordered that in his case also the gods should be consulted. He was solemnly conducted by an augur, who was afterwards honoured by being made a State functionary for life, to the Citadel, and took his seat on a stone facing south. The augur seated himself on his left hand, with his head covered, and holding in his right hand a curved staff without any knots, which they called a “lituus.” After surveying the prospect over the City and surrounding country, he offered prayers and marked out the heavenly regions by an imaginary line from east to west; the southern he defined as “the right hand,” the northern as “the left hand.” He then fixed upon an object, as far as he could see, as a corresponding mark, and then transferring the lituus to his left hand, he laid his right upon Numa’s head and offered this prayer: “Father Jupiter, if it be heaven’s will that this Numa Pompilius, whose head I hold, should be king of Rome, do thou signify it to us by sure signs within those boundaries which I have traced.” Then he described in the usual formula the augury which he desired should be sent. They were sent, and Numa being by them manifested to be king, came down from the “templum.”
[1.19]Having in this way obtained the crown, Numa prepared to found, as it were, anew, by laws and customs, that City which had so recently been founded by force of arms. He saw that this was impossible whilst a state of war lasted, for war brutalised men. Thinking that the ferocity of his subjects might be mitigated by the disuse of arms, he built the temple of Janus at the foot of the Aventine as an index of peace and war, to signify when it was open that the State was under arms, and when it was shut that all the surrounding nations were at peace. Twice since Numa’s reign has it been shut, once after the first Punic war in the consulship of T. Manlius, the second time, which heaven has allowed our generation to witness, after the battle of Actium, when peace on land and sea was secured by the emperor Caesar Augustus. After forming treaties of alliance with all his neighbours and closing the temple of Janus, Numa turned his attention to domestic matters. The removal of all danger from without would induce his subjects to luxuriate in idleness, as they would be no longer restrained by the fear of an enemy or by military discipline. To prevent this, he strove to inculcate in their minds the fear of the gods, regarding this as the most powerful influence which could act upon an uncivilised and, in those ages, a barbarous people. But, as this would fail to make a deep impression without some claim to supernatural wisdom, he pretended that he had nocturnal interviews with the nymph Egeria: that it was on her advice that he was instituting the ritual most acceptable to the gods and appointing for each deity his own special priests. First of all he divided the year into twelve months, corresponding to the moon’s revolutions. But as the moon does not complete thirty days in each month, and so there are fewer days in the lunar year than in that measured by the course of the sun, he interpolated intercalary months and so arranged them that every twentieth year the days should coincide with the same position of the sun as when they started, the whole twenty years being thus complete. He also established a distinction between the days on which legal business could be transacted and those on which it could not, because it would sometimes be advisable that there should be no business transacted with the people.
[1.20]Next he turned his attention to the appointment of priests. He himself, however, conducted a great many religious services, especially those which belong to the Flamen of Jupiter. But he thought that in a warlike state there would be more kings of the type of Romulus than of Numa who would take the field in person. To guard, therefore, against the sacrificial rites which the king performed being interrupted, he appointed a Flamen as perpetual priest to Jupiter, and ordered that he should wear a distinctive dress and sit in the royal curule chair. He appointed two additional Flamens, one for Mars, the other for Quirinus, and also chose virgins as priestesses to Vesta. This order of priestesses came into existence originally in Alba and was connected with the race of the founder. He assigned them a public stipend that they might give their whole time to the temple, and made their persons sacred and inviolable by a vow of chastity and other religious sanctions. Similarly he chose twelve “Salii” for Mars Gradivus, and assigned to them the distinctive dress of an embroidered tunic and over it a brazen cuirass. They were instructed to march in solemn procession through the City, carrying the twelve shields called the “Ancilia,” and singing hymns accompanied by a solemn dance in triple time. The next office to be filled was that of the Pontifex Maximus. Numa appointed the son of Marcus, one of the senators – Numa Marcius – and all the regulations bearing on religion, written out and sealed, were placed in his charge. Here was laid down with what victims, on what days, and at what temples the various sacrifices were to be offered, and from what sources the expenses connected with them were to be defrayed. He placed all other sacred functions, both public and private, under the supervision of the Pontifex, in order that there might be an authority for the people to consult, and so all trouble and confusion arising through foreign rites being adopted and their ancestral ones neglected might be avoided. Nor were his functions confined to directing the worship of the celestial gods; he was to instruct the people how to conduct funerals and appease the spirits of the departed, and what prodigies sent by lightning or in any other way were to be attended to and expiated. To elicit these signs of the divine will, he dedicated an altar to Jupiter Elicius on the Aventine, and consulted the god through auguries, as to which prodigies were to receive attention.
[1.21]The deliberations and arrangements which these matters involved diverted the people from all thoughts of war and provided them with ample occupation. The watchful care of the gods, manifesting itself in the providential guidance of human affairs, had kindled in all hearts such a feeling of piety that the sacredness of promises and the sanctity of oaths were a controlling force for the community scarcely less effective than the fear inspired by laws and penalties. And whilst his subjects were moulding their characters upon the unique example of their king, the neighbouring nations, who had hitherto believed that it was a fortified camp and not a city that was placed amongst them to vex the peace of all, were now induced to respect them so highly that they thought it sinful to injure a State so entirely devoted to the service of the gods. There was a grove through the midst of which a perennial stream flowed, issuing from a dark cave. Here Numa frequently retired unattended as if to meet the goddess, and he consecrated the grove to the Camaenae, because it was there that their meetings with his wife Egeria took place. He also instituted a yearly sacrifice to the goddess Fides and ordered that the Flamens should ride to her temple in a hooded chariot, and should perform the service with their hands covered as far as the fingers, to signify that Faith must be sheltered and that her seat is holy even when it is in men’s right hands. There were many other sacrifices appointed by him and places dedicated for their performance which the pontiffs call the Argei. The greatest of all his works was the preservation of peace and the security of his realm throughout the whole of his reign. Thus by two successive kings the greatness of the State was advanced; by each in a different way, by the one through war, by the other through peace. Romulus reigned thirty-seven years, Numa forty-three. The State was strong and disciplined by the lessons of war and the arts of peace.
[1.22]The death of Numa was followed by a second interregnum. Then Tullus Hostilius, a grandson of the Hostilius who had fought so brilliantly at the foot of the Citadel against the Sabines, was chosen king by the people, and their choice was confirmed by the senate. He was not only unlike the last king, but he was a man of more warlike spirit even than Romulus, and his ambition was kindled by his own youthful energy and by the glorious achievements of his grandfather. Convinced that the vigour of the State was becoming enfeebled through inaction, he looked all round for a pretext for getting up a war. It so happened that Roman peasants were at that time in the habit of carrying off plunder from the Alban territory, and the Albans from Roman territory. Gaius Cluilius was at the time ruling in Alba. Both parties sent envoys almost simultaneously to seek redress. Tullus had told his ambassadors to lose no time in carrying out their instructions; he was fully aware that the Albans would refuse satisfaction, and so a just ground would exist for proclaiming war. The Alban envoys proceeded in a more leisurely fashion. Tullus received them with all courtesy and entertained them sumptuously. Meantime the Romans had preferred their demands, and on the Alban governor’s refusal had declared that war would begin in thirty days. When this was reported to Tullus, he granted the Albans an audience in which they were to state the object of their coming. Ignorant of all that had happened, they wasted time in explaining that it was with great reluctance that they would say anything which might displease Tullus, but they were bound by their instructions; they were come to demand redress, and if that were refused they were ordered to declare war. “Tell your king,” replied Tullus, “that the king of Rome calls the gods to witness that whichever nation is the first to dismiss with ignominy the envoys who came to seek redress, upon that nation they will visit all the sufferings of this war.”
[1.23]The Albans reported this at home. Both sides made extraordinary preparations for a war, which closely resembled a civil war between parents and children, for both were of Trojan descent, since Lavinium was an offshoot of Troy, and Alba of Lavinium, and the Romans were sprung from the stock of the kings of Alba. The outcome of the war, however, made the conflict less deplorable, as there was no regular engagement, and though one of the two cities was destroyed, the two nations were blended into one. The Albans were the first to move, and invaded the Roman territory with an immense army. They fixed their camp only five miles from the City and surrounded it with a moat; this was called for several centuries the “Cluilian Dyke” from the name of the Alban general, till through lapse of time the name and the thing itself disappeared. While they were encamped Cluilius, the Alban king, died, and the Albans made Mettius Fufetius dictator. The king’s death made Tullus more sanguine than ever of success. He gave out that the wrath of heaven which had fallen first of all on the head of the nation would visit the whole race of Alba with condign punishment for this unholy war. Passing the enemy’s camp by a night march, he advanced upon Alban territory. This drew Mettius from his entrenchments. He marched as close to his enemy as he could, and then sent on an officer to inform Tullus that before engaging it was necessary that they should have a conference. If he granted one, then he was satisfied that the matters he would lay before him were such as concerned Rome no less than Alba. Tullus did not reject the proposal, but in case the conference should prove illusory, he led out his men in order of battle. The Albans did the same. After they had halted, confronting each other, the two commanders, with a small escort of superior officers, advanced between the lines. The Alban general, addressing Tullus, said: “I think I have heard our king Cluilius say that acts of robbery and the non-restitution of plundered property, in violation of the existing treaty, were the cause of this war, and I have no doubt that you, Tullus, allege the same pretext. But if we are to say what is true, rather than what is plausible, we must admit that it is the lust of empire which has made two kindred and neighbouring peoples take up arms. Whether rightly or wrongly I do not judge; let him who began the war settle that point; I am simply placed in command by the Albans to conduct the war. But I want to give you a warning, Tullus. You know, you especially who are nearer to them, the greatness of the Etruscan State, which hems us both in; their immense strength by land, still more by sea. Now remember, when once you have given the signal to engage, our two armies will fight under their eyes, so that when we are wearied and exhausted they may attack us both, victor and vanquished alike. If then, not content with the secure freedom we now enjoy, we are determined to enter into a game of chance, where the stakes are either supremacy or slavery, let us, in heaven’s name, choose some method by which, without great suffering or bloodshed on either side, it can be decided which nation is to be master of the other.” Although, from natural temperament, and the certainty he felt of victory, Tullus was eager to fight, he did not disapprove of the proposal. After much consideration on both sides a method was adopted, for which Fortune herself provided the necessary means.
[1.24]There happened to be in each of the armies a triplet of brothers, fairly matched in years and strength. It is generally agreed that they were called Horatii and Curiatii. Few incidents in antiquity have been more widely celebrated, yet in spite of its celebrity there is a discrepancy in the accounts as to which nation each belonged. There are authorities on both sides, but I find that the majority give the name of Horatii to the Romans, and my sympathies lead me to follow them. The kings suggested to them that they should each fight on behalf of their country, and where victory rested, there should be the sovereignty. They raised no objection; so the time and place were fixed. But before they engaged a treaty was concluded between the Romans and the Albans, providing that the nation whose representatives proved victorious should receive the peaceable submission of the other. This is the earliest treaty recorded, and as all treaties, however different the conditions they contain, are concluded with the same forms, I will describe the forms with which this one was concluded as handed down by tradition. The Fetial put the formal question to Tullus: “Do you, King, order me to make a treaty with the Pater Patratus of the Alban nation?” On the king replying in the affirmative, the Fetial said: “I demand of thee, King, some tufts of grass.” The king replied: “Take those that are pure.” The Fetial brought pure grass from the Citadel. Then he asked the king: “Do you constitute me the plenipotentiary of the People of Rome, the Quirites, sanctioning also my vessels and comrades?” To which the king replied: “So far as may be without hurt to myself and the People of Rome, the Quirites, I do.” The Fetial was M. Valerius. He made Spurius Furius the Pater Patratus by touching his head and hair with the grass. Then the Pater Patratus, who is constituted for the purpose of giving the treaty the religious sanction of an oath, did so by a long formula in verse, which it is not worth while to quote. After reciting the conditions he said: “Hear, O Jupiter, hear! thou Pater Patratus of the people of Alba! Hear ye, too, people of Alba! As these conditions have been publicly rehearsed from first to last, from these tablets, in perfect good faith, and inasmuch as they have here and now been most clearly understood, so these conditions the People of Rome will not be the first to go back from. If they shall, in their national council, with false and malicious intent be the first to go back, then do thou, Jupiter, on that day, so smite the People of Rome, even as I here and now shall smite this swine, and smite them so much the more heavily, as thou art greater in power and might.” With these words he struck the swine with a flint. In similar wise the Albans recited their oath and formularies through their own dictator and their priests.
[1.25]On the conclusion of the treaty the six combatants armed themselves. They were greeted with shouts of encouragement from their comrades, who reminded them that their fathers’ gods, their fatherland, their fathers, every fellow-citizen, every fellow-soldier, were now watching their weapons and the hands that wielded them. Eager for the contest and inspired by the voices round them, they advanced into the open space between the opposing lines. The two armies were sitting in front of their respective camps, relieved from personal danger but not from anxiety, since upon the fortunes and courage of this little group hung the issue of dominion. Watchful and nervous, they gaze with feverish intensity on a spectacle by no means entertaining. The signal was given, and with uplifted swords the six youths charged like a battle-line with the courage of a mighty host. Not one of them thought of his own danger; their sole thought was for their country, whether it would be supreme or subject, their one anxiety that they were deciding its future fortunes. When, at the first encounter, the flashing swords rang on their opponents’ shields, a deep shudder ran through the spectators; then a breathless silence followed, as neither side seemed to be gaining any advantage. Soon, however, they saw something more than the swift movements of limbs and the rapid play of sword and shield: blood became visible flowing from open wounds. Two of the Romans fell one on the other, breathing out their life, whilst all the three Albans were wounded. The fall of the Romans was welcomed with a burst of exultation from the Alban army; whilst the Roman legions, who had lost all hope, but not all anxiety, trembled for their solitary champion surrounded by the three Curiatii. It chanced that he was untouched, and though not a match for the three together, he was confident of victory against each separately. So, that he might encounter each singly, he took to flight, assuming that they would follow as well as their wounds would allow. He had run some distance from the spot where the combat began, when, on looking back, he saw them following at long intervals from each other, the foremost not far from him. He turned and made a desperate attack upon him, and whilst the Alban army were shouting to the other Curiatii to come to their brother’s assistance, Horatius had already slain his foe and, flushed with victory, was awaiting the second encounter. Then the Romans cheered their champion with a shout such as men raise when hope succeeds to despair, and he hastened to bring the fight to a close. Before the third, who was not far away, could come up, he despatched the second Curiatius. The survivors were now equal in point of numbers, but far from equal in either confidence or strength. The one, unscathed after his double victory, was eager for the third contest; the other, dragging himself wearily along, exhausted by his wounds and by his running, vanquished already by the previous slaughter of his brothers, was an easy conquest to his victorious foe. There was, in fact, no fighting. The Roman cried exultingly: “Two have I sacrificed to appease my brothers’ shades; the third I will offer for the issue of this fight, that the Roman may rule the Alban.” He thrust his sword downward into the neck of his opponent, who could no longer lift his shield, and then despoiled him as he lay. Horatius was welcomed by the Romans with shouts of triumph, all the more joyous for the fears they had felt. Both sides turned their attention to burying their dead champions, but with very different feelings, the one rejoicing in wider dominion, the other deprived of their liberty and under alien rule. The tombs stand on the spots where each fell; those of the Romans close together, in the direction of Alba; the three Alban tombs, at intervals, in the direction of Rome.
[1.26]Before the armies separated, Mettius inquired what commands he was to receive in accordance with the terms of the treaty. Tullus ordered him to keep the Alban soldiery under arms, as he would require their services if there were war with the Veientines. Both armies then withdrew to their homes. Horatius was marching at the head of the Roman army, carrying in front of him his triple spoils. His sister, who had been betrothed to one of the Curiatii, met him outside the Capene gate. She recognised on her brother’s shoulders the cloak of her betrothed, which she had made with her own hands; and bursting into tears she tore her hair and called her dead lover by name. The triumphant soldier was so enraged by his sister’s outburst of grief in the midst of his own triumph and the public rejoicing that he drew his sword and stabbed the girl. “Go,” he cried, in bitter reproach, “go to your betrothed with your ill-timed love, forgetful as you are of your dead brothers, of the one who still lives, and of your country! So perish every Roman woman who mourns for an enemy!” The deed horrified patricians and plebeians alike; but his recent services were a set-off to it. He was brought before the king for trial. To avoid responsibility for passing a harsh sentence, which would be repugnant to the populace, and then carrying it into execution, the king summoned an assembly of the people, and said: “I appoint two duumvirs to judge the treason of Horatius according to law.” The dreadful language of the law was: “The duumvirs shall judge cases of treason; if the accused appeal from the duumvirs, the appeal shall be heard; if their sentence be confirmed, the lictor shall hang him by a rope on the fatal tree, and shall scourge him either within or without the pomoerium.” The duumvirs appointed under this law did not think that by its provisions they had the power to acquit even an innocent person. Accordingly they condemned him; then one of them said: “Publius Horatius, I pronounce you guilty of treason. Lictor, bind his hands.” The lictor had approached and was fastening the cord, when Horatius, at the suggestion of Tullus, who placed a merciful interpretation on the law, said, “I appeal.” The appeal was accordingly brought before the people.
Their decision was mainly influenced by Publius Horatius, the father, who declared that his daughter had been justly slain; had it not been so, he would have exerted his authority as a father in punishing his son. Then he implored them not to bereave of all his children the man whom they had so lately seen surrounded with such noble offspring. Whilst saying this he embraced his son, and then, pointing to the spoils of the Curiatii suspended on the spot now called the Pila Horatia, he said: “Can you bear, Quirites, to see bound, scourged, and tortured beneath the gallows the man whom you saw, lately, coming in triumph adorned with his foemen’s spoils? Why, the Albans themselves could not bear the sight of such a hideous spectacle. Go, lictor, bind those hands which when armed but a little time ago won dominion for the Roman people. Go, cover the head of the liberator of this City! Hang him on the fatal tree, scourge him within the pomoerium, if only it be amongst the trophies of his foes, or without, if only it be amongst the tombs of the Curiatii! To what place can you take this youth where the monuments of his splendid exploits will not vindicate him from such a shameful punishment?” The father’s tears and the young soldier’s courage ready to meet every peril were too much for the people. They acquitted him because they admired his bravery rather than because they regarded his cause as a just one. But since a murder in broad daylight demanded some expiation, the father was commanded to make an atonement for his son at the cost of the State. After offering certain expiatory sacrifices he erected a beam across the street and made the young man pass under it, as under a yoke, with his head covered. This beam exists to-day, having always been kept in repair by the State: it is called “The Sister’s Beam.” A tomb of hewn stone was constructed for Horatia on the spot where she was murdered.
[1.27]But the peace with Alba was not a lasting one. The Alban dictator had incurred general odium through having entrusted the fortunes of the State to three soldiers, and this had an evil effect upon his weak character. As straightforward counsels had turned out so unfortunate, he tried to recover the popular favour by resorting to crooked ones, and as he had previously made peace his aim in war, so now he sought the occasion of war in peace. He recognised that his State possessed more courage than strength, he therefore incited other nations to declare war openly and formally, whilst he kept for his own people an opening for treachery under the mask of an alliance. The people of Fidenae, where a Roman colony existed, were induced to go to war by a compact on the part of the Albans to desert to them; the Veientines were taken into the plot. When Fidenae had broken out into open revolt, Tullus summoned Mettius and his army from Alba and marched against the enemy. After crossing the Anio he encamped at the junction of that river with the Tiber. The army of the Veientines had crossed the Tiber at a spot between his camp and Fidenae. In the battle they formed the right wing near the river, the Fidenates were on the left nearer the mountains. Tullus formed his troops in front of the Veientines, and stationed the Albans against the legion of the Fidenates. The Alban general showed as little courage as fidelity; afraid either to keep his ground or to openly desert, he drew away gradually towards the mountains. When he thought he had retired far enough, he halted his entire army, and still irresolute, he began to form his men for attack, by way of gaining time, intending to throw his strength on the winning side. Those Romans who had been stationed next to the Albans were astounded to find that their allies had withdrawn and left their flank exposed, when a horseman rode up at full speed and reported to the king that the Albans were leaving the field. In this critical situation, Tullus vowed to found a college of twelve Salii and to build temples to Pallor and Pavor. Then, reprimanding the horseman loud enough for the enemy to hear, he ordered him to rejoin the fighting line, adding that there was no occasion for alarm, as it was by his orders that the Alban army was making a circuit that they might fall on the unprotected rear of the Fidenates. At the same time he ordered the cavalry to raise their spears; this action hid the retreating Alban army from a large part of the Roman infantry. Those who had seen them, thinking that what the king had said was actually the case, fought all the more keenly. It was now the enemies’ turn to be alarmed; they had heard clearly the words of the king, and, moreover, a large part of the Fidenates who had formerly joined the Roman colonists understood Latin. Fearing to be cut off from their town by a sudden charge of the Albans from the hills, they retreated. Tullus pressed the attack, and after routing the Fidenates, returned to attack the Veientines with greater confidence, as they were already demoralised by the panic of their allies. They did not wait for the charge, but their flight was checked by the river in their rear. When they reached it, some, flinging away their arms, rushed blindly into the water, others, hesitating whether to fight or fly, were overtaken and slain. Never had the Romans fought in a bloodier battle.
[1.28]Then the Alban army, who had been watching the fight, marched down into the plain. Mettius congratulated Tullus on his victory, Tullus replied in a friendly tone, and as a mark of goodwill, ordered the Albans to form their camp contiguous to that of the Romans, and made preparations for a “lustral sacrifice” on the morrow. As soon as it was light, and all the preparations were made, he gave the customary order for both armies to muster on parade. The heralds began at the furthest part of the camp, where the Albans were, and summoned them first of all; they, attracted by the novelty of hearing the Roman addressing his troops, took up their position close round him. Secret instructions had been given for the Roman legion to stand fully armed behind them, and the centurions were in readiness to execute instantly the orders they received. Tullus commenced as follows: “Romans! if in any war that you have ever waged there has been reason for you to thank, first, the immortal gods, and then your own personal courage, such was certainly the case in yesterday’s battle. For whilst you had to contend with an open enemy, you had a still more serious and dangerous conflict to maintain against the treachery and perfidy of your allies. For I must undeceive you – it was by no command of mine that the Albans withdrew to the mountains. What you heard was not a real order but a pretended one, which I used as an artifice to prevent your knowing that you were deserted, and so losing heart for the battle, and also to fill the enemy with alarm and a desire to flee by making them think that they were being surrounded. The guilt which I am denouncing does not involve all the Albans; they only followed their general, just as you would have done had I wanted to lead my army away from the field. It is Mettius who is the leader of this march, Mettius who engineered this war, Mettius who broke the treaty between Rome and Alba. Others may venture on similar practices, if I do not make this man a signal lesson to all the world.” The armed centurions closed round Mettius, and the king proceeded: “I shall take a course which will bring good fortune and happiness to the Roman people and myself, and to you, Albans; it is my intention to transfer the entire Alban population to Rome, to give the rights of citizenship to the plebeians, and enrol the nobles in the senate, and to make one City, one State. As formerly the Alban State was broken up into two nations, so now let it once more become one.” The Alban soldiery listened to these words with conflicting feelings, but unarmed as they were and hemmed in by armed men, a common fear kept them silent. Then Tullus said: “Mettius Fufetius! if you could have learnt to keep your word and respect treaties, I would have given you that instruction in your lifetime, but now, since your character is past cure, do at least teach mankind by your punishment to hold those things as sacred which have been outraged by you. As yesterday your interest was divided between the Fidenates and the Romans, so now you shall give up your body to be divided and dismembered.” Thereupon two four-horse chariots were brought up, and Mettius was bound at full length to each, the horses were driven in opposite directions, carrying off parts of the body in each chariot, where the limbs had been secured by the cords. All present averted their eyes from the horrible spectacle. This is the first and last instance amongst the Romans of a punishment so regardless of humanity. Amongst other things which are the glory of Rome is this, that no nation has ever been contented with milder punishments.
[1.29]Meanwhile the cavalry had been sent on in advance to conduct the population to Rome; they were followed by the legions, who were marched thither to destroy the city. When they entered the gates there was not that noise and panic which are usually found in captured cities, where, after the gates have been shattered or the walls levelled by the battering-ram or the citadel stormed, the shouts of the enemy and the rushing of the soldiers through the streets throw everything into universal confusion with fire and sword. Here, on the contrary, gloomy silence and a grief beyond words so petrified the minds of all, that, forgetting in their terror what to leave behind, what to take with them, incapable of thinking for themselves and asking one another’s advice, at one moment they would stand on their thresholds, at another wander aimlessly through their houses, which they were seeing then for the last time. But now they were roused by the shouts of the cavalry ordering their instant departure, now by the crash of the houses undergoing demolition, heard in the furthest corners of the city, and the dust, rising in different places, which covered everything like a cloud. Seizing hastily what they could carry, they went out of the city, and left behind their hearths and household gods and the homes in which they had been born and brought up. Soon an unbroken line of emigrants filled the streets, and as they recognised one another the sense of their common misery led to fresh outbursts of tears. Cries of grief, especially from the women, began to make themselves heard, as they walked past the venerable temples and saw them occupied by troops, and felt that they were leaving their gods as prisoners in an enemy’s hands. When the Albans had left their city the Romans levelled to the ground all the public and private edifices in every direction, and a single hour gave over to destruction and ruin the work of those four centuries during which Alba had stood. The temples of the gods, however, were spared, in accordance with the king’s proclamation.
[1.30]The fall of Alba led to the growth of Rome. The number of the citizens was doubled, the Caelian hill was included in the city, and that it might become more populated, Tullus chose it for the site of his palace, and for the future lived there. He nominated Alban nobles to the senate that this order of the State might also be augmented. Amongst them were the Tullii, the Servilii, the Quinctii, the Geganii, the Curiatii, and the Cloelii. To provide a consecrated building for the increased number of senators he built the senate-house, which down to the time of our fathers went by the name of the Curia Hostilia. To secure an accession of military strength of all ranks from the new population, he formed ten troops of knights from the Albans; from the same source he brought up the old legions to their full strength and enrolled new ones. Impelled by the confidence in his strength which these measures inspired, Tullus proclaimed war against the Sabines, a nation at that time second only to the Etruscans in numbers and military strength. Each side had inflicted injuries on the other and refused all redress. Tullus complained that Roman traders had been arrested in open market at the shrine of Feronia; the Sabines’ grievance was that some of their people had previously sought refuge in the Asylum and been kept in Rome. These were the ostensible grounds of the war. The Sabines were far from forgetting that a portion of their strength had been transferred to Rome by Tatius, and that the Roman State had lately been aggrandised by the inclusion of the population of Alba; they, therefore, on their side began to look round for outside help. Their nearest neighbour was Etruria, and, of the Etruscans, the nearest to them were the Veientines. Their past defeats were still rankling in their memories, and the Sabines, urging them to revolt, attracted many volunteers; others of the poorest and homeless classes were paid to join them. No assistance was given by the State. With the Veientes – it is not so surprising that the other cities rendered no assistance – the truce with Rome was still held to be binding. Whilst preparations were being made on both sides with the utmost energy, and it seemed as though success depended upon which side was the first to take the offensive, Tullus opened the campaign by invading the Sabine territory. A severe action was fought at the Silva Malitiosa. Whilst the Romans were strong in their infantry, their main strength was in their lately increased cavalry force. A sudden charge of horse threw the Sabine ranks into confusion, they could neither offer a steady resistance nor effect their flight without great slaughter.
[1.31]This victory threw great lustre upon the reign of Tullus, and upon the whole State, and added considerably to its strength. At this time it was reported to the king and the senate that there had been a shower of stones on the Alban Mount. As the thing seemed hardly credible, men were sent to inspect the prodigy, and whilst they were watching, a heavy shower of stones fell from the sky, just like hailstones heaped together by the wind. They fancied, too, that they heard a very loud voice from the grove on the summit, bidding the Albans celebrate their sacred rites after the manner of their fathers. These solemnities they had consigned to oblivion, as though they had abandoned their gods when they abandoned their country and had either adopted Roman rites, or, as sometimes happens, embittered against Fortune, had given up the service of the gods. In consequence of this prodigy, the Romans, too, kept up a public religious observance for nine days, either – as tradition asserts – owing to the voice from the Alban Mount, or because of the warning of the soothsayers. In either case, however, it became permanently established whenever the same prodigy was reported; a nine days’ solemnity was observed. Not long after a pestilence caused great distress, and made men indisposed for the hardships of military service. The warlike king, however, allowed no respite from arms; he thought, too, that it was more healthy for the soldiery in the field than at home. At last he himself was seized with a lingering illness, and that fierce and restless spirit became so broken through bodily weakness, that he who had once thought nothing less fitting for a king than devotion to sacred things, now suddenly became a prey to every sort of religious terror, and filled the City with religious observances. There was a general desire to recall the condition of things which existed under Numa, for men felt that the only help that was left against sickness was to obtain the forgiveness of the gods and be at peace with heaven. Tradition records that the king, whilst examining the commentaries of Numa, found there a description of certain secret sacrificial rites paid to Jupiter Elicius: he withdrew into privacy whilst occupied with these rites, but their performance was marred by omissions or mistakes. Not only was no sign from heaven vouchsafed to him, but the anger of Jupiter was roused by the false worship rendered to him, and he burnt up the king and his house by a stroke of lightning. Tullus had achieved great renown in war, and reigned for two-and-thirty years.
[1.32]On the death of Tullus, the government, in accordance with the original constitution, again devolved on the senate. They appointed an interrex to conduct the election. The people chose Ancus Martius as king, the senate confirmed the choice. His mother was Numa’s daughter. At the outset of his reign – remembering what made his grandfather glorious, and recognising that the late reign, so splendid in all other respects, had, on one side, been most unfortunate through the neglect of religion or the improper performance of its rites – he determined to go back to the earliest source and conduct the state offices of religion as they had been organised by Numa. He gave the Pontifex instructions to copy them out from the king’s commentaries and set them forth in some public place. The neighbouring states and his own people, who were yearning for peace, were led to hope that the king would follow his grandfather in disposition and policy. In this state of affairs, the Latins, with whom a treaty had been made in the reign of Tullus, recovered their confidence, and made an incursion into Roman territory. On the Romans seeking redress, they gave a haughty refusal, thinking that the king of Rome was going to pass his reign amongst chapels and altars. In the temperament of Ancus there was a touch of Romulus as well as Numa. He realised that the great necessity of Numa’s reign was peace, especially amongst a young and aggressive nation, but he saw, too, that it would be difficult for him to preserve the peace which had fallen to his lot unimpaired. His patience was being put to the proof, and not only put to the proof but despised; the times demanded a Tullus rather than a Numa. Numa had instituted religious observances for times of peace, he would hand down the ceremonies appropriate to a state of war. In order, therefore, that wars might be not only conducted but also proclaimed with some formality, he wrote down the law, as taken from the ancient nation of the Aequicoli, under which the Fetials act down to this day when seeking redress for injuries. The procedure is as follows: –
The ambassador binds his head in a woollen fillet. When he has reached the frontiers of the nation from whom satisfaction is demanded, he says, “Hear, O Jupiter! Hear, ye confines” – naming the particular nation whose they are – “Hear, O Justice! I am the public herald of the Roman People. Rightly and duly authorised do I come; let confidence be placed in my words.” Then he recites the terms of the demands, and calls Jupiter to witness: “If I am demanding the surrender of those men or those goods, contrary to justice and religion, suffer me nevermore to enjoy my native land.” He repeats these words as he crosses the frontier, he repeats them to whoever happens to be the first person he meets, he repeats them as he enters the gates and again on entering the forum, with some slight changes in the wording of the formula. If what he demands are not surrendered at the expiration of thirty-three days – for that is the fixed period of grace – he declares war in the following terms: “Hear, O Jupiter, and thou Janus Quirinus, and all ye heavenly gods, and ye, gods of earth and of the lower world, hear me! I call you to witness that this people” – mentioning it by name – “is unjust and does not fulfil its sacred obligations. But about these matters we must consult the elders in our own land in what way we may obtain our rights.”
With these words the ambassador returned to Rome for consultation. The king forthwith consulted the senate in words to the following effect: “Concerning the matters, suits, and causes, whereof the Pater Patratus of the Roman People and Quirites hath complained to the Pater Patratus of the Prisci Latini, and to the people of the Prisci Latini, which matters they were bound severally to surrender, discharge, and make good, whereas they have done none of these things – say, what is your opinion?” He whose opinion was first asked, replied, “I am of opinion that they ought to be recovered by a just and righteous war, wherefore I give my consent and vote for it.” Then the others were asked in order, and when the majority of those present declared themselves of the same opinion, war was agreed upon. It was customary for the Fetial to carry to the enemies’ frontiers a blood-smeared spear tipped with iron or burnt at the end, and, in the presence of at least three adults, to say, “Inasmuch as the peoples of the Prisci Latini have been guilty of wrong against the People of Rome and the Quirites, and inasmuch as the People of Rome and the Quirites have ordered that there be war with the Prisci Latini, and the Senate of the People of Rome and the Quirites have determined and decreed that there shall be war with the Prisci Latini, therefore I and the People of Rome, declare and make war upon the peoples of the Prisci Latini.” With these words he hurled his spear into their territory. This was the way in which at that time satisfaction was demanded from the Latins and war declared, and posterity adopted the custom.
[1.33]After handing over the care of the various sacrificial rites to the Flamens and other priests, and calling up a fresh army, Ancus advanced against Politorium a city belonging to the Latins. He took it by assault, and following the custom of the earlier kings who had enlarged the State by receiving its enemies into Roman citizenship, he transferred the whole of the population to Rome. The Palatine had been settled by the earliest Romans, the Sabines had occupied the Capitoline hill with the Citadel, on one side of the Palatine, and the Albans the Caelian hill, on the other, so the Aventine was assigned to the new-comers. Not long afterwards there was a further addition to the number of citizens through the capture of Tellenae and Ficana. Politorium after its evacuation was seized by the Latins and was again recovered; and this was the reason why the Romans razed the city, to prevent its being a perpetual refuge for the enemy. At last the whole war was concentrated round Medullia, and fighting went on for some time there with doubtful result. The city was strongly fortified and its strength was increased by the presence of a large garrison. The Latin army was encamped in the open and had had several engagements with the Romans. At last Ancus made a supreme effort with the whole of his force and won a pitched battle, after which he returned with immense booty to Rome, and many thousands of Latins were admitted into citizenship. In order to connect the Aventine with the Palatine, the district round the altar of Venus Murcia was assigned to them. The Janiculum also was brought into the city boundaries, not because the space was wanted, but to prevent such a strong position from being occupied by an enemy. It was decided to connect this hill with the City, not only by carrying the City wall round it, but also by a bridge, for the convenience of traffic. This was the first bridge thrown over the Tiber, and was known as the Pons Sublicius. The Fossa Quiritium also was the work of King Ancus, and afforded no inconsiderable protection to the lower and therefore more accessible parts of the City. Amidst this vast population, now that the State had become so enormously increased, the sense of right and wrong was obscured, and secret crimes were committed. To overawe the growing lawlessness a prison was built in the heart of the City, overlooking the Forum. The additions made by this king were not confined to the City. The Mesian Forest was taken from the Veientines, and the Roman dominion extended to the sea; at the mouth of the Tiber the city of Ostia was built; salt-pits were constructed on both sides of the river, and the temple of Jupiter Feretrius was enlarged in consequence of the brilliant successes in the war.
[1.34]During the reign of Ancus a wealthy and ambitious man named Lucumo removed to Rome, mainly with the hope and desire of winning high distinction, for which no opportunity had existed in Tarquinii, since there also he was an alien. He was the son of Demaratus a Corinthian, who had been driven from home by a revolution, and who happened to settle in Tarquinii. There he married and had two sons, their names were Lucumo and Arruns. Arruns died before his father, leaving his wife with child; Lucumo survived his father and inherited all his property. For Demaratus died shortly after Arruns, and being unaware of the condition of his daughter-in-law, had made no provision in his will for a grandchild. The boy, thus excluded from any share of his grandfather’s property, was called, in consequence of his poverty, Egerius. Lucumo, on the other hand, heir to all the property, became elated by his wealth, and his ambition was stimulated by his marriage with Tanaquil. This woman was descended from one of the foremost families in the State, and could not bear the thought of her position by marriage being inferior to the one she claimed by birth. The Etruscans looked down upon Lucumo as the son of a foreign refugee; she could not brook this indignity, and forgetting all ties of patriotism if only she could see her husband honoured, resolved to emigrate from Tarquinii. Rome seemed the most suitable place for her purpose. She felt that among a young nation where all nobility is a thing of recent growth and won by personal merit, there would be room for a man of courage and energy. She remembered that the Sabine Tatius had reigned there, that Numa had been summoned from Cures to fill the throne, that Ancus himself was sprung from a Sabine mother, and could not trace his nobility beyond Numa. Her husband’s ambition and the fact that Tarquinii was his native country only on the mother’s side, made him give a ready ear to her proposals. They accordingly packed up their goods and removed to Rome.
They had got as far as the Janiculum when a hovering eagle swooped gently down and took off his cap as he was sitting by his wife’s side in the carriage, then circling round the vehicle with loud cries, as though commissioned by heaven for this service, replaced it carefully upon his head and soared away. It is said that Tanaquil, who, like most Etruscans, was expert in interpreting celestial prodigies, was delighted at the omen. She threw her arms round her husband and bade him look for a high and majestic destiny, for such was the import of the eagle’s appearance, of the particular part of the sky where it appeared, and of the deity who sent it. The omen was directed to the crown and summit of his person, the bird had raised aloft an adornment put on by human hands, to replace it as the gift of heaven. Full of these hopes and surmises they entered the City, and after procuring a domicile there, they announced his name as Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. The fact of his being a stranger, and a wealthy one, brought him into notice, and he increased the advantage which Fortune gave him by his courteous demeanour, his lavish hospitality, and the many acts of kindness by which he won all whom it was in his power to win, until his reputation even reached the palace. Once introduced to the king’s notice, he soon succeeded by adroit complaisance in getting on to such familiar terms that he was consulted in matters of state, as much as in private matters, whether they referred to either peace or war. At last, after passing every test of character and ability, he was actually appointed by the king’s will guardian to his children.
[1.35]Ancus reigned twenty-four years, unsurpassed by any of his predecessors in ability and reputation, both in the field and at home. His sons had now almost reached manhood. Tarquin was all the more anxious for the election of the new king to be held as soon as possible. At the time fixed for it he sent the boys out of the way on a hunting expedition. He is said to have been the first who canvassed for the crown and delivered a set speech to secure the interest of the plebs. In it he asserted that he was not making an unheard-of request, he was not the first foreigner who aspired to the Roman throne; were this so, any one might feel surprise and indignation. But he was the third. Tatius was not only a foreigner, but was made king after he had been their enemy; Numa, an entire stranger to the City, had been called to the throne without any seeking it on his part. As to himself, as soon as he was his own master, he had removed to Rome with his wife and his whole fortune; he had lived at Rome for a larger part of the period during which men discharge the functions of citizenship than he had passed in his old country; he had learnt the laws of Rome, the ceremonial rites of Rome, both civil and military, under Ancus himself, a very sufficient teacher; he had been second to none in duty and service towards the king; he had not yielded to the king himself in generous treatment of others. Whilst he was stating these facts, which were certainly true, the Roman people with enthusiastic unanimity elected him king. Though in all other respects an excellent man, his ambition, which impelled him to seek the crown, followed him on to the throne; with the design of strengthening himself quite as much as of increasing the State, he made a hundred new senators. These were afterwards called “the Lesser Houses” and formed a body of uncompromising supporters of the king, through whose kindness they had entered the senate. The first war he engaged in was with the Latins. He took the town of Apiolae by storm, and carried off a greater amount of plunder than could have been expected from the slight interest shown in the war. After this had been brought in wagons to Rome, he celebrated the Games with greater splendour and on a larger scale than his predecessors. Then for the first time a space was marked for what is now the “Circus Maximus.” Spots were allotted to the patricians and knights where they could each build for themselves stands – called “ford” – from which to view the Games. These stands were raised on wooden props, branching out at the top, twelve feet high. The contests were horse-racing and boxing, the horses and boxers mostly brought from Etruria. They were at first celebrated on occasions of especial solemnity; subsequently they became an annual fixture, and were called indifferently the “Roman” or the “Great Games.” This king also divided the ground round the Forum into building sites; arcades and shops were put up.
[1.36]He was also making preparations for surrounding the City with a stone wall when his designs were interrupted by a war with the Sabines. So sudden was the outbreak that the enemy were crossing the Anio before a Roman army could meet and stop them. There was great alarm in Rome. The first battle was indecisive, and there was great slaughter on both sides. The enemies’ return to their camp allowed time for the Romans to make preparations for a fresh campaign. Tarquin thought his army was weakest in cavalry and decided to double the centuries, which Romulus had formed, of the Ramnes, Titienses, and Luceres, and to distinguish them by his own name. Now as Romulus had acted under the sanction of the auspices, Attus Navius, a celebrated augur at that time, insisted that no change could be made, nothing new introduced, unless the birds gave a favourable omen. The king’s anger was roused, and in mockery of the augur’s skill he is reported to have said, “Come, you diviner, find out by your augury whether what I am now contemplating can be done.” Attus, after consulting the omens, declared that it could. “Well,” the king replied, “I had it in my mind that you should cut a whetstone with a razor. Take these, and perform the feat which your birds portend can be done.” It is said that without the slightest hesitation he cut it through. There used to be a statue of Attus, representing him with his head covered, in the Comitium, on the steps to the left of the senate-house, where the incident occurred. The whetstone also, it is recorded, was placed there to be a memorial of the marvel for future generations. At all events, auguries and the college of augurs were held in such honour that nothing was undertaken in peace or war without their sanction; the assembly of the curies, the assembly of the centuries, matters of the highest importance, were suspended or broken up if the omen of the birds was unfavourable. Even on that occasion Tarquin was deterred from making changes in the names or numbers of the centuries of knights; he merely doubled the number of men in each, so that the three centuries contained eighteen hundred men. Those who were added to the centuries bore the same designation, only they were called the “Second” knights, and the centuries being thus doubled are now called the “Six Centuries.”
[1.37]After this division of the forces was augmented there was a second collision with the Sabines, in which the increased strength of the Roman army was aided by an artifice. Men were secretly sent to set fire to a vast quantity of logs lying on the banks of the Anio, and float them down the river on rafts. The wind fanned the flames, and as the logs drove against the piles and stuck there they set the bridge on fire. This incident, occurring during the battle, created a panic among the Sabines and led to their rout, and at the same time prevented their flight; many after escaping from the enemy perished in the river. Their shields floated down the Tiber as far as the City, and being recognised, made it clear that there had been a victory almost before it could be announced. In that battle the cavalry especially distinguished themselves. They were posted on each wing, and when the infantry in the centre were being forced back, it is said that they made such a desperate charge from both sides that they not only arrested the Sabine legions as they were pressing on the retreating Romans, but immediately put them to flight. The Sabines, in wild disorder, made for the hills, a few gained them, by far the greater number, as was stated above, were driven by the cavalry into the river. Tarquin determined to follow them up before they could recover from their panic. He sent the prisoners and booty to Rome; the spoils of the enemy had been devoted to Vulcan, they were accordingly collected into an enormous pile and burnt; then he proceeded forthwith to lead his army into the Sabine territory. In spite of their recent defeat and the hopelessness of repairing it, the Sabines met him with a hastily raised body of militia, as there was no time for concerting a plan of operations. They were again defeated, and as they were now brought to the verge of ruin, sought for peace.
[1.38]Collatia and all the territory on this side of it was taken from the Sabines; Egerius, the king’s nephew, was left to hold it. I understand that the procedure on the surrender of Collatia was as follows: The king asked, “Have you been sent as envoys and commissioners by the people of Collatia to make the surrender of yourselves and the people of Collatia?” “We have.” “And is the people of Collatia an independent people?” “It is.” “Do you surrender into my power and that of the People of Rome yourselves, and the people of Collatia, your city, lands, water, boundaries, temples, sacred vessels, all things divine and human?” “We do surrender them.” “Then I accept them.” After bringing the Sabine war to a conclusion Tarquin returned in triumph to Rome. Then he made war on the Prisci Latini. No general engagement took place, he attacked each of their towns in succession and subjugated the whole nation. The towns of Corniculum, Old Ficulea, Cameria, Crustumerium, Ameriola, Medullia, Nomentum, were all taken from the Prisci Latini or those who had gone over to them. Then peace was made. Works of peace were now commenced with greater energy even than had been displayed in war, so that the people enjoyed no more quiet at home than they had had in the field. He made preparations for completing the work, which had been interrupted by the Sabine war, of enclosing the City in those parts where no fortification yet existed with a stone wall. The low-lying parts of the City round the Forum, and the other valleys between the hills, where the water could not escape, were drained by conduits which emptied into the Tiber. He built up with masonry a level space on the Capitol as a site for the temple of Jupiter which he had vowed during the Sabine war, and the magnitude of the work revealed his prophetic anticipation of the future greatness of the place.
[1.39]At that time an incident took place as marvellous in the appearance as it proved in the result. It is said that whilst a boy named Servius Tullius was asleep, his head was enveloped in flames, before the eyes of many who were present. The cry which broke out at such a marvellous sight aroused the royal family, and when one of the domestics was bringing water to quench the flames the queen stopped him, and after calming the excitement forbade the boy to be disturbed until he awoke of his own accord. Presently he did so, and the flames disappeared. Then Tanaquil took her husband aside and said to him, “Do you see this boy, whom we are bringing up in such a humble style? You may be certain that he will one day be a light to us in trouble and perplexity, and a protection to our tottering house. Let us henceforth bring up with all care and indulgence one who will be the source of measureless glory to the State and to ourselves.” From this time the boy began to be treated as their child and trained in those accomplishments by which characters are stimulated to the pursuit of a great destiny. The task was an easy one, for it was carrying out the will of the gods. The youth turned out to be of a truly kingly disposition, and when search was made for a son-in-law to Tarquinius, none of the Roman youths could be compared with him in any respect, so the king betrothed his daughter to him. The bestowal of this great honour upon him, whatever the reason for it, forbids our believing that he was the son of a slave, and, in his boyhood, a slave himself. I am more inclined to the opinion of those who say that in the capture of Corniculum, Servius Tullius, the leading man of that city, was killed, and his wife, who was about to become a mother, was recognised amongst the other captive women, and in consequence of her high rank was exempted from servitude by the Roman queen, and gave birth to a son in the house of Priscus Tarquinius. This kind treatment strengthened the intimacy between the women, and the boy, brought up as he was from infancy in the royal household, was held in affection and honour. It was the fate of his mother, who fell into the hands of the enemy when her native city was taken, that made people think he was the son of a slave.
[1.40]When Tarquin had been about thirty-eight years on the throne, Servius Tullius was held in by far the highest esteem of any one, not only with the king but also with the patricians and the commons. The two sons of Ancus had always felt most keenly their being deprived of their father’s throne through the treachery of their guardian; its occupation by a foreigner who was not even of Italian, much less Roman descent, increased their indignation, when they saw that not even after the death of Tarquin would the crown revert to them, but would suddenly descend to a slave – that crown which Romulus, the offspring of a god, and himself a god, had worn whilst he was on earth, now to be the possession of a slave-born slave a hundred years later! They felt that it would be a disgrace to the whole Roman nation, and especially to their house, if, while the male issue of Ancus was still alive, the sovereignty of Rome should be open not only to foreigners but even to slaves. They determined, therefore, to repel that insult by the sword. But it was on Tarquin rather than on Servius that they sought to avenge their wrongs; if the king were left alive he would be able to deal more summary vengeance than an ordinary citizen, and in the event of Servius being killed, the king would certainly make any one else whom he chose for a son-in-law heir to the crown. These considerations decided them to form a plot against the king’s life. Two shepherds, perfect desperadoes, were selected for the deed. They appeared in the vestibule of the palace, each with his usual implement, and by pretending to have a violent and outrageous quarrel, they attracted the attention of all the royal guards. Then, as they both began to appeal to the king, and their clamour had penetrated within the palace, they were summoned before the king. At first they tried, by shouting each against the other, to see who could make the most noise, until, after being repressed by the lictor and ordered to speak in turn, they became quiet, and one of the two began to state his case. Whilst the king’s attention was absorbed in listening to him, the other swung aloft his axe and drove it into the king’s head, and leaving the weapon in the wound both dashed out of the palace.
[1.41]Whilst the bystanders were supporting the dying Tarquin in their arms, the lictors caught the fugitives. The shouting drew a crowd together, wondering what had happened. In the midst of the confusion, Tanaquil ordered the palace to be cleared and the doors closed; she then carefully prepared medicaments for dressing the wound, should there be hopes of life; at the same time she decided on other precautions, should the case prove hopeless, and hastily summoned Servius. She showed him her husband at the point of death, and taking his hand, implored him not to leave his father-in-law’s death unavenged, nor to allow his mother-in-law to become the sport of her enemies. “The throne is yours, Servius,” she said, “if you are a man; it does not belong to those who have, through the hands of others, wrought this worst of crimes. Up! follow the guidance of the gods who presaged the exaltation of that head round which divine fire once played! Let that heaven-sent flame now inspire you. Rouse yourself in earnest! We, too, though foreigners, have reigned. Bethink yourself not whence you sprang, but who you are. If in this sudden emergency you are slow to resolve, then follow my counsels.” As the clamour and impatience of the populace could hardly be restrained, Tanaquil went to a window in the upper part of the palace looking out on the Via Nova – the king used to live by the temple of Jupiter Stator – and addressed the people. She bade them hope for the best; the king had been stunned by a sudden blow, but the weapon had not penetrated to any depth, he had already recovered consciousness, the blood had been washed off and the wound examined, all the symptoms were favourable, she was sure they would soon see him again, meantime it was his order that the people should recognise the authority of Servius Tullius, who would administer justice and discharge the other functions of royalty. Servius appeared in his trabea attended by the lictors, and after taking his seat in the royal chair decided some cases and adjourned others under presence of consulting the king. So for several days after Tarquin’s death Servius continued to strengthen his position by giving out that he was exercising a delegated authority. At length the sounds of mourning arose in the palace and divulged the fact of the king’s death. Protected by a strong bodyguard Servius was the first who ascended the throne without being elected by the people, though without opposition from the senate. When the sons of Ancus heard that the instruments of their crime had been arrested, that the king was still alive, and that Servius was so powerful, they went into exile at Suessa Pometia.
[1.42]Servius consolidated his power quite as much by his private as by his public measures. To guard against the children of Tarquin treating him as those of Ancus had treated Tarquin, he married his two daughters to the scions of the royal house, Lucius and Arruns Tarquin. Human counsels could not arrest the inevitable course of destiny, nor could Servius prevent the jealousy aroused by his ascending the throne from making his family the scene of disloyalty and hatred. The truce with the Veientines had now expired, and the resumption of war with them and other Etruscan cities came most opportunely to help in maintaining tranquillity at home. In this war the courage and good fortune of Tullius were conspicuous, and he returned to Rome, after defeating an immense force of the enemy, feeling quite secure on the throne, and assured of the goodwill of both patricians and commons. Then he set himself to by far the greatest of all works in times of peace. Just as Numa had been the author of religious laws and institutions, so posterity extols Servius as the founder of those divisions and classes in the State by which a clear distinction is drawn between the various grades of dignity and fortune. He instituted the census, a most beneficial institution in what was to be a great empire, in order that by its means the various duties of peace and war might be assigned, not as heretofore, indiscriminately, but in proportion to the amount of property each man possessed. From it he drew up the classes and centuries and the following distribution of them, adapted for either peace or war.
[1.43]Those whose property amounted to, or exceeded 100,000 lbs. weight of copper were formed into eighty centuries, forty of juniors and forty of seniors. These were called the First Class. The seniors were to defend the City, the juniors to serve in the field. The armour which they were to provide themselves with comprised helmet, round shield, greaves, and coat of mail, all of brass; these were to protect the person. Their offensive weapons were spear and sword. To this class were joined two centuries of carpenters whose duty it was to work the engines of war; they were without arms. The Second Class consisted of those whose property amounted to between 75,000 and 100,000 lbs. weight of copper; they were formed, seniors and juniors together, into twenty centuries. Their regulation arms were the same as those of the First Class, except that they had an oblong wooden shield instead of the round brazen one and no coat of mail. The Third Class he formed of those whose property fell as low as 50,000 lbs.; these also consisted of twenty centuries, similarly divided into seniors and juniors. The only difference in the armour was that they did not wear greaves. In the Fourth Class were those whose property did not fall below 25,000 lbs. They also formed twenty centuries; their only arms were a spear and a javelin. The Fifth Class was larger it formed thirty centuries. They carried slings and stones, and they included the supernumeraries, the horn-blowers, and the trumpeters, who formed three centuries. This Fifth Class was assessed at 11,000 lbs. The rest of the population whose property fell below this were formed into one century and were exempt from military service.
After thus regulating the equipment and distribution of the infantry, he re-arranged the cavalry. He enrolled from amongst the principal men of the State twelve centuries. In the same way he made six other centuries (though only three had been formed by Romulus) under the same names under which the first had been inaugurated. For the purchase of the horse, 10,000 lbs. were assigned them from the public treasury; whilst for its keep certain widows were assessed to pay 2000 lbs. each, annually. The burden of all these expenses was shifted from the poor on to the rich. Then additional privileges were conferred. The former kings had maintained the constitution as handed down by Romulus, viz., manhood suffrage in which all alike possessed the same weight and enjoyed the same rights. Servius introduced a graduation; so that whilst no one was ostensibly deprived of his vote, all the voting power was in the hands of the principal men of the State. The knights were first summoned to record their vote, then the eighty centuries of the infantry of the First Class; if their votes were divided, which seldom happened, it was arranged for the Second Class to be summoned; very seldom did the voting extend to the lowest Class. Nor need it occasion any surprise, that the arrangement which now exists since the completion of the thirty-five tribes, their number being doubled by the centuries of juniors and seniors, does not agree with the total as instituted by Servius Tullius. For, after dividing the City with its districts and the hills which were inhabited into four parts, he called these divisions “tribes,” I think from the tribute they paid, for he also introduced the practice of collecting it at an equal rate according to the assessment. These tribes had nothing to do with the distribution and number of the centuries.
[1.44]The work of the census was accelerated by an enactment in which Servius denounced imprisonment and even capital punishment against those who evaded assessment. On its completion he issued an order that all the citizens of Rome, knights and infantry alike, should appear in the Campus Martius, each in their centuries. After the whole army had been drawn up there, he purified it by the triple sacrifice of a swine, a sheep, and an ox. This was called “a closed lustrum,” because with it the census was completed. Eighty thousand citizens are said to have been included in that census. Fabius Pictor, the oldest of our historians, states that this was the number of those who could bear arms. To contain that population it was obvious that the City would have to be enlarged. He added to it the two hills – the Quirinal and the Viminal – and then made a further addition by including the Esquiline, and to give it more importance he lived there himself. He surrounded the City with a mound and moats and wall; in this way he extended the “pomoerium.” Looking only to the etymology of the word, they explain “pomoerium” as “postmoerium”; but it is rather a “circamoerium.” For the space which the Etruscans of old, when founding their cities, consecrated in accordance with auguries and marked off by boundary stones at intervals on each side, as the part where the wall was to be carried, was to be kept vacant so that no buildings might connect with the wall on the inside (whilst now they generally touch), and on the outside some ground might remain virgin soil untouched by cultivation. This space, which it was forbidden either to build upon or to plough, and which could not be said to be behind the wall any more than the wall could be said to be behind it, the Romans called the “pomoerium.” As the City grew, these sacred boundary stones were always moved forward as far as the walls were advanced.
[1.45]After the State was augmented by the expansion of the City and all domestic arrangements adapted to the requirements of both peace and war, Servius endeavoured to extend his dominion by state-craft, instead of aggrandising it by arms, and at the same time made an addition to the adornment of the City. The temple of the Ephesian Diana was famous at that time, and it was reported to have been built by the co-operation of the states of Asia. Servius had been careful to form ties of hospitality and friendship with the chiefs of the Latin nation, and he used to speak in the highest praise of that co-operation and the common recognition of the same deity. By constantly dwelling on this theme he at length induced the Latin tribes to join with the people of Rome in building a temple to Diana in Rome. Their doing so was an admission of the predominance of Rome; a question which had so often been disputed by arms. Though the Latins, after their many unfortunate experiences in war, had as a nation laid aside all thoughts of success, there was amongst the Sabines one man who believed that an opportunity presented itself of recovering the supremacy through his own individual cunning. The story runs that a man of substance belonging to that nation had a heifer of marvellous size and beauty. The marvel was attested in after ages by the horns which were fastened up in the vestibule of the temple of Diana. The creature was looked upon as – what it really was – a prodigy, and the soothsayers predicted that, whoever sacrificed it to Diana, the state of which he was a citizen should be the seat of empire. This prophecy had reached the ears of the official in charge of the temple of Diana. When the first day on which the sacrifice could properly be offered arrived, the Sabine drove the heifer to Rome, took it to the temple, and placed it in front of the altar. The official in charge was a Roman, and, struck by the size of the victim, which was well known by report, he recalled the prophecy and addressing the Sabine, said, “Why, pray, are you, stranger, preparing to offer a polluted sacrifice to Diana? Go and bathe yourself first in running water. The Tiber is flowing down there at the bottom of the valley.” Filled with misgivings, and anxious for everything to be done properly that the prediction might be fulfilled, the stranger promptly went down to the Tiber. Meanwhile the Roman sacrificed the heifer to Diana. This was a cause of intense gratification to the king and to his people.
[1.46]Servius was now confirmed on the throne by long possession. It had, however, come to his ears that the young Tarquin was giving out that he was reigning without the assent of the people. He first secured the goodwill of the plebs by assigning to each householder a slice of the land which had been taken from the enemy. Then he was emboldened to put to them the question whether it was their will and resolve that he should reign. He was acclaimed as king by a unanimous vote such as no king before him had obtained. This action in no degree damped Tarquin’s hopes of making his way to the throne, rather the reverse. He was a bold and aspiring youth, and his wife Tullia stimulated his restless ambition. He had seen that the granting of land to the commons was in defiance of the opinion of the senate, and he seized the opportunity it afforded him of traducing Servius and strengthening his own faction in that assembly. So it came about that the Roman palace afforded an instance of the crime which tragic poets have depicted, with the result that the loathing felt for kings hastened the advent of liberty, and the crown won by villainy was the last that was worn.
This Lucius Tarquinius – whether he was the son or the grandson of King Priscus Tarquinius is not clear; if I should give him as the son I should have the preponderance of authorities – had a brother, Arruns Tarquinius, a youth of gentle character. The two Tullias, the king’s daughters, had, as I have already stated, married these two brothers; and they themselves were of utterly unlike dispositions. It was, I believe, the good fortune of Rome which intervened to prevent two violent natures from being joined in marriage, in order that the reign of Servius Tullius might last long enough to allow the State to settle into its new constitution. The high-spirited one of the two Tullias was annoyed that there was nothing in her husband for her to work on in the direction of either greed or ambition. All her affections were transferred to the other Tarquin; he was her admiration, he, she said, was a man, he was really of royal blood. She despised her sister, because having a man for her husband she was not animated by the spirit of a woman. Likeness of character soon drew them together, as evil usually consorts best with evil. But it was the woman who was the originator of all the mischief. She constantly held clandestine interviews with her sister’s husband, to whom she unsparingly vilified alike her husband and her sister, asserting that it would have been better for her to have remained unmarried and he a bachelor, rather than for them each to be thus unequally mated, and fret in idleness through the poltroonery of others. Had heaven given her the husband she deserved, she would soon have seen the sovereignty which her father wielded established in her own house. She rapidly infected the young man with her own recklessness. Lucius Tarquin and the younger Tullia, by a double murder, cleared from their houses the obstacles to a fresh marriage; their nuptials were solemnised with the tacit acquiescence rather than the approbation of Servius.
[1.47]From that time the old age of Tullius became more embittered, his reign more unhappy. The woman began to look forward from one crime to another; she allowed her husband no rest day or night, for fear lest the past murders should prove fruitless. What she wanted, she said, was not a man who was only her husband in name, or with whom she was to live in uncomplaining servitude; the man she needed was one who deemed himself worthy of a throne, who remembered that he was the son of Priscus Tarquinius, who preferred to wear a crown rather than live in hopes of it. “If you are the man to whom I thought I was married, then I call you my husband and my king; but if not, I have changed my condition for the worse, since you are not only a coward but a criminal to boot. Why do you not prepare yourself for action? You are not, like your father, a native of Corinth or Tarquinii, nor is it a foreign crown you have to win. Your father’s household gods, your father’s image, the royal palace, the kingly throne within it, the very name of Tarquin, all declare you king. If you have not courage enough for this, why do you excite vain hopes in the State? Why do you allow yourself to be looked up to as a youth of kingly stock? Make your way back to Tarquinii or Corinth, sink back to the position whence you sprung; you have your brother’s nature rather than your father’s.” With taunts like these she egged him on. She, too, was perpetually haunted by the thought that whilst Tanaquil, a woman of alien descent, had shown such spirit as to give the crown to her husband and her son-in-law in succession, she herself, though of royal descent, had no power either in giving it or taking it away. Infected by the woman’s madness Tarquin began to go about and interview the nobles, mainly those of the Lesser Houses; he reminded them of the favour his father had shown them, and asked them to prove their gratitude; he won over the younger men with presents. By making magnificent promises as to what he would do, and by bringing charges against the king, his cause became stronger amongst all ranks.
At last, when he thought the time for action had arrived, he appeared suddenly in the Forum with a body of armed men. A general panic ensued, during which he seated himself in the royal chair in the senate-house and ordered the Fathers to be summoned by the crier “into the presence of King Tarquin.” They hastily assembled, some already prepared for what was coming; others, apprehensive lest their absence should arouse suspicion, and dismayed by the extraordinary nature of the incident, were convinced that the fate of Servius was sealed. Tarquin went back to the king’s birth, protested that he was a slave and the son of a slave, and after his (the speaker’s) father had been foully murdered, seized the throne, as a woman’s gift, without any interrex being appointed as heretofore, without any assembly being convened, without any vote of the people being taken or any confirmation of it by the Fathers. Such was his origin, such was his right to the crown. His sympathies were with the dregs of society from which he had sprung, and through jealousy of the ranks to which he did not belong, he had taken the land from the foremost men in the State and divided it amongst the vilest; he had shifted on to them the whole of the burdens which had formerly been borne in common by all; he had instituted the census that the fortunes of the wealthy might be held up to envy, and be an easily available source from which to shower doles, whenever he pleased, upon the neediest.
[1.48]Servius had been summoned by a breathless messenger, and arrived on the scene while Tarquin was speaking. As soon as he reached the vestibule, he exclaimed in loud tones, “What is the meaning of this, Tarquin? How dared you, with such insolence, convene the senate or sit in that chair whilst I am alive?” Tarquin replied fiercely that he was occupying his father’s seat, that a king’s son was a much more legitimate heir to the throne than a slave, and that he, Servius, in playing his reckless game, had insulted his masters long enough. Shouts arose from their respective partisans, the people made a rush to the senate-house, and it was evident that he who won the fight would reign. Then Tarquin, forced by sheer necessity into proceeding to the last extremity, seized Servius round the waist, and being a much younger and stronger man, carried him out of the senate-house and flung him down the steps into the Forum below. He then returned to call the senate to order. The officers and attendants of the king fled. The king himself, half dead from the violence, was put to death by those whom Tarquin had sent in pursuit of him. It is the current belief that this was done at Tullia’s suggestion, for it is quite in keeping with the rest of her wickedness. At all events, it is generally agreed that she drove down to the Forum in a two-wheeled car, and, unabashed by the presence of the crowd, called her husband out of the senate-house and was the first to salute him as king. He told her to make her way out of the tumult, and when on her return she had got as far as the top of the Cyprius Vicus, where the temple of Diana lately stood, and was turning to the right on the Urbius Clivus, to get to the Esquiline, the driver stopped horror-struck and pulled up, and pointed out to his mistress the corpse of the murdered Servius. Then, the tradition runs, a foul and unnatural crime was committed, the memory of which the place still bears, for they call it the Vicus Sceleratus. It is said that Tullia, goaded to madness by the avenging spirits of her sister and her husband, drove right over her father’s body, and carried back some of her father’s blood with which the car and she herself were defiled to her own and her husband’s household gods, through whose anger a reign which began in wickedness was soon brought to a close by a like cause. Servius Tullius reigned forty-four years, and even a wise and good successor would have found it difficult to fill the throne as he had done. The glory of his reign was all the greater because with him perished all just and lawful kingship in Rome. Gentle and moderate as his sway had been, he had nevertheless, according to some authorities, formed the intention of laying it down, because it was vested in a single person, but this purpose of giving freedom to the State was cut short by that domestic crime.
[1.49]Lucius Tarquinius now began his reign. His conduct procured for him the nickname of “Superbus,” for he deprived his father-in-law of burial, on the plea that Romulus was not buried, and he slew the leading nobles whom he suspected of being partisans of Servius. Conscious that the precedent which he had set, of winning a throne by violence, might be used against himself, he surrounded himself with a guard. For he had nothing whatever by which to make good his claim to the crown except actual violence; he was reigning without either being elected by the people, or confirmed by the senate. As, moreover, he had no hope of winning the affections of the citizens, he had to maintain his dominion by fear. To make himself more dreaded, he conducted the trials in capital cases without any assessors, and under this presence he was able to put to death, banish, or fine not only those whom he suspected or disliked, but also those from whom his only object was to extort money. His main object was so to reduce the number of senators, by refusing to fill up any vacancies, that the dignity of the order itself might be lowered through the smallness of its numbers, and less indignation felt at all public business being taken out of its hands. He was the first of the kings to break through the traditional custom of consulting the senate on all questions, the first to conduct the government on the advice of his palace favourites. War, peace, treaties, alliances were made or broken off by him, just as he thought good, without any authority from either people or senate. He made a special point of securing the Latin nation, that through his power and influence abroad he might be safer amongst his subjects at home; he not only formed ties of hospitality with their chief men, but established family connections. He gave his daughter in marriage to Octavius Mamilius of Tusculum, who was quite the foremost man of the Latin race, descended, if we are to believe traditions, from Ulysses and the goddess Circe; through that connection he gained many of his son-in-law’s relations and friends.
[1.50]Tarquin had now gained considerable influence amongst the Latin nobility, and he sent word for them to meet on a fixed date at the Grove of Ferentina, as there were matters of mutual interest about which he wished to consult them. They assembled in considerable numbers at daybreak; Tarquin kept his appointment, it is true, but did not arrive till shortly before sunset. The council spent the whole day in discussing many topics. Turnus Herdonius, from Aricia, had made a fierce attack on the absent Tarquin. It was no wonder, he said, that the epithet “Tyrant” had been bestowed upon him at Rome – for this was what people commonly called him, though only in whispers – could anything show the tyrant more than his thus trifling with the whole Latin nation? After summoning the chiefs from distant homes, the man who had called the council was not present. He was in fact trying how far he could go, so that if they submitted to the yoke he might crush them. Who could not see that he was making his way to sovereignty over the Latins? Even supposing that his own countrymen did well to entrust him with supreme power, or rather that it was entrusted and not seized by an act of parricide, the Latins ought not, even in that case, to place it in the hands of an alien. But if his own people bitterly rue his sway, seeing how they are being butchered, sent into exile, stripped of all their property, what better fate can the Latins hope for? If they followed the speaker’s advice they would go home and take as little notice of the day fixed for the council as he who had fixed it was taking. Just while these and similar sentiments were being uttered by the man who had gained his influence in Aricia by treasonable and criminal practice, Tarquin appeared on the scene. That put a stop to his speech, for all turned from the speaker to salute the king. When silence was restored, Tarquin was advised by those near to explain why he had come so late. He said that having been chosen as arbitrator between a father and a son, he had been detained by his endeavours to reconcile them, and as that matter had taken up the whole day, he would bring forward the measures he had decided upon the next day. It is said that even this explanation was not received by Turnus without his commenting on it; no case, he argued, could take up less time than one between a father and a son, it could be settled in a few words; if the son did not comply with the father’s wishes he would get into trouble.
[1.51]With these censures on the Roman king he left the council. Tarquin took the matter more seriously than he appeared to do and at once began to plan Turnus’ death, in order that he might inspire the Latins with the same terror through which he had crushed the spirits of his subjects at home. As he had not the power to get him openly put to death, he compassed his destruction by bringing a false charge against him. Through the agency of some of the Aricians who were opposed to Turnus, he bribed a slave of his to allow a large quantity of swords to be carried secretly into his quarters. This plan was executed in one night. Shortly before daybreak Tarquin summoned the Latin chiefs into his presence, as though something had happened to give him great alarm. He told them that his delay on the previous day had been brought about by some divine providence, for it had proved the salvation both of them and himself. He was informed that Turnus was planning his murder and that of the leading men in the different cities, in order that he might hold sole rule over the Latins. He would have attempted it the previous day in the council; but the attempt was deferred owing to the absence of the convener of the council, the chief object of attack. Hence the abuse levelled against him in his absence, because his delay had frustrated the hopes of success. If the reports which reached him were true, he had no doubt that, on the assembling of the council at daybreak, Turnus would come armed and with a strong body of conspirators. It was asserted that a vast number of swords had been conveyed to him. Whether this was an idle rumour or not could very soon be ascertained, he asked them to go with him to Turnus. The restless, ambitious character of Turnus, his speech of the previous day, and Tarquin’s delay, which easily accounted for the postponement of the murder, all lent colour to their suspicions. They went, inclined to accept Tarquin’s statement, but quite prepared to regard the whole story as baseless, if the swords were not discovered. When they arrived, Turnus was roused from sleep and placed under guard, and the slaves who from affection to their master were preparing to defend him were seized. Then, when the concealed swords were produced from every corner of his lodgings, the matter appeared only too certain and Turnus was thrown into chains. Amidst great excitement a council of the Latins was at once summoned. The sight of the swords, placed in the midst, aroused such furious resentment that he was condemned, without being heard in his defence, to an unprecedented mode of death. He was thrown into the fountain of Ferentina and drowned by a hurdle weighted with stones being placed over him.
[1.52]After the Latins had reassembled in council and had been commended by Tarquin for having inflicted on Turnus a punishment befitting his revolutionary and murderous designs, Tarquin addressed them as follows: It was in his power to exercise a long-established right, since, as all the Latins traced their origin to Alba, they were included in the treaty made by Tullus under which the whole of the Alban State with its colonies passed under the suzerainty of Rome. He thought, however, that it would be more advantageous for all parties if that treaty were renewed, so that the Latins could enjoy a share in the prosperity of the Roman people, instead of always looking out for, or actually suffering, the demolition of their towns and the devastation of their fields, as happened in the reign of Ancus and afterwards whilst his own father was on the throne. The Latins were persuaded without much difficulty, although by that treaty Rome was the predominant State, for they saw that the heads of the Latin League were giving their adhesion to the king, and Turnus afforded a present example of the danger incurred by any one who opposed the king’s wishes. So the treaty was renewed, and orders were issued for the “juniors” amongst the Latins to muster under arms, in accordance with the treaty, on a given day, at the Grove of Ferentina. In compliance with the order contingents assembled from all the thirty towns, and with a view to depriving them of their own general or a separate command, or distinctive standards, he formed one Latin and one Roman century into a maniple, thereby making one unit out of the two, whilst he doubled the strength of the maniples, and placed a centurion over each half.
[1.53]However tyrannical the king was in his domestic administration he was by no means a despicable general; in military skill he would have rivalled any of his predecessors had not the degeneration of his character in other directions prevented him from attaining distinction here also. He was the first to stir up war with the Volscians – a war which was to last for more than two hundred years after his time – and took from them the city of Pomptine Suessa. The booty was sold and he realised out of the proceeds forty talents of silver. He then sketched out the design of a temple to Jupiter, which in its extent should be worthy of the king of gods and men, worthy of the Roman empire, worthy of the majesty of the City itself. He set apart the above-mentioned sum for its construction. The next war occupied him longer than he expected. Failing to capture the neighbouring city of Gabii by assault and finding it useless to attempt an investment, after being defeated under its walls, he employed methods against it which were anything but Roman, namely, fraud and deceit. He pretended to have given up all thoughts of war and to be devoting himself to laying the foundations of his temple and other undertakings in the City. Meantime, it was arranged that Sextus, the youngest of his three sons, should go as a refugee to Gabii, complaining loudly of his father’s insupportable cruelty, and declaring that he had shifted his tyranny from others on to his own family, and even regarded the presence of his children as a burden and was preparing to devastate his own family as he had devastated the senate, so that not a single descendant, not a single heir to the crown might be left. He had, he said, himself escaped from the murderous violence of his father, and felt that no place was safe for him except amongst Lucius Tarquin’s enemies. Let them not deceive themselves, the war which apparently was abandoned was hanging over them, and at the first chance he would attack them when they least expected it. If amongst them there was no place for suppliants, he would wander through Latium, he would petition the Volsci, the Aequi, the Hernici, until he came to men who know how to protect children against the cruel and unnatural persecutions of parents. Perhaps he would find people with sufficient spirit to take up arms against a remorseless tyrant backed by a warlike people. As it seemed probable that if they paid no attention to him he would, in his angry mood, take his departure, the people of Gabii gave him a kind reception. They told him not to be surprised if his father treated his children as he had treated his own subjects and his allies; failing others he would end by murdering himself. They showed pleasure at his arrival and expressed their belief that with his assistance the war would be transferred from the gates of Gabii to the walls of Rome.
[1.54]He was admitted to the meetings of the national council. Whilst expressing his agreement with the elders of Gabii on other subjects, on which they were better informed, he was continually urging them to war, and claimed to speak with special authority, because he was acquainted with the strength of each nation, and knew that the king’s tyranny, which even his own children had found insupportable, was certainly detested by his subjects. So after gradually working up the leaders of the Gabinians to revolt, he went in person with some of the most eager of the young men on foraging and plundering expeditions. By playing the hypocrite both in speech and action, he gained their mistaken confidence more and more; at last he was chosen as commander in the war. Whilst the mass of the population were unaware of what was intended, skirmishes took place between Rome and Gabii in which the advantage generally rested with the latter, until the Gabinians from the highest to the lowest firmly believed that Sextus Tarquin had been sent by heaven to be their leader. As for the soldiers, he became so endeared to them by sharing all their toils and dangers, and by a lavish distribution of the plunder, that the elder Tarquin was not more powerful in Rome than his son was in Gabii.
When he thought himself strong enough to succeed in anything that he might attempt, he sent one of his friends to his father at Rome to ask what he wished him to do now that the gods had given him sole and absolute power in Gabii. To this messenger no verbal reply was given, because, I believe, he mistrusted him. The king went into the palace-garden, deep in thought, his son’s messenger following him. As he walked along in silence it is said that he struck off the tallest poppy-heads with his stick. Tired of asking and waiting for an answer, and feeling his mission to be a failure, the messenger returned to Gabii, and reported what he had said and seen, adding that the king, whether through temper or personal aversion or the arrogance which was natural to him, had not uttered a single word. When it had become clear to Sextus what his father meant him to understand by his mysterious silent action, he proceeded to get rid of the foremost men of the State by traducing some of them to the people, whilst others fell victims to their own unpopularity. Many were publicly executed, some against whom no plausible charges could be brought were secretly assassinated. Some were allowed to seek safety in flight, or were driven into exile; the property of these as well as of those who had been put to death was distributed in grants and bribes. The gratification felt by each who received a share blunted the sense of the public mischief that was being wrought, until, deprived of all counsel and help, the State of Gabii was surrendered to the Roman king without a single battle.
[1.55]After the acquisition of Gabii, Tarquin made peace with the Aequi and renewed the treaty with the Etruscans. Then he turned his attention to the business of the City. The first thing was the temple of Jupiter on the Tarpeian Mount, which he was anxious to leave behind as a memorial of his reign and name; both the Tarquins were concerned in it, the father had vowed it, the son completed it. That the whole of the area which the temple of Jupiter was to occupy might be wholly devoted to that deity, he decided to deconsecrate the fanes and chapels, some of which had been originally vowed by King Tatius at the crisis of his battle with Romulus, and subsequently consecrated and inaugurated. Tradition records that at the commencement of this work the gods sent a divine intimation of the future vastness of the empire, for whilst the omens were favourable for the deconsecration of all the other shrines, they were unfavourable for that of the fane of Terminus. This was interpreted to mean that as the abode of Terminus was not moved and he alone of all the deities was not called forth from his consecrated borders, so all would be firm and immovable in the future empire. This augury of lasting dominion was followed by a prodigy which portended the greatness of the empire. It is said that whilst they were digging the foundations of the temple, a human head came to light with the face perfect; this appearance unmistakably portended that the spot would be the stronghold of empire and the head of all the world. This was the interpretation given by the soothsayers in the City, as well as by those who had been called into council from Etruria. The king’s designs were now much more extensive; so much so that his share of the spoils of Pometia, which had been set apart to complete the work, now hardly met the cost of the foundations. This makes me inclined to trust Fabius – who, moreover is the older authority – when he says that the amount was only forty talents, rather than Piso, who states that forty thousand pounds of silver were set apart for that object. For not only is such a sum more than could be expected from the spoils of any single city at that time, but it would more than suffice for the foundations of the most magnificent building of the present day.
[1.56]Determined to finish his temple, he sent for workmen from all parts of Etruria, and not only used the public treasury to defray the cost, but also compelled the plebeians to take their share of the work. This was in addition to their military service, and was anything but a light burden. Still they felt it less of a hardship to build the temples of the gods with their own hands, than they did afterwards when they were transferred to other tasks less imposing, but involving greater toil – the construction of the “ford” in the Circus and that of the Cloaca Maxima, a subterranean tunnel to receive all the sewage of the City. The magnificence of these two works could hardly be equalled by anything in the present day. When the plebeians were no longer required for these works, he considered that such a multitude of unemployed would prove a burden to the State, and as he wished the frontiers of the empire to be more widely colonised, he sent colonists to Signia and Circeii to serve as a protection to the City by land and sea. While he was carrying out these undertakings a frightful portent appeared; a snake gliding out of a wooden column created confusion and panic in the palace. The king himself was not so much terrified as filled with anxious forebodings. The Etruscan soothsayers were only employed to interpret prodigies which affected the State; but this one concerned him and his house personally, so he decided to send to the world-famed oracle of Delphi. Fearing to entrust the oracular response to any one else, he sent two of his sons to Greece, through lands at that time unknown and over seas still less known. Titus and Arruns started on their journey. They had as a travelling companion L. Junius Brutus, the son of the king’s sister, Tarquinia, a young man of a very different character from that which he had assumed. When he heard of the massacre of the chiefs of the State, amongst them his own brother, by his uncle’s orders, he determined that his intelligence should give the king no cause for alarm nor his fortune any provocation to his avarice, and that as the laws afforded no protection, he would seek safety in obscurity and neglect. Accordingly he carefully kept up the appearance and conduct of an idiot, leaving the king to do what he liked with his person and property, and did not even protest against his nickname of “Brutus”; for under the protection of that nickname the soul which was one day to liberate Rome was awaiting its destined hour. The story runs that when brought to Delphi by the Tarquins, more as a butt for their sport than as a companion, he had with him a golden staff enclosed in a hollow one of corner wood, which he offered to Apollo as a mystical emblem of his own character. After executing their father’s commission the young men were desirous of ascertaining to which of them the kingdom of Rome would come. A voice came from the lowest depths of the cavern: “Whichever of you, young men, shall be the first to kiss his mother, he shall hold supreme sway in Rome.” Sextus had remained behind in Rome, and to keep him in ignorance of this oracle and so deprive him of any chance of coming to the throne, the two Tarquins insisted upon absolute silence being kept on the subject. They drew lots to decide which of them should be the first to kiss his mother on their return to Rome. Brutus, thinking that the oracular utterance had another meaning, pretended to stumble, and as he fell kissed the ground, for the earth is of course the common mother of us all. Then they returned to Rome, where preparations were being energetically pushed forward for a war with the Rutulians.
[1.57]This people, who were at that time in possession of Ardea, were, considering the nature of their country and the age in which they lived, exceptionally wealthy. This circumstance really originated the war, for the Roman king was anxious to repair his own fortune, which had been exhausted by the magnificent scale of his public works, and also to conciliate his subjects by a distribution of the spoils of war. His tyranny had already produced disaffection, but what moved their special resentment was the way they had been so long kept by the king at manual and even servile labour. An attempt was made to take Ardea by assault; when that failed recourse was had to a regular investment to starve the enemy out. When troops are stationary, as is the case in a protracted more than in an active campaign, furloughs are easily granted, more so to the men of rank, however, than to the common soldiers. The royal princes sometimes spent their leisure hours in feasting and entertainments, and at a wine party given by Sextus Tarquinius at which Collatinus, the son of Egerius, was present, the conversation happened to turn upon their wives, and each began to speak of his own in terms of extraordinarily high praise. As the dispute became warm, Collatinus said that there was no need of words, it could in a few hours be ascertained how far his Lucretia was superior to all the rest. “Why do we not,” he exclaimed, “if we have any youthful vigour about us, mount our horses and pay our wives a visit and find out their characters on the spot? What we see of the behaviour of each on the unexpected arrival of her husband, let that be the surest test.” They were heated with wine, and all shouted: “Good! Come on!” Setting spur to their horses they galloped off to Rome, where they arrived as darkness was beginning to close in. Thence they proceeded to Collatia, where they found Lucretia very differently employed from the king’s daughters-in-law, whom they had seen passing their time in feasting and luxury with their acquaintances. She was sitting at her wool work in the hall, late at night, with her maids busy round her. The palm in this competition of wifely virtue was awarded to Lucretia. She welcomed the arrival of her husband and the Tarquins, whilst her victorious spouse courteously invited the royal princes to remain as his guests. Sextus Tarquin, inflamed by the beauty and exemplary purity of Lucretia, formed the vile project of effecting her dishonour. After their youthful frolic they returned for the time to camp.
[1.58]A few days afterwards Sextus Tarquin went, unknown to Collatinus, with one companion to Collatia. He was hospitably received by the household, who suspected nothing, and after supper was conducted to the bedroom set apart for guests. When all around seemed safe and everybody fast asleep, he went in the frenzy of his passion with a naked sword to the sleeping Lucretia, and placing his left hand on her breast, said, “Silence, Lucretia! I am Sextus Tarquin, and I have a sword in my hand; if you utter a word, you shall die.” When the woman, terrified out of her sleep, saw that no help was near, and instant death threatening her, Tarquin began to confess his passion, pleaded, used threats as well as entreaties, and employed every argument likely to influence a female heart. When he saw that she was inflexible and not moved even by the fear of death, he threatened to disgrace her, declaring that he would lay the naked corpse of the slave by her dead body, so that it might be said that she had been slain in foul adultery. By this awful threat, his lust triumphed over her inflexible chastity, and Tarquin went off exulting in having successfully attacked her honour. Lucretia, overwhelmed with grief at such a frightful outrage, sent a messenger to her father at Rome and to her husband at Ardea, asking them to come to her, each accompanied by one faithful friend; it was necessary to act, and to act promptly; a horrible thing had happened. Spurius Lucretius came with Publius Valerius, the son of Volesus; Collatinus with Lucius Junius Brutus, with whom he happened to be returning to Rome when he was met by his wife’s messenger. They found Lucretia sitting in her room prostrate with grief. As they entered, she burst into tears, and to her husband’s inquiry whether all was well, replied, “No! what can be well with a woman when her honour is lost? The marks of a stranger, Collatinus, are in your bed. But it is only the body that has been violated, the soul is pure; death shall bear witness to that. But pledge me your solemn word that the adulterer shall not go unpunished. It is Sextus Tarquin, who, coming as an enemy instead of a guest, forced from me last night by brutal violence a pleasure fatal to me, and, if you are men, fatal to him.” They all successively pledged their word, and tried to console the distracted woman by turning the guilt from the victim of the outrage to the perpetrator, and urging that it is the mind that sins, not the body, and where there has been no consent there is no guilt. “It is for you,” she said, “to see that he gets his deserts; although I acquit myself of the sin, I do not free myself from the penalty; no unchaste woman shall henceforth live and plead Lucretia’s example.” She had a knife concealed in her dress which she plunged into her heart, and fell dying on the floor. Her father and husband raised the death-cry.
[1.59]Whilst they were absorbed in grief, Brutus drew the knife from Lucretia’s wound, and holding it, dripping with blood, in front of him, said, “By this blood – most pure before the outrage wrought by the king’s son – I swear, and you, O gods, I call to witness that I will drive hence Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, together with his cursed wife and his whole brood, with fire and sword and every means in my power, and I will not suffer them or any one else to reign in Rome.” Then he handed the knife to Collatinus and then to Lucretius and Valerius, who were all astounded at the marvel of the thing, wondering whence Brutus had acquired this new character. They swore as they were directed; all their grief changed to wrath, and they followed the lead of Brutus, who summoned them to abolish the monarchy forthwith. They carried the body of Lucretia from her home down to the Forum, where, owing to the unheard-of atrocity of the crime, they at once collected a crowd. Each had his own complaint to make of the wickedness and violence of the royal house. Whilst all were moved by the father’s deep distress, Brutus bade them stop their tears and idle laments, and urged them to act as men and Romans and take up arms against their insolent foes. All the high-spirited amongst the younger men came forward as armed volunteers, the rest followed their example. A portion of this body was left to hold Collatia, and guards were stationed at the gates to prevent any news of the movement from reaching the king; the rest marched in arms to Rome with Brutus in command. On their arrival, the sight of so many men in arms spread panic and confusion wherever they marched, but when again the people saw that the foremost men of the State were leading the way, they realised that whatever the movement was it was a serious one. The terrible occurrence created no less excitement in Rome than it had done in Collatia; there was a rush from all quarters of the City to the Forum. When they had gathered there, the herald summoned them to attend the “Tribune of the Celeres”; this was the office which Brutus happened at the time to be holding. He made a speech quite out of keeping with the character and temper he had up to that day assumed. He dwelt upon the brutality and licentiousness of Sextus Tarquin, the infamous outrage on Lucretia and her pitiful death, the bereavement sustained by her father, Tricipitinus, to whom the cause of his daughter’s death was more shameful and distressing than the actual death itself. Then he dwelt on the tyranny of the king, the toils and sufferings of the plebeians kept underground clearing out ditches and sewers – Roman men, conquerors of all the surrounding nations, turned from warriors into artisans and stonemasons! He reminded them of the shameful murder of Servius Tullius and his daughter driving in her accursed chariot over her father’s body, and solemnly invoked the gods as the avengers of murdered parents. By enumerating these and, I believe, other still more atrocious incidents which his keen sense of the present injustice suggested, but which it is not easy to give in detail, he goaded on the incensed multitude to strip the king of his sovereignty and pronounce a sentence of banishment against Tarquin with his wife and children. With a picked body of the “Juniors,” who volunteered to follow him, he went off to the camp at Ardea to incite the army against the king, leaving the command in the City to Lucretius, who had previously been made Prefect of the City by the king. During the commotion Tullia fled from the palace amidst the execrations of all whom she met, men and women alike invoking against her her father’s avenging spirit.
[1.60]When the news of these proceedings reached the camp, the king, alarmed at the turn affairs were taking, hurried to Rome to quell the outbreak. Brutus, who was on the same road had become aware of his approach, and to avoid meeting him took another route, so that he reached Ardea and Tarquin Rome almost at the same time, though by different ways. Tarquin found the gates shut, and a decree of banishment passed against him; the Liberator of the City received a joyous welcome in the camp, and the king’s sons were expelled from it. Two of them followed their father into exile amongst the Etruscans in Caere. Sextus Tarquin proceeded to Gabii, which he looked upon as his kingdom, but was killed in revenge for the old feuds he had kindled by his rapine and murders. Lucius Tarquinius Superbus reigned twenty-five years. The whole duration of the regal government from the foundation of the City to its liberation was two hundred and forty-four years. Two consuls were then elected in the assembly of centuries by the prefect of the City, in accordance with the regulations of Servius Tullius. They were Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus.