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Heavy rains had fallen of late, and, as the king knew, the river had overflowed its banks, but of this he recked not at all, although, indeed, the flood was to be his undoing. Two servants, obeying the cruel order of Amulius, placed the baby boys in a basket, and going to the Tiber, flung their burden into the river. Like a boat the basket floated hither and thither on the water, until at length, carried onward by the flood, it was washed ashore at the foot of a hill called Mount Palatine.
Here, under the shade of a wild fig-tree, the basket was overturned, and the babes lay safe and sound upon the dry ground, while the river stole softly backward into its accustomed channel. Before long the babes awoke hungry and began to cry. A she-wolf coming to the edge of the river to drink heard their cries, and carried them away to her cave, where she fed them with her milk, just as she would have fed her lost cubs. She washed them, too, as she was used to wash her own children, by licking them with her tongue.
The twin boys, it was said, were guarded by the god Mars. So it was not strange that, as they grew older, the god should send his sacred birds, the woodpeckers, to feed the children. In and out of the cave the birds flew each day, bringing with them food for the little boys. But neither the wolf nor the birds could do all that was needful, so before long, the god who watched over the children sent Faustulus to their aid.
Faustulus was one of the herdsmen of King Amulius. He had often seen the wolf going in and out of the cave, and had noticed, too, how the woodpeckers came and went each day. So when the wolf went off to prowl in the woods, Faustulus ventured into the cave, where to his amazement he found two beautiful and well-fed children.
He took them in his arms and carried them home to his wife. She gladly welcomed the little strangers, and, naming them Romulus and Remus, brought them up as though they had been her own sons. As the years passed the boys grew ever more beautiful. Stronger and braver, too, they became, until the rough herdsmen among whom they dwelt called them princes. The lads soon showed that they were fitted to lead the herdsmen.
If wild beasts attacked the flocks, or if robbers tried to steal them, Romulus and Remus were ever the first to attack, and to drive away either the robbers or the wild beasts. Faustulus lived on Mount Palatine, near to the spot 7 where the boys had been washed ashore when they were babes. This hill belonged to the cruel king Amulius, and it was his sheep and cattle that the princes, unwitting of the evil the king had done to them, defended from danger.
Not far from Mount Palatine was another hill, named Mount Aventine, and here also were herdsmen guarding flocks, but these herdsmen belonged to the dethroned King Numitor. Numitor was living quietly in the city of Alba. Now it chanced that the herdsmen of Amulius began to quarrel with the herdsmen of Numitor. One evening, forgetting all about their enemies, the shepherds on Mount Palatine were merrymaking at a festival in honour of the god Pan. We will lay an ambush for these unwary merrymakers.
As the gods willed, they captured none other than Remus, and well pleased with their prize, they carried the prince a prisoner to their master Numitor. The young prisoner was brought before Numitor in the city of Alba. Scanning the face before him even more closely, it seemed to Numitor that the features were not unknown to him. Dreams of his lost daughter Silvia gladdened his heart. Gently the old man tried to win the confidence of the lad, asking him who he was, and whence he came.
Then he told the old man the story that Faustulus had often told to him and Romulus, of how the wolf had found them as babes on the banks of the river Tiber, and had carried them to her cave and fed them with her milk. Here at length was one who would take his side against the cruel King Amulius. At this moment Romulus, leading a rough band of herdsmen, approached the city gate, determined to rescue his brother from the hands of Numitor.
In the city were many folk who groaned under the tyranny of Amulius. These, hearing that Romulus was without the city gate, stole noiselessly away to join the prince, believing he had come to punish the king. Meantime Romulus had divided his followers into companies of a hundred men.
At the head of each company was a captain, carrying a small bundle of grass and shrubs tied to a pole. When Amulius heard that Numitor had recognised in the prisoner one of his long lost grandsons he was afraid. Then, hearing the shouts and blows of Romulus and his men as they attacked the city gate, he rushed to defend it, determined that the second prince should not enter the city. Here he found Remus, no longer a prisoner as he had feared, but the acknowledged grandson of Numitor.
The old king welcomed Romulus as joyfully as he had welcomed his brother, and the two princes, eager to please the gentle old man, placed him upon the throne from which he had so long ago been driven. They then sped to the prison where their mother Silvia had lain since the princes had been born. Swiftly they set her free, and cheered her by their love and care as good sons ever will.
The grandsons of Numitor could no longer live as shepherds on Mount Palatine, which they had learned to love. Nor could they dwell quietly in Alba, for all their lives they had been used to live free among the mountains, nor had they been subject to any king. So the princes made up their minds to leave Alba, and to build a city for themselves on the hills they loved.
But the brothers could not agree on which hill to build their city, Romulus choosing the Palatine, Remus the Aventine. Not knowing how to settle their dispute, they asked Numitor to help them. He bade them, as the custom was, to appeal to augury—that is, to watch for a sign or omen from the gods. These signs were given in many different forms, sometimes by the flight of birds, as happened now. Romulus went to Mount Palatine, Remus to Mount Aventine, and patient through one long day they watched for a sign.
But no sign appeared. The slow hours passed, and night drew on apace, yet still the brothers never stirred. Then, as darkness faded before the dawn, Remus saw, far off, dark, moving shapes. Were the gods going to be gracious, the prince wondered, and after so many hours send a sign?
These birds were sacred to the gods, and did no harm to corn, fruit, or cattle, nor would they, indeed, wound any living thing. Swiftly Remus bade a messenger to go tell his brother of the good omen vouchsafed to him. But even as his messenger sped to do his will, Remus was crestfallen. For before him stood one of the servants of Romulus to tell him that his brother, too, had seen a flight of vultures, but while Remus had seen six birds, Romulus had seen twelve.
What was to be done? It seemed now that the brothers were not thinking on which hill the city should stand, but of which of them should build the city. Remus believed that the augury proclaimed him as the founder of the new city. Romulus was sure that it was he who was intended by the gods to build it; for had not he seen twelve vultures while his brother had seen but six?
The princes turned to their followers, demanding who should be their king. It was in the year B. He at once began to make preparations to build a city on the Palatine hill. The foundation he wished to lay on the twenty-first of the glad month of April, for, as Romulus knew, this was a feast-day among the shepherds. Often he, with his brother, had joined the herdsmen on that day, to offer cakes to the goddess Pales, to beseech her blessing on themselves and on their flocks.
No better day could be found on which to lay the foundation of the new city. Each of his followers then took a handful of earth which he had carried with him from his own, perhaps distant, home, and flung it also into the hole, which was then filled to the top. Here, too, an altar was built, on which the people laid offerings to the gods. From henceforth the spot, where the temple had been erected, was to be the hearth or centre of the new city.
Romulus then throwing his toga, or as we would say, his mantle, around him, with one end covering his head, took a white bull and a cow and yoked them to a sacred plough, the share of which was made of brass. With this ploughshare the king then made a furrow to mark the boundary of the city, bidding his followers 13 watch that the upturned earth fell inward to the hearth of the city.
Not a clod must be allowed to lie without the furrow. When the plough reached the different spots at which the gates of the city were to stand, it was carefully lifted over the spaces. As he guided the plough, Romulus cried to his gods that his city might become strong and endure, and ever grow more powerful in the great world. Out of a clear sky thunder crashed, lightning flashed over the hills as Romulus uttered his petitions, and the people believed that the storm was the answer of the god Jupiter to the prayers of their king.
When these sacred rites were ended, Romulus bade his men begin at once to build the wall which was to surround his city. The wall itself was sacred. None might enter the city, save by the gates. So the king bade one of his followers, named Celer, to guard the sacred furrow, and to see that no one dared to scale the wall or jump across it, as it was being built.
Remus, who was still angry that he had not been chosen king, had been standing near to Romulus as he laid the foundation of the city. Celer, the watchman, seeing that Remus had scorned the order of the king, raised his spade in sudden fury and struck the young prince dead to the ground. Then, fearing lest Romulus should punish him for his hasty deed, he fled. Fear lent him wings, and his name from that day became a byword to betoken great speed. When Romulus was told that his brother had been slain, he showed neither grief nor anger.
When Romulus had built his city and surrounded it with a wall, he began to fortify the hill on which it was built. This was necessary because hostile tribes held the neighbouring hills, and might at any moment attack the new city. The king ordered his followers to scrape the steep slopes of the Palatine until they were smooth. Then great slabs of stones, fitted into each other without mortar, were built into the sides of the hill, from the base to the summit.
Romulus was pleased when he saw this great fortification finished, for he knew that it was almost impossible that an enemy should scale the smooth surface of the hill and lay siege to the city. Not far from the foot of the Palatine flowed the river Tiber, a safe highway to the sea. So the king as he gazed, first at his well-fortified city and then down to the swift flowing river, felt that he had indeed chosen his site with wisdom.
The Palatine was only one of seven hills, and each of the other six was added to the city during the reign of the six kings who ruled after Romulus. Five of these hills were called montes or mountains, while the other two, being only spurs that jutted out from the tableland, were called colles or hills. But I have not yet told you the name of the city!
Amid the shouts of his people the king named it Rome, after its founder Romulus. Rome was built and fortified, yet the king was dissatisfied, 15 for now he found that he had not enough people to dwell in the city. The king must by this time have taken possession of the Capitoline hill, which was close to the Palatine, for here he resolved to build a city of refuge, that those who fled to it might gradually be removed to Rome. Asylum, which is the Greek word for refuge, was the name of this city, and it was open to all those who had been forced by crime or misfortune to flee from their own homes.
To this Asylum hastened robbers, exiles, slaves who had fled from their masters, as well as those who had stained their hands with blood. The city of refuge was soon crowded, and many of these rough and criminal folk were then sent to Rome, until Romulus had as many subjects as he wished. But there were no women among those who fled to the king for protection, and Romulus saw that he would have to find wives for his new subjects.
So he begged the neighbouring tribes, among which was a tribe called the Sabines, to allow their daughters to marry his new subjects. Give their daughters to robbers and murderers, to men who had been outlawed! The tribes did not hesitate to mock at Romulus for thinking that such a thing could be. Romulus was not a king to be lightly thwarted.
He was determined at any cost to gain wives for his subjects. So, as his neighbours had proved churlish and refused his request, he made up his mind to capture their daughters by guile, or by a trick, as we would say.
Nor did he take long to lay his plans. He invited his neighbours, among whom were the Sabines, to a feast and games which he wished to celebrate in honour of the god Consus. They, eager to enjoy the feast and the great spectacle of the games, came flocking into Rome on the appointed day, bringing with them their wives and daughters.
Fearlessly they came, and were greeted with great 16 hospitality by the king, who knew that he must hide his anger until his plot had been successful. The feast began with solemn rites, sacrifices being offered to the gods, and especially to Consus, in whose name the festival was held. When the sacrifices were ended, the guests mingled carelessly with the Romans, thinking only of the games and races. A band of armed men at once rushed in among the guests, and in spite of their screams and struggles, carried away the Sabine maidens.
The parents of the maidens hastened to leave the city where the laws of hospitality had been so cruelly transgressed. As they went, they called down the anger of the gods upon Romulus and his people. The tribes who had been at the feast of Consus were so angry with the king that many of them went to fight against him, without waiting to gather together a large army.
Thus Romulus soon defeated and scattered his foes. Moreover, having slain one of the kings with his own hand, he stripped him of his armour, and tying it to a pole, carried it back to Rome, where he offered it to Jupiter. This was the earliest Triumph celebrated at Rome. In days to come the Triumphs of the Roman generals became famous. They were held when the soldiers returned victorious from a great battle. The general at the head of his army rode into the city in a chariot drawn by beautiful horses.
Other chariots followed, filled with the treasures and spoils of war, while the most noble prisoners, often loaded with chains, were dragged along behind the chariots. The day on which a Triumph was celebrated was always held as a holiday by the citizens of Rome. Now, among the tribes which Romulus had robbed, none had suffered so heavily as the Sabines.
Nearly two years had passed before this army was led by Tatius, the King of the Sabines, against the Romans. The fortress on the Capitoline hill Romulus had entrusted to the care of a chief named Tarpeius. Now Tarpeius had a daughter named Tarpeia, and she loved ornaments and jewels of gold and silver. As the Sabines, led by Tatius, drew near to attack the fortress, Tarpeia looked out of a spy-hole and saw that the enemy was adorned with beautiful golden bracelets.
The longer she looked, the greater became her desire to possess these dazzling ornaments. What would she not do to wear such splendid jewels? She would—yes, she would even betray the fortress into the hands of the Sabines, if only she might hear the tinkle of the golden bracelets on her arms. The Sabines agreed to do as Tarpeia wished, but in their hearts they despised the maiden for her treachery.
But she, heedless of all save the ornaments that would soon be hers, hastened back to the fortress. Then, when it grew dark, she stealthily opened the gate, outside of which stood the waiting foe. As the Sabines marched into the fortress, Tarpeia cried to them to remember their promise and give her her reward. His men did as their king had done, so that Tarpeia soon fell to the ground and was killed by the weight of the shields that covered her.
The traitress was buried on the hill which she had betrayed. The fortress on the Capitoline hill was now in the hands of the Sabines, but they had still to fight with the Romans who dwelt on the Palatine hill. Romulus was, indeed, already to be seen leading his men into the valley that lay between the two mountains. He himself had been carried by his horse into the mire. Nobly he tried to free his steed, but his efforts were all in vain. The more the animal struggled, the deeper it sank into the swamp, until at length Curtius was forced to leave his horse that he might save himself.
This swamp was ever after known as the Curtian Lake. Hour after hour the battle raged, until at last Romulus and his followers were driven backward. In their dismay the Roman army rushed through one of the gates into their city, hastily shutting it behind them, that the foe might not also enter.
But lo! Twice again the terrified Romans tried to close it, and twice it opened as mysteriously as before. In through the open gate pushed the triumphant enemy, when suddenly a great flood of water gushed forth from the temple of the god Janus, which stood near to the gate. Overwhelmed by the force of the water, the Sabines were swept, not only out of the gate, but far away from the city, and Rome was saved.
But although the Sabines had been forced to flee, they had not been conquered. Again and again they marched against Romulus, for they could not forgive him for the loss of their daughters. In one of these battles Romulus was wounded by a stone and fell to the ground. His followers, seeing that their king was wounded, lost courage and began to retreat. But the king was soon on his feet, calling to his men to stand and fight. But it seemed as though they dared not turn to face the foe.
Then, in his great need the king stretched out his hands to heaven and besought Jupiter to come to his aid, promising that he would build a temple to his name, so only he would stay the flight of his army. Even as he prayed the answer came. No voice from heaven commanded them to stand, yet the Romans were suddenly ashamed of their cowardice and turned once more to face the foe. But as the battle was about to begin with redoubled fury the Sabine women rushed in between the two armies with loud cries, entreating now their fathers and brothers, now their husbands to end this cruel slaughter.
In their arms the women carried their little sons, and these babes stretched out their tiny arms toward their grandsires, as though they too would beg for peace. The lamentable cries of their daughters, the sight of their little grandchildren made the Sabines hesitate, and soon the 21 warriors in either army let their weapons fall to the ground in mood no longer warlike. The old men embraced their daughters, and carried their baby grandsons on their shields.
Surely a sweeter way was that to use the shield. Peace was then made, and the Romans and Sabines agreed to become one, while Romulus and Tatius ruled together over their united people. As the years passed, the city of Rome became ever larger and more powerful. The king, too, grew haughty, and as his greatness increased, careless of the welfare of his people. His subjects, who had formerly loved Romulus, now began to hate him, so insolent seemed to them his behaviour.
Dressed in a scarlet robe, the king spent his days lying on a couch, while young lads, called Celeres, waited upon him. Nor was this all, but when Romulus at times roused himself to walk through the streets of the city, the Celeres went before him, bearing staves.
These they used, to thrust aside any of the common people who dared to disturb the king by their presence. The staves angered the people, but even more did they resent the leather thongs which the Celeres wore, for these were used to bind and take prisoner whoever displeased the king.
Romulus ordered the people to assemble on the Field of Mars, which reached from the city to the river Tiber, for here a festival was to be held. But when the king and his subjects met, a terrible storm arose. Dark and yet darker grew the sky, while fierce gusts of wind, blowing now in one direction, now in another, confused the terrified crowd. Flashes of lighting gleamed across the faces of the throng, then darkness, more dense, fell across the field, hiding each from the other.
Thunder rolled until the earth seemed to shake at the sound. In terror and distraught with fear, the crowd fled to their homes, lashed by a ceaseless torrent of rain. And the king? When the storm was over the king was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared, and was seen no more on earth in human form. But others thought that the god Mars had carried the king to heaven in a chariot. Proculus, a friend of Romulus, told the people a story, which made them believe that their king had himself become a god.
One day, as Proculus was walking from Alba to Rome, Romulus stood before him, clad in shining armour. We will be to you from henceforth the god Quirinus. The Romans listened eagerly to Proculus, and when his story ended, they determined to build a temple on the Quirinal hill in honour of their new god.
And each year, on the 17th February, the day that Romulus had been taken from their sight, the Romans held a festival in honour of Quirinus, calling it the Quirinalia. After the disappearance of Romulus, the Romans and Sabines each wished to appoint a new king. Romulus had been a Roman, so the Sabines said that now it was but just that a Sabine king should rule. The dispute between the people lasted for a whole year, and then at length it was determined that the new king should be a Sabine, but that the Romans should be allowed to choose him.
Now among the Sabines dwelt a man named Numa Pompilius. He was honoured by the Romans as well as by his own people, for he was both good and wise. He had indeed been known for his wisdom since he was a boy. And if, when he was young, any one ventured to dispute his wisdom, his friends would point to his grey hair, believing there was no need to speak. For the hair of Numa Pompilius had been grey from the day of his birth, and that surely was a sign from the gods to show that he already was and ever would be wise.
Often he was to be seen, a solitary man, walking in the fields and groves which were consecrated to the gods. At other times he would spend long days and weeks alone in desert places. It was to this strangely quiet, thoughtful man, who was now about forty years old, that the Romans sent ambassadors to beg him to become their king. Numa Pompilius had no wish to rule. Moreover, he deemed that the people would desire a more warlike king than 25 he was like to be. In spite of these words, the ambassadors still urged Numa to return with them to Rome.
Then the wise man consulted the gods, and they sent a flight of sacred birds as a sign that he should reign in Rome. So Numa Pompilius set out with the ambassadors, and when he reached the city he called together the people to ask them if they were willing to obey his commands.
Thus, almost against his will, the wise man became king. But being king, he was not the man to shirk the duties belonging to his royal state. His first act was to dismiss the band of three hundred Celeres, which had formed the life-guard of Romulus, for this king trusted his subjects, and believed that they would safeguard him from danger. To train the Romans in the love of truth he built on the Capitol a temple to the goddess Fides, or Faith, bidding them invoke this goddess above all others.
At the same time he told them ever to remember as they went about their daily work that their promises were as sacred as their oaths. In the temple no sacrifice of sheep, oxen, or bird was ever offered, for the good king would not have his gifts to the gods stained with blood. Fruits, cakes, corn, these were the offerings he bade the people bring to the temple. Pompilius himself had loved to work and to walk in the fields, so now he encouraged the Romans to labour in the 26 country, dividing among them a large part of the land which Romulus had conquered.
In these and other ways the king did all he could to curb the fierce passions of his subjects, who, when left to themselves, were swift to turn to war and bloodshed, rather than to peace. Even the feasts of the king were more simple than some of the Romans liked, and these discontented ones grumbled at the plain fare of which they were invited to partake. One day, so the legend runs, the king ordered, as was his custom, a simple meal to be prepared, and to this meal he invited many of his friends.
They came, for the king had asked them, but, as they expected, the food was plain, the plates were of earthenware, and water was served in bottles of stone. But no sooner had the guests seated themselves at the table than behold!
The guests were startled, yet it pleased them well that the gods should show such favour to their king, for they never doubted that it was thus the gods treated those who honoured them. Numa Pompilius ruled for forty-three years, caring, during his long reign, for the welfare of his people. Even the enemies of Rome did not venture to disturb this good and gentle king.
So, while he ruled, the weapons of war were laid aside. The gates of the temple of Janus, too, which were only opened in time of war, remained closed during the reign of Numa Pompilius. It seemed that the gods did indeed show goodwill to 27 this pious king, for neither sickness nor famine troubled the country as long as he sat upon the throne, and the Romans prospered in all that they undertook.
Quietly they laid his body to rest, beyond the Tiber, on the hill Janiculum which looks toward the west. Tullus Hostilius, the king who succeeded Numa Pompilius in B. He feared lest already the Romans had lost the renown that had been theirs on the battlefield when Romulus was king. So he determined to find a pretext for war as soon as possible, that his soldiers might show that courage was still theirs, and that their fame might spread as of old to the neighbouring tribes.
Such was the warlike character of Tullus Hostilius, that it was soon found necessary to throw wide the gates of the temple of Janus. It chanced that shortly after the new king came to the throne some Roman and Alban countrymen quarrelled, each saying that he had been robbed by the other. Tullus at once took the side of his own people, sending to the King of Alba to demand that the goods which had been stolen should be restored.
The King of Alba at the same time sent messengers to Tullus, claiming that justice should be meted out to those who had robbed his subjects. The King of Rome received the messengers from Alba so courteously and treated them so well, that they forgot the errand on which they had been sent, until startled by the return of the Roman ambassadors. They, having been refused justice by the King of Alba, had, ere they left, declared that the Romans would avenge the wrong done to their countrymen.
Tullus was well pleased with the report of his ambassadors. The two kings speedily collected their armies and marched to the battlefield. But before the war began the King of Alba died. Then the Albans chose one of their number, named Mettius, to be Dictator. He, standing between the two armies, begged that the victory might be decided by single combat, so that many lives might be spared.
To this Tullus agreed, sending forth as the Roman champions three brothers, called the Horatii, while the choice of Mettius fell upon three Alban brothers, named the Curiatii. A great silence fell upon the two armies as the combatants stood forth, armed to the teeth, and the contest which was to settle the fate of Rome and Alba began. Should the Horatii win, Rome would seize Alba as its prize. Should the Curiatii be the victors, Rome would be forfeit to the Albans.
Fierce and yet more fierce fell the blows of the champions, until at length, two of the Horatii lay slain on the ground, while the three Curiatii were wounded. Then, to the dismay of the Roman army, Horatius, on whose courage the safety of Rome depended, turned and fled, pursued by the three wounded men. But the Romans need not have feared that Horatius had turned coward. His flight, as they soon saw, was but a feint to separate his enemies. As the swiftest of the Curiatii gained upon him, the Roman champion turned and smote him to the ground.
The last of the Curiatii had been forced to follow more slowly, as his wounds had been severe. He, too, was now stricken down by the conqueror. Rome was saved! At the thought great shouts rent the air, and Horatius was led in triumph toward the city. As the glad procession drew near to the gate, the sister of Horatius came out to meet her brother.
She was the promised bride of one of the Curiatii. When she saw Horatius, wearing on his shoulders the cloak of her betrothed, which she herself had embroidered, she broke into bitter sobs and began to curse him for his cruel deed. Great was the service Horatius had done for Rome that day, yet his rash act could not be allowed to pass unpunished. He was taken prisoner, and brought before two judges, who condemned him to death.
But Horatius refused to submit to his sentence, and appealed to the people of Rome to save him. And for the sake of his old father, who had already that day lost two sons, as well as because he himself had risked his life for his country, the people listened to his plea and set him free. Yet, as a public penance, he was obliged to pass beneath a yoke and offer sacrifices to the spirit of the sister he had slain.
The yoke under which Horatius had to pass was formed of two beams of wood which were thrust into the ground, and across the top of which a third beam was placed. Sometimes the yoke was made by using three swords in this way. Yet it was not only the memory of his penance that was preserved. To recall his courage to the Romans who would follow him, the arms which Horatius had taken from the Curiatii were hung on a pillar in the market-place.
By the victory of Horatius, the Albans became subject to Rome, and were forced to help them in their wars. But Mettius, the Dictator, never ceased to hope that he would yet be able to throw off the yoke of Rome. So when Tullus summoned him to bring an army to help the Romans in their battle against the Etruscans, Mettius brought an army as he was bidden, but when the battle was at its height, he secretly told his men to give no aid to the Romans.
The Dictator, hoping that the king knew naught of his deceit, boldly praised him for the victory he had won. But Tullus knew that Mettius had done nothing to help him win the battle, and so angry was he with his treachery that he ordered him to be torn to pieces by horses. Then the king ordered the Albans to be disarmed, and after burning their city, he carried off the people to Rome. The Roman nobles, or patricians as they were called, welcomed the Alban nobles to their city, while the countrymen of Alba soon became friends with the common people, or plebeians.
As in the reign of Romulus the Sabines and the Romans became one, so now the Albans and Romans were united. In this way the number of the citizens in Rome was nearly doubled. Encouraged by his victories, Tullus spent the rest of his reign in wars with the Etruscans. His success, instead 32 of making him humble, made him proud, and he grew careless of the service of the gods. Moreover, he neglected the wise and just laws made by the good King Pompilius. Then, in sign of their displeasure, the gods sent a plague among the people, and the king himself was smitten with sickness.
In his misery Tullus remembered the gods and prayed. But Jupiter was angry, and sent a shaft of lightning from the sky, which killed Tullus and destroyed his house. Tullus Hostilius reigned for thirty-two years, and after his death, in B. Like his grandfather Numa Pompilius, Ancus Marcius loved peace. His first act after he became king was to restore the service of the gods, which during the last reign had ofttimes been neglected.
The sacred laws of Pompilius, too, he ordered to be written on tablets of wood and to be shown to the people. Now among the enemies of Rome was a tribe named the Latins. The Latins, knowing that King Ancus spent his time in prayer and in offering sacrifices to the gods, began to plunder and destroy the country round about Rome, thinking to go unpunished.
But they soon found that the king could fight as well as pray. No sooner, indeed, had Ancus heard that the Latins were laying waste his dominions, than he commanded the priests to attend to the temple services. Then, placing himself at the head of his army, he marched against the enemy. The battle was fierce and long, but at length the Latins were beaten and their towns destroyed. His prisoners the king took back with him to Rome, bidding them make their home on the Aventine hill.
The beams were placed loosely, one alongside another, so that, 34 should an enemy approach, it could be quickly taken to pieces. Ancus loved peace, but he could not yet lay down his arms, for he saw that Rome ought to secure the land that lay between the city and the sea.
So he led his army against the tribes to whom this land belonged, and, taking it from them, he built a town at the mouth of the Tiber, which he called Ostia. And here a busy harbour was soon to be seen, from which Roman ships set sail for the open sea.
For twenty-four years this good king reigned, and then, calm and content as his royal grandfather, he died. His name was ever held in honour by his people, for in time of peace he had been just, in time of war victorious. The children of the king were still young when their father died, so they were left to the care of his friend, Lucius Tarquinius. Lucius Tarquinius, to whom the king had entrusted the care of his children, was a Greek noble possessing great wealth.
His real name was Lucumo, and being driven from his native town by a tyrant, he had taken refuge in the town of Tarquinii in Etruria. It was from this town that he took the name by which he was known in Rome. But neither Lucumo nor his wife Tanaquil were content to spend their lives in such a sleepy little town as Tarquinii proved to be. So they determined to go to Rome, where, it was said, strangers were ever welcome.
One day, then, the husband and wife set out on their journey. As they drew near to the Janiculum hill, an eagle suddenly swooped down upon the travellers, and seized the cap which Lucumo was wearing. Then, uttering loud screams, the bird flew high in the air, only to return in a few moments to replace the cap on the head of its astonished owner.
Tanaquil seemed pleased with the strange behaviour of the eagle, and assured her husband that it was an augury or sign from the gods that he would rise to honour in the city to which they were going. So wisely did Tarquinius behave that the king soon treated him as a friend. When Ancus Marcius was dying, he did not fear the future for his children.
They would be safe, he believed, 36 in the care of Tarquinius. But he, alas! After the death of the king, Tarquinius, pretending that he wished to make the sons of Ancus forget their grief, persuaded them to go away from the city to hunt. Tarquinius had gained his power by a treacherous deed, but by his courage on the battlefield he won the admiration of his subjects. He fought against the Latins, and made many of their cities subject to Rome.
And when the Sabines took up arms and marched almost to the gates of the city, Tarquinius, vowing that if Jupiter would come to his aid he would build a temple in his honour, rushed against the foe and drove it away. Flushed with victory, he then went to war with the Etruscans, and forced them to acknowledge him as their king.
As a sign of their subjection the conquered tribe sent to Tarquinius royal gifts—a golden crown, a sceptre, an ivory chair, an embroidered tunic, a purple toga, and twelve axes tied up in bundles of rods. Then, when peace was at length proclaimed, Tarquinius remembered the vow he had made to Jupiter, and began to build a temple on the Capitoline hill.
As the workmen were digging, in order to lay a good foundation, they found a human head. This was a sign, so said those who knew, that the spot on which the head had been buried should become the chief place of worship in Rome. The temple, when it was finished, was named the Capitol, and in days to come it was indeed looked upon as the most sacred building in the city.
Although Tarquinius was but a usurper, yet he did all that he could to improve the kingdom over which he ruled. He ordered great drains to be built, that the marshy valleys between the hills of Rome might become healthier.
He also built a large circus and a racecourse, to encourage the games of the people, and in course of time the Roman games became famous. In the valley between the Capitoline hill and the Palatine hill the king then began to build the Forum, or market-place.
Round the Forum he set up booths, where the trades-folk might carry on their business. Meanwhile, the subjects of Rome had become so numerous, that the king wished to increase the three tribes into which Romulus had divided his people. But a skilful augur, named Attius, forbade Tarquinius to alter what Romulus had consecrated with rites sacred to the gods. The augur, undisturbed by the mockery of the king, consulted the sacred birds. Yes, the omens were good. The thought in the mind of the king could be put into action.
Then the king was afraid, and dared not disregard the wisdom of the augur. So the number of tribes ordained by Romulus was left unchanged. Among the slaves of the king was a young boy named Servius Tullius. One day the lad fell fast asleep in the doorway of the palace. As he slept, it chanced that Tanaquil, the queen, came out to walk in the palace grounds. When she saw Servius she would have roused him, save that a flame of fire was playing around his head, yet doing him no hurt.
But the attendants of the queen also saw this strange sight, and at once rushed off in search of water with which to put out the flame. The flame will not injure him. Little by little Servius Tullius was entrusted with the cares of State, while the Senate or elders of the people treated him as a prince. Now the sons of Ancus, from whom Tarquinius had stolen the crown, were indignant when they saw the former slave treated with more honour than were they, and they grew afraid lest the king should appoint Servius to succeed him.
That this might not be, they determined to kill Tarquinius. Hiring two men, they bade them go kill the king, and they should be well rewarded for their deed. So the men disguised themselves as shepherds, and begged to be admitted to the presence of Tarquinius, that he might settle their dispute, for, so they pretended, they had quarrelled with one another while they tended their flocks.
When they stood before the king one of the shepherds began to tell a piteous tale. While Tarquinius was listening, the other suddenly raised his axe, and with one great blow killed the king. The false shepherds then fled from the palace. No sooner was the king slain, than she ordered the doors of the palace to be closed.
Then, when the people heard it rumoured that the king was dead and rushed to the palace, Tanaquil opened an upper window and spoke to the crowds below. He has commanded that you should obey Servius until he is again able to rule. But the people, loyal, as they thought, to the wishes of their king, allowed Servius to rule. And the sons of Ancus knew that they had killed the king in vain. A few days later it was known that the king was really dead; yet, although neither the Senate nor the people had chosen Servius to be king, he continued to sit upon the throne and to rule over Rome.
Moreover, he was wise enough to try to win the hearts of the people by promising to give them land and to rule justly. So well did he perform his royal duties, that when he called together an assembly of the people he was at once elected king. Servius Tullius began to reign in B. Like Pompilius and Ancus, he loved peace, and fought against none, save only the Etruscans.
With the Latins he made a treaty, after which the two tribes built a temple to Diana on the Aventine hill, and here every year sacrifices were offered for Rome and for Latium. The city which Romulus had built on the Palatine had long ago become too small for the Romans. Little by little, cities had grown up on the neighbouring hills, and now Servius was able to enclose all the seven hills of Rome within the city, building around her a great wall of stone. Beyond the wall a deep moat was then dug, a hundred feet in breadth.
Having thus strengthened the city, Servius divided it into four regions, while the people were arranged in numerous tribes. Should a citizen be wanted to appear before the king or the Senate, it was then an easy task to find the tribe to which he belonged and the region in which he dwelt.
This ordinance forbade the nobles to oppress the poor. It also decreed that, however lowly the birth of a Roman citizen, if he became rich he might hold positions of power 41 in the State. This encouraged the poor man to be industrious, for if he could but gain wealth there was no ambition which he might not be able to satisfy.
But while the ordinance pleased the common people, it displeased the nobles, who had no wish to see the plebeians raised to positions which until now had been sacred to them and to their sons. They bore Servius no good will for passing this new law.
Trouble, too, was threatening the king through his two daughters, both of whom, as the Roman custom was, were named Tullia. But although their names were the same, their natures were as different as summer is different from winter.
Servius determined to marry his daughters to the sons of King Tarquinius, whose kindness had placed him on the throne. The princes, as the princesses, were of strangely different natures. Lucius was proud, his temper violent; while Aruns was humble and good-natured. Now the king thought that if the gentle Tullia married Lucius, he would become a better man; while he hoped that if his ambitious daughter married Aruns she would learn from him the grace of humility.
But Servius made a great mistake when he married his daughters. For before long Lucius hated his quiet wife, and killed both her and his brother Aruns, so that he and Tullia the elder might be free to marry each other. No sooner had Lucius Tarquinius married Tullia, than, encouraged by her, he joined the discontented nobles, who hated Servius.
Servius was now no longer young, but when he heard 42 how Lucius had dared to behave he went at once to the door of the Senate house, and bade the prince come down from the throne, and lay aside the royal robes. Then, as the king repeated his words, Lucius seized the old man and flung him down the stone steps of the Senate house.
Servius, bruised and dazed by his fall, yet struggled to his feet, and slowly turned away toward the palace. Lucius dared not let the king live now that he had defied him. So, sending his servants after Servius, he bade them kill the old man. It was easy to overtake him, and the fellows soon slew their king, leaving his body lying in the middle of the street. She ordered her chariot, and drove quickly to the Forum to greet her husband as king. But Lucius did not wish the people to see the triumph of his wife, and he sternly bade her go home.
Tullia obeyed, heedless of his anger. She had room in her heart for only one thought. Lucius was king, and she, she was queen. So full was her mind of the new honours that would now be hers, that her chariot had reached the street where the dead body of her father lay before she was aware.
The driver drew up his horses sharply, seeing his murdered king lying across his path. The street was ever after called the Via Scelerata, or the Way of Crime. Lucius showed no shame for the murder of the king, and haughtily refused to allow his body to be buried with the usual rites.
Tarquin, having killed Servius, seized the throne, and began his reign by condemning to death the chief senators who had supported the old king. He also ordered the tablets, on which Servius had written many wise and good laws, to be destroyed.
Refusing to summon the Senate, Tarquin then attempted to rule alone. His cruelty was so great that he was soon hated both by rich and poor. Before many months had passed he was forced to surround himself with a bodyguard, lest he should be slain by those whom he had ruined. For, in order to grow rich, he imposed heavy fines on the wealthy, sometimes driving the nobles into exile that he might take possession of their goods.
If they ventured to remonstrate, Tarquin did not hesitate to put them to death that he might seize their money. As for the poor people, he forced them to work so hard that they were more like slaves than freemen. After he had crushed the spirit of his subjects, Tarquin went to war with the Latins, conquering many of their cities, and even enrolling some of his prisoners in the Roman legions. One ancient Latin town determined to resist the cruel king. Gabii, for this was the name of the brave little town, even opened its gates to the nobles who had been exiled from Rome.
In vain Tarquin sent legion after legion against the city. Since he could not take the town by force, the king resolved to take it by treachery, and in this resolve he was aided by his son Sextus. Telling the citizens a piteous tale, he showed them his back, bare and bleeding from stripes, and begged to be taken into the town that his father might not capture him.
The citizens did not find it difficult to believe that the tyrant had ill-used his son, and they willingly opened their gates to the prince. And not only did they give him shelter, but, so great was their trust, that before long they gave him command of a company of soldiers. One day a Roman legion was seen marching toward the city.
Sextus at once led his soldiers against it, and, instructed secretly by Tarquin, the Romans fled before the prince. This made the men of Gabii still more sure that they could trust Sextus, so they foolishly gave to him the chief command of the defences of the town. But he still walked up and down the garden paths, switching off with his stick the heads of the tallest poppies in the flower-beds. Then, still without a word, he sent the messenger back to Gabii. He knew as well as if the king had spoken that as the tallest poppies had been beheaded, so he was to behead the leading nobles in Gabii.
The prince then completed his treachery by delivering the town into the hands of the king. After plundering one of their richest towns, he determined with his new-found wealth to finish the great temple on the Capitoline hill, which had been begun by his father Lucius Tarquinius.
He adorned Rome with many other beautiful buildings, and ordered the great sewers, also begun by his father, to be finished. He then completed the Forum, or market-place. In the Forum the people bought and sold, and here also were held the great assemblies of the people. One day, when Tarquin the Proud was at the height of his power, a woman came to the city and demanded to see the king. She was a stranger, and carried in her arms nine books.
The prophecies were written on loose leaves, and in them, said the strange woman, the king would read the destiny of Rome, and how to fulfil it. But the stranger asked so large a sum of money for the nine books that the king laughed and refused to buy.
Then, turning to him again, she offered the six books for the same price as she had before demanded for the nine. Tarquin laughed still more scornfully, and refused to buy the six as he had already refused to buy the nine books. Quietly as before the woman burned three more books before the eyes of the king. Then turning to him she offered the three books that were left for the same sum.
Then the king laughed no more. He began to wonder if perhaps the gods had sent the books to Rome. So he consulted the augurs, and by their advice he now bought the three books for the sum which would have bought the nine. The strange woman, having done her work, disappeared and was seen no more, while the books were put in a chest and kept in the Capitol, which was now complete. Two Greeks were appointed to guard the Sibylline books, for they were written in the Greek language.
And ever when death, pestilence, or war threatened the city, the books were consulted by the augurs, if perchance Rome might be saved from destruction. Many years after the reign of Tarquin the Capitol was burned, and the sacred books were destroyed in the fire. To the Romans the loss of the books was a greater blow than even the destruction of the Capitol.
The Senate sent ambassadors to Greece and to Asia Minor to beseech the sibyls there to find fresh oracles, that calamity might still be averted from Rome. And the ambassadors were successful, for when they returned they brought with them new scrolls, which, when a new Capitol was built, were placed within its sacred precincts. Full Name.
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