In the first place, everyone agrees that after Troy was captured all the Trojans were treated very cruelly except for two – Aeneas and Antenor, because of a long-standing guest-friendship and because they always wanted peace and tried to get Helen returned, the Greeks did not destroy them after the war. Then they had various adventures. Antenor went to the furthest part of the Adriatic Sea with a group of people called the Eneti who had been thrown out of Paphlagonia by an uprising, and since their king had been killed at Troy, they were looking for a home and a leader. The Trojans and Eneti expelled the Euganei who lived between the sea and the Alps and took over their land. The place where they landed and the surrounding area is called Troy and the whole tribe is called the Veneti. Aeneas became a refugee from home because of similar troubles, but with destiny leading him towards the start of greater things, first he came to Macedonia. From there he was carried to Sicily looking for a home; he sailed from Sicily and occupied the land of Laurentum. This place is also called Troy. The Trojans landed there and as their almost endless wanderings had left them with nothing except their weapons and their ships, they were stealing things from the area. Latinus, the king, and the Aborigines who lived there at the time rushed together from the town and the countryside with their weapons the put a stop to the strength of the immigrants. There are two versions of what happened next. Some people say that Latinus was defeated in battle and made peace with Aeneas then they joined their families by a marriage. The other story says that when they had lined up ready for battle, before the signals sounded, Latinus came out between the front lines and asked the leader of the immigrants to have a talk. Then he asked who the men were, where they were from, what had happened to make them leave home and what they were looking for in the Laurentine land. After he had heard that the group were Trojans, their leader was Aeneas, son of Anchises and Venus, refugees from a home where their city had been burnt and looking for a home and a place to build a city, he was amazed by the impressiveness of their race and their leader and by their spirit being prepared for either war or peace, and he made a promise of future friendship by holding out his hand. Then the leaders made a treaty and the armies saluted each-other. Aeneas was a guest in Latinus’ house and there in the presence of the gods of his home Latinus sealed the political treaty with a family one and gave his daughter to Aeneas in marriage. This certainly confirmed the Trojans’ hope that they had finished wandering and finally had a stable home. They built a city; Aeneas named it Lavinium after his wife. Soon a son was born who was named Ascanius. 1.2
Then the Aborigines and the Trojans together got into a war. Turnus the king of the Rutuli who had been engaged to Lavinia before Aeneas arrived was very angry that the immigrant had taken his place and he started a war with both Aeneas and Latinus. Neither side came out of the battle happy. The Rutulians lost the battle, but the winning side: the Aborigines and the Trojans, lost their leader Latinus. Then Turnus and the Rutulians were worried about their situation so they asked for help from the famously strong Etruscans and their king Mezentius who was ruling in Caere, which was a wealthy city then. Ever since the start of the new city being built, Mezentius was not happy and he thought that the Trojans’ power was growing much too fast to be safe for the neighbours so gladly he joined forces with the Rutuli. So that he could keep the Aborigines on his side when they were up against the fear of such a big war, Aeneas called both tribes Latins so that they were not just under the same laws but had the same name too. Then the Aborigines were no less pleased than the Trojans to be loyal to king Aeneas. Etruria was so powerful that its famous name had spread not only in inland Italy but along the length of the coast from the Alps to the sea between Italy and Sicily. But Aeneas trusted in the courage of his two tribes who were joining together more each day and he led his troops onto the battlefield even though they could have fought from behind the walls. The Latins won the battle, but it was Aeneas’ last living deed. Whatever it is right and legal to call him, he is buried on the bank of the River Numicus and the people call him ‘Local Jupiter’.
Livy, The History of Rome 1.3–29
Ascanius, Aeneas’ son, was not old enough to take over as king but the kingdom was kept safe for him until he grew up. The person looking after the country in the meantime was Lavinia who was a very great woman. She looked after the Latins and kept Ascanius’ father’s and grandfather’s throne safe while he was a boy. Since nobody knows for sure about things that happened so long ago, I am not going to worry about whether it was this Ascanius, or an older one who was the son of Creusa born in Troy when it was safe and escaped with his father, who is said to be the one who started of the Julian race. This Ascanius, wherever he was born and whoever his mother was - Aeneas was definitely his father – handed over the city of Lavinium to his mother (or stepmother). The city was doing really well and had lots of people living there and was rich by the standards of the time. He set up another city near Mount Alba which was called Alba Longa because it stretched out on a ridge. Alba Longa was set up nearly thirty years after Lavinium. The Latins were so rich after they had defeated the Etruscans that even though Aeneas died and then a woman was in charge followed by a young boy with no experience, neither Mezentius nor the Etruscans or the other neighbours dared to attack. They had made peace like this: the river Albula which is now called the Tiber was the boundary for the Latins and the Etruscans. Ascanius’ son Silvius, who by some accident was born in a forest, was the next king. He had a son called Aeneas Silvius, who then had a son called Latinus Silvius, who set up some other towns, which are called ‘Ancient Latins’. Afterwards all the kings of Alba had the last name Silvius. Latinus Silvius had a son called Alba who had a son called Atys. Atys’ son was called Capys and his son was called Capetus and he had a son called Capetus Tiberinus who drowned while crossing the river Albula and afterwards the famous river was named after him. The king after Tibirinus was his son Agrippa whose son Romulus Silvius was king after him. Romulus Silvius was struck by lightning and the next king was Aventinus who is buried on a hill which is now part of Rome and is named after him. Procas was the next king and he had two sons called Numitor and Amulius; he handed over the ancient kingdom of the Silvan race to the elder son Numitor. But violence was more powerful than the father’s wishes or respect for an older brother and Amulius expelled his brother and made himself king. He committed other crimes too: he killed his brother’s male children and pretending it was an honour he made his niece Rhea Silvia a Vestal virgin which meant she wouldn’t have any children as she had to stay a virgin.
But I think that the beginning of such a great city and the start of the greatest empire on earth was fated to happen. The Vestal virgin was raped and gave birth to twins; she said that Mars was their father either because she thought it was true or because it sounded better if a god was responsible. But neither gods nor men could save her or her sons from the king’s cruelty. The Vestal was chained up and sent to prison and Amulius ordered the boys to be thrown in the river rapids. By chance from heaven the river Tiber, had flooded and made calm pools so that no one could approach the normal river. So the people carrying the children thought that they would drown in these pools, even though the water was sluggish. So, as if they had carried out the King’s command, they left the boys on the edge of the pool, where the Rumanilis fig tree is now (people say it was called the Romularis before). In those days, the place was all lonely wasteland. The rumour is that the shallow river left the basket with the children in on a dry bit of ground. A thirsty she-wolf from the nearby mountains found the crying children and let them suck her milk and she treated them so gently that the King’s chief herdsman found her licking the boys with her tongue. People say his name was Faustulus. He took them back to his cottage and gave them to his wife, Laurentia to bring up. Some people think that Laurentia was called ‘She-Wolf’ by the shepherds because she was a prostitute and the miraculous story may have come from this. So this is the way Romulus and Remus were born and brought up. When they had first grown up, they worked hard with animal pens and the animals, and they wandered about the forests hunting. From this hard work they became strong in both body and mind so that they not only attacked wild beasts, but also robbers loaded up with stolen goods. They shared what they took among the shepherds, and there was a group of young men involved with their work and their games, a group which got bigger every day.
People say that even then, the Lupercal festival was celebrated on the Palatine Hill, which was named after Pallanteum, an Arcadian city. Evander, who was born from the Arcadian race, was king there many years before and had brought from Arcadia the ancient custom that the young men would worship Lycean Pan by running around naked having fun and games. Later the Romans called Pan Inuus. Everyone knew it was the festival so the robbers who were very angry about their lost loot attacked when it was being celebrated. Romulus defended himself by force, but they captured Remus and dragged him to King Amulius to press charges against him. They highlighted most the charge that he had made illegal attacks on the lands of Numitor, and had even looted them with an organised gang of young men, like an invading enemy. So Remus was sent to Numitor for punishment. Now, from the very beginning Faustulus had hoped that he was bringing up royal children because he knew that two babies had been left to die on the king’s orders at the time when he had found Romulus and Remus. But he had not wanted to tell the story too soon, unless it was at a good time or he had to. Now he had to. He was afraid, so he told the story to Romulus. Also by chance, while Numitor had Remus in prison, he heard that he was one of twin brothers. By thinking about their ages and comparing their natures to those of the usual poor people, he started to think of the memory of his grandsons. He looked into it more and came up with the same idea so he was not far off from recognising who Remus really was. So, on all sides the trap was closing on the King. Romulus made an attack on King Amulius with his shepherds – but not in a large group of young men because he was not yet strong enough for an open show of force. He had ordered them to go to the palace by different routes at a set time, and Remus helped with another group from Numitor’s home. In this way they killed the king.
At the start of the rebellion, Numitor kept saying that the city had been invaded by enemies and that the palace was being attacked. He called the Alban young men to the citadel to protect it with weapons., As soon as he saw Romulus and Remus, who had killed Amulius, hurrying to him to congratulate him, he called an assembly, he told everyone about his brother’s crimes against him, the origin of his grandsons – how they were born, brought up, and recognised – and told them about the killing of a tyrant, and his own responsibility for it. The twins entered the assembly with a gang of men and called their grandfather king. Then all the voices of the whole crowd confirmed that he was the King with his title and authority. Now that the Numitor was king of Alba, Romulus and Remus decided to build a city in the place where they had been left to die and had grown up. Everybody hoped the new city would make Alba and Lavinium look small compared to it as the shepherds and extra people from Alba and Lavinium all wanted to live there. But then the old wickedness – the desire to be king – came between the twins as they were planning, and after a good start, a terrible fight began. Since they were twins, neither was the older brother. So the gods who kept the place safe, would choose and show with signs who the new city would be named after and who would be king when the city was built. Romulus built a temple on the Palatine hill and Remus built one on the Aventine so they could look for omens.
People say that Remus got an omen first which was six vultures. After this omen had been announced, Romulus saw twice as many – twelve altogether. So the supporters of each man said their leader was King. Remus’ supporters said he should be king because he saw the first omen, but Romulus’ supporters said he should be king because he saw more vultures. The heated argument turned into a fight and Remus was killed by getting hit by one of the crowd. The more common story is that, making fun of his brother, Remus jumped over the walls that Romulus had been building. Then Romulus was really angry and he killed him and shouted: “That’s what will happen to anyone who jumps over my walls”. So Romulus was in charge, and when the city was built it was named after him. First he put defences on the Palatine hill where he had been brought up. He started ceremonies for the other gods, in the same way the Albans did it, but for Hercules the ceremonies were done the Greek way, because Evander started them.
People say that that after Hercules had killed Geryon, he took his beautiful cattle to the place which was near to where he had crossed the river Tiber. Here he stopped in a green field, so that the cattle could enjoy the peace and the lush grass and he could rest as he was tired from the journey. Then when he fell asleep, as he was tired from food and wine, a local shepherd called Cacus who was fierce and strong wanted the cattle for himself because they were so beautiful. But if he led the cattle into his cave, their hoof prints would show where they were when Hercules looked for them. So he turned the bulls around and picked out the most handsome ones and dragged them by their tails to his cave. When the first rays of the rising sun woke Hercules, he looked at the herd and realised that some were missing. He headed for the nearest cave, in case by chance there was any trace of them there. But when he saw that all the tracks led away from that place but went nowhere else, he was confused and uncertain and he started to take the rest of the herd away from that strange place. But then, as they were leaving, some of the cows mooed because they were sad because some were missing. The bulls who were shut up in the cave mooed in reply and when Hercules heard, he turned around. When Cacus saw him coming towards the cave, he tried to fight Hercules, but even though he called for help from the other shepherds, he died when Hercules hit him with his club.
At that time Evander, who was a refugee from the Peloponnese, ruled there – more because of his natural authority than by officially being the king. People respected him because he could write, which was a new thing for the people who did not know how to do it, and he was respected because of his mother Carmenta, who people thought was a goddess. The people of the area admired her skills to tell the future before the Sibylline prophecies came to Italy. At this point Evander was surrounded by the shepherds who had grabbed Hercules at the time of the killing, and he heard what had happened and the reasons for this “crime”. But he noticed that this man had a more impressive way of acting and he was bigger than normal men, so Evander asked what sort of man he was. When he heard Hercules’ name, and his father’s name and where he came from, Evander said, “Hello Hercules, son of Jove! My mother, who really knows what the gods think, predicted to me that you would become a god, and that there will be an altar here, which one day the most successful people in the world will call ‘the Greatest’, and they will worship your cult”. Hercules shook hands with him and said that he accepted the omen and that he would do what the Fates said by building the altar. There, for the first time, a cow chosen from the herd was sacrificed for Hercules. The Potitii and the Pinarii, who were the most important families there, organised it and provided a feast. By chance, the Potitii were there at the beginning, so they got the entrails, and the Pinarii came after the entrails had been eaten and got the rest of the feast. From then on the custom continued, as long as the Pinarii family did, that they never got the entrails from the sacrifice. The Potitii, who had learnt the rites from Evander, were the priests of the cult for many generations, until public slaves had to perform the sacred rites because the entire Potitii family had died out. This was the one foreign cult that Romulus carried on, for even then he respected someone being made into a god because they were great, which ended up happening to him.
After the rituals were done the right way, and after he called the people together in an assembly, Romulus gave them laws to bring them together as a group. He also thought that the ordinary people would only follow the laws if he made himself seem more important by having symbols of power. So he made himself look more impressive, and got himself twelve lictors. Some people think that he chose this number because it was the same as the number of birds that appeared as an omen for him being king. I agree with the other opinion which is that the number of twelve lictors came from neighbouring Etruscans, where the idea of attendants for the king came from because they gave lictors to the king of all the tribes, with each of the twelve tribes giving one lictor. Also the special Roman ‘curule’ throne and the special toga ‘praetexta’ came from the Etruscans too.
Meanwhile the city walls grew as one place after another was made part of it, this was in the hope of more people living there in the future rather than to protect the people who were already there. Then, so that the city wasn’t empty, just like other people who used to start cities, Romulus pretended that the shabby and poor gang that had gathered to start the city with him was born from the earth itself and they were his family. He opened a place for asylum seekers which is fenced off between the two little forests as you come down the Capitoline hill. A crowd from the neighbouring people came there, everyone without distinction, slaves or freemen, all looking for a new start. This was the start of the strength needed to reach the greatness which had begun. Romulus was no longer unhappy with the strength of his manpower, he provided a council for his forces. He created one hundred senators, either because the number was enough, or because there were only one hundred who were fit to be chosen as ‘Fathers’. They were called ‘Fathers’ because of their good reputation, and their descendents were called ‘Patricians.’
Rome was now powerful enough that it could stand up to any of the neighbouring communities in a war, but the shortage of women meant that the greatness would only last for one generation. Obviously there was no hope of children and at that time there was no hope of marriage with the neighbouring people. Then on the advice of the Fathers, Romulus sent ambassadors to the surrounding communities, to see if people would make friendships and marry into the new community. They said that cities, just like everything else, started from the most humble beginnings: then there were some who did great things and a made a great name for themselves because of their own courage or help from the gods: also that it should be obvious to everyone that not only had the gods been involved with the start of Rome but also that the Romans’ own strength would not get smaller in the future, so one group of people should not be slow to mix their blood and family with another. But the ambassadors were rejected everywhere. At the same time the people who rejected them were afraid for themselves and for their descendents because such a powerful city was growing near them. When they rejected the ambassadors they asked them why they had not opened an asylum for women as well, as this would have been the way for them to find themselves suitable wives.
The young Romans were insulted, and no doubt they started to think about violence. So Romulus prepared a good time and place for it, hiding his own anger, he decided to set up sacred games for Neptune the god of horses: he called them the Consualia. Then he said that the festival should be advertised to the neighbouring people, while his own people prepared for the event with as much splendour as they could then, so that everyone would want to go to the festival. Lots of people came and they also wanted to see the new city. All the nearest communities were there, the Caeinenses, the Crustimini, and the Antemnates. The whole of the Sabine people also came, with their wives and children. They were invited into Roman homes and treated well, and when they saw the size of the city, with its walls and lots of buildings, they were amazed how quickly the Roman development had grown. When it was time for the show and while their guests’ eyes and minds were on it, a planned riot began. After the signal was given, all the Roman men ran about grabbing the unmarried girls who had accompanied the visiting people. Most of the girls were grabbed by the man who got to them first. But the most beautiful girls, who had been chosen by the most important men, were carried off to homes by lower class men who had been hired for the job. People say that one girl who was far more beautiful than the others, was being carried off by a gang hired by a man called Talassius. Many people were asking, “Who is this one being taken to?”, and so that she was not harmed they replied, “To Talassius!”, which is why people still shout this at weddings.
As the festival broke up in fear, the girls’ sad parents left, accusing the Romans of breaking the laws of hospitality, and praying to the god whose festival they had come to and been tricked by religion and good faith. The abducted girls themselves had no more hope for their own fate than their parents did, and they were just as upset. But Romulus himself went to them, and he told them that what had happened came from the arrogance of their own parents, as they had refused to allow marriage with their Roman neighbours. But he also said that they would have proper marriages now with all the benefits, such as being Roman citizens and having children which all humans want. As a result they should calm their anger and give their hearts to the men who had got their bodies by chance. He said that over time they would be grateful instead of feeling injured because they would find the men were better than they thought, as each man would try to be the best husband possible to make up for the women missing their parents and home. The rest of the men spoke to them gently and said that they had acted out of desire and love which would appeal most to a woman’s nature.
The abducted women were now much calmer. But their parents were now disturbing the other citizens by wearing mourning clothes and crying and complaining. They did not do this just at home, but they came from all sides to Titus Tatius the King of the Sabines, and ambassadors came to him as well, because Tatius had the best reputation in the area. The Caeninenses, the Crustimini, and the Antemnates, who had also had some of their daughters abducted thought that Tatius and the Sabines were too slow in taking action, so those three agreed amongst themselves to start a joint war. But even the Crustimini and the Antemnates did not act quickly enough for the Caeninenses because they were so angry. So the Caeninenses made an attack against the Roman lands themselves. Romulus attacked the Caeninenses with his army while they were spread out as they were looting, and so he taught them in a brief battle that anger without strength was pointless. He thrashed that army and made them run away, chasing them as they ran. He killed their king in battle and looted his body. When the enemy leader was dead, Romulus captured their city in the first attack. Then he led his winning army back.
He was just as good at showing off what he had done as he was at doing it in the first place so he climbed up the Capitol carrying the armour he had taken from the dead enemy leader and he hung it up on a specially made frame. Then, when he had left these gifts at a tree that was sacred to the shepherds, he planned a temple as a gift for the god Jupiter, and gave the god an extra name: Jupiter Feretrius. He said, “I, Romulus the winning king bring this royal armour to you Jupiter Feretrius. I am going to build a temple for you, here in this place which I have just measured in my mind, a place for the best spoils of war, which people who I’m in charge of will bring when they have killed enemy kings and leaders.” This was the origin of the first temple in Rome. From then on the gods made sure that people bringing gifts later on obeyed what Romulus said and they didn’t make it common by letting too many people have the honour of bringing gifts. Since then after so many years and so many wars the spoils have only been given twice – that’s how rare it is to have the good luck to do the honours.
While the Romans were fighting the war there, the Antemnates’ army saw their chance and attacked Rome’s borders. Roman soldiers came out immediately and beat them while they were spread out in the fields. The sound of the first attack made the enemy run away, and then their town was captured. When Romulus came back, very pleased with his two victories, his wife Hersilia had been touched by the begging of the abducted women. She asked him to forgive their parents and let them be citizens so that Rome could grow in peace. Romulus agreed happily. Then came the war against the Crustimini. This was even less of a fight, because they had lost their courage when the others were beaten. Roman settlers were sent to both places, but more wanted to go to Crustumeria because people said it had fertile land. Also, many people moved from there to Rome, especially the parents of the abducted women. The war against the Sabines was the last one, and it was the longest and most serious because they didn’t do it because of anger or greed and they did not show any signs before they attacked. They made a cunning plan. Spurius Tarpeius was in charge of the Roman citadel. By chance Tarpeius’ virgin daughter went outside the walls to get water for the religious rituals and Tatius bribed her with gold so that she would let armed soldiers into the citadel. After they got in they killed her by crushing her with their weapons, either so that it looked like they forced their way into the citadel, or to set an example for the future so that no one would keep a promise to a traitor. There is another story, that the Sabine people wore heavy gold bracelets on their left arms, and lovely rings with jewels, so she asked them for the things they had on their left arms: but they heaped upon her their shields instead of the gold gifts she meant. Some people say that they had the weapons in their left hands to hand them over to make peace but they thought she was tricking them so they killed her with the payment she had chosen.
Anyway the Sabines took over the citadel. Then the next day, even though the Roman army was lined up and it filled the flat ground between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Sabines didn’t go down onto the battlefield until Romans got angry because wanted the citadel back and attacked. The leaders started fighting: the Sabine Mettius Curtius, and the Roman Hostius Hostilius. Hostilius, near the front ranks on uneven ground, kept the Romans going with his courage and spirit. But when he died, the army gave way straight away and scattered towards the old Palatine gate. Even Romulus was carried along with the crowd running away: lifting his weapons to the sky he said, “Jupiter, your birds told me to build the first foundations of the city here on the Palatine. Now the Sabines have the citadel, bought by their wickedness. The armed men have captured the central valley and are heading here from there. But you, the Father of gods and men, take the enemy away from the citadel here at least. Stop the Romans’ terror and their shameful running away. I promise that I will build a temple here for you Jupiter the Stayer which will be a reminder for all time that you helped to save the city.” When he had prayed, and as if he sensed that his prayers had been heard, he said, “Here, Romans, Jupiter the Best and Greatest orders us to stop running and start fighting.” The Romans stopped as if ordered by a voice from heaven: Romulus himself rushed to the front. Mettius Curtius, the commander of the Sabines, had run down from the citadel and pushed the confused Romans over the area that is now covered by the whole Forum. Now he was not far from the Palatine gate, shouting “We have conquered our treacherous hosts and our powerless enemies. Now they know that snatching young girls is very different from fighting against men!” As he was boasting like this, Romulus attacked him with a gang of the fiercest young men. By chance, Mettius was fighting on a horse then, so it was easier chase him away. The Romans chased the beaten man while the rest of the army who were inspired by the king’s daring destroyed the Sabines. Mettius was thrown into a marsh by his horse which was frightened by the noise of the people chasing it. The Sabines turned back again because he has in such great danger. He was encouraged by the cheers and actions of his own men. Then the Romans and the Sabines fought again in the valley between the two hills, but the Roman force was more powerful.
Then the abducted Sabine women, who the war was about, threw themselves between the flying spears with their hair flying and their clothes ripped. They were brave because their upset took away female fear. They ran across the battlefield and separated the clashing armies, stopping their conflict. Begging their fathers on one side and their husbands on the other, they said that fathers and sons-in-law should not have one another’s blood on them, that the curse of killing your father should not be passed down to their children, grandfathers onto grandsons and fathers onto children. “If you don’t like the ties between you, if you don’t like our marriages, then take your anger out on us! We are the cause of this war; we are the cause of fathers and husbands lying wounded and dead. It is better for us to die, since by losing one of you we’ll be widows or orphans”. This moved both the leaders and the crowd. Suddenly there was silence and stillness. Then the commanders came forward to make a treaty, not only to make peace but also to make one community out of two. They shared the power, and made Rome the capital. The joint populations were named the Quirites after the Sabine city of Cures to please the Sabines. As a monument to the battle, the place where Curtius’ horse first stopped in the shallows, when it had escaped from the deep marsh, was called Lake Curtius. Suddenly making happy peace from such a sad war made the Sabine women even dearer to both their parents and their husbands, but especially to Romulus. So, when he divided the population into thirty groups, he named the Curiae after the women. No doubt there were more than thirty women but nobody knows whether the names given to the Curiae were chosen according to age, according to their status, or the status of their husbands, or even by lot. At the same time, three groups of one hundred Knights were recruited: the Ramnenses, named after Romulus, the Titienses, named after Titus Tatius, and the Luceres (the origin of their name is not certain). From then on there was joint rule and peace between the two kings.
After a few years, some relatives of King Tatius attacked some Laurentine ambassadors, but when the Laurentines, asked the relatives to make up for it which was the law, Tatius was biased and believed what his relatives said. So he got their punishment himself because when he came Lavinium to an important religious festival, he was killed in the riot he caused by being there. People say that Romulus was less upset by this than he should have been, either because he did not like sharing being king, or because he believed that the killing was fair, so he did not cause a fight about it. To make up for the ambassadors being attacked and the king being killed, he renewed the treaty between the cities of Rome and Lavinium.
After this there was unexpectedly peace; but a war started somewhere else, much closer: almost at the city gates. The Fidenates thought that their neighbours were getting too strong so they started a war before the Romans got any stronger. They sent armed young men to destroy the fields between Rome and Fidenae. Then they turned left, because the river Tiber blocked the right side, and they attacked the country people, causing a lot of panic. This crowd, suddenly escaping from the fields to the city, was the first sign of trouble. Romulus could not risk a delay in a war so close by and was stirred into action; he led out his army and set up camp a mile from Fidenae. He left a small group to guard the camp and went out with the rest of his forces; he ordered some of them to hide here and there in the thick undergrowth ready for an ambush. Then he set out with most of his infantry and all of his cavalry. He charged right up to up to the gates in a disorderly and threatening way and got what he wanted when the enemy came out. The cavalry helped to make it look more realistic when the Romans pretended to run away. As the cavalry looked as if they were trying to decide between fighting and running away, the foot soldiers also moved back. Suddenly the gates were crowded and the enemy poured out and as the Roman battle line went back, it led the enemy into an ambush because they were chasing eagerly. The Romans in the ambush positions suddenly rose up and attacked the enemy forces from the side. The enemy was even more afraid when the soldiers left to guard the camp came out with their standards. Terrified by so many dangers, the Fidenates ran away almost before Romulus and the men with him could turn their horses’ reins. They ran back to their town in worse disorder than the Romans they had chased earlier who were pretending to run away. But the enemy did not escape: the Romans were so close behind them that before the bars of the gates could be shut they all burst in as if they were one group.
Then the men from Veii started to want war too because they were related to the Fidenates as they were all Etruscan, and because they lived near Rome too and Roman weapons were a threat to all the neighbours. They went raiding on Roman land rather than starting a proper war. They did not make a camp, and they didn’t expect anyone to fight back, and they went back to Veii carrying what they had stolen from the fields. But when the Romans didn’t find the enemy in the fields, they crossed the river Tiber ready and waiting for a final battle. When the people of Veii heard that the Romans were making a camp and were coming to their city, they went out to fight them in the open, rather than being shut up inside fighting for their homes and city walls. The Roman king conquered them there with just the strength of his war-hardened army and no tricks to help. He chased the enemy who were running back to their safe city walls, and he didn’t attack the city as the walls were strong. On the way home, he destroyed their farms more to punish them than to steal things. This, along with being beaten in the battle, destroyed the Veiians so they sent ambassadors to Rome to ask for peace. The Romans took some of their land as a fine, but they made a 100 year peace treaty. This was what Romulus achieved while he was king at home and at war and all of it shows that he was descended from a god and deserved to be a god after he died. He had the courage to get his grandfather’s kingdom back for him, he planned and built a city and he took care of it in peace and war. He made Rome so strong that it was safe and peaceful for the next forty years. But the ordinary people were more grateful than the senators, and the soldiers liked him more than everyone else. He had 300 of them as bodyguards, both in peace and in war, who he called ‘The Swift Ones’.
This is what Romulus did so that he deserved to be a god. Then, when he held a meeting on the flat ground near the Caprean marsh to inspect the army, suddenly there was a storm with huge thunder-claps and a thick cloud covered the King, so that no one could see him. From then on Romulus was no longer on Earth. When the calm day and peaceful light came back after the confusion, the young Romans were not so scared. When they saw the empty throne, even though they believed the senators, who had been standing closest, and said that Romulus had been lifted up to heaven in the storm, they were still afraid like orphans and were sad and silent for a long time. Then after a few people said that Romulus was a god born from a god, all together they saluted Romulus as King and Father of the city of Rome. They begged for peace with prayers, so that the kind god Romulus would want to care for his descendants always. I believe that there are also people who say quietly that the senators tore the king apart with their hands because even though this rumour is quite unclear, it still leaked out. But more people believed the first story as lots of people respected Romulus and there was a lot of fear when he died. There is also the trustworthy story of one man called Julius Proculus, who is said to have given good advice on serious subjects. He stepped forward in an assembly to get rid of the people’s fear over the lost King and to stop them being angry with the senators. He said, “Citizens, at dawn today Romulus, the father of this city, suddenly came down from the sky and stood in front of me as clear as day. I stood still because of respect and fear, and prayed to him to ask if I could look up at him. He said to me, ‘Go and tell the Romans that the gods in the sky want my city, Rome, to be the capital of the world: so they should become good soldiers, and tell them, and they should tell their children, that no one can stand up to the Roman army’. When he had said this, he went up into the sky”. It is amazing how much they trusted what he said, and how, once everyone believed that Romulus was a god, the people and the army did not feel so sad.
Meanwhile the senators tried to decide who should be the next king. The problem was not over which person should be king as nobody really stood out from the new population, it was to do with which tribe the king should come from. The Sabines wanted one of them to be king, since after the death of Tatius they hadn’t been part of ruling and they were losing power in their supposedly ‘equal’ society. But the original Romans didn’t want a foreign king. Even though they had different opinions, they wanted someone to rule because they did not yet know how good it was to be free. Then the senators got scared in case an army from the nearby enemy communities attacked them because the citizens had no king and the army had no commander. So they needed a leader, but neither side would give in. So the one hundred senators split the rule between them by making groups of ten and choosing one from each of these groups who would be in charge. Ten had power, but only one had the symbols of power and the lictors. Each was in charge for five days and it went around between all of them for one year. This was called an interregnum, a word which is still used today. Then the people complained that they now had one hundred masters instead of just one: it seemed that they would only put up with a king that they had chosen themselves. When the senators realised that it was the only way, they thought they might as well offer it to the people. This decision to let the people choose made them happy, but the senators made sure they kept as much power as they gave away. They said that that when the people had chosen their king the senators had to agree to it. Also today it is the same for making laws and choosing magistrates since the senate give their decision on things before the people get to vote on them. The senator in charge at the time called an assembly and said: “Citizens, I hope that this is good, lucky and successful: the senators say that you can choose your king. If your choice is good enough to take over from Romulus, the senate will agree to it”. The people were so pleased that they did not want to seem unkind so they agreed that the senate should choose who should be the king of Rome.
At that time Numa Pompilius was famous because he was fair and religious. He lived in a Sabine town called Cures and he knew a lot (as much as you could then) about humans’ and gods’ laws. People say – wrongly – that Pythagoras of Samos was his teacher in these subjects, but only because they don’t know any better, but Pythagoras lived when Servius Tullius ruled in Rome, over one hundred years later, and he had his academy of young men who copied his teachings in the far parts of Italy, around Metapontum, Heraclea, and Croton. Even if Pythagoras had been around in the time of Numa Pompilius, how could his teachings have reached the Sabines from places like these? And what language could they speak that they both understood in order to learn? And how could one man pass safely through so many different people with their different languages and customs? So I believe that Numa’s mind was full of good qualities because of his own nature, not created by foreign arts but by the harsh and serious nature of the ancient Sabines who were the most honest people around.
When the Roman senators heard Numa’s name, even though it seemed as though they were giving power to the Sabines by choosing a Sabine king, they all decided that they should ask Numa Pompilius to be king, because no one dared to say that himself or any other tribe member, senator or citizen was better than Numa. After they asked him, he said they should also ask the gods, just as Romulus was made king by bird omens when the city was first built. Then a priest (who afterwards kept up this holy job for the city permanently) led him to the citadel and he sat on a stone facing south. The priest sat on his left, with his head covered and holding in his right hand a curved stick with no knots in the wood, which people call the ‘Crook’. Then he looked out over the city and the fields, and prayed to the gods. He marked out the areas of the sky from east to west; he said that the parts to the south were the right, and those towards the north were the left. In front of him he made the imaginary boundary as far away as he could see. Then he moved the Crook from his right hand to his left, and put his right hand on Numa’s head; he prayed in this way: “Father Jupiter, if it is right for this Numa Pompilius, whose head I touch, to be the King of Rome, then use your omens (within these boundaries that I have made) to make it clear to us”. Then he listed out loud the omens he wished for: when these came, Numa was named king and came down from the temple.
Once he was in charge of the new city, which had been built up by force and military strength, Numa wanted to make a new start with the laws, justice, and religious customs. But it seemed as if the people couldn’t get used to these things because they were always fighting, which gives people tough spirits. To soften the ferocious people by them not using weapons all the time, he decided to build a temple of Janus at the foot of the Argelitum hill to show peace and war. When the doors were open it showed that the community was at war, when they were closed it meant that the surrounding people were at peace. It has been closed twice since Numa was king: once when Titus Manlius was consul, at the end of the first Punic War; and again, at a time when the gods let us see it, after the battle of Actium when Caesar Augustus made peace over all land and sea. After it was closed, Numa brought the hearts of the surrounding peoples together with friendships and agreements, which stopped anxiety about dangers outside. So the people didn’t get into bad habits now they were not held down by fear of the enemy and military discipline, he decided to make them afraid of the gods, which was the best thing for the people who were uneducated and simple in those days. But he couldn’t make them believe it without an amazing tale, so he pretended that he met the goddess Egeria at night; and that she told him to set up the holy rituals which the gods would like the most, and he put priests in charge for each one. The first of all his changes was to divide the year into twelve months which followed the course of the moon. The moon does not fill thirty days in every month so the days are six short of a full solar year, so he fixed this by adding extra months, so that after twenty years the days of all the months would add up, and they would be at the same point of the sun’s course where they had started. He also decided which days public business was allowed and not allowed because it would be useful sometimes for the people to have days off.
Then he sorted out putting priests in charge of things, but he did the most holy ceremonies himself, especially the ones the priest of Jupiter does now. But he thought that in a warlike community there would be more kings like Romulus than like himself, and that they would want to go to war themselves. So that the holy ceremonies of the kingdom didn’t get neglected, he made the priest of Jupiter a permanent job and then made it more important with a special toga and the royal curule chair. He added two other priesthoods to this: one for Mars and one for Quirinus. He also chose the Vestal Virgins, a priesthood that came from Alba which the founder of Rome would have recognised. He gave them money from the public funds so that they would be really careful priestesses of the temple, he showed that they should be respected and were holy by making them stay virgins and by other ceremonies. He also chose twelve ‘Dancers’, the Salian priests of Mars Gradivus, and gave them embroidered tunics, and on top of them they wore bronze breastplates. He ordered them to carry the heavenly shields, which are called the ancilia, and to go through the city singing songs and performing their special dance with three steps. Then he chose Numa Marcius, son of Marcus, from the senators as the priest of state religion, and he put him in charge of all the holy documents which said what animals should be used, which days, and which temples the sacrifices should be at, and where to get the money to pay for them. He also put that priest in charge of all other private and public ceremonies, so that the people would come to him in case they upset any of the gods’ laws by forgetting traditional ceremonies or joining foreign cults. That same priest was not only in charge of the ceremonies for the heavenly gods but also funerals and pleasing the spirits of the dead. He also said what omens should be recognised from lightning flashes and other events and what people should do about them. To find out about these things from the gods, he set up an altar for Jove the Revealer on the Aventine hill, and he looked for signs from the god, for which omens should be accepted.
Everybody’s minds were busy consulting the gods or getting rid of bad omens, never thinking about violence and weapons. Now that the power of the gods seemed to influence all of everyday life, care for the gods was always there: it filled everyone’s hearts with such goodness that faith and respect for the laws ruled the citizens rather than fear of punishment and the law. The men modelled their behaviour on the King himself, as if he was a unique example, and even their neighbours, who had thought before that a military camp rather than a civilian community had been set up in the middle of them to upset the everyone’s peace, even these people now thought it was morally wrong to attack a community that was completely involved in worshiping the gods. There was a forest with a spring the middle supplied with water all year round from a shady cave. Numa used to go there often, without company, as if he was meeting the goddess. He made this forest sacred to the Muses because it was here that he had meetings with his ‘wife’ Egeria. He also started a regular festival to celebrate sticking to promises, and said that the priests should be taken to the shrine in a two-horse covered carriage, and perform a ceremony with their hands covered up to the fingers to show that a promise is special and making a promise by joining hands is holy. He started many other holy ceremonies and made places to perform them which the priests call the Argei. But the greatest thing he did was keeping his power while also keeping peace the whole time he was king. So, one after the other, the two kings improved the city, but in different ways: one through peace and the other through war. Romulus ruled for 37 years, Numa ruled for 43. The city was strong and had skills for both peace and war.
After Numa died there was another interregnum. Then the people and the senate made Tullus Hostilius king. He was the grandson of Hostilius, he who had fought the Sabines in the famous battle for the citadel. He was not only different from Numa, but was even more warlike than Romulus. His youth and strength and his grandfather’s glory gave him courage. He thought that the state was getting weak because of inactivity, so he looked around for a reason to start a war.
By chance the Romans were raiding the Alban fields and the Albans were also raiding the Roman farms. Gaius Cluilius was in charge of Alba then and both parties sent ambassadors at the same time to ask for their belongings back. Tullus ordered his men to carry out their demands as quickly as possible, because he was sure that the Albans would refuse, and so he could easily start a war. For the Albans things went more slowly: Tullus welcomed the ambassadors kindly, and they happily had dinner with the king. Meanwhile the Roman ambassadors demanded the property back and were refused so they said the war would start in 30 days. Tullius was told this and then he let the Alban ambassadors say what they had come to Rome for. They did not know what had happened and wasted time explaining that they were very sorry to say anything to upset Tullus, but they had been ordered to ask for the goods back, and to declare war if they were refused. Tullus replied “Tell your king that the king of Rome calls the gods to witness that it was your people who first sent away the ambassadors asking for goods back and so you will have the destruction of war.”
The Albans announced this at home. Both sides prepared everything they would need for war; it was like a civil war, almost between parents and children because they all had Trojan origins. Lavinium came from Troy, Alba came from Lavinium, and the Romans were from the family of the Alban Kings. But the outcome of the war was not so bad, as there was no proper battle and even though one city was destroyed, the two peoples joined together. First the Albans attacked the Roman fields with a huge army. They set up a camp only 5 miles from the city and surrounded it with a trench. This trench was called the Cluilia for many years, named after their leader, but eventually the trench and the name disappeared. Cluilius the Alban king died in this camp and the Albans made Mettius Fufetius leader. Meanwhile, because of the death of the Alban King, Tullus said fiercely that the great power of the gods was punishing all the Alban people for this unholy war and it had started with the king himself. At night he sneaked past the enemy camp and invaded their land. This forced Mettius into action. He led his force the quickest way he could to meet the enemy. But he ordered ambassadors to go ahead to tell Tullus that they had to talk before the battle. He knew that if they had a meeting, the proposal he had in mind would be just as useful to the Romans it was to the Albans. Tullus agreed but he still led out his army in case they did not agree. The Albans marched out too. When the forces were lined up, the leaders marched into the centre with a few companions. Then the Alban said: “The insult of breaking the treaty has not been made up for yet, and I heard that Cluilius believed this was the cause of the war. I suppose you think so too, Tullus. But let’s be honest with one another. It is the wish to rule our two neighbouring peoples that pushes us to war. It does not matter if it is right or wrong. That would be a worry for the person who started the war, not for me because the Albans made me leader to command this war. But, Tullus, I want to warn you: the Etruscans surround us, and it especially concerns you Tullus, as you know very well whose city is nearest to the Etruscans. They are even more powerful on sea than they are on land. Remember that when you give the signal to begin this fight, because at the same time they will be watching our fight, so that they can overpower both the loser and the winner, who will both be exhausted. So if the gods love us both, let’s not put the freedom we enjoy in doubt and end up as either rulers or as slaves. There must be a way to decide who should rule without a lot of killing and bloodshed on both sides.” This pleased Tullus, even though he was more warlike and had a greater hope of victory. Both sides were searching for a solution when Fortune herself provided one.
By chance, there were triplet brothers in each army who were of similar ages and strength. It is generally agreed that they were called the Horatii and the Curiatii, and this is a very famous incident. But even in such a famous tale, there is uncertainty as nobody knows which people the Horatii belonged and to which the Curiatii. The evidence points both ways: I have found that most say that the Horatii were Romans; so I’ll go with this. Their kings pushed the triplets to fight for their countries, and the winning side would control both countries. They agreed, and a time and place were arranged. But before they fought, the Romans and Albans made a treaty: that the citizens of the wining people would have control over the others, who would hand over power without complaining. Treaties and their conditions are all different, but we accept that this treaty is the earliest we know of and went like this: the Fetial Priest (who was in charge of declaring war) asked Tullus, “Do you order me, my King, to make a treaty with the Alban people?” After the king agreed, the priest said “I would like some sacred grass from you, my King.” The king replied, “Take the pure grass”. Then the priest took a piece of pure grass from the citadel. After, he asked the king: “Do you make me the messenger of the Roman Quirites, with my tools and attendants?” The king said, “I do as long as it doesn’t harm me or to the Roman Quirites”. The Fetial Priest was Marcus Valerius, and he made Spurius Fusus the Pater Patratus (who helped with declaring war) by touching the hair on his head with a leafy twig. The Pater Patratus is in charge of making the oath which completes the treaty. He did this with many words in a poem which there is no need to quote. When the conditions had been read out, he said, “Listen Jupiter, listen also Pater Patratus of the Albans, and you too Alban people. Those conditions which were just read out from the tablets, in good faith – and are recognised and understood today – will not be broken first by the Roman people. But if the Roman people decide by public opinion to break this treaty first intentionally, then may Lord Jupiter strike them as I strike this pig today, but you Jupiter will strike with more force, as you have more strength and power.” After he said this, he struck the pig with a stone knife. The Albans made a similar promise through their leader and priests.
When the treaty was made, the triplets picked up their weapons as agreed. The two sides cheered their men on, mentioning their gods and senators and homeland, and all the citizens at home and in the army watching the weapons in the triplets’ hands. They were naturally brave and were encouraged by the shouting, so the triplets marched out between the two armies. Both armies had settled themselves in front of their camps, now there was no real danger, but they were still worried: because full control was being fought over, and it had been left to the luck and courage of a few men. Full of excitement, they were gripped by watching the show which was a lot more than just entertainment. The signal was given, the young men ran at their enemies with weapons drawn, as if they were armies on their own. They did not seem worried about their own safety, only the future of their countries as the power or slavery of their people depended on what they did. The great horror of it shook the spectators at the first clashing of the arms and the glittering of the swords, and their voices and breaths stopped as neither side was winning. In the hand-to-hand fight that followed, there were quick body moves and strikes of weapons – but still it was undecided. Then there were wounds and the sight of blood: two Romans fell, one on another, but only after the three Albans were wounded. At the deaths of the Romans, the Alban army cheered with joy, while the Romans – almost with no hope – were dumbstruck at the situation of their one man, who the three Curiatii were surrounding. By chance the Roman was still unhurt. He could not fight the three men at once but he could do it one at a time. So to break up the fight, he ran, thinking that they would follow, but only as quickly as wounded men could.
When he was some distance from where the fight had started, looking back he saw a gap had grown between his pursuers, one was not far behind him, but he was separated from the other two. The remaining Horatius charged at this single Curiatii with great force. While the Alban army shouted at the others to help their brother, Horatius quickly beat him, and was looking for his second fight. Then the Romans cheered their soldier on with a great cry, as supporters give when something unexpected happens, and he hurried to finish off the fight. He killed the second Curiatius before the last one, who was not far off, could get near. Now the last two met to fight, but they were not equal in hope or in strength. The one who had no sword wound was encouraged by his two earlier wins and wanted another. The other was tired by his wounds and from dragging his tired body around and his spirit had been broken by his enemy killing his two brothers. So it was not a real battle. The Roman was delighted and said: “I have killed two of you in revenge for my brothers. I’ll kill a third, so that Rome rules over Alba, the reason for this war.” Standing over his enemy he stabbed his sword through his neck. Then he stripped the dead body where it lay. The Romans called Hostilius back with great thanks, with even greater joy because they had been so afraid. Then they buried the dead, but with different feelings because one had power over the other, the other was now their subject. The tombs now stand where each man fell, the two Romans together close to Alba, the three Albans nearer to Rome, but with distance between them, just as the battles had been.
Before they left, Mettius asked what orders to give to go along with the treaty, Tullus told him to keep the young men ready to fight, as they would be of useful if a war started with Veii.
Then the armies marched home. Horatius was at the front carrying the armour of the three brothers he had killed. His virgin sister, who had been engaged to one of the Curiatii, was in front of the Capena Gate. When she saw the military cloak of her fiancé over her brothers’ shoulders, the cloak which she had made, she tore her hair and screamed the name of her dead lover. It made the fierce young man angry because she was crying at his moment of victory when there was great public joy. He drew his sword he stabbed the girl saying: “Go from here to your dead lover with your unfortunate love – you who don’t care for your dead brothers or for me, and your country. This should happen to any Roman woman who cries for an enemy!” This sight shocked the senators and the people, but they also knew he had recently done great things. He was still arrested and taken to the king.
The king did not want to be responsible for punishing him in case the people did not approve. So he called the people together and said, “I declare that two men will decide the punishment of Horatius as it is the law”. This was the terrible law: “Two men should judge a case of treason. If the convicted man appeals this, the appeal should be heard. If the appeal is defeated, his head should be covered, and the unlucky man hung from a bare tree, and he should be beaten both inside and outside the boundary of the city”. The two men were elected for this job, but they felt that they couldn’t acquit even an innocent man, so they condemned him. Then one of them said, “Publius Horatius, I find you guilty of treason. Go Lictor, tie his hands.” The lictor came to tie his hands. Then Horatius, encouraged by Tullus who was sympathetic to him, said “I appeal”. The appeal was decided in front of the people. The people were most influenced by the father, Publius Horatius, who claimed that his daughter deserved to die and if she hadn’t deserved it he would have punished his son himself. Then he said that not long before he had seen himself as a father of a splendid family, and that they should free his child. Then the old man and the young man hugged and the father pointed to the armour taken from the Curiatii in that place, a place which is now known as the Horatian Spears, he said: “Quirites, can you see this man, who you recently saw carrying trophies and a winner, tied up to a yoke, tortured, and whipped? Even the Albans would not want to see that. Go Lictor, go and tie the hands that have just won power for the Roman people in a fight. Go, blindfold the man who freed this city; hang him from a tree, beat him inside the city, among the spears and shields he just won from the enemy, or outside the city, near the tombs of the recently buried Curiatii. Is there any place you can take this young man, where the victory he has won for himself does not get him off the punishment?” The people could not bear to see the father’s tears, or the calm spirit of the man himself facing the punishments, and so they let him off more because of their admiration for him than because he was innocent. A murder in broad daylight did need something to say sorry for it, so the father was ordered to make atonement for his son but the state would pay. He made sacrifices traditional to his family, then put up a beam across the street and made the young man go under it, like under a yoke, with his head covered. This beam is still there to-day, and has always been kept in repair by the state: it is called "The Sister's Beam." A stone tomb was made for Horatia on the spot where she was murdered.
Peace with Alba did not last. The Alban leader became unpopular because he had put the fortune of the state in the hands of three soldiers, and this corrupted his weak character. As honest plans had not worked, he tried to get popular again with devious plans. So as before he had made peace in wartime, now he aimed for war in peacetime. He realised that his state had more courage than strength, so Mettius pushed other peoples into war with Rome, but he kept for his own Albans the position of Rome’s allies with a dishonest intention.
Fidenae was a Roman colony and was talked into going to war by an understanding that the Albans would desert Rome during the struggle. The people of Veii were also brought in as allies. When Fidenae had openly rebelled, Tullus called Mettius and his army from Alba and marched against the enemy. After crossing the river Anio he made camp at its junction with the Tiber. The army of Veii had crossed the river Tiber between there and Fidenae. Now they stood near the river on the right side of the battle line, the people of Fidenae stood on the left towards the rising mountains. Tullus lined his forces up opposite the Veiians, and he told the Alban legions to face the Fidenae. But the Alban Mettius had as little bravery as he had loyalty and he dared not stay in position or openly retreat, and instead withdrew gradually towards the mountains. When he thought that he was far enough away he stopped his whole army, and still unsure what to do, he began to get his men ready for attack, as a way of gaining time, intending to join the winning side. At first, the Romans lined up closest to the Albans were surprised that their allies had withdrawn from the side. Then a horseman told the King that the Albans had retreated. At this critical moment, Tullus promised to dedicate twelve Salian priests and shrines for Panic and Fear. He shouted in a voice loud enough for the enemy to hear and ordered the horseman back into the line. He said there was no reason to be afraid, and that the Alban army was turning on his orders to attack the unguarded back of the Fidenae forces. Then he ordered the cavalry to raise their spears. This meant that a lot of the Roman infantry couldn’t to see the Albans withdrawing, and even those who had seen it thought that this was just part of Tullus’ plan, so they fought more fiercely. Terror now crossed to the enemy. When they heard what was said in that clear voice they understood it because a lot of the Fidenates had learnt Latin from Roman immigrants. So, to avoid being cut off from their town if the Albans did charge down from the hills, they turned and ran. Tullus chased them immediately and, when the Fidenates were gone, he turned even more ferociously on the Veiians, who were now paralysed by the panic of the others. They could not stand up to this attack, but the river behind them stopped them retreating. After they had been pushed to run, some threw their weapons away and ran straight into the water. Others were killed on the banks while they were deciding between fighting and running. There was no fiercer battle fought by the Romans.
Then the Alban army, who had been watching the battle, went down onto the plain. Mettius praised Tullus for defeating the enemy and Tullus spoke politely to Mettius. With a prayer for success, Tullus ordered that the Romans and Albans to camp together; then he prepared to make a sacrifice the next day. The next day came and all the necessary preparations were made, Tullus ordered an assembly of the two armies. Messengers called the Albans first, beginning at the edges of the camp. This assembly was new for the Albans and curiously they gathered around the Roman King to hear his words. The Roman legions stood around them with weapons they had been told to bring. Their officers had been told to carry out orders without delay. Then Tullus said: “Romans, if ever there was a reason why you should give thanks in war to the immortal gods and to our own courage, then it should be for yesterday’s battle. We were not only fighting an enemy, but also – and far more dangerously – the dishonesty and betrayal of our allies. I did not order the Albans to retreat to the hills – that was not part of my battle plan, I just pretended that it was, so that you would not know they had deserted, and then you would not lose courage. Also I wanted the enemy to think that they were being attacked from behind so they would be scared and run. This is not the Albans’ fault, because they followed their leader, just as you would have if I had wanted to move our troops’ position. Mettius is responsible for the retreat, Mettius started the war, and Mettius broke the treaty between Rome and Alba. I will give this man a special punishment, so that no-one else dares to think about such treachery again!” Armed soldiers surrounded Mettius. The King continued to speak: “I hope that this is favourable, good, and of useful to the Roman people, to me, and to you, the Albans. I have decided to take all the Alban people to Rome, give them citizenship, choose your leading citizens for the senate, and make a single city, a single state. Alba was once split into two peoples, now I want it to return to one!” The Alban youths had no reply as they were unarmed and surrounded on all sides with weapons, so even if their opinions differed, they were united by one fear. Then Tullus said, “Mettius Fufetius, if you could learn loyalty and to keep promises, I would teach you and let you live. But your nature can’t change, so your punishment will be an example to others to respect what you have violated. Since your spirit has divided Fidenae and Rome, your body will be split apart.” Then he had Mettius tied to two four-horse chariots, and the horses were driven off in different directions. His body was torn apart and pieces of his limbs still were attached to the chariots as they moved away from one another. Everyone turned their eyes from this horrible sight. This was the first and last time that the Romans used this punishment, a punishment that seemed so inhumane. In all other cases they can boast that their punishments were less extreme than those of other races.
Meanwhile, horsemen had been sent to Alba to lead the people to Rome and then the soldiers were sent to destroy the city. When they entered the city, there was no fear or panic as there usually is in a captured city, when gates are broken, walls shaken by battering rams, citadels taken by force, when the noise of enemy soldiers echoes through the streets as they spread panic everywhere with fire and swords. Instead there was a sad silence and a quiet misery in everybody’s minds, they were dumbstruck by fear, not knowing what they should take or leave behind. Standing in their doorways they asked the neighbours what to do, then wandered through their houses for the last time. The shouts of the horsemen ordering them to leave got more insistent and they could hear the crash of the buildings being destroyed on the edges of the city and see the dust rising into the air in a thick cloud. Now taking what they could, they left their homes where they had grown up, and their household gods. Now a continuous line of people leaving filled the streets and, when they saw the others, they despaired and cried more. The women’s cries got more miserable when they passed the temples where they had worshipped as they left them behind along with their gods, as if they were captured prisoners. When the Albans had left the city, the Romans destroyed all the public and private buildings: in one hour they turned 400 years’ work into ruins. The temples of the gods were left untouched as the King had ordered.
At that time, there was an event in the palace which was amazing in its outcome and appearance. There was a boy called Servius Tullius and, as he slept, his head burst into flames – an event that many people saw. Of course, this caused uproar, and the royal family came excitedly to see the miracle. When one of the slaves had brought water to put out the flames, he was held back by the queen Tanaquil. She wouldn’t let the boy be disturbed and asked them all to be quiet until he woke up on his own. Soon the flames died away and he woke up. Then she took her husband Tarquinius away in secret and said, “Do you see this boy we are bringing up in our house in such a poor position? It is obvious that he will be the shining light and protector of the royal house when it is in trouble in worrying times. So let’s look after this boy as best we can so that he will be useful to us and to the people.” From then on they started to treat the boy as if he was their own son, and brought him up in a way that would give him a good character for a great role in life. It happened easily because the gods wanted it to. He had a very royal nature and none of the other young men in Rome looked like they would be as good as Servius as a son-in-law, so the king let his daughter get engaged to him. The honour given to Servius was so great that, despite the popular story, it is difficult to believe that that he was born a slave and treated like one in his early life. I agree with the others who say that when the city of Corniculum was captured, after Servius Tullius – the chief of that city – was killed, his wife who was pregnant was recognised as being more important than the other captured women. So the Roman queen saved her from being a slave and took the lady to Rome and she gave birth to her son in the palace of Tarquinius Priscus. A great friendship grew between the two women because of this act of kindness and the boy was brought up in the palace in a loving and generous environment. But this is why Tullius was believed to be a slave, from the fate of his mother falling into enemy hands when his homeland was conquered.
Tarquinius had been king for about 38 years and Servius Tullius was in a position of great honour, not only in the opinion of the king, but also the people and the senate as well. The two sons of Ancus, (the previous king) were still angry because they lost the throne because they were tricked by their guardian Tarquinius and because a foreigner was king of Rome who was not even Italian. They got even angrier when they saw that even after Tarquinius died they wouldn’t get the kingdom back, and it would suddenly go to a slave. The crown which Romulus, who was now a god and was the son of a god, had worn when he was on earth would now be given to a slave a hundred years later. They thought it was a disgrace to the whole Roman nation, and especially to their family, if, while the sons of Ancus were still alive, the kingdom of Rome went not only to foreigners but even to slaves. So they decided to stand up to the insult with their swords. But they wanted revenge on Tarquinius rather than Servius because if Tarquinius lived, he would be able to give a much worse punishment than an ordinary citizen, and if Servius was killed, the king would certainly make any one else he chose as a son-in-law the next king. So they made a plot to kill the king. They chose two very fierce shepherds to do it. They appeared in the porch of the palace, with their normal tools and pretended to have a very violent argument so that all the royal guards looked at them. Then they both began to ask for the king, and the noise had been heard in the palace, so they got sent to the king. At first they shouted each against the other to see who could make the most noise. Then the lictor told them off and said they should speak in turn and they became quiet. One of the two began to state his case. While the king's attention was taken up by listening to him, the other swung his axe and pushed it into the king's head. He left the weapon in the wound and they both ran out of the palace.
Livy, The History of Rome 1.49–59
Then Lucius Tarquinius was the king, and his deeds got him the name Superbus (arrogant or proud), because he banned the burial of his father-in-law because he said that Romulus himself also was not buried when he died. Then he killed the most important senators because he thought they supported Servius. Then he realised that he had made himself king in such an evil way that he might have made an example that could be used against him, so he surrounded himself with armed men, since he had no right to rule except for by force, as he had not had the vote of the people or been accepted by the senate. As he could not rely on the good will of the citizens, it was safer for him to rule by fear. He made most people afraid by holding trials for serious crimes with no juries, just him on his own. This way he could kill, or send into exile, or punish by taking their belongings, not only the people he suspected or didn’t like, but also the ones whose money he wanted to take. This especially reduced the number of the senators and they were not replaced, which made them less important and also there were fewer people to complain that they had no state business to do. Tarquinius was the first king to break the tradition the kings before had of consulting the senate on everything. He sorted out all the public business through family friends. Of his own accord, he made and destroyed war, peace, treaties and friendships with whoever he wanted without the people or the senate approving. He made himself very friendly with Latin people, so that support from abroad would make him safer at home. He entertained the leaders as guests and made marriage ties with them. He married his daughter to Octavius Mamilius of Tusculum who was the best known chief of the Latins and, if we believe the rumour, was descended from Ulysses and the goddess Circe. Through this marriage he got the support of all Mamilius’ many friends and relatives.
Now Tarquinius had great authority with the Latins, so one day he decided that they should meet at the grove of Ferentina because he wanted to do some business. Many people went at dawn. Tarquinius did go to the meeting that day, but he arrived just before the sun set. Many people who were there all day did a lot of talking and Turnus Herdonius, from Aricia, complained bitterly about Tarquinius not being there. He said that it was not surprising that the name Superbus, “the Proud” had been given to him in Rome – as this is what the crowd secretly called him – because what could be more arrogant than for the whole Latin people to be messed about in this way? Chiefs had been called from their homes far away, but the man who had called the meeting was not there. No doubt he was testing their patience, since if they would accept being treated like this he could easily overpower these weak people. It was obvious that he wanted power over the Latins. If his citizens had benefited from trusting him to be king – if that was the case and he had not come to power through murder – then the Latins should also trust him. But we should remember he is a foreigner and if his own people were hurt by his power if some were being killed, exiled, and robbed of their belongings – why should there be any more hope for what would happen to the Latins? If they were sensible they would listen to him, each would return to his own home and pay no more attention to the day of the meeting than the man who had arranged it. This man, Turnus was a troublemaker and rebel, had had success at home with this sort of attack, but when he was criticising even more, Tarquinius arrived. That was the end of the speech. Everyone turned to greet Tarquinius. He called for silence, and when the people around him said he should explain why he had only just come at this time, he said that he had been acting as a judge between a father and a son and had been delayed by trying to get them to agree. He said that since it was nearly the end of the day, he would discuss the business with them the next day. People they say that Turnus replied to this by saying that no negotiation would be shorter than one between a father and a son, as it would take only a few words. If the son did not obey the father, then he would be sorry for it.
The man from Aricia told the Roman king off and then left the meeting. Tarquinius was more annoyed by this than he looked and immediately started planning to kill Turnus as he thought he should make the Latins as scared of him as the citizens at home. Even though he was powerful, he could not kill Turnus openly, so he destroyed the innocent man with a false accusation. Using some people in Aricia who did not like Turnus, Tarquinius bribed one of his slaves with gold, so that he would let a lot of swords be smuggled into the place where Turnus was staying. This was done in a single night. A little before dawn Tarquinius called the Latin leaders to him, as if he was worried by something new. He said that his delay the day before must have come from luck from the gods because it had benefited both them and him. He had been told that Turnus was planning to murder him and the Latin leaders, so that Turnus alone could have power over the Latins. He had been going to attack at the meeting the day before, but had been put off because the man who had called the meeting, the man wanted to kill the most, was not there. This was why Turnus had made the speech against him, because Tarquinius’ delay had spoilt his plan. If what he had been told was true, he did not doubt that at first light when he came to the meeting, Turnus would have an armed gang with him. Tarquinius said that Turnus had collected a large number of swords. It would be very easy to find out quickly if this was true or not, and he asked the leaders to go with him to Turnus. It seemed suspicious: Turnus’ fierce nature, the speech the day before and Tarquinius’ delay which meant the plot was stopped. They were ready to believe him when they went, but if the swords had not been found they would not have believed the other charges. When they arrived, guards woke Turnus and surrounded him. They grabbed Turnus’ slaves, who were preparing to defend him because they liked him. But when the hidden swords were dragged out from all over the place, it seemed obvious that the plot existed. Turnus was chained up, and the Latins called a meeting quickly with great uproar. It caused such fierce hatred when the swords were put in the middle that, without being able to defend himself, Turnus got a new sort of execution: he was thrown into the water of the Ferentina and drowned in a wicker basket full of rocks.
When he had called the Latins back to a meeting, Tarquinius praised them because they had given Turnus a deserved punishment for plotting a rebellion and blatant murder. He said that he had power over them because there was ancient treaty made by Tullus, under which all of Alba and its colonies were in Rome’s power, and the Latins were originally from Alba. But he said it would be more useful for him and everyone else if this treaty was renewed so that the Latins could enjoy the same fortune as the Romans otherwise the Latins could expect to have him destroying their cities and fields as his father and Ancus had done. It was not difficult to persuade the Latins, even though Rome would end up with more power in the terms of this treaty because the Latin leaders seemed to agree with the King, and also because of the recent example of Turnus and the danger anyone was in if they stood up to Tarquinius. So the treaty was renewed and it said the Latin youths should meet with their weapons on a certain day in the grove of Ferentina. Men from all of the communities gathered on the orders of the Roman king. So they would not have their own leaders, or independent power, or even their own battle standards, he mixed up the groups of the Romans and Latins to make single units from the two halves: then he put centurions in charge of the mixed companies.
Even though he was unfair in peacetime, the King was not a bad commander in war. In this skill he might have been as good as the earlier kings, except for his bad behaviour in other areas. He was the first to make war with the Volsci, which lasted more than 200 years after his age. He took the town of Suessa Pometia from them by force. When he had made 40 talents of silver from selling what he won in this war, he had the idea of a temple of Jupiter so magnificent that it would be worthy of the king of gods and men, the power of Rome, and the glory of the place itself. He set aside the money he had taken to build temple. Then he started another war which was trickier than he had hoped, against the neighbouring city of Gabii. He failed to overpower them with force, and when he could not besiege them because they forced him back from the city walls, he resorted to the not very Roman skills of fraud and trickery. He pretended to give up the war and be busy building the foundations of the temple and other work in the city, but he arranged for his son Sextus, the youngest of three, to run away to Gabii as part of the plan. Sextus told them that his father was horribly cruel to him and that he had now turned the arrogance he had shown to others onto his own family and was also annoyed because he had too many children. Just as he had made himself alone in the senate house, he now wanted to do the same at home, so that he would have no children and not have to leave his kingdom to anyone. Sextus also said that since he had escaped from his father’s weapons and swords there was nowhere safer for him than with Tarquinius’ enemies, because they should not be mistaken, he was only pretending to stop the war, and he would attack them unexpectedly as soon as there was a chance. But if there were no place for refugees with them, he would wander the whole of Latium, going from here to the Volsci, and the Aequi, and the Hernici, until he found someone who would shelter children from the cruel and undeserved punishment of a father. Perhaps he could find some fighting spirit so as to make war against the most arrogant king and his very fierce people. When it seemed as if he would leave immediately and angrily if he was turned away, the Gabii received him kindly. They said it was not surprising that Tarquinius had at last turned his anger on his children as he had done on both citizens and allies and he would turn his savagery on himself if there was no one else. They were grateful for his arrival, because they thought that with his help, in a short time, the war would be transferred from the gates of Gabii to under the walls of Rome.
Sextus was then invited to take part in the state meetings. In most things he agreed with the older residents of Gabii, who were more knowledgeable than he was but repeatedly he said they should go to war with Rome because he said he knew more about that because he knew the strengths of both peoples, and knew how much the Roman people hated their arrogant king whose children couldn’t even put up with him. So gradually he pushed the leaders of Gabii towards restarting the war, while he would go on stealing expeditions with the boldest young men. Their trust in him grew because of all these words and actions, all of which were designed to trick them, and they chose him to be their leader in war. The common people did not know what was going on, but when there were small conflicts between Rome and Gabii, in which Gabii usually won, all of the Gabii, from the highest to the lowest, believed that Sextus Tarquinius had been sent to them as a leader as a gift from the gods. He shared the soldiers’ work and put himself in the same dangers, as well as sharing out the things they stole generously, and they loved him so much that the son became as powerful at Gabii as his father Tarquinius was at Rome. When he thought that he had enough power to do anything, he sent one of his men to Rome to ask his father if there was anything that he wanted him to do, as the gods had made it so that he was the one who could now do anything at Gabii. Tarquinius did not give a reply to the messenger, I believe because he did not trust him. The King walked in his private garden as if he was thinking, with his son’s messenger following him. As he was walking there in silence, it is said that he knocked the heads off the tallest poppies with his stick. The messenger got tired of waiting and asking for a reply and, with his job unfinished, he went back to Gabii and reported what he had said and seen: that either because of anger or hatred or the arrogance in his character, Tarquinius had not said a word. But Sextus, knew what his father wanted and what the silent message meant, so he killed the leaders of the citizens either in trials in front of the people, or because they were unpopular so it provided an excuse. Many were killed openly, but those that could not be convicted of anything were murdered in secret. Some people were either allowed to leave or forced into exile. Then he shared out the belongings of the exiled and the executed. People did not make as much fuss as they might have done because he shared out the wealth and was generous. The Gabii were completely unable to help themselves or to get help from outside, so the people of were handed over into the hands of the Roman king without a fight.
When he had taken over Gabii, Tarquinius made peace with the Aequi, and renewed the treaty with the Etruscans. Then he turned his mind to business in the city. First, to put a temple of Jupiter on the Tarpeian Mountain as a monument of him being king and his family name: as both Tarquin Kings played a part, his father had promised to build the temple, and the son had built it. He wanted the whole area free from other shrines and only for Jupiter and his temple, so he moved all of the existing shrines which had been made holy and built there, even the one promised by King Tatius during his fight with Romulus and put there afterwards. At the start of the building, the will of the gods showed how great Rome’s power was: because the bird omens let all of the shrines to be taken away, except the shrine of Terminus. This omen was understood in the following way, that the shrine of Terminus, alone of all the gods, had to stay in the boundaries given to it and not be moved, and in this way the whole Roman world would stay safe. After this omen which showed that Rome would continue for a long time, it was followed by another omen about the importance of the empire. It is said that a human head, with the features still visible, was found by the people digging the foundations of the temple. The appearance of this showed without doubt that this would be the citadel of an empire that would be the head of the whole world. The priests in the city agreed with this opinion, and so did the ones who had been called in from Etruria in to consult about it. So the king decided to spend even more money and so the money from Pometia, which was supposed to be enough for the whole job, was only just enough to pay for the foundations. So I agree with Fabius, about the fact that the goods from Pometia only raised 40 talents of silver, rather than with Piso who says that 40000 pounds of silver were given to the project. This is not only because Fabius wrote it down earlier, but also because there is no way you could make so much money from just one city in those days, as that much would be enough for a magnificent building even now.
He was determined that the temple would be finished and brought in craftsmen from all over Etruria, not only using public money, but also labourers from the population of Rome. It was a big job and the ordinary men were also needed in the army. The people did not mind building temples for the gods with their own hands as much as the other projects that followed which were less extravagant, but bigger jobs: making the new seats in the Circus, and building the Cloaca Maxima, the underground sewer for all the waste from the city. The amount of work these two took is hardly seen in building nowadays. When they had done this work, there were so many people in the city who were not working, that they were thought to be a problem. Tarquinius wanted to send them out to live in places Rome had taken over to make the empire bigger. So he set up the town of Signia inland, and the town of Circeii on the coast and both would be defences for the city in the future.
While this was going on, a terrible omen was seen: a snake came out from a wooden column, but while the people in the palace were scared and ran away, the king was not so much scared as worried about the meaning of the vision. At that time Etruscan experts were called in to deal with city omens, but Tarquinius was worried that this was an omen about his own household so he decided to consult Delphi – the most famous oracle in the world. He sent his two sons to Greece, because he dared not trust such an important a reply to anyone else. They went across lands unknown at that time and even more unknown seas. Titus and Arruns set out and Lucius Junius Brutus went with them. He was the son of Tarquinia the king’s sister and was far more intelligent than he pretended to be. When he heard that the leading citizens had been killed by his uncle, including Tarquinius’ own brother, he decided not to show anything in his character that the King could be afraid of or in his fortunes that the king could envy. It was safe to be put down when there was little protection available from the law. So he deliberately made an act of being stupid and let his property and himself to be controlled by the King. He did not even mind the name Brutus, “the Brute”, because under this name his spirit lay waiting for his time to be the person who freed the Roman people. So the two Tarquin children took him to Delphi, more as a form of entertainment than as a friend. People say he took a gold staff with him as a gift for Apollo, it was hidden inside a cornel-wood stick hollowed out for the purpose, and this could be a symbol of his nature. After they arrived and carried out their father’s wishes, the young men really wanted to know which of them would end up being in power at Rome. People say that a voice echoed back to them from the depths of the cave: “Young men, he who first brings a kiss to his mother will have the greatest power in Rome.” They ordered this to be kept secret so that Sextus Tarquinius, who had been left at Rome, would not know and wouldn’t share the power. Then they decided between them by lot which of them would kiss their mother first when they got back to Rome. But Brutus thought that the Pythia’s words had a different meaning. He pretended to slip and fell to the ground and kissed it, as he realised that the earth is everyone’s mother. Then they went back to Rome, where a war against the Rutuli was being prepared urgently.
The Rutuli lived in Ardea and were the richest tribe there then. This was the cause of the war, because the Roman King had used his own wealth on his public works, and he wanted to cheer the people up with extra wealth because they had started to dislike him because he was arrogant and he had made them work as builders for so long. At first he tried to capture Ardea with an attack. But when that did not work he began to oppress his enemy with a blockade and besiege them. So permanent camps were built and, as happens with a war that is long with not so much fighting, there were periods of leave, but more for the officers than for the soldiers. The young royal men wasted their time feasting and partying amongst themselves. By chance they were drinking in Sextus Tarquinius’ quarters. Tarquinius Collatinus, the son of Egerius, was having dinner with them, and they were talking about their wives. Each man praised his own wife a lot. But, when the discussion got more heated, Collatinus said there was no need for a debate, because in a few hours it would be clear to all of them that his wife, Lucretia, was the best. “Since we are young men,” he said, “let’s get on our horses and see for ourselves what our wives are up to. As the best proof is what a husband sees when he goes home unexpectedly”. By now they were drunk: “Yes, let’s go”, they all shouted and got on the horses and hurried to Rome. They arrived in the early evening, and they saw the royal wives who were surrounded by luxury and having fun with their friends at a dinner party. Then they went to Collatia, where they found Lucretia behaving in no way like the others. Even though it was late she was sitting in the middle of her home, surrounded by maids doing their night-work, spinning wool. The praise in this contest of wives lay squarely with Lucretia. The approaching husband and the Tarquins were welcomed warmly. The winning husband eagerly invited the young men into his home. There the evil desire took Sextus Tarquinius to rape Lucretia, as he was turned on by her beauty and her well behaved nature. In the meantime they went back to the camp after their youthful night-time game.
After a few days, Sextus Tarquinius went to Collatia with one companion and without Collatinus knowing. He was welcomed kindly because the people did not know what he was up to, and after dinner he was invited into a guest room. When everyone seemed to be asleep, burning with desire, he went to the sleeping Lucretia with his sword drawn, and he pressed his left hand on the woman’s chest and said, “Be silent, Lucretia. I am Sextus Tarquinius. There is a sword in my hand and you will die if you make a sound.” When she woke up, the terrified woman saw that there was no hope of help and she would die. Then Tarquinius confessed his love and begged her to give in, mixing in threats and prayers, trying to turn all aspects of her womanly nature. When he saw that she would not give in, not even when threatened by fear for her own life, he added disgrace to the fear. He said that when she was dead he would place the naked body of a murdered slave in the bed next to her, so that it would look as if she had been killed whilst involved in the lowest sort of adultery. With this threat his lust won over her complete faithfulness, and Tarquinius left there proud that he seemed to have destroyed her goodness as a wife. Devastated by such an evil thing, Lucretia sent a message to her father in Rome and her husband in Ardea, asking them both to come with one faithful companion and saying they must come quickly as a terrible crime had happened.
Her father, Spurius Lucretius came with Publius Valerius the son of Volesus and Collatinus came with Lucius Junius Brutus because he had been going to Rome with Brutus when he was met by the messenger from his wife. They found Lucretia devastated and sitting in her room. She started to cry when her family arrived. When her husband asked, “Are you alright?” she replied, “No…how can a woman who has lost her honour be alright? The traces of another man are in your bed, Collatinus. But it was only my body that suffered such a great violation, my heart is innocent. My death will prove this. But give me your right hand and promise that the criminal will be punished. It was Sextus Tarquinius. He pretended to be a friend but he is an enemy, and armed with a weapon, took his pleasure from me last night, causing my death and his too if you are men.” They promised in turn and consoled her sickened heart by saying it was Sextus’ fault not hers because he forced her. They said it is only a sin if you intend to do it, she had no intention so she was not to blame. “You will see that the man gets what he deserves”, she said, “as for me I do not blame myself, but I am not free from punishment and no unfaithful woman should live as a result of my example.” She had a dagger hidden under her cloak and she plunged it into her heart. She collapsed, killed by the wound. Her husband and father cried out.
While the others were crying, Brutus was holding the knife covered in blood which he had pulled out of Lucretia’s wound. He said, “By this blood, which was so pure before it was violated, I swear, I and make you gods my witnesses, that I will force out Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, and his wicked wife and all his children, with fire, sword, and any force I may have, and I will not allow anyone else to rule Rome!” Then he handed the dagger to Collatinus, then to Lucretius and Valerius, who were amazed by this miraculous change in Brutus and the new nature in his heart. They swore the oath just as he had, and they turned sorrow into anger and followed Brutus as their leader calling for the king to be removed. They lifted Lucretia’s body and carried it to the forum, and men gathered, quite rightly surprised and shocked by this strange event. Each man had his own complaints about the crimes and violence of the royal family. While they were all moved by the father's deep distress, Brutus told them stop their tears and useless complaints, and urged them to act like men and Romans and take up weapons against their bold enemy. The most ferocious of the young men volunteered to take up weapons, the rest quickly followed them. Then they left Lucretia’s father with some guards at the gates of Collatia so that no one could tell the royals about this movement, and the others, armed and with Brutus as their leader, marched to Rome.
When they arrived there, the crowd of armed men caused fear and panic wherever they went. But then, as the people saw their leaders in charge of it, they decided that whatever was going on there must be a good reason. Also the outrage about Sextus’ crime was just as great at Rome as it was at Collatia, so they came from all areas of the city to meet in the forum. When the people arrived there a herald told them to go to the tribune of the Celeres – an official of the king’s guard – which by chance was Brutus’ job at the time. Then he made a speech that was totally different from the character he had pretended to have until that day: about the violence and lustfulness of Sextus Tarquinius, about the cruel rape of Lucretia and her terrible death, about the sadness of Lucretius Tricipitinus and the cause of his daughter’s death, which was more terrible and more undeserved than death for him. He also talked about the arrogance of the King himself and the misery and hard work of the ordinary people, who had been forced to dig out trenches and drains. He also said that the men of Rome, conquerors of all the people around them, had been made labourers and quarry-workers instead of warriors. He reminded them of the undeserved murder of Servius Tullius and his daughter carried over her father’s body in the evil wagon, and he prayed to the ancestral gods for revenge. He said these things and, I believe, others which came to his mind at the time but are not easy for the historian to record, and he worked the crowd up to such fury that they took away the king’s power, and ordered that Lucius Tarquinius should be sent away along with his wife and children. Then Brutus set off to Ardea with a chosen group of armed young men in to raise an army against the king. He left Lucretius in charge of the city because he had been made a prefect of the city by the king earlier. In the middle of this uproar, Tullia ran away from her home and wherever she went she was hated by men and women who said she should be cursed because she disrespected family relationships.
Virgil, Aeneid Book 1, 1–11
I sing of arms and the man who, made an exile by Fate, first came from the borders of Troy to the shores of Lavinium. He who was thrown about greatly on both land and sea by the power of the gods, on account of the relentless anger of savage Juno. He also suffered much from war, before he founded his city and brought his gods to Latium; from whence came the Latin people, the Alban fathers, and the lofty walls of Rome.
Muse, call to my mind the causes of this: for what insult to her divine power, or angered by what action, did the Queen of the Gods drive a man famous for his piety to face such a great cycle of suffering and labour? How can there be such anger in heavenly hearts?
Virgil, Aenied Book 6, 752–859
Anchises had spoken and, having gathered the Sibyl and his son together as one, he drew them into the middle of the echoing crowd and took a mound from where he would be able to speak about all those approaching in the great line and discuss their faces and lives.
“Now come, the glory which follows the offspring of Dardanus who live in Italy, the grandsons of our family, bright spirits who will take our name. When I have explained this, I will show to you our own destiny. He whom you see there, that young man who leans upon his glorious spear, he holds the place nearest to the light in this area, he will be the first to rise into the ethereal air, when our blood has been mixed with that of the Italian stock. He is Silvius, an Alban name, who will be a son to you after your death, whom -born after your long life – your wife Lavinia will rear in the woods to be a king and a father of kings. He will be the founder of Alba Longa, from where our family will rule. Next to him is Procas, glory of the Trojan race, and Capys and Numitor and he who returns your name, Silvius Aeneas, born as your equal in piety and arms, if ever he accedes to rule Alba. What young men! Look at the strengths they display and their shaded brows that bear the civic oak wreaths.
They will build Nomentum for you, and Gabii, and the city of Fidenae, and they will place the Collatian citadels on the mountains, and Pometia and Castrum Inui and Bola and Cora. These will be the names for places that are currently unnamed. And Romulus will add himself as a companion to his grandfather, whom – of the blood of Assaracus – his mother Ilia will raise. Do you see the double crest that stands upon his head and how the father of the gods stamps him with his own majesty? Behold him, my son: Rome herself, with all her power, will be founded under his auspices, including all her lands, and she will raise her spirits to Mount Olympus, and she will enclose seven citadels within her one city wall. She will be lucky in the number of her sons: like the Berecynthian mother carried in her turreted chariot through the Phrygian cities, rejoicing in her divine offspring, embracing her hundred grandchildren, all of them celestial, all dwellers in high heaven.
Now turn your eyes on this, look at this family of yours, the Romans. Here is Caesar and all the offspring of Iulus, who will come beneath the high vault of heaven. Here is the man, here he is, he whom you have often heard promised to you, Augustus Caesar, son of a god. He will bring back the golden age to Latium, through the fields once ruled by Saturn. He will extend the bounds of our empire beyond both the Garamantes and the Indians, to where there is a land beyond the stars, beyond the paths of the solar year, where sky-bearing Atlas bears on his shoulders the vault of heaven studded with blazing stars. As they wait for his coming, now the Caspian kingdom and the Maeotian land quake at the prophecies of the gods, and the mouths of the seven-fold Nile churn with confusion and turmoil. Not even Hercules covered so much of the Earth, although he shot the deer with bronze feet, pacified the groves of Erymanthus, and made Lerna tremble with his bow. Nor did Dionysus, the “Free One”, go so far, he who steers his chariot with reins of vines as he drives his tigers down from the peak of high Nysa. Do we still hesitate to extend our courage by our actions, and does fear still prevent us from settling the Italian lands?
Who is this man, far off, bearing the sacred emblems with his symbol wound in branches of olive wood? I know that white hair and beard, the first Roman king who will found our city on laws. He was sent from the small town of Cures and a poor land into a mighty empire. Then after him will come Tullus, to banish idleness and raise the residents of his native land to arms and hosts now foreign to triumphs. Following him is Ancus, more of a boaster, even now rejoicing too much in the popular breezes. Do you want to see the Tarquin kings and the proud spirit of avenging Brutus and the recovered fasces? He is the first who will receive the consular power and the savage axes, and as father he will call his sons, who stir new conflicts, to punishment on behalf of “sweet liberty”; but he is an unhappy man, however his descendents bear these deeds. Love for his country will conquer him and his limitless desire for praise. Look also at the Decii and Drusi in the distance and the cruel Torquatus or the axe, and Camillus recovering the standards.
Those two whom you see shining in equal arms, now harmonious – as they will be while they are buried in darkness. But alas, how fierce a war they will wage between them if they reach the light of life, how great the carnage they will create, how great the battles. The father-in-law will descend from the citadel of Monaco and the Alpine peaks, the son-in-law will come armed with the opposing forces of the east. My children, do not accustom your souls to such wars, nor turn your powerful forces against the heart of your country. You, you who trace your family from high Olympus, be the first to show mercy, and throw down your weapons from your grasp, my blood-kin.
He the victor of high Corinth will drive his chariot in triumph to the Capitol, having slaughtered Achaius. He will raze Argos and Agamemnon’s Mycenae, and destroy the Aecid himself, the descendent of mighty Achilles. He will be the avenger of his Trojan forebears and the defiled temple of Minerva. And Great Cato, who would leave you unmentioned, or you Cossus? who would be without the Gracchi? Or the Scipios, the two thunderbolts of war, the bane of Libya? Or Fabricius powerful in poverty, or you Serranus sowing your seeds?
Where are you rushing this tired man, you Fabii? You are the “Great One”, the one who restores the state by hesitating. Others will finely beat out the breathing brass (certainly I believe that), and they will draw out living faces from the marble. They will plead finer cases, they will map out the paths of the heavens with the measuring rod and tell of the rising stars. But you, Roman, you must remember to rule these people with your power, this will be your art form. You must impose custom on peace, spare the weak, and to beat down the proud with war.”
As they admired what they had seen, father Anchises added: “Behold Marcellus, marching glorious with the spoils of his defeated enemies, the conqueror towering over all men. He will ride into the storm, quelling the great uprising, steadying the Romans. He will punish the Carthaginians and the rebellious Gaul. He will be the third to hang up captured arms to Father Quirinus.”
Virgil, Aeneid Book 8, 626–651
There Vulcan had depicted the story of Italy and the triumphs of Rome, as he was not ignorant of prophecy and the ages yet to come. He moulded there every generation that would descend from Ascanius, and the wars they would fight in order. He had placed there too the motherly wolf, lying stretched out in the green cave of Mars. The twin boys hung around her teats playing, and suckled from their ‘mother’ without fear. With her noble neck bending backwards, she caressed each of them and touched them with her tongue. Nearby he had placed Rome and the Sabine women, who had been carried off, thus breaking the law, when the great Festival was held – which led to the sudden new war between the sons of Romulus and aged Tatius and his harsh Cures. Then the same kings, when their conflict was ended, stood armed before Jove’s altar, holding small cups and making a pact sealed with the slaughter of swine. The palace there was rough-looking, recently thatched by Romulus. Not far off from there were the four-horsed chariots that, when they were driven apart, had torn Mettius apart. Tullus then dragged the liar’s corpse through the forests, and the brambles dripped with the sprinkled blood. Also there was Porsenna asking them to accept the exiled Tarquinius and oppressing the city with a huge siege; also there were the sons of Aeneas rushing onto the sword for freedom. You could see him depicted as angry and threatening, because Cocles had dared to destroy the bridge, and there too is Cloelia, having broken her bonds, swimming the river.