Roman History, Books I-III
by Titus Livius
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Titus Livius

Translated by

John Henry Freese, Alfred John Church, and William Jackson Brodribb

With a Critical and Biographical Introduction and Notes by Duffield Osborne




Of the lost treasures of classical literature, it is doubtful whether any are more to be regretted than the missing books of Livy. That they existed in approximate entirety down to the fifth century, and possibly even so late as the fifteenth, adds to this regret. At the same time it leaves in a few sanguine minds a lingering hope that some unvisited convent or forgotten library may yet give to the world a work that must always be regarded as one of the greatest of Roman masterpieces. The story that the destruction of Livy was effected by order of Pope Gregory I, on the score of the superstitions contained in the historian's pages, never has been fairly substantiated, and therefore I prefer to acquit that pontiff of the less pardonable superstition involved in such an act of fanatical vandalism. That the books preserved to us would be by far the most objectionable from Gregory's alleged point of view may be noted for what it is worth in favour of the theory of destruction by chance rather than by design.

Here is the inventory of what we have and of what we might have had. The entire work of Livy—a work that occupied more than forty years of his life—was contained in one hundred and forty-two books, which narrated the history of Rome, from the supposed landing of AEneas, through the early years of the empire of Augustus, and down to the death of Drusus, B.C. 9. Books I-X, containing the story of early Rome to the year 294 B.C., the date of the final subjugation of the Samnites and the consequent establishment of the Roman commonwealth as the controlling power in Italy, remain to us. These, by the accepted chronology, represent a period of four hundred and sixty years. Books XI-XX, being the second "decade," according to a division attributed to the fifth century of our era are missing. They covered seventy-five years, and brought the narrative down to the beginning of the second Punic war. Books XXI-XLV have been saved, though those of the fifth "decade" are imperfect. They close with the triumph of AEmilius, in 167 B.C., and the reduction of Macedonia to a Roman province. Of the other books, only a few fragments remain, the most interesting of which (from Book CXX) recounts the death of Cicero, and gives what appears to be a very just estimate of his character. We have epitomes of all the lost books, with the exception of ten; but these are so scanty as to amount to little more than tables of contents. Their probable date is not later than the time of Trajan. To summarize the result, then, thirty-five books have been saved and one hundred and seven lost—a most deplorable record, especially when we consider that in the later books the historian treated of times and events whereof his means of knowledge were adequate to his task.

TITUS LIVIUS was born at Patavium, the modern Padua, some time between 61 and 57 B.C. Of his parentage and early life nothing is known. It is easy to surmise that he was well born, from his political bias in favour of the aristocratic party, and from the evident fact of his having received a liberal education; yet the former of these arguments is not at all inconsistent with the opposite supposition, and the latter should lead to no very definite conclusion when we remember that in his days few industries were more profitable than the higher education of slaves for the pampered Roman market. Niebuhr infers, from a sentence quoted by Quintilian, that Livy began life as a teacher of rhetoric. However that may be, it seems certain that he came to Rome about 30 B.C., was introduced to Augustus and won his patronage and favour, and after the death of his great patron and friend retired to the city of his birth, where he died, 17 A.D. It is probable that he had fixed the date of the Emperor's death as the limit of his history, and that his own decease cut short his task.

No historian ever told a story more delightfully. The available translations leave much to be desired, but to the student of Latin Livy's style is pure and simple, and possesses that charm which purity and simplicity always give. If there is anything to justify the charge of "Patavinity," or provincialism, made by Asinius Pollio, we, at least, are not learned enough in Latin to detect it; and Pollio, too, appears to have been no gentle critic if we may judge by his equally severe strictures upon Cicero, Caesar, and Sallust. This much we know: the Patavian's heroes live; his events happen, and we are carried along upon their tide. Our sympathies, our indignation, our enthusiasm, are summoned into being, and history and fiction appear to walk hand in hand for our instruction and amusement. In this latter word—fiction—lies the charge most often and most strongly made against him—the charge that he has written a story and no more; that with him past time existed but to furnish materials "to point a moral or adorn a tale." Let us consider to what extent this is true, and, if true, in what measure the author has sinned by it or we have lost.

No one would claim that the rules by which scientific historians of to-day are judged should be applied to those that wrote when history was young, when the boundaries between the possible and the impossible were less clearly defined, or when, in fact, such boundaries hardly existed in men's minds. In this connection, even while we vaunt, we smile. After all, how much of our modern and so-called scientific history must strike the reasoning reader as mere theorizing or as special pleading based upon the slenderest evidence! Among the ancients the work of the historians whom we consider trustworthy—such writers, for instance, as Caesar, Thucydides, Xenophon, Polybius, and Tacitus—may be said to fall generally within Rawlinson's canons 1 and 2 of historical criticism—that is, (1) cases where the historian has personal knowledge concerning the facts whereof he writes, or (2) where the facts are such that he may reasonably be supposed to have obtained them from contemporary witnesses. Canon 2 might be elaborated and refined very considerably and perhaps to advantage. It naturally includes as sources of knowledge—first, personal interviews with contemporary witnesses; and, second, accesses to the writings of historians whose opportunities brought them within canon 1. In this latter case the evidence would be less convincing, owing to the lack of opportunity to cross-question, though even here apparent lack of bias or the existence of biased testimony on both sides, from which a judicious man might have a fair chance to extract the truth, would go far to cure the defect.

The point, however, to which I tend is, that the portions of Livy's history from which we must judge of his trustworthiness treat, for the most part, of periods concerning which even his evidence was of the scantiest and poorest description. He doubtless had family records, funeral panegyrics, and inscription—all of which were possibly almost as reliable as those of our own day. Songs sung at festivals and handed down by tradition may or may not be held more truthful. These he had as well; but the government records, the ancient fasti, had been destroyed at the time of the burning of the city by the Gauls, and there is no hint of any Roman historian that lived prior to the date of the second Punic war. Thus we may safely infer that Livy wrote of the first five hundred years without the aid of any contemporary evidence, either approximately complete or ostensibly reliable. With the beginning of the second Punic war began also the writing of history. Quintus Fabius Pictor had left a work, which Polybius condemned on the score of its evident partiality. Lucius Cincius Alimentus, whose claim to knowledge if not to impartiality rests largely on the fact that he was captured and held prisoner by Hannibal, also left memoirs; but Hannibal was not famous for treating prisoners mildly, and the Romans, most cruel themselves in this respect, were always deeply scandalized by a much less degree of harshness on the part of their enemies. Above all, there was Polybius himself, who perhaps approaches nearer to the critical historian than any writer of antiquity, and it is Polybius upon whom Livy mainly relies through his third, fourth, and fifth decades. The works of Fabius and Cincius are lost. So also are those of the Lacedaemonian Sosilus and the Sicilian Silanus, who campaigned with Hannibal and wrote the Carthaginian side of the story; nor is there any evidence that either Polybius or Livy had access to their writings. Polybius, then, may be said to be the only reliable source from which Livy could draw for any of his extant books, and before condemning unqualifiedly in the cases where he deserts him and harks back to Roman authorities we must remember that Livy was a strong nationalist, one of a people who, despite their conquests, were essentially narrow, prejudiced, egotistical; and, thus remembering, we must marvel that he so fully recognises the merit of his unprejudiced guide and wanders as little as he does. All told, it is quite certain that he has dealt more fairly by Hannibal than have Alison and other English historians by Napoleon. His unreliability consists rather in his conclusions than in his facts, and it is unquestioned that through all the pages of the third decade he has so told the story of the man most hated by Rome—the deadliest enemy she had ever encountered—that the reader can not fail to feel the greatness of Hannibal dominating every chapter.

Referring again to the criticisms made so lavishly upon Livy's story of the earlier centuries, it is well to recall the contention of the hard-headed Scotchman Ferguson, that with all our critical acumen we have found no sure ground to rest upon until we reach the second Punic war. Niebuhr, on the other hand, whose German temperament is alike prone to delve or to theorize, is disposed to think—with considerable generosity to our abilities, it appears to me—that we may yet evolve a fairly true history of Rome from the foundation of the commonwealth. As to the times of the kings, it is admitted that we know nothing, while from the founding of the commonwealth to the second Punic war the field may be described as, at the best, but a battle-ground for rival theories.

The ancient historian had, as a rule, little to do with such considerations or controversies. In the lack of solid evidence he had only to write down the accepted story of the origin of things, as drawn from the lips of poetry, legend, or tradition, and it was for Livy to write thus or not at all. Even here the honesty of his intention is apparent. For much of his early history he does not claim more than is claimed for it by many of his modern critics, while time and again he pauses to express a doubt as to the credibility of some incident. A notable instance of this is found in his criticism of those stories most dear to the Roman heart—the stories of the birth and apotheosis of Romulus. On the other hand, if he has given free life to many beautiful legends that were undoubtedly current and believed for centuries, is it heresy to avow that these as such seem to me of more true value to the antiquary than if they had been subjected at their historical inception to the critical and theoretical methods of to-day? I can not hold Livy quite unpardonable even when following, as he often does, such authorities as the Furian family version of the redemption of the city by the arms of their progenitor Camillus, instead of by the payment of the agreed ransom, as modern writers consider proven, while his putting of set speeches into the mouths of his characters may be described as a conventional usage of ancient historians, which certainly added to the liveliness of the narrative and probably was neither intended to be taken literally nor resulted in deceiving any one.

Reverting for a moment to Livy's honesty and frankness, so far as his intent might govern such qualities, I think no stronger evidence in his favour can be found than his avowed republican leanings at the court of Augustus and his just estimate of Cicero's character in the face of the favour of a prince by whose consent the great orator had been assassinated. Above all, it must have been a fearless and honest man who could swing the scourge with which he lashed his degenerate countrymen in those stinging words, "The present times, when we can endure neither our vices nor their remedies."

Nevertheless, and despite the facts that Livy means to be honest and that he questions much on grounds that would not shame the repute of many of his modern critics, the charge is doubtless true that his writings are not free from prejudice in favour of his country. That he definitely regarded history rather as a moral agency and a lesson for the future than as an irrefutable narrative of the past, I consider highly hypothetical; but it is probable that his mind was not of the type that is most diligent in the close, exhaustive, and logical study so necessary to the historian of today. "Superficial," if we could eliminate the reproach in the word, would perhaps go far toward describing him. He is what we would call a popular rather than a scientific writer, and, since we think somewhat lightly of such when they write on what we consider scientific subjects, we are too apt to transfer their light repute to an author who wrote popularly at a time when this treatment was best adapted to his audience, his aims, and the material at his command. That he has survived through all these centuries, and has enjoyed, despite all criticism, the position in the literature of the world which his very critics have united in conceding to him, is perhaps a stronger commendation than any technical approval.

From the standpoint of the present work it was felt that selections aggregating seven books would accomplish all the purposes of a complete presentation. The editors have chosen the first three books of the first decade as telling what no one can better tell than Livy: the stories and legends connected with the foundation and early life of Rome. Here, as I have said, there was nothing for him to do but cut loose from all trammels and hang breathless, pen in hand, upon the lips of tradition. None can hold but that her faithful scribe has writ down her words with all their ancient colour, with reverence reigning over his heart; however doubts might lurk within his brain. These books close with the restoration of the consular power, after the downfall of the tyrannical rule of the Decemvirs, the revolution following upon the attempt of Appius Claudius to seize Virginia, the daughter of a citizen who, rather than see his child fall into the clutches of the cruel patrician, killed her with his own hand in the marketplace, and, rushing into the camp with the bloody knife, caused the soldiers to revolt. The second section comprises Books XXI-XXIV, a part of the narrative of the second Punic war, a military exploit the most remarkable the world has ever seen.

The question who was the greatest general that ever lived has been a fruitful source of discussion, and Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon have each found numerous and ardent supporters. Without decrying the signal abilities of these chiefs, it must nevertheless be remembered that each commanded a homogeneous army and had behind him a compact nation the most warlike and powerful of his time. The adversaries also of the Greek and the Roman were in the one instance an effete power already falling to pieces by its own internal weakness, and in the other, for the most part, scattered tribes of barbarians without unity of purpose or military discipline. Even in his civil wars Caesar's armies were veterans, and those of the commonwealth were, comparatively speaking, recruits. But when the reader of these pages carefully considers the story of Hannibal's campaign in Italy, what does he find? Two nations—one Caucasian, young, warlike above all its contemporaries, with a record behind it of steady aggrandizement and almost unbroken victory, a nation every citizen of which was a soldier. On the other side, a race of merchants Semitic in blood, a city whose citizens had long since ceased to go to war, preferring that their gold should fight for them by the hands of mercenaries of every race and clime—hirelings whose ungoverned valour had proved almost as deadly to their employers and generals as to their enemies. Above all, the same battle had been joined before when Rome was weaker and Carthage stronger, and Carthage had already shown her weakness and Rome her strength.

And now in this renewed war we see a young man, aided only by a little group of compatriots, welding together army of the most heterogeneous elements—Spaniards, Gauls, Numidians, Moors, Greeks—men of almost every race except his own. We see him cutting loose from his base of supplies, leaving enemies behind him, to force his way through hostile races, through unknown lands bristling with almost impassable mountains and frigid with snow and ice. We see him conquering here, making friends and allies there, and, more wonderful than all, holding his mongrel horde together through hardships and losses by the force of his character alone. We see him at last descending into the plains of Italy. We see him not merely defeating but annihilating army after army more numerous than his own and composed of better raw material. We see him, unaided, ranging from end to end of the peninsula, none daring to meet him with opposing standards, and the greatest general of Rome winning laurels because he knew enough to recognise his own hopeless inferiority. All stories of reverses other than those of mere detachments may pretty safely be set down as the exaggeration of Roman writers. Situated as was Hannibal, the loss of one marshalled field would have meant immediate ruin, and ruin never came when he fought in Italy. On the contrary, without supplies save what his sword could take, without friends save what his genius and his fortune could win, he maintained his place and his superiority not for one or for two but through fourteen years, during all which time we hear no murmur of mutiny, no hint of aught but obedience and devotion among the incongruous and unruly elements from which he had fashioned his invincible army; and at the end we see him leaving Italy of his own free will, at the call of his country, to waste himself in a vain effort to save her from the blunders of other leaders and from the penalty of inherent weakness, which only his sword had so long warded off.

When I consider the means, the opposition, and the achievement—a combination of elements by which alone we can judge such questions with even approximate fairness—I can not but feel that of all military exploits this invasion of Italy, which we shall read of here, was the most remarkable; that of all commanders Hannibal has shown himself to be the greatest. Some of Livy's charges against him as a man are doubtless true. Avarice was in his blood; and cruelty also, though it ill became a Roman to chide an enemy on that score. Besides, Livy himself tells how Hannibal had sought for the bodies of the generals he had slain, that he might give them the rites of honourable sepulture; tells it, and in the next breath relates how the Roman commander mutilated the corpse of the fallen Hasdrubal and threw the head into his brother's camp. So, too, his naive explanation that Hannibal's "more than Punic perfidy" consisted mainly of ambushes and similar military strategies goes to show, as I have said, that whatever is unjust in our author's estimate was rather the result of the prejudiced deductions of national egotism than of facts wilfully or carelessly distorted by partisan spite.

To the reader who bears well in mind the points I have ventured to make, I predict profit hardly less than pleasure in these pages; for Livy is perhaps the only historian who may be said to have been honest enough to furnish much of the material for criticism of himself, and to be, to a very considerable extent, self-adjusting.



Whether in tracing the history of the Roman people, from the foundation of the city, I shall employ myself to a useful purpose, I am neither very certain, nor, if I were, dare I say; inasmuch as I observe that it is both an old and hackneyed practice, later authors always supposing that they will either adduce something more authentic in the facts, or, that they will excel the less polished ancients in their style of writing. Be that as it may, it will, at all events, be a satisfaction to me that I too have contributed my share to perpetuate the achievements of a people, the lords of the world; and if, amid so great a number of historians, my reputation should remain in obscurity, I may console myself with the celebrity and lustre of those who shall stand in the way of my fame. Moreover, the subject is of immense labour, as being one which must be traced back for more than seven hundred years, and which, having set out from small beginnings, has increased to such a degree that it is now distressed by its own magnitude. And, to most readers, I doubt not but that the first origin and the events immediately succeeding, will afford but little pleasure, while they will be hastening to these later times, in which the strength of this overgrown people has for a long period been working its own destruction. I, on the contrary, shall seek this, as a reward of my labour, viz., to withdraw myself from the view of the calamities, which our age has witnessed for so many years, so long as I am reviewing with my whole attention these ancient times, being free from every care that may distract a writer's mind, though it can not warp it from the truth. The traditions that have come down to us of what happened before the building of the city, or before its building was contemplated, as being suitable rather to the fictions of poetry than to the genuine records of history, I have no intention either to affirm or to refute. This indulgence is conceded to antiquity, that by blending things human with divine, it may make the origin of cities appear more venerable: and if any people might be allowed to consecrate their origin, and to ascribe it to the gods as its authors, such is the renown of the Roman people in war, that when they represent Mars, in particular, as their own parent and that of their founder, the nations of the world may submit to this as patiently as they submit to their sovereignty. But in whatever way these and similar matters shall be attended to, or judged of, I shall not deem it of great importance. I would have every man apply his mind seriously to consider these points, viz., what their life and what their manners were; through what men and by what measures, both in peace and in war, their empire was acquired and extended; then, as discipline gradually declined, let him follow in his thoughts their morals, at first as slightly giving way, anon how they sunk more and more, then began to fall headlong, until he reaches the present times, when we can endure neither our vices nor their remedies. This it is which is particularly salutary and profitable in the study of history, that you behold instances of every variety of conduct displayed on a conspicuous monument; that thence you may select for yourself and for your country that which you may imitate; thence note what is shameful in the undertaking, and shameful in the result, which you may avoid. But either a fond partiality for the task I have undertaken deceives me, or there never was any state either greater, or more moral, or richer in good examples, nor one into which luxury and avarice made their entrance so late, and where poverty and frugality were so much and so long honoured; so that the less wealth there was, the less desire was there. Of late, riches have introduced avarice and excessive pleasures a longing for them, amid luxury and a passion for ruining ourselves and destroying everything else. But let complaints, which will not be agreeable even then, when perhaps they will be also necessary, be kept aloof at least from the first stage of beginning so great a work. We should rather, if it was usual with us (historians) as it is with poets, begin with good omens, vows and prayers to the gods and goddesses to vouchsafe good success to our efforts in so arduous an undertaking.

[Footnote 1: The tone of dignified despondency which pervades this remarkable preface tells us much. That the republican historian was no timid or time-serving flatterer of prince or public is more than clear, while his unerring judgment of the future should bring much of respect for his judgment of the past. When he wrote, Rome was more powerful than ever. Only the seeds of ruin were visible, yet he already divines their full fruitage.—D. O.]




Arrival of AEneas in Italy—Ascanius founds Alba Longa—Birth of Romulus and Remus—Founding the city—Rome under the kings—Death of Lucretia—Expulsion of the Tarquins—First consuls elected



Brutus establishes the republic—A conspiracy to receive the kings into the city—Death of Brutus—Dedication of the Capitol—Battle of Lake Regillus—Secession of the commons to the Sacred Mount—Five tribunes of the people appointed—First proposal of an agrarian law—Patriotism of the Fabian family—Contests of the plebeians and patricians



Disturbances over the agrarian law—Cincinnatus called from his fields and made dictator—Number of tribunes increased to ten—Decemvirs appointed—The ten tables—Tyranny of the decemvirs—Death of Virginia—Re-establishment of the consular and tribunician power




To begin with, it is generally admitted that, after the taking of Troy, while all the other Trojans were treated with severity, in the case of two, AEneas and Antenor, the Greeks forbore to exercise the full rights of war, both on account of an ancient tie of hospitality, and because they had persistently recommended peace and the restoration of Helen: and then Antenor, after various vicissitudes, reached the inmost bay of the Adriatic Sea, accompanied by a body of the Eneti, who had been driven from Paphlagonia by civil disturbance, and were in search both of a place of settlement and a leader, their chief Pylaemenes having perished at Troy; and that the Eneti and Trojans, having driven out the Euganei, who dwelt between the sea and the Alps, occupied these districts. In fact, the place where they first landed is called Troy, and from this it is named the Trojan canton. The nation as a whole is called Veneti. It is also agreed that AEneas, an exile from home owing to a like misfortune, but conducted by the fates to the founding of a greater empire, came first to Macedonia, that he was then driven ashore at Sicily in his quest for a settlement, and sailing thence directed his course to the territory of Laurentum. This spot also bears the name of Troy. When the Trojans, having disembarked there, were driving off booty from the country, as was only natural, seeing that they had nothing left but their arms and ships after their almost boundless wandering, Latinus the king and the Aborigines, who then occupied these districts, assembled in arms from the city and country to repel the violence of the new-comers. In regard to what followed there is a twofold tradition. Some say that Latinus, having been defeated in battle, first made peace and then concluded an alliance with AEneas; others, that when the armies had taken up their position in order of battle, before the trumpets sounded, Latinus advanced to the front, and invited the leader of the strangers to a conference. He then inquired what manner of men they were, whence they had come, for what reasons they had left their home, and in quest of what they had landed on Laurentine territory. After he heard that the host were Trojans, their chief AEneas, the son of Anchises and Venus, and that, exiled from home, their country having been destroyed by fire, they were seeking a settlement and a site for building a city, struck with admiration both at the noble character of the nation and the hero, and at their spirit, ready alike for peace or war, he ratified the pledge of future friendship by clasping hands. Thereupon a treaty was concluded between the chiefs, and mutual greetings passed between the armies: AEneas was hospitably entertained at the house of Latinus; there Latinus, in the presence of his household gods, cemented the public league by a family one, by giving AEneas his daughter in marriage. This event fully confirmed the Trojans in the hope of at length terminating their wanderings by a lasting and permanent settlement. They built a town, which AEneas called Lavinium after the name of his wife. Shortly afterward also, a son was the issue of the recently concluded marriage, to whom his parents gave the name of Ascanius.

Aborigines and Trojans were soon afterward the joint objects of a hostile attack. Turnus, king of the Rutulians, to whom Lavinia had been affianced before the arrival of AEneas, indignant that a stranger had been preferred to himself, had made war on AEneas and Latinus together. Neither army came out of the struggle with satisfaction. The Rutulians were vanquished: the victorious Aborigines and Trojans lost their leader Latinus. Thereupon Turnus and the Rutulians, mistrustful of their strength, had recourse to the prosperous and powerful Etruscans, and their king Mezentius, whose seat of government was at Caere, at that time a flourishing town. Even from the outset he had viewed with dissatisfaction the founding of a new city, and, as at that time he considered that the Trojan power was increasing far more than was altogether consistent with the safety of the neighbouring peoples, he readily joined his forces in alliance with the Rutulians. AEneas, to gain the good-will of the Aborigines in face of a war so serious and alarming, and in order that they might all be not only under the same laws but might also bear the same name, called both nations Latins. In fact, subsequently, the Aborigines were not behind the Trojans in zeal and loyalty toward their king AEneas. Accordingly, in full reliance on this state of mind of the two nations, who were daily becoming more and more united, and in spite of the fact that Etruria was so powerful, that at this time it had filled with the fame of its renown not only the land but the sea also, throughout the whole length of Italy from the Alps to the Sicilian Strait, AEneas led out his forces into the field, although he might have repelled their attack by means of his fortifications. Thereupon a battle was fought, in which victory rested with the Latins, but for AEneas it was even the last of his acts on earth. He, by whatever name laws human and divine demand he should be called, was buried on the banks of the river Numicus: they call him Jupiter Indiges.

Ascanius, the son of AEneas, was not yet old enough to rule; the government, however, remained unassailed for him till he reached the age of maturity. In the interim, under the regency of a woman—so great was Lavinia's capacity—the Latin state and the boy's kingdom, inherited from his father and grandfather, was secured for him. I will not discuss the question—for who can state as certain a matter of such antiquity?—whether it was this Ascanius, or one older than he, born of Creusa, before the fall of Troy, and subsequently the companion of his father's flight, the same whom, under the name of Iulus, the Julian family represents to be the founder of its name. Be that as it may, this Ascanius, wherever born and of whatever mother—it is at any rate agreed that his father was AEneas—seeing that Lavinium was over-populated, left that city, now a flourishing and wealthy one, considering those times, to his mother or stepmother, and built himself a new one at the foot of the Alban mount, which, from its situation, being built all along the ridge of a hill, was called Alba Longa.

There was an interval of about thirty years between the founding of Lavinium and the transplanting of the colony to Alba Longa. Yet its power had increased to such a degree, especially owing to the defeat of the Etruscans, that not even on the death of AEneas, nor subsequently between the period of the regency of Lavinia, and the first beginnings of the young prince's reign, did either Mezentius, the Etruscans, or any other neighbouring peoples venture to take up arms against it. Peace had been concluded on the following terms, that the river Albula, which is now called Tiber, should be the boundary of Latin and Etruscan territory. After him Silvius, son of Ascanius, born by some accident in the woods, became king. He was the father of AEneas Silvius, who afterward begot Latinus Silvius. By him several colonies were transplanted, which were called Prisci Latini. From this time all the princes, who ruled at Alba, bore the surname of Silvius. From Latinus sprung Alba; from Alba, Atys; from Atys, Capys; from Capys, Capetus; from Capetus, Tiberinus, who, having been drowned while crossing the river Albula, gave it the name by which it was generally known among those of later times. He was succeeded by Agrippa, son of Tiberinus; after Agrippa, Romulus Silvius, having received the government from his father, became king. He was killed by a thunderbolt, and handed on the kingdom to Aventinus, who, owing to his being buried on that hill, which now forms part of the city of Rome, gave it its name. After him reigned Proca, who begot Numitor and Amulius. To Numitor, who was the eldest son, he bequeathed the ancient kingdom of the Silvian family. Force, however, prevailed more than a father's wish or the respect due to seniority. Amulius drove out his brother and seized the kingdom: he added crime to crime, murdered his brother's male issue, and, under pretence of doing honour to his brother's daughter, Rea Silvia, having chosen her a Vestal Virgin,[2] deprived her of all hopes of issue by the obligation of perpetual virginity.

My opinion, however, is that the origin of so great a city and an empire next in power to that of the gods was due to the fates. The Vestal Rea was ravished by force, and having brought forth twins, declared Mars to be the father of her illegitimate offspring, either because she really imagined it to be the case, or because it was less discreditable to have committed such an offence with a god.[3] But neither gods nor men protected either her or her offspring from the king's cruelty. The priestess was bound and cast into prison; the king ordered the children to be thrown into the flowing river. By some chance which Providence seemed to direct, the Tiber, having over flown its banks, thereby forming stagnant pools, could not be approached at the regular course of its channel; notwithstanding it gave the bearers of the children hope that they could be drowned in its water however calm. Accordingly, as if they had executed the king's orders, they exposed the boys in the nearest land-pool, where now stands the ficus Ruminalis, which they say was called Romularis.[4] At that time the country in those parts was a desolate wilderness. The story goes, that when the shallow water, subsiding, had left the floating trough, in which the children had been exposed, on dry ground, a thirsty she-wolf from the mountains around directed her course toward the cries of the infants, and held down her teats to them with such gentleness, that the keeper of the king's herd found her licking the boys with her tongue. They say that his name was Faustulus; and that they were carried by him to his homestead and given to his wife Larentia to be brought up. Some are of the opinion that Larentia was called Lupa among the shepherds from her being a common prostitute, and hence an opening was afforded for the marvellous story. The children, thus born and thus brought up, as soon as they reached the age of youth, did not lead a life of inactivity at home or amid the flocks, but, in the chase, scoured the forests. Having thus gained strength, both in body and spirit, they now were not only able to withstand wild beasts, but attacked robbers laden with booty, and divided the spoils with the shepherds, in whose company, as the number of their young associates increased daily, they carried on business and pleasure.

Even in these early times it is said that the festival of the Lupercal, as now celebrated, was solemnized on the Palatine Hill, which was first called Pallantium, from Pallanteum, a city of Arcadia, and afterward Mount Palatius. There Evander, who, belonging to the above tribe of the Arcadians, had for many years before occupied these districts, is said to have appointed the observance of a solemn festival, introduced from Arcadia, in which naked youths ran about doing honour in wanton sport to Pan Lycaeus, who was afterward called Inuus by the Romans. When they were engaged in this festival, as its periodical solemnization was well known, a band of robbers, enraged at the loss of some booty, lay in wait for them, and took Remus prisoner, Romulus having vigorously defended himself: the captive Remus they delivered up to King Amulius, and even went so far as to bring accusations against him. They made it the principal charge that having made incursions into Numitor's lands, and, having assembled a band of young men, they had driven off their booty after the manner of enemies. Accordingly, Remus was delivered up to Numitor for punishment. Now from the very first Faustulus had entertained hopes that the boys who were being brought up by him, were of royal blood: for he both knew that the children had been exposed by the king's orders, and that the time, at which he had taken them up, coincided exactly with that period: but he had been unwilling to disclose the matter, as yet not ripe for discovery, till either a fitting opportunity or the necessity for it should arise. Necessity came first. Accordingly, urged by fear, he disclosed the whole affair to Romulus. By accident also, Numitor, while he had Remus in custody, having heard that the brothers were twins, by comparing their age and their natural disposition entirely free from servility, felt his mind struck by the recollection of his grandchildren, and by frequent inquiries came to the conclusion he had already formed, so that he was not far from openly acknowledging Remus. Accordingly a plot was concerted against the king on all sides. Romulus, not accompanied by a body of young men—for he was not equal to open violence—but having commanded the shepherds to come to the palace by different roads at a fixed time, made an attack upon the king, while Remus, having got together another party from Numitor's house, came to his assistance; and so they slew the king.

Numitor, at the beginning of the fray, giving out that enemies had invaded the city and attacked the palace, after he had drawn off the Alban youth to the citadel to secure it with an armed garrison, when he saw the young men, after they had compassed the king's death, advancing toward him to offer congratulations, immediately summoned a meeting of the people, and recounted his brother's unnatural behaviour toward him, the extraction of his grandchildren, the manner of their birth, bringing up, and recognition, and went on to inform them of the king's death, and that he was responsible for it. The young princes advanced through the midst of the assembly with their band in orderly array, and, after they had saluted their grandfather as king, a succeeding shout of approbation, issuing from the whole multitude, ratified for him the name and authority of sovereign. The government of Alba being thus intrusted to Numitor, Romulus and Remus were seized with the desire of building a city on the spot where they had been exposed and brought up. Indeed, the number of Alban and Latin inhabitants was too great for the city; the shepherds also were included among that population, and all these readily inspired hopes that Alba and Lavinium would be insignificant in comparison with that city, which was intended to be built. But desire of rule, the bane of their grandfather, interrupted these designs, and thence arose a shameful quarrel from a sufficiently amicable beginning. For as they were twins, and consequently the respect for seniority could not settle the point, they agreed to leave it to the gods, under whose protection the place was, to choose by augury which of them should give a name to the new city, and govern it when built. Romulus chose the Palatine and Remus the Aventine, as points of observation for taking the auguries.

It is said that an omen came to Remus first, six vultures; and when, after the omen had been declared, twice that number presented themselves to Romulus, each was hailed king by his own party, the former claiming sovereign power on the ground of priority of time, the latter on account of the number of birds. Thereupon, having met and exchanged angry words, from the strife of angry feelings they turned to bloodshed: there Remus fell from a blow received in the crowd. A more common account is that Remus, in derision of his brother, leaped over the newly-erected walls, and was thereupon slain by Romulus in a fit of passion, who, mocking him, added words to this effect:" So perish every one hereafter, who shall leap over my walls." Thus Romulus obtained possession of supreme power for himself alone. The city, when built, was called after the name of its founder.[5] He first proceeded to fortify the Palatine Hill, on which he himself had been brought up. He offered sacrifices to Hercules, according to the Grecian rite, as they had been instituted by Evander; to the other gods, according to the Alban rite. There is a tradition that Hercules, having slain Geryon, drove off his oxen, which were of surpassing beauty,[6] to that spot: and that he lay down in a grassy spot on the banks of the river Tiber, where he had swam across, driving the cattle before him, to refresh them with rest and luxuriant pasture, being also himself fatigued with journeying. There, when sleep had overpowered him, heavy as he was with food and wine, a shepherd who dwelt in the neighbourhood, by name Cacus, priding himself on his strength, and charmed with the beauty of the cattle, desired to carry them off as booty; but because, if he had driven the herd in front of him to the cave, their tracks must have conducted their owner thither in his search, he dragged the most beautiful of them by their tails backward into a cave. Hercules, aroused from sleep at dawn, having looked over his herd and observed that some of their number were missing, went straight to the nearest cave, to see whether perchance their tracks led thither. When he saw that they were all turned away from it and led in no other direction, troubled and not knowing what to make up his mind to do, he commenced to drive off his herd from so dangerous a spot. Thereupon some of the cows that were driven away, lowed, as they usually do, when they missed those that were left; and the lowings of those that were shut in being heard in answer from the cave, caused Hercules to turn round. And when Cacus attempted to prevent him by force as he was advancing toward the cave, he was struck with a club and slain, while vainly calling upon the shepherds to assist him. At that time Evander, who was an exile from the Peloponnesus, governed the country more by his personal ascendancy than by absolute sway. He was a man held in reverence on account of the wonderful art of writing, an entirely new discovery to men ignorant of accomplishments,[7] and still more revered on account of the supposed divinity of his mother Carmenta, whom those peoples had marvelled at as a prophetess before the arrival of the Sybil in Italy. This Evander, roused by the assembling of the shepherds as they hastily crowded round the stranger, who was charged with open murder, after he heard an account of the deed and the cause of it, gazing upon the personal appearance and mien of the hero, considerably more dignified and majestic than that of a man, asked who he was. As soon as he heard the name of the hero, and that of his father and native country, "Hail!" said he, "Hercules, son of Jupiter! my mother, truthful interpreter of the will of the gods, has declared to me that thou art destined to increase the number of the heavenly beings, and that on this spot an altar shall be dedicated to thee, which in after ages a people most mighty on earth shall call Greatest, and honour in accordance with rites instituted by thee." Hercules, having given him his right hand, declared that he accepted the prophetic intimation, and would fulfil the predictions of the fates, by building and dedicating an altar. Thereon then for the first time sacrifice was offered to Hercules with a choice heifer taken from the herd, the Potitii and Pinarii, the most distinguished families who then inhabited those parts, being invited to serve at the feast. It so happened that the Potitii presented themselves in due time and the entrails were set before them: but the Pinarii did not arrive until the entrails had been eaten up, to share the remainder of the feast. From that time it became a settled institution, that, as long as the Pinarian family existed, they should not eat of the entrails of the sacrificial victims. The Potitii, fully instructed by Evander, discharged the duties of chief priests of this sacred function for many generations, until their whole race became extinct, in consequence of this office, the solemn prerogative of their family, being delegated to public slaves. These were the only religious rites that Romulus at that time adopted from those of foreign countries, being even then an advocate of immortality won by merit, to which the destiny marked out for him was conducting him.

The duties of religion having been thus duly completed, the people were summoned to a public meeting: and, as they could not be united and incorporated into one body by any other means save legal ordinances, Romulus gave them a code of laws: and, judging that these would only be respected by a nation of rustics, if he dignified himself with the insignia of royalty, he clothed himself with greater majesty—above all, by taking twelve lictors to attend him, but also in regard to his other appointments. Some are of opinion that he was influenced in his choice of that number by that of the birds which had foretold that sovereign power should be his when the auguries were taken. I myself am not indisposed to follow the opinion of those, who are inclined to believe that it was from the neighbouring Etruscans—from whom the curule chair and purple-bordered toga were borrowed—that the apparitors of this class, as well as the number itself, were introduced: and that the Etruscans employed such a number because, as their king was elected from twelve states in common, each state assigned him one lictor.

In the meantime, the city was enlarged by taking in various plots of ground for the erection of buildings, while they built rather in the hope of an increased population in the future, than in view of the actual number of the inhabitants of the city at that time. Next, that the size of the city might not be without efficiency, in order to increase the population, following the ancient policy of founders of cities, who, by bringing together to their side a mean and ignoble multitude, were in the habit of falsely asserting that an offspring was born to them from the earth, he opened as a sanctuary the place which, now inclosed, is known as the "two groves," and which people come upon when descending from the Capitol. Thither, a crowd of all classes from the neighbouring peoples, without distinction, whether freemen or slaves, eager for change, flocked for refuge, and therein lay the foundation of the city's strength, corresponding to the commencement of its enlargement. Having now no reason to be dissatisfied with his strength, he next instituted a standing council to direct that strength. He created one hundred senators, either because that number was sufficient, or because there were only one hundred who could be so elected. Anyhow they were called fathers[8], by way of respect, and their descendants patricians.

By this time the Roman state was so powerful, that it was a match for any of the neighbouring states in war: but owing to the scarcity of women its greatness was not likely to outlast the existing generation, seeing that the Romans had no hope of issue at home, and they did not intermarry with their neighbours. So then, by the advice of the senators, Romulus sent around ambassadors to the neighbouring states, to solicit an alliance and the right of intermarriage for his new subjects, saying, that cities, like everything else, rose from the humblest beginnings: next, that those which the gods and their own merits assisted, gained for themselves great power and high renown: that he knew full well that the gods had aided the first beginnings of Rome and that merit on their part would not be wanting: therefore, as men, let them not be reluctant to mix their blood and stock with men. The embassy nowhere obtained a favourable hearing: but, although the neighbouring peoples treated it with such contempt, yet at the same time they dreaded the growth of such a mighty power in their midst to the danger of themselves and of their posterity. In most cases when they were dismissed they were asked the question, whether they had opened a sanctuary for women also: for that in that way only could they obtain suitable matches.

The Roman youths were bitterly indignant at this, and the matter began unmistakably to point to open violence. Romulus in order to provide a fitting opportunity and place for this, dissembling his resentment, with this purpose in view, instituted games to be solemnized every year in honour of Neptunus Equester, which he called Consualia. He then ordered the show to be proclaimed among the neighbouring peoples; and the Romans prepared to solemnize it with all the pomp with which they were then acquainted or were able to exhibit, in order to make the spectacle famous, and an object of expectation. Great numbers assembled, being also desirous of seeing the new city, especially all the nearest peoples, the Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates: the entire Sabine population attended with their wives and children. They were hospitably invited to the different houses: and, when they saw the position of the city, its fortified walls, and how crowded with houses it was, they were astonished that the power of Rome had increased so rapidly. When the time of the show arrived, and their eyes and minds alike were intent upon it, then, according to preconcerted arrangement, a disturbance was made, and, at a given signal, the Roman youths rushed in different directions to carry off the unmarried women. A great number were carried off at hap-hazard, by those into whose hands they severally fell: some of the common people, to whom the task had been assigned, conveyed to their homes certain women of surpassing beauty, who were destined for the leading senators. They say that one, far distinguished beyond the rest in form and beauty, was carried off by the party of a certain Talassius, and that, when several people wanted to know to whom they were carrying her, a cry was raised from time to time, to prevent her being molested, that she was being carried to Talassius: and that from this the word was used in connection with marriages. The festival being disturbed by the alarm thus caused, the sorrowing parents of the maidens retired, complaining of the violated compact of hospitality, and invoking the god, to whose solemn festival and games they had come, having been deceived by the pretence of religion and good faith. Nor did the maidens entertain better hopes for themselves, or feel less indignation. Romulus, however, went about in person and pointed out that what had happened was due to the pride of their fathers, in that they had refused the privilege of intermarriage to their neighbours; but that, notwithstanding, they would be lawfully wedded, and enjoy a share of all their possessions and civil rights, and—a thing dearer than all else to the human race—the society of their common children: only let them calm their angry feelings, and bestow their affections on those on whom fortune had bestowed their bodies. Esteem (said he) often arose subsequent to wrong: and they would find them better husbands for the reason that each of them would endeavour, to the utmost of his power, after having discharged, as far as his part was concerned, the duty of a husband, to quiet the longing for country and parents. To this the blandishments of the husbands were added, who excused what had been done on the plea of passion and love, a form of entreaty that works most successfully upon the feelings of women.[9]

By this time the minds of the maidens were considerably soothed, but their parents, especially by putting on the garb of mourning, and by their tears and complaints, stirred up the neighbouring states. Nor did they confine their feelings of indignation to their own home only, but they flocked from all quarters to Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines, and embassies crowded thither, because the name of Tatius was held in the greatest esteem in those quarters. The Caeninenses, Crustumini, and Antemnates were the people who were chiefly affected by the outrage. As Tatius and the Sabines appeared to them to be acting in too dilatory a manner, these three peoples by mutual agreement among themselves made preparations for war unaided. However, not even the Crustumini and Antemnates bestirred themselves with sufficient activity to satisfy the hot-headedness and anger of the Caeninenses: accordingly the people of Caenina, unaided, themselves attacked the Roman territory. But Romulus with his army met them while they were ravaging the country in straggling parties, and in a trifling engagement convinced them that anger unaccompanied by strength is fruitless. He routed their army and put it to flight, followed in pursuit of it when routed, cut down their king in battle and stripped him of his armour, and, having slain the enemy's leader, took the city at the first assault. Then, having led back his victorious army, being a man both distinguished for his achievements, and one equally skilful at putting them in the most favourable light, he ascended the Capitol, carrying suspended on a portable frame, cleverly contrived for that purpose, the spoils of the enemy's general, whom he had slain: there, having laid them down at the foot of an oak held sacred by the shepherds, at the same time that he presented the offering, he marked out the boundaries for a temple of Jupiter, and bestowed a surname on the god. "Jupiter Feretrius," said he, "I, King Romulus, victorious over my foes, offer to thee these royal arms, and dedicate to thee a temple within those quarters, which I have just now marked out in my mind, to be a resting-place for the spolia opima, which posterity, following my example, shall bring hither on slaying the kings or generals of the enemy." This is the origin of that temple, the first that was ever consecrated at Rome. It was afterward the will of the gods that neither the utterances of the founder of the temple, in which he solemnly declared that his posterity would bring such spoils thither, should be spoken in vain, and that the honour of the offering should not be rendered common owing to the number of those who enjoyed it. In the course of so many years and so many wars the spolia opima were only twice gained: so rare has been the successful attainment of this honour.[10]

While the Romans were thus engaged in those parts, the army of the Antemnates made a hostile attack upon the Roman territories, seizing the opportunity when they were left unguarded. Against these in like manner a Roman legion was led out in haste and surprised them while straggling in the country. Thus the enemy were routed at the first shout and charge: their town was taken: Romulus, amid his rejoicings at this double victory, was entreated by his wife Hersilia, in consequence of the importunities of the captured women, to pardon their fathers and admit them to the privileges of citizenship; that the commonwealth could thus be knit together by reconciliation. The request was readily granted. After that he set out against the Crustumini, who were beginning hostilities: in their case, as their courage had been damped by the disasters of others, the struggle was less keen. Colonies were sent to both places: more, however, were found to give in their names for Crustuminum, because of the fertility of the soil. Great numbers also migrated from thence to Rome, chiefly of the parents and relatives of the women who had been carried off.

The last war broke out on the part of the Sabines, and this was by far the most formidable: for nothing was done under the influence of anger or covetousness, nor did they give indications of hostilities before they had actually begun them. Cunning also was combined with prudence. Spurius Tarpeius was in command of the Roman citadel: his maiden daughter, who at the time had gone by chance outside the walls to fetch water for sacrifice, was bribed by Tatius, to admit some armed soldiers into the citadel. After they were admitted, they crushed her to death by heaping their arms upon her: either that the citadel might rather appear to have been taken by storm, or for the sake of setting forth a warning, that faith should never on any occasion be kept with a betrayer. The following addition is made to the story: that, as the Sabines usually wore golden bracelets of great weight on their left arm and rings of great beauty set with precious stones, she bargained with them for what they had on their left hands; and that therefore shields were heaped upon her instead of presents of gold. Some say that, in accordance with the agreement that they should deliver up what was on their left hands, she expressly demanded their shields, and that, as she seemed to be acting treacherously, she herself was slain by the reward she had chosen for herself.

Be that as it may, the Sabines held the citadel, and on the next day, when the Roman army, drawn up in order of battle, had occupied all the valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, they did not descend from thence into the plain until the Romans, stimulated by resentment and the desire of recovering the citadel, advanced up hill to meet them. The chiefs on both sides encouraged the fight, on the side of the Sabines Mettius Curtius, on the side of the Romans Hostius Hostilius. The latter, in the front of the battle, on unfavourable ground, supported the fortunes of the Romans by his courage and boldness. When Hostius fell, the Roman line immediately gave way, and, being routed, was driven as far as the old gate of the Palatium. Romulus himself also, carried away by the crowd of fugitives, cried, uplifting his arms to heaven: "O Jupiter, it was at the bidding of thy omens, that here on the Palatine I laid the first foundations for the city. The citadel, purchased by crime, is now in possession of the Sabines: thence they are advancing hither in arms, having passed the valley between. But do thou, O father of gods and men, keep back the enemy from hence at least, dispel the terror of the Romans, and check their disgraceful flight. On this spot I vow to build a temple to thee as Jupiter Stator, to be a monument to posterity that the city has been preserved by thy ready aid." Having offered up these prayers, as if he had felt that they had been heard, he cried: "From this position, O Romans, Jupiter, greatest and best, bids you halt and renew the fight." The Romans halted as if ordered by a voice from heaven. Romulus himself hastened to the front. Mettius Curtius, on the side of the Sabines, had rushed down from the citadel at the head of his troops and driven the Romans in disordered array over the whole space of ground where the Forum now is. He had almost reached the gate of the Palatium, crying out: "We have conquered our perfidious friends, our cowardly foes: now they know that fighting with men is a very different thing from ravishing maidens." Upon him, as he uttered these boasts, Romulus made an attack with a band of his bravest youths. Mettius then happened to be fighting on horseback: on that account his repulse was easier. When he was driven back, the Romans followed in pursuit: and the remainder of the Roman army, fired by the bravery of the king, routed the Sabines. Mettius, his horse taking fright at the noise of his pursuers, rode headlong into a morass: this circumstance drew off the attention of the Sabines also at the danger of so high a personage. He indeed, his own party beckoning and calling to him, gaining heart from the encouraging shouts of many of his friends, made good his escape. The Romans and Sabines renewed the battle in the valley between the two hills: but the advantage rested with the Romans.

At this crisis the Sabine women, from the outrage on whom the war had arisen, with dishevelled hair and torn garments, the timidity natural to women being overcome by the sense of their calamities, were emboldened to fling themselves into the midst of the flying weapons, and, rushing across, to part the incensed combatants and assuage their wrath: imploring their fathers on the one hand and their husbands on the other, as fathers-in-law and sons-in-law, not to besprinkle themselves with impious blood, nor to fix the stain of murder on their offspring, the one side on their grandchildren, the other on their children. "If," said they, "you are dissatisfied with the relationship between you, and with our marriage, turn your resentment against us; it is we who are the cause of war, of wounds and bloodshed to our husbands and parents: it will be better for us to perish than to live widowed or orphans without one or other of you." This incident affected both the people and the leaders; silence and sudden quiet followed; the leaders thereupon came forward to conclude a treaty; and not only concluded a peace, but formed one state out of two. They united the kingly power, but transferred the entire sovereignty to Rome. Rome having thus been made a double state, that some benefit at least might be conferred on the Sabines, they were called Quirites from Cures. To serve as a memorial of that battle, they called the place—where Curtius, after having emerged from the deep morass, set his horse in shallow water—the Lacus Curtius.[11]

This welcome peace, following suddenly on so melancholy a war, endeared the Sabine women still more to their husbands and parents, and above all to Romulus himself. Accordingly, when dividing the people into thirty curiae, he called the curiae after their names. While the number of the women were undoubtedly considerably greater than this, it is not recorded whether they were chosen for their age, their own rank or that of their husbands, or by lot, to give names to the curiae. At the same time also three centuries of knights were enrolled: the Ramnenses were so called from Romulus, the Titienses from Titus Tatius: in regard to the Luceres, the meaning of the name and its origin is uncertain.[12] From that time forward the two kings enjoyed the regal power not only in common, but also in perfect harmony.

Several years afterward, some relatives of King Tatius ill-treated the Ambassadors of the Laurentines, and on the Laurentines beginning proceedings according to the rights of nations, the influence and entreaties of his friends had more weight with Tatius. In this manner he drew upon himself the punishment that should have fallen upon them: for, having gone to Lavinium on the occasion of a regularly recurring sacrifice, he was slain in a disturbance which took place there. They say that Romulus resented this less than the event demanded, either because partnership in sovereign power is never cordially kept up, or because he thought that he had been deservedly slain. Accordingly, while he abstained from going to war, the treaty between the cities of Rome and Lavinium was renewed, that at any rate the wrongs of the ambassadors and the murder of the king might be expiated.

With these people, indeed, there was peace contrary to expectations: but another war broke out much nearer home and almost at the city's gates. The Fidenates,[13] being of opinion that a power in too close proximity to themselves was gaining strength, hastened to make war before the power of the Romans should attain the greatness it was evidently destined to reach. An armed band of youths was sent into Roman territory and all the territories between the city and the Fidenae was ravaged. Then, turning to the left, because on the right the Tiber was a barrier against them, they continued to ravage the country, to the great consternation of the peasantry: the sudden alarm, reaching the city from the country, was the first announcement of the invasion. Romulus aroused by this—for a war so near home could not brook delay—led out his army, and pitched his camp a mile from Fidenae. Having left a small garrison there, he marched out with all his forces and gave orders that a part of them should lie in ambush in a spot hidden amid bushes planted thickly around; he himself advancing with the greater part of the infantry and all the cavalry, by riding up almost to the very gates, drew out the enemy—which was just what he wanted—by a mode of battle of a disorderly and threatening nature. The same tactics on the part of the cavalry caused the flight, which it was necessary to pretend, to appear less surprising: and when, as the cavalry appeared undecided whether to make up its mind to fight or flee, the infantry also retreated—the enemy, pouring forth suddenly through the crowded gates, were drawn toward the place of ambuscade, in their eagerness to press on and pursue, after they had broken the Roman line. Thereupon the Romans, suddenly arising, attacked the enemy's line in flanks; the advance from the camp of the standards of those, who had been left behind on guard, increased the panic: thus the Fidenates, smitten with terror from many quarters, took to flight almost before Romulus and the cavalry who accompanied him could wheel round: and those who a little before had been in pursuit of men who pretended flight, made for the town again in much greater disorder, seeing that their flight was real. They did not, however, escape the foe: the Romans, pressing closely on their rear, rushed in as if it were in one body, before the doors of the gates could be shut against them.

The minds of the inhabitants of Veii,[14] being exasperated by the infectious influence of the Fidenatian war, both from the tie of kinship—for the Fidenates also were Etruscans—and because the very proximity of the scene of action, in the event of the Roman arms being directed against all their neighbours, urged them on, they sallied forth into the Roman territories, rather with the object of plundering than after the manner of a regular war. Accordingly, without pitching a camp, or waiting for the enemy's army, they returned to Veii, taking with them the booty they had carried off from the lands; the Roman army, on the other hand, when they did not find the enemy in the country, being ready and eager for a decisive action, crossed the Tiber. And when the Veientes heard that they were pitching a camp, and intended to advance to the city, they came out to meet them that they might rather decide the matter in the open field, than be shut up and have to fight from their houses and walls. In this engagement the Roman king gained the victory, his power being unassisted by any stratagem, by the unaided strength of his veteran army: and having pursued the routed enemies up to their walls, he refrained from attacking the city, which was strongly fortified and well defended by its natural advantages: on his return he laid waste their lands, rather from a desire of revenge than of booty. The Veientes, humbled by that loss no less than by the unsuccessful issue of the battle, sent ambassadors to Rome to sue for peace. A truce for one hundred years was granted them, after they had been mulcted in a part of their territory. These were essentially the chief events of the reign of Romulus, in peace and in war, none of which seemed inconsistent with the belief of his divine origin, or of his deification after death, neither the spirit he showed in recovering his grandfather's kingdom, nor his wisdom in building a city, and afterward strengthening it by the arts of war and peace. For assuredly it was by the power that Romulus gave it that it became so powerful, that for forty years after it enjoyed unbroken peace. He was, however, dearer to the people than to the fathers: above all others he was most beloved by the soldiers: of these he kept three hundred, whom he called Celeres, armed to serve as a body-guard not only in time of war but also of peace.

Having accomplished these works deserving of immortality, while he was holding an assembly of the people for reviewing his army, in the plain near the Goat's pool, a storm suddenly came on, accompanied by loud thunder and lightning, and enveloped the king in so dense a mist, that it entirely hid him from the sight of the assembly. After this Romulus was never seen again upon earth. The feeling of consternation having at length calmed down, and the weather having become clear and fine again after so stormy a day, the Roman youth seeing the royal seat empty—though they readily believed the words of the fathers who had stood nearest him, that he had been carried up to heaven by the storm—yet, struck as it were with the fear of being fatherless, for a considerable time preserved a sorrowful silence. Then, after a few had set the example, the whole multitude saluted Romulus as a god, the son of a god, the king and parent of the Roman city; they implored his favour with prayers, that with gracious kindness he would always preserve his offspring. I believe that even then there were some, who in secret were convinced that the king had been torn in pieces by the hands of the fathers—for this rumour also spread, but it was very doubtfully received; admiration for the man, however, and the awe felt at the moment, gave greater notoriety to the other report. Also by the clever idea of one individual, additional confirmation is said to have been attached to the occurrence. For Proculus Julius, while the state was still troubled at the loss of the king, and incensed against the senators, a weighty authority, as we are told, in any matter however important, came forward into the assembly. "Quirites," said he, "Romulus, the father of this city, suddenly descending from heaven, appeared to me this day at daybreak. While I stood filled with dread, and religious awe, beseeching him to allow me to look upon him face to face, 'Go,' said he, 'tell the Romans, that the gods so will, that my Rome should become the capital of the world. Therefore let them cultivate the art of war, and let them know and so hand it down to posterity, that no human power can withstand the Roman arms.' Having said this, he vanished up to heaven." It is surprising what credit was given to that person when he made the announcement, and how much the regret of the common people and army for the loss of Romulus was assuaged when the certainty of his immortality was confirmed.[15]

Meanwhile[16] contention for the throne and ambition engaged the minds of the fathers; the struggle was not as yet carried on by individuals, by violence or contending factions, because, among a new people, no one person was pre-eminently distinguished; the contest was carried on between the different orders. The descendants of the Sabines wished a king to be elected from their own body, lest, because there had been no king from their own party since the death of Tatius, they might lose their claim to the crown although both were on an equal footing. The old Romans spurned the idea of a foreign prince. Amid this diversity of views, however, all were anxious to be under the government of a king, as they had not yet experienced the delights of liberty. Fear then seized the senators, lest, as the minds of many surrounding states were incensed against them, some foreign power should attack the state, now without a government, and the army, now without a leader. Therefore, although they were agreed that there should be some head, yet none could bring himself to give way to another. Accordingly, the hundred senators divided the government among themselves, ten decuries being formed, and the individual members who were to have the chief direction of affairs being chosen into each decury.[17] Ten governed; one only was attended by the lictors and with the insignia of authority: their power was limited to the space of five days, and conferred upon all in rotation, and the interval between the government of a king lasted a year. From this fact it was called an interregnum, a term which is employed even now. Then the people began to murmur, that their slavery was multiplied, and that they had now a hundred sovereigns instead of one, and they seemed determined to submit to no authority but that of a king, and that one appointed by themselves. When the fathers perceived that such schemes were on foot, thinking it advisable to offer them, without being asked, what they were sure to lose, they conciliated the good-will of the people by yielding to them the supreme power, yet in such a manner as to surrender no greater privilege than they reserved to themselves. For they decreed, that when the people had chosen a king, the election should be valid, if the senate gave the sanction of their authority. And even to this day the same forms are observed in proposing laws and magistrates, though their power has been taken away; for before the people begin to vote, the senators ratify their choice, even while the result of the elections is still uncertain. Then the interrex, having summoned an assembly of the people, addressed them as follows: "Do you, Quirites, choose yourselves a king, and may this choice prove fortunate, happy, and auspicious; such is the will of the fathers. Then, if you shall choose a prince worthy to be reckoned next after Romulus, the fathers will ratify your choice." This concession was so pleasing to the people, that, not to appear outdone in generosity, they only voted and ordained that the senate should determine who should be king at Rome.

The justice and piety of Numa Pompilius was at that time celebrated. He dwelt at Cures, a city of the Sabines, and was as eminently learned in all law, human and divine, as any man could be in that age. They falsely represent that Pythagoras of Samos was his instructor in learning, because there appears no other. Now it is certain that this philosopher, in the reign of Servius Tullius, more than a hundred years after this, held assemblies of young men, who eagerly embraced his doctrines, on the most distant shore of Italy, in the neighbourhood of Metapontum, Heraclea, and Croton. But from these places, even had he flourished in the same age, what fame of his could have reached the Sabines? or by what intercourse of language could it have aroused any one to a desire of learning? Or by what safeguard could a single man have passed through the midst of so many nations differing in language and customs? I am therefore rather inclined to believe that his mind, owing to his natural bent, was attempered by virtuous qualities, and that he was not so much versed in foreign systems of philosophy as in the stern and gloomy training of the ancient Sabines, a race than which none was in former times more strict. When they heard the name of Numa, although the Roman fathers perceived that the balance of power would incline to the Sabines if a king were chosen from them, yet none of them ventured to prefer himself, or any other member of his party, or, in fine, any of the citizens or fathers, to a man so well known, but unanimously resolved that the kingdom should be offered to Numa Pompilius. Being sent for, just as Romulus obtained the throne by the augury in accordance with which he founded the city, so Numa in like manner commanded the gods to be consulted concerning himself. Upon this, being escorted into the citadel by an augur, to whose profession that office was later made a public and perpetual one by way of honour, he sat down on a stone facing the south: the augur took his seaton his left hand with his head covered, holding in his right a crooked wand free from knots, called lituus; then, after having taken a view over the city and country, and offered a prayer to the gods, he defined the bounds of the regions of the sky from east to west: the parts toward the south he called the right, those toward the north, the left; and in front of him he marked out in his mind the sign as far as ever his eyes could see. Then having shifted the lituus into his left hand, and placed his right on the head of Numa, he prayed after this manner: "O father Jupiter, if it be thy will that this Numa Pompilius, whose head I hold, be king of Rome, mayest thou manifest infallible signs to us within those bounds which I have marked." Then he stated in set terms the auspices which he wished to be sent: on their being sent, Numa was declared king and came down from the seat of augury.

Having thus obtained the kingdom, he set about establishing anew, on the principles of law and morality, the newly founded city that had been already established by force of arms. When he saw that the inhabitants, inasmuch as men's minds are brutalized by military life, could not become reconciled to such principles during the continuance of wars, considering that the savage nature of the people must be toned down by the disuse of arms, he erected at the foot of Argiletum[18] a temple of Janus, as a sign of peace and war, that when open, it might show that the state was engaged in war, and when shut, that all the surrounding nations were at peace. Twice only since the reign of Numa has this temple been shut: once when Titus Manlius was consul, after the conclusion of the first Punic war; and a second time, which the gods granted our generation to behold, by the Emperor Caesar Augustus, after the battle of Actium, when peace was established by land and sea. This being shut, after he had secured the friendship of all the neighbouring states around by alliance and treaties, all anxiety regarding dangers from abroad being now removed, in order to prevent their minds, which the fear of enemies and military discipline had kept in check, running riot from too much leisure, he considered, that, first of all, awe of the gods should be instilled into them, a principle of the greatest efficacy in dealing with the multitude, ignorant and uncivilized as it was in those times. But as this fear could not sink deeply into their minds without some fiction of a miracle, he pretended that he held nightly interviews with the goddess Egeria; that by her direction he instituted sacred rites such as would be most acceptable to the gods, and appointed their own priests for each of the deities. And, first of all, he divided the year into twelve months, according to the courses of the moon;[19] and because the moon does not fill up the number of thirty days in each month, and some days are wanting to the complete year, which is brought round by the solstitial revolution, he so regulated this year, by inserting intercalary months, that every twentieth year, the lengths of all the intermediate years being filled up, the days corresponded with the same starting-point of the sun whence they had set out. He likewise divided days into sacred and profane, because on certain occasions it was likely to be expedient that no business should be transacted with the people.

Next he turned his attention to the appointment of priests, though he discharged many sacred functions himself, especially those which now belong to the flamen of Jupiter. But, as he imagined that in a warlike nation there would be more kings resembling Romulus than Numa, and that they would go to war in person, in order that the sacred functions of the royal office might not be neglected, he appointed a perpetual priest as flamen to Jupiter, and distinguished him by a fine robe, and a royal curule chair. To him he added two other flamens, one for Mars, another for Quirinus. He also chose virgins for Vesta, a priesthood derived from Alba, and not foreign to the family of the founder. That they might be constant attendants in the temple, he appointed them pay out of the public treasury; and by enjoining virginity, and various religious observances, he made them sacred and venerable. He also chose twelve Salii for Mars Gradivus, and gave them the distinction of an embroidered tunic, and over the tunic a brazen covering for the breast. He commanded them to carry the shields called Ancilia,[20] which fell fromheaven, and to go through the city singing songs, with leaping and solemn dancing. Then he chose from the fathers Numa Marcius, son of Marcius, as pontiff, and consigned to him a complete system of religious rites written out and recorded, showing with what victims, upon what days, and at what temples the sacred rites were to be performed, and from what funds the money was to be taken to defray the expenses. He also placed all other religious institutions, public and private, under the control of the decrees of the pontiff, to the end that there might be some authority to whom the people should come to ask advice, to prevent any confusion in the divine worship being caused by their neglecting the ceremonies of their own country, and adopting foreign ones. He further ordained that the same pontiff should instruct the people not only in the ceremonies connected with the heavenly deities, but also in the due performance of funeral solemnities, and how to appease the shades of the dead; and what prodigies sent by lightning or any other phenomenon were to be attended to and expiated. To draw forth such knowledge from the minds of the gods, he dedicated an altar on the Aventine to Jupiter Elicius, and consulted the god by means of auguries as to what prodigies ought to be attended to.

The attention of the whole people having been thus diverted from violence and arms to the deliberation and adjustment of these matters, both their minds were engaged in some occupation, and the watchfulness of the gods now constantly impressed upon them, as the deity of heaven seemed to interest itself in human concerns, had filled the breasts of all with such piety, that faith and religious obligations governed the state, the dread of laws and punishments being regarded as secondary. And while the people of their own accord were forming themselves on the model of the king, as the most excellent example, the neighbouring states also, who had formerly thought that it was a camp, not a city, that had been established in their midst to disturb the general peace, were brought to feel such respect for them that they considered it impious to molest a state, wholly occupied in the worship of the gods. There was a grove, the middle of which was irrigated by a spring of running water, flowing from a dark grotto. As Numa often repaired thither unattended, under pretence of meeting the goddess, he dedicated the grove to the Camenae, because, as he asserted, their meetings with his wife Egeria were held there. He also instituted a yearly festival to Faith alone, and commanded her priests to be driven to the chapel erected for the purpose in an arched chariot drawn by two horses, and to perform the divine service with their hands wrapped up to the fingers, intimating that Faith ought to be protected, and that even her seat in men's right hands was sacred. He instituted many other sacred rites, and dedicated places for performing them, which the priests call Argei. But the greatest of all his works was the maintenance of peace during the whole period of his reign, no less than of his royal power. Thus two kings in succession, by different methods, the one by war, the other by peace, aggrandized the state. Romulus reigned thirty-seven years, Numa forty-three: the state was both strong and attempered by the arts both of war and peace.

Upon the death of Numa, the administration returned again to an interregnum. After that the people appointed as King Tullus Hostilius, the grandson of that Hostilius who had made the noble stand against the Sabines at the foot of the citadel: the fathers confirmed the choice. He was not only unlike the preceding king, but even of a more warlike disposition than Romulus. Both his youth and strength, and, further, the renown of his grandfather, stimulated his ambition. Thinking therefore that the state was deteriorating through ease, he everywhere sought for an opportunity of stirring up war. It so happened that some Roman and Alban peasants mutually plundered each other's lands. Gaius Cluilius at that time was in power at Alba. From both sides ambassadors were sent almost at the same time, to demand satisfaction. Tullus had ordered his representatives to attend to their instructions before anything else. He knew well that the Alban would refuse, and so war might be proclaimed with a clear conscience. Their commission was executed in a more dilatory manner by the Albans: being courteously and kindly entertained by Tullus, they gladly took advantage of the king's hospitality. Meanwhile the Romans had both been first in demanding satisfaction, and upon the refusal of the Alban, had proclaimed war upon the expiration of thirty days: of this they gave Tullus notice. Thereupon he granted the Alban ambassadors an opportunity of stating with what demands they came. They, ignorant of everything, at first wasted some time in making excuses: That it was with reluctance they would say anything which might be displeasing to Tullus, but they were compelled by orders: that they had come to demand satisfaction: if this was not granted, they were commanded to declare war. To this Tullus made answer, "Go tell your king, that the king of the Romans takes the gods to witness, that, whichever of the two nations shall have first dismissed with contempt the ambassadors demanding satisfaction, from it they [the gods] may exact atonement for the disasters of this war." This message the Albans carried home.

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