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By Plutarch

(legendary, lived legendary, 8th century B.C.E.)

Translated by John Dryden

From whom, and for what reason, the city of Rome, a name so great
in glory, and famous in the mouths of all men, was so first called,
authors do not agree. Some are of opinion that the Pelasgians, wandering
over the greater part of the habitable world, and subduing numerous
nations, fixed themselves here, and, from their own great strength
in war, called the city Rome. Others, that at the taking of Troy,
some few that escaped and met with shipping, put to sea, and driven
by winds, were carried upon the coasts of Tuscany, and came to anchor
off the mouth of the river Tiber, where their women, out of heart
and weary with the sea, on its being proposed by one of the highest
birth and best understanding amongst them, whose name was Roma, burnt
the ships. With which act the men at first were angry, but afterwards,
of necessity, seating themselves near Palatium, where things in a
short while succeeded far better than they could hope, in that they
found the country very good, and the people courteous, they not only
did the lady Roma other honours, but added also this, of calling after
her name the city which she had been the occasion of their founding.
From this, they say, has come down that custom at Rome for women to
salute their kinsmen and husbands with kisses; because these women,
after they had burnt the ships, made use of such endearments when
entreating and pacifying their husbands. 

Some again say that Roma, from whom this city was so called, was daughter
of Italus and Leucaria; or, by another account, of Telaphus, Hercules's
son, and that she was married to Aeneas, or, according to others again,
to Ascanius, Aeneas's son. Some tell us that Romanus, the son of Ulysses
and Circe, built it; some, Romus, the son of Emathion, Diomede having
sent him from Troy; and others, Romus, king of the Latins, after driving
out the Tyrrhenians, who had come from Thessaly into Lydia, and from
thence into Italy. Those very authors, too, who, in accordance with
the safest account, make Romulus give the name of the city, yet differ
concerning his birth and family. For some say, he was son to Aeneas
and Dexithea, daughter of Phorbas, and was, with his brother Remus,
in their infancy, carried into Italy, and being on the river when
the waters came down in a flood, all the vessels were cast away except
only that where the young children were, which being gently landed
on a level bank of the river, they were both unexpectedly saved, and
from them the place was called Rome. Some say, Roma, daughter of the
Trojan lady above mentioned, was married to Latinus, Telemachus's
son, and became mother to Romulus; others that Aemilia, daughter of
Aeneas and Lavinia, had him by the god Mars; and others give you mere
fables of his origin. For to Tarchetius, they say, king of Alba, who
was a most wicked and cruel man, there appeared in his own house a
strange vision, a male figure that rose out of a hearth, and stayed
there for many days. There was an oracle of Tethys in Tuscany which
Tarchetius consulted, and received an answer that a virgin should
give herself to the apparition, and that a son should be born of her,
highly renowned, eminent for valour, good fortune, and strength of
body. Tarchetius told the prophecy to one of his own daughters, and
commanded her to do this thing; which she avoiding as an indignity,
sent her handmaid. Tarchetius, hearing this, in great anger imprisoned
them both, purposing to put them to death, but being deterred from
murder by the goddess Vesta in a dream, enjoined them for their punishment
the working a web of cloth, in their chains as they were, which when
they finished, they should be suffered to marry; but whatever they
worked by day, Tarchetius commanded others to unravel in the night.

In the meantime, the waiting-woman was delivered of two boys, whom
Tarchetius gave into the hands of one Teratius, with command to destroy
them; he, however, carried and laid them by the river side, where
a wolf came and continued to suckle them, while birds of various sorts
brought little morsels of food, which they put into their mouths;
till a cowherd, spying them, was first strangely surprised, but, venturing
to draw nearer, took the children up in his arms. Thus they were saved,
and when they grew up, set upon Tarchetius and overcame him. This
one Promathion says, who compiled a history of Italy. 

But the story which is most believed and has the greatest number of
vouchers was first published, in its chief particulars, amongst the
Greeks by Diocles of Peparethus, whom Fabius Pictor also follows in
most points. Here again there are variations, but in general outline
it runs thus: the kings of Alba reigned in lineal descent from Aeneas,
and the succession devolved at length upon two brothers, Numitor and
Amulius. Amulius proposed to divide things into two equal shares,
and set as equivalent to the kingdom the treasure and gold that were
brought from Troy. Numitor chose the kingdom; but Amulius, having
the money, and being able to do more with that than Numitor, took
his kingdom from him with great ease, and, fearing lest his daughter
might have children, made her a Vestal, bound in that condition forever
to live a single and maiden life. This lady some call Ilia, others
Rhea, and others Silvia; however, not long after, she was, contrary
to the established laws of the Vestals, discovered to be with child,
and should have suffered the most cruel punishment, had not Antho,
the king's daughter, mediated with her father for her; nevertheless,
she was confined, and debarred all company, that she might not be
delivered without the king's knowledge. In time she brought forth
two boys, of more than human size and beauty, whom Amulius, becoming
yet more alarmed, commanded a servant to take and cast away; this
man some call Faustulus, others say Faustulus was the man who brought
them up. He put the children, however, in a small trough, and. went
towards the river with a design to cast them in; but, seeing the waters
much swollen and coming violently down, was afraid to go nearer, and
dropping the children near the bank, went away. The river overflowing,
the flood at last bore up the trough, and, gently wafting it, landed
them on a smooth piece of ground, which they now called Cermanus,
formerly Germanus, perhaps from Germani with signifies brothers.

Near this place grew a wild fig-tree, which they called Ruminalis,
either from Romulus (as it is vulgarly thought), or from ruminating,
because cattle did usually in the heat of the day seek cover under
it, and there chew the cud; or, better, from the suckling of these
children there, for the ancients called the dug or teat of any creature
ruma; and there is a tutelar goddess of the rearing of children whom
they still call Rumilia, in sacrificing to whom they use no wine,
but make libations of milk. While the infants lay here, history tells
us, a she-wolf nursed them, and a woodpecker constantly fed and watched
them; these creatures are esteemed holy to the god Mars; the woodpecker
the Latins still especially worship and honour. Which things, as much
as any, gave credit to what the mother of the children said, that
their father was the god Mars; though some say that it was a mistake
put upon her by Amulius, who himself had come to her dressed up in

Others think that the first rise of this fable came from the children's
nurse, through the ambiguity of her name; for the Latins not only
called wolves lupoe, but also women of loose life; and such an one
was the wife of Faustulus, who nurtured these children, Acca Larentia
by name. To her the Romans offer sacrifices, and in the month of April
the priest of Mars makes libations there; it is called the Larentian
Feast. They honour also another Larentia, for the following reason:
the keeper of Hercules's temple having, it seems, little else to do,
proposed to his deity a game at dice, laying down that, if he himself
won, he would have something valuable of the god; but if he were beaten,
he would spread him a noble table, and procure him a fair lady's company.
Upon these terms, throwing first for the god and then for himself,
he found himself beaten. Wishing to pay his stakes honourably, and
holding himself bound by what he had said, he both provided the diety
a good supper, and giving money to Larentia, then in her beauty, though
not publicly known, gave her a feast in the temple, where he had also
laid a bed, and after supper locked her in, as if the god were really
to come to her. And indeed, it is said, the deity did truly visit
her, and commanded her in the morning to walk to the marketplace,
and, whatever man she met first, to salute him, and make him her friend.
She met one named Tarrutius, who was a man advanced in years, fairly
rich, without children, and had always lived a single life. He received
Larentia, and loved her well, and at his death left her sole heir
of all his large and fair possessions, most of which she, in her last
will and testament, bequeathed to the people. It was reported of her,
being now celebrated and esteemed the mistress of a god, that she
suddenly disappeared near the place where the first Larentia lay buried;
the spot is at this day called Velabrum, because, the river frequently
overflowing, they went over in ferry-boats somewhere hereabouts to
the forum, the Latin word for ferrying being velatura. Others derive
the name from velum, a sail; because the exhibitors of public shows
used to hang the road that leads from the forum to the Circus Maximus
with sails, beginning at this spot. Upon these accounts the second
Larentia is honoured at Rome. 

Meantime Faustulus, Amulius's swineherd, brought up the children without
any man's knowledge; or, as those say who wish to keep closer to probabilities,
with the knowledge and secret assistance of Numitor; for it is said,
they went to school at Gabii, and were well instructed in letters,
and other accomplishments befitting their birth. And they were called
Romulus and Remus (from ruma, the dug), as we had before, because
they were found sucking the wolf. In their very infancy, the size
and beauty of their bodies intimated their natural superiority; and
when they grew up, they both proved brave and manly, attempting all
enterprises that seemed hazardous, and showing in them a courage altogether
undaunted. But Romulus seemed rather to act by counsel, and to show
the sagacity of a statesman, and in all his dealings with their neighbours,
whether relating to feeding of flocks or to hunting, gave the idea
of being born rather to rule than to obey. To their comrades and inferiors
they were therefore dear; but the king's servants, his bailiffs and
overseers, as being in nothing better than themselves, they despised
and slighted, nor were the least concerned at their commands and menaces.
They used honest pastimes and liberal studies, not esteeming sloth
and idleness honest and liberal, but rather such exercises as hunting
and running, repelling robbers, taking of thieves, and delivering
the wronged and oppressed from injury. For doing such things they
became famous. 

A quarrel occurring betwixt Numitor's and Amulius's cowherds, the
latter, not enduring the driving away of their cattle by the others,
fell upon them and put them to flight, and rescued the greatest part
of the prey. At which Numitor being highly incensed, they little regarded
it, but collected and took into their company a number of needy men
and runaway slaves,- acts which looked like the first stages of rebellion.
It so happened that when Romulus was attending a sacrifice, being
fond of sacred rites and divination, Numitor's herdsmen, meeting with
Remus on a journey with few companions, fell upon him, and after some
fighting, took him prisoner, carried him before Numitor, and there
accused him. Numitor would not punish him himself, fearing his brother's
anger, but went to Amulius, and desired justice, as he was Amulius's
brother and was affronted by Amulius's servants. The men of Alba likewise
resenting the thing, and thinking he had been dishonourably used,
Amulius was induced to deliver Remus up into Numitor's hands, to use
him as he thought fit. He therefore took and carried him home, and,
being struck with admiration of the youth's person, in stature aid
strength of body exceeding all men, and perceiving in his very countenance
the courage and force of his mind, which stood unsubdued and unmoved
by his present circumstances, and hearing further that all the enterprises
and actions of his life were answerable to what he saw of but chiefly,
as it seemed, a divine influence aiding and directing the first steps
that were to lead to great results, out of the mere thought of his
mind and casually, as it were, he put his hand upon the fact, and,
in gentle terms and with a kind aspect, to inspire him with confidence
and hope, asked him who he was, and whence he was derived. He, taking
heart, spoke thus: "I will hide nothing from you, for you seem to
be of a more princely temper than Amulius, in that you give a hearing
and examine before you punish, while he condemns before the cause
is heard. Formerly, then, we (for we are twins) thought ourselves
the sons of Faustulus and Larentia, the king's servants; but since
we have been accused and aspersed with calumnies, and brought in peril
of our lives here before you, we hear great things of ourselves, the
truth of which my present danger is likely to bring to the test. Our
birth is said to have been secret, our fostering and nurture in our
infancy still more strange; by birds and beasts, to whom we were cast
out, we were fed, by the milk of a wolf and the morsels of a woodpecker,
as we lay in a little trough by the side of the river. The trough
is still in being, and is preserved, with brass plates round it, and
an inscription in letters almost effaced, which may prove hereafter
unavailing tokens to our parents when we are dead and gone." Numitor,
upon these words, and computing the dates by the young man's looks,
slighted not the hope that flattered him, but considered how to come
at his daughter privately (for she was still kept under restraint),
to talk with her concerning these matters. 

Faustulus, hearing Remus was taken and delivered up, called on Romulus
to assist in his rescue, informing him then plainly of the particulars
of his birth, not but he had before given hints of it, and told as
much as an attentive man might make no small conclusions from; he
himself, full of concern and fear of not coming in time, took the
trough, and ran instantly to Numitor; but giving a suspicion to some
of the king's sentries at his gate, and being gazed upon by them and
perplexed with their questions, he let it be seen that he was hiding
the trough under his cloak. By chance there was one among them who
was at the exposing of the children, and was employed in the office;
he, seeing the trough and knowing it by its make and inscription,
guessed at the business, and, without further delay, telling the king
of it, brought in the man to be examined. Faustulus, hard beset, did
not show himself altogether proof against terror; nor yet was he wholly
forced out of all; confessed indeed the children were alive, but lived,
he said, as shepherds, a great way from Alba; he himself was going
to carry the trough to Ilia, who had often greatly desired to see
and handle it, for a confirmation of her hopes of her children. As
men generally do who are troubled in mind and act either in fear or
passion, it so fell out Amulius now did; for he sent in haste as a
messenger, a man, otherwise honest, and friendly to Numitor, with
commands to learn from Numitor whether any tidings were come to him
of the children being alive. He, coming and seeing how little Remus
wanted of being received into the arms and embraces of Numitor, both
gave him surer confidence in his hope, and advised them, with all
expedition, to proceed to action; himself too joining and assisting
them, and indeed, had they wished it, the time would not have let
them demur. For Romulus was now come very near, and many of the citizens,
out of fear and hatred of Amulius, were running out to join him; besides,
he brought great forces with him, divided into companies each of an
hundred men, every captain carrying a small bundle of grass and shrubs
tied to a pole. The Latins call such bundles manipuli, and from hence
it is that in their armies they still call their captains manipulares.
Remus rousing the citizens within to revolt, and Romulus making attacks
from without, the tyrant, not knowing either what to do, or what expedient
to think of for his security, in this perplexity and confusion was
taken and put to death. This narrative for the most part given by
Fabius and Diocles of Peparethus, who seem to be the earliest historians
of the foundation of Rome, is suspected by some, because of its dramatic
and fictitious appearance; but it would not wholly be disbelieved,
if men would remember what a poet fortune sometimes shows herself,
and consider that the Roman power would hardly have reached so high
a pitch without a divinely ordered origin, attended with great and
extraordinary circumstances. 

Amulius now being dead and matters quietly disposed, the two brothers
would neither dwell in Alba without governing there, nor take the
government into their own hands during the life of their grandfather.
Having therefore delivered the dominion up into his hands, and paid
their mother befitting honour, they resolved to live by themselves,
and build a city in the same place where they were in their infancy
brought up. This seems the most honourable reason for their departure;
though perhaps it was necessary, having such a body of slaves and
fugitives collected about them, either to come to nothing by dispersing
them, or if not so, then to live with them elsewhere. For that the
inhabitants of Alba did not think fugitives worthy of being received
and incorporated as citizens among them plainly appears from the matter
of the women, an attempt made not wantonly but of necessity, because
they could not get wives by good-will. For they certainly paid unusual
respect and honour to those whom they thus forcibly seized.

Not long after the first foundation of the city, they opened a sanctuary
of refuge for all fugitives, which they called the temple of the god
Asylaeus, where they received and protected all, delivering none back,
neither the servant to his master, the debtor to his creditor, nor
the murderer into the hands of the magistrate, saying it was a privileged
place, and they could so maintain it by an order of the holy oracle;
insomuch that the city grew presently very populous, for they say,
it consisted at first of no more than a thousand houses. But of that

Their minds being full bent upon building, there arose presently a
difference about the place. Romulus chose what was called Roma Quadrata,
or the Square Rome, and would have the city there. Remus laid out
a piece of ground on the Aventine Mount, well fortified by nature,
which was from him called Remonium, but now Rignarium. Concluding
at last to decide the contest by a divination from a flight of birds,
and placing themselves apart at some distance. Remus, they say, saw
six vultures, and Romulus double that number; others say, Remus did
truly see his number, and that Romulus feigned his, but when Remus
came to him, that then he did indeed see twelve. Hence it is that
the Romans, in their divinations from birds, chiefly regard the vulture,
though Herodorus Ponticus relates that Hercules was always very joyful
when a vulture appeared to him upon any action. For it is a creature
the least hurtful of any, pernicious neither to corn, fruit-tree,
nor cattle; it preys only upon carrion, and never kills or hurts any
living thing; and as for birds, it touches not them, though they are
dead, as being of its own species, whereas eagles, owls, and hawks
mangle and kill their own fellow-creatures; yet, as Aeschylus says,-

"What bird is clean that preys on fellow bird?" Besides, all other
birds are, so to say, never out of our eyes; they let themselves be
seen of us continually; but a vulture is a very rare sight, and you
can seldom meet with a man that has seen their young; their rarity
and infrequency has raised a strange opinion in some, that they come
to us from some other world; as soothsayers ascribe a divine origination
to all things not produced either of nature or of themselves.

When Remus knew the cheat, he was much displeased; and as Romulus
was casting up a ditch, where he designed the foundation of the city-wall,
he turned some pieces of the work to ridicule, and obstructed others;
at last, as he was in contempt leaping over it, some say Romulus himself
struck him, others Celer, one of his companions; he fell, however,
and in the scuffle Faustulus also was slain, and Plistinus, who, being
Faustulus's brother, story tells us, helped to bring up Romulus. Celer
upon this fled instantly into Tuscany, and from him the Romans call
all men that are swift of feet Celeres; and because Quintus Metellus,
at his father's funeral, in a few days' time gave the people a show
of gladiators, admiring his expedition in getting it ready, they gave
him the name of Celer. 

Romulus, having buried his brother Remus, together with his two foster-fathers,
on the mount Remonia, set to building his city; and sent for men out
of Tuscany, who directed him by sacred usages and written rules in
all the ceremonies to be observed, as in a religious rite. First,
they dug a round trench about that which is now the Comitium, or Court
of Assembly, and into it solemnly threw the first-fruits of all things
either good by custom or necessary by nature; lastly, every man taking
a small piece of earth of the country from whence he came, they all
threw in promiscuously together. This trench they call, as they do
the heavens, Mundus; making which their centre, they described the
city in a circle round it. Then the founder fitted to a plough a brazen
ploughshare, and, yoking together a bull and a cow, drove himself
a deep line or furrow round the bounds; while the business of those
that followed after was to see that whatever earth was thrown up should
be turned all inwards towards the city; and not to let any clod lie
outside. With this line they described the wall, and called it, by
a contraction, Pomoerium, that is, postmurum, after or beside the
wall; and where they designed to make a gate, there they took out
the share, carried the plough over, and left a space; for which reason
they consider the whole wall as holy, except where the gates are;
for had they adjudged them also sacred, they could not, without offence
to religion, have given free ingress and egress for the necessaries
of human life, some of which are in themselves unclean. 

As for the day they began to build the city, it is universally agreed
to have been the twenty-first of April, and that day the Romans annually
keep holy, calling it their country's birthday. At first, they say,
they sacrificed no living creature on this day, thinking it fit to
preserve the feast of their country's birthday pure and without stain
of blood. Yet before ever the city was built, there was a feast of
herdsmen and shepherds kept on this day, which went by the name of
Palilia. The Roman and Greek months have now little or no agreement;
they say, however, the day on which Romulus began to build was quite
certainly the thirtieth of the month, at which time there was an eclipse
of the sun which they conceived to be that seen by Antimachus, the
Teian poet, in the third year of the sixth Olympiad. In the times
of Varro the philosopher, a man deeply read in Roman history, lived
one Tarrutius, his familiar acquaintance, a good philosopher and mathematician,
and one, too, that out of curiosity had studied the way of drawing
schemes and tables, and was thought to be a proficient in the art;
to him Varro propounded to cast Romulus's nativity, even to the first
day and hour, making his deductions from the several events of the
man's life which he should be informed of, exactly as in working back
a geometrical problem; for it belonged, he said, to the same science
both to foretell a man's life by knowing the time of his birth, and
also to find out his birth by the knowledge of his life. This task
Tarrutius undertook, and first looking into the actions and casualties
of the man, together with the time of his life and manner of his death,
and then comparing all these remarks together, he very confidently
and positively pronounced that Romulus was conceived in his mother's
womb the first year of the second Olympiad, the twenty-third day of
the month the Aegyptians call Choeac, and the third hour after sunset,
at which time there was a total eclipse of the sun; that he was born
the twenty-first day of the month Thoth, about sunrising; and that
the first stone of Rome was laid by him the ninth day of the month
Pharmuthi, between the second and third hour. For the fortunes of
cities as well as of men, they think, have their certain periods of
time prefixed, which may be collected and foreknown from the position
of the stars at their first foundation. But these and the like relations
may perhaps not so much take and delight the reader with their novelty
and curiosity, as offend him by their extravagance. 

The city now being built, Romulus enlisted all that were of age to
bear arms into military companies, each company consisting of three
thousand footmen and three hundred horse. These companies were called
legions, because they were the choicest and most select of the people
for fighting men. The rest of the multitude he called the people;
an hundred of the most eminent he chose for counsellors; these he
styled patricians, and their assembly the senate, which signifies
a council of elders. The patricians, some say, were so called because
they were the fathers of lawful children; others, because they could
give a good account who their own fathers were, which not every one
of the rabble that poured into the city at first could do; others,
from patronage, their word for protection of inferiors, the origin
of which they attribute to Patron, one of those that came over with
Evander, who was a great protector and defender of the weak and needy.
But perhaps the most probable judgment might be, that Romulus, esteeming
it the duty of the chiefest and wealthiest men, with a fatherly care
and concern to look after the meaner, and also encouraging the commonalty
not to dread or be aggrieved at the honours of their superiors, but
to love and respect them, and to think and call them their fathers,
might from hence give them the name of patricians. For at this very
time all foreigners give senators the style of lords; but the Romans,
making use of a more honourable and less invidious name, call them
Patres Conscripti; at first, indeed, simply Patres, but afterwards,
more being added, Patres Conscripti. By this more imposing title he
distinguished the senate from the populace; and in other ways separated
the nobles and the commons, calling them patrons, and these their
clients, by which means he created wonderful love and amity betwixt
them, productive of great justice in their dealings. For they were
always their clients' counsellors in law cases, their advocates in
courts of justice; in fine, their advisers and supporters in all affairs
whatever. These again faithfully served their patrons, not only paying
them all respect and deference, but also, in case of poverty, helping
them to portion their daughters and pay off their debts; and for a
patron to witness against his client, or a client against his patron,
was what no law nor magistrate could enforce. In aftertimes, all other
duties subsisting still between them, it was thought mean and dishonourable
for the better sort to take money from their inferiors. And so much
of these matters. 

In the fourth month, after the city was built, as Fabius writes, the
adventure of stealing the women was attempted and some say Romulus
himself, being naturally a martial man, and predisposed too, perhaps
by certain oracles, to believe the fates had ordained the future growth
and greatness of Rome should depend upon the benefit of war, upon
these accounts first offered violence to the Sabines, since he took
away only thirty virgins, more to give an occasion of war than out
of any want of women. But this is not very probable; it would seem
rather that, observing his city to be filled by a confluence of foreigners,
a few of whom had wives, and that the multitude in general, consisting
of a mixture of mean and obscure men, fell under contempt, and seemed
to be of no long continuance together, and hoping farther, after the
women were appeased, to make this injury in some measure an occasion
of confederacy and mutual commerce with the Sabines, he took in hand
this exploit after this manner. First, he gave it out as if he had
found an altar of a certain god hid under ground; the god they called
Consus, either the god of counsel (for they still call a consultation
consilium, and their chief magistrates consules, namely, counsellors),
or else the equestrian Neptune, for the altar is kept covered in the
Circus Maximus at all other times, and only at horse-races is exposed
to public view; others merely say that this god had his altar hid
under ground because counsel ought to be secret and concealed. Upon
discovery of this altar, Romulus, by proclamation, appointed a day
for a splendid sacrifice, and for public games and shows, to entertain
all sorts of people: many flocked thither, and he himself sat in front,
amidst his nobles clad in purple. Now the signal for their falling
on was to be whenever he rose and gathered up his robe and threw it
over his body; his men stood all ready armed, with their eyes intent
upon him, and when the sign was given, drawing their swords and falling
on with a great shout they ravished away the daughters of the Sabines,
they themselves flying without any let or hindrance. They say there
were but thirty taken, and from them the Curiae or Fraternities were
named; but Valerius Antias says five hundred and twenty-seven, Juba,
six hundred and eighty-three virgins: which was indeed the greatest
excuse Romulus could allege, namely, that they had taken no married
woman, save one only, Hersilia by name, and her too unknowingly; which
showed that they did not commit this rape wantonly, but with a design
purely of forming alliance with their neighbours by the greatest and
surest bonds. This Hersilia some say Hostilius married, a most eminent
man among the Romans; others, Romulus himself, and that she bore two
children to him,- a daughter, by reason of primogeniture called Prima,
and one only son, whom, from the great concourse of citizens to him
at that time, he called Aollius, but after ages Abillius. But Zenodotus
the Troezenian, in giving this account, is contradicted by many.

Among those who committed this rape upon the virgins, there were,
they say, as it so then happened, some of the meaner sort of men,
who were carrying off a damsel, excelling all in beauty and comeliness
and stature, whom when some of superior rank that met them, attempted
to take away, they cried out they were carrying her to Talasius, a
young man, indeed, but brave and worthy; hearing that, they commended
and applauded them loudly, and also some, turning back, accompanied
them with good-will and pleasure, shouting out the name of Talasus.
Hence the Romans to this very time, at their weddings, sing Talasius
for their nuptial word, as the Greeks do Hymenaeus, because they say
Talasius was very happy in his marriage. But Sextius Sylla the Carthaginian,
a man wanting neither learning nor ingenuity, told me Romulus gave
this word as a sign when to begin the onset; everybody, therefore,
who made prize of a maiden, cried out, Talasius; and for that reason
the custom continues so now at marriages. But most are of opinion
(of whom Juba particularly is one) that this word was used to new-married
women by way of incitement to good housewifery and talasia (spinning),
as we say in Greek, Greek words at that time not being as yet overpowered
by Italian. But if this be the case, and if the Romans did at the
time use the word talasia as we do, a man might fancy a more probable
reason of the custom. For when the Sabines, after the war against
the Romans were reconciled, conditions were made concerning their
women, that they should be obliged to do no other servile offices
to their husbands but what concerned spinning; it was customary, therefore,
ever after, at weddings, for those that gave the bride or escorted
her or otherwise were present, sportingly to say Talasius, intimating
that she was henceforth to serve in spinning and no more. It continues
also a custom at this very day for the bride not of herself to pass
her husband's threshold, but to be lifted over, in memory that the
Sabine virgins were carried in by violence, and did not go in of their
own will. Some say, too, the custom of parting the bride's hair with
the head of a spear was in token their marriages began at first by
war and acts of hostility, of which I have spoken more fully in my
book of Questions. 

This rape was committed on the eighteenth day of the month Sextilis,
now called August, on which the solemnities of the Consualia are kept.

The Sabines were a numerous and martial people, but lived in small,
unfortified villages, as it befitted, they thought, a colony of the
Lacedaemonians to be bold and fearless; nevertheless, seeing themselves
bound by such hostages to their good behaviour, and being solicitous
for their daughters, they sent ambassadors to Romulus with fair and
equitable requests, that he would return their young women and recall
that act of violence, and afterwards, by persuasion and lawful means,
seek friendly correspondence between both nations. Romulus would not
part with the young women, yet proposed to the Sabines to enter into
an alliance with them; upon which point some consulted and demurred
long, but Acron, king of the Ceninenses, a man of high spirit and
a good warrior, who had all along a jealousy of Romulus's bold attempts,
and considering particularly, from this exploit upon the women, that
he was growing formidable to all people, and indeed insufferable,
were he not chastised, first rose up in arms, and with a powerful
army advanced against him. Romulus likewise prepared to receive him;
but when they came within sight and viewed each other, they made a
challenge to fight a single duel, the armies standing by under arms,
without participation. And Romulus, making a vow to Jupiter, if he
should conquer, to carry himself, and dedicate his adversary's armour
to his honour, overcame him in combat, and a battle ensuing, routed
his army also, and then took his city; but did those he found in it
no injury, only commanded them to demolish the place and attend him
to Rome, there to be admitted to all the privileges of citizens. And
indeed there was nothing did more advance the greatness of Rome, than
that she did always unite and incorporate those whom she conquered
into herself. Romulus, that he might perform his vow in the most acceptable
manner to Jupiter, and withal make the pomp of it delightful to the
eye of the city, cut down a tall oak which he saw growing in the camp,
which he trimmed to the shape of a trophy, and fastened on it Acron's
whole suit of armour disposed in proper form; then he himself, girding
his clothes about him, and crowning his head with a laurel garland,
his hair gracefully flowing, carried the trophy resting erect upon
his right shoulder, and so marched on, singing songs of triumph, and
his whole army following after, the citizens all receiving him with
acclamations of joy and wonder. The procession of this day was the
origin and model of all after triumphs. This trophy was styled an
offering to Jupiter Feretrius, from ferire, which in Latin is to smite;
for Romulus prayed he might smite and overthrow his enemy; and the
spoils were called opima, or royal spoils, says Varro, from their
richness, which the word opes signifies; though one would more probably
conjecture from opus, an act; for it is only to the general of an
army who with his own hand kills his enemies' general that this honour
is granted of offering the opima spolia. And three only of the Roman
captains have had it conferred on them: first, Romulus, upon killing
Acron the Ceninensian; next, Cornelius Cossus, for slaying Tolumnius
the Tuscan; and lastly, Claudius Marcellus, upon his conquering Viridomarus,
king of the Gauls. The two latter, Cossus and Marcellus, made their
entries in triumphant chariots, bearing their trophies themselves;
but that Romulus made use of a chariot, Dionysius is wrong in asserting.
History says, Tarquinius, Damaratus's son, was the first that brought
triumphs to this great pomp and grandeur; others, that Publicola was
the first that rode in triumph. The statues of Romulus in triumph
are, as may be seen in Rome, all on foot. 

After the overthrow of the Ceninensians, the other Sabines still protracting
the time in preparations, the people of Fidenae, Crustumerium, and
Antemna joined their forces against the Romans; they in like manner
were defeated in battle, and surrendered up to Romulus their cities
to be seized, their lands and territories to be divided, and themselves
to be transplanted to Rome. All the lands which Romulus acquired,
he distributed among the citizens, except only what the parents of
the stolen virgins had; these he suffered to possess their own. The
rest of the Sabines, enraged hereat, choosing Tatius their captain,
marched straight against Rome. The city was almost inaccessible, having
for its fortress that which is now the Capitol, where a strong guard
was placed, and Tarpeius their captain; not Tarpeia the virgin, as
some say who would make Romulus a fool. But Tarpeia, daughter to the
captain, coveting the golden bracelets she saw them wear, betrayed
the fort into the Sabines' hands, and asked, in reward of her treachery,
the things they wore on their left arms. Tatius conditioning thus
with her, in the night she opened one of the gates, and received the
Sabines. And truly Antigonus, it would seem, was not solitary in saying
he loved betrayers, but hated those who had betrayed; nor Caesar,
who told Rhymitalces the Thracian, that he loved the treason, but
hated the traitor; but it is the general feeling of all who have occasion
for wicked men's service, as people have for the poison of venomous
beasts; they are glad of them while they are of use, and abhor their
baseness when it is over. And so then did Tatius behave towards Tarpeia,
for he commanded the Sabines, in regard to their contract, not to
refuse her the least part of what they wore on their left arms; and
he himself first took his bracelet off his arm, and threw that, together
with his buckler, at her; and all the rest following, she, being borne
down and quite buried with the multitude of gold and their shields,
died under the weight and pressure of them; Tarpeius also himself,
being prosecuted by Romulus, was found guilty of treason, as Juba
says Sulpicius Galba relates. Those who write otherwise concerning
Tarpeia, as that she was the daughter of Tatius, the Sabine captain,
and being forcibly detained by Romulus, acted and suffered thus by
her father's contrivance, speak very absurdly, of whom Antigonus is
one. And Simylus, the poet, who thinks Tarpeia betrayed the Capitol,
not to the Sabines, but the Gauls, having fallen in love with their
king, talks mere folly, saying thus:- 

"Tarpeia 'twas, who, dwelling close thereby, 
Laid open Rome unto the enemy, 
She, for the love of the besieging Gaul, 
Betrayed the city's strength, the Capitol." 

And a little after, speaking of her death:- 

"The numerous nations of the Celtic foe 
Bore her not living to the banks of Po; 
Their heavy shields upon the maid they threw, 
And with their splendid gifts entombed at once and slew."

Tarpeia afterwards was buried there, and the hill from her was called
Tarpeius, until the reign of King Tarquin, who dedicated the place
to Jupiter, at which time her bones were removed, and so it lost her
name, except only that part of the Capitol which they still called
the Tarpeian Rock, from which they used to cast down malefactors.

The Sabines being possessed of the hill, Romulus, in great fury, bade
them battle, and Tatius was confident to accept it, perceiving, if
they were overpowered, that they had behind them a secure retreat.
The level in the middle, where they were to join battle, being surrounded
with many little hills seemed to enforce both parties to a sharp and
desperate conflict, by reason of the difficulties of the place, which
had but a few outlets, inconvenient either for refuge or pursuit.
It happened, too, the river having overflowed not many days before,
there was left behind in the plain, where now the forum stands, a
deep blind mud and slime, which, though it did not appear much to
the eye, and was not easily avoided, at bottom was deceitful and dangerous;
upon which the Sabines being unwarily about to enter, met with a piece
of good fortune; for Curtius, a gallant man, eager of honour, and
of aspiring thoughts, being mounted on horseback, was galloping on
before the rest, and mired his horse here, and, endeavouring for a
while, by whip and spur and voice to disentangle him, but finding
it impossible, quitted him and saved himself; the place from him to
this very time is called the Curtian Lake. The Sabines, having avoided
this danger, began the fight very smartly, the fortune of the day
being very dubious, though many were slain; amongst whom was Hostilius,
who, they say, was husband to Hersilia, and grandfather to that Hostilius
who reigned after Numa. There were many other brief conflicts, we
may suppose, but the most memorable was the last, in which Romulus,
having received a wound on his head by a stone, and being almost felled
to the ground by it, and disabled, the Romans gave way, and, being
driven out of the level ground, fled towards the Palatium. Romulus,
by this time recovering from his wound a little, turned about to renew
the battle, and, facing the fliers, with a loud voice encouraged them
to stand and fight. But being overborne with numbers, and nobody daring
to face about, stretching out his hands to heaven, he prayed to Jupiter
to stop the army, and not to neglect, but maintain the Roman cause,
now in extreme danger. The prayer was no sooner made, than shame and
respect for their king checked many; the fears of the fugitives changed
suddenly into confidence. The place they first stood at was where
now is the temple of Jupiter Stator (which may be translated the Stayer);
there they rallied again into ranks and repulsed the Sabines to the
place called now Regia, and to the temple of Vesta; where both parties,
preparing to begin a second battle, were prevented by a spectacle,
strange to behold, and defying description. For the daughters of the
Sabines, who had been carried off, came running, in great confusion,
some on this side, some on that, with miserable cries and lamentations,
like creatures possessed, in the midst of the army and among the dead
bodies, to come at their husbands and their fathers, some with their
young babes in their arms, others their hair loose about their ears,
but all calling, now upon the Sabines, now upon the Romans, in the
most tender and endearing words. Hereupon both melted into compassion,
and fell back, to make room for them betwixt the armies. The sight
of the women carried sorrow and commiseration upon both sides into
the hearts of all, but still more their words, which began with expostulation
and upbraiding, and ended with entreaty and supplication.

"Wherein," say they, "have we injured or offended you, as to deserve
such sufferings past and present? We were ravished away unjustly and
violently by those whose now we are; that being done, we were so long
neglected by our fathers, our brothers and countrymen, that time,
having now by the strictest bonds united us to those we once mortally
hated, has made it impossible for us not to tremble at the danger
and weep at the death of the very men who once used violence to us.
You did not come to vindicate our honour, while we were virgins, against
our assailants; but do come now to force away wives from their husbands
and mothers from their children, a succour more grievous to its wretched
objects than the former betrayal and neglect of them. Which shall
we call the worst, their love-making or your compassion? If you were
making war upon any other occasion, for our sakes you ought to withhold
your hands from those to whom we have made you fathers-in-law and
grandsires. If it be for our own cause, then take us, and with us
your sons-in-law and grandchildren. Restore to us our parents and
kindred, but do not rob us of our children and husbands. Make us not,
we entreat you, twice captives." Hersilia having spoken many such
words as these, and the others earnestly praying, a truce was made,
and the chief officers came to a parley; the women, in the meantime,
brought and presented their husbands and children to their fathers
and brothers; gave those that wanted meat and drink, and carried the
wounded home to be cured, and showed also how much they governed within
doors, and how indulgent their husbands were to them, in demeaning
themselves towards them with all kindness and respect imaginable.
Upon this, conditions were agreed upon, that what women pleased might
stay where they were, exempt, as aforesaid, from all drudgery and
labour but spinning; that the Romans and Sabines should inhabit the
city together; that the city should be called Rome from Romulus; but
the Romans, Quirites, from the country of Tatius; and that they both
should govern and command in common. The place of the ratification
is still called Comitium, from come to meet. 

The city being thus doubled in number, an hundred of the Sabines were
elected senators, and the legions were increased to six thousand foot
and six hundred horse; then they divided the people into three tribes:
the first, from Romulus, named Ramnenses; the second from Tatius,
Tatienses; the third Luceres, from the lucus, or grove, where the
Asylum stood, whither many fled for sanctuary, and were received into
the city. And that they were just three, the very name of tribe and
tribune seems to show; each tribe contained ten curiae, or brotherhoods,
which, some say, took their names from the Sabine women; but that
seems to be false, because many had their names from various places.
Though it is true, they then constituted many things in honour to
the women; as to give them the way wherever they met them; to speak
no ill word in their presence; not to appear naked before them, or
else be liable to prosecution before the judge, of homicide; that
their children should wear an ornament about their necks called the
bulla (because it was like a bubble), and the proetexta, a gown edged
with purple. 

The princes did not immediately join in council together, but at first
each met with his own hundred; afterwards all assembled together.
Tatius dwelt where now the temple of Moneta stands, and Romulus, close
by the steps, as they call them, of the Fair Shore, near the descent
from the Mount Palatine to the Circus Maximus. There, they say, grew
the holy cornel tree, of which they report, that Romulus once, to
try his strength, threw a dart from the Aventine Mount, the staff
of which was made of cornel, which struck so deep into the ground,
that no one of many that tried could pluck it up, and the soil being
fertile, gave nourishment to the wood, which sent forth branches,
and produced a cornel stock of considerable bigness. This did posterity
preserve and worship as one of the most sacred things; and therefore
walled it about; and if to any one it appeared not green nor flourishing,
but inclining to pine and wither, he immediately made outcry to all
he met, and they, like people hearing of a house on fire, with one
accord would cry for water, and run from all parts with buckets full
to the place. But when Caius Caesar, they say, was repairing the steps
about it, some of the labourers digging too close, the roots were
destroyed, and the tree withered. 

The Sabines adopted the Roman months, of which whatever is remarkable
is mentioned in the Life of Numa. Romulus, on the other hand, adopted
their long shields, and changed his own armour and that of all the
Romans, who before wore round targets of the Argive pattern. Feasts
and sacrifices they partook of in common, not abolishing any which
either nation observed before, and instituting several new ones; of
which one was the Matronalia, instituted in honour of the women, for
their extinction of the war; likewise the Carmentalia. This Carmenta
some think a deity presiding over human birth; for which reason she
is much honoured by mothers. Others say she was the wife of Evander,
the Arcadian, being a prophetess, and wont to deliver her oracles
in verse, and from carmen, a verse, was called Carmenta; her proper
name being Nicostrata. Others more probably derive Carmenta from carens
mente, or insane, in allusion to her prophetic frenzies. Of the feast
of Palilia we have spoken before. The Lupercalia, by the time of its
celebration, may seem to be a feast of purification, for it is solemnised
on the dies nefasti, or non-court days, of the month February, which
name signifies purification, and the very day of the feast was anciently
called Februata; but its name is equivalent to the Greek Lycaea; and
it seems thus to be of great antiquity, and brought in by the Arcadians
who came with Evander. Yet this is but dubious, for it may come as
well from the wolf that nursed Romulus; and we see the Luperci, the
priests, begin their course from the place where they say Romulus
was exposed. But the ceremonies performed in it render the origin
of the thing more difficult to be guessed at; for there are goats
killed, then, two young noblemen's sons being brought, some are to
stain their foreheads with the bloody knife, others presently to wipe
it off with wool dipped in milk; then the young boys must laugh after
their foreheads are wiped; that done, having cut the goats' skins
into thongs, they run about naked, only with something about their
middle, lashing all they meet; and the young wives do not avoid their
strokes, fancying they will help conception and childbirth. Another
thing peculiar to this feast is for the Luperci to sacrifice a dog.
But, as a certain poet who wrote fabulous explanations of Roman customs
in elegiac verses, says, that Romulus and Remus, after the conquest
of Amulius, ran joyfully to the place where the wolf gave them suck;
and that, in imitation of that, this feast was held, and two young
noblemen ran- 

"Striking at all, as when from Alba town, 
With sword in hand, the twins came hurrying down;" and that the bloody
knife applied to their foreheads was a sign of the danger and bloodshed
of that day; the cleansing of them in milk, a remembrance of their
food and nourishment. Caius Acilius writes, that, before the city
was built, the cattle of Romulus and Remus one day going astray, they,
praying to the god Faunus, ran out to seek them naked, wishing not
to be troubled with sweat, and that this is why the Luperci run naked.
If the sacrifice be by way of purification, a dog might very well
be sacrificed, for the Greeks, in their illustrations, carry out young
dogs, and frequently use this ceremony of periscylacismus, as they
call it. Or if again it is a sacrifice of gratitude to the wolf that
nourished and preserved Romulus, there is good reason in killing a
dog, as being an enemy to wolves. Unless, indeed, after all, the creature
is punished for hindering the Luperci in their running. 

They say, too, Romulus was the first that consecrated holy fire, and
instituted holy virgins to keep it, called vestals; others ascribe
it to Numa Pompilius; agreeing, however, that Romulus was otherwise
eminently religious, and skilled in divination, and for that reason
carried the lituus, a crooked rod with which soothsayers describe
the quarters of the heavens, when they sit to observe the flights
of birds. This of his, being kept in the Palatium, was lost when the
city was taken by the Gauls; and afterwards, that barbarous people
being driven out, was found in the ruins, under a great heap of ashes,
untouched by the fire, all things about it being consumed and burnt.
He instituted also certain laws, one of which is somewhat severe,
which suffers not a wife to leave her husband, but grants a husband
power to turn off his wife, either upon poisoning her children or
counterfeiting his keys, or for adultery; but if the husband upon
any other occasion put her away, he ordered one moiety of his estate
to be given to the wife, the other to fall to the goddess Ceres; and
whoever cast off his wife, to make an atonement by sacrifice to the
gods of the dead. This, too, is observable as a singular thing in
Romulus, that he appointed no punishment for real parricide, but called
all murder so, thinking the one an accursed thing, but the other a
thing impossible; and, for a long time, his judgment seemed to have
been right; for in almost six hundred years together, nobody committed
the like in Rome; and Lucius Hostius, after the wars of Hannibal,
is recorded to have been the first parricide. Let this much suffice
concerning these matters. 

In the fifth year of the reign of Tatius, some of his friends and
kinsmen, meeting ambassadors coming from Laurentum to Rome, attempted
on the road to take away their money by force, and, upon their resistance,
killed them. So great a villainy having been committed Romulus thought
the malefactors ought at once to be punished, but Tatius shuffled
off and deferred the execution of it; and this one thing was the beginning
of open quarrel betwixt them; in all other respects they were very
careful of their conduct, and administered affairs together with great
unanimity. The relations of the slain, being debarred of lawful satisfaction
by reason of Tatius, fell upon him as he was sacrificing with Romulus
at Lavinium and slew him; but escorted Romulus home, commending and
extolling him for a just prince. Romulus took the body of Tatius,
and buried it very splendidly in the Aventine Mount, near the place
called Armilustrium, but altogether neglected revenging his murder.
Some authors write, that the city of Laurentum, fearing the consequences,
delivered up the murderers of Tatius; but Romulus dismissed them,
saying one murder was requited with another. This gave occasion of
talk and jealousy, as if he were well pleased at the removal of his
co-partner in the government. Nothing of these things, however, raised
any sort of feud or disturbance among the Sabines; but some out of
love to him, others out of fear of his power, some again reverencing
him as a god, they all continued living peacefully in admiration and
awe of him; many foreign nations, too, showed respect to Romulus;
the Ancient Latins sent and entered into league and confederacy with
him. Fidenae he took, a neighbouring city to Rome, by a party of horse,
as some say, whom he sent before with commands to cut down the hinges
of the gates, himself afterwards unexpectedly coming up. Others say,
they having first made the invasion, plundering and ravaging the country
and suburbs, Romulus lay in ambush for them, and having killed many
of their men, took the city; but, nevertheless, did not raze or demolish
it, but made it a Roman colony, and sent thither, on the Ides of April,
two thousand five hundred inhabitants. 

Soon after a plague broke out, causing sudden death without any previous
sickness; it infected also the corn with unfruitfulness, and cattle
with barrenness; there rained blood, too, in the city; so that, to
their actual sufferings, fear of the wrath of the gods was added.
But when the same mischiefs fell upon Laurentum, then everybody judged
it was divine vengeance that fell upon both cities, for the neglect
of executing justice upon the murder of Tatius and the ambassadors.
But the murderers or, both sides being delivered up and punished,
the pestilence visibly abated; and Romulus purified the cities with
lustrations, which, they say, even now, are performed at the wood
called Ferentina. But before the plague ceased, the Camertines invaded
the Romans and overran the country, thinking them, by reason of the
distemper, unable to resist; but Romulus at once made head against
them, and gained the victory, with the slaughter of six thousand men,
then took their city, and brought half of those be found there to
Rome, sending from Rome to Camerium double the number he left there.
This was done on the first of August. So many citizens had he to spare,
in sixteen years' time from his first founding Rome. Among other spoils
he took a brazen four-horse chariot from Camerium, which he placed
in the temple of Vulcan, setting on it his own statue, with a figure
of victory crowning him. 

The Roman cause thus daily gathering strength, their weaker neighbours
shrunk away, and were thankful to be left untouched; but the stronger,
out of fear or envy, thought they ought not to give way to Romulus
but to curb and put a stop to his growing greatness. The first were
the Veientes, a people of Tuscany, who had large possessions, and
dwelt in a spacious city; they took occasion to commence a war, by
claiming Fidenae as belonging to them; a thing not only very unreasonable,
but very ridiculous, that they, who did not assist them in the greatest
extremities, but permitted them to be slain, should challenge their
lands and houses when in the hands of others. But being scornfully
retorted upon by Romulus in his answers, they divided themselves into
two bodies; with one they attacked the garrison of Fidenae, the other
marched against Romulus; that which went against Fidenae got the victory,
and slew two thousand Romans; the other was worsted by Romulus, with
the loss of eight thousand men. A fresh battle was fought near Fidenae,
and here all men acknowledge the day's success to have been chiefly
the work of Romulus himself, who showed the highest skill as well
as courage, and seemed to manifest a strength and swiftness more than
human. But what some write, that of fourteen thousand that fell that
day, above half were slain by Romulus's own hand, verges too near
to fable, and is, indeed, simply incredible; since even the Messenians
are thought to go too far in saying that Aristomenes three times offered
sacrifice for the death of a hundred enemies, Lacedaemonians, slain
by himself. The army being thus routed, Romulus, suffering those that
were left to make their escape, led his forces against the city; they,
having suffered such great losses, did not venture to oppose, but,
humbly suing to him, made a league and friendship for an hundred years;
surrendering also a large district of land called Septempagium, that
is, the seven parts, as also their salt-works upon the river, and
fifty noblemen for hostages. He made his triumph for this on the Ides
of October, leading, among the rest of his many captives, the general
of the Veientes, an elderly man, but who had not, it seemed, acted
with the prudence of age; whence even now, in sacrifices for victories,
they lead an old man through the marketplace to the Capitol, apparelled
in purple, with a bulla, or child's toy, tied to it, and the crier
cries, Sardians to be sold; for the Tuscans are said to be a colony
of the Sardians, and the Veientes are a city of Tuscany.

This was the last battle Romulus ever fought; afterwards he, as most,
nay all men, very few excepted, do, who are raised by great and miraculous
good-haps of fortune to power and greatness, so, I say, did he; relying
upon his own great actions, and growing of an haughtier mind, he forsook
his popular behaviour for kingly arrogance, odious to the people;
to whom in particular the state which he assumed was hateful. For
he dressed in scarlet, with the purple-bordered robe over it; he gave
audience on a couch of state, having always about him some young men
called Celeres, from their swiftness in doing commissions; there went
before him others with staves, to make room, with leather thongs tied
on their bodies, to bind on the moment whoever he commanded. The Latins
formerly used ligare in the same sense as now alligare, to bind, whence
the name lictors, for these officers, and bacula, or staves, for their
rods, because staves were then used. It is probable, however, they
were first called litores, afterwards, by putting in a c, lictores,
or, in Greek, liturgi, or people's officers, for leitos is still Greek
for the commons, and laos for the people in general. 

But when, after the death of his grandfather Numitor in Alba, the
throne devolving upon Romulus, he, to court the people, put the government
into their own hands, and appointed an annual magistrate over the
Albans, this taught the great men of Rome to seek after a free and
anti-monarchical state, wherein all might in turn be subjects and
rulers. For neither were the patricians any longer admitted to state
affairs, only had the name and title left them, convening in council
rather for fashion's sake than advice, where they heard in silence
the king's commands, and so departed, exceeding the commonalty only
in hearing first what was done. These and the like were matters of
small moment; but when he of his own accord parted among his soldiers
what lands were acquired by war, and restored the Veientes their hostages,
the senate neither consenting nor approving of it, then, indeed, he
seemed to put a great affront upon them; so that, on his sudden and
strange disappearance a short while after, the senate fell under suspicion
and calumny. He disappeared on the Nones of July, as they now call
the month which was then Quintilis, leaving nothing of certainty to
be related of his death; only the time, as just mentioned, for on
that day many ceremonies are sill performed in representation of what
happened. Neither is this uncertainty to be thought strange, seeing
the manner of the death of Scipio Africanus, who died at his own home
after supper, has been found capable neither of proof or disproof;
for some say he died a natural death, being of a sickly habit; others
that he poisoned himself; others again, that his enemies, breaking
in upon him in the night stifled him. Yet Scipio's dead body lay open
to be seen of all, and any one, from his own observation, might form
his suspicions and conjectures, whereas Romulus, when he vanished,
left neither the least part of his body, nor any remnant of his clothes
to be seen. So that some fancied the senators, having fallen upon
him in the temple of Vulcan, cut his body into pieces, and took each
a part away in his bosom; others think his disappearance was neither
in the temple of Vulcan, nor with the senators only by, but that it
came to pass that, as he was haranguing the people without the city,
near a place called the Goat's Marsh, on a sudden strange and unaccountable
disorders and alterations took place in the air; the face of the sun
was darkened, and the day turned into night, and that, too, no quiet,
peaceable night, but with terrible thunderings, and boisterous winds
from all quarters; during which the common people dispersed and fled,
but the senators kept close together. The tempest being over and the
light breaking out, when the people gathered again, they missed and
inquired for their king; the senators suffered them not to search,
or busy themselves about the matter, but commanded them to honour
and worship Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to
them, in the place of a good prince, now a propitious god. The multitude,
hearing this, went away believing and rejoicing in hopes of good things
from him; but there were some, who, canvassing the matter in a hostile
temper, accused and aspersed the patricians, as men that persuaded
the people to believe ridiculous tales, when they themselves were
the murderers of the king. 

Things being in this disorder, one, they say, of the patricians, of
noble family and approved good character, and a faithful and familiar
friend of Romulus himself, having come with him from Alba, Julius
Proculus by name, presented himself in the forum; and, taking a most
sacred oath, protested before them all, that, as he was travelling
on the road, he had seen Romulus coming to meet him, looking taller
and comelier than ever, dressed in shining and flaming armour; and
he, being affrighted at the apparition, said, "Why, O king, or for
what purpose have you abandoned us to unjust and wicked surmises,
and the whole city to bereavement and endless sorrow?" and that he
made answer, "It pleased the gods, O Proculus, that we, who came from
them, should remain so long a time amongst men as we did; and, having
built a city to be the greatest in the world for empire and glory,
should again return to heaven. But farewell; and tell the Romans,
that, by the exercise of temperance and fortitude, they shall attain
the height of human power; we will be to you the propitious god Quirinus."
This seemed credible to the Romans, upon the honesty and oath of the
relater, and indeed, too, there mingled with it a certain divine passion,
some preternatural influence similar to possession by a divinity;
nobody contradicted it, but, laying aside all jealousies and detractions,
they prayed to Quirinus and saluted him as a god. 

This is like some of the Greek fables of Aristeas the Proconnesian,
and Cleomedes the Astypalaean; for they say Aristeas died in a fuller's
workshop, and his friends coming to look for him, found his body vanished;
and that some presently after, coming from abroad, said they met him
travelling towards Croton. And that Cleomedes, being an extraordinarily
strong and gigantic man, but also wild and mad, committed many desperate
freaks; and at last, in a school-house, striking a pillar that sustained
the roof with his fist, broke it in the middle, so that the house
fell and destroyed the children in it; and being pursued, he fled
into a great chest, and, shutting to the lid, held it so fast, that
many men, with their united strength, could not force it open; afterwards,
breaking the chest to pieces, they found no man in it alive or dead;
in astonishment at which, they sent to consult the oracle at Delphi;
to whom the prophetess made this answer,- 

"Of all the heroes, Cleomede is last." 

They say, too, the body of Alcmena, as they were carrying her to her
grave, vanished, and a stone was found lying on the bier. And many
such improbabilities do your fabulous writers relate, deifying creatures
naturally mortal; for though altogether to disown a divine nature
in human virtue were impious and base, so again, to mix heaven with
earth is ridiculous. Let us believe with Pindar, that- 

"All human bodies yield to Death's decree, 
The soul survives to all eternity." For that alone is derived from
the gods, thence comes, and thither returns; not with the body, but
when most disengaged and separated from it, and when most entirely
pure and clean and free from the flesh: for the most perfect soul,
says Heraclitus, is a dry light, which flies out of the body as lightning
breaks from a cloud; but that which is clogged and surfeited with
body is like gross and humid incense, slow to kindle and ascend. We
must not, therefore, contrary to nature, send the bodies, too, of
good men to heaven; but we must really believe that, according to
their divine nature and law, their virtue and their souls are translated
out of men into heroes, out of heroes into demi-gods, out of demi-gods,
after passing, as in the rite of initiation, through a final cleansing
and sanctification, and so freeing themselves from all that pertains
to mortality and sense, are thus, not by human decree, but really
and according to right reason, elevated into gods admitted thus to
the greatest and most blessed perfection. 

Romulus's surname Quirinus, some say, is equivalent to Mars; others,
that he was so called because the citizens were called Quirites; others,
because the ancients called a dart or spear Quiris; thus, the statue
of Juno resting on a spear is called Quiritis, and the dart in the
Regia is addressed as Mars, and those that were distinguished in war
were usually presented with a dart; that, therefore, Romulus being
a martial god, or a god of darts, was called Quirinus. A temple is
certainly built to his honour on the mount called from him Quirinalis.

The day he vanished on is called the Flight of the People and the
Nones of the Goats, because they go then out of the city and sacrifice
at the Goat's Marsh, and, as they go, they shout out some of the Roman
names, as Marcus, Lucius, Caius, imitating the way in which they then
fled and called upon one another in that fright and hurry. Some, however,
say this was not in imitation of a flight, but of a quick and hasty
onset, referring it to the following occasion: After the Gauls who
had taken Rome were driven out by Camillus, and the city was scarcely
as yet recovering her strength, many of the Latins, under the command
of Livius Postumius, took this time to march against her. Postumius,
halting not far from Rome, sent a herald, signifying that the Latins
were desirous to renew their former alliance and affinity (that was
now almost decayed) by contracting new marriages between both nations;
if, therefore, they would send forth a good number of their virgins
and widows, they should have peace and friendship, such as the Sabines
had formerly had on the like conditions. The Romans, hearing this,
dreaded a war, yet thought a surrender of their women little better
than mere captivity. Being in this doubt, a servant-maid called Philotis
(or, as some say, Tutola), advised them to do neither, but, by a stratagem,
avoid both fighting and the giving up of such pledges. The stratagem
was this, that they should send herself, with other welllooking servant-maids,
to the enemy, in the dress of free-born virgins, and she should in
the night light up a fire signal, at which the Romans should come
armed and surprise them asleep. The Latins were thus deceived, and
accordingly Philotis set up a torch in a wild fig-tree, screening
it behind with curtains and coverlets from the sight of the enemy,
while visible to the Romans. They, when they saw it, eagerly ran out
of the gates, calling in their haste to each other as they went out,
and so, falling in unexpectedly upon the enemy, they defeated them,
and upon that made a feast of triumph, called the Nones of the Goats,
because of the wild fig-tree, called by the Romans Caprificus, or
the goat-fig. They feast the women without the city in arbours made
of fig-tree boughs, and the maid-servants gather together and run
about playing; afterwards they fight in sport, and throw stones one
at another, in memory that they then aided and assisted the Roman
men in fight. This only a few authors admit for true; for the calling
upon one another's names by day and the going out to the Goat's Marsh
to do sacrifice seem to agree more with the former story, unless,
indeed, we shall say that both the actions might have happened on
the same day in different years. It was in the fifty-fourth year of
his age and the thirty-eighth of his reign that Romulus, they tell
us, left the world. 



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Translation of "The Deeds of the Divine Augustus" by Augustus is
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