Page images


The two brothers did not wish to live at Alba, but loved rather the hill on the banks of the Tiber, where they had been brought up. So they said that they would build a city there, and they inquired of the gods by augury, to know which of them should give his name to the city. So they watched the heavens, and as the sun was rising, Remus saw six vultures. This was told to Romulus, but as they were telling him, behold there appeared to him twelve vultures. Then it was Hisputed again which had seen the truest sign of the god's favor; but the most part gave their voices for Romulus. So he began to build his city on the Palatine Hill. This made Remus very angry, and when he saw the ditch and rampart he scornfully leaped over them, saying, “Shall such de

“ fences as these keep your city ?" Then Celer, who had charge of the building, struck Remus and slew him ; and they buried him on the hill Remuria by

1 ; the banks of the Tiber.




Being now in possession of the Capitoline, the Sabines next tried to storm the town. The Romans had made a fruitless attempt to recover their citadel and now prepared to meet the Sabines in the valley between the Palatine and the Capitoline. They were on the point of being defeated, when Romulus vowed a temple to Juppiter Stator, and thus encouraged his men to maintain the contest. The fight continued for a long time with varying success, till at length the Sabine women, anxious to effect a reconciliation between their husbands and fathers, rushed between the combatants and brought about a peace. Its terms were that henceforth the two nations should be inseparably united in one State under the name of Romans and Quirites; each, however, was to continue distinct and under its own king, while all temples and religious rites were to be common to both. This was the first step to the increase of Rome's extent and power.

[blocks in formation]

There goes a story about Numa Pompilius, that he once invited a great number of citizens to an entertainment, at which the dishes in which the meal was served were very homely and plain, and the repast itself poor and ordinary fare. The guests seated, he began to tell them that the goddess that consulted with him was then at that time come to him; when on a sudden the room was furnished with all sorts of costly drinking-vessels and the tables loaded with rich meats and a most sumptuous entertainment. They say also that before Mount Aventine was inhabited or enclosed within the walls of the city, two demi-gods, Picus and Faunus, frequented the springs and thick shades of that place. Numa contrived one day to surprise them by mixing wine and honey in the waters of the spring of which they usually drank. On finding themselves ensnared, they changed themselves into every kind of unusual and hideous appearance; but when they saw there was no possibility of getting free, they revealed to him many secrets and future events.



When the two armies were drawn up ready to fight, Mettus proposed that the quarrel should be decided by the combat of champions chosen from each army, and Tullus agreed to the proposal. Now it chanced that there were three brothers in each army equal in age, strength, and valor; Horatii was the name of the three Roman brothers, Curiatii of the Alban. These were chosen to be the champions, and an agreement was made that victory should be adjudged to that people whose champions should conquer in the strife. Long and bravely fought the champions. At length all the Curiatii were grievously wounded; but of the Horatii two lay dead upon the plain, while the third was yet untouched. So the surviving Horatius, seeing that single-handed he could not prevail, pretended to flee before his opponents. They pursued him, each as he was able, and when they were far separate from one another Horatius turned about and smote the first pursuer; so likewise the second, and lastly the third. Then the Romans were adjudged victorious.



[ocr errors]

At the time when Ancus Marcius was king, there lived in the town of Tarquinii in the land of the Etruscans a rich and intelligent man called Lucumo, the son of Demaratus a noble of the race of the Bacchiads of Corinth, who had been driven by the tyrant Kypselos out of his native town and had fled to Etruria. Now. because Lucumo was the son of a stranger, the people of Tarquinii despised' him. His wife Tanaquil therefore advised him to emigrate to Rome, where strangers were kindly received. Now when he had come to the hill of Janiculum near the town, an eagle shot down from the air and took his hat from his head and flew away with it; and after he had wheeled about for a time over the carriage in which Lucumo and his wife sat, he flew down again and replaced the hat on his head. Then Tanaquil, who was familiar with heavenly signs, knew that her husband was destined to attain high honors in Rome.

« PreviousContinue »