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660

ROMULUS.

that of Romulus and Titus Tatius, may have arisen simply from the circumstance of there being two magistrates at the head of the state in later times. Romulus now found his people too few in num­bers. He therefore set apart, on the Capitoline hill, an asylum, or a sanctuary, in which homicides and runaway slaves might take refuge. The city thus became filled with men, but they wanted women. Romulus, therefore, tried to form trea­ties with the neighbouring tribes, in order to obtain connubium^ or the right of legal marriage with their citizens ; but his offers were treated with disdain, and he accordingly resolved to obtain by force what he could not gain by entreaty. In the fourth month after the foundation of the city, he proclaimed that games were to be celebrated in honour of the god Consus, and invited his neigh­bours, the Latins and Sabines, to the festival. Suspecting no treachery, they came in numbers, with their wives and children. But the Roman youths rushed upon their guests, and carried off the virgins. The old legend related that thirty Sabine virgins were thus seized, and became the wives of their ravishers ; but the smallness of the number seemed so incredible to a later age, which looked upon the legend as a genuine history, that it was increased to some hundreds by such writers as Va­lerius Antias and Juba (Plut. Rom. 14 ; comp. Liv. i. 13). The parents of the virgins returned home and prepared for vengeance. The inhabitants of three of the Latin towns, Caenina, Antemnae, and Crustumerium, took up arms one after the other, and were successively defeated by the Romans. Romulus slew with his own hand Acron, king of Caenina, and dedicated his arms and ar­mour, as spolia opima, to Jupiter. At last the Sabine king, Titus Tatius, advanced with a pow­erful army, against Rome. His forces were so great that Romulus, unable to resist him in the field, was obliged to retire into the city. He had previously fortified and garrisoned the top of the Saturnian hill, afterwards called the Capitoline, which was divided from the city on the Palatine, by a swampy valley, the site of the forum. But Tarpeia, the daughter of the commander of the fortress, dazzled by the golden bracelets of the Sa­bines, promised to betray the hill to them, if they would give her the ornaments which they wore on their left arms. Her offer was accepted ; in the night time she opened a gate and let in the enemy ; but when she claimed her reward, they threw upon her the shields which they carried on their left arms, and thus crushed her to death. Her tomb was shown on the hill in later times, and her memory was preserved by the name of the Tar-peian rock, from which traitors were afterwards hurled down. On the next day the Romans en­deavoured to recover the hill. A long and despe­rate battle was fought in the valley between the Palatine and the Capitoline. At one time the Romans were driven before the enemy, and the day seemed utterly lost, when Romulus vowed a temple to Jupiter Stator, the Stayer of Flight; whereupon the Romans took courage, and returned again to the combat. At length, when both parties -were exhausted with the struggle, the Sabine women rushed in between them, and prayed their husbands and fathers to be reconciled. Their prayer was heard ; the two people not only made peace, but agreed to form only one nation. The Romans continued to dwell on the Palatine under

ROMULUS.

their king Romulus ; the Sabines built a new town on the Capitoline and Quirinal hills, where they lived under their king Titus Tatius. The t\vo; kings and their senates met for deliberation in the valley between the Palatine and Capitoline hills, which was hence called comitium, or the place of meeting. But this union did not last long. Titus Tatius was slain at a festival at Lavinium, by some Laurentines to whom he had refused satisfaction for outrages which had been committed by his kinsmen. Henceforward Romulus ruled alone over both Romans and Sabines ; but, as he neg­lected to pursue the murderers, both his people and those of Laurentum were visited by a pestilence, which did not cease until the murderers on both sides were given up.

After the death of Tatius the old legend appears to have passed on at once to the departure of Ro­mulus from the world. Of the long period which intervened few particulars are recorded, and these Niebuhr supposes, with some justice, to be the in­ventions of a later age. Romulus is said to have attacked Fidenae, and to have taken the city ; and likewise to have carried on a successful war against the powerful city of Veii, which purchased a truce of a hundred years, on a surrender of a third of its territory. At length, after a reign of thirty-seven years, when the city had become strong and power-iful, and Romulus had performed all his mortal works, the hour of his departure arrived. One day as he was reviewing his people in the Campus Martius, near the Goat's Pool, the sun was sud­denly eclipsed, darkness overspread the earth, and a dreadful storm dispersed the people. When daylight returned, Romulus had disappeared, for his father Mars had carried him up to heaven in a fiery chariot (" Quirinus Martis equis Acheronta fugit," Hor. Carm. iii. 3 ; "Rex patriis astra pete-bat equis," Ov. Fast. ii. 496). The people mourned for their beloved king ; but their mourning gave way to religious reverence, when he appeared again in more than mortal beauty to Proculus Julius, and bade him tell the Romans that they should become the lords of the world, and that he would watch over them as their guardian god Qui­rinus. The Romans therefore worshipped him under this name. The festival of the Quirinalia was celebrated in his honour on the 17th of Fe­bruary ; but the Nones of Quintilis, or the seventh of July, was the day on which, according to tra­dition, he departed from the earth.

Such was the glorified end of Romulus in the genuine legend. But as it staggered the faith of a later age, a tale was invented to account for his mysterious disappearance. It was related that the senators, discontented with the tyrannical rule of their king, murdered him during the gloom of a tempest, cut up his body, and carried home the mangled pieces under their robes. But the forgers of this tale forgot that Romulus is nowhere repre­sented in the ancient legend as a tyrant, but as a mild and merciful monarch, whose rule became still more gentle after the death of Tatius, whom it branded as a tyrant.

The genuine features of the old legend about Romulus may still be seen in the accounts of Livy (i. 3—16), Dioiiysius (i. 76—ii. 56), and Plu­tarch (RomuQ, notwithstanding the numerous falsifications and interpolations by which it is ob­scured, especially in the two latter writers. It is given in its most perfect form in the Roman His-

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