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Title: Romulus - Makers of History
Author: Abbott, Jacob, 1803-1879
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Romulus - Makers of History" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

 Makers of History







 Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by


 in the Clerk's Office for the Southern District of New York.


[Illustration: THE HARPIES.]


In writing the series of historical narratives to which the present
work pertains, it has been the object of the author to furnish to the
reading community of this country an accurate and faithful account of
the lives and actions of the several personages that are made
successively the subjects of the volumes, following precisely the
story which has come down to us from ancient times. The writer has
spared no pains to gain access in all cases to the original sources of
information, and has confined himself strictly to them. The reader
may, therefore, feel assured in perusing any one of these works, that
the interest of it is in no degree indebted to the invention of the
author. No incident, however trivial, is ever added to the original
account, nor are any words even, in any case, attributed to a speaker
without express authority. Whatever of interest, therefore, these
stories may possess, is due solely to the facts themselves which are
recorded in them, and to their being brought together in a plain,
simple, and connected narrative.


 CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

    I. CADMUS                                                13

   II. CADMUS'S LETTERS                                      36

  III. THE STORY OF ÆNEAS                                    59

   IV. THE DESTRUCTION OF TROY                               79

    V. THE FLIGHT OF ÆNEAS                                  103

   VI. THE LANDING IN LATIUM                                131

  VII. RHEA SILVIA                                          155

 VIII. THE TWINS                                            179

   IX. THE FOUNDING OF ROME                                 202

    X. ORGANIZATION                                         225

   XI. WIVES                                                248

  XII. THE SABINE WAR                                       270

 XIII. THE CONCLUSION                                       295



 THE HARPIES                                    _Frontispiece._

 JUPITER AND EUROPA                                          28

 MAP--JOURNEYINGS OF CADMUS                                  30

 SYMBOLICAL WRITING                                          37

 SYMBOLICAL AND PHONETIC WRITING                             44

 HIEROGLYPHICS                                               56

 MAP--ORIGIN OF VENUS                                        61

 ÆNEAS DEFENDING THE BODY OF PANDARUS                        68

 THE TORTOISE                                                98

 HELEN                                                      105

 MAP--WANDERINGS OF ÆNEAS                                   119

 MAP--LATIUM                                                134

 SILVIA'S STAG                                              145

 RHEA SILVIA                                                180

 FAUSTULUS AND THE TWINS                                    184

 SITUATION OF ROME                                          209

 PROMISING THE BRACELETS                                    284

 THE DEATH OF ROMULUS                                       305




B.C. 1500

Different kinds of greatness.--Founders of cities.--Rome.--Interest
in respect to its origin.--The story of Æneas.--The Mediterranean
sea.--Italy and Greece in ancient times, and now.--Ancient
chieftains.--Their modes of life.--Religious ideas of the ancient
Greeks and Romans.--Ancient studies of nature.--Purpose of
them.--History.--Ancient poems and tales.--How far founded
in fact.--Cadmus.--Interest felt in respect to the
origin of writing.--True story of Cadmus.--His father
Agenor.--Europa.--Telephassa.--The pursuit of Europa.--Fruitless
result.--Cadmus settles in Greece.--Thebes.--Arts introduced by
him.--The ancient legend of Cadmus.--Jupiter.--Adventures of
Jupiter.--His love for Europa.--His elopement.--Jupiter and Europa
in Crete.--The expedition of Cadmus.--His various wanderings.--Death
of Telephassa.--Visit to the oracle at Delphi.--The directions of
the racle.--Cadmus finds his guide.--The place for his city
determined.--The fountain of Dirce.--The dragon's teeth.--Thebes
built.--Cadmia.--Ancient ideas of probability.--Belief in supernatural
tales.--Final recording of the ancient tales.

Some men are renowned in history on account of the extraordinary
powers and capacities which they exhibited in the course of their
career, or the intrinsic greatness of the deeds which they performed.
Others, without having really achieved any thing in itself very great
or wonderful, have become widely known to mankind by reason of the
vast consequences which, in the subsequent course of events, resulted
from their doings. Men of this latter class are conspicuous rather
than great. From among thousands of other men equally exalted in
character with themselves, they are brought out prominently to the
notice of mankind only in consequence of the strong light reflected,
by great events subsequently occurring, back upon the position where
they happened to stand.

The celebrity of Romulus seems to be of this latter kind. He founded a
city. A thousand other men have founded cities; and in doing their
work have evinced perhaps as much courage, sagacity, and mental power
as Romulus displayed. The city of Romulus, however, became in the end
the queen and mistress of the world. It rose to so exalted a position
of influence and power, and retained its ascendency so long, that now
for twenty centuries every civilized nation in the western world have
felt a strong interest in every thing pertaining to its history, and
have been accustomed to look back with special curiosity to the
circumstances of its origin. In consequence of this it has happened
that though Romulus, in his actual day, performed no very great
exploits, and enjoyed no pre-eminence above the thousand other
half-savage chieftains of his class, whose names have been long
forgotten, and very probably while he lived never dreamed of any
extended fame, yet so brilliant is the illumination which the
subsequent events of history have shed upon his position and his
doings, that his name and the incidents of his life have been brought
out very conspicuously to view, and attract very strongly the
attention of mankind.

       *       *       *       *       *

The history of Rome is usually made to begin with the story of Æneas.
In order that the reader may understand in what light that romantic
tale is to be regarded, it is necessary to premise some statements in
respect to the general condition of society in ancient days, and to
the nature of the strange narrations, circulated in those early
periods among mankind, out of which in later ages, when the art of
writing came to be introduced, learned men compiled and recorded what
they termed history.

The countries which formed the shores of the Mediterranean sea were as
verdant and beautiful, in those ancient days, and perhaps as fruitful
and as densely populated as in modern times. The same Italy and Greece
were there then as now. There were the same blue and beautiful seas,
the same mountains, the same picturesque and enchanting shores, the
same smiling valleys, and the same serene and genial sky. The level
lands were tilled industriously by a rural population corresponding
in all essential points of character with the peasantry of modern
times; and shepherds and herdsmen, then as now, hunted the wild
beasts, and watched their flocks and herds on the declivities of the
mountains. In a word, the appearance of the face of nature, and the
performance of the great function of the social state, namely, the
procuring of food and clothing for man by the artificial cultivation
of animal and vegetable life, were substantially the same on the
shores of the Mediterranean two thousand years ago as now. Even the
plants and the animals themselves which the ancient inhabitants
reared, have undergone no essential change. Their sheep and oxen and
horses were the same as ours. So were their grapes, their apples, and
their corn.

If, however, we leave the humbler classes and occupations of society,
and turn our attention to those which represent the refinement, the
cultivation, and the power, of the two respective periods, we shall
find that almost all analogy fails. There was an aristocracy then as
now, ruling over the widely extended communities of peaceful
agriculturalists and herdsmen, but the members of it were entirely
different in their character, their tastes, their ideas, and their
occupations from the classes which exercise the prerogatives of
government in Europe in modern times. The nobles then were military
chieftains, living in camps or in walled cities, which they built for
the accommodation of themselves and their followers. These chieftains
were not barbarians. They were in a certain sense cultivated and
refined. They gathered around them in their camps and in their courts
orators, poets, statesmen, and officers of every grade, who seem to
have possessed the same energy, genius, taste, and in some respects
the same scientific skill, which have in all ages and in every clime
characterized the upper classes of the Caucasian race. They carried
all the arts which were necessary for their purposes and plans to high
perfection, and in the invention of tales, ballads and poems, to be
recited at their entertainments and feasts, they evinced the most
admirable taste and skill;--a taste and skill which, as they resulted
not from the operation and influence of artificial rules, but from the
unerring instinct of genius, have never been surpassed. In fact, the
poetical inventions of those early days, far from having been
produced in conformity with rules, were entirely precedent to rules,
in the order of time. Rules were formed from them; for they at length
became established themselves in the estimation of mankind, as models,
and on their authority as models, the whole theory of rhetorical and
poetical beauty now mainly reposes.

The people of those days formed no idea of a spiritual world, or of a
spiritual divinity. They however imagined, that heroes of former days
still continued to live and to reign in certain semi-heavenly regions
among the summits of their blue and beautiful mountains, and that they
were invested there with attributes in some respects divine. In
addition to these divinities, the fertile fancy of those ancient times
filled the earth, the air, the sea, and the sky with imaginary beings,
all most graceful and beautiful in their forms, and poetical in their
functions,--and made them the subjects, too, of innumerable legends
and tales, as graceful, poetical, and beautiful as themselves. Every
grove, and fountain, and river,--every lofty summit among the
mountains, and every rock and promontory along the shores of the
sea,--every cave, every valley, every water-fall, had its imaginary
occupant,--the genius of the spot; so that every natural object which
attracted public notice at all, was the subject of some picturesque
and romantic story. In a word, nature was not explored then as now,
for the purpose of ascertaining and recording cold and scientific
realities,--but to be admired, and embellished, and animated;--and to
be peopled, everywhere, with exquisitely beautiful, though imaginary
and supernatural, life and action.

What the genius of imagination and romance did thus in ancient times
with the scenery of nature, it did also on the field of history. Men
explored that field not at all to learn sober and actual realities,
but to find something that they might embellish and adorn, and animate
with supernatural and marvelous life. What the sober realities might
have actually been, was of no interest or moment to them whatever.
There were no scholars then as now, living in the midst of libraries,
and finding constant employment, and a never-ending pleasure, in
researches for the simple investigation of the truth. There was in
fact no retirement, no seclusion, no study. Every thing except what
related to the mere daily toil of tilling the ground bore direct
relation to military expeditions, spectacles and parades; and the only
field for the exercise of that kind of intellectual ability which is
employed in modern times in investigating and recording historic
truth, was the invention and recitation of poems, dramas and tales, to
amuse great military audiences in camps or public gatherings, convened
to witness shows or games, or to celebrate great religious festivals.
Of course under such circumstances there would be no interest felt in
truth as truth. Romance and fable would be far more serviceable for
such ends than reality.

Still it is obvious that such tales as were invented to amuse for the
purposes we have described, would have a deeper interest for those who
listened to them, if founded in some measure upon fact, and connected
in respect to the scene of their occurrence, with real localities. A
prince and his court sitting at their tables in the palace or the
tent, at the close of a feast, would listen with greater interest to a
story that purported to be an account of the deeds and the marvelous
adventures of their own ancestors, than to one that was wholly and
avowedly imaginary. The inventors of these tales would of course
generally choose such subjects, and their narrations would generally
consist therefore rather of embellishments of actual transactions,
than of inventions wholly original. Their heroes were consequently
real men; the principal actions ascribed to them were real actions,
and the places referred to were real localities. Thus there was a
semblance of truth and reality in all these tales which added greatly
to the interest of them; while there were no means of ascertaining the
real truth, and thus spoiling the story by making the falsehood or
improbability of it evident and glaring.

We cannot well have a better illustration of these principles than is
afforded by the story of Cadmus, an adventurer who was said to have
brought the knowledge of alphabetic writing into Greece from some
countries farther eastward. In modern times there is a very strong
interest felt in ascertaining the exact truth on this subject. The art
of writing with alphabetic characters was so great an invention, and
it has exerted so vast an influence on the condition and progress of
mankind since it was introduced, that a very strong interest is now
felt in every thing that can be ascertained as actually fact, in
respect to its origin. If it were possible now to determine under what
circumstances the method of representing the elements of sound by
written characters was first devised, to discover who it was that
first conceived the idea, and what led him to make the attempt, what
difficulties he encountered, to what purposes he first applied his
invention, and to what results it led, the whole world would take a
very strong interest in the revelation. The essential point, however,
to be observed, is that it is the _real truth_ in respect to the
subject that the world are now interested in knowing. Were a romance
writer to invent a tale in respect to the origin of writing, however
ingenious and entertaining it might be in its details, it would excite
in the learned world at the present day no interest whatever.

There is in fact no account at present existing in respect to the
actual origin of alphabetic characters, though there is an account of
the circumstances under which the art was brought into Europe from
Asia, where it seems to have been originally invented. We will give
the facts, first in their simple form, and then the narrative in the
form in which it was related in ancient times, as embellished by the
ancient story-tellers.

The facts then, as now generally understood and believed, are, that
there was a certain king in some country in Africa, named Agenor, who
lived about 1500 years before Christ. He had a daughter named Europa,
and several sons. Among his sons was one named Cadmus. Europa was a
beautiful girl, and after a time a wandering adventurer from some part
of the northern shores of the Mediterranean sea, came into Africa, and
was so much pleased with her that he resolved if possible, to obtain
her for his wife. He did not dare to make proposals openly, and he
accordingly disguised himself and mingled with the servants upon
Agenor's farm. In this disguise he succeeded in making acquaintance
with Europa, and finally persuaded her to elope with him. The pair
accordingly fled, and crossing the Mediterranean they went to Crete,
an island near the northern shores of the sea, and there they lived

The father, when he found that his daughter had deceived him and gone
away, was very indignant, and sent Cadmus and his brothers in pursuit
of her. The mother of Europa, whose name was Telephassa, though less
indignant perhaps than the father, was overwhelmed with grief at the
loss of her child, and determined to accompany her sons in the search.
She accordingly took leave of her husband and of her native land, and
set out with Cadmus and her other sons on the long journey in search
of her lost child. Agenor charged his sons never to come home again
unless they brought Europa with them.

Cadmus, with his mother and brothers, traveled slowly toward the
northward, along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean sea,
inquiring everywhere for the fugitive. They passed through Syria and
Phenicia, into Asia Minor, and from Asia Minor into Greece. At length
Telephassa, worn down, perhaps, by fatigue, disappointment, and grief,
died. Cadmus and his brothers soon after became discouraged; and at
last, weary with their wanderings, and prevented by their father's
injunction from returning without Europa, they determined to settle in
Greece. In attempting to establish themselves there, however, they
became involved in various conflicts, first with wild beasts, and
afterward with men, the natives of the land, who seemed to spring up,
as it were, from the ground, to oppose them. They contrived, however,
at length, by fomenting quarrels among their enemies, and taking sides
with one party against the rest, to get a permanent footing in Greece,
and Cadmus finally founded a city there, which he called Thebes.

In establishing the institutions and government of Thebes, and in
arranging the organization of the people into a social state, Cadmus
introduced among them several arts, which, in that part of the
country, had been before unknown. One of these arts was the use of
copper, which metal he taught his new subjects to procure from the ore
obtained in mines. There were several others; but the most important
of all was that he taught them sixteen letters representing elementary
vocal sounds, by means of which inscriptions of words could be carved
upon monuments, or upon tablets of metal or of stone.

It is not supposed that the idea of representing the elements of vocal
sounds by characters _originated_ with Cadmus, or that he invented the
characters himself. He brought them with him undoubtedly, but whether
from Egypt or Phenicia, can not now be known.

Such are the facts of the case, as now generally understood and
believed. Let us now compare this simple narration with the romantic
tale which the early story-tellers made from it. The legend, as they
relate it, is as follows.

Jupiter was a prince born and bred among the summits of Mount Ida, in
Crete. His father's name was Saturn. Saturn had made an agreement that
he would cause all his sons to be slain, as soon as they were born.
This was to appease his brother, who was his rival, and who consented
that Saturn should continue to reign only on that condition.

Jupiter's mother, however, was very unwilling that her boys should be
thus cruelly put to death, and she contrived to conceal three of them,
and save them. The three thus preserved were brought up among the
solitudes of the mountains, watched and attended by nymphs, and nursed
by a goat. After they grew up, they engaged from time to time in
various wars, and met with various wonderful adventures, until at
length Jupiter, the oldest of them, succeeded, by means of
thunderbolts which he caused to be forged for his use, in vast
subterranean caverns beneath Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius, conquered
all his enemies, and became universal king. He, however, divided his
empire between himself and his brothers, giving to them respectively
the command of the sea and of the subterranean regions, while he
reserved the earth and the heavenly regions for himself.

[Illustration: JUPITER AND EUROPA.]

He established his usual abode among the mountains of Northern Greece,
but he often made excursions to and fro upon the earth, appearing in
various disguises, and meeting with a great number of strange and
marvelous adventures. In the course of these wanderings he found his
way at one time into Egypt, and to the dominions of Agenor,--and there
he saw Agenor's beautiful daughter, Europa. He immediately determined
to make her his bride; and to secure this object he assumed the form
of a very finely shaped and beautiful bull, and in this guise joined
himself to Agenor's herds of cattle. Europa soon saw him there. She
was much pleased with the beauty of his form, and finding him gentle
and kind in disposition, she approached him, patted his glossy neck
and sides, and in other similar ways gratified the prince by marks of
her admiration and pleasure. She was at length induced by some secret
and magical influence which the prince exerted over her, to mount upon
his back, and allow herself to be borne away. The bull ran with his
burden to the shore, and plunged into the waves. He swam across the
sea to Crete,[A] and there, resuming his proper form, he made the
princess his bride.

[Footnote A: See Map, p. 30.]

Agenor and Telephassa, when they found that their daughter was gone,
were in great distress, and Agenor immediately determined to send his
sons on an expedition in pursuit of her. The names of his sons were
Cadmus, Phoenix, Cylix, Thasus, and Phineus. Cadmus, as the oldest
son, was to be the director of the expedition. Telephassa, the mother,
resolved to accompany them, so overwhelmed was she with affliction at
the loss of her daughter. Agenor himself was almost equally oppressed
with the calamity which had over whelmed them, and he charged his sons
never to come home again until they could bring Europa with them.

Telephassa and her sons wandered for a time in the countries east of
the Mediterranean sea, without being able to obtain any tidings of the
fugitive. At length they passed into Asia Minor, and from Asia Minor
into Thrace, a country lying north of the Egean Sea. Finding no traces
of their sister in any of these countries, the sons of Agenor became
discouraged, and resolved to make no farther search; and Telephassa,
exhausted with anxiety and fatigue, and now overwhelmed with the
thought that all hope must be finally abandoned, sank down and died.


Cadmus and his brothers were much affected at their mother's death.
They made arrangements for her burial, in a manner befitting her high
rank and station, and when the funeral solemnities had been performed,
Cadmus repaired to the oracle at Delphi, which was situated in the
northern part of Greece, not very far from Thrace, in order that he
might inquire there whether there was any thing more that he could do
to recover his lost sister, and if so to learn what course he was to
pursue. The oracle replied to him that he must search for his sister
no more, but instead of it turn his attention wholly to the work of
establishing a home and a kingdom for himself, in Greece. To this end
he was to travel on in a direction indicated, until he met with a cow
of a certain kind, described by the oracle, and then to follow the cow
wherever she might lead the way, until at length, becoming fatigued,
she should stop and lie down. Upon the spot where the cow should lie
down he was to build a city and make it his capital.

Cadmus obeyed these directions of the oracle. He left Delphi and went
on, attended, as he had been in all his wanderings, by a troop of
companions and followers, until at length in the herds of one of the
people of the country, named Pelagon, he found a cow answering to the
description of the oracle. Taking this cow for his guide, he followed
wherever she led the way. She conducted him toward the southward and
eastward for thirty or forty miles, and at length wearied apparently,
by her long journey, she lay down. Cadmus knew immediately that this
was the spot where his city was to stand.

He began immediately to make arrangements for the building of the
city, but he determined first to offer the cow that had been his
divinely appointed guide to the spot, as a sacrifice to Minerva, whom
he always considered as his guardian goddess.

Near the spot where the cow lay down there was a small stream which
issued from a fountain not far distant, called the fountain of Dirce.
Cadmus sent some of his men to the place to obtain some water which it
was necessary to use in the ceremonies of the sacrifice. It happened,
however, that this fountain was a sacred one, having been consecrated
to Mars,--and there was a great dragon, a son of Mars, stationed there
to guard it. The men whom Cadmus sent did not return, and accordingly
Cadmus himself, after waiting a suitable time, proceeded to the spot
to ascertain the cause of the delay. He found that the dragon had
killed his men, and at the time when he arrived at the spot, the
monster was greedily devouring the bodies. Cadmus immediately
attacked the dragon and slew him, and then tore his teeth out of his
head, as trophies of his victory. Minerva had assisted Cadmus in this
combat, and when it was ended she directed him to plant the teeth of
the dragon in the ground. Cadmus did so, and immediately a host of
armed men sprung up from the place where he had planted them. Cadmus
threw a stone among these armed men, when they immediately began to
contend together in a desperate conflict, until at length all but five
of them were slain. These five then joined themselves to Cadmus, and
helped him to build his city.

He went on very successfully after this. The city which he built was
Thebes, which afterward became greatly celebrated. The citadel which
he erected within, he called, from his own name, Cadmia.

Such were the legends which were related in ancient poems and tales;
and it is obvious that such narratives must have been composed to
entertain groups of listeners whose main desire was to be excited and
amused, and not to be instructed. The stories were believed, no doubt,
and the faith which the hearer felt in their truth added of course
very greatly to the interest which they awakened in his mind. The
stories are _amusing_ to us; but it is impossible for us to share in
the deep and solemn emotion with which the ancient audiences listened
to them, for we have not the power, as they had, of believing them.
Such tales related in respect to the great actors on the stage in
modern times, would awaken no interest, for there is too general a
diffusion both of historical and philosophical knowledge to render it
possible for any one to suppose them to be true. But those for whom
the story of Europa was invented, had no means of knowing how wide the
Mediterranean sea might be, and whether a bull might not swim across
it. They did not know but that Mars might have a dragon for a son, and
that the teeth of such a dragon might not, when sown in the ground,
spring up in the form of a troop of armed men. They listened therefore
to the tale with an interest all the more earnest and solemn on
account of the marvelousness of the recital. They repeated it word for
word to one another, around their camp-fires, at their feasts, in
their journeyings,--and when watching their flocks at midnight, among
the solitudes of the mountains. Thus the tales were handed down from
generation to generation, until at length the use of the letters of
Cadmus became so far facilitated, that continuous narrations could be
expressed by means of them; and then they were put permanently upon
record in many forms, and were thus transmitted without any farther
change to the present age.



B.C. 1500

Two modes of writing.--Symbols.--Example.--Symbol of the Deity.--Ancient
symbols.--The Egyptian hieroglyphics phonetic.--Natural
symbols.--Mexican record.--Arbitrary symbols.--Advantages of the
symbolical mode of writing.--The meaning of them more easily
understood.--Comparison of the two systems.--Further comparison of the
two systems.--Two modes of representing the idea of a battle.--Great
advantages of the phonetic mode of writing.--Uncertainty of the origin
of phonetic writing.--Cadmus's alphabet.--Difficulties attending the
introduction of it.--Different modes of writing.--The art of writing at
first very little used.--Proofs of this.--Story of the lots.--Other
instances.--The invention of papyrus.--Mode of manufacturing
papyrus.--Volumes.--Mode of using ancient books.--Ink.--Ink found at
Herculaneum.--Recent discoveries in respect to the Egyptian
hieroglyphics.--Specimen of Egyptian hieroglyphics.--Explanation of
the figures.--Moses in Egypt.--Importance of the art of writing.

There are two modes essentially distinct from each other, by which
ideas may be communicated through the medium of inscriptions addressed
to the eye. These two modes are, first, by _symbolical_, and secondly,
by _phonetic_ characters. Each of these two systems assumes, in fact,
within itself, quite a variety of distinct forms, though it is only
the general characteristics which distinguish the two great classes
from each other, that we shall have occasion particularly to notice


Symbolical writing consists of characters intended severally to denote
_ideas_ or _things_, and not words. A good example of true symbolical
writing is to be found in a certain figure often employed among the
architectural decorations of churches, as an emblem of the Deity. It
consists of a triangle representing the Trinity with the figure of an
eye in the middle of it. The eye is intended to denote the divine
omniscience. Such a character as this, is obviously the symbol of an
idea, not the representative of a word. It may be read Jehovah, or
God, or the Deity, or by any other word or phrase by which men are
accustomed to denote the Supreme Being. It represents, in fine, the
idea, and not any particular word by which the idea is expressed.

The first attempts of men to preserve records of facts by means of
inscriptions, have, in all ages, and among all nations, been of this
character. At first, the inscriptions so made were strictly pictures,
in which the whole scene intended to be commemorated was represented,
in rude carvings. In process of time substitutions and abridgments
were adopted in lieu of full representations, and these grew at length
into a system of hieroglyphical characters, some natural, and others
more or less arbitrary, but all denoting _ideas_ or _things_, and not
the sounds of words. These characters are of the kind usually
understood by the word hieroglyphics; though that word can not now
with strict accuracy be applied as a distinctive appellation, since it
has been ascertained in modern times that a large portion of the
Egyptian hieroglyphics are of such a nature as brings them within the
second of the two classes which we are here describing, that is, the
several delineations represent the sounds and syllables of words,
instead of being symbols of ideas or things.

It happened that in some cases in this species of writing, as used in
ancient times, the characters which were employed presented in their
form some natural resemblance to the thing signified, and in other
cases they were wholly arbitrary. Thus, the figure of a scepter
denoted a king, that of a lion, strength; and two warriors, one with a
shield, and the other advancing toward the first with a bow and arrow,
represented a battle. We use in fact a symbol similar to the
last-mentioned one at the present day, upon maps, where we often see a
character formed by two swords crossed, employed to represent a

The ancient Mexicans had a mode of writing which seems to have been
symbolical in its character, and their characters had, many of them
at least, a natural signification. The different cities and towns were
represented by drawings of such simple objects as were characteristic
of them respectively; as a plant, a tree, an article of manufacture,
or any other object by which the place in question was most easily and
naturally to be distinguished from other places. In one of their
inscriptions, for example, there was a character representing a king,
and before it four heads. Each of the heads was accompanied by the
symbol of the capital of a province, as above described. The meaning
of the whole inscription was that in a certain tumult or insurrection
the king caused the governors of the four cities to be beheaded.

But though, in this symbolical mode of writing, a great many ideas and
events could be represented thus, by means of signs or symbols having
a greater or less resemblance to the thing signified, yet in many
cases the characters used were wholly arbitrary. They were in this
respect like the character which we use to denote _dollars_, as a
prefix to a number expressing money; for this character is a sort of
symbol, that is, it represents a thing rather than a word. Our
numerals, too, 1, 2, 3, &c., are in some respects of the character of
symbols. That is, they stand directly for the numbers themselves, and
not for the sounds of the words by which the numbers are expressed.
Hence, although the people of different European nations understand
them all alike, they read them, in words, very differently. The
Englishman reads them by one set of words, the Spaniard by another,
and the German and the Italian by others still.

The symbolical mode of writing possesses some advantages which must
not be overlooked. It speaks directly to the eye, and is more full of
meaning than the Phonetic method, though the meaning is necessarily
more vague and indistinct, in some respects, while it is less so in
others. For example, in an advertising newspaper, the simple figure of
a house, or of a ship, or of a locomotive engine, at the head of an
advertisement, is a sort of hieroglyphic, which says much more plainly
and distinctly, and in much shorter time, than any combination of
letters could do, that what follows it is an advertisement relating to
a house, or a vessel, or a railroad. In the same manner, the ancient
representations on monuments and columns would communicate, perhaps
more rapidly and readily to the passer-by, an idea of the battles, the
sieges, the marches, and the other great exploits of the monarchs
whose history they were intended to record, than an inscription in
words would have done.

Another advantage of the symbolical representations as used in ancient
times, was that their meaning could be more readily explained, and
would be more easily remembered, and so explained again, than written
words. To learn to read literal writing in any language, is a work of
very great labor. It is, in fact, generally found that it must be
commenced early in life, or it can not be accomplished at all. An
inscription, therefore, in words, on a Mexican monument, that a
certain king suppressed an insurrection, and beheaded the governors of
four of his provinces, would be wholly blind and unintelligible to the
mass of the population of such a country; and if the learned sculptor
who inscribed it, were to attempt to explain it to them, letter by
letter, they would forget the beginning of the lesson before reaching
the end of it,--and could never be expected to attempt extending the
knowledge by making known the interpretation which they had received
to others in their turn. But the royal scepter, with the four heads
before it, each of the heads accompanied by the appropriate symbol of
the city to which the possessor of it belonged, formed a symbolical
congeries which expressed its meaning at once, and very plainly, to
the eye. The most ignorant and uncultivated could readily understand
it. Once understanding it, too, they could never easily forget it; and
they could, without any difficulty, explain it fully to others as
ignorant and uncultivated as themselves.

It might seem, at first view, that a symbolical mode of writing must
be more simple in its character than the system now in use, inasmuch
as by that plan each idea or object would be expressed by one
character alone, whereas, by our mode of writing, several characters,
sometimes as many as eight or ten, are required to express a word,
which word, after all, represents only one single object or idea. But
notwithstanding this apparent simplicity, the system of symbolical
writing proved to be, when extensively employed, extremely complicated
and intricate. It is true that each idea required but one character,
but the number of ideas and objects, and of words expressive of their
relations to one another, is so vast, that the system of representing
them by independent symbols, soon lost itself in an endless intricacy
of detail. Then, besides,--notwithstanding what has been said of
the facility with which symbolical inscriptions could be
interpreted,--they were, after all, extremely difficult to be
understood without interpretation. An inscription once explained, the
explanation was easily understood and remembered; but it was very
difficult to understand one intended to express any new communication.
The system was, therefore, well adapted to commemorate what was
already known, but was of little service as a mode of communicating
knowledge anew.


We come now to consider the second grand class of written characters,
namely, the _phonetic_, the class which Cadmus introduced into Greece,
and the one almost universally adopted among all the European nations
at the present day. It is called Phonetic, from a Greek word denoting
_sound_, because the characters which are used do not denote directly
the thing itself which is signified, but the sounds made in speaking
the word which signifies it. Take, for instance, the two modes of
representing a conflict between two contending armies, one by the
symbolic delineation of two swords crossed, and the other by the
phonetic delineation of the letters of the word battle. They are both
inscriptions. The beginning of the first represents the handle of the
sword, a part, as it were, of the thing signified. The beginning of
the second, the letter _b_, represents the pressing of the lips
together, by which we commence pronouncing the word. Thus the one mode
is _symbolical_, and the other _phonetic_.

On considering the two methods, as exemplified in this simple
instance, we shall observe that what has already been pointed out as
characteristic of the two modes is here seen to be true. The idea is
conveyed in the symbolical mode by one character, while by the
phonetic it requires no less than six. This seems at first view to
indicate a great advantage possessed by the symbolical system. But on
reflection this advantage is found entirely to disappear. For the
symbolical character, though it is only one, will answer for only the
single idea which it denotes. Neither itself nor any of its elements
will aid us in forming a symbol for any other idea; and as the ideas,
objects, and relations which it is necessary to be able to express, in
order to make free and full communications in any language, are from
fifty to a hundred thousand,--the step which we have taken, though
very simple in itself, is the beginning of a course which must lead to
the most endless intricacy and complication. Whereas in the six
phonetic characters of the word battle, we have elements which can be
used again and again, in the expression of thousands of other ideas.
In fact, as the phonetic characters which are found necessary in most
languages are only about twenty-four, we have in that single word
accomplished one quarter of the whole task, so far as the delineation
of characters is concerned, that is necessary for expressing by
writing any possible combination of ideas which human language can

At what time and in what manner the transition was made among the
ancient nations from the symbolic to the phonetic mode of writing, is
not now known. When in the flourishing periods of the Grecian and
Roman states, learned men explored the literary records of the various
nations of the East, writings were found in all, which were expressed
in phonetic characters, and the alphabets of these characters were
found to be so analogous to each other, in the names and order, and in
some respects in the forms, of the letters, as to indicate strongly
something like community of origin. All the attempts, however, which
have been made to ascertain the origin of the system, have wholly
failed, and no account of them goes farther back than to the time when
Cadmus brought them from Phenicia or Egypt into Greece.

The letters which Cadmus brought were in number sixteen. The following
table presents a view of his alphabet, presenting in the several
columns, the letters themselves as subsequently written in Greece, the
Greek names given to them, and their power as represented by the
letters now in use. The forms, it will be seen, have been but little

 Greek letters.    Greek names.    English representatives.

       Α              Alpha                 A
       B              Beta                  B
       Γ              Gamma                 G
       Δ              Delta                 D
       Ε              Epsilon               E
       Ι              Iota                  I
       Κ              Kappa                 K
       Λ              Lamda                 L
       Μ              Mu                    M
       Ν              Nu                    N
       Ο              Omicron               O
       Π              Pi                    P
       Ρ              Rho                   R
       Σ              Sigma                 S
       Τ              Tau                   T
       Υ              Upsilon               U

The phonetic alphabet of Cadmus, though so vastly superior to any
system of symbolical hieroglyphics, for all purposes where any thing
like verbal accuracy was desired, was still very slow in coming into
general use. It was of course, at first, very difficult to write it,
and very difficult to read it when written. There was a very great
practical obstacle, too, in the way of its general introduction, in
the want of any suitable materials for writing. To cut letters with a
chisel and a mallet upon a surface of marble is a very slow and
toilsome process. To diminish this labor the ancients contrived tables
of brass, copper, lead, and sometimes of wood, and cut the
inscriptions upon them by the use of various tools and implements.
Still it is obvious, that by such methods as these the art of writing
could only be used to an extremely limited extent, such as for brief
inscriptions in registers and upon monuments, where a very few words
would express all that it was necessary to record.

In process of time, however, the plan of _painting_ the letters by
means of a black dye upon a smooth surface, was introduced. The
surface employed to receive these inscriptions was, at first, the skin
of some animal prepared for this purpose, and the dye used for ink,
was a colored liquid obtained from a certain fish. This method of
writing, though in some respects more convenient than the others, was
still slow, and the materials were expensive; and it was a long time
before the new art was employed for any thing like continuous
composition. Cadmus is supposed to have come into Greece about the
year 1550 before Christ; and it was not until about 650 before
Christ,--that is, nearly nine hundred years later, that the art of
writing was resorted to in Greece to record laws.

The evidences that writing was very little used in any way during this
long period of nine hundred years, are furnished in various allusions
contained in poems and narratives that were composed during those
times, and committed to writing afterward. In the poems of Homer, for
instance, there is no allusion, from the beginning to the end, to any
monument or tomb containing any inscription whatever; although many
occasions occur in which such inscriptions would have been made, if
the events described were real, and the art of writing had been
generally known, or would have been imagined to be made, if the
narratives were invented. In one case a ship-master takes a cargo on
board, and he is represented as having to remember all the articles,
instead of making a record of them. Another case still more striking
is adduced. In the course of the contest around the walls of Troy, the
Grecian leaders are described at one time as drawing lots to determine
which of them should fight a certain Trojan champion. The lots were
prepared, being made of some substance that could be marked, and when
ready, were distributed to the several leaders. Each one of the
leaders then marked his lot in some way, taking care to remember what
character he had made upon it. The lots were then all put into a
helmet, and the helmet was given to a herald, who was to shake it
about in such a manner, if possible, as to throw out one of the lots
and leave the others in. The leader whose lot it was that should be
thus shaken out, was to be considered as the one designated by the
decision, to fight the Trojan champion.

Now, in executing this plan, the herald, when he had shaken out a lot,
and had taken it up from the ground, is represented, in the narrative,
as not knowing whose it was, and as carrying it around, accordingly,
to all the different leaders, to find the one who could recognize it
as his own. A certain chief named Ajax recognized it, and in this way
he was designated for the combat. Now it is supposed, that if these
men had been able to write, that they would have inscribed their own
names upon the lots, instead of marking them with unmeaning
characters. And even if they were not practiced writers themselves
some secretary or scribe would have been called upon to act for them
on such an occasion as this, if the art of writing had been at that
time so generally known as to be customarily employed on public
occasions. From these and similar indications which are found, on a
careful examination, in the Homeric poems, learned men have concluded
that they were composed and repeated orally, at a period of the world
when the art of writing was very little known, and that they were
handed down from generation to generation, through the memory of those
who repeated them, until at last the art of writing became established
among mankind, when they were at length put permanently upon record.

It seems that writing was not much employed for any of the ordinary
and private purposes of life by the people of Greece until the article
called _papyrus_ was introduced among them. This took place about the
year 600 before Christ, when laws began first to be written. Papyrus,
like the art of writing upon it, came originally from Egypt. It was
obtained from a tree which it seems grew only in that country. The
tree flourished in the low lands along the margin of the Nile. It
grew to the height of about ten feet. The paper obtained from it was
formed from a sort of inner bark, which consisted of thin sheets or
pellicles growing around the wood. The paper was manufactured in the
following manner. A sheet of the thin bark as taken from the tree, was
laid flat upon a board, and then a cross layer was laid over it, the
materials having been previously moistened with water made slightly
glutinous. The sheet thus formed was pressed and dried in the sun. The
placing of two layers of the bark in this manner across each other was
intended to strengthen the texture of the sheet, for the fibers, it
was found, were very easily separated and torn so long as they lay
wholly in one direction. The sheet when dry was finished by smoothing
the surface, and prepared to receive inscriptions made by means of a
pen fashioned from a reed or a quill.

In forming the papyrus into books it was customary to use a long sheet
or web of it, and roll it upon a stick, as is the custom in respect to
maps at the present day. The writing was in columns, each of which
formed a sort of page, the reader holding the ends of the roll in his
two hands, and reading at the part which was open between them. Of
course, as he advanced, he continually unrolled on one side, and
rolled up upon the other. Rolls of parchment were often made in the
same manner.

The term _volume_ used in respect to modern books, had its origin in
this ancient practice of writing upon long rolls. The modern practice
is certainly much to be preferred, though the ancient one was far less
inconvenient than might at first be supposed. The long sheet was
rolled upon a wooden billet, which gave to the volume a certain
firmness and solidity, and afforded it great protection. The ends of
this roller projected beyond the edges of the sheet, and were
terminated in knobs or bosses, which guarded in some measure the edges
of the papyrus or of the parchment. The whole volume was also inclosed
in a parchment case, on the outside of which the title of the work was
conspicuously recorded. Many of these ancient rolls have been found at

For ink, various colored liquids were used, generally black, but
sometimes red and sometimes green. The black ink was sometimes
manufactured from a species of lampblack or ivory black, such as is
often used in modern times for painting. Some specimens of the
inkstands which were used in ancient times have been found at
Herculaneum, and one of them contained ink, which though too thick to
flow readily from the pen, it was still possible to write with. It was
of about the consistence of oil.

These rolls of papyrus and parchment, however, were only used for
important writings which it was intended permanently to preserve. For
ordinary occasions tablets of wax and other similar materials were
used, upon which the writer traced the characters with the point of a
steel instrument called a _style_. The head of the style was smooth
and rounded, so that any words which the writer wished to erase might
be obliterated by smoothing over again, with it, the wax on which they
had been written.

Such is a brief history of the rise and progress of the art of writing
in the States of Greece. Whether the phonetic principle which Cadmus
introduced was brought originally from Egypt, or from the countries on
the eastern shore of the Mediterranean sea, can not now be
ascertained. It has generally been supposed among mankind, at least
until within a recent period, that the art of phonetic writing did
not originate in Egypt, for the inscriptions on all the ancient
monuments in that country are of such a character that it has always
been supposed that they were symbolical characters altogether, and
that no traces of any phonetic writing existed in that land. Within
the present century, however, the discovery has been made that a large
portion of these hieroglyphics are phonetic in their character; and
that the learned world in attempting for so many centuries, in vain,
to affix symbolical meanings to them, had been altogether upon the
wrong track. The delineations, though they consist almost wholly of
the forms of plants and animals, and of other natural and artificial
objects, are not symbolical representations of ideas, but letters,
representing sounds and words. They are thus precisely similar, in
principle, to the letters of Cadmus, though wholly different from them
in form.


To enable the reader to obtain a clearer idea of the nature of this
discovery, we give on the adjoining page some specimens of Egyptian
inscriptions found in various parts of the country, and which are
interpreted to express the name Cleopatra, a very common name for
princesses of the royal line in Egypt during the dynasty of the
Ptolemy's. We mark the various figures forming the inscription, with
the letters which modern interpreters have assigned to them. It will
be seen that they all spell, rudely indeed, but yet tolerably
distinctly, the name CLEOPATRA.

By a careful examination of these specimens, it will be seen that the
order of placing the letters, if such hieroglyphical characters can be
so called, is not regular, and the letter _a_, which is denoted by a
bird in some of the specimens, is represented differently in others.
There are also two characters at the close of each inscription which
are not represented by any letter, the one being of the form of an
egg, and the other a semicircle. These last are supposed to denote the
sex of the sovereign whose name they are connected with, as they are
found in many cases in inscriptions commemorative of princesses and
queens. They are accordingly specimens of _symbolic_ characters, while
all the others in the name are phonetic.

It seems therefore not improbable that the principle of forming a
written language by means of characters representing the sounds of
which the words of the spoken language are composed, was of Egyptian
origin; and that it was carried in very early times to the countries
on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean sea, and there improved upon
by the adoption of a class of characters more simple than the
hieroglyphics of Egypt, and of a form more convenient for a regular
linear arrangement in writing. Moses, who spent his early life in
Egypt, and who was said to be learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians, may have acquired the art of writing there.

However this may be, and whatever may be the uncertainty which hangs
over the early history of this art, one thing is certain, and that is,
that the discovery of the art of writing, including that of printing,
which is only the consummation and perfection of it,--the art by which
man can record language, and give life and power to the record to
speak to the eye permanently and forever--to go to every nation--to
address itself simultaneously to millions of minds, and to endure
through all time, is by far the greatest discovery, in respect to the
enlargement which it makes of human powers, that has ever been made.



B.C. 1200

Story of Æneas remained long unwritten.--Mother of Æneas.--Her
origin.--Early history of Venus.--Her magical powers.--Her children
Eros and Anteros.--She goes to Olympus.--Aphrodite's love for
Anchises.--The golden apple.--The award of Paris.--Venus's residence
at Mt. Ida.--Aphrodite's assumed character.--She leaves
Anchises.--Childhood of Æneas.--The Trojan war.--Achilles.--Æneas
engages in the war.--Story of Pandarus.--Æneas rescued by his
mother.--Her magic vail.--Venus is wounded.--Iris conveys her
away.--Single combat between Æneas and Achilles.--The charmed life
of Achilles.--His shield.--The meeting of Æneas and Achilles on the
field.--The harangues of the combatants.--The battle begun.--Narrow
escape.--Sudden termination of the combat.--The tales of the Æneid.

Besides the intrinsic interest and importance of the facts stated in
the last chapter, to the student of history, there was a special
reason for calling the attention of the reader to them here, that he
might know in what light the story of the destruction of Troy, and of
the wanderings of Æneas, the great ancestor of Romulus, which we now
proceed to relate, is properly to be regarded. The events connected
with the destruction of Troy took place, if they ever occurred at all,
about the year _twelve hundred_ before Christ. Homer is supposed to
have lived and composed his poems about the year nine hundred; and the
art of writing is thought to have been first employed for the purpose
of recording continuous compositions, about the year six hundred. The
story of Æneas then, so far as it has any claims to historical truth,
is a tale which was handed down by oral tradition, among story-tellers
for three hundred years, and then was clothed in verse, and handed
down in that form orally by the memory of the reciters of it, in
generations successive for three hundred years more, before it was
recorded; and during the whole period of this transmission, the
interest felt in it was not the desire for ascertaining and
communicating historic truth, but simply for entertaining companies of
listeners with the details of a romantic story. The story, therefore,
can not be relied upon as historically true; but it is no less
important on that account, that all well-informed persons should know
what it is.

The mother of Æneas (as the story goes), was a celebrated goddess. Her
name was Aphrodite;[B] though among the Romans she afterward received
the name of Venus. Aphrodite was not born of a mother, like ordinary
mortals, but sprang mysteriously and supernaturally from a foam which
gathered on a certain occasion upon the surface of the sea. At the
commencement of her existence she crept out upon the shores of an
island that was near,--the island of Cythera,--which lies south of the

[Footnote B: Pronounced in four syllables, Aph-ro-di-te.]

[Illustration: ORIGIN OF VENUS.]

She was the goddess of love, of beauty, and of fruitfulness; and so
extraordinary were the magical powers which were inherent from the
beginning, in her very nature, that as she walked along upon the sands
of the shore, when she first emerged from the sea, plants and flowers
of the richest verdure and beauty sprang up at her feet wherever she
stepped. She was, besides, in her own person, inexpressibly beautiful;
and in addition to the natural influence of her charms, she was endued
with the supernatural power of inspiring the sentiment of love in all
who beheld her.

From Cythera the goddess made her way over by sea to Cyprus, where she
remained for some time, amid the gorgeous and magnificent scenery of
that enchanting island. Here she had two children, beautiful boys.
Their names were Eros and Anteros. Each of these children remained
perpetually a child, and Eros, in later times called Cupid, became the
god of "love bestowed," while Anteros was the God of "love returned."
After this the mother and the boys roamed about the world,--now in the
heavenly regions above, and now among mortals on the plains and in the
valleys below: they sometimes appeared openly, in their true forms,
sometimes they assumed disguises, and sometimes they were wholly
invisible; but whether seen or unseen, they were always busy in
performing their functions--the mother inspiring everywhere, in the
minds both of gods and men, the tenderest sentiments of beauty and
desire,--while Eros awakened love in the heart of one person for
another, and Anteros made it his duty to tease and punish those who
thus became objects of affection, if they did not return the love.

After some time, Aphrodite and her boys found their way to the
heavenly regions of Mount Olympus, where the great divinities
resided,[C] and there they soon produced great trouble, by enkindling
the flames of love in the hearts of the divinities themselves, causing
them, by her magic power, to fall in love not only with one another,
but also with mortal men and women on the earth below. In retaliation
upon Aphrodite for this mischief, Jupiter, by his supreme power,
inspired Aphrodite herself with a sentiment of love. The object of her
affection was Anchises, a handsome youth, of the royal family of Troy,
who lived among the mountains of Ida, not far from the city.

[Footnote C: See Map, page 61.]

The way in which it happened that the affection of Aphrodite turned
toward an inhabitant of Mount Ida was this. There had been at one time
a marriage among the divinities, and a certain goddess who had not
been invited to the wedding, conceived the design of avenging herself
for the neglect, by provoking a quarrel among those who were there.
She, accordingly, caused a beautiful golden apple to be made, with an
inscription marked upon it, "FOR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL." This apple she
threw in among the guests assembled at the wedding. The goddesses all
claimed the prize, and a very earnest dispute arose among them in
respect to it. Jupiter sent the several claimants, under the charge
of a special messenger, to Mount Ida, to a handsome and accomplished
young shepherd there, named Paris--who was, in fact, a prince in
disguise--that they might exhibit themselves to him, and submit the
question of the right to the apple to his award. The contending
goddesses appeared accordingly before Paris, and each attempted to
bribe him to decide in her favor, by offering him some peculiar and
tempting reward. Paris gave the apple to Aphrodite, and she was so
pleased with the result, that she took Paris under her special
protection, and made the solitudes of Mount Ida one of her favorite

Here she saw and became acquainted with Anchises, who was, as has
already been said, a noble, or prince, by descent, though he had for
some time been dwelling away from the city, and among the mountains,
rearing flocks and herds. Here Aphrodite saw him, and when Jupiter
inspired her with a sudden susceptibility to the power of love, the
shepherd Anchises was the object toward which her affections turned.
She accordingly went to Mount Ida, and giving herself up to him, she
lived with him for some time among the mountains as his bride. Æneas
was their son.

Aphrodite did not, however, appear to Anchises in her true character,
but assumed, instead, the form and the disguise of a Phrygian
princess. Phrygia was a kingdom of Asia Minor, not very far from Troy.
She continued this disguise as long as she remained with Anchises at
Mount Ida; at length, however, she concluded to leave him, and to
return to Olympus, and at her parting she made herself known. She,
however, charged Anchises never to reveal to any person who she was,
declaring that Æneas, whom she was going to leave with his father when
she went away, would be destroyed by a stroke of lightning from
heaven, if the real truth in respect to his mother were ever revealed.

When Aphrodite had gone, Anchises, having now no longer any one at
home to attend to the rearing of the child, send him to Dardanus, a
city to the northward of Troy, where he was brought up in the house of
his sister, the daughter of Anchises, who was married and settled
there. His having a sister old enough to be married, would seem to
show that youth was not one of the attractions of Anchises in
Aphrodite's eyes. Æneas remained with his sister until he was old
enough to be of service in the care of flocks and herds, and then
returned again to his former residence among the pasturages of the
mountains. His mother, though she had left him, did not forget her
child; but watched over him continually, and interposed directly to
aid or to protect him, whenever her aid was required by the occurrence
of any emergency of difficulty or danger.


At length the Trojan war broke out. For a time, however, Æneas took no
part in it. He was jealous of the attentions which Priam, the king of
Troy, paid to other young men, and fancied that he himself was
overlooked and that the services that he might render were
undervalued. He remained, therefore, at his home among the mountains,
occupying himself with his flocks and herds; and he might, perhaps,
have continued in these peaceful avocations to the end of the war, had
it not been that Achilles, one of the most formidable of the Grecian
leaders, in one of his forays in the country around Troy, in search of
provisions, came upon Æneas's territory, and attacked him while
tending his flocks upon the mountain side. Achilles seized the
flocks and herds, and drove Æneas and his fellow-herdsmen away. They
would, in fact, all have been killed, had not Aphrodite interposed to
protect her son and save his life.

The loss of his flocks and herds, and the injury which he himself had
received, aroused Æneas's indignation and anger against the Greeks. He
immediately raised an armed force of Dardanians, and thenceforth took
an active part in the war. He became one of the most distinguished
among the combatants, for his prowess and his bravery; and being
always assisted by his mother in his conflicts, and rescued by her
when in danger, he performed prodigies of strength and valor.

At one time he pressed forward into the thickest of the battle to
rescue a Trojan leader named Pandarus, who was beset by his foes and
brought into very imminent danger. Æneas did not succeed in saving his
friend. Pandarus was killed. Æneas, however, flew to the spot, and by
means of the most extraordinary feats of strength and valor he drove
the Greeks away from the body. They attacked it on every side, but
Æneas, wheeling around it, and fighting now on this side and now on
that, drove them all away. They retired to a little distance and then
began to throw in a shower of spears and darts and arrows upon him.
Æneas defended himself and the body of his friend from these missiles
for a time, with his shield. At length, however, he was struck in the
thigh with a ponderous stone which one of the Greek warriors hurled at
him,--a stone so heavy that two men of ordinary strength would have
been required to lift it. Æneas was felled to the ground by the blow.
He sank down, resting upon his arm, faint and dizzy, and being thus
made helpless would have immediately been overpowered and killed by
his assailants had not his mother interposed. She came immediately to
rescue him. She spread her vail over him, which had the magic power of
rendering harmless all blows which were aimed at what was covered by
it, and then taking him up in her arms she bore him off through the
midst of his enemies unharmed. The swords, spears, and javelins which
were aimed at him were rendered powerless by the magic vail.

Aphrodite, however, flying thus with her wounded son, mother-like,
left herself exposed in her anxiety to protect him. Diomedes, the
chief of the pursuers, following headlong on, aimed a lance at Venus
herself. The lance struck Venus in the hand, and inflicted a very
severe and painful wound. It did not, however, stop her flight. She
pressed swiftly on, while Diomedes, satisfied with his revenge, gave
up the pursuit, but called out to Aphrodite as she disappeared from
view, bidding her learn from the lesson which he had given her that it
would be best for her thenceforth to remain in her own appropriate
sphere, and not come down to the earth and interfere in the contests
of mortal men.

Aphrodite, after conveying Æneas to a place of safety, fled, herself,
faint and bleeding, to the mountains, where, after ascending to the
region of mists and clouds, Iris, the beautiful goddess of the
rainbow, came to her aid. Iris found her faint and pale from the loss
of blood; she did all in her power to soothe and comfort the wounded
goddess, and then led her farther still among the mountains to a place
where they found Mars, the god of war, standing with his chariot. Mars
was Aphrodite's brother. He took compassion upon his sister in her
distress, and lent Iris his chariot and horses, to convey Aphrodite
home. Aphrodite ascended into the chariot, and Iris took the reins;
and thus they rode through the air to the mountains of Olympus. Here
the gods and goddesses of heaven gathered around their unhappy sister,
bound up her wound, and expressed great sympathy for her in her
sufferings, uttering at the same time many piteous complaints against
the merciless violence and inhumanity of men. Such is the ancient tale
of Æneas and his mother.

At a later period in the history of the war, Æneas had a grand combat
with Achilles, who was the most terrible of all the Grecian warriors,
and was regarded as the grand champion of their cause. The two armies
were drawn up in battle array. A vast open space was left between them
on the open plain. Into this space the two combatants advanced, Æneas
on the one side and Achilles on the other, in full view of all the
troops, and of the throngs of spectators assembled to witness the

A very strong and an universal interest was felt in the approaching
combat. Æneas, besides the prodigious strength and bravery for which
he was renowned, was to be divinely aided, it was known, by the
protection of his mother, who was always at hand to guide and support
him in the conflict, and to succor him in danger. Achilles, on the
other hand, possessed a charmed life. He had been dipped by his mother
Thetis, when an infant, in the river Styx, to render him invulnerable
and immortal; and the immersion produced the effect intended in
respect to all those parts of the body which the water laved. As, how
ever, Thetis held the child by the ankles when she plunged him in, the
ankles remained unaffected by the magic influence of the water. All
the other parts of the body were rendered incapable of receiving a

Achilles had a very beautiful and costly shield which his mother had
caused to be made for him. It was formed of five plates of metal. The
outermost plates on each side were of brass; in the centre was a plate
of gold; and between the central plate of gold and the outer ones of
brass were two other plates, one on each side, made of some third
metal. The workmanship of this shield was of the most elaborate and
beautiful character. The mother of Achilles had given this weapon to
her son when he left home to join the Greeks in the Trojan war, not
trusting entirely it seems to his magical invulnerability.

The armies looked on with great interest as these two champions
advanced to meet each other, while all the gods and goddesses surveyed
the scene with almost equal interest, from their abodes above. Some
joined Venus in the sympathy which she felt for her son, while others
espoused the cause of Achilles. When the two combatants had approached
each other, they paused before commencing the conflict, as is usual in
such cases, and surveyed each other with looks of anger and defiance.
At length Achilles spoke. He began to upbraid Æneas for his
infatuation and folly in engaging in the war, and especially for
coming forward to put his life at hazard by encountering such a
champion as was now before him. "What can you gain," said he, "even if
you conquer in this warfare? You can never be king, even if you
succeed in saving the city. I know you claim to be descended from the
royal line; but Priam has sons who are the direct and immediate heirs,
and your claims can never be allowed. Then, besides, what folly to
attempt to contend with me! Me, the strongest, bravest, and most
terrible of the Greeks, and the special favorite of many deities."
With this introduction Achilles went on to set forth the greatness of
his pedigree, and the loftiness of his pretensions to superiority over
all others in personal prowess and valor, in a manner very eloquent
indeed, and in a style which it seems was very much admired in those
days as evincing only a proper spirit and energy,--though in our times
such a harangue would be very apt to be regarded as only a
vainglorious and empty boasting.

Æneas replied,--retorting with vauntings on his side no less spirited
and energetic than those which Achilles had expressed. He gave a long
account of his pedigree, and of his various claims to lofty
consideration. He, however, said, in conclusion, that it was idle and
useless for them to waste their time in such a war of words, and so he
hurled his spear at Achilles with all his force, as a token of the
commencement of the battle.

The spear struck the shield of Achilles, and impinged upon it with
such force that it penetrated through two of the plates of metal which
composed the shield, and reached the central plate of gold, where the
force with which it had been thrown being spent, it was arrested and
fell to the ground. Achilles then exerting his utmost strength threw
his spear in return. Æneas crouched down to avoid the shock of the
weapon, holding his shield at the same time above his head, and
bracing himself with all his force against the approaching concussion.
The spear struck the shield near the upper edge of it, as it was held
in Æneas's hands. It passed directly through the plates of which the
shield was composed, and then continuing its course, it glided down
just over Æneas's back, and planted itself deep in the ground behind
him, and stood there quivering. Æneas crept out from beneath it with a
look of horror.

Immediately after throwing his spear, and perceiving that it had
failed of its intended effect, Achilles drew his sword and rushed
forward to engage Æneas, hand to hand. Æneas himself recovering in an
instant from the consternation which his narrow escape from impalement
had awakened, seized an enormous stone, heavier, as Homer represents
it, than any two ordinary men could lift, and was about to hurl it at
his advancing foe, when suddenly the whole combat was terminated by a
very unexpected interposition. It seems that the various gods and
goddesses, from their celestial abodes among the summits of Olympus,
had assembled in invisible forms to witness this combat--some
sympathizing with and upholding one of the combatants, and some the
other. Neptune was on Æneas's side; and accordingly when he saw how
imminent the danger was which threatened Æneas, when Achilles came
rushing upon him with his uplifted sword, he at once resolved to
interfere. He immediately rushed, himself, between the combatants. He
brought a sudden and supernatural mist over the scene, such as the God
of the Sea has always at his command; and this mist at once concealed
Æneas from Achilles's view. Neptune drew the spear out of the ground,
and released it too from the shield which remained still pinned down
by it; and then threw the spear down at Achilles's feet. He next
seized Æneas, and lifting him high above the ground he bore him away
in an invisible form over the heads of soldiers and horsemen that had
been drawn up in long lines around the field of combat. When the mist
passed away Achilles saw his spear lying at his feet, and on looking
around him found that his enemy was gone.

Such are the marvelous tales which were told by the ancient narrators,
of the prowess and exploits of Æneas under the walls of Troy, and of
the interpositions which were put forth to save him in moments of
desperate danger, by beings supernatural and divine. These tales were
in those days believed as sober history. That which was marvelous and
philosophically incredible in them, was sacredly sheltered from
question by mingling itself with the prevailing principles of
religious faith. The tales were thus believed, and handed down
traditionally from generation to generation, and admired and loved by
all who heard and repeated them, partly on account of their romantic
and poetical beauty, and partly on account of the sublime and sacred
revelations which they contained, in respect to the divinities of the
spiritual world.



B.C. 1200

Termination of the siege of Troy.--Appearances observed by the
besieged.--The wooden horse.--Its probable size.--Various opinions
in respect to the disposal of it.--Sudden appearance of a
captive.--His wretched condition.--Sinon's account of the departure
of the Greeks.--His story of the proposed sacrifice.--His
escape.--Priam's address to him.--Sinon's account of the horse.--Effect
produced by Sinon's story.--The serpents and Laocoon.--Ancient statue
of Laocoon.--Its history.--The statue now deposited in the
Vatican.--Description of it.--Effect produced upon the Trojans by
Laocoon's fate.--The Trojans draw the horse into the city.--The Greeks
admitted to the city.--Æneas awakened by the din.--His meeting with
Pantheus.--His surprise and terror.--Adventures of Æneas and
Pantheus.--The tortoise.--The position of Æneas.--The tower.--The
sacking of the palace.--Priam.--Priam and Hecuba at the altar.--The
death of Priam.--The despair of the Trojans.

After the final conquest and destruction of Troy, Æneas, in the course
of his wanderings, stopped, it was said, at Carthage, on his way to
Italy, and there, according to ancient story, he gave the following
account of the circumstances attending the capture and the sacking of
the city, and his own escape from the scene.

One day, after the war had been continued with various success for a
long period of time, the sentinels on the walls and towers of the city
began to observe extraordinary movements in the camp of the besiegers,
which seemed to indicate preparations for breaking up the camp and
going away. Tents were struck. Men were busy passing to and fro,
arranging arms and military stores, as if for transportation. A fleet
of ships was drawn up along the shore, which was not far distant, and
a great scene of activity manifested itself upon the bank, indicating
an approaching embarkation. In a word, the tidings soon spread
throughout the city, that the Greeks had at length become weary of the
protracted contest, and were making preparations to withdraw from the
field. These proceedings were watched, of course, with great interest
from the walls of the city, and at length the inhabitants, to their
inexpressible joy, found their anticipations and hopes, as they
thought, fully realized. The camp of the Greeks was gradually broken
up, and at last entirely abandoned. The various bodies of troops were
drawn off one by one to the shore, where they were embarked on board
the ships, and then sailed away. As soon as this result was made sure,
the Trojans threw open the gates of the city, and came out in
throngs,--soldiers and citizens, men, women and children together,--to
explore the abandoned encampment, and to rejoice over the departure of
their terrible enemies.

The first thing which attracted their attention was an immense wooden
horse, which stood upon the ground that the Greek encampment had
occupied. The Trojans immediately gathered, one and all, around the
monster, full of wonder and curiosity. Æneas, in narrating the story,
says that the image was as large as a mountain; but, as he afterward
relates that the people drew it on wheels within the walls of the
city, and especially as he represents them as attaching the ropes for
this purpose to the _neck_ of the image, instead of to its fore-legs,
which would have furnished the only proper points of attachment if the
effigy had been of any very extraordinary size, he must have had a
very small mountain in mind in making the comparison. Or, which is
perhaps more probable, he used the term only in a vague metaphorical
sense, as we do now when we speak of the waves of the ocean as running
mountain high, when it is well ascertained that the crests of the
billows, even in the most violent and most protracted storms, never
rise more than twenty feet above the general level.

At all events, the image was large enough to excite the wonder of all
the beholders. The Trojan people gathered around it, wholly unable to
understand for what purpose the Greeks could have constructed such a
monster, to leave behind them on their departure from Troy. After the
first emotions of astonishment and wonder which the spectacle awakened
had somewhat subsided, there followed a consultation in respect to
the disposal which was to be made of the prodigy. The opinions on this
point were very various. One commander was disposed to consider the
image a sacred prize, and recommended that they should convey it into
the city, and deposit it in the citadel, as a trophy of victory.
Another, dissenting decidedly from this counsel, said that he strongly
suspected some latent treachery, and he proposed to build a fire under
the body of the monster, and burn the image itself and all
contrivances for mischief which might be contained in it, together. A
third recommended that they should hew it open, and see for themselves
what there might be within. One of the Trojan leaders named Laocoon,
who, just at this juncture, came to the spot, remonstrated loudly and
earnestly against having any thing to do with so mysterious and
suspicious a prize, and, by way of expressing the strong animosity
which he felt toward it, he hurled his spear with all his force
against the monster's side. The spear stood trembling in the wood,
producing a deep hollow sound by the concussion.

What the decision would have been in respect to the disposal of the
horse, if this consultation and debate had gone on, it is impossible
to say, as the farther consideration of the subject was all at once
interrupted, by new occurrences which here suddenly intervened, and
which, after engrossing for a time the whole attention of the company
assembled, finally controlled the decision of the question. A crowd of
peasants and shepherds were seen coming from the mountains, with much
excitement, and loud shouts and outcries, bringing with them a captive
Greek whom they had secured and bound. As the peasants came up with
their prisoner, the Trojans gathered eagerly round them, full of
excitement and threats of violence, all thirsting, apparently, for
their victim's blood. He, on his part, filled the air with the most
piteous lamentations and cries for mercy.

His distress and wretchedness, and the earnest entreaties which he
uttered, seemed at length to soften the hearts of his enemies and
finally, the violence of the crowd around the captive became somewhat
appeased, and was succeeded by a disposition to question him, and hear
what he had to say. The Greek told them, in answer to their
interrogations, that his name was Sinon, and that he was a fugitive
from his own countrymen the Greeks, who had been intending to kill
him. He said that the Greek leaders had long been desirous of
abandoning the siege of Troy, and that they had made many attempts to
embark their troops and sail away, but that the winds and seas had
risen against them on every such attempt, and defeated their design.
They then sent to consult the oracle of Apollo, to learn what was the
cause of the displeasure and hostility thus manifested against them by
the god of the sea. The oracle replied, that they could not depart
from Troy, till they had first made an atoning and propitiatory
offering by the sacrifice of a man, such an one as Apollo himself
might designate. When this answer was returned, the whole army, as
Sinon said, was thrown into a state of consternation. No one knew but
that the fatal designation might fall on him. The leaders were,
however, earnestly determined on carrying the measure into effect.
Ulysses called upon Calchas, the priest of Apollo, to point out the
man who was to die. Calchas waited day after day, for ten days, before
the divine intimation was made to him in respect to the individual
who was to suffer. At length he said that Sinon was the destined
victim. His comrades, Sinon said, rejoicing in their own escape from
so terrible a doom, eagerly assented to the priest's decision, and
immediately made preparations for the ceremony. The altar was reared.
The victim was adorned for the sacrifice, and the garlands, according
to the accustomed usage, were bound upon his temples. He contrived,
however, he said, at the last moment, to make his escape. He broke the
bands with which he had been bound, and fled into a morass near the
shore, where he remained concealed in inaccessible thickets until the
Greeks had sailed away. He then came forth and was at length seized
and bound by the shepherds of the mountains, who found him wandering
about, in extreme destitution and misery. Sinon concluded his tale by
the most piteous lamentations, on his wretched lot. The Trojans, he
supposed, would kill him, and the Greeks, on their return to his
native land, in their anger against him for having made his escape
from them, would destroy his wife and children.

The air and manner with which Sinon told this story seemed so
sincere, and so natural and unaffected were the expressions of
wretchedness and despair with which he ended his narrative, that the
Trojan leaders had no suspicion that it was not true. Their compassion
was moved for the wretched fugitive, and they determined to spare his
life. Priam, the aged king, who was present at the scene, in the midst
of the Trojan generals, ordered the cords with which the peasants had
bound the captive to be sundered, that he might stand before them
free. The king spoke to him, too, in a kind and encouraging manner.
"Forget your countrymen," said he. "They are gone. Henceforth you
shall be one of us. We will take care of you. And now," he
continued, "tell us what this monstrous image means. Why did the
Greeks make it, and why have they left it here?"

Sinon, as if grateful for the generosity with which his life had been
spared, professed himself ready to give his benefactors the fullest
information. He told them that the wooden horse had been built by the
Greeks to replace a certain image of Pallas which they had previously
taken and borne away from Troy. It was to replace this image, Sinon
said, that the Greeks had built the wooden horse; and their purpose
in making the image of this monstrous size was to prevent the
possibility of the Trojans taking it into the city, and thus
appropriating to themselves the benefit of its protecting efficacy and

The Trojans listened with breathless interest to all that Sinon said,
and readily believed his story; so admirably well did he counterfeit,
by his words and his demeanor, all the marks and tokens of honest
sincerity in what he said of others, as well of grief and despair in
respect to his own unhappy lot. The current of opinion which had begun
before to set strongly in favor of destroying the horse, was wholly
turned, and all began at once to look upon the colossal image as an
object of sacred veneration, and to begin to form plans for
transporting it within the limits of the city. Whatever remaining
doubts any of them might have felt on the subject were dispelled by
the occurrence of a most extraordinary phenomenon just at this stage
of the affair, which was understood by all to be a divine judgment
upon Laocoon for his sacriligious temerity in striking his spear into
the horse's side. It had been determined to offer a sacrifice to
Neptune. Lots were drawn to determine who should perform the rite. The
lot fell upon Laocoon. He began to make preparations to perform the
duty, assisted by his two young sons, when suddenly two immense
serpents appeared, coming up from the sea. They came swimming over the
surface of the water, with their heads elevated above the waves, until
they reached the shore, and then gliding swiftly along, they advanced
across the plain, their bodies brilliantly spotted and glittering in
the sun, their eyes flashing, and their forked and venomous tongues
darting threats and defiance as they came. The people fled in dismay.
The serpents, disregarding all others, made their way directly toward
the affrighted children of Laocoon, and twining around them they soon
held the writhing and struggling limbs of their shrieking victims
hopelessly entangled in their deadly convolutions.

Laocoon, who was himself at a little distance from the spot, when the
serpents came, as soon as he saw the danger and heard the agonizing
cries of his boys, seized a weapon and ran to rescue them. Instead,
however, of being able to save his children, he only involved himself
in their dreadful fate. The serpents seized him as soon as he came
within their reach, and taking two turns around his neck and two
around his body, and binding in a remorseless grip the forms of the
fainting and dying boys with other convolutions, they raised their
heads high above the group of victims which they thus enfolded, and
hissed and darted out their forked tongues in token of defiance and
victory. When at length their work was done, they glided away and took
refuge in a temple that was near, and coiled themselves up for repose
beneath the feet of the statue of a goddess that stood in the shrine.

The story of Laocoon has become celebrated among all mankind in modern
times by means of a statue representing the catastrophe, which was
found two or three centuries ago among the ruins of an ancient edifice
at Rome. This statue was mentioned by an old Roman writer, Pliny, who
gave an account of it while it yet stood in its place in the ancient
city. He said that it was the work of three artists, a father and two
sons, who combined their industry and skill to carve in one group, and
with immense labor and care, the representation of Laocoon himself,
the two boys, and the two serpents, making five living beings
intertwined intricately together, and all carved from one single block
of marble. On the decline and fall of Rome this statue was lost among
the ruins of the city, and for many centuries it was known to mankind
only through the description of Pliny. At length it was brought to
light again, having been discovered about three centuries ago, under
the ruins of the very edifice in which Pliny had described it as
standing. It immediately became the object of great interest and
attention to the whole world. It was deposited in the Vatican; a great
reward was paid to the owner of the ground on which it was discovered;
drawings and casts of it, without number, have been made; and the
original stands in the Vatican now, an object of universal interest,
as one of the most celebrated sculptures of ancient or modern times.

Laocoon himself forms the center of the group, with the serpents
twined around him, while he struggles, with a fearful expression of
terror and anguish in his countenance, in the vain attempt to release
himself from their hold. One of the serpents has bitten one of the
boys in the side, and the wounded child sinks under the effects of
the poison. The other boy, in an agony of terror, is struggling,
hopelessly, to release his foot from the convolutions with which one
of the serpents has encircled it. The expression of the whole group is
exciting and painful, and yet notwithstanding this, there is combined
with it a certain mysterious grace and beauty which charms every eye,
and makes the composition the wonder of mankind.

But to return to the story. The people understood this awful
visitation to be the judgment of heaven against Laocoon for his
sacrilegious presumption in daring to thrust his spear into the side
of the image before them, and which they were now very sure they were
to consider as something supernatural and divine. They determined with
one accord to take it into the city.

They immediately began to make preparations for the transportation of
it. They raised it from the ground, and fitted to the feet some sort
of machinery of wheels or rollers, suitable to the nature of the
ground, and strong enough to bear the weight of the colossal mass.
They attached long ropes to the neck of the image, and extended them
forward upon the ground, and then brought up large companies of
citizens and soldiers to man them. They arranged a procession,
consisting of the generals of the army, and of the great civil
dignitaries of the state; and in addition to these were groups of
singing boys and girls, adorned with wreaths and garlands, who were
appointed to chant sacred hymns to solemnize the occasion. They
widened the access to the city, too, by tearing down a portion of the
wall so as to open a sufficient space to enable the monster to get in.
When all was ready the ropes were manned, the signal was given, the
ponderous mass began to move, and though it encountered in its
progress many difficulties, obstructions, and delays, in due time it
was safely deposited in the court of a great public edifice within the
city. The wall was then repaired, the day passed away, the night came
on, the gates were shut, and the curiosity and wonder of the people
within being gradually satisfied, they at length dispersed to their
several homes and retired to rest. At midnight the unconscious effigy
stood silent and alone where its worshipers had left it, while the
whole population of the city were sunk in slumber, except the
sentinels who had been stationed as usual to keep guard at the gates,
or to watch upon the towers and battlements above them.

In the mean time the Greek fleet, which had sailed away under pretense
of finally abandoning the country, had proceeded only to the island of
Tenedos, which was about a league from the shore, and there they had
concealed themselves during the day. As soon as night came on they
returned to the main land, and disembarking with the utmost silence
and secrecy, they made their way back again under cover of the
darkness, as near as they dared to come to the gates of the city. In
the mean time Sinon had arisen stealthily from the sleep which he had
feigned to deceive those to whose charge he had been committed, and
creeping cautiously through the streets he repaired to the place where
the wooden horse had been deposited, and there opened a secret door in
the side of the image, and liberated a band of armed and desperate men
who had been concealed within. These men, as soon as they had
descended to the ground and had adjusted their armor, rushed to the
city walls, surprised and killed the sentinels and watchmen, threw
open the gates, and gave the whole body of their comrades that were
lurking outside the walls, in the silence and darkness of the night,
an unobstructed admission.

Æneas was asleep in his house while these things were transpiring. The
house where he lived was in a retired and quiet situation, but he was
awakened from his sleep by distant outcries and din, and springing
from his couch, and hastily resuming his dress, he ascended to the
roof of the house to ascertain the cause of the alarm. He saw flames
ascending from various edifices in the quarter of the city where the
Greeks had come in. He listened. He could distinctly hear the shouts
of men, and the notes of trumpets sounding the alarm. He immediately
seized his armor and rushed forth into the streets, arousing the
inhabitants around him from their slumbers by his shouts, and calling
upon them to arm themselves and follow him.

In the midst of this excitement, there suddenly appeared before him,
coming from the scene of the conflict, a Trojan friend, named
Pantheus, who was hastening away from the danger, perfectly
bewildered with excitement and agitation. He was leading with him his
little son, who was likewise pale with terror. Æneas asked Pantheus
what had happened. Pantheus in reply explained to him in hurried and
broken words, that armed men, treacherously concealed within the
wooden horse, had issued forth from their concealment, and had opened
the gates of the city, and let the whole horde of their ferocious and
desperate enemies in; that the sentinels and guards who had been
stationed at the gates had been killed; and that the Greek troops had
full possession of the city, and were barricading the streets and
setting fire to the buildings on every side. "All is lost," said he,
"our cause is ruined, and Troy is no more."

The announcing of these tidings filled Æneas and those who had joined
him with a species of phrensy. They resolved to press forward into the
combat, and there, if they must perish themselves, to carry down as
many as possible of their enemies with them to destruction. They
pressed on, therefore, through the gloomy streets, guiding their way
toward the scene of action by the glare of the fires upon the sky, and
by the sounds of the distant tumult and din.

They soon found themselves in the midst of scenes of dreadful terror
and confusion,--the scenes, in fact, which are usually exhibited in
the midnight sacking of a city. They met with various adventures
during the time that they continued their desperate but hopeless
resistance. They encountered a party of Greeks, and overpowered and
slew them, and then, seizing the armor which their fallen enemies had
worn, they disguised themselves in it, in hopes to deceive the main
body of the Greeks by this means, so as to mingle among them
unobserved, and thus attack and destroy such small parties as they
might meet without being themselves attacked by the rest. They saw the
princess Cassandra, the young daughter of king Priam, dragged away by
Greek soldiers from a temple where she had sought refuge. They
immediately undertook to rescue her, and were at once attacked both by
the Greek party who had the princess in charge, and also by the Trojan
soldiers, who shot arrows and darts down upon them from the roofs
above, supposing, from the armor and the plumes which they wore, that
they were enemies. They saw the royal palace besieged, and the
_tortoise_ formed for scaling the walls of it. The tumult and din, and
the frightful glare of lurid flames by which the city was illuminated,
a scene of inconceivable confusion and terror.

[Illustration: THE TORTOISE.]

Æneas watched the progress of the assault upon the palace from the top
of certain lofty roofs, to which he ascended for the purpose. Here
there was a slender tower, which had been built for a watch-tower, and
had been carried up to such a height that, from the summit of it, the
watchmen stationed there could survey all the environs of the city,
and on one side look off to some distance over the sea. This tower
Æneas and the Trojans who were with him contrived to cut off at its
base, and throw over upon the throngs of Grecians that were thundering
at the palace gates below. Great numbers were killed by the falling
ruins, and the tortoise was broken down. The Greeks, however, soon
formed another tortoise, by means of which some of the soldiers scaled
the walls, while others broke down the gates with battering rams and
engines; and thus the palace, the sacred and last remaining stronghold
of the city, was thrown open to the ferocious and frantic horde of its

The sacking of the palace presented an awful spectacle to the view of
Æneas and his companions, as they looked down upon it from the roofs
and battlements around. As the walls, one after another, fell in under
the resistless blows dealt by the engines that were brought against
them, the interior halls, and the most retired and private apartments,
were thrown open to view--all illuminated by the glare of the
surrounding conflagrations.

Shrieks and wailing, and every other species of outcry that comes from
grief, terror, and despair, arose from within; and such spectators as
had the heart to look continuously upon the spectacle, could see
wretched men running to and fro, and virgins clinging to altars for
protection, and frantic mothers vainly endeavoring to find
hiding-places for themselves and their helpless children.

Priam the king, who was at this time old and infirm, was aroused from
his slumbers by the dreadful din, and immediately began to seize his
armor, and to prepare himself for rushing into the fight. His wife,
however, Hecuba, begged and entreated him to desist. She saw that all
was lost, and that any farther attempts at resistance would only
exasperate their enemies, and render their own destruction the more
inevitable. She persuaded the king, therefore, to give up his weapons
and go with her to an altar, in one of the courts of the palace,--a
place which it would be sacrilege for their enemies to violate--and
there patiently and submissively to await the end. Priam yielded to
the queen's solicitations, and went with her to the place of refuge
which she had chosen;--and the plan which they thus adopted, might
very probably have been successful in saving their lives, had it not
been for an unexpected occurrence which suddenly intervened, and which
led to a fatal result. While they were seated by the altar, in
attitudes of submission and suppliance, they were suddenly aroused by
the rushing toward them of one of their sons, who came in, wounded and
bleeding from some scene of combat, and pursued by angry and ferocious
foes. The spent and fainting warrior sank down at the feet of his
father and mother, and lay there dying and weltering in the blood
which flowed from his wounds. The aged king was aroused to madness at
this spectacle. He leaped to his feet, seized a javelin, and
thundering out at the same time the most loud and bitter imprecations
against the murderers of his son, he hurled the weapon toward them as
they advanced. The javelin struck the shield of the leader of the
assailants, and rebounded from it without producing any other effect
than to enrage still more the furious spirit which it was meant to
destroy. The assailant rushed forward, seized the aged father by the
hair, dragged him slipping, as he went, in the blood of his son, up to
the altar, and there plunged a sword into his body, burying it to the
hilt,--and then threw him down, convulsed and dying, upon the body of
his dying child.

Thus Priam fell, and with him the last hope of the people of Troy. The
city in full possession of their enemies, the palace and citadel
sacked and destroyed, and the king slain, they saw that there was
nothing now left for which they had any wish to contend.



B.C. 1200

Æneas's reflections.--He determines to go home.--Æneas is left at last
alone.--He goes away.--He sees the princess Helen.--Story of
Helen.--Æneas determines to destroy her.--His reflections.--The
apparition of Aphrodite.--Her words.--His mother's magical
protection.--He reaches his home.--The determination of
Anchises.--Creusa's entreaties.--The plan formed for the escape of the
family.--The lion's skin.--The household gods.--Creusa.--The whole
party proceed towards the gates.--Escape from the city.--Creusa is
lost.--Æneas goes back in search of Creusa.--He finds that his house
has been burned.--The apparition of Creusa.--Her predictions.--Her
farewell to her husband.--Preparations for departure.--Æneas's company
increases.--His fleet.--The embarkation.--Map of the wanderings of
Æneas.--A dreadful prodigy.--The bleeding myrtle.--Words of the
myrtle.--Story of Polydorus.--Æneas leaves Thrace.--His various
wanderings.--The attempted settlement at Crete.--Calamities.--Æneas's
perplexity.--Advice of Anchises.--Scene at night.--The household
deities.--Their address to Æneas.--Effect of this address.--Subsequent
adventures.--Danger of shipwreck.--The harpies.--Æneas driven
away.--Dangers at Mt. Etna.--The one-eyed giants.--Polyphemus.--Remarks
on the story of Æneas.

Æneas, from his station upon the battlements of a neighboring edifice,
witnessed the taking of the palace and the death of Priam. He
immediately gave up all for lost, and turned his thoughts at once to
the sole question of the means of saving himself and his family from
impending destruction. He thought of his father, Anchises, who at this
time lived with him in the city, and was nearly of the same age as
Priam the king, whom he had just seen so cruelly slain. He thought of
his wife too, whom he had left at home, and of his little son
Ascanius, and he began now to be overwhelmed with the apprehension,
that the besiegers had found their way to his dwelling, and were,
perhaps, at that very moment plundering and destroying it and
perpetrating cruel deeds of violence and outrage upon his wife and
family. He determined immediately to hasten home.

He looked around to see who of his companions remained with him.
There was not one. They had all gone and left him alone. Some had
leaped down from the battlements and made their escape to other parts
of the city. Some had fallen in the attempt to leap, and had perished
in the flames that were burning among the buildings beneath them.
Others still had been reached by darts and arrows from below, and had
tumbled headlong from their lofty height into the street beneath them.
The Greeks, too, had left that part of the city. When the destruction
of the palace had been effected, there was no longer any motive to
remain, and they had gone away, one band after another, with loud
shouts of exultation and defiance, to seek new combats in other
quarters of the city. Æneas listened to the sounds of their voices, as
they gradually died away upon his ear. Thus, in one way and another,
all had gone, and Æneas found himself alone.

Æneas contrived to find his way back safely to the street, and then
stealthily choosing his way, and vigilantly watching against the
dangers that surrounded him, he advanced cautiously among the ruins of
the palace, in the direction toward his own home. He had not
proceeded far before he saw a female figure lurking in the shadow of
an altar near which he had to pass. It proved to be the princess

[Illustration: HELEN.]

Helen was a Grecian princess, formerly the wife of Menelaus, king of
Sparta, but she had eloped from Greece some years before, with Paris,
the son of Priam, king of Troy, and this elopement had been the whole
cause of the Trojan war. In the first instance, Menelaus, accompanied
by another Grecian chieftain, went to Troy and demanded that Helen
should be given up again to her proper husband. Paris refused to
surrender her. Menelaus then returned to Greece and organized a grand
expedition to proceed to Troy and recapture the queen. This was the
origin of the war. The people, therefore, looked upon Helen as the
cause, whether innocent or guilty, of all their calamities.

When Æneas, therefore, who was, as may well be supposed, in no very
amiable or gentle temper, as he hurried along away from the smoking
ruins of the palace toward his home, saw Helen endeavoring to screen
herself from the destruction which she had been the means of bringing
upon all that he held dear, he was aroused to a phrensy of anger
against her, and determined to avenge the wrongs of his country by her
destruction. "I will kill her," said he to himself, as he rushed
forward toward the spot where she was concealed. "There is no great
glory it is true in wreaking vengeance on a woman, or in bringing her
to the punishment which her crimes deserve. Still I will kill her, and
I shall be commended for the deed. She shall not, after bringing ruin
upon us, escape herself, and go back to Greece in safety and be a
queen there again."

As Æneas said these words, rushing forward at the same time, sword in
hand, he was suddenly intercepted and brought to a stand by the
apparition of his mother, the goddess Aphrodite, who all at once stood
in the way before him. She stopped him, took him by the hand, urged
him to restrain his useless anger, and calmed and quieted him with
soothing words. "It is not Helen," said she, "that has caused the
destruction of Troy. It is through the irresistible and irrevocable
decrees of the gods that the city has fallen. It is useless for you to
struggle against inevitable destiny, or to attempt to take vengeance
on mere human means and instrumentalities. Think no more of Helen.
Think of your family. Your aged father, your helpless wife, your
little son,--where are they? Even now while you are wasting time here
in vain attempts to take vengeance on Helen for what the gods have
done, all that are near and dear to you are surrounded by ferocious
enemies thirsting for their blood. Fly to them and save them. I shall
accompany you, though unseen, and will protect you and them from
every impending danger."

As soon as Aphrodite had spoken these words she disappeared from view.
Æneas, following her injunctions, went directly toward his home; and
he found as he passed along the streets that the way was opened for
him, by mysterious movements among the armed bands which were passing
in every direction about the city, in such a manner as to convince him
that his mother was really accompanying him, and protecting his way by
her supernatural powers.

When he reached home the first person whom he saw was Anchises his
father. He told Anchises that all was lost, and that nothing now
remained for them but to seek safety for themselves by flying to the
mountains behind the city. But Anchises refused to go. "You who are
young," said he, "and who have enough of life before you to be worth
preserving, may fly. As for me I will not attempt to save the little
remnant that remains to me, to be spent, if saved, in miserable exile.
If the powers of heaven had intended that I should have lived any
longer, they would have spared my native city,--my only home. You may
go yourselves, but leave me here to die."

In saying these words Anchises turned away in great despondency,
firmly fixed, apparently, in his determination to remain and share the
fate of the city. Æneas and Creusa his wife joined their entreaties in
urging him to go away. But he would not be persuaded. Æneas then
declared that he would not go and leave his father. If one was to die
they would all die, he said, together. He called for his armor and
began to put it on, resolving to go out again into the streets of the
city and die, since he must die, in the act of destroying his

He was, however, prevented from carrying this determination into
effect, by Creusa's intervention, who fell down before him at the
threshold of the door, almost frantic with excitement and terror, and
holding her little son Ascanius with one arm, and clasping her
husband's knees with the other, she begged him not to leave them.
"Stay and save us," said she; "do not go and throw your life away. Or,
if you will go, take us with you that we may all die together."

The conflict of impulses and passions in this unhappy family
continued for some time longer, but it ended at last, in the yielding
of Anchises to the wishes of the rest, and they all resolved to fly.
In the mean time, the noise and uproar in the streets of the city,
were drawing nearer and nearer, and the light of the burning buildings
breaking out continually at new points in the progress of the
conflagration, indicated that no time was to be lost. Æneas hastily
formed his plan. His father was too old and infirm to go himself
through the city. Æneas determined therefore to carry him upon his
shoulders. Little Ascanius was to walk along by his side. Creusa was
to follow, keeping as close as possible to her husband lest she should
lose him in the darkness of the night, or in the scenes of uproar and
confusion through which they would have to pass on the way. The
domestics of the family were to escape from the city by different
routes, each choosing his own, in order to avoid attracting the
attention of their enemies; and when once without the gates they were
all to rendezvous again at a certain rising ground, not far from the
city, which Æneas designated to them by means of an old deserted
temple which marked the spot, and a venerable cypress which grew

This plan being formed the party immediately proceeded to put it in
execution. Æneas spread a lion's skin over his shoulders to make the
resting-place more easy for his father, or perhaps to lighten the
pressure of the heavy burden upon his own limbs. Anchises took what
were called the household gods, in his hands. These were sacred images
which it was customary to keep, in those days, in every dwelling, as
the symbol and embodiment of divine protection. To save these images,
when every thing else was given up for lost, was always the object of
the last desperate effort of the husband and father. Æneas in this
case asked his father to take these images, as it would have been an
impiety for him, having come fresh from scenes of battle and
bloodshed, to have put his hand upon them, without previously
performing some ceremony of purification. Ascanius took hold of his
father's hand. Creusa followed behind. Thus arranged they sallied
forth from the house into the streets--all dark and gloomy, except so
far as they received a partial and inconstant light from the flames
of the distant conflagrations, which glared in the sky, and flashed
sometimes upon battlements and towers, and upon the tops of lofty

Æneas pressed steadily on, though in a state continually of the
highest excitement and apprehension. He kept stealthily along wherever
he could find the deepest shadows, under walls, and through the most
obscure and the narrowest streets. He was in constant fear lest some
stray dart or arrow should strike Anchises or Creusa, or lest some
band of Greeks should come suddenly upon them, in which case he knew
well that they would all be cut down without mercy, for, loaded down
as he was with his burden, he would be entirely unable to do any thing
to defend either himself or them. The party, however, for a time
seemed to escape all these dangers, but at length, just as they were
approaching the gate of the city, and began to think that they were
safe, they were suddenly alarmed by a loud uproar, and by a rush of
men which came in toward them from some streets in that quarter of the
city, and threatened to overwhelm them. Anchises was greatly alarmed.
He saw the gleaming weapons of the Greeks who were rushing toward
them, and he called out to Æneas to fly faster, or to turn off some
other way, in order to escape the impending danger. Æneas was
terrified by the shouts and uproar which he heard, and his mind was
for a moment confused by the bewildering influences of the scene. He
however hurried forward, running this way and that, wherever there
seemed the best prospect of escape, and often embarrassed and retarded
in his flight by the crowds of people who were moving confusedly in
all directions. At length, however, he succeeded in finding egress
from the city. He pressed on, without stopping to look behind him till
he reached the appointed place of rendezvous on the hill, and then
gently laying down his burden, he looked around for Creusa. She was
nowhere to be seen.

Æneas was in utter consternation, at finding that his wife was gone.
He mourned and lamented this dreadful calamity with loud exclamations
of grief and despair; then reflecting that it was a time for action
and not for idle grief, he hastened to conceal his father and Ascanius
in a dark and winding valley behind the hill, and leaving them there
under the charge of his domestics, he hastened back to the city to
see if Creusa could be found.

He armed himself completely before he went, being in his desperation
determined to encounter every danger in his attempts to find and to
recover his beloved wife. He went directly to the gate from which he
had come out, and re-entering the city there, he began to retrace, as
well as he could, the way that he had taken in coming out of the
city--guiding himself as he went, by the light of the flames which
rose up here and there from the burning buildings.

He went on in this way in a desperate state of agitation and distress,
searching everywhere but seeing nothing of Creusa. At length he
thought it possible that she had concluded, when she found herself
separated from him, to go back to the house, as the safest place of
refuge for her, and he determined, accordingly, to go and seek her
there. This was his last hope, and most cruelly was it disappointed
when he came to the place of his dwelling.

He found his house, when he arrived near the spot, all in flames. The
surrounding buildings were burning too, and the streets in the
neighborhood were piled up with furniture and goods which the
wretched inmates of the dwellings had vainly endeavored to save. These
inmates themselves were standing around, distracted with grief and
terror, and gazing hopelessly upon the scene of devastation before

Æneas saw all these things at a glance, and immediately, in a phrensy
of excitement, began to call out Creusa's name. He went to and fro
among the groups surrounding the fire, calling for her in a frantic
manner, and imploring all whom he saw to give him some tidings of her.
All was, however, in vain. She could not be found. Æneas then went
roaming about through other portions of the city, seeking her
everywhere, and inquiring for her of every person whom he met that had
the appearance of being a friend. His suspense, however, was
terminated at last by his suddenly coming upon an apparition of the
spirit of Creusa, which rose before him in a solitary part of the
city, and arrested his progress. The apparition was of preternatural
size, and it stood before him in so ethereal and shadow-like a form,
and the features beamed upon him with so calm and placid and benignant
an expression, as convinced him that the vision was not of this
world. Æneas saw at a glance that Creusa's earthly sorrows and
sufferings were ended forever.

At first he was shocked and terrified at the spectacle. Creusa,
however, endeavored to calm and quiet him by soothing words. "My
dearest husband," said she, "do not give way thus to anxiety and
grief. The events which have befallen us, have not come by chance.
They are all ordered by an overruling providence that is omnipotent
and divine. It was predetermined by the decrees of heaven that you
were not to take me with you in your flight. I have learned what your
future destiny is to be. There is a long period of weary wandering
before you, over the ocean and on the land, and you will have many
difficulties, dangers, and trials to incur. You will, however, be
conducted safely through them all, and will in the end find a peaceful
and happy home on the banks of the Tiber. There you will found a new
kingdom; a princess is even now provided for you there, to become your
bride. Cease then to mourn for me; rather rejoice that I did not fall
a captive into the hands of our enemies, to be carried away into
Greece and made a slave. I am free, and you must not lament my fate.
Farewell. Love Ascanius for my sake, and watch over him and protect
him as long as you live."

Having spoken these words, the vision began to disappear. Æneas
endeavored to clasp the beloved image in his arms to retain it, but it
was intangible and evanescent, and, before he could speak to it, it
was gone, and he was left standing in the desolate and gloomy street
alone. He turned at length slowly away; and solitary, thoughtful and
sad, he went back to the gate of the city, and thence out to the
valley where he had concealed Anchises and his little son.

He found them safe. The whole party then sought places of retreat
among the glens and mountains, where they could remain concealed a few
days, while Æneas and his companions could make arrangements for
abandoning the country altogether. These arrangements were soon
completed. As soon as the Greeks had retired, so that they could come
out without danger from their place of retreat, Æneas employed his men
in building a number of small vessels, fitting them, as was usual in
those days, both with sails and oars.

During the progress of these preparations, small parties of Trojans
were coming in continually, day by day, to join him; being drawn
successively from their hiding-places among the mountains, by hearing
that the Greeks had gone away, and that Æneas was gradually assembling
the remnant of the Trojans on the shore. The numbers thus collected at
Æneas's encampment gradually increased, and as Æneas enlarged and
extended his naval preparations to correspond with the augmenting
numbers of his adherents, he found when he was ready to set sail, that
he was at the head of a very respectable naval and military force.

When the fleet at last was ready, he put a stock of provisions on
board, and embarked his men,--taking, of course, Anchises and Ascanius
with him. As soon as a favorable wind arose, the expedition set sail.
As the vessels moved slowly away, the decks were covered with men and
women, who gazed mournfully at the receding shores, conscious that
they were bidding a final farewell to their native land.

[Illustration: WANDERINGS OF ÆNEAS.]

The nearest country within reach in leaving the Trojan coast, was
Thrace--a country lying north of the Egean Sea, and of the Propontis,
being separated, in fact, in one part, from the Trojan territories,
only by the Hellespont. Æneas turned his course northward toward this
country, and, after a short voyage, landed there, and attempted to
make a settlement. He was, however, prevented from remaining long, by
a dreadful prodigy which he witnessed there, and which induced him to
leave those shores very precipitously. The prodigy was this:

They had erected an altar on the shore, after they had landed, and
were preparing to offer the sacrifices customary on such occasions,
when Æneas, wishing to shade the altar with boughs, went to a myrtle
bush which was growing near, and began to pull up the green shoots
from the ground. To his astonishment and horror, he found that blood
flowed from the roots whenever they were broken. Drops of what
appeared to be human blood would ooze from the ruptured part as he
held the shoot in his hand, and fall slowly to the ground. He was
greatly terrified at this spectacle, considering it as some omen of
very dreadful import. He immediately and instinctively offered up a
prayer to the presiding deities of the land, that they would avert
from him the evil influences, whatever they might be, which the omen
seemed to portend, or that they would at least explain the meaning of
the prodigy. After offering this prayer, he took hold of another stem
of the myrtle, and attempted to draw it from the ground, in order to
see whether any change in the appearances exhibited by the prodigy
had been effected by his prayer. At the instant, however, when the
roots began to give way, he heard a groan coming up from the ground
below, as if from a person in suffering. Immediately afterward a
voice, in a mournful and sepulchral accent, began to beg him to go
away, and cease disturbing the repose of the dead. "What you are
tearing and lacerating," said the voice, "is not a tree, but a man. I
am Polydorus. I was killed by the king of Thrace, and instead of
burial, have been turned into a myrtle growing on the shore."

Polydorus was a Trojan prince. He was the youngest son of Priam, and
had been sent some years before to Thrace, to be brought up in the
court of the Thracian king. He had been provided with a large supply
of money and treasure when he left Troy, in order that all his wants
might be abundantly supplied, and that he might maintain, during his
absence from home, the position to which his rank as a Trojan prince
entitled him. His treasures, however, which had been provided for him
by his father as his sure reliance for support and protection, became
the occasion of his ruin--for the Thracian king, when he found that
the war was going against the Trojans, and that Priam the father was
slain, and the city destroyed, murdered the helpless son to get
possession of his gold.

Æneas and his companions were shocked to hear this story, and
perceived at once that Thrace was no place of safety for them. They
resolved immediately to leave the coast and seek their fortunes in
other regions. They however, first, in secrecy and silence, but with
great solemnity, performed those funeral rites for Polydorus which
were considered in those ages essential to the repose of the dead.
When these mournful ceremonies were ended they embarked on board their
ships again and sailed away.

After this, the party of Æneas spent many months in weary voyages from
island to island, and from shore to shore, along the Mediterranean
sea, encountering every imaginable difficulty and danger, and meeting
continually with the strangest and most romantic adventures. At one
time they were misled by a mistaken interpretation of prophecy to
attempt a settlement in Crete--a green and beautiful island lying
south of the Egean sea. They had applied to a sacred oracle, which
had its seat at a certain consecrated spot which they visited in the
course of their progress southward through the Egean sea, asking the
oracle to direct them where to go in order to find a settled home. The
oracle, in answer to their request, informed them that they were to go
to the land that their ancestors had originally come from, before
their settlement in Troy. Æneas applied to Anchises to inform them
what land this was. Anchises replied, that he thought it was Crete.
There was an ancient tradition, he said, that some distinguished men
among the ancestors of the Trojans had originated in Crete; and he
presumed accordingly that that was the land to which the oracle

The course of the little fleet was accordingly directed southward, and
in due time the expedition safely reached the island of Crete, and
landed there. They immediately commenced the work of effecting a
settlement. They drew the ships up upon the shore; they laid out a
city; they inclosed and planted fields, and began to build their
houses. In a short time, however, all their bright prospects of rest
and security were blighted by the breaking out of a dreadful
pestilence among them. Many died; others who still lived, were
utterly prostrated by the effects of the disease, and crawled about,
emaciated and wretched, a miserable and piteous spectacle to behold.
To crown their misfortunes, a great drought came on. The grain which
they had planted was dried up and killed in the fields; and thus, in
addition to the horrors of pestilence, they were threatened with the
still greater horrors of famine. Their distress was extreme, and they
were utterly at a loss to know what to do.

In this extremity Anchises recommended that they should send back to
the oracle to inquire more particularly in respect to the meaning of
the former response, in order to ascertain whether they had, by
possibility, misinterpreted it, and made their settlement on the wrong
ground. Or, if this was not the case, to learn by what other error or
fault they had displeased the celestial powers, and brought upon
themselves such terrible judgments. Æneas determined to adopt this
advice, but he was prevented from carrying his intentions into effect
by the following occurrence.

One night he was lying upon his couch in his dwelling,--so harassed
by his anxieties and cares that he could not sleep, and revolving in
his mind all possible plans for extricating himself and his followers
from the difficulties which environed them. The moon shone in at the
windows, and by the light of this luminary he saw, reposing in their
shrines in the opposite side of the apartment where he was sleeping,
the household images which he had rescued from the flames of Troy. As
he looked upon these divinities in the still and solemn hour of
midnight, oppressed with anxiety and care, one of them began to
address him.

"We are commissioned," said this supernatural voice, "by Apollo, whose
oracle you are intending to consult again, to give you the answer that
you desire, without requiring you to go back to his temple. It is true
that you have erred in attempting to make a settlement in Crete. This
is not the land which is destined to be your home. You must leave
these shores, and continue your voyage. The land which is destined to
receive you is Italy, a land far removed from this spot, and your way
to it lies over wide and boisterous seas. Do not be discouraged,
however, on this account or on account of the calamities which now
impend over you. You will be prospered in the end. You will reach
Italy in safety, and there you will lay the foundations of a mighty
empire, which in days to come will extend its dominion far and wide
among the nations of the earth. Take courage, then, and embark once
more in your ships with a cheerful and confident heart. You are safe,
and in the end all will turn out well."

The strength and spirits of the desponding adventurer were very
essentially revived by this encouragement. He immediately prepared to
obey the injunctions which had been thus divinely communicated to him,
and in a short time the half-built city was abandoned, and the
expedition once more embarked on board the fleet and proceeded to sea.
They met in their subsequent wanderings with a great variety of
adventures, but it would extend this portion of our narrative too far,
to relate them all. They encountered a storm by which for three days
and three nights they were tossed to and fro, without seeing sun or
stars, and of course without any guidance whatever; and during all
this time they were in the most imminent danger of being overwhelmed
and destroyed by the billows which rolled sublimely and frightfully
around them. At another time, having landed for rest and refreshment
among a group of Grecian islands, they were attacked by the _harpies_,
birds of prey of prodigious size and most offensive habits, and fierce
and voracious beyond description. The harpies were celebrated, in
fact, in many of the ancient tales, as a race of beings that infested
certain shores, and often teased and tormented the mariners and
adventurers that happened to come among them. Some said, however, that
there was not a race of such beings, but only two or three in all, and
they gave their names. And yet different narrators gave different
names, among which were Aëlopos, Nicothoë, Ocythoë, Ocypoæ, Celæno,
Acholoë, and Aëllo. Some said that the harpies had the faces and forms
of women. Others described them as frightfully ugly; but all agree in
representing them as voracious beyond description, always greedily
devouring every thing that they could get within reach of their claws.

These fierce monsters flew down upon Æneas and his party, and carried
away the food from off the table before them; and even attacked the
men themselves. The men then armed themselves with swords, secretly,
and waited for the next approach of the harpies, intending to kill
them, when they came near. But the nimble marauders eluded all their
blows, and escaped with their plunder as before. At length the
expedition was driven away from the island altogether, by these
ravenous fowls, and when they were embarking on board of their
vessels, the leader of the harpies perched herself upon a rock
overlooking the scene, and in a human voice loaded Æneas and his
companions, as they went away, with taunts and execrations.

The expedition passed one night in great terror and dread in the
vicinity of Mount Etna, where they had landed. The awful eruptions of
smoke, and flame, and burning lava, which issued at midnight from the
summit of the mountain,--the thundering sounds which they heard
rolling beneath them, through the ground, and the dread which was
inspired in their minds by the terrible monsters that dwelt beneath
the mountains, as they supposed, and fed the fires, all combined to
impress them with a sense of unutterable awe; and as soon as the light
of the morning enabled them to resume their course, they made all
haste to get away from so appalling a scene. At another time they
touched upon a coast which was inhabited by a race of one-eyed
giants,--monsters of enormous magnitude and of remorseless cruelty.
They were cannibals,--feeding on the bodies of men whom they killed by
grasping them in their hands and beating them against the rocks which
formed the sides of their den. Some men whom one of these monsters,
named Polyphemus, had shut up in his cavern, contrived to surprise
their keeper in his sleep, and though they were wholly unable to kill
him on account of his colossal magnitude, they succeeded in putting
out his eye, and Æneas and his companions saw the blinded giant, as
they passed along the coast, wading in the sea, and bathing his wound.
He was guiding his footsteps as he walked, by means of the trunk of a
tall pine which served him for a staff.

At length, however, after the lapse of a long period of time, and
after meeting with a great variety of adventures to which we can not
even here allude, Æneas and his party reached the shores of Italy, at
the point which by divine intimations had been pointed out to them as
the place where they were to land.[D]

[Footnote D: See Map, page 134.]

The story of the life and adventures of Æneas, which we have given in
this and in the preceding chapters, is a faithful summary of the
narrative which the poetic historians of those days recorded. It is,
of course, not to be relied upon as a narrative of facts; but it is
worthy of very special attention by every cultivated mind of the
present day, from the fact, that such is the beauty, the grace, the
melody, the inimitable poetic perfection with which the story is told,
in the language in which the original record stands, that the
narrative has made a more deep, and widespread, and lasting impression
upon the human mind than any other narrative perhaps that ever was



B.C. 1197-1190

Description of the country where Æneas landed.--The landing.--Mouth of
the Tiber.--Burning of the ships.--Italy in ancient days.--Sacrifices
offered.--Map of Latium.--Reconnoitring the country.--King Latinus.--An
embassy.--The embassy come to the capital.--The embassadors are
admitted to an audience.--Their address to king Latinus.--Latinus
accedes to Æneas's requests.--Proposal of marriage.--Lavinia and
Turnus.--The anger of Turnus at being set aside.--Lavinium.--Situation
of the Trojan territory.--The story of Sylvia's stag.--Ascanius shoots
the stag.--The resentment of Sylvia's brothers.--Sudden outbreak.--Death
of Almon.--Great excitement.--Preparation for war.--Latinus.--The
Trojans gradually gain ground.--Desire for peace.--Turnus opposes
it.--A proposal for single combat.--Result of the combat.--Marriage
of Æneas.--Æneas drowned in the Numicius.

Latium was the name given to an ancient province of Italy, lying south
of the Tiber. At the time of Æneas's arrival upon the coast it was an
independent kingdom. The name of the king who reigned over it at this
period was Latinus.

The country on the banks of the Tiber, where the city of Rome
afterward arose, was then a wild but picturesque rural region,
consisting of hills and valleys, occupied by shepherds and husbandmen,
but with nothing upon it whatever, to mark it as the site of a city.
The people that dwelt in Latium were shepherds and herdsmen, though
there was a considerable band of warriors under the command of the
king. The inhabitants of the country were of Greek origin, and they
had brought with them from Greece, when they colonized the country,
such rude arts as were then known. They had the use of Cadmus's
letters, for writing, so far as writing was employed at all in those
early days. They were skillful in making such weapons of war, and such
simple instruments of music, as were known at the time, and they could
erect buildings, of wood, or of stone, and thus constructed such
dwellings as they needed, in their towns, and walls and citadels for

Æneas brought his fleet into the mouth of the Tiber, and anchored it
there. He himself, and all his followers were thoroughly weary of
their wanderings, and hoped that they were now about to land where
they should find a permanent abode. The number of ships and men that
had formed the expedition at the commencement of the voyage, was very
large; but it had been considerably diminished by the various
misfortunes and accidents incident to such an enterprise, and the
remnant that was left longed ardently for rest. Some of the ships took
fire, and were burned at their moorings in the Tiber, immediately
after the arrival of the expedition. It was said that they were set on
fire by the wives and mothers belonging to the expedition,--who
wished, by destroying the ships, to render it impossible for the fleet
to go to sea again.

However this may be, Æneas was very strongly disposed to make the
beautiful region which he now saw before him, his final home. The
country, in every aspect of it, was alluring in the highest degree.
Level plains, varied here and there by gentle elevations, extended
around him, all adorned with groves and flowers, and exhibiting a
luxuriance in the verdure of the grass and in the foliage of the trees
that was perfectly enchanting to the sea-weary eyes of his company of
mariners. In the distance, blue and beautiful mountains bounded the
horizon, and a soft, warm summer haze floated over the whole scene,
bathing the landscape in a rich mellow light peculiar to Italian

As soon as the disembarkation was effected, lines of encampment were
marked out, at a suitable place on the shore, and such simple
fortifications as were necessary for defence in such a case, were
thrown up. Æneas dispatched one party in boats to explore the various
passages and channels which formed the mouth of the river, perhaps in
order to be prepared to make good his escape again, to sea, in case of
any sudden or extraordinary danger. Another party were employed in
erecting altars, and preparing for sacrifices and other religious
celebrations, designed on the part of Æneas to propitiate the deities
of the place, and to inspire his men with religious confidence and
trust. He also immediately proceeded to organize a party of
reconnoiterers who were to proceed into the interior, to explore the
country and to communicate with the inhabitants.

[Illustration: MAP OF LATIUM.]

The party of reconnoiterers thus sent out followed up the banks of the
river, and made excursions in various directions across the fields and
plains. They found that the country was everywhere verdant and
beautiful, and that it was covered in the interior with scattered
hamlets and towns. They learned the name of the king, and also that of
the city which he made his capitol. Latinus himself, at the same time,
heard the tidings of the arrival of these strangers. His first impulse
was immediately to make an onset upon them with all his forces, and
drive them away from his shores. On farther inquiry, however, he
learned that they were in a distressed and suffering condition, and
from the descriptions which were given him of their dress and demeanor
he concluded that they were Greeks. This idea awakened in his mind
some apprehension; for the Greeks were then well known throughout the
world, and were regarded everywhere as terrible enemies. Besides his
fears, his pity and compassion were awakened, too, in some degree; and
he was on the whole for a time quite at a loss to know what course to
pursue in respect to the intruders.

In the mean time Æneas concluded to send an embassy to Latinus to
explain the circumstances under which he had been induced to land so
large a party on the Italian coast. He accordingly designated a
considerable number of men to form this embassy, and giving to some of
the number his instructions as to what they were to say to Latinus, he
committed to the hands of the others a large number of gifts which
they were to carry and present to him. These gifts consisted of
weapons elaborately finished, vessels of gold or silver, embroidered
garments, and such other articles as were customarily employed in
those days as propitiatory offerings in such emergencies. The embassy
when all was arranged proceeded to the Latin capital.

When they came in sight of it they found that it was a spacious city,
with walls around it, and turrets and battlements within, rising here
and there above the roofs of the dwellings. Outside the gates a
portion of the population were assembled busily engaged in games, and
in various gymnastic and equestrian performances. Some were driving
furiously in chariots around great circles marked out for the course.
Others were practicing feats of horsemanship, or running races upon
fleet chargers. Others still were practicing with darts, or bows and
arrows, or javelins; either to test and improve their individual
skill, or else to compete with each other for victory or for a prize.
The embassadors paused when they came in view of this scene, and
waited until intelligence could be sent in to the monarch, informing
him of their arrival.

Latinus decided immediately to admit the embassy to an audience, and
they were accordingly conducted into the city. They were led, after
entering by the gates, through various streets, until they came at
length to a large public edifice, which seemed to be, at the same
time, palace, senate-house, and citadel. There were to be seen, in the
avenues which led to this edifice, statues of old warriors, and
various other martial decorations. There were many old trophies of
former victories preserved here, such as arms, and chariots, and prows
of ships, and crests, and great bolts and bars taken from the gates of
conquered cities,--all old, war-worn, and now useless, but preserved
as memorials of bravery and conquest. The Trojan embassy, passing
through and among these trophies, as they stood or hung in the halls
and vestibules of the palace, were at length ushered into the presence
of Latinus the king.

Here, after the usual ceremonies of introduction were performed, they
delivered the message which Æneas had intrusted to them. They declared
that they had not landed on Latinus's shore with any hostile intent.
They had been driven away, they said, from their own homes, by a
series of dire calamities, which had ended, at last, in the total
destruction of their native city. Since then they had been driven to
and fro at the mercy of the winds and waves, exposed to every
conceivable degree of hardship and danger. Their landing finally in
the dominions of Latinus in Italy, was not, they confessed, wholly
undesigned, for Latium had been divinely indicated to them, on their
way, as the place destined by the decrees of heaven for their final
home. Following these indications, they had sought the shores of Italy
and the mouths of the Tiber, and having succeeded in reaching them,
had landed; and now Æneas, their commander, desired of the king that
he would allow them to settle in his land in peace, and that he would
set apart a portion of his territory for them, and give them leave to
build a city.

The effect produced upon the mind of Latinus by the appearance of
these embassadors, and by the communication which they made to him,
proved to be highly favorable. He received the presents, too, which
they had brought him, in a very gracious manner, and appeared to be
much pleased with them. He had heard, as would seem, rumors of the
destruction of Troy, and of the departure of Æneas's squadron; for a
long time had been consumed by the wanderings of the expedition along
the Mediterranean shores, so that some years had now elapsed since the
destruction of Troy and the first sailing of the fleet. In a word,
Latinus soon determined to accede to the proposals of his visitors,
and he concluded with Æneas a treaty of alliance and friendship. He
designated a spot where the new city might be built, and all things
were thus amicably settled.

There was one circumstance which exerted a powerful influence in
promoting the establishment of friendly relations between Latinus and
the Trojans, and that was, that Latinus was engaged, at the time of
Æneas's arrival, in a war with the Rutulians, a nation that inhabited
a country lying south of Latium and on the coast. Latinus thought that
by making the Trojans his friends, he should be able to enlist them as
his auxiliaries in this war. Æneas made no objection to this, and it
was accordingly agreed that the Trojans, in return for being received
as friends, and allowed to settle in Latium, were to join with their
protectors in defending the country, and were especially to aid them
in prosecuting the existing war.

In a short time a still closer alliance was formed between Æneas and
Latinus, an alliance which in the end resulted in the accession of
Æneas to the throne of Latinus. Latinus had a daughter named Lavinia.
She was an only child, and was a princess of extraordinary merit and
beauty. The name of the queen, her mother, the wife of Latinus, was
Amata. Amata had intended her daughter to be the wife of Turnus, a
young prince of great character and promise, who had been brought up
in Latinus's court. Turnus was, in fact, a distant relative of Amata,
and the plan of the queen was that he should marry Lavinia, and in the
end succeed with her, to the throne of Latinus. Latinus himself had
not entered into this scheme; and when closing his negotiations with
Æneas, it seemed to him that it would be well to seal and secure the
adherence of Æneas to his cause by offering him his daughter Lavinia
for his bride. Æneas was very willing to accede to this proposal. What
the wishes of Lavinia herself were in respect to the arrangement, it
is not very well known; nor were her wishes, according to the ideas
that prevailed in those times, of any consequence whatever. The plan
was arranged, and the nuptials were soon to be celebrated. Turnus,
when he found that he was to be superseded, left the court of Latinus,
and went away out of the country in a rage.

Æneas and his followers seemed now to have come to the end of all
their troubles. They were at last happily established in a fruitful
land, surrounded by powerful friends, and about to enter apparently
upon a long career of peaceful and prosperous industry. They
immediately engaged with great ardor in the work of building their
town. Æneas had intended to have named it Troy, in commemoration of
the ancient city now no more. But, in view of his approaching
marriage with Lavinia, he determined to change this design, and, in
honor of her, to name the new capital Lavinium.

The territory which had been assigned to the Trojans by Latinus was in
the south-western part of Latium, near the coast, and of course it was
on the confines of the country of the Rutulians. Turnus, when he left
Latium, went over to the Rutulians, determining, in his resentment
against Latinus for having given Lavinia to his rival, to join them in
the war. The Rutulians made him their leader, and he soon advanced at
the head of a great army across the frontier, toward the new city of
Lavinium. Thus Æneas found himself threatened with a very formidable

Nor was this all. For just before the commencement of the war with
Turnus, an extraordinary train of circumstances occurred which
resulted in alienating the Latins themselves from their new ally, and
in leaving Æneas consequently to sustain the shock of the contest with
Turnus and his Rutulians alone. It would naturally be supposed that
the alliance between Latinus and Æneas would not be very favorably
regarded by the common people of Latium. They would, on the other
hand, naturally look with much jealousy and distrust on a company of
foreign intruders, admitted by what they would be very likely to
consider the capricious partiality of their king, to a share of their
country. This jealousy and distrust was, for a time, suppressed and
concealed; but the animosity only acquired strength and concentration
by being restrained, and at length an event occurred which caused it
to break forth with uncontrollable fury. The circumstances were these:

There was a man in Latium named Tyrrheus, who held the office of royal
herdsman. He lived in his hut on some of the domains of Latinus, and
had charge of the flocks and herds belonging to the king. He had two
sons, and likewise a daughter. The daughter's name was Sylvia. The two
boys had one day succeeded in making prisoner of a young stag, which
they found in the woods with its mother. It was extremely young when
they captured it, and they brought it home as a great prize. They fed
it with milk until it was old enough to take other food, and as it
grew up accustomed to their hands, it was very tame and docile, and
became a great favorite with all the family. Sylvia loved and played
with it continually. She kept it always in trim by washing it in a
fountain, and combing and smoothing its hair, and she amused herself
by adorning it with wreaths, and garlands, and such other decorations
as her sylvan resources could command.

[Illustration: SILVIA'S STAG.]

One day when Ascanius, Æneas's son, who had now grown to be a young
man, and who seems to have been characterized by a full share of the
ardent and impulsive energy belonging to his years, was returning from
the chase, he happened to pass by the place where the herdsman lived.
Ascanius was followed by his dogs, and he had his bow and arrows in
his hand. As he was thus passing along a copse of wood, near a brook,
the dogs came suddenly upon Sylvia's stag. The confiding animal,
unconscious of any danger, had strayed away from the herdsman's
grounds to this grove, and had gone down to the brook to drink. The
dogs immediately sprang upon him, in full cry. Ascanius followed,
drawing at the same time an arrow from his quiver and fitting it to
the bow. As soon as he came in sight of the stag, he let fly his
arrow. The arrow pierced the poor fugitive in the side, and inflicted
a dreadful wound. It did not, however, bring him down. The stag
bounded on down the valley toward his home, as if to seek protection
from Sylvia. He came rushing into the house, marking his way with
blood, ran to the covert which Sylvia had provided for his
resting-place at night, and crouching down there he filled the whole
dwelling with piteous bleatings and cries.

As soon as Tyrrheus, the father of Sylvia, and the two young men, her
brothers, knew who it was that had thus wantonly wounded their
favorite, they were filled with indignation and rage. They went out
and aroused the neighboring peasantry, who very easily caught the
spirit of resentment and revenge which burned in the bosoms of
Tyrrheus and his sons. They armed themselves with clubs, firebrands,
scythes, and such other rustic weapons as came to hand, and rushed
forth, resolved to punish the overbearing insolence of their foreign
visitors, in the most summary manner.

In the mean time the Trojan youth, having heard the tidings of this
disturbance, began to gather hastily, but in great numbers, to defend
Ascanius. The parties on both sides were headstrong, and highly
excited; and before any of the older and more considerate chieftains
could interfere, a very serious conflict ensued. One of the sons of
Tyrrheus was killed. He was pierced in the throat by an arrow, and
fell and died immediately. His name was Almon. He was but a boy, or at
all events had not yet arrived at years of maturity, and his premature
and sudden death added greatly to the prevailing excitement. Another
man too was killed. At length the conflict was brought to an end for
the time but the excitement and the exasperation of the peasantry were
extreme. They carried the two dead bodies in procession to the
capital, to exhibit them to Latinus; and they demanded, in the most
earnest and determined manner, that he should immediately make war
upon the whole Trojan horde, and drive them back into the sea, whence
they came.

Latinus found it extremely difficult to withstand this torrent. He
remained firm for a time, and made every exertion in his power to
quell the excitement and to pacify the minds of his people. But all
was in vain. Public sentiment turned hopelessly against the Trojans,
and Æneas soon found himself shut up in his city, surrounded with
enemies, and left to his fate. Turnus was the leader of these foes.

He, however, did not despair. Both parties began to prepare vigorously
for war. Æneas himself went away with a few followers to some of the
neighboring kingdoms, to get succor from them. Neighboring states are
almost always jealous of each other, and are easily induced to take
part against each other, when involved in foreign wars. Æneas found
several of the Italian princes who were ready to aid him, and he
returned to his camp with considerable reinforcements, and with
promises of more. The war soon broke out, and was waged for a long
time with great determination on both sides and with varied success.

Latinus, who was now somewhat advanced in life, and had thus passed
beyond the period of ambition and love of glory, and who besides must
have felt that the interests of his family were now indissolubly bound
up in those of Æneas and Lavinia, watched the progress of the contest
with a very uneasy and anxious mind. He found that for a time at
least it would be out of his power to do any thing effectual to
terminate the war, so he allowed it to take its course, and contented
himself with waiting patiently, in hopes that an occasion which would
allow of his interposing with some hope of success, would sooner or
later come.

Such an occasion did come; for after the war had been prosecuted for
some time it was found, that notwithstanding the disadvantages under
which the Trojans labored, they were rather gaining than losing
ground. There were in fact some advantages as well as some
disadvantages in their position. They formed a compact and
concentrated body, while their enemies constituted a scattered
population, spreading in a more or less exposed condition over a
considerable extent of country. They had neither flocks nor herds, nor
any other property for their enemies to plunder, while the Rutulians
and Latins had great possessions, both of treasure in the towns and of
rural produce in the country, so that when the Trojans gained the
victory over them in any sally or foray, they always came home laden
with booty, as well as exultant in triumph and pride; while if the
Latins conquered the Trojans in a battle, they had nothing but the
empty honor to reward them. The Trojans, too, were hardy, enduring,
and indomitable. The alternative with them was victory or destruction.
Their protracted voyage, and the long experience of hardships and
sufferings which they had undergone, had inured them to privation and
toil, so that they proved to the Latins and Rutulians to be very
obstinate and formidable foes.

At length, as usual in such cases, indications gradually appeared that
both sides began to be weary of the contest. Latinus availed himself
of a favorable occasion which offered, to propose that embassadors
should be sent to Æneas with terms of peace. Turnus was very much
opposed to any such plan. He was earnestly desirous of continuing to
prosecute the war. The other Latin chieftains reproached him then with
being the cause of all the calamities which they were enduring, and
urged the unreasonableness on his part of desiring any longer to
protract the sufferings of his unhappy country, merely to gratify his
own private resentment and revenge. Turnus ought not any longer to
ask, they said, that others should fight in his quarrel; and they
proposed that he should himself decide the question between him and
Æneas, by challenging the Trojan leader to fight him in single combat.

Latinus strongly disapproved of this proposal. He was weary of war and
bloodshed, and wished that the conflict might wholly cease; and he
urged that peace should be made with Æneas, and that his original
design of giving him Lavinia for his wife should be carried into
execution. For a moment Turnus seemed to hesitate, but in looking
towards Lavinia who, with Amata her mother, was present at this
consultation, he saw, or thought he saw, in the agitation which she
manifested, proofs of her love for him, and indications of a wish on
her part that he and not Æneas should win her for his bride.

He accordingly without any farther hesitation or delay agreed to the
proposal of the counsellor. The challenge to single combat was given
and accepted, and on the appointed day the ground was marked out for
the duel, and both armies were drawn up upon the field, to be
spectators of the fight.

After the usual preparations the conflict began; but, as frequently
occurs in such cases, it was not long confined to the single pair of
combatants with which it commenced. Others were gradually drawn in,
and the duel became in the end a general battle. Æneas and the Trojans
were victorious, and both Latinus and Turnus were slain. This ended
the war. Æneas married Lavinia, and thenceforth reigned with her over
the kingdom of Latium as its rightful sovereign.

Æneas lived several years after this, and has the credit, in history,
of having managed the affairs of the kingdom in a very wise and
provident manner. He had brought with him from Troy the arts and the
learning of the Greeks, and these he introduced to his people so as
greatly to improve their condition. He introduced, too, many
ceremonies of religious worship, which had prevailed in the countries
from which he had come, or in those which he had visited in his long
voyage. These ceremonies became at last so firmly established among
the religious observances of the inhabitants of Latium, that they
descended from generation to generation, and in subsequent years
exercised great influence, in modeling the religious faith and worship
of the Roman people. They thus continued to be practiced for many
ages, and, through the literature of the Romans, became subsequently
known and celebrated throughout the whole civilized world.

At length, in a war which Æneas was waging with the Rutulians, he was
once, after a battle, reduced to great extremity of danger, and in
order to escape from his pursuers he attempted to swim across a
stream, and was drowned. The name of this stream was Numicius. It
flowed into the sea a little north of Lavinium. It must have been
larger in former times than it is now, for travelers who visit it at
the present day say that it is now only a little rivulet, in which it
would be almost impossible for any one to be drowned.

The Trojan followers of Æneas concealed his body, and spread the story
among the people of Latium that he had been taken up to heaven. The
people accordingly, having before considered their king as the son of
a goddess, now looked upon him as himself divine. They accordingly
erected altars to him in Latium, and thenceforth worshiped him as a



B.C. 800

Rhea Silvia.--The order of vestal virgins.--The ancient
focus.--Arrangement for fire.--Nature of the ceremonies instituted in
honor of Vesta.--Her vestal virgins.--Their duties.--Terrible punishment
for those who violated their vows.--Similar observances in modern
times.--Influence of the vestal institution.--Ceremonies.--Qualifications
of the candidate.--Term of service.--The sacred fire.--Punishment for
neglect of duty.--Question in regard to the succession.--Origin of the
name Silvius.--History of Ascanius.--His war with Mezentius.--The
Trojans victorious.--Settlement of the kingdom.--Lavinia recalled.--The
building of Alba Longa.--Situation of Alba Longa.--The name.--Successor
to Ascanius.--Perplexing question.--Settlement of the
question.--Tiberinus.--The story of Alladius and his thunder.--Death of
Alladius.--Superstitions.--Numitor and Amulius.--Their respective
characters.--Division of their father's possessions.--Policy of
Numitor.--Death of Egestus.--Rhea enters upon her duties as a vestal
virgin.--Unexpected events announced.

Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus, was a vestal virgin, who lived in
the kingdom of Latium about four hundred years after the death of
Æneas. A vestal virgin was a sort of priestess, who was required, like
the nuns of modern times, to live in seclusion from the rest of the
world, and devote their time wholly and without reserve to the
services of religion. They were, like nuns, especially prohibited from
all association and intercourse with men.

Æneas himself is said to have founded the order of vestal virgins, and
to have instituted the rites and services which were committed to
their charge. These rites and services were in honor of Vesta, who was
the goddess of Home. The fireside has been, in all ages and countries,
the center and the symbol of home, and the worship of Vesta consisted,
accordingly, of ceremonies designed to dignify and exalt the fireside
in the estimation of the people. Instead of the images and altars
which were used in the worship of the other deities, a representation
of a _fire-stand_ was made, such as were used in the houses of those
days; and upon this sacred stand a fire was kept continually burning,
and various rites and ceremonies were performed in connection with it,
in honor of the domestic virtues and enjoyments, of which it was the
type and symbol.

These fire-stands, as used by the ancients, were very different from
the fire-places of modern times, which are recesses in chimneys with
flues above for the passage of the smoke. The household fires of the
ancients were placed in the center of the apartment, on a hearth or
supporter called the _focus_. This hearth was made sometimes of stone
or brick, and sometimes of bronze. The smoke escaped above, through
openings in the roof. This would seem, according to the ideas of the
present day, a very comfortless arrangement; but it must be remembered
that the climate in those countries was mild, and there was
accordingly but little occasion for fire; and then, besides, such were
the habits of the people at this period of the world, that not only
their pursuits and avocations, but far the greater portion of their
pleasures, called them into the open air. Still, the fire-place was,
with them as with us, the type and emblem of domestic life; and
accordingly, in paying divine honors to Vesta, the goddess of Home,
they set up a _focus_, or fire-place, in her temple, instead of an
altar, and in the place of sacrifices they simply kept burning upon it
a perpetual fire.

The priestesses who had charge of the fire were selected for this
purpose when they were children. It was required that they should be
from six to ten years of age. When chosen they were consecrated to the
service of Vesta by the most solemn ceremonies, and as virgins, were
bound under awful penalties, to spotless purity of life. As the
perpetual fire in the temple of Vesta represented the fire of the
domestic hearth, so these vestal virgins represented the maidens by
whom the domestic service of a household is performed; and the life of
seclusion and celibacy which was required of them was the emblem of
the innocence and purity which the institution of the family is
expressly intended to guard. The duties of the vestals were analogous
to those of domestic maidens. They were to watch the fire, and never
to allow it to go out. They were to perform various rites and
ceremonies connected with the worship of Vesta and to keep the
interior of the temple and the shrines pure and clean, and the sacred
vessels and utensils arranged, as in a well-ordered household. In a
word, they were to be, in purity, in industry, in neatness, in order,
and in patience and vigilance, the perfect impersonation of maidenly
virtue as exhibited in its own proper field of duty at home.

The most awful penalties were visited upon the head of any vestal
virgin who was guilty of violating her vows. There is no direct
evidence what these penalties were at this early period, but in
subsequent years, at Rome, where the vestal virgins resided, the man
who was guilty of enticing one of them away from her duty was publicly
scourged to death in the Roman forum. For the vestal herself, thus led
away, a cell was dug beneath the ground, and vaulted over. A pit led
down to this subterranean dungeon, entering it by one side. In the
dungeon itself there was placed a table, a lamp, and a little food.
The descent was by a ladder which passed down through the pit. The
place of this terrible preparation for punishment was near one of the
gates of the city, and when all was ready the unhappy vestal was
brought forth, at the head of a great public procession,--she herself
being attended by her friends and relatives, all mourning and
lamenting her fate by the way. The ceremony, in a word, was in all
respects a funeral, except that the person who was to be buried was
still alive. On arriving at the spot, the wretched criminal was
conducted down the ladder and placed upon the couch in the cell. The
assistants who performed this service then returned; the ladder was
drawn up; earth was thrown in until the pit was filled; and the erring
girl was left to her fate, which was, when her lamp had burned out,
and her food was expended, to starve by slow degrees, and die at last
in darkness and despair.

If we would do full justice to the ancient founders of civilization
and empire, we should probably consider their enshrinement of Vesta,
and the contriving of the ceremonies and observances which were
instituted in honor of her, not as the setting up of an idol or false
god, for worship, in the sense in which Christian nations worship the
spiritual and eternal Jehovah--but rather as the embodiment of an
idea,--a principle,--as the best means, in those rude ages, of
attracting to it the general regard.

Even in our own days, and in Christian lands, men erect a pole in
honor of liberty, and surmount it with the image of a cap. And if,
instead of the cap, they were to place a carved effigy of liberty
above, and to assemble for periodical celebrations below, with games,
and music, and banners, we should not probably call them idolaters. So
Christian poets write odes and invocations to Peace, to
Disappointment, to Spring, to Beauty, in which they impersonate an
idea, or a principle, and address it in the language of adoration, as
if it were a sentient being, possessing magical and mysterious powers.
In the same manner, the rites and celebrations of ancient times are
not necessarily all to be considered as idolatry, and denounced as
inexcusably wicked and absurd. Our fathers set up an image in honor of
liberty, to strengthen the influence of the love of liberty on the
popular mind. It is possible that Æneas looked upon the subject in the
same light, in erecting a public fireside in honor of domestic peace
and happiness, and in designating maidens to guard it with constant
vigilance and with spotless purity. At all events, the institution
exercised a vast and an incalculable power, in impressing the minds of
men, in those rude ages, with a sense of the sacredness of the
domestic tie, and in keeping before their minds a high standard, in
theory at least, of domestic honor and purity. We must remember that
they had not then the word of God, nor any means of communicating to
the minds of the people any general enlightenment and instruction.
They were obliged, therefore, to resort to the next best method which
their ingenuity could devise.

There were a great many very extraordinary rites and ceremonies
connected with the service of the vestal altar, and many singular
regulations for the conduct of it, the origin and design of which it
would now be very difficult to ascertain. As has already been
remarked, the virgins were chosen when very young, being, when
designated to the office, not under six nor over ten years of age.
They were chosen by the king, and it was necessary that the candidate,
besides the above-named requisite in regard to age, should be in a
perfect condition of soundness and health in respect to all her bodily
limbs and members, and also to the faculties of her mind. It was
required too that she should be the daughter of free and freeborn
parents, who had never been in slavery, and had never followed any
menial or degrading occupation; and also that both her parents should
be living. To be an orphan was considered, it seems, in some sense an

The service of the vestal virgins continued for thirty years; and when
this period had expired, the maidens were discharged from their vows,
and were allowed, if they chose, to lay aside their vestal robes, and
the other emblems of their office, and return to the world, with the
privilege even of marrying, if they chose to do so. Though the laws
however permitted this, there was a public sentiment against it, and
it was seldom that any of the vestal priestesses availed themselves of
the privilege. They generally remained after their term of service had
expired, in attendance at the temple, and died as they had lived in
the service of the goddess.

One of the chief functions of the virgins, in their service in the
temple, was to keep the sacred fire perpetually burning. This fire was
never to go out, and if, by any neglect on the part of the vestal in
attendance, this was allowed to occur, the guilty maiden was punished
terribly by scourging. The punishment was inflicted by the hands of
the highest pontifical officer of the state. The laws of the
institution however evinced their high regard for the purity and
modesty of the vestal maidens by requiring that the blows should be
administered in the dark, the sufferer having been previously prepared
to receive them by being partially undressed by her female attendants.
The extinguished fire was then rekindled with many solemn ceremonies.

Rhea Silvia, the mother of Romulus, was, we repeat, a vestal virgin.
She lived four hundred years after the death of Æneas. During these
four centuries, the kingdom had been governed by the descendants of
Æneas, generally in a peaceful and prosperous manner, although some
difficulties occurred in the establishment of the succession
immediately after Æneas's death. It will be remembered that Æneas was
drowned during the continuance of the war. He left one son, and
perhaps others. The one who figured most conspicuously in the
subsequent history of the kingdom, was Ascanius, the son who had
accompanied Æneas from Troy, and who had now attained to years of
maturity. He, of course, on his father's death, immediately succeeded

There was some question, however, whether, after all, Lavinia herself
was not entitled to the kingdom. It was doubtful, according to the
laws and usages of those days, whether Æneas held the realm in his own
right, or as the husband of Lavinia, who was the daughter and heir of
Latinus, the ancient and legitimate king. Lavinia, however, seemed to
have no disposition to assert her claim. She was of a mild and gentle
spirit; and, besides, her health was at that time such as to lead her
to wish for retirement and repose. She even had some fears for her
personal safety, not knowing but that Ascanius would be suspicious and
jealous of her on account of her claims to the throne, and that he
might be tempted to do her some injury. Her husband had been her only
protector among the Trojans, and now, since he was no more, and
another, who was in some sense her rival, had risen to power, she
naturally felt insecure. She accordingly took the first opportunity to
retire from Lavinium. She went away into the forests in the interior
of the country, with a very few attendants and friends, and concealed
herself there in a safe retreat. The family that received and
sheltered her was that of Tyrrheus, the chief of her father's
shepherds, whose children's stag Ascanius had formerly killed. Here,
in a short time, she had a son. She determined to name him from his
father; and in order to commemorate his having been born in the midst
of the wild forest scenes which surrounded her at the time of his
birth, she called him in full, Æneas of the woods, or, as it was
expressed in the language which was then used in Latium, Æneas
Silvius. The boy, when he grew up, was always known by this name in
subsequent history.

And not only did he himself retain the name, but he transmitted it to
his posterity, for all the kings that afterward descended from him,
extending in a long line through a period of four hundred years, had
the word Silvius affixed to their names, in perpetual commemoration of
the romantic birth of their ancestor. Rhea, the mother of Romulus, of
whom we have already spoken, and of whom we shall presently have
occasion to speak still more, was Rhea _Silvia_, by reason of her
having been by birth a princess of this royal line.

Ascanius, in the mean time, on the death of his father, was for a time
so engrossed in the prosecution of the war, that he paid but little
attention to the departure of Lavinia. The name of the king of the
Rutulians who fought against him was Mezentius. Mezentius had a son
named Lausus, and both father and son were personally serving in the
army by which Ascanius was besieged in Lavinium. Mezentius had command
in the camp, at the head-quarters of the army, which was at some
distance from the city. Lausus headed an advanced guard, which had
established itself strongly at a post which they had taken near the
gates. In this state of things, Ascanius, one dark and stormy night,
planned a sortie. He organized a desperate body of followers, and
after watching the flashes of lightning for a time, to find omens from
them indicating success, he gave the signal. The gates were opened and
the column of armed men sallied forth, creeping noiselessly forward
in the darkness and gloom, until they came to the encampment of
Lausus. They fell upon this camp with an irresistible rush, and with
terrific shouts and outcries. The whole detachment were taken entirely
by surprise, and great numbers were made prisoners or slain. Lausus
himself was killed.

Excited by their victory, the Trojan soldiers, headed by Ascanius, now
turned their course toward the main body of the Rutulian army.
Mezentius had, however, in the mean time, obtained warning of their
approach, and when they reached his camp he was ready to retreat. He
fled with all his forces toward the mountains. Ascanius and the
Trojans followed him. Mezentius halted and attempted to fortify
himself on a hill. Ascanius surrounded the hill, and soon compelled
his enemies to come to terms. A treaty was made, and Mezentius and his
forces soon after withdrew from the country, leaving Ascanius and
Latium in peace.

Ascanius then, after having in some degree settled his affairs, began
to think of Lavinia. In fact, the Latin portion of his subjects
seemed disposed to murmur and complain, at her having been compelled
to withdraw from her own paternal kingdom, in order to leave the
throne to the occupancy of the son of a stranger. Some even feared
that she had come to some harm, or that Ascanius might in the end put
her to death when time had been allowed for the recollection of her to
pass in some degree from the minds of men. So the public began
generally to call for Lavinia's return.

Ascanius seems to have been well disposed to do justice in the case,
for he not only sought out Lavinia and induced her to return to the
capital with her little son, but he finally concluded to give up
Lavinium to her entirely, as her own rightful dominion, while he went
away and founded a new city for himself. He accordingly explored the
country around for a favorable site, and at length decided upon a spot
nearly north of Lavinium, and not many miles distant from it. The
place which he marked out for the walls of the city was at the foot of
a mountain, on a tract of somewhat elevated ground, which formed one
of the lower declivities of it. The mountain, rising abruptly on one
side, formed a sure defense on that side: on the other side was a
small lake, of clear and pellucid water. In front, and somewhat
below, there were extended plains of fertile land. Ascanius, after
having determined on this place as the site of his intended city, set
his men at work to make the necessary constructions. Some built the
walls of the city, and laid out streets and erected houses within.
Others were employed in forming the declivity of the mountain above
into terraces, for the cultivation of the vine. The slopes which they
thus graded had a southern exposure, and the grapes which subsequently
grew there were luxurious and delicious in flavor. From the little
lake channels were cut leading over the plains below, and by this
means a constant supply of water could be conveyed to the fields of
grain which were to be sown there, for purposes of irrigation. Thus
the place which Ascanius chose furnished all possible facilities both
for maintaining, and also for defending the people who were to make it
their abode. The town was called Alba Longa, that is long Alba. It was
called _long_ to distinguish it from another Alba. It was really long
in its form, as the buildings extended for a considerable distance
along the border of the lake.

Ascanius reigned over thirty years at Alba Longa, while Lavinia
reigned at Lavinium, each friendly to the other and governing the
country at large, together, in peace and harmony. In process of time
both died. Ascanius left a son whose name was Iulus, while Æneas
Silvius was Lavinia's heir.

There was, of course, great diversity of opinion throughout the nation
in regard to the comparative claims of these two princes,
respectively. Some maintained that Æneas the Trojan became, by
conquest, the rightful sovereign of Latium, irrespective of any rights
that he acquired through his marriage with Lavinia, and that Iulus, as
the son of his eldest son, rightfully succeeded him. Others contended
that Lavinia represented the ancient and the truly legitimate royal
line, and that Æneas Silvius, as her son and heir, ought to be placed
upon the throne. And there were those who proposed to compromise the
question, by dividing Latium into two separate kingdoms, giving up one
part to Iulus, with Alba Longa for its capital, and the other, with
Lavinium for its capital, to Æneas Silvius, Lavinia's heir. This
proposition was, however, overruled. The two kingdoms, thus formed
would be small and feeble, it was thought, and unable to defend
themselves against the other Italian nations in case of war. The
question was finally settled by a different sort of compromise. It was
agreed that Latium should retain its integrity, and that Æneas
Silvius, being the son both of Æneas and Lavinia, and thus
representing both branches of the reigning power, should be the king,
while Iulus and his descendants forever, should occupy the position,
scarcely less inferior, of sovereign power in matters of religion.
Æneas Silvius, therefore, and his descendants, became _kings_, and as
such commanded the armies and directed the affairs of state, while
Iulus and his family were exalted, in connection with them, to the
highest pontifical dignities.

This state of things, once established, continued age after age, and
century after century, for about four hundred years. No records, and
very few traditions in respect to what occurred during this period
remain. One circumstance, however, took place which caused itself to
be remembered. There was one king in the line of the Silvii, whose
name was Tiberinus. In one of his battles with the armies of the
nation adjoining him on the northern side, he attempted to swim across
the river that formed the frontier. He was forced down by the current,
and was seen no more. By the accident, however, he gave the name of
Tiber to the stream, and thus perpetuated his own memory through the
subsequent renown of the river in which he was drowned. Before this
time the river was called the Albula.

Another incident is related, which is somewhat curious, as
illustrating the ideas and customs of the times. One of this Silvian
line of sovereigns was named Alladius. This Alladius conceived the
idea of making the people believe that he was a god, and in order to
accomplish this end he resorted to the contrivance of imitating, by
artificial means, the sound of the rumbling of thunder and the flashes
of lightning at night from his palace on the banks of the lake at Alba
Longa. He employed, probably, for this purpose some means similar to
those resorted to for the same end in theatrical spectacles at the
present day. The people, however were not deceived by this imposture,
though they soon after fell into an error nearly as absurd as
believing in this false thunder would have been; for, on an occasion
which occurred not long afterward, probably that of a great storm
accompanied with torrents of rain upon the mountains around, the lake
rose so high as to produce an inundation, in which the water broke
into the palace, and the pretended thunderer was drowned. The people
considered that he was destroyed thus by the special interposition of
heaven, to punish him for his impiety in daring to assume what was
then considered the peculiar attribute and prerogative of supreme
divinity. In fact, the rumor circulated, and one historian has
recorded it as true, that Alladius was struck by the lightning which
accompanied the storm, and thus killed at once by the terrible agency
which he had presumed to counterfeit, before the inundation of the
palace came on. If he met his death in any sudden and unusual manner,
it is not at all surprising that his fate should have been attributed
to the judgment of God, for thunder was regarded in those days with an
extreme and superstitious veneration and awe. All this is, however,
now changed. Men have learned to understand thunder, and to protect
themselves from its power; and now, since Franklin and Morse have
commenced the work of subduing the potent and mysterious agent in
which it originates, to the human will, the presumption is not very
strong against the supposition that the time may come when human
science may actually produce it in the sky--as it is now produced, in
effect, upon the lecturer's table.

At last, toward the close of the four hundred years during which the
dynasty of the Silvii continued to reign over Latium, a certain
monarch of the series died, leaving two children, Numitor and Amulius.
Numitor was the eldest son, and as such entitled to succeed his
father. But he was of a quiet and somewhat inefficient disposition,
while his younger brother was ardent and ambitious, and very likely to
aspire to the possession of power. The father, it seems, anticipated
the possibility of dissension between his sons after his death, and in
order to do all in his power to guard against it, he endeavored to
arrange and settle the succession before he died. In the course of the
negotiations which ensued, Amulius proposed that his father's
possessions should be divided into two portions, the kingdom to
constitute one, and the wealth and treasures the other, and that
Numitor should choose which portion he would have. This proposal
seemed to have the appearance, at least, of reasonableness and
impartiality; and it would have been really very reasonable, if the
right to the inheritance thus disposed of, had belonged equally to the
younger and to the elder son. But it did not. And thus the offer of
Amulius was, in effect, a proposition to divide with himself that
which really belonged wholly to his brother.

Numitor, however, who, it seems, was little disposed to contend for
his rights, agreed to this proposal. He, however, chose the kingdom,
and left the wealth for his brother; and the inheritance was
accordingly thus divided on the death of the father. But Amulius, as
soon as he came into possession of his treasures, began to employ them
as a means of making powerful friends, and strengthening his political
influence. In due time he usurped the throne, and Numitor, giving up
the contest with very little attempt to resist the usurpation, fled
and concealed himself in some obscure place of retreat. He had,
however, two children, a son and a daughter, which he left behind him
in his flight. Amulius feared that these children might, at some
future time, give him trouble, by advancing claims as their father's
heirs. He did not dare to kill them openly, for fear of exciting the
popular odium against himself. He was obliged, therefore, to resort to

The son, whose name was Egestus, he caused to be slain at a hunting
party, by employing remorseless and desperate men to shoot him, in the
heat of the chase, with arrows, or thrust him through with a spear,
watching their opportunity for doing this at a moment when they were
not observed, or when it might appear to be an accident. The daughter,
whose name was Rhea--the Rhea Silvia named at the commencement of this
chapter--he could not well actually destroy, without being known to be
her murderer; and perhaps too, he had enough remaining humanity to be
unwilling to shed the blood of a helpless and beautiful maiden, the
daughter, too, of his own brother. Then, besides, he had a daughter of
his own named Antho, who was the playmate and companion of Rhea, and
with whose affection for her cousin he must have felt some sympathy.
He would not, therefore, destroy the child, but contented himself
with determining to make her a vestal virgin. By this means she would
be solemnly set apart to a religious service, which would incapacitate
her from aspiring to the throne; and by being cut off, by her vestal
vows, from all possibility of forming any domestic ties, she could
never, he thought, have any offspring to dispute his claim to the

There was nothing very extraordinary in this consecration of his
niece, princess as she was, to the service of the vestal fire; for it
had been customary for children of the highest rank to be designated
to this office. The little Rhea, for she was yet a child when her
uncle took this determination in respect to her, made, as would
appear, no objection to what she perhaps considered a distinguished
honor. The ceremonies, therefore, of her consecration were duly
performed; she took the vows, and bound herself by the most awful
sanctions--unconscious, however, perhaps, herself of what she was
doing--to lead thenceforth a life of absolute celibacy and seclusion.

She was then received into the temple of Vesta, and there, with the
other maidens who had been consecrated before her, she devoted
herself to the discharge of the duties of her office, without
reproach, for several years. At length, however, certain circumstances
occurred, which suddenly terminated Rhea's career as a vestal virgin,
and led to results of the most momentous character. What these
circumstances were, will be explained in the next chapter.



B.C. 774-755

The temple of Mars at Alba.--Its situation.--Rhea's fault.--Her
excuse.--The wolf story.--Rhea in trouble.--Birth of her
sons.--Antho.--The anger of Amulius.--Rhea imprisoned.--Faustulus.--His
plan.--The box that he made.--He follows the stream.--The children
thrown out upon the sand.--The wolf.--The woodpecker.--The children
rescued by Faustulus.--He carries the children home.--Their
education.--The character of the boys.--Romulus and Remus are generous
and brave.--Quarrel among the herdsmen.--Remus is suddenly made
prisoner.--Heavy charges against Remus.--Remus before Numitor and
Amulius.--Remus gives an account of himself.--Numitor learns the
truth.--Romulus.--Romulus plans a rebellion.--Faustulus and the
arts.--Faustulus stopped at the gates of the city.--Faustulus is greatly
embarrassed.--Amulius is alarmed.--He sends for Numitor.--Romulus
assaults the city.--The revolt is successful.--Amulius is slain.

Although the temple of Vesta itself, at Alba Longa, was the principal
scene of the duties which devolved upon the vestal virgins, still they
were not wholly confined in their avocations to that sacred edifice,
but were often called upon, one or two at a time, to perform services,
or to assist in the celebration of rites, at other places in the city
and vicinity.

[Illustration: RHEA SILVIA.]

There was a temple consecrated to Mars near to Alba. It was situated
in an opening in the woods, in some little glen or valley at the base
of the mountain. There was a stream of water running through the
ground, and Rhea in the performance of her duties as a vestal was
required at one time to pass to and fro through the groves in this
solitary place to fetch water. Here she allowed herself, in violation
of her vestal vows, to form the acquaintance of a man, whom she met in
the groves. She knew well that by doing so she made herself subject
to the most dreadful penalties in case her fault should become known.
Still she yielded to the temptation, and allowed herself to be
persuaded to remain with the stranger. She said afterward, when the
facts were brought to light, that her meeting with this companion was
wholly unintentional on her part. She saw a wolf in the grove, she
said, and she ran terrified into a cave to escape from him, and that
the man came to her there, to protect her, and then compelled her to
remain with him. Besides, from his dress, and countenance, and air,
she had believed him, she said, to be the God Mars himself, and
thought that it was not her duty to resist his will.

However this may be, her stolen interview or interviews with this
stranger were not known at the time, and Rhea perhaps thought that her
fault would never be discovered. Some weeks after this, however, it
was observed by her companions and friends that she began to appear
thoughtful and depressed. Her dejection increased day by day; her face
became wan and pale, and her eyes were often filled with tears. They
asked her what was the cause of her trouble. She said that she was
sick. She was soon afterward excused from her duties in the Vestal
temple, and went away, and remained for some time shut up in
retirement and seclusion. There at length two children, twins, were
born to her.

It was only through the influence of Antho, Rhea's cousin, that the
unhappy vestal was not put to death by Amulius, before her children
were born, at the time when her fault was first discovered. The laws
of the State in respect to vestal virgins, which were inexorably
severe, would have justified him in causing her to be executed at
once, but Antho interceded so earnestly for her unhappy cousin, that
Amulius for a time spared her life. When, however, her sons were born,
the anger of Amulius broke out anew. If she had remained childless he
would probably have allowed her to live, though she could of course
never have been restored to her office in the temple of Vesta. Or if
she had given birth to a daughter she might have been pardoned, since
a daughter, on account of her sex, would have been little likely to
disturb Amulius in the possession of the kingdom. But the existence of
two sons, born directly in the line of the succession, and each of
them having claims superior to his own, endangered, most imminently,
he perceived, his possession of power. He was of course greatly

He caused Rhea to be shut up in close imprisonment, and as for the
boys, he ordered them to be thrown into the Tiber. The Tiber was at
some considerable distance from Alba; but it was probably near the
place where Rhea had resided in her retirement, and where the children
were born.

A peasant of that region was intrusted with the task of throwing the
children into the river. Whether his official duty in undertaking this
commission required him actually to drown the boys, or whether he was
allowed to give the helpless babes some little chance for their lives,
is not known. At all events he determined that in committing the
children to the stream he would so arrange it that they should float
away from his sight, in order that he might not himself be a witness
of their dying struggles and cries. He accordingly put them upon a
species of float that he made,--a sort of box or trough, as would seem
from the ancient descriptions, which he had hollowed out from a
log,--and disposing their little limbs carefully within this narrow
receptacle, he pushed the frail boat, with its navigators still more
frail, out upon the current of the river.


The name of the peasant who performed this task was Faustulus. The
peasant also who subsequently,--as will hereafter appear,--found and
took charge of the children, is spoken of by the ancient historians as
Faustulus, too. In fact we might well suppose that no man, however
rustic and rude, could give his time and his thoughts to two such
babes long enough to make an ark for them, for the purpose of making
it possible to save their lives, and then place them carefully in it
to send them away, without becoming so far interested in their fate,
and so touched by their mute and confiding helplessness, as to feel
prompted to follow the stream to see how so perilous a navigation
would end. We have, however, no direct evidence that Faustulus did so
watch the progress of his boat down the river. The story is that it
was drifted along, now whirling in eddies, and now shooting down over
rapid currents, until at last, at a bend in the river, it was thrown
upon the beach, and being turned over by the concussion, the children
were rolled out upon the sand.

The neighboring thickets soon of course resounded with their plaintive
cries. A mother wolf who was sleeping there came out to see what was
the matter. Now a mother, of whatever race, is irresistibly drawn by
an _instinct_, if incapable of a _sentiment_, of affection, to love
and to cherish any thing that is newly born. The wolf caressed the
helpless babes, imagining perhaps that they were her own offspring;
and lying down by their side she cherished and fed them, watching all
the time with a fierce and vigilant eye for any approaching enemy or
danger. The rude nursery might very naturally be supposed to be in
dangerous proximity to the water, but it happened that the river, when
the babes were set adrift in it, was very high, from the effect of
rains upon the mountains, and thus soon after the children were thrown
upon the land, the water began to subside. In a short time it wholly
returned to its accustomed channel, leaving the children on the warm
sand, high above all danger. The wolf was not their only guardian. A
woodpecker, the tradition says, watched over them too, and brought
them berries and other sylvan food. The reader will perhaps be
disposed to hesitate a little in receiving this last statement for
sober history, but as no part of the whole narrative will bear any
very rigid scrutiny, we may as well take the story of the woodpecker
along with the rest.

In a short time the children were rescued from their exposed situation
by a shepherd, who is called Faustulus, and may or may not have been
the same with the Faustulus by whom they had been exposed. Faustulus
carried the children to his hut; and there the maternal attentions of
the wolf and the woodpecker were replaced by those of the shepherd's
wife. Her name was Larentia. Faustulus was one of Amulius's herdsmen,
having the care of the flocks and herds that grazed on this part of
the royal domain, but living, like any other shepherd, in great
seclusion, in his hut in the forests. He not only rescued the
children, but he brought home and preserved the trough in which they
had been floated down the river. He put this relic aside, thinking
that the day might perhaps come in which there would be occasion to
produce it. He told the story of the children only to a very few
trustworthy friends, and he accompanied the communication, in the
cases where he made it, with many injunctions of secrecy. He named the
foundlings Romulus and Remus, and as they grew up they passed
generally for the shepherd's sons.

Faustulus felt a great degree of interest, and a high sense of
responsibility too, in having these young princes under his care. He
took great pains to protect them from all possible harm, and to
instruct them in every thing which it was in those days considered
important for young men to know. It is even said that he sent them to
a town in Latium where there was some sort of seminary of learning,
that their minds might receive a proper intellectual culture. As they
grew up they were both handsome in form and in countenance, and were
characterized by a graceful dignity of air and demeanor, which made
them very attractive in the eyes of all who beheld them. They were
prominent among the young herdsmen and hunters of the forest, for
their courage, their activity, their strength, their various personal
accomplishments, and their high and generous qualities of mind.
Romulus was more silent and thoughtful than his brother, and seemed to
possess in some respects superior mental powers. Both were regarded by
all who knew them with feelings of the highest respect and

Romulus and Remus treated their own companions and equals, that is the
young shepherds and herdsmen of the mountains, with great courtesy and
kindness, and were very kindly regarded by them in return. They,
however, evinced a great degree of independence of spirit in respect
to the various bailiffs and chief herdsmen, and other officers of
field and forest police, who exercised authority in the region where
they lived. These men were sometimes haughty and domineering, and the
peasantry in general stood greatly in awe of them. Romulus and Remus,
however, always faced them without fear, never seeming to be alarmed
at their threats, or at any other exhibitions of their anger. In fact,
the boys seemed to be imbued with a native loftiness and fearlessness
of character, as if they had inherited a spirit of confidence and
courage with their royal blood, or had imbibed a portion of the
indomitable temper of their fierce foster mother.

They were generous, however, as well as brave. They took the part of
the weak and the oppressed against the tyrannical and the strong in
the rustic contentions that they witnessed; they interposed to help
the feeble, to relieve those who were in want, and to protect the
defenseless. They hunted wild beasts, they fought against robbers,
they rescued and saved the lost. For amusements, they practiced
running, wrestling, racing, throwing javelins and spears, and other
athletic feats and accomplishments--in every thing excelling all their
competitors, and becoming in the end greatly renowned.

Numitor, the father of Rhea Silvia, whom Amulius had dethroned and
banished from Alba, was all this time still living; and he had now at
length become so far reconciled to Amulius as to be allowed to reside
in Alba--though he lived there as a private citizen. He owned, it
seems, some estates near the Tiber, where he had flocks and herds that
were tended by his shepherds and herdsmen. It happened at one time
that some contention arose between the herdsmen of Numitor and those
of Amulius, among whom Romulus and Remus were residing. Now as the
young men had thus far, of course, no idea whatever of their
relationship to Numitor, there was no reason why they should feel any
special interest in his affairs, and they accordingly, as might
naturally have been expected, took part with Amulius in this quarrel,
since Faustulus, and all the shepherds around them were on that side.
The herdsmen of Numitor in the course of the quarrel drove away some
of the cattle which were claimed as belonging to the herdsmen of
Amulius. Romulus and Remus headed a band which they hastily called
together, to pursue the depredators and bring the cattle back. They
succeeded in this expedition, and recaptured the herd. This incensed
the party of Numitor, and they determined on revenge.

They waited some time for a favorable opportunity. At length the time
came for celebrating a certain festival called the Supercalia, which
consisted of very rude games and ceremonies, in which men sacrificed
goats, and then dressed themselves partially in the skins, and ran
about whipping every one whom they met, with thongs made likewise of
the skins of goats, or of rabbits, or other animals remarkable for
their fecundity. The meaning of the ceremonies, so far as such uncouth
and absurd ceremonies could have any meaning, was to honor the God of
fertility and fruitfulness, and to promote the fruitfulness of their
flocks and herds, during the year ensuing at the time that the
celebrations were held.

The retainers and partisans of Numitor determined on availing
themselves of this opportunity to accomplish their object.
Accordingly, they armed themselves, and coming suddenly upon the spot
where the shepherds of Amulius were celebrating the games, they made a
rush for Remus, who was at that time, in accordance with the custom,
running to and fro, half-naked, and armed only with goat-skin thongs.
They succeeded in making him prisoner, and bore him away in triumph to

Of course, this daring act produced great excitement throughout the
country. Numitor was well pleased with the prize that he had secured,
but felt, at the same time, some fear of the responsibility which he
incurred by holding the prisoner. He was strongly inclined to proceed
against Remus, and punish him himself for the offenses which the
herdsmen of his lands charged against him; but he finally concluded
that this would not be safe, and he determined, in the end, to refer
the case to Amulius for decision. He accordingly sent Remus to
Amulius, making grievous charges against him, as a lawless desperado,
who, with his brother, Numitor said, were the terror of the forests,
through their domineering temper and their acts of robbery and rapine.

The king, pleased, perhaps, with the spirit of deference to his regal
authority on the part of his brother, implied in the referring of the
case of the accused to him for trial, sent Remus back again to
Numitor, saying that Numitor might punish the freebooter himself in
any way that he thought best. Remus was accordingly brought again to
Numitor's house. In the mean time, the fact of his being thus made a
prisoner, and charged with crime, and the proceedings in relation to
him, in sending him back and forth between Amulius and Numitor,
strongly attracted public attention. Every one was talking of the
prisoner, and discussing the question of his probable fate. The
general interest which was thus awakened in respect to him and to his
brother Romulus, revived the slumbering recollections in the minds of
the old neighbors of Faustulus, of the stories which he had told them
of his having found the twins on the bank of the river, in their
infancy. They told this story to Romulus, and he or some other friends
made it known to Remus while he was still confined.

When Remus was brought before Numitor--who was really his grandfather,
though the fact of this relationship was wholly unknown to both of
them--Numitor was exceedingly struck with his handsome countenance and
form, and with his fearless and noble demeanor. The young prisoner
seemed perfectly self-possessed and at his ease; and though he knew
well that his life was at stake, there was a certain air of calmness
and composure in his manner which seemed to denote very lofty
qualities, both of person and mind.

A vague recollection of the lost children of his daughter Rhea
immediately flashed across Numitor's mind. It changed all his anger
against Remus to a feeling of wondering interest and curiosity, and
gave to his countenance, as he looked upon his prisoner, an expression
of kind and tender regard. After a short pause Numitor addressed the
young captive--speaking in a gentle and conciliating manner--and asked
him who he was, and who his parents were.

"I will frankly tell you all that I know," said Remus, "since you
treat me in so fair and honorable a manner. The king delivered me up
to be punished, without listening to what I had to say, but you seem
willing to hear before you condemn. My name is Remus, and I have a
twin-brother named Romulus. We have always supposed ourselves to be
the children of Faustulus; but now, since this difficulty has
occurred, we have heard new tidings in respect to our origin. We are
told that we were found in our infancy, on the shore of the river, at
the place where Faustulus lives, and that near by there was a box or
trough, in which we had been floated down to the spot from a place
above. When Faustulus found us, there was a wolf and a woodpecker
taking care of us and bringing us food. Faustulus carried us to his
house, and brought us up as his children. He preserved the trough,
too, and has it now."

Numitor was, of course, greatly excited at hearing this intelligence.
He perceived at once that the finding of these children, both in
respect to time and place, and to all the attendant circumstances,
corresponded so precisely with the exposure of the children of Rhea
Silvia as to leave no reasonable ground for doubt that Romulus and
Remus were his grandsons. He resolved immediately to communicate this
joyful discovery to his daughter, if he could contrive the means of
gaining access to her; for during all this time she had been kept in
close confinement in her prison.

In the mean time, Romulus himself, at the house of Faustulus, in the
forests, had become greatly excited by the circumstances in which he
found himself placed. He had been first very much incensed at the
capture of Remus, and while concerting with Faustulus plans for
rescuing him, Faustulus had explained to him the mystery of his birth.
He had informed him not only how he was found with his brother, on the
bank of the river, but also had made known to him whose sons he and
Remus were. Romulus was, of course, extremely elated at this
intelligence. His native courage and energy were quickened anew by his
learning that he and his brother were princes, and as he believed,
rightfully entitled to the throne. He immediately began to form plans
for raising a rebellion against the government of Amulius, with a view
of first rescuing Remus from his power, and afterward taking such
ulterior steps as circumstances might require.

Faustulus, on the other hand, leaving Romulus to raise the forces for
his insurrection as he pleased, determined to go himself to Numitor
and reveal the secret of the birth of Romulus and Remus to him. In
order to confirm and corroborate his story, he took the trough with
him, carrying it under his cloak, in order to conceal it from view,
and in this manner made his appearance at the gates of Alba.

There was something in his appearance and manner when he arrived at
the gate, which attracted the attention of the officers on guard
there. He wore the dress of a countryman, and had obviously come in
from the forests, a long way; and there was something in his air
which denoted hurry and agitation. The soldiers asked him what he had
under his cloak, and compelled him to produce the ark to view. The
curiosity of the guardsmen was still more strongly aroused at seeing
this old relic. It was bound with brass bands, and it had some rude
inscription marked upon it. It happened that one of the guard was an
old soldier who had been in some way connected with the exposure of
the children of Rhea when they were set adrift in the river, and he
immediately recognized this trough as the float which they had been
placed in. He immediately concluded that some very extraordinary
movement was going on,--and he determined to proceed forthwith and
inform Amulius of what he had discovered. He accordingly went to the
king and informed him that a man had been intercepted at the gate of
the city, who was attempting to bring in, concealed under his cloak,
the identical ark or float, which to his certain knowledge had been
used in the case of the children of Rhea Silvia, for sending them
adrift on the waters of the Tiber.

The king was greatly excited and agitated at receiving this
intelligence. He ordered Faustulus to be brought into his presence.
Faustulus was much terrified at receiving this summons. He had but
little time to reflect what to say, and during the few minutes that
elapsed while they were conducting him into the presence of the king,
he found it hard to determine how much it would be best for him to
admit, and how much to deny. Finally, in answer to the interrogations
of the king, he acknowledged that he found the children and the ark in
which they had been drifted upon the shore, and that he had saved the
boys alive, and had brought them up as his children. He said, however,
that he did not know where they were. They had gone away, he alledged,
some years before, and were now living as shepherds in some distant
part of the country, he did not know exactly where.

Amulius then asked Faustulus what he had been intending to do with the
trough, which he was bringing so secretly into the city. Faustulus
said that he was going to carry it to Rhea in her prison, she having
often expressed a strong desire to see it, as a token or memorial
which would recall the dear babes that had lain in it very vividly to
her mind.

Amulius seemed satisfied that these statements were honest and true,
but they awakened in his mind a very great solicitude and anxiety. He
feared that the children, being still alive, might some day come to
the knowledge of their origin, and so disturb his possession of the
throne, and perhaps revenge, by some dreadful retaliation, the wrongs
and injuries which he had inflicted upon their mother and their
grandfather. The people, he feared, would be very much inclined to
take part with them, and not with him, in any contest which might
arise; for their sympathies were already on the side of Numitor. In a
word, he was greatly alarmed, and he was much at a loss to know what
to do, to avert the danger which was impending over him.

He concluded to send to Numitor and inquire of him whether he was
aware that the boys were still alive, and if so, if he knew where they
were to be found. He accordingly sent a messenger to his brother,
commissioned to make these inquiries. This messenger, though in the
service of Amulius, was really a friend to Numitor, and on being
admitted to Numitor's presence, when he went to make the inquiries as
directed by the king, he found Remus there,--though not, as he had
expected, in the attitude of a prisoner awaiting sentence from a
judge, but rather in that of a son in affectionate consultation with
his father. He soon learned the truth, and immediately expressed his
determination to espouse the cause of the prince. "The whole city will
be on your side," said he to Remus. "You have only to place yourself
at the head of the population, and proclaim your rights; and you will
easily be restored to the possession of them."

Just at this crisis a tumult was heard at the gates of the city.
Romulus had arrived there at the head of the band of peasants and
herdsmen that he had collected in the forests. These insurgents were
rudely armed and were organized in a very simple and primitive manner.
For weapons the peasants bore such implements of agriculture as could
be used for weapons, while the huntsmen brought their pikes, and
spears, and javelins, and such other projectiles as were employed in
those days in hunting wild beasts. The troop was divided into
companies of one hundred, and for banners they bore tufts of grass on
wisps of straw, or fern, or other herbage, tied at the top of a pole.
The armament was rude, but the men were resolute and determined, and
they made their appearance at the gates of the city upon the outside,
just in time to co-operate with Remus in the rebellion which he had
raised within.

The revolt was successful. A revolt is generally successful against a
despot, when the great mass of the population desire his downfall.
Amulius made a desperate attempt to stem the torrent, but his hour had
come. His palace was stormed, and he was slain. The revolution was
complete, and Romulus and Remus were masters of the country.



B.C. 754

The people of Alba Longa called together.--The address of Numitor to
the citizens.--Romulus and Remus come forward.--Plan for building a new
city.--Numitor is to render the necessary aid.--Great numbers flock
together to build the city.--The seven hills.--The Palatine
hill.--Difference of opinion between Romulus and Remus.--Advantages of
the Aventine hill.--Perfect equality of the two brothers.--Both
determined not to yield.--The brothers appeal to Numitor.--His
proposal.--The vultures of the Appenines.--Their function.--Powers of
the vulture.--Auguries.--Romulus and Remus take their
stations.--Result.--New dispute.--An open collision.--Faustulus
killed.--Romulus is victorious.--The building of the city goes
on.--Plowing the pomœrium.--Form of the enclosure.--The death of
Remus.--The institution of the Lemuria.--Description of the
ceremonies.--The black beans.--State of Rome after the death of
Remus.--The story of Celer.--Probable explanation of it.

As soon as the excitement and the agitations which attended the sudden
revolution by which Amulius was dethroned were in some measure calmed,
and tranquillity was restored, the question of the mode in which the
new government should be settled, arose. Numitor considered it best
that he should call an assembly of the people and lay the subject
before them. There was a very large portion of the populace who yet
knew nothing certain in respect to the causes of the extraordinary
events that had occurred. The city was filled with strange rumors, in
all of which truth and falsehood were inextricably mingled, so that
they increased rather than allayed the general curiosity and wonder.

Numitor accordingly convened a general assembly of the inhabitants of
Alba, in a public square. The rude and rustic mountaineers and
peasants whom Romulus had brought to the city came with the rest.
Romulus and Remus themselves did not at first appear. Numitor, when
the audience was assembled, came forward to address them. He gave them
a recital of all the events connected with the usurpation of Amulius.
He told them of the original division which had been made thirty or
forty years before, of the kingdom and the estates of his father,
between Amulius and himself,--of the plans and intrigues by which
Amulius had contrived to possess himself of the kingdom and reduce
him, Numitor, into subjection to his sway,--of his causing Egestus,
Numitor's son, to be slain in the hunting party, and then compelling
his little daughter Rhea to become a vestal virgin in order that she
might never be married. He then went on to describe the birth of
Romulus and Remus, the anger of Amulius when informed of the event,
his cruel treatment of the children and of the mother, and his orders
that the babes should be drowned in the Tiber. He gave an account of
the manner in which the infants had been put into the little wooden
ark, of their floating down the stream, and finally landing on the
bank, and of their being rescued, protected and fed, by the wolf and
the woodpecker. He closed his speech by saying that the young princes
were still alive, and that they were then at hand ready to present
themselves before the assembly.

As he said these words, Romulus and Remus came forward, and the vast
assembly, after gazing for a moment in silent wonder upon their tall
and graceful forms, in which they saw combined athletic strength and
vigor with manly beauty, they burst into long and loud acclamations.
As soon as the applause had in some measure subsided, Romulus and
Remus turned to their grandfather and hailed him king. The people
responded to this announcement with new plaudits, and Numitor was
universally recognized as the rightful sovereign.

It seems that notwithstanding the personal graces and accomplishments
of Romulus and Remus, and their popularity among their fellow
foresters, that they and their followers made a somewhat rude and wild
appearance in the city, and Numitor was very willing, when the state
of things had become somewhat settled, that his rustic auxiliaries
should find some occasion for withdrawing from the capital and
returning again to their own native fastnesses. Romulus and Remus,
however, having now learned that they were entitled to the regal name,
naturally felt desirous of possessing a little regal power, and thus
desired to remain in the city; while still they had too much
consideration for their grandfather to wish to deprive him of the
government. After some deliberation a plan was devised which promised
to gratify the wishes of all.

The plan was this, namely, that Numitor should set apart a place in
his kingdom of Latium where Romulus and Remus might build a city for
themselves,--taking with them to the spot the whole horde of their
retainers. The place which he designated for this purpose was the spot
on the banks of the Tiber where the two children had been landed when
floating down the stream. It was a wild and romantic region, and the
enterprise of building a city upon it was one exactly suited to engage
the attention and occupy the powers of such restless spirits as those
who had collected under the young princes' standard. Many of these
men, it is true, were shepherds and herdsmen, well disposed in mind,
though rude and rough in manners. But then there were many others of
a very turbulent and unmanageable character, outlaws, fugitives, and
adventurers of every description, who had fled to the woods to escape
punishment for former crimes, or seek opportunities for the commission
of new deeds of rapine and robbery; and who had seized upon the
occasion furnished by the insurrection against Amulius to come forth
into the world again. Criminals always flock into armies when armies
are raised; for war presents to the wicked and depraved all the
charms, with but half the danger, of a life of crime. War is in fact
ordinarily only a legal organization of crime.

Romulus and Remus entered into their grandfather's plan with great
readiness. Numitor promised to aid them in their enterprise by every
means in his power. He was to furnish tools and implements, for
excavations and building, and artisans so far as artisans were
required, and was also to provide such temporary supplies of
provisions and stores as might be required at the outset of the
undertaking. He gave permission also to any of his subjects to join
Romulus and Remus in their undertaking, and they, in order to increase
their numbers as much as possible, sent messengers around to the
neighboring country inviting all who were disposed, to come and take
part in the building of the new city. This invitation was accepted by
great numbers of people, from every rank and station in life.

Of course, however, the greater portion of those who came to join the
enterprise, were of a very low grade in respect to moral character.
Men of industry, integrity, and moral worth, who possessed kind hearts
and warm domestic affections, were generally well and prosperously
settled each in his own hamlet or town, and were little inclined to
break away from the ties which bound them to friends and society, in
order to plunge in such a scene of turmoil and confusion as the
building of a new city, under such circumstances, must necessarily be.
It was of course generally the discontented, the idle, and the bad,
that would hope for benefit from such a change as this enterprise
proposed to them. Every restless and desperate spirit, every depraved
victim of vice, every fugitive and outlaw would be ready to embark in
such a scheme, which was to create certainly a new phase in their
relations to society, and thus afford them an opportunity to make a
fresh beginning. The enterprise at the same time seemed to offer them,
through a new organization and new laws, some prospect of release from
responsibility for former crimes. In a word, in preparing to lay the
foundations of their city, Romulus and Remus found themselves at the
head of a very wild and lawless company.

There were seven distinct hills on the ground which was subsequently
included within the limits of Rome. Between and among these hills the
river meandered by sweeping and graceful curves, and at one point,
near the center of what is now the city, the stream passed very near
the foot of one of the elevations called the Palatine Hill. Here was
the spot where the wooden ark in which Romulus and Remus had been set
adrift, had been thrown up upon the shore. The sides of the hill were
steep, and between it and the river there was in one part a deep
morass. Romulus thought, on surveying the ground with Remus his
brother, that this was the best spot for building the city. They could
set apart a sufficient space of level ground around the foot of the
hill for the houses--inclosing the whole with a wall--while the top of
the hill itself might be fortified to form the citadel. The wall and
the steep acclivity of the ground would form a protection on three
sides of the inclosure, while the morass alone would be a sufficient
defense on the part toward the river. Then Romulus was specially
desirous to select this spot as the site, as it was here that he and
his brother had been saved from destruction in so wonderful a manner.

[Illustration: SITUATION OF ROME.]

Remus, however, did not concur in these views. A little farther down
the stream there was another elevation called the Aventine Hill, which
seemed to him more suitable for the site of a town. The sides were
less precipitous, and thus were more convenient for building ground.
Then the land in the immediate vicinity was better adapted to the
purposes which they had in view. In a word, the Aventine Hill was, as
Remus thought, for every substantial reason, much the best locality;
and as for the fact of their having been washed ashore at the foot of
the other hill, it was in his opinion an insignificant circumstance,
wholly unworthy of being taken seriously into the account in laying
the foundation of a city.

The positions in which Remus and Romulus stood in respect to each
other, and the feelings which were naturally awakened in their hearts
by the circumstances in which they found themselves placed, were such
as did not tend to allay any rising asperity which accident might
occasion, but rather to irritate and inflame it. In the first place,
they were both ardent, impulsive, and imperious. Each was conscious of
his strength, and eager to exercise it. Each wished to command, and
was wholly unwilling to obey. While they were in adversity, they clung
together for mutual help and protection; but now, when they had come
into the enjoyment of prosperity and power, the bands of affection
which had bound them together were very much weakened, and were
finally sundered. Then there was nothing whatever to mark any
superiority of one over the other. If they had been of different ages,
the younger could have yielded to the elder, in some degree, without
wounding his pride. If one had been more prominent than the other in
effecting the revolution by which Amulius was dethroned, or if there
had been a native difference of temperament or character to mark a
distinction, or if either had been designated by Numitor, or selected
by popular choice, for the command,--all might have been well. But
there seemed in fact to be between them no grounds of distinction
whatever. They were twins, so that neither could claim any advantage
of birthright. They were equal in size, strength, activity, and
courage. They had been equally bold and efficient in effecting the
revolution; and now they seemed equally powerful in respect to the
influence which they wielded over the minds of their followers. We
have been so long accustomed to consider Romulus the more
distinguished personage, through the associations connected with his
name, that have arisen from his subsequent career, that it is
difficult for us to place him and his brother on that footing of
perfect equality which they occupied in the estimation of all who knew
them in this part of their history. This equality had caused no
difference between them thus far, but now, since the advent of power
and prosperity prevented their continuing longer on a level, there
necessarily came up for decision the terrible question,--terrible when
two such spirits as theirs have it to decide,--which was to yield the

The brothers, therefore, having each expressed his preference in
respect to the best place for the city, were equally unwilling to
recede from the ground which they had taken. Remus thought that there
was no reason why he should yield to Romulus, and Romulus was equally
unwilling to give way to Remus. Neither could yield, in fact, without
in some sense admitting the superiority of the other. The respective
partisans of the two leaders began to take sides, and the dissension
threatened to become a serious quarrel. Finally, being not yet quite
ready for an open rupture, they concluded to refer the question to
Numitor, and to abide by his decision. They expected that he would
come and view the ground, and so decide where it was best that the
city should be built, and thus terminate the controversy.

But Numitor was too sagacious to hazard the responsibility of deciding
between two such equally matched and powerful opponents. He endeavored
to soothe and quiet the excited feelings of his grandsons, and finally
recommended to them to appeal to _augury_ to decide the question.
Augury was a mode of ascertaining the divine will in respect to
questions of expediency or duty, by means of certain prognostications
and signs. These omens were of various kinds, but perhaps the most
common were the appearances observed in watching the flight of birds
through the air.

It was agreed between Remus and Romulus, in accordance with the advice
of Numitor, that the question at issue between them should be decided
in this way. They were to take their stations on the two hills
respectively--the Palatine and the Aventine, and watch for vultures.
The homes of the vultures of Italy were among the summits of the
Appenines, and their function in the complicated economy of animal
life, was to watch from the lofty peaks of the mountains, or from the
still more aërial and commanding positions which they found in soaring
at vast elevations in the air, for the bodies of the dead,--whether of
men after a battle, or of sheep, or cattle, or wild beasts of the
forests, killed by accident or dying of age,--and when found to remove
and devour them; and thus to hasten the return of the lifeless
elements to other forms of animal and vegetable life. What the earth,
and the rite of burial, effects for man in advanced and cultivated
stages of society, the vultures of the Appenines were commissioned to
perform for all the animal communities of Italy, in Numitor's time.

To enable the vulture to accomplish the work assigned him, he is
endowed with an inconceivable strength of wing, to sustain his flight
over the vast distances which he has to traverse, and up to the vast
elevations to which he must sometimes soar; and also with some
mysterious and extraordinary sense, whether of sight or smell, to
enable him readily to find, at any hour, the spot where his presence
is required, however remote or however hidden it may be. Guided by
this instinct, he flies from time to time with a company of his
fellows, from mountain to mountain, or wheels slowly in vast circles
over the plains--surveying the whole surface of the ground, and
assuredly finding his work;--finding it too equally easily, whether it
lie exposed in the open field, or is hidden, no matter how secretly,
in forest, thicket, grove or glen.

It was, to certain appearances, indicated in the flight of these
birds--such as the number that were seen at a time, the quarter of the
heavens in which they appeared, the direction in which they flew, as
from left to right or from right to left--that the people of Numitor's
day were accustomed to look for omens and auguries. So Romulus and
Remus took their stations on the hills which they had severally
chosen, each surrounded by a company of his own adherents and friends,
and began to watch the skies. It was agreed that the decision of the
question between the two hills should be determined by the omens
which should appear to the respective observers stationed upon them.

But it happened, unfortunately, that the rules for the interpretation
of auguries and omens, were far too indefinite and vague to answer the
purpose for which they were now appealed to. The most unequivocal
distinctness and directness in giving its responses is a very
essential requisite in any tribunal that is called upon as an umpire,
to settle disputes; while the ancient auguries and oracles were always
susceptible of a great variety of interpretations. When Remus and
Romulus commenced their watch no vultures were to be seen from either
hill. They waited till evening, still none appeared. They continued to
watch through the night. In the morning a messenger came over from the
Palatine hill to Remus on the Aventine, informing him that vultures
had appeared to Romulus. Remus did not believe it. At last, however,
the birds really came into view; a flock of six were seen by Remus,
and afterward one of twelve by Romulus. The observations were then
suspended, and the parties came together to confer in respect to the
result; but the dispute instead of being settled, was found to be in a
worse condition than ever. The point now to be determined was whether
six vultures seen first, or twelve seen afterward, were the better
omen, that is whether numbers, or simple priority of appearance,
should decide the question. In contending in respect to this nice
point the brothers became more angry with each other than ever. Their
respective partisans took sides in the contest, which resulted finally
in an open and violent collision. Romulus and Remus themselves seem to
have commenced the affray by attacking one another. Faustulus, their
foster-father, who, from having had the care of them from their
earliest infancy, felt for them an almost parental affection, rushed
between them to prevent them from shedding each other's blood. He was
struck down and killed on the spot, by some unknown hand. A brother of
Faustulus too, named Plistinus, who had lived near to him, and had
known the boys from their infancy, and had often assisted in taking
care of them, was killed in the endeavor to aid his brother to appease
the tumult.

At length the disturbance was quelled. The result of the conflict was,
however, to show that Romulus and his party were the strongest.
Romulus accordingly went on to build the walls of the city at the spot
which he had first chosen. The lines were marked out, and the
excavations were commenced with great ceremony.

In laying out the work, the first thing to be done was to draw the
lines of what was called the _pomœrium_. The pomœrium was a sort
of symbolical wall, and was formed simply by turning a furrow with a
plow all around the city, at a considerable distance from the real
walls, for the purpose, not of establishing lines of defense, but of
marking out what were to be the limits of the corporation, so to
speak, for legal and ceremonial purposes. Of course, the pomœrium
included a much greater space than the real walls, and the people were
allowed to build houses anywhere within this outer inclosure, or even
without it, though not very near to it. Those who built thus were, of
course, not protected in case of an attack, and of course they would,
in such case, be compelled to abandon their houses, and retreat for
safety within the proper walls.

So Romulus proceeded to mark out the pomœrium of the city,
employing in the work the ceremonies customary on such occasions. The
plow used was made of copper, and for a team to draw it a bullock and
a heifer were yoked together. Men appointed for the purpose followed
the plow, and carefully turned over the clods _toward_ the wall of the
city. This seems to have been considered an essential part of the
ceremony. At the places where roads were to pass in toward the gates
of the city, the plow was lifted out of the ground and carried over
the requisite space, so as to leave the turf at those points unbroken.
This was a necessary precaution; for there was a certain consecrating
influence that was exerted by this ceremonial plowing which hallowed
the ground wherever it passed in a manner that would very seriously
interfere with its usefulness as a public road.

The form of the space inclosed by the pomœrium, as Romulus plowed
it, was nearly square, and it included not merely the Palatine hill
itself, but a considerable portion of level land around it.

Though Romulus thus seemed to have conquered, in the strife with
Remus, the difficulty was not yet fully settled. Remus was very little
disposed to acquiesce in his brother's assumed superiority over him.
He was sullen, morose, and ill at ease, and was inclined to take
little part in the proceedings which were going on. Finally an
occasion occurred which produced a crisis, and brought the rivalry and
enmity of the brothers suddenly and forever to an end. Remus was one
day standing by a part of the wall which his brother's workmen were
building, and expressing, in various ways, and with great freedom, his
opinions of his brother's plans; and finally he began to speak
contemptuously of the wall which the workmen were building. Romulus
all the time was standing by. At length, in order to enforce what he
said about the insufficiency of the work, Remus leaped over a portion
of it, saying, "This is the way the enemy will leap over your wall."
Hereupon Romulus seized a mattock from the hands of one of the
laborers, and struck his brother down to the ground with it, saying,
"And this is the way that we will kill them if they do." Remus was
killed by the blow.

As soon as the deed was done, Romulus was at once overwhelmed with
remorse and horror at the atrocity of the crime which he had been so
suddenly led to commit. His anguish was so great for a time that he
refused all food, and he could not sleep. He caused the dead body of
Remus, and also those of Faustulus and of Plistinus, the brother of
Faustulus, to be buried with the most solemn and imposing funeral
ceremonies, so as to render all possible honor to their memory; and
then, not satisfied with this, he instituted and celebrated certain
religions rites, to prevent the ghosts of the deceased from coming
back to haunt him. The ghosts, or specters of the dead that came back
to haunt and terrify the living were called _lemures_. Hence the
celebration which Romulus ordained was called the Lemuria, and it
continued to be annually observed in Rome during the whole period of
its subsequent history.

Precisely what the ceremonies were which Romulus performed to appease
the spirit of his brother can not now be ascertained, as there was no
particular description of them recorded. But the Lemuria, as afterward
performed, were frequently described by Roman writers, and they were
of a very curious and extraordinary character. The time for the
celebration of these rites was in May, the anniversary, as was
supposed, of the days in which Romulus originally celebrated them.
The Lemurial ceremonies extended through three days, or rather
nights, although, for some curious reason or other, they were
alternate and not consecutive nights. They were the nights of the
ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth of May. The ceremonies were performed
in the night, for the reason that it was in the dark hours that ghosts
and goblins were accustomed, as was supposed, to roam about the world
to haunt and terrify men.

The ceremonies performed on these occasions are thus described. They
commenced at midnight. The father of the family would rise at that
hour and go out at the door of the house, making certain
gesticulations and signals with his hands, which were supposed to have
the effect of keeping the specters away. He then washed his hands
three times in pure spring water. Then he filled his mouth with a
certain kind of black beans for which ghosts were supposed to have
some particular fondness. Being thus provided he would walk along,
taking the beans out of his mouth as he walked, and throwing them
behind him. The specters were supposed to gather up these beans as he
threw them down. He must, however, by no means look round to see them.
He then, after speaking certain mysterious and cabalistic words,
washed his hands again, and then making a frightful noise by striking
brass basins together, he shouted out nine times, "Ghosts of this
house begone!" This was supposed effectually to drive the specters
away--an opinion which was always abundantly confirmed by the fact;
for on looking round after this vociferated adjuration, the man always
found that the specters were gone!

When by these ceremonies, or ceremonies such as these, Romulus had
appeased the spirit of his brother, and those of the guardians of his
childhood, his mind became more composed, and he turned his attention
once more toward the building of the city. The party of Remus now, of
course, since it was deprived of its head, no longer maintained
itself, but was gradually broken up and merged in the general mass.
Romulus became the sole leader of the enterprise, and immediately
turned his attention to the measures to be adopted for a more complete
and effectual organization of the community over which he found
himself presiding.

In respect to Remus, it ought perhaps to be added, that after his
death a story was circulated in Rome that it was a man named Celer,
and not Romulus, that killed him. This story has not, however, been
generally believed. It has been thought more probable that Romulus
himself, or some of his partisans and friends, invented and circulated
the story of Celer, in order to screen him in some degree from the
reproach of so unnatural a crime as the killing of a brother so near
and dear to him as Remus had been;--a brother who had shared his
infancy with him, who had slept with him, at the same time, in the
arms of his mother, who had floated with him down the Tiber in the
same ark, been saved from death by the same miraculous intervention,
and through all the years of infancy, childhood, and youth, had been
his constant playmate, companion, and friend. The crime was as much
more atrocious than any ordinary fratricide, as Remus had been nearer
to Romulus than any ordinary brother.



B.C. 754

Discussion in respect to ancient dates.--Difficulties.--Nature of
tradition.--Extreme youth of Romulus.--Varro's astrological
calculation.--Ingenuity of it.--Olympiads.--The race of
Coroebus.--The result of Varro's computation.--Probable character
of the first constructions at Rome.--Romulus convenes an assembly
of the people.--The speech of Romulus.--His proposals.--The three
forms of government.--Romulus himself made king.--Divine intimation
in his favor.--Commencement of his reign.--Probable origin of the
Roman institutions.--Republican character of the government.--Patricians
and plebians.--Patrons and clients.--Duration of the reign of
Romulus.--Usages.--Difficulty of immediately organizing such a
community.--Importance of the parental and family relation.--The father
a magistrate.--The marriage tie.--Religions ceremonies.--Auguries.--The
three augurs.--Various kinds of omens.--Station of the augurs.--Thunder
and lightning.--Birds.--Nature of the ancient superstition.--Results of
the arrangements made by Romulus.--The asylum on the Capitoline

There has been a great deal of philosophical discussion, and much
debate, among historians and chronologists, in attempting to fix the
precise year in which Romulus commenced the building of Rome. The
difficulty arises from the fact that no regular records of public
events were made in those ancient days. In modern times such records
are very systematically kept,--an express object of them being to
preserve and perpetuate a knowledge of the exact truth in respect to
the time, and the attendant circumstances, relating to all great
transactions. On the other hand, the memory of public events in early
periods of the world, was preserved only through tradition; and
tradition cares little for the exact and the true. She seeks only for
what is entertaining. Her function being simply to give pleasure to
successive generations of listeners, by exciting their curiosity and
wonder with tales,--which, the more strange and romantic they are,
the better they are suited to her purpose--she concerns herself very
little with such simple verities as dates and names. The exposure of
the twin infants of Rhea, supposing such an event to have actually
happened, she remembered well, and repeated the narrative of
it--adorning it, doubtless, with many embellishments--from age to age,
so that the whole story comes down to modern times in full detail; but
as to the time when the event took place, she gave herself no concern.
The date would have added nothing to the romance of the story, and
thus it was neglected and forgotten.

In subsequent times, however, when regular historical annals began to
be recorded, chronologists attempted to reason backward, from events
whose periods were known, through various data which they ingeniously
obtained from the preceding and less formal narratives, until they
obtained the dates of earlier events by a species of calculation. In
this way the time for the building of Rome was determined to be about
the year 754 before Christ. As to Romulus himself, the tradition is
that he was but eighteen or twenty years old when he commenced the
building of it. If this is true, his extreme youth goes far to
palliate some of the wrongs which he perpetrated--wrongs which would
have been far more inexcusable if committed with the deliberate
purpose of middle life, than if prompted by the unthinking impulses
and passions of eighteen.

A certain Roman philosopher, named Varro, who lived some centuries
after the building of the city, conceived of a very ingenious plan for
discovering the year in which Romulus was born. It was this. By means
of the science of astrology, as practiced in those days, certain
learned magicians used to predict what the life and fortunes of any
man would be, from the aspects and phases of the planets and other
heavenly bodies at the time of his birth. The idea of Varro was to
reverse this process in the case of Romulus; that is, to deduce from
the known facts of his history what must have been the relative
situations of the planets and stars when he came into the world! He
accordingly applied to a noted astrologer to work out the problem for
him. Given, a history of the incidents and events occurring to the man
in his progress through life; required, the exact condition of the
skies when the child was born. In other words, the astrologer was to
determine what must have been the relative positions of the sun, moon,
and stars, at the birth of Romulus, in order to produce a being whose
life should exhibit such transactions and events as those which
appeared in Romulus's subsequent history. When the astrologer had thus
ascertained the condition of the skies at the time in question, the
_astronomers_, as Varro concluded, could easily calculate the month
and the year when the combination must have occurred.

Now, it was the custom in those days to reckon by Olympiads, which
were periods of four years, the series commencing with a great victory
at a foot-race in Greece, won by a man named Coroebus, from which
event originated the Olympian games, which were afterward celebrated
every four years, and which in subsequent ages became so renowned. The
time when Coroebus ran his race, and thus furnished an era for all
the subsequent chronologists and historians of his country, is
generally regarded as about the year 776 before Christ; and the result
of the calculations of Varro's astrologer, and of the astronomers who
perfected it, was, that to lead such a life as Romulus led, a man must
have been born at a time corresponding with the first year of the
second Olympiad; that is, taking off from 776, four years, for the
first Olympiad, the first year of the second Olympiad would be 772;
this would make the time of his birth 772 before Christ; and then
deducting eighteen years more, for the age of Romulus when he began to
build his wall, we have 754 before Christ as the era of the foundation
of Rome. This method of determining a point in chronology seems so
absurd, according to the ideas of the present day, that we can hardly
resist the conclusion, that Varro, in making his investigation, was
really guided by other and more satisfactory modes of determining the
point, and that the horoscope was not what he actually relied upon.
However this may be, the era which he fixed upon has been very
generally received, though many others have been proposed by the
different learned men who have successively investigated the question.

According to the accounts given by the early writers, the
constructions which Romulus and his companions made were of a very
rude and simple character; such as might have been expected from a
company of boys: for boys we ought perhaps to consider them all, since
it is not to be presumed that the troop, in respect to age and
experience, would be much in advance of the leaders. The wall which
they built about the city was probably only a substantial stone fence,
and their houses were huts and hovels. Even the palace, for there was
a building erected for Romulus himself which was called the palace,
was made, it is said, of _rushes_. Perhaps the meaning is that it was
thatched with rushes,--or possibly the expression refers to a mode of
building sometimes adopted in the earlier stages of civilization, in
which straw, or rushes, or some similar material is mixed with mud or
clay to help bind the mass together, the whole being afterward dried
in the sun. Walls thus made have been found to possess much more
strength and durability than would be supposed possible for such a
material to attain.

However this may be, the hamlet of huts which Romulus and his wild
coadjutors built and walled in, must have appeared, at the time, to
all observers, a very rude and imperfect attempt at building a city;
in fact it must have seemed to them, if it is true that Romulus was at
that time only eighteen years old, more like a frolic of thoughtless
boys than a serious enterprise of men. Romulus, however, whatever
others may have thought of his work, was wholly in earnest. He felt
that he was a prince, and proud of his birth, and fully conscious of
his intellectual and personal power, he determined that he would have
a kingdom.

It seems, however, that thus far he had not been considered as
possessing any thing like regal authority over his company of
followers, but had been regarded only as a sort of chieftain
exercising an undefined and temporary power; for as soon as the huts
were built and the inclosures made, he is said to have convened an
assembly of the people, for consultation in respect to the plan of
government that they should form. Romulus introduced the business of
this meeting by a speech appropriate to the occasion, which speech is
reported by an ancient historian somewhat as follows. Whether Romulus
actually spoke the words thus attributed to him, or whether the
report contains only what the reporter himself imagined him to say,
there is now no means of knowing.

"We have now," said Romulus, according to this record, "completed the
building of our city, so far as at present we are able to do it; and
it must be confessed that if we were required to depend for protection
against a serious attack from an enemy, on the height of our walls, or
on their strength and solidity, our prospects would not be very
encouraging. But our walls we must remember are not what we rely upon.
No walls can be so high, that an enemy can not scale them. The
dependence must be after all on the men within the city, and not on
the ramparts and entrenchments which surround it, whatever those
ramparts and entrenchments may be. We must therefore rely upon
ourselves, for our safety--upon our valor, our discipline, our union
and harmony. It is courage and energy in the people, not strength in
outward defenses, on which the safety and prosperity of a State must

"The great work before us therefore is yet to be done. We have to
organize a government under which order and discipline may come in,
to control and direct our energies, and prepare us to meet whatever
future exigencies may arise, whether of peace or war. What form shall
be given to this government is the question that you have now to
consider. I have learned by inquiry that there are various modes of
government adopted among men, and between these we have now to decide.
Shall our commonwealth be governed by one man? Or shall we select a
certain number of the wisest and bravest of the citizens, and commit
the administration of public affairs to them? Or, in the third place,
shall we commit the management of the government to the control of the
people at large? Each of these three forms has its advantages, and
each is attended with its own peculiar dangers. You are to choose
between them. Only when the decision is once made, let us all unite in
maintaining the government which shall be established, whatever its
form may be."

The result of the deliberation which followed, after the delivery of
this address, was that the government of the state should be, like the
government of Alba, under which the followers of Romulus had been
born, a monarchy; and that Romulus himself should be king. He was a
prince by birth, an inheritor of regal rank and power, by regular
succession, from a line of kings. He had shown himself, too, by his
deeds, to be worthy of power. He was courageous, energetic, sagacious,
and universally esteemed. It was decided accordingly that he should be
king, and he was proclaimed such by all the assembled multitude, with
long and loud acclamations.

Notwithstanding the apparent unanimity and earnestness of the people,
however, in calling Romulus to the throne, he evinced, as the story
goes, the proper degree of that reluctance and hesitation which a
suitable regard to appearances seems in all ages to require of public
men when urged to accept of power. He was thankful to the people for
the marks of their confidence, but he could not consent to assume the
responsibilities and prerogatives of power until the choice made by
his countrymen had been confirmed by the divinities of the land. So he
resolved on instituting certain solemn religious ceremonies, during
the progress of which he hoped to receive some manifestation of the
divine will. These ceremonies consisted principally of sacrifices
which he caused to be offered on the plain near the city. While
Romulus was engaged in these services, the expected token of the
divine approval appeared in a supernatural light which shone upon his
hand. At least it was _said_ that such a light was seen, and the
appearing of it was considered as clearly confirming the right of
Romulus to the throne. He no longer made any objection to assuming the
government of the new city as its acknowledged king.

The first object to which he gave his attention was the organization
of the people, and the framing of the general constitution of society.
The community over which he was called to preside had consisted thus
far of very heterogeneous and discordant materials. Vast numbers of
the people were of the humblest and most degraded condition,
consisting of ignorant peasants, some stupid, others turbulent and
ungovernable; and of refugees from justice, such as thieves, robbers,
and outlaws of every degree. But then, on the other hand, there were
many persons of standing and respectability. The sons of families of
wealth and influence in Alba had, in many cases, joined the
expedition, and at last, when the building of the city had advanced
so far as to make it appear that the enterprise might succeed, more
men of age and character came to join it, so that Romulus found
himself, when he formally assumed the kingly power, at the head of a
community which contained the elements of a very respectable
commonwealth. These elements were, however, thus far all mingled
together in complete confusion, and the work that was first to be done
was to adopt some plan for classifying and arranging them.

It is most probable, as a matter of fact, that the organization and
the institutions which in subsequent times appeared in the Roman
state, were not deliberately planned and formally introduced by
Romulus at the outset, but that they gradually grew up in the progress
of time, and that afterward historians and philosophers, in
speculating upon them at their leisure, carried back the history of
them to the earliest times, in order, by so doing, to honor the
founder of the city, and also to exalt and aggrandize the institutions
themselves in public estimation, by celebrating the antiquity and
dignity of their origin.

The institutions which Romulus actually founded, were of a very
republican character, if the accounts of subsequent writers are to be
believed. He established, it is true, a gradation of ranks, but the
most important offices, civil and military, were filled, it is said,
by election on the part of the people. In the first place, the whole
population was divided into three portions, which were called
_tribes_, which word was formed from the Latin word _tres_, meaning
three. These tribes chose each three presiding officers, selecting for
the purpose the oldest and most distinguished of their number. It is
probable, in fact, that Romulus himself really made the selection, and
that the action of the people was confined to some sort of expression
of assent and concurrence, for it is difficult to imagine how any
other kind of election than this could be possible among so rude and
ignorant a multitude. The tribes were then subdivided each into thirty
_counts_ or _counties_, and each of these likewise elected its head.
Thus there was a large body of magistrates or chieftains appointed,
ninety-nine in number, namely, nine heads of tribes and ninety heads
of counties. Romulus himself added one to the number, of his own
independent selection, which made the hundredth. The men thus chosen,
constituted what was called the senate. They formed the great
legislative council of the nation. They and the families descending
from them became, in subsequent times, an aristocratic and privileged
class, called the Patricians. The remaining portion of the population
were called Plebeians.

The Plebeians comprised, of course, the industrial and useful classes,
and were in rank and station inferior to the Patricians. They were,
however, not all upon a level with each other, for they were divided
into two great classes, called _patrons_ and _clients_. The patrons
were the employers, the proprietors, the men of influence and capital.
The clients were the employed, the dependent, the poor. The clients
were to perform services of various kinds for the patrons, and the
patrons were to reward, to protect, and to defend the clients. All
these arrangements Romulus is said to have ordained by his enactments,
and thus introduced as elements in the social constitution of the
state. It is more probable, however, that instead of being thus
expressly established, by the authority of Romulus as a lawgiver, they
gradually grew up of themselves, perhaps with some fostering
attention and care on his part, and possibly under some positive
regulation of law. For such important and complicated relations as
these are not of a nature to be easily called into existence and
action, in an extended and unorganized community, by the mere fiat of
a military chieftain.

Perhaps, however, it is not intended by the ancient historians, in
referring all these complicated arrangements of the Roman civil polity
to the enactments of Romulus, to convey the idea that he introduced
them at once in all their completeness, at the outset of his reign.
Romulus continued king of Rome for nearly forty years, and instead of
making formal and positive enactments, he may have gradually
introduced the arrangements ascribed to him, as _usages_ which he
fostered and encouraged,--confirming and sanctioning them from time to
time, when occasion required, by edicts and laws.

However this may have been, it is certain that Romulus, in the course
of his reign, laid the foundation of the future greatness and glory of
Rome, by the energy with which he acted in introducing order, system,
and discipline into the community which he found gathered around him.
He seems to have had the sagacity to perceive from the outset that the
great evil and danger which he had to fear was the prevalence of the
spirit of disorder and misrule among his followers. In fact, nothing
but tumult and confusion was to have been expected from such a lawless
horde as his, and even after the city was built, the presumption must
have been very strong in the mind of any considerate and prudent man,
against the possibility of ever regulating and controlling such a mass
of heterogeneous and discordant materials, by any human means. Romulus
saw, however, that in effecting this purpose lay the only hope of the
success of his enterprise, and he devoted himself with great assiduity
and care, and at the same time with great energy and success, to the
work of organizing it. The great leading objects of his life, from the
time that he commenced the government of the new city, were to arrange
and regulate social institutions, to establish laws, to introduce
discipline, to teach and accustom men to submit to authority, and to
bring in the requirements of law, and the authority of the various
recognized relations of social life, to control and restrain the
wayward impulses of the natural heart.

As a part of this system of policy, he laid great stress upon the
parental and family relation. He saw in the tie which binds the father
to the child and the child to the father, a natural bond which he
foresaw would greatly aid him in keeping the turbulent and boisterous
propensities of human nature under some proper control. He accordingly
magnified and confirmed the natural force of parental authority by
adding the sanctions of law to it. He defined and established the
power of the father to govern and control the son, rightly considering
that the father is the natural ally of the state in restraining young
men from violence, and enforcing habits of industry and order upon
them, at an age when they most need control. He clothed parents,
therefore, with authority to fulfill this function, considering that
what he thus aided them to do, was so much saved for the civil
magistrate and the state. In fact, he carried this so far that it is
said that the dependence of the child upon the father, under the
institutions of Romulus, was more complete, and was protracted to a
later period than was the case under the laws of any other nation.
The power of the father over his household was supreme. He was a
magistrate, so far as his children were concerned, and could thus not
only require their services, and inflict light punishments for
disobedience upon them, as with us, but he could sentence them to the
severest penalties of the law, if guilty of crime.

The laws were equally stringent in respect to the marriage tie. Death
was the penalty for the violation of the marriage vows. All property
belonging to the husband and to the wife was held by them in common,
and the wife, if she survived the husband, and if the husband died
without a will, became his sole heir. In a word, the laws of Romulus
evince a very strong desire on the part of the legislator to sustain
the sacredness and to magnify the importance of the family tie; and to
avail himself of those instinctive principles of obligation and duty
which so readily arise in the human mind out of the various relations
of the family state, in the plans which he formed for subduing the
impulses and regulating the action of his rude community.

He devoted great attention too to the institutions of religion. He
knew well that such lawless and impetuous spirits as his could never
be fully subdued and held in proper subordination to the rules of
social order and moral duty, without the influence of motives drawn
from the spiritual world; and he accordingly adopted vigorous measures
for confirming and perpetuating such religious observances as were at
that time observed, and in introducing others. Every public act which
he performed was always accompanied and sanctioned by religious
solemnities. The rites and ceremonies which he instituted seem puerile
to us, but they were full of meaning and of efficacy in the view of
those who performed them. There was, for example, a class of religious
functionaries called _augurs_, whose office it was to interpret the
divine will by means of certain curious indications which it was their
special profession to understand. There were three of these augurs,
and they were employed on all public occasions, both in peace and war,
to ascertain from the omens whether the enterprise or the work in
regard to which they were consulted was or was not favored by the
councils of heaven. If the augury was propitious the work was entered
upon with vigor and confidence. If otherwise, it was postponed or

The omens which the augurs observed were of various kinds, being drawn
sometimes from certain peculiarities in the form and structure of the
internal organs of animals offered in sacrifice, sometimes from the
appearance of birds in the sky, their numbers or the direction of
their flight, and sometimes from the forms of clouds, the appearance
of the lightning, and the sound of the thunder. Whenever the augurs
were to take the auspices from any of the signs of the sky, the
process was this. They would go with solemn ceremony to some high
place--in Rome there was a station expressly consecrated to this
purpose on the Capitoline hill,--and there, with a sort of magical
wand which they had for the purpose, one of the number would determine
and indicate the four quarters of the heaven, pointing out in a solemn
manner the directions of east, west, north and south. The augur would
then take his stand with his back to the west and his face of course
to the east. The north would then be on his left hand and the south at
his right. He would then, in this position watch for the signs. If it
was from the thunder that the auspices were to be taken, the augur
would listen to hear from what quarter of the heavens it came. If the
lightning appeared in the east and the sound of the thunder seemed to
come from the northward, the presage was favorable. So it was if the
chain of lightning seen in the sky appeared to pass from cloud to
cloud above, instead of descending to the ground. On the other hand,
thunder sounding as if it came from the southward, and lightning
striking down to the earth, were both unpropitious omens. As to birds,
some were of good omen, as vultures, eagles and woodpeckers. Others
were evil, as ravens and owls. Various inferences were drawn too from
the manner in which the birds that appeared in the air, were seen to
fly, and from the sound of their note at the time when the observation
was made.

By these and many similar means the government of Romulus vainly
endeavored to ascertain the will of heaven in respect to the plans and
enterprises in which they were called upon from time to time to
engage. There was perhaps in these observances much imposture, and
much folly; still they could only have been sustained, in their
influence and ascendency over the minds of the people, by a sincere
veneration on their part for some unseen and spiritual power, and a
reverent desire to conform the public measures of their government to
what they supposed to be the divine will.

By such measures as we have thus described Romulus soon produced order
out of confusion within his little commonwealth. The enterprise which
he had undertaken and the great success which had thus far followed
it, attracted great attention, and he soon found that great numbers
began to come in from all the surrounding country to join him. Many of
these were persons of still worse character than those who had adhered
to him at first, and he soon found that to admit them indiscriminately
into the city would be to endanger the process of organization which
was now so well begun. He accordingly set apart a hill near to his
city called the Capitoline hill, as an asylum for them, where they
could remain in safety under regulations suitable to their condition,
and without interfering with the arrangements which he had made for
the rest. This asylum soon became a very attractive place for all the
vagabonds, outlaws, thieves and robbers of the country. Romulus
welcomed them all, and as fast as they came he busied himself with
plans to furnish them with employment and subsistence. He enlisted
some of them in his army. Some he employed to cultivate the ground in
the territory belonging to the city. Others were engaged as servants
for the people within the walls--being taken into the city, in small
numbers, from time to time, as fast as they could be safely received.
In process of time, however, the walls of the city were extended so as
to include the Capitoline hill, and thus at last the whole mass was
brought into Rome together.



B.C. 751

The rape of the Sabines.--Narrative of it.--The population of Rome
chiefly men.--Necessity of providing wives for them.--Romulus sends
embassadors to the surrounding states.--Insulting replies.--Anger of
the Romans.--Great discovery made by Romulus.--His plan.--Plans for
the festival.--Races, games, and shows.--A great concourse assembles
at the fair.--The spectacles continue several weeks.--The last day of
the fair.--Signal to be made by Romulus.--Excitement of the
Romans.--Final preparations.--The moment arrives.--The maidens
seized.--The men fly.--The Romans secure the captive maidens.--An
incident.--A captive "for Thalassius."--The phrase "for Thalassius"
becomes a proverb.--Resentment of the fathers and brothers of the
maidens.--The captives called together in the morning.--Address made
to them by Romulus.--Acquiescence of the captives.--Cures.--The Sabines
demand the restoration of the captives.--Romulus refuses to restore
them.--Ceremony in commemoration of these events.

Every reader who has made even the smallest beginning in the study of
ancient history, must be acquainted, in general, with the mode which
Romulus adopted to provide the people of his city with wives, by the
transaction which is commonly called in history the rape of the
Sabines. The deed itself, as it actually occurred, may perhaps have
been one of great rudeness, violence, and cruelty. If so, the
historians who described it contrived to soften the character of it,
and to divest it in a great measure of the repulsive features which
might have been supposed to characterize such a transaction, for,
according to the narrative which they give us, the whole proceeding
was conducted in such a manner as to evince not only great ingenuity
and sagacity on the part of Romulus and his government, but also great
moderation and humanity. The circumstances, as the historians relate
them, were these:

As might naturally be supposed from the manner in which the company
which formed the population of Rome had been collected, it consisted
at first almost wholly of men. The laws and regulations referred to in
the last chapter, in respect to the family relation, were those framed
after the organization of the community had become somewhat advanced,
since at the outset there could be very few families, inasmuch as the
company which first met together to build the city, consisted simply
of an army of young men. It is true that among those who joined them
at first there were some men of middle life and some families,--still,
as is always the case with new cities and countries suddenly and
rapidly settled, the population consisted almost entirely of men.

It was necessary that the men should have wives. There were several
reasons for this. First, it was necessary for the comfort and
happiness of the people themselves. A community of mere men is gloomy
and desolate. Secondly, for the continuance and perpetuity of the
state it was necessary that there should be wives and children, so
that when one generation should have passed away there might be
another to succeed it. And, thirdly, for the preservation of order and
law. Men unmarried are, in the mass, proverbially ungovernable.
Nothing is so effectual in keeping a citizen away from scenes of
tumult and riot as a wife and children at home. The fearful violence
of the riots and insurrections of which the city of Paris has so often
been the scene, is explained, in a great degree, by the circumstance
that so immense a proportion of the population are unmarried. They
have no homes, and no defenseless wives and children to fear for, and
so they fear nothing, but give themselves up, in times of public
excitement, to the wildest impulses of passion. Romulus seems to have
understood this, and his first care was to provide the way by which as
many as possible of his people should be married.

The first measure which he adopted, was to send embassadors around to
the neighboring states, soliciting alliances with them, and
stipulations allowing of intermarriages between his people and theirs.
The proposal seemed not unreasonable, and it was made in an unassuming
and respectful manner. In the message which Romulus commissioned the
embassadors to deliver, he admitted that his colony was yet small,
and by no means equal in influence and power to the kingdoms whose
alliance he desired; but he reminded those whom he addressed that
great results came sometimes in the end from very inconsiderable
beginnings, and that their enterprise thus far, though yet in its
infancy, had been greatly prospered, and was plainly an object of
divine favor, and that the time might not be far distant when the new
state would be able fully to reciprocate such favors as it might now

The neighboring kings to whom these embassages were sent rejected the
proposals with derision. They did not even give _serious_ answers,
obviously considering the new city as a mere temporary gathering and
encampment of adventurers and outlaws, which would be as transient as
it was rude and irregular. They looked to see it break up as suddenly
and tumultuously as it had been formed. They accordingly sent back
word to Romulus that he must resort to the same plan to get women for
his city that he had adopted to procure recruits of men. He must open
an _asylum_ for them. The low and the dissolute would come flocking
to him then, they said, from all parts, and vagabond women would make
just the kind of wives for vagabond men.

Of course, the young men of the city were aroused to an extreme pitch
of indignation at receiving this response. They were clamorous for
war. They wished Romulus to lead them out against some of these cities
at once, and allow them at the same time to revenge the insults which
they had received, and to provide themselves with wives by violence,
since they could not obtain them by solicitation. But Romulus
restrained their ardor, saying that they must do nothing rashly, and
promising to devise a better way than theirs to attain the end.

The plan which he devised was to invite the people of the surrounding
states and cities both men and women, to come to Rome, with a view of
seizing some favorable occasion for capturing the women while they
were there, and driving the men away. The difficulty in the way of the
execution of this plan was obviously to induce the people to come, and
especially to bring the young women with them. The native timidity of
the maidens, joined to the contemptuous feelings which their fathers
and brothers cherished, in regard to every thing pertaining to the new
city, would very naturally keep them away, unless something could be
devised which would exert a very strong attraction.

Romulus waited a little time, in order that any slight excitement
which had been produced by his embassy should have had time to
subside, and then he made, or pretended to make, a great discovery in
a field not far from his town. This discovery was the finding of an
ancient altar of Neptune, under ground. The altar was brought to view
by some workmen who were making excavations at the place. How it came
to be under ground, and who had built it, no one knew. The rumor of
this great discovery was spread immediately in every direction.
Romulus attached great importance to the event. The altar had
undoubtedly been built, he thought, by the ancient inhabitants of the
country, and the finding it was a very momentous occurrence. It was
proper that the occasion should be solemnized by suitable religious

Accordingly, arrangements were made for a grand celebration. In
addition to the religious rites, Romulus proposed that a great fair
should be held on a plain near the city at the same time. Booths were
erected, and the merchants of all the neighboring cities were invited
to come, bringing with them such articles as they had for sale, and
those who wished to buy were to come with their money. In a word,
arrangements were made for a great and splendid festival.

There were to be games too, races, and wrestlings, and other athletic
sports, such as were in vogue in those times. The celebration was to
continue for many days, and the games and sports were to come at the
end. Romulus sent messengers to all the surrounding country to
proclaim the programme of these entertainments, and to invite every
body to come; and he adroitly arranged the details in such a manner
that the chief attractions for grave, sober-minded and substantial men
should be on the earlier days of the show, and that the latter days
should be devoted to lighter amusements, such as would possess a charm
for the young, the light-hearted and the happy. It was among this last
class that he naturally expected to find the maidens whom his men
would choose in looking for wives.

When the time arrived the spectacles commenced. There was a great
concourse at the outset, but the people who first came, were, as
Romulus supposed would be the case, chiefly men. They came in
companies, as if for mutual support and protection, and they exhibited
in a greater or less degree an air of suspicion, watchfulness and
mistrust. They were, however, received with great cordiality and
kindness. They were conducted about the town, and were astonished to
find how considerable a town it was. The streets, the houses, the
walls, the temples, simple in construction as they were, far surpassed
the expectations they had formed. The visitors were treated with great
hospitality, and entertained in a manner which, considering the
circumstances of the case, was quite sumptuous. The women and children
too, who came on these first days, received from all the Romans very
special attention and regard.

As the celebrations went on from day to day, a considerable change
took place in the character and appearance of the company. The men
ceased to be suspicious and watchful. Some went home, and carried such
reports of the new city, and of the kindness, and hospitality, and
gentle behavior of the inhabitants, that new visitors came continually
to see for themselves. Every day the proportion of stern and
suspicious men diminished, and that of gay and happy-looking youths
and maidens increased.

In the mean time, the men of the city were under strict injunctions
from Romulus to treat their guests in the most respectful manner,
leaving them entirely at liberty to go and come as they pleased,
except so far as they could detain them by treating them with kindness
and attention, and devising new sports and amusements for them from
day to day. Things continued in this state for two or three weeks,
during all which time the new city was a general place of resort for
the people of all the surrounding country. Of course a great many
agreeable acquaintances would naturally be formed between the young
men of the city and their visitors, as accidental circumstances, or
individual choice and preference brought them together; and thus,
without any directions on the subject from Romulus, each man would
very naturally occupy himself, in anticipation of the general seizure
which he knew was coming, in making his selection beforehand, of the
maiden whom he intended, when the time for the seizure came, to make
his own; and the maiden herself would probably be less terrified, and
make less resistance to the attempt to capture her, than if it were by
a perfect stranger that she was to be seized.

All this Romulus seems very adroitly to have arranged. The time for
the final execution of the scheme was to be the last day of the
celebration. The best spectacle and show of all was to take place on
that day. The Romans were directed to come armed to this show, but to
keep their arms carefully concealed beneath their garments. They were
to do nothing till Romulus gave the signal. He was himself to be
seated upon a sort of throne, in a conspicuous place, where all could
see him, presiding, as it were, over the assembly, while the spectacle
went on; and finally, when he judged that the proper moment had
arrived, he was to give the signal by taking off a certain loose
article of dress which he wore--a sort of cloak or mantle--and folding
it up, and then immediately unfolding it again. This mantle was a sort
of badge of royalty and was gayly adorned with purple stripes upon a
white ground. It was well adapted, therefore, to the purpose of being
used as a signal, inasmuch as any motions that were made with it could
be very easily seen.

Every thing being thus arranged, the assembly was convened, and the
games and spectacles went on. The Romans were full of excitement and
trepidation, each one having taken his place as near as possible to
the maiden whom he was intending to seize, and occupying himself with
keeping his eye upon her as closely as he could, without seeming to do
so, and at the same time watching the royal mantle, and every movement
made by the wearer of it, that he might catch the signal the instant
that it should be made. All this time the men among the guests at the
entertainment were off their guard, and wholly at their ease--having
no suspicion whatever of the mine that was ready to be sprung beneath
them. The wives, mothers, and children, too, were all safe, as well as
unsuspicious of danger; for Romulus had given special charge that no
married woman should be molested. The men had had ample time and
opportunity in the many days of active social intercourse which they
had enjoyed with their guests, to know who were free, and they were
forbidden in any instance to take a wife away from her husband.

At length the moment arrived for giving the signal. Romulus took off
his mantle, folded it, and then unfolded it again. The Romans
immediately drew their swords, and rushed forward, each to secure his
own prize. A scene of the greatest excitement and confusion ensued.
The whole company of visitors perceived of course that some great act
of treachery was perpetrated upon them, but they were wholly in the
dark in respect to the nature and design of it. They were chiefly
unarmed, and wholly unprepared for so sudden an attack, and they fled
in all directions in dismay, protecting themselves and their wives and
children as well as they could, as they retired, and aiming only to
withdraw as large a number as possible from the scene of violence and
confusion that prevailed. The Romans were careful not to do them any
injury, but, on the contrary, to allow them to withdraw, and to take
away all the mothers and children without any molestation. In fact, it
was the very object and design of the onset which they made upon the
company, not only to seize upon the maidens, but to drive all the rest
of their visitors away. The men, therefore, in the excitement and
terror of the moment, fled in all directions, taking with them those
whom they could most readily secure, who were, of course, those whom
the Romans left to them; while the Romans themselves withdrew with
their prizes, and secured them within the walls of the city.

In reading this extraordinary story, we naturally feel a strong
disposition to inquire what part the damsels themselves took, when
they found themselves thus suddenly seized and carried away, by these
daring and athletic assailants. Did they resist and struggle to get
free, or did they yield themselves without much opposition to their
fate? That they did not resist effectually is plain, for the Roman
young men succeeded in carrying them away, and securing them. It may
be that they attempted to resist, but found their strength overpowered
by the desperate and reckless violence of their captors. And yet, it
can not be denied that woman is endued with the power of making by
various means a very formidable opposition to any attempt to abduct
her by any single man, when she is thoroughly in earnest about it. How
it was in fact in this case we have no direct information, and we have
consequently no means of forming any opinion in respect to the light
in which this rough and lawless mode of wooing was regarded by the
objects of it, except from the events which subsequently occurred.

One incident took place while the Romans were seizing and carrying
away their prizes, which was afterward long remembered, as it became
the foundation of a custom which continued for many centuries to form
a part of the marriage ceremony at Rome. It seems that some young
men--very young, and of a humble class--had seized a peculiarly
beautiful girl--one of some note and consideration, too, among her
countrywomen--and were carrying her away, like the rest. Some other
young Romans of the patrician order seeing this, and thinking that so
beautiful a maiden ought not to fall to the share of such plebeians,
immediately set out in full pursuit to rescue her. The plebeians
hurried along to escape from them, calling out at the same time,
"_Thalassio! Thalassio!_" which means "For Thalassius, For
Thalassius." They meant by this to convey the idea that the prize
which they had in possession was intended not for any one of their own
number, but for Thalassius. Now Thalassius was a young noble
universally known and very highly esteemed by all his countrymen, and
when the rescuing party were thus led to suppose that the beautiful
lady was intended for him, they acquiesced immediately, and desisted
from their attempt to recapture her, and thus by the aid of their
stratagem the plebeians carried off their prize in safety. When this
circumstance came afterward to be known, the ingenuity of the young
plebeians, and the success of their manœver, excited very general
applause, and the exclamation, _Thalassio_, passed into a sort of
proverb, and was subsequently adopted as an exclamation of assent and
congratulation, to be used by the spectators at a marriage ceremony.

Romulus had issued most express and positive orders that the young
captives should be treated after their seizure in the kindest and most
respectful manner, and should be subject to no violence, and no
ill-treatment of any kind, other than that necessary for conveying
them to the places of security previously designated. They suffered
undoubtedly a greater or less degree of distress and terror,--but
finding that they were treated, after their seizure, with respectful
consideration, and that they were left unmolested by their captors,
they gradually recovered their composure during the night, and in the
morning were quite self-possessed and calm. Their fathers and brothers
in the mean time had gone home to their respective cities, taking with
them the women and children that they had saved, and burning with
indignation and rage against the perpetrators of such an act of
treachery as had been practiced upon them. They were of course in a
state of great uncertainty and suspense in respect to the fate which
awaited the captives, and were soon eagerly engaged in forming and
discussing all possible plans for rescuing and recovering them. Thus
the night was passed in agitation and excitement, both within and
without the city,--the excitement of terror and distress, great
perhaps, though subsiding on the part of the captives, and of
resentment and rage which grew deeper and more extended every hour, on
the part of their countrymen.

When the morning came, Romulus ordered the captive maidens to be all
brought together before him in order that he might make as it were an
apology to them for the violence to which they had been subjected, and
explain to them the circumstances which had impelled the Romans to
resort to it.

"You ought not," said he, "to look upon it as an indignity that you
have been thus seized, for the object of the Romans in seizing you was
not to dishonor you, or to do you any injury, but only to secure you
for their wives in honorable marriage; and far from being displeased
with the extraordinariness of the measures which they have adopted to
secure you, you ought to take pride in them, as evincing the ardor and
strength of the affection with which you have inspired your lovers. I
will assure you that when you have become their wives you shall be
treated with all the respect and tenderness that you have been
accustomed to experience under your fathers' roofs. The brief coercion
which we have employed for the purpose of securing you in the first
instance,--a coercion which we were compelled to resort to by the
necessity of the case,--is the only rudeness to which you will ever
be exposed. Forgive us then for this one liberty which we have taken,
and consider that the fault, whatever fault in it there may be, is not
ours, but that of your fathers and brothers who rejected our offers
for voluntary and peaceful alliances, and thus compelled us to resort
to this stratagem or else to lose you altogether. Your destiny if you
unite with us will be great and glorious. We have not taken you
captive to make you prisoners or slaves, or to degrade you in any way
from your former position; but to exalt you to positions of high
consideration in a new and rising colony;--a colony which is surely
destined to become great and powerful, and of which we mean you to be
the chief glory and charm."

The young and handsome Romans stood by while Romulus made this speech,
their countenances animated with excitement and pleasure. The maidens
themselves seemed much inclined to yield to their fate. Their
resentment gradually subsided. It has been, in fact, in all ages,
characteristic of women to be easily led to excuse and forgive any
wrong on the part of another which is prompted by love for herself:
and these injured maidens seemed gradually to come to the conclusion,
that considering all the circumstances of the case their abductors
were not so much in fault after all. In a short time an excellent
understanding was established, and they were all married. There were,
it is said, about five or six hundred of them, and it proved that most
of them were from the nation of the Sabines, a nation which inhabited
a territory north of the colony of the Romans. The capital of the
Sabines was a city called Cures. Cures was about twenty miles from

[Footnote E: See map of Latium, page 134.]

The Sabines, in deliberating on the course which they should pursue in
the emergency, found themselves in a situation of great perplexity. In
the first place the impulse which urged them to immediate acts of
retaliation and hostility was restrained by the fact that so many of
their beloved daughters were wholly in the power of their enemies, and
they could not tell what cruel fate might await the captives if they
were themselves to resort to any measures that would exasperate or
provoke the captors. Then again their own territory was very much
exposed and they were by no means certain, in case a war should be
commenced between them and the Romans, how it would end. Their own
population was much divided, being scattered over the territory, or
settled in various cities and towns which were but slightly fortified,
and consequently were much exposed to assault in case the Romans were
to make an incursion into their country. In view of all these
considerations the Sabines concluded that it would be best for them on
the whole, to try the influence of gentle measures, before resorting
to open war.

They therefore sent an embassy to Romulus, to remonstrate in strong
terms against the wrong which the Romans had done them by their
treacherous violence, and to demand that the young women should be
restored. "If you will restore them to us now," said they, "we will
overlook the affront which you have put upon us, and make peace with
you; and we will enter into an alliance with you so that hereafter
your people and ours may be at liberty to intermarry in a fair and
honorable way, but we can not submit to have our daughters taken away
from us by treachery and force."

Reasonable as this proposition seems, Romulus did not think it best
to accede to it. It was, in fact, too late, for such deeds once done
can hardly be undone. Romulus replied, that the women, being now the
wives of the Romans, could not be surrendered. The violence, he said,
of which the Sabines complained was unavoidable. No other possible way
had been open to them for gaining the end. He was willing, he added,
to enter into a treaty of peace and alliance with the Sabines, but
they must acknowledge, as a preliminary to such a treaty, the validity
of the marriages, which, as they had already been consummated, could
not now be annulled.

The Sabines, on their part, could not accede to these proposals.
Being, however, still reluctant to commence hostilities, they
continued the negotiations--though while engaged in them they seemed
to anticipate an unfavorable issue, for they were occupied all the
time in organizing troops, strengthening the defenses of their
villages and towns, and making other vigorous preparations for war.

The Romans, in the mean time, seemed to find the young wives which
they had procured by these transactions a great acquisition to their
colony. It proved, too, that they not only prized the acquisition,
but they exulted so much in the ingenuity and success of the stratagem
by which their object had been effected, that a sort of symbolical
violence in taking the bride became afterward a part of the marriage
ceremony in all subsequent weddings. For always, in future years, when
the new-married wife was brought home to her husband's house, it was
the custom for him to take her up in his arms at the door, and carry
her over the threshold as if by force, thus commemorating by this
ceremony the coercion which had signalized the original marriages of
his ancestors, the founders of Rome.



B.C. 750-746

King Acron.--Cænina.--Its distance from Rome.--Acron's hostility to
the new city.--His plans.--Romulus and Acron meet on the
field.--Anticipations of the spectators.--Romulus victorious.--Results
of his victory.--Subsequent policy of the Romans.--The trophy of the
victory.--First Roman triumph.--Annexation of more cities.--Women
summoned.--The address of Romulus.--His promises.--Generous policy
pursued by Romulus.--Enlargement of the city.--Plans of the
Sabines.--They mature their preparations.--Titus Tatius.--Preparations
of the Romans.--Final negotiations.--The Roman herdsmen.--Flocks and
herds called in.--The citadel.--Tarpeia.--The Campus Martius.--Parley
with Tarpeia.--Agreement made with Tarpeia.--The Sabines
admitted.--Tarpeia killed.--The two armies meet on the plain.--A truce
to bury the dead.--Fresh combats.--Romulus in great personal
danger.--The story of Curtius.--The lake.--Distress of the Sabine
women.--Their perplexity.--The plan of Hersilia.--The women admitted to
the senate house.--Arrangements for the intercession of the women.--The
address of Hersilia.--Effect of it.--Conditions and terms of peace.

While the negotiations with the Sabines were still pending, Romulus
became involved in another difficulty, which for a time assumed a very
threatening aspect. This difficulty was a war which broke out,
somewhat suddenly, in consequence of the invasion of the Roman
territories by a neighboring chieftain named Acron. Acron was the
sovereign of a small state, whose capital was a town called Cænina.[F]
This Cænina is supposed to have been only four or five miles distant
from Romulus's city,--a fact which shows very clearly on how small a
scale the deeds and exploits connected with the first foundation of
the great empire, which afterward became so extended and so renowned,
were originally performed, and how intrinsically insignificant they
were, in themselves, though momentous in the extreme in respect to the
consequences that flowed from them.

[Footnote F: See Map of Latium, page 134.]

Acron was a bold, energetic, and determined man, who had already
acquired great fame by his warlike exploits, and who had long been
watching the progress of the new colony with an evil eye. He thought
that if it were allowed to take root, and to grow, it might, at some
future day, become a formidable enemy, both to him, and also to the
other states in that part of Italy. He had been very desirous,
therefore, of finding some pretext for attacking the new city, and
when he heard of the seizure of the Sabine women, he thought that the
time had arrived. He, therefore, urged the Sabines to make war at once
upon the Romans, and promised, if they would do so, to assist them
with all the forces that he could command. The Sabines, however, were
so unwilling to proceed to extremities, and spent so much time in
negotiations and embassies, that Acron's patience was at length wholly
exhausted by the delays, and he resolved to undertake the
extermination of the new colony himself alone.

So he gathered together a rude and half-organized army, and advanced
toward Rome. Romulus, who had been informed of his plans and
preparations, went out to meet him. The two armies came in view of
each other on an open plain, not far from the city. Romulus advanced
at the head of his troops, while Acron appeared likewise in the
fore-front of the invaders. After uttering in the hearing of each
other, and of the assembled armies, various exclamations of challenge
and defiance, it was at length agreed that the question at issue
should be decided by single combat, the two commanders themselves to
be the champions. Romulus and Acron accordingly advanced into the
middle of the field, while their armies drew up around them, forming a
sort of ring within which the combatants were to engage.

The interest which would be naturally felt by such an encounter, was
increased very much by the strong contrast that was observed in the
appearance of the warriors. Romulus was very young, and though tall
and athletic in form, his countenance exhibited still the expression
of softness and delicacy characteristic of youth. Acron, on the other
hand, was a war-worn veteran, rugged, hardy, and stern; and the
throngs of martial spectators that surrounded the field, when they saw
the combatants as they came forward to engage, anticipated a very
unequal contest. Romulus was nevertheless victorious. As he went into
the battle, he made a vow to Jupiter, that if he conquered his foe, he
would ascribe to the god all the glory of the victory, and he would
set up the arms and spoils of Acron at Rome, as a trophy sacred to
Jupiter, in honor of the divine aid through which the conquest should
be achieved. It was in consequence of this vow, as the old historians
say, that Romulus prevailed in the combat. At all events, he did
prevail. Acron was slain, and while Romulus was stripping the fallen
body of its armor on the field, his men were pursuing the army of
Acron, for the soldiers fled in dismay toward their city, as soon as
they saw that the single combat had gone against their king.

Cænina was not in a condition to make any defense, and it was readily
taken. When the city was thus in the power of Romulus, he called the
inhabitants together, and said to them, that he cherished no hostile
or resentful feelings toward them. On the contrary, he wished to have
them his allies and friends, and he promised them, that if they would
abandon Cænina, and go with him to Rome, they should all be received
as brothers, and be at once incorporated into the Roman state, and
admitted to all the privileges of citizens. The people of Cænina, when
the first feelings of terror and distress which their falling into the
power of their enemies naturally awakened, had been in some measure
allayed, readily acquiesced in this arrangement, and were all
transferred to Rome. Their coming made a great addition not only to
the population and strength of the city, but vastly increased the
celebrity and fame of Romulus in the estimation of the surrounding

This victory over Acron, and the annexation of his dominions to the
Roman commonwealth, are considered of great historical importance, as
the original type and exemplar of the whole subsequent foreign policy
of the Roman state;--a policy marked by courage and energy in martial
action on the field, and by generosity in dealing with the conquered;
and which was so successful in its results, that it was the means of
extending the Roman power from kingdom to kingdom, and from continent
to continent, until the vast organization almost encircled the world.

Romulus faithfully fulfilled the vow which he had made to Jupiter. On
the return of the army to Rome, the soldiers, by his directions, cut
down a small oak-tree, and trimming the branches at the top, and
shortening them as much as was necessary for the purpose, they hung
the weapons and armor of Acron upon it, and marched with it thus, in
triumph into the city. Romulus walked in the midst of the procession,
a crown of laurel upon his head, and his long hair hanging down upon
his shoulders. Thus the victors entered the city, greeted all the way
by the shouts and acclamations of the people, who had assembled,--men,
women, and children,--at the gates and upon the tops of the houses.
When the long procession had thus passed in, tables for the soldiers
were spread in the streets and public squares, and the whole day was
spent in festivity and rejoicing. This was the first Roman
triumph,--the original model and example of those magnificent and
imposing spectacles which in subsequent ages became the wonder of the

The spoils which had been brought in upon the oak were solemnly set
up, on one of the hills within the city, as a trophy to Jupiter. A
small temple was erected expressly to receive them. This temple was
very small, being but five feet wide and ten feet long.

A short time after these transactions two other cities were
incorporated into the Roman state. The name of these cities were
Crustumenium and Antemnæ. Some women from these cities had been seized
at Rome when the Sabine women were taken, and the inhabitants had been
ever since that period meditating plans of revenge. They were not
strong enough to wage open war against Romulus, but they began at last
to make hostile incursions into the Roman territories by means of such
small bands of armed men as they had the means of raising. Romulus
immediately organized bodies of troops sufficient for the purpose, and
then suddenly, and, as it would seem, without giving the kings of
these cities any previous warning, he appeared before the walls and
captured the cities before the inhabitants had time to recover from
their consternation.

He then sent to all the women in Rome who had formerly belonged to
these cities, summoning them to appear before him at his public place
of audience in the city, and in the presence of the Roman Senate. The
women were exceedingly terrified at receiving this summons. They
supposed that death or some other terrible punishment, was to be
inflicted upon them in retribution for the offenses committed by their
countrymen, and they came into the senate-house, hiding their faces in
their robes, and crying out with grief and terror. Romulus bid them
calm their fears, assuring them that he intended them no injury. "Your
countrymen," said he, "preferred war to the peaceful alternative of
friendship and alliance which we offered them; and the fortune of war
to which they thus chose to appeal, has decided against them. They
have now fallen into our hands, and are wholly at our mercy. We do
not, however, mean to do them any harm. We spare and forgive them for
your sakes. We intend to invite them to come and live with us and with
you at Rome, so that you can once more experience the happiness of
being joined to your fathers and brothers as well as your husbands. We
shall not destroy or even injure their cities; but shall send some of
our own citizens to people them, so that they may become fully
incorporated into the Roman commonwealth. Thus, your fathers and
brothers, and all your countrymen, receive the boon of life, liberty,
and happiness through you; and all that we ask of you in return, is
that you will continue your conjugal affection and fidelity to your
Roman husbands, and seek to promote the harmony and happiness of the
city by every means in your power."

Of course such transactions as these attracted great attention
throughout the country, and both the valor with which Romulus
encountered his enemies while they resisted and opposed him, and the
generosity with which he admitted them to an honorable alliance with
him when they were reduced to submission, were universally applauded.
In fact, there began to be formed a strong public sentiment in favor
of the new colony, and the influx to it of individual adventurers,
from all parts of the country, rapidly increased. In one instance a
famous chieftain named Cælius, a general of the Etrurians who lived
north of the Tiber, brought over the whole army under his command in a
body, to join the new colony. New and special arrangements were
necessary to be made at Rome for receiving so sudden and so large an
accession to the numbers of the people, and accordingly a new
eminence, one which had been hitherto without the city, was now
inclosed, and brought within the pomœrium. This hill received the
name of Cælius, from the general whose army occupied it. The city was
extended too at the same time on the other side toward the Tiber. The
walls were continued down to the very bank of the river, and thence
carried along the bank so as to present a continued defense on that
side, except at one place where there was a great gate leading to the

During all this time, however, the Sabines still cherished the spirit
of resentment and hostility, and instead of being conciliated by the
forbearance and generosity of the Romans, were only excited to greater
jealousy and ill-will at witnessing the proofs of their increasing
influence and power. They employed themselves in maturing their plans
for a grand onset against the new colony, and with the intention to
make the blow which they were about to strike effectual and final they
took time to arrange their preparations on the most extensive scale,
and to mature them in the most deliberate and thorough manner. They
enlisted troops; they collected stores of provisions and munitions of
war; they formed alliances with such states lying beyond them as they
could draw into their quarrel; and finally, when all things were
ready, they assembled their forces upon the frontier, and prepared for
the onset. The name of the general who was placed in command of this
mighty host was Titus Tatius.

In the mean time, Romulus and the people of the city were equally busy
in making preparations for defense. They procured and laid up in
magazines, great stores of provisions for the use of the city. They
strengthened and extended the walls, and built new ramparts and towers
wherever they were needed. Numitor rendered very essential aid to his
grandson in these preparations. He sent supplies of weapons to him for
the use of the men, and furnished various military engines, such as
were used in those times in the attack and defense of besieged cities.
In fact, the preparations on both sides were of the most extensive
character, and seemed to portend a very resolute and determined

When all things were thus ready, the Sabines, before actually striking
the blow for which they had been so long and so deliberately
preparing, concluded to send one more final embassy to Romulus, to
demand the surrender of the women. This was of course only a matter of
form, as they must have known well from what had already passed that
Romulus would not now yield to such a proposal. He did not yield. He
sent back word in answer to their demand, that the Sabine women were
all well settled in Rome, and were contented and happy there with
their husbands and friends, and that he could not think now of
disturbing them. This answer having been received, the Sabines
prepared for the onset.

There was a certain tract of country surrounding Rome which belonged
to the people of the city, and was cultivated by them. This land was
used partly for tillage and partly for the pasturage of cattle, but
principally for the latter, as the rearing of flocks and herds was,
for various reasons, a more advantageous mode of procuring food for
man in those ancient days than the culture of the ground. The rural
population, therefore, of the Roman territory consisted chiefly of
herdsmen; and when the approaching danger from the Sabines became
imminent, Romulus called all these herdsmen in, and required the
flocks of sheep and the herds of cattle to be driven to the rear of
the city, and shut up in an inclosure there, where they could be more
easily defended. Thus the Sabine army found, when they were ready to
cross the frontier, that the Roman territory, on that side, was
deserted and solitary; and that there was nothing to oppose them in
advancing across it almost to the very gates of Rome.

They advanced accordingly, and when they came near to the city they
found that Romulus had taken possession of two hills without the
walls, where he had entrenched himself in great force. These two hills
were named the Esquiline and Quirinal hills. The city itself included
two other hills, namely, the Palatine and the Capitoline. The
Capitoline hill was the one on which the asylum had formerly been
built, and it was now the citadel. The citadel was surrounded on all
parts with ramparts and towers which overlooked and commanded all the
neighboring country. The command of this fortress was given to
Tarpeius, a noble Roman. He had a daughter named Tarpeia, whose name
afterward became greatly celebrated in history, on account of the
part which she took in the events of this siege, as will presently

At the foot of the Capitoline hill, and on the western side of it,
that is, the side away from the city, there was a spacious plain which
was afterward included within the limits of the city, and used as a
parade-ground, under the name of Campus Martius, which words mean the
"War Field." This field was now, however, an open plain, and the
Sabine army advancing to it, encamped upon it. The Sabine forces were
much more numerous than those of the Romans, but the latter were so
well guarded and protected by their walls and fortifications, that
Titus Tatius saw no feasible way of attacking them with any prospect
of success. At last, one day as some of his officers were walking
around the Capitoline hill, looking at the walls of the citadel,
Tarpeia came to one of the gates, which was in a retired and solitary
position, and entered into a parley with the men. The story of what
followed is variously related by different historians, and it is now
difficult to ascertain the actual truth respecting it. The account
generally received is this:--


Tarpeia had observed the soldiers from the walls, and her attention
had been attracted by the bracelets and rings which they wore; and she
finally made an agreement with the Sabines that she would open the
postern gate in the night, and let them in, if they would give her
what they wore upon their arms, meaning the ornaments which had
attracted her attention. The Sabines bound themselves to do this and
then went away. Titus Tatius, accordingly, when informed of this
arrangement, detailed a strong detachment of troops, and gave them
orders to repair at night in a very silent and secret manner to the
gate which had been designated as the place where they were to be let
in. It is asserted, however, by some writers, that this apparent
treachery on the part of Tarpeia was only a deep-laid stratagem on her
part to draw the Sabines into a snare; and that she sent word to
Romulus, informing him of the agreement which she had made, in order
that he might secretly dispatch a strong force to take their position
at the gate, and intercept and capture the Sabine party as soon as
they should come in. But if this was Tarpeia's design, it totally
failed. The Sabines, when they came at midnight to the postern gate
which Tarpeia opened for them, came in sufficient force to bear down
all opposition; and in fulfillment of their promise to give Tarpeia
what they wore upon their arms they threw their heavy bucklers upon
her until she was crushed down beneath the weight of them and killed.

A steep rock which forms that side of the Capitoline hill is called
the Tarpeian rock, in memory of this maiden, to the present day.

In this way the Sabines gained possession of the citadel, though
Romulus still held the main city. The Romans were of course extremely
disconcerted at the loss of the citadel, and Romulus, finding that the
danger was now extremely imminent, resolved no longer to stand on the
defensive, but to come out upon the plain and offer the Sabines
battle. He accordingly brought his forces out of the city and took up
a strong position with them, between the Capitoline and Palatine
hills, with his front toward the Campus Martius, where the main body
of the Sabines were posted. Thus the armies were confronted against
each other on the plain, the Romans holding the city and the Palatine
hill as a stronghold to retreat to in case of necessity, while the
Sabines in the same manner could seek refuge on the Capitoline hill
and in the citadel.

Things being in this state a series of desperate but partial contests
ensued, which were continued for several days, when at length a
general battle came on. During all this time the walls of the city and
of the citadel were lined with spectators who had ascended to witness
the combats; for from these walls and from the declivities of the
hills, the whole plain could be looked down upon as if it were a map.
The battle continued all day. At night both parties were exhausted,
and the field was covered with the dead and dying, but neither side
had gained a victory. The next day by common consent they suspended
the combat in order to take care of the wounded, and to bury the
bodies of the dead.

After the interval of a day, which was spent, on both sides, in
removing the horrid relics of the previous combats, and in gathering
fresh strength and fresh desperation and rage for the conflicts yet to
come, the struggle was renewed. The soldiers fought now, on this
renewal of the battle, with more dreadful and deadly ferocity than
ever. Various incidents occurred during the day to give one party or
the other a local or temporary advantage, but neither side wholly
prevailed. At one time Romulus himself was exposed to the most
imminent personal danger, and for a time it was thought that he was
actually killed. The Romans had gained some great advantage over a
party of the Sabines, and the latter were rushing in a headlong flight
to the citadel, the Romans pursuing them and hoping to follow them in,
in the confusion, and thus regain possession of the fortress. To
prevent this the Sabines within the citadel and on the rocks above
threw stones down upon the Romans. One of these stones struck Romulus
on the head, and he fell down stunned and senseless under the blow.
His men were extremely terrified at this disaster, and abandoning the
pursuit of their enemies they took up the body of Romulus and carried
it into the city. It was found, however, that he was not seriously
injured. He soon recovered from the effects of the blow and returned
into the battle.

Another incident which occurred in the course of these battles has
been commemorated in history, by having been the means of giving a
name to a small lake or pool which was afterward brought within the
limits of the city. A Sabine general named Curtius happened at one
time to encounter Romulus in a certain part of the field, and a long
and desperate combat ensued between the two champions. Other soldiers
gradually came up and mingled in the fray, until at length Curtius,
finding himself wounded and bleeding, and surrounded by enemies, fled
for his life. Romulus pursued him for a short distance, but Curtius
at length came suddenly upon a small swampy pool, which was formed of
water that had been left by the inundations of the river in some old
deserted channel, and which was now covered and almost concealed by
some sort of mossy and floating vegetation. Curtius running headlong,
and paying little heed to his steps fell into this hole, and sank in
the water. Romulus supposed of course that he would be drowned there,
and so turned away and went to find some other enemy. Curtius,
however, succeeded in crawling out of the pond into which he had
fallen; and in commemoration of the incident the pond was named Lake
Curtius, which name it retained for centuries afterward, when, not
only had all the water disappeared, but the place itself had been
filled up, and had been covered with streets and houses.

The combats between the Romans and the Sabines were continued for
several days, during all which time the Sabine women, on whose account
it was that this dreadful quarrel had arisen, were suffering the
greatest anxiety and distress. They loved their fathers and brothers,
but then they loved their husbands too; and they were overwhelmed
with anguish at the thought that day after day those who were equally
dear to them were engaged in fighting and destroying one another, and
that they could do nothing to arrest so unnatural a hostility.

At length, however, after suffering extreme distress for many days, a
crisis arrived when they found that they could interpose. Both parties
had become somewhat weary of the contest. Neither could prevail over
the other, and yet neither was willing to yield. The Sabines could not
bring themselves to submit to so humiliating an alternative as to
withdraw from Rome and leave their daughters and sisters in the
captors' hands, after all the grand preparations which they had made
for retaking them. And on the other hand the Romans could not take
those, who, whatever had been their previous history, were now living
happily as wives and mothers, each in her own house in the city, and
give them up to an army of invaders, demanding them with threats and
violence, without deep dishonor. Thus, though there was a pause in the
conflict, and both parties were weary of it, neither was willing to
yield, and both were preparing to return to the struggle with new
determination and vigor.

The Sabine women thought that they might now interpose. A lady named
Hersilia, who is often mentioned as one of the most prominent among
the number, proposed this measure and made the arrangements for
carrying it into effect. She assembled her countrywomen and explained
to them her plan, which was that they should go in a body to the Roman
Senate, and ask permission to intercede between the contending
nations, and plead for peace.

The company of women, taking their children with them, all of whom
were yet very young, went accordingly in a body to the senate-chamber,
and asked to be admitted. The doors were opened to them, and they went
in. They all appeared to be in great distress and agitation. The grief
and anxiety which they had suffered during the progress of the war
still continued, and they begged the Senate to let them go out to the
camp of the Sabines, and endeavor to persuade them to make peace. The
Senate were disposed to consent. The women wished to take their
children with them, but some of the Romans imagined that there might,
perhaps, be danger, that under pretense of interceding for peace, they
were really intending to make their escape from Rome altogether. So it
was insisted that they should leave their children behind them as
hostages for their return, excepting that such as had two children
were allowed to take one, which plan it was thought would aid them in
moving the compassion of their Sabine relatives.

The women, accordingly, left the senate-chamber, and with their
children in their arms, their hair disheveled, their robes disordered,
and their countenances wan with grief, went in mournful procession out
through the gate of the city. They passed across the plain and
advanced toward the citadel. They were admitted, and after some delay,
were ushered into the council of the Sabines. Here their tears and
exclamations of grief broke forth anew. When silence was in some
measure restored, Hersilia addressed the Sabine chieftains, saying,
that she and her companions had come to beg their countrymen to put an
end to the war. "We know," said she, "that you are waging it on our
account, and we see in all that you have done proofs of your love for
us. In fact, it was our supposed interests which led you to commence
it, but now our real interests require that it should be ended. It is
true that when we were first seized by the Romans we felt greatly
wronged, but having submitted to our fate, we have now become settled
in our new homes, and are contented and happy in them. We love our
husbands and love our children; and we are treated with the utmost
kindness and respect by all. Do not then, under a mistaken kindness
for us, attempt to tear us away again, or continue this dreadful war,
which, though ostensibly on our account, and for our benefit, is
really making us inexpressibly miserable."

This intercession produced the effect which might have been expected
from it. The Sabines and Romans immediately entered upon negotiations
for peace, and peace is easily made where both parties are honestly
desirous of making it. In fact, a great reaction took place, so that
from the reckless and desperate hostility which the two nations had
felt for each other, there succeeded so friendly a sentiment, that in
the end a treaty of union was made between the two nations. It was
agreed that the two nations should be merged into one. The Sabine
territory was to be annexed to that of Rome, and Titus Tatius, with
the principal Sabine chieftains, were to remove to Rome, which was
thenceforth to be the capital of the new kingdom. In a word never was
a reconciliation between two belligerent nations so sudden and so



B.C. 764-717

Romulus reigns in conjunction with the Sabine king.--The Roman
Forum.--Growth of the city.--Bold and comprehensive
measures.--Cameria.--Difficulty with Titus Tatius.--Controversy
between Romulus and Tatius.--The difficulty at Lavinium.--Tatius
killed.--Romulus once more sole king.--Rome assumes a general
jurisdiction over other states.--Foundation of the future greatness
of Rome.--Circumstances connected with the death of Romulus.--Rumors
in circulation.--Public opinion.--Proculus's story.--The ghost of
Romulus.--The Romans satisfied.--The real truth not to be known.--The
interregnum.--A new king.

After the termination of the Sabine war Romulus continued to reign
many years, and his reign, although no very exact and systematic
history of it was recorded at the time, seems to have presented the
usual variety of incidents and vicissitudes; and yet, notwithstanding
occasional and partial reverses, the city, and the kingdom connected
with it, made rapid progress in wealth and population.

For four or five years after the union of the Sabines with the Romans,
Titus Tatius was in some way or other associated with Romulus in the
government of the united kingdom. Romulus, during all this time, had
his house and his court on the Palatine hill, where the city had been
originally built, and where most of the Romans lived. The
head-quarters of the Sabine chieftain were, on the other hand, upon
the Capitoline hill, which was the place on which the citadel was
situated that his troops had taken possession of in the course of the
war, and which it seems they continued to occupy after the peace. The
space between the two hills was set apart as a market-place, or
_forum_, as it was called in their language,--that place being
designated for the purpose on account of its central and convenient
situation. When afterward that portion of the city became filled as it
did with magnificent streets and imposing architectural edifices, the
space which Romulus had set apart for a market remained an open public
square, and as it was the scene in which transpired some of the most
remarkable events connected with Roman history, it became renowned
throughout the world under the name of the Roman Forum.

In consequence of the union of the Romans and the Sabines, and of the
rapid growth of the city in population and power which followed, the
Roman state began soon to rise to so high a position in relation to
the surrounding cities and kingdoms, as soon to take precedence of
them altogether. This was owing, however, in part undoubtedly, to the
character of the men who governed at Rome. The measures which they
adopted in founding the city, and in sustaining it through the first
years of its existence, as described in the foregoing chapters, were
all of a very extraordinary character, and evinced very extraordinary
qualities in the men who devised them. These measures were bold,
comprehensive and sagacious, and they were carried out with a certain
combination of courage and magnanimity which always gives to those who
possess it, and who are in a position to exercise it on a commanding
scale, great ascendency over the minds of men. They who possess these
qualities generally feel their power, and are usually not slow to
assert it. A singular and striking instance of this occurred not many
years after the peace with the Sabines. There was a city at some
distance from Rome called Cameria, whose inhabitants were a lawless
horde, and occasionally parties of them made incursions, as was said,
into the surrounding countries, for plunder. The Roman Senate sent
word to the government of the city that such accusations were made
against them, and very coolly cited them to appear at Rome for trial.
The Camerians of course refused to come. The Senate then declared war
against them, and sent an army to take possession of the city,
proceeding to act in the case precisely as if the Roman government
constituted a judicial tribunal, having authority to exercise
jurisdiction, and to enforce law and order, among all the nations
around them. In fact, Rome continued to assert and to maintain this
authority over a wider and wider circle every year, until in the
course of some centuries after Romulus's day, she made herself the
arbiter of the world.

Titus Tatius shared the supreme power with Romulus at Rome for several
years, and the two monarchs continued during this time to exercise
their joint power in a much more harmonious manner than would have
been supposed possible. At length, however, causes of disagreement
began to occur, and in the end open dissension took place, in the
course of which Tatius came to his end in a very sudden and remarkable
manner. A party of soldiers from Rome, it seems, had been committing
some deed of violence at Lavinium, the ancient city which Æneas had
built when he first arrived in Latium. The people of Lavinium
complained to Romulus against these marauders. It happened, however,
that the guilty men were chiefly Sabines, and in the discussions which
took place at Rome afterward in relation to the affair, Tatius took
their part, and endeavored to shield them, while Romulus seemed
disposed to give them up to the Lavinians for punishment. "They are
robbers and murderers," said Romulus, "and we ought not to shield them
from the penalty due to their crimes." "They are Roman citizens," said
Tatius, "and we must not give them up to a foreign state." The
controversy became warm; parties were formed; and at last the
exasperation became so great that when the Lavinian envoys, who had
come to Rome to demand the punishment of the robbers, were returning
home, a gang of Tatius's men intercepted them on the way and killed

This of course increased the excitement and the difficulty in a
tenfold degree. Romulus immediately sent to Lavinium to express his
deep regret at what had occurred, and his readiness to do every thing
in his power to expiate the offense which his countrymen had
committed. He would arrest these murderers, he said, and send them to
Lavinium, and he would come himself, with Tatius, to Lavinium, and
there make an expiatory offering to the gods, in attestation of the
abhorrence which they both felt for so atrocious a crime as waylaying
and murdering the embassadors of a friendly city. Tatius was compelled
to assent to these measures, though he yielded very reluctantly. He
could not openly defend such a deed as the murder of the envoys; and
so he consented to accompany Romulus to Lavinium, to make the
offering, but he secretly arranged a plan for rescuing the murderers
from the Lavinians, after they had been given up. Accordingly, while
he and Romulus were at Lavinium offering the sacrifices, news came
that the murderers of the envoys, on their way from Rome to Lavinium,
had been rescued and allowed to escape. This news so exasperated the
people of Lavinium against Tatius, for they considered him as
unquestionably the secret author and contriver of the deed, that they
rose upon him at the festival, and murdered him with the butcher
knives and spits which had been used for slaughtering and roasting the
animals. They then formed a grand procession and escorted Romulus out
of the city in safety with loud acclamations.

The government of Lavinium, as soon as the excitement of the scene was
over, fearing the resentment which they very naturally supposed
Romulus would feel at the murder of his colleague, seized the
ringleaders of the riot, and sent them bound to Rome, to place them at
the disposal of the Roman government. Romulus sent them back unharmed,
directing them to say to the Lavinian government, that he considered
the death of Tatius, though inflicted in a mode lawless and
unjustifiable, as nevertheless, in itself, only a just expiation for
the murder of the Lavinian embassadors, which Tatius had instigated or

The Sabines of Rome were for a time greatly exasperated at these
occurrences, but Romulus succeeded in gradually quieting and calming
them, and they finally acquiesced in his decision. Romulus thus became
once more the sole and undisputed master of Rome.

After this the progress of the city in wealth and prosperity, from
year to year, was steady and sure, interrupted, it is true, by
occasional and temporary reverses, but with no real retrocession at
any time. Causes of disagreement arose from time to time with
neighboring states, and, in such cases, Romulus always first sent a
summons to the party implicated, whether king or people, citing them
to appear and answer for their conduct before the Roman Senate. If
they refused to come, he sent an armed force against them, as if he
were simply enforcing the jurisdiction of a tribunal of justice. The
result usually was that the refractory state was compelled to submit,
and its territories were added to those of the kingdom of Rome. Thus
the boundaries of the new empire were widening and extending every

Romulus paid great attention, in the mean time, to every thing
pertaining to the internal organization of the state, so as to bring
every part of the national administration into the best possible
condition. The municipal police, the tribunals of justice, the social
institutions and laws of the industrial classes, the discipline of the
troops, the enlargement and increase of the fortifications of the
city, and the supply of arms, and stores, and munitions of war,--and
every other subject, in fact, connected with the welfare and
prosperity of the city,--occupied his thoughts in every interval of
peace and tranquillity. In consequence of the exertions which he made,
and the measures which he adopted, order and system prevailed more
and more in every department, and the community became every year
better organized, and more and more consolidated; so that the capacity
of the city to receive accessions to the population increased even
faster than accessions were made. In a word, the solid foundations
were laid of that vast superstructure, which, in subsequent ages,
became the wonder of the world.

Notwithstanding, however, all this increasing greatness and
prosperity, Romulus was not without rivals and enemies, even among his
own people at Rome. The leading senators became, at last, envious and
jealous of his power. They said that he himself grew imperious and
domineering in spirit, as he grew older, and manifested a pride and
haughtiness of demeanor which excited their ill-will. He assumed too
much authority, they said, in the management of public affairs, as if
he were an absolute and despotic sovereign. He wore a purple robe on
public occasions, as a badge of royalty. He organized a body-guard of
three hundred young troopers, who rode before him whenever he moved
about the city; and in all respects assumed such pomp and parade in
his demeanor, and exercised such a degree of arbitrary power in his
acts, as made him many enemies. The whole Senate became, at length,
greatly disaffected.

At last one day, on occasion of a great review which took place at a
little distance from the city, there came up a sudden shower, attended
with thunder and lightning, and the violence of the tempest was such
as to compel the soldiers to retire precipitately from the ground in
search of some place of shelter. Romulus was left with a number of
senators who were at that time attending upon him, alone, on the shore
of a little lake which was near the place that had been chosen for the
parade. After a short time the senators themselves came away from the
ground, and returned to the city; but Romulus was not with them. The
story which they told was that in the middle of the tempest, Romulus
had been suddenly enveloped in a flame which seemed to come down in a
bright flash of lightning from the clouds, and immediately afterward
had been taken up in the flame to heaven.

[Illustration: THE DEATH OF ROMULUS.]

This strange story was but half believed even at first, by the
people, and very soon rumors began to circulate in the city that
Romulus had been murdered by the senators who were around him at the
time of the shower,--they having seized the occasion afforded by the
momentary absence of his guards, and by their solitary position. There
were various surmises in respect to the disposal which the assassins
had made of the body. The most obvious supposition was that it had
been sunk in the lake. There was, however, a horrible report
circulated that the senators had disposed of it by cutting it up into
small pieces, and conveying it away, each taking a portion, under
their robes.

Of course these rumors produced great agitation and excitement
throughout the city. The current of public sentiment set strongly
against the senators. Still as nothing could be positively ascertained
in respect to the transaction, the mystery seemed to grow more dark
and dreadful every day, and the public mind was becoming more and more
deeply agitated. At length, however, the mystery was suddenly
explained by a revelation, which, whatever may be thought of it at the
present day, was then entirely satisfactory to the whole community.

One of the most prominent and distinguished of the senators, named
Proculus, one who it seems had not been present among the other
senators in attendance upon Romulus at the time when he disappeared,
came forward one day before a grand assembly which had been convened
for the purpose, and announced to them in the most solemn manner, that
the spirit of Romulus had appeared to him in a visible form, and had
assured him that the story which the other senators had told of the
ascension of their chieftain to heaven in a flame of fire was really
true. "I was journeying," said Proculus, "in a solitary place, when
Romulus appeared to me. At first I was exceedingly terrified. The form
of the vision was taller than that of a mortal man, and it was clothed
in armor of the most resplendent brightness. As soon as I had in some
measure recovered my composure I spoke to it. 'Why,' said I, 'have you
left us so suddenly? and especially why did you leave us at such a
time, and in such a way, as to bring suspicion and reproach on the
Roman senators?' 'I left you,' said he, 'because it pleased the gods
to call me back again to heaven, whence I originally came. It was no
longer necessary for me to remain on earth, for Rome is now
established, and her future greatness and glory are sure. Go back to
Rome and communicate this to the people. Tell them that if they
continue industrious, virtuous, and brave, the time will come when
their city will be the mistress of the world; and that I, no longer
its king, am henceforth to be its tutelar divinity.'"

The people of Rome were overjoyed to hear this communication. Their
doubts and suspicions were now all removed; the senators at once
recovered their good standing in the public regard, and all was once
more peace and harmony. Altars were immediately erected to Romulus,
and the whole population of the city joined in making sacrifices and
in paying other divine honors to his memory.

The declaration of Proculus that he had seen the spirit of Romulus,
and his report of the conversation which the spirit had addressed to
him, constituted proof of the highest kind, according to the ideas
which prevailed in those ancient days. In modern times, however, there
is no faith in such a story, and the truth in respect to the end of
Romulus can now never be known.

After the death of Romulus the senators undertook to govern the State
themselves, holding the supreme power one by one, in regular rotation.
This plan was, however, not found to succeed, and after an interregnum
of about a year, the people elected another king.

               THE END.


1. Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors, and to
ensure consistent spelling and punctuation in this etext; otherwise,
every effort has been made to remain true to the original book.

2. The chapter summaries in this text were originally published as
banners in the page headers, and have been moved to beginning of the
chapter for the reader's convenience.

3. In the chart on page 46, detailing the original Greek alphabet, the
typesetter's appear to have missed the 7th letter, kappa. The
correction has been made, based on the discussion in "History of the
Greek Alphabet," by E. A. Sophocles, published in 1848, by George
Nichols, Boston.

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