V T! I'll I
THE LEAP OF MARCUS CURTIUS.
'See age 154.
p L D 0 MANS.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"TALES OF HEROES AND GREAT MEN OF OLD,"
STORIES AND PICTURES OF CHURCH HISTORY," ETC.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
LONDON: KNIGHT, PRINTER, BARTHOLOMEW CLOSE.
HESE stories of the Old Romans are in-
tended to form a companion volume to
the "Tales of Heroes and Great Men of
Old," by the same author. He has endeavoured,
while retaining the chronological order of events,
and so keeping in view their historical connection,
to select such as present the most salient points of
interest, and which also are most suggestive of
moral lessons. The legendary character of the early
stories has been constantly kept in view, as shown
by modern historical criticism; yet they are stories
which the world "would not willingly let die," and
which, rightly interpreted, may help to make us not
only "sadder," but "wiser." If they have not the
richness of poetical fancy which the Greek legends
exhibit, they teach none the less important practical
lessons. Patriotism, courage, and self-sacrifice are
nobly exhibited in some,of them:; and the writer has
endeavoured to point out from them the nobler
,morality, the higher self-sacrifice,-the purer patriotism
taught in the Bible.
Although the stories thus selected do not come
down to a period which is commonly considered to
mark the decline of the Roman Empire, yet the
causes of that decline, as indicated in the latter days
of the Republic, have, it* is hoped,, been sufficiently
pointed out. The inordinate love of wealth, the
growth of luxurious habits, the increasing selfishness
of all classes, the loosening of social bonds which pre-
pared the way for the decay and final destruction of
the mightiest empire the world had then seen, have
been pointedly referred to; not without the hope
that some of the young people at least who may
read these stories may learn that personal goodness
and self-denial are better than external wealth and
self-indulgence, not only for ourselves, but for the
nation to which we belong.
May He who teaches by events in history, as
well as by His Word, help both writer and reader
to lay to heart these lessons, and fulfil them -in
lives not lived unto themselves, but "to Him who
died for them, and rose again!"
I. THE WANDERINGS OF ENEAS 11
.I HOW THEY FOUNDED THE CITY 23
in. THE.GOOD KIN NUMA 39
IV. THE GREAT FIGHT BETWEEN THE HORATII AND -THE
v. THE WICKED TARQUINS 63
Vr. MORE ABOUT BRUTUS 79
VII. HOW HORATIUS BRAVELY DEFENDED THE BRIDGE. 87
vin. MuoIUS THE LEFT-HANDED .. 95
ix. CAIS MAIUS CORIOLANU 103
x., A NOBLE OLD ROMAN 121
XI. How THE GAULS TOOK ROME 131
xII. How ROME WAS DELIVERED FROM THE GAULS 141
xIII. HOW TWO NOBLE ROMANS GAVE THEMSELVES TO DIE
FOR ROME 153
xiv. How TITUS MANLIUS TbRQUATUS WON HIS NAME. 163
xv. KING PYRRHUS AND THE ROMANS 175
xvi. ANOTHER NOBLE ROMAN 195
VII. THE MOST ELOQUENT OF THE ROMANS 205
rIII. JULIUS CASAR, THE FIRST EMPEROR OF rQ ME 225
APPENDIX.-NAMES AND OFFICES AMONG THE ROMANS .237
WT be -,W, uderts of -nMpas.
(I DID0 AND ENEAS.
JiLhoe WSan~erinmqs of .Muas,
LD legends tell us' that Eneas, one of the
Trojan chiefs, was the founder of the
Roman nation. The story of his adven-
tures was written by Virgil, in a poem called the
2Eneid, and is'as follows :
When Troy was burnt by the Greeks, Anchises,
the father of iEneas, who was old and blind, besought
his son to leave him. "I am an old man," he said,
" and cannot live long: leave me. I shall not care
for death if you are safe." zEneas refused to do so;
but taking him on his back, and leading his little
son Ascanius with one hand, he made his escape from
the city. Because he thus rescued his father at the
risk of his own life, and also carried with him the
images of the gods, he was called the pious Eneas."
After a time he, his father, and his son, with many
friends, and servants, built themselves ships, and set
sail to found a new kingdom. First of all they came
to Thrace. Having stayed here' for awhile, they set
12 Stories of the Old Romans.
sail again, and came to Delos, where they asked advice
of the god Apollo as to what they should do. The
priest said they were to go on till they found the
country from which first of all the Trojan people
came, and that there they should found an empire
which should rule over all the world.
Anchises, the father -of _Eneas, thought Crete was
meant. So they offered a sacrifice to Neptune, the
god of the sea, for a safe voyage, and another to
Apollo for having directed them; a milk-white sheep
to the west wind, and a black one to calm the stormy
seas. Then they set sail, and in due time arrived
safely at Crete.
There they built a city named Pergamos. But a
pestilence fell upon .them; the cattle perished, and
the men fell sick and died. Anchises bade 2Eneas
consult the god again, but that night he saw a vision.
He fancied that the gods whose images he brought
from Troy appeared to him, and said: "0 i3neas, we
have come to tell thee that which thou wast going to
Delos to know. The country you are in search of is
not Crete, but that which of old was called Hesperia,
but now- Italy. Go there." Then they disappeared.
LEneas started from his bed, offered incense to the
gods, and again set sail. After awhile they reached
the land of the Cyclops, in Sicily, and there Anchises,
the father of 2Eneas, died.
Although he was so near to Italy yet he did not
The Wanderings of Z7neas.
land there, for his ships were driven by fierce winds,
and many of them, he thought, were lost. But his
own ship, and a few. others, came to land, and find-
ing a pleasant and sheltered bay, they went on shore.
AEneas was disappointed, but not disheartened, and
taking his bow and arrows went in search of food
for his starving sailors and companions. Seven fine
stags he slew,-one for each ship; and while they
rejoiced over the welcome food and wine, he said to
them with comforting words: "0 brave companions,
we have suffered many things together; be of good
courage, the gods will bring these troubles to an end
also. Some day you will be pleased to remember
these hardships. Endure, and you shall conquer."
As Eneas and his friend Achates were one day
exploring the country, they came to a thick wood.
Here a beautiful woman, dressed as a huntress, met
them, and said: "Have you, 0 young men, met any
of my sisters in this wood ?"
Then Eneas replied: "Surely, 0 virgin, thou art
not a human being, but a goddess. We have not
seen thy sisters; but tell us (who have been driven
hither by the winds and the waves) what country is
this in which we wander ?"
"You are in the kingdom of Carthage," she replied,
" and Dido is the queen. But who are ye ? and whence,
do you come, and whither do you wish to go ?"
"0 goddess," answered AEneas, with a deep sigh,
14 .. Stories of the Old Romans.
"if I should tell you all you ask, evening would come
before I had finished my sad story. Driven from
Troy, our ancient dwelling-place, we have been borne
by the waves to these coasts. I am the gobd AEneas,
and I carry in .my ships my household gods. I seek
Italy, the country of my fathers."
Then the goddess, having pity on him, interrupted
him in the midst of his grief, and said: "Be of good
courage. Your ships, which you think lost, are safe.
The path is before you; go at once to the queen."
As she spoke, her raiment seemed to change, and
flowed down to her feet; sweet odours spread around
her; and, rising into the air, she departed from their
In due time they arrived at the city, and stood
there gazing in wonder at all they saw; but they
themselves could not be seen, for the goddess had
spread a thick mist around them. Some were busy
building the walls; some making harbours for ships;
some carving stone for building; for a new city was
being built by Queen Dido. But while they gazed
they beheld 'a great throng approaching. Beautiful
youths and virgins surrounded the queen, herself
more beautiful than them all; and there in the midst
of the crowd were their companions whom they
thought lost in the sea.
While they were wondering what would come, to
pass, Ilioneus, one of their lost companions, came
The Wanderings of AEneas.
before the queen, and said: "0 Queen, have pity
on us Trojans. We came not to destroy or to steal.
We were seeking the land of Hesperia, the land
of our fathers; but the winds drove us to your
coasts. Suffer not your people to set fire to our
ships. Our king was .Eneas, a just and pious man,
and great in war; but we know not whether he be
living or dead. Let us, we pray thee, draw our ships
on shore, shattered as they are by the waves, that we
may repair them, and seek our own land."
Queen Dido, looking kindly at him, replied: "Fear
not, Trojans. Who does not know your brave race ?
Draw your ships on shore; I will myself help you,
and give you treasures. I wish, indeed, your king
2Eneas also were here."
SThen indeed were the hearts of iEneas and Achates
rejoiced. "What more can you desire, 0 iEneas?"
said his friend. Just as he was speaking, the cloud
which had concealed them vanished in the air, and
.Eneas appeared to the view of all, radiant and beauti-
ful as a god. Then he said to the queen: "I am he
whom thou seekest, 0 Queen I May the gods reward
thee for thy kindness with great honours! Thy
name, thy praise I will ever remember!" Then
turning to his friends, he grasped them one after
the other by their hand with great joy.
The queen gazed in admiration at the noble-looking
stranger, and with kind words asked him and his
Stories of the Old Romans.
companions to stay with her and be her guests. So
they feasted in her splendid palace that day and
2Eneas stayed a long while with Queen Dido, and
almost forgot that he had to go in search of Italy, and
found an empire there. Dido was very fond of him,
and he lived with her in great luxury. But Jupiter,
so Virgil relates, was angry that he should waste his
time in idleness and pleasure, and sent Mercury, the
messenger of the gods, to bid him leave Carthage at
once. Mercury found him wearing a purple, scarf
embroidered with gold, and a sword ornamented with
glittering gems, the gifts of the queen, directing the
building of a wall. He thus addressed him: "What
art thou doing here, foolish man, building the walls of
a foreign city, and forgetting that thou hast to build
thine own ? Why art thou lingering here ? If neither
glory nor the hopes of fame will persuade thee, yet
think of thy son, to whom the crown of Rome belongs
after thee." Then he vanished. Thus AEneas was
taught the great lesson, that we are not in this world
to indulge in idle pleasure, but to do good and noble
2Eneas, terrified, looked like one that was out of his
mind, and he longed to set sail at once from the
pleasures of Carthage. But, like all men who do
wrong, he had put his foot into a snare, and he did
not know how to get out of it. It was easy enough
The Wanderings of ZEneas.
to remain, and live with Queen Dido in her splendid
palace, though it was wrong to do so; but it was not
so easy to get away again. What could he say to
her ? and what should he do ?
Like many people when they are going to do some-
thing of which they are ashamed, he tried to do it
secretly. He bade his men get the ships ready; and
if anybody found out what they were doing, they were
Sto make some excuse, so that the 'queen might not
hear of it. But she was one of the first to find it out.
Bitterly she reproached him for wishing to leave
'1- her, and JEneas replied: 0 Queen, you have indeed
been very kind to me, and while I live I can never
forget your goodness. It was not my wish to leave
you secretly; but the oracle commands me to go.
Anchises, my father, appears to me in dreams, and
admonishes me with terrible warnings. Besides, Jove
himself has now sent his messenger to me, to bid me
depart. 0 Queen, the gods command me! Cease,
therefore, to complain or persuade me. I must go,
But these words only made Dido more angry, and
looking at him with flaming eyes, she said: "0 false
and hard-hearted man, hard as a rock and cruel as
tigers are; not one tear thou sheddest for my misery,
not one pitying look thou givest me. Go seek thy
kingdom. No more will I ask thee to stay. But I
hope, if the gods will hear my prayer, that both thou
18 Stories of the Old Romans.
and thy vessels may find a grave in the shifting sands,
or in the faithless waves, not so faithless as thou art."
Then she fell fainting on the ground.
iEneas pitied her, and felt troubled in his mind,
because he knew he had deceived her, and behaved
cruelly to her. But he dared not stay; and leaving
her insensible on the couch where her maids had
placed her, he went at once to his companions to bid
them make ready for the voyage. Dido tried again
and again to persuade him, and threatened to kill
herself if he would not stay; but he would not change
his mind. And he was right. He had done wrong
in deceiving her, wrong in staying so long; but it was
right to go; and if Dido had been a noble, generous-
hearted woman, she would not have tried to keep
him from his duty.
The night before iEneas intended to sail, Mercury
again appeared to him, and warned him to depart at
once, for dangers surrounded him. So AEneas arose,
called up his companions, and gave orders to sail.
The rowers laboured at their oars, the great sails
swung out to the west wind, and iEneas and his
companions were soon far away from the Cartha-
In time he reached the land of his forefathers, and
set to work to build a city, and called the name of it
Troy, after the famous Troy in which he was born.
Latinus was the king of the country on the shore
The Wanderings of Z.neas. 19
of which Eneas had landed. We can well believe
that he did not much like to hear that strange men
had come in ships, and were building a city on his
land without his leave. There are two stories about
what happened. One is that King Latinus and his
people came to see the strangers, and made friends
with them; and that the king gave jEneas his
daughter Lavinia for his wife, for which reason the
name of the city was afterwards called Lavinium.
The other story is that at first the king was friendly;
but that the Trojans having wounded a favourite stag
belonging to Latinus, they quarrelled and ,fought,
and Latinus was slain; after which Eneas took his
daughter Lavinia, and made her his wife.
There is another story which is partly told by
Virgil, but no one can say how much is true or
false. Virgil's story is that King Latinus made
friends with the strangers, in obedience to an ancient
prophecy, which said that strangers would come, and
that the king's daughter was to be given to their chief
for his wife. 2Eneas, therefore, married Lavinia, and
called his new city Lavinium after her. But, before
.Eneas came, Latinus had promised his daughter to
Turnus, the prince of the Rutulians. Turnus beipg
angry, persuaded some of the other princes to join
him in making war upon the strangers, and upon
King Latinus, their ally. In the battle which fol-
lowed, Latinus was slain. Then Eneas was made
20 Stories of the Old Romans.
king instead of him, and the Latins and the Trojans
became' one people. But in the war between .2neas
and Turnus, Turnus was killed; and 1Eneas, being
defeated, disappeared, and was never afterwards seen.
It was said that the gods took him, and a temple
was raised in his honour on the banks of the little
river Numicius, where he disappeared. His son
Ascanius reigned in his stead, and built Alba Longa,
"the long white town" on the side of the Alban
Lake. There, the legends say, he and his sons and
sons' sons reigned for three hundred years.
giow vithey Eunndd the @fity.
Al:.:?:'~.;..:'"'e .. I -i-~iY
THE SHEPHERD BEFORE THE WICKED KING.
LVki! -~T;i ilu ; .. n
... .. ~icC .
4oaw the iauionded the (ito.
HEN many years had passed away, after the
death of Ascanius, Procas was king of Alba
Longa. He left two sons, Numitor and
Amulius. Numitor was gentle and peaceful, but
Amulius was cruel, and very fond of power. So he
took away his brother Numitor's share of the king-
dom, but allowed him to live quietly on the lands
and money which his father had given him.
But Amulius, like all evil-doers, was afraid that
some one would repay him for his evil deeds. Es-
pecially he was afraid that Numitor's son would do
so,-therefore he had him put to death. And, lest
Sylvia, Numitor's daughter, should marry, and her
children should grow up and punish him, he ap-
pointed her a priestess of Vesta; so that it wis
unlawful for her to be married. Then he thought his
kingdom was safe. But kingdoms won by injustice
and crime are never safe, as after a time Amulius
found. And this is how it came to pass.
24 Stories of the Old Romans.
Sylvia, not liking to be a priestess of Vesta, broke
her vows, and had two sons, born at the same time.
When Amulius heard of this he was very angry, for
now he feared lest these children might take away
thd kingdom from him. But as his wrong doing
made him afraid, so his fear made him cruel, and he
ordered the mother and her little babes to be thrown
into the river Tiber. We do not hear any more of
poor Sylvia. Of the two little babes we are told what
follows: The river Tiber had overflowed its banks,
so that those who were ordered to put them into the
river could not get near it for the flood. Thinking,
however, they would certainly be drowned, they put
them into the water where it had overflowed the
fields, and there left them. But the flood soon
subsided, and the little ark, or chest, in which they
had been placed was left on dry ground.
But the stories relate still more wonderful things;
and, though we cannot believe what they tell us, it is
worth while to know what used to be believed. They
say that when the poor little babies cried from cold
and hunger, a she-wolf, which had come to the stream
to drink, heard them; and instead of devouring them,
as might have been expected, she lay down close by
them, warmed them, licked them clean with her
tongue, and gave them food. One day Faustulus, the
king's shepherd, found them in a cave where she had
carried them. The shepherd, being a kind-hearted
HoP they Founded the City. 25
man, and perhaps knowing that these were the
children the king had tried to kill, took them home
to his wife, and brought them up as his own sons.
So, roaming in the fields, and among the shepherds
and their flocks, the two boys, whose names were
Romulus and Remus, grew up hearty and strong.
But they did not care for keeping the sheep, and
tending the cattle so much as they did for hunting
the wild beasts in the forest. When they grew older,
they went out and fought with the robbers who came
to steal the flocks, and slew them, so that they gained
great praise and honour among the shepherds.
They were not only brave and strong, but, as all
brave men ought to be, were courteous and gentle.
For if we are brave and strong ourselves, we ought to
pity those who are not so, and try to help them. So
St. Paul says, "We then that are strong ought to
bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please
ourselves."' They also-and especially Romulus, it
is said-tried to be wise as well as strong; for
although they did not know that they were Numitor's
grandsons, nor that they should ever be kings, they
felt desirous to learn, and it was well they did so.
We never know when our knowledge may be of use
to us, so it is wise to get all we can whilst we have
One day Numitor's herdsmen quarrelled with the
1 Rom. xv. 1.
26 Stories of the Old Romans.
herdsmen of Amulius, and drove away some of his
cattle. Romulus and Remus with their companions
went after them, beat the robbers, and brought the
cattle back. Numitor was very angry, and tried to
have them punished, for he did not know they were
But the robbers were angry at being deprived of
their -plunder; and one day, while Remus was walking
with -some of his friends, they attacked him, and
having wounded his companions, took him prisoner,
and carried him before Numitor. They accused him
and Romulus of coming with a band of young men
into his lands, and robbing them,-although they
were the robbers themselves. Numitor was afraid
to punish Remus because of his brother Amulius, for
he thought, If I punish this young man for taking
flocks and herds to his farms, he may be angry with
me. So he sent him to Amulius to be punished.
Amulius, having heard the complaints of the' shep-
herds, without inquiring whether what they said.
was true or not, sent Remus back to Numitor, and
told him he might punish him as he pleased. This
shows what sort of man Amulius was. To please
himself, and get power, he had done his brother
wrong; and now to save 'himself trouble, and please
his brother, he was willing to do Remus wrong.
But what the king meant for his punishment
turned out for his good. For when Numitor saw
How they Founded the City. 27
him again, he could not help noticing how different
he looked from the other shepherds. He was, for one
thing, much taller and stronger than they; but he
was also different in this way, that he did not seem
afraid to look him in the face and speak boldly.
Numitor began to wonder who he was. Perhaps he
thought at that time of his own son, whom his
brother Amulius had so cruelly slain, and who -used
to look bold and brave, like Remus. Perhaps he
thought of his poor daughter Sylvia and of her little
babes, whom Amulius had ordered to be drowned.
Perhaps he thought, "What if this should be one of
them ?" Then he would think again, "No, that can-
not be." But he determined nevertheless' to make
So he began to question Remus, and looking gently
upon him, said, with a kind voice, "Who are you?
and who are your parents, and where were you born ?
Tell me about yourself."
Then Remus answered with boldness, but with
a, little more gentleness, for he could not help
feeling Numitor's kindness, although he knew he
was wrongly accused, "I will hide nothing from you,
for you behave more like a prince than Amulius.
You inquire into the matter, and he has delivered me
up without inquiry. I have a twin brother, and we
used to think that we were the sons of Faustulus,
the herdsman of the king. But since I have been
28 Stories of the Old Romans.
accused of these crimes I have heard other things.
It is said we were born in secret, that we were ex-
posed to wild beasts and birds, and that a she-wolf
nursed and fed us, after we had been thrown into
the river. I do not know whether it is true, but the
chest in which it is said we lay, is preserved, bound
with brass bands. Perhaps this will show who we are."
While Numitor was thinking of what he would do,
and how he should find out this mystery, Faustulus,
who knew the danger that Remus was in, took the
chest to carry it to Amulius. He looked very much
frightened, and some of the king's soldiers, who saw
him coming, thought there was something wrong,
and began to question him, and that made him more
frightened. Then they saw the chest, which he tried
to hide under his cloak. One of them who knew all
about it, for he was one of those who had put the
little children in the river, went and told the king.
Faustulus was then brought before him.
He was now still more frightened, and did not tell
the king all. But he told him the young men were
alive, and that they were keeping cattle a long way
from Alba. Then Amulius was frightened too, for he
thought, "Now they will find out all my wickedness,
and come and do to me as I tried to do to them."
He was in dreadful trouble, afraid that at last his
sin had found him out. And so it had Long long
years ago he thought he had killed these poor little
How they Founded the City. 29
children, and now they were strong men, and would
come and kill him! What should he do? what
should he do ? Miserable wretch! he deserved it
He hardly knew what he said or did, and sent
some one to make further inquiry. But in his hurry
he sent a good man, who was a friend of his brother
Numitor, to ask him if he knew anything about
the children. When the man came, and saw Remus
before Numitor, he guessed how it was, and took the
side of Remus and his brother. He showed Numitor
that they were really his grandsons, and begged him
to do all he could to keep them from the anger of
While he was yet talking to Numitor, Romulus
came. Many of the citizens of Alba were with him.
He had also with him many men armed with swords,
spears, and shields; each band a hundred strong,
headed by an officer, who bore in his hand a pole
with a handful of hay hanging from it.' Numitor
acknowledged the young men to be his grand-
children. They then marched at the head of their
men to the palace of Amulius; and there, after so
many years of wrong, and so many cruel and unjust
dealings, his judgment came upon him, and he was
1 These were called manipuli, or handfuls. Ever after, in the
Roman army, soldiers of the same company were called manipulares;
i. e. belonging to one handful.
Stories of the Old Romans.
slain. So he found, as all evil-doers sooner or later
will find, that "wickedness shall not be unpunished."1
Numitor now became king of Alba.
But Romulus and Remus had no wish to remain
idle. They did not think that because they were
king's sons they had nothing to do but enjoy them-
selves. They wanted work to do, as every man will
who is good for anything in this world. So when they
had seen their grandfather comfortably settled in his
kingdom, and paid all the honour they could to the
memory of their mother, they determined to go and
build a city of their own, where they might live and
rule. They determined to build this city in the very
place where they had been thrown into the water and
S preserved from death.
They gathered their friends together, therefore, and
all the Alban people who chose to go with them, and
went to found a new city, the city which was after-
wards to become, though they knew it not, the
greatest city in the world.
Sad to say, at this time, the time when the people
were ready to do them all reverence, a dispute arose
between the two brothers as to where the city should
be built, and who should have the honour of giving
it his name. This quarrel led to a sad result, as we
Romulus wished the city to be built on the
1 Prov. xi. 21.
How they Founded the City. 31
Palatine hill; Remus chose the Aventine; and, as
neither would give way to the other, it was resolved
to choose the place by augury.1 Romulus and his
friends stood together on the hill he had chosen,
Remus on the other with his. A day and a night
they waited, gazing at the sky, looking for the sign
from heaven. The sign, as they thought, came to
Remus. By the light of the stars they saw six
vultures flying, and they flew towards Remus. When
the sun rose, Remus and his friends went -to the
Palatine hill, which was about four miles off to tell
Romulus; but just as they were telling him, and
Romulus was thinking he should be obliged to give
way to his brother, twelve vultures appeared in the
sky, and flew towards him. Then his friends shouted
aloud, and Romulus said, "See, the augury is in my.
favour; you had but six vultures, I have twelve."
The friends of Romulus were most numerous, and
Remus was obliged to yield; but he did it with an
angry heart, for he felt his brother was unjust.
Romulus now began tp mark out the ground on
which the city was to stand, and it was done in this.
way: To a plough with a copper share two white
oxen were yoked; and then Romulus, guiding the
plough, and praying to the gods, drove it round the
hill where the wall of the city was to be built. As
he drove the plough, lightning flashed from the sky,
1 See chapter on Offices, etc.
32 Stories of the Old Romans.
and peals of loud thunder were heard. The people
rejoiced, for they thought this meant that Jupiter
approved of what they were doing; and in the line
marked by the plough they began to build the wall
of the city.
It was not, at first, much of a wall; and Remus,
who was still vexed with his brother, began to laugh
at it, and say, "That a wall! why, what enemy will
that keep out ?" And so saying he jumped over it.
Romulus grew very angry, and in his rage struck his
brother so that he died, saying, "So perish all who
shall pass over my walls I" So sad was the end of
their quarrel; and just see how it came about. First,
instead of trying to decide calmly by reason which
would be the best place for the city, each one tried to
have his own way about it; and when people are
determined to have their own way, whether it is right
or not, some harm is sure to come of it, either to
themselves or to others. Then they were foolish
enough to leave it to the augury of the vultures;
and, as we might expect, when it was so decided, they
#were not satisfied. Then Remus was angry because
he thought his brother was not acting fairly; and he
let this feeling remain in his heart till he became
very bitter against him. Then he was foolish enough
to scoff and sneer at what his brother had done, and
so make him angry. Then Romulus, instead of con-
trolling his anger, gave way to it; and then !-there
How they Founded the City. 33
lay his own brother, whom he had played with on
these hills, who had been brought up with him in the
hut of Faustulus, and who had rejoiced with him
when they ,were discovered to be the king's sons,-
dead on the ground !
Romulus was bitterly grieved when he found what
he had done. It was perhaps a hasty blow, and
harder than he meant it to be. Some of the stories,
too, say that it was in a quarrel between his friends
and the friends of Remus that he was slain, and that
it was not Romulus who did it; and other stories say
it was a man Celer, who had been set to watch the
walls, and that he killed Remus with his pickaxe.
But, at any rate, his death came out of the quarrel
they had; and whichever way it was, when it was too
late. Romulus was very sorry. He refused to eat
food, and would not listen when his friends tried to
comfort him. He kissed his dead brother, and wept;
but no tears could bring him back again. The deed
was done, and could never be undone. They raised a
funeral pile for him, on which his body was burnt,
and Romulus instituted a festival in his honour. He
had also a throne made for him as if he were alive,
and placed it next to his own; and on it were placed
royal robes, and a sceptre and cr6wn.
In time the city was built, and Romulus was the
first king. It was not a grand city, full of noble
buildings and temples, as-it became afterwards. The
34 Stories of the Old Romans.
houses were little better than huts built of mud and
thatched with reeds. But it was begun, that was
something; for Romulus was-not a man to be idle
when there was anything to do. He also invited
people from neighboring countries to come and live
there; and he set apart a piece of ground for a place
of refuge, so that any man who had committed a
crime in another country, if he fled to Rome, and
entered this place of refuge, would be safe. In time
a good many people came and dwelt in the city
which Romulus began to build. Romulus ruled
wisely, and gave the people good laws. He also
trained all the men to be soldiers, so that they
could defend the city if it should be attacked by
At first there were many more men than women in
the city, for a great number of robbers and murderers
came to settle there, in order to find protection from
their own rulers. These men wanted wives. The
Sabines, who lived in the neighbourhood, were there-
fore invited to a festival, and came bringing with them
their wives and daughters. When everybody was
eagerly looking on at the games and sports, the soldiers
rushed in and carried off such as they chose.
This led to a war between the two nations. The
Sabines attacked the Romans; a fierce battle was
about to be fought, when forth from the city gates
came the wownen whom the Romans had seized and
How they Founded the City. 35
married. With loud cries and weeping they rushed
in between the two. armies. Some called aloud to
their fathers and brothers, beseeching them not to
slay their husbands; some clung to their husbands,
and entreated them. no longer to fight with their
fathers and brothers. For awhile there was silence
and doubt on both sides. Then when both armies
stood still, looking on them in wonder, the women
said, "Why do you make us suffer such miseries ? If
you conquer," they said, turning to the Sabines, "we
lose our husbands; if you conquer," turning to their
husbands, "we lose our fathers and brothers. Better
we should perish than live either widows or fatherless.
And how can we go back, and leave our husbands and
children ?" At length it was agreed that peace should
be made between the two contending peoples, and that
they should live in friendship together.
Romulus reigned many years, fought many battles
with the nations which were enemies to Rome, and
won many victories. Rome under his care grew and
flourished, and became an important city. So wisely
did he rule, and so bravely did he fight, that all the
people loved him, and. especially the soldiers. And,
what is best, though he was a brave warrior, he did
.not go to war for the sake of fighting. For many
years during his reign Rome was in peace, neither
fighting foes nor being attacked by them.
At last he died. He had gathered a great assembly
36 Stories of the Old Romans.
of the people, and was reviewing his troops, when
suddenly a great storm arose. Dark clouds covered
the sky, which was only now and then lit up by
flashes of lightning; the thunder rolled fearfully, and
the rain fell so fast that everything was hidden in a
mist, and the people could no longer see their king.
When the mist cleared away he was gone. Some of
his people thought he had been murdered by the
nobles, who were jealous of him; but most of them
believed he had been carried up to heaven in the
This is the story of Romulus and Remus, and of
the founding of the city, as the old legends tell it us.
But the great part of it is fable, and we do not really
know whether any of it is true.
T~ne 11. Cd 'TK-ng Q lma.
NUMA AND THE AUGUR.
JWhe p, 05" ling Toma.
FTER the death of Romulus, the people of
Rome remained for some time without a
king. They could not make up their minds
whom to choose. At last it was agreed that the hun-
dred senators should rule. They were divided into
tens; and one of each ten was to be chosen in turn
to be the chief ruler.' They were to rule five days
each. This arrangement lasted about a year; but the
people did not like it, and said they would rather
have one king than a hundred; and so the question
began again to be asked by them, as they chatted
together in the forum, or met in the council, "Who is.
to be king ?"
There was at this time a good and wise man
dwelling at Cures, a city of the Sabines. The story
afterwards was, that he was taught philosophy by
Pythagoras, one of the wisest men of Greece. But
others say that Pythagoras did not live till many
years after Numa was dead; and some learned men
40 Stories of the Old Romans.
think that perhaps there never was such a man as
Numa at all. However, the old stories tell us some
very good and beautiful things about him; and, if he
did live, he was a very good and wise man, and one
whom it would be well for all kings, and other men
too, to imitate.
His father's name was Pomponius, and it is said
that he was born the day that Rome was founded by
Romulus. He was kind, patient, gentle, and willing
to learn; but he was not soft and weak because he
was gentle and patient, but strong, brave, and clever. 0
Patient and gentle boys, and men too, are often quite
as strong and quite as clever as those who are rough
and uncouth, and a great deal pleasanter.
As he grew up he sought, by reading and study, to
grow wiser and better. Both his fellow-citizens and
strangers came to him for advice. All who did so
found him a wise and faithful friend. So much was
he honoured by all, that Tatius, who had become
joint king with Romulus, after the reconciliation
between the Romans and the Sabines, gave him his
daughter Tatia to be his wife. But though he had
married a king's daughter it did not make him
proud; he continued in his own city, taking care of
his aged father, and still studying and learning. He
and his wife lived together in peace and happiness
for thirteen years, and then Tatia died.
After her death Numa was very sad and lonely
The Good King Numa. 41
He used to wander by himself in the sacred groves
around the city; and far away sometimes in solitary
places, where he could be quite alone. The people
wondered at this, for they could not imagine that he
would rather think by himself alone than talk with
them; and thus the foolish fable got about that a
nymph who had the gift of prophecy used to meet
him in the woods, and teach him wisdom. Afterwards
it was said that the name of this nymph was Egeria.
This, was the way in which in those old times they
accounted for any man being especially wise. They
thought that some god must have taught him. And
although their notions about the gods were very
foolish and wrong, since there is but one living and
true God, as-even some of the heathens knew, yet
they were right in thinking that all true wisdom came
from above. For everywhere and in all times, where-
ever any man truly asks God to give him wisdom and
help him to do right, God hears and answers his
prayer. "If any man lack wisdom," says the Apostle'
James, "let him ask of God, who giveth to all men
liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given
him." And thus it was that Numa, and many others
among the heathen, learned to know and do the
things that were right and just and true, though they
did not know them so perfectly as we do who have
His written word in the Bible,1 and although they
1 Acts x. 35.
Stories of the Old Romnas.
had not the gracious promise which He has there
given to us, that He will give His Holy Spirit to them
that ask Him.1
The Romans and the Sabines were still very good
friends; and when they could find no one in Rome
whom they thought fit to be king, some of them said,
"Why not ask Numa the Sabine? He is wise and
good. and just. Let him be king." They all agreed
to this, and sent ambassadors to him to ask him if he
would come and reign over the Roman people. Numa
was at this time about forty years old.
The ambassadors expected he would have beenvery
glad when they offered him the crown, and that he
would say "yes" at once. But after they had told
him what they wished, he became silent and thought-
ful, as though he did not wish to be their ruler. He
loved the quiet woods and his peaceful home; and
he feared lest the Romans, who were a warlike race,
would want to keep on fighting; and he desired peace,
not war. So, in the presence of his father, and his
friend Marcius, he replied: "All changes in life are
full of risk, but especially is it dangerous to become a
king. Besides, all my time has been spent in quiet.
I love peace, and I hate war; and you Romans are
fond of fighting. What should I do among a people
who want a general to lead them to battle, rather than
a king to rule them ?"
1 Luke xi. 13.
The Good King Numa.
The ambassadors begged him not to refuse. "If
you do," they said, "the people will have no one else;
and they will be sure to quarrel and fight among
themselves." So entreating him very earnestly, for
they saw he really did not wish to be king, they left
When they were gone, his father and his friend
Marcius talked to him, and tried to persuade him to
accept the crown. "Consider," they said to him,
"that though you may be quite happy in this quiet
life, yet that a king is a servant of the gods, and has
the opportunity of doing good and just things more
than other men. Besides, perhaps the Romans are
tired of war, and you might teach them to live in
peace; and if you were king of Rome, the Romans
and the Sabines would grow still greater friends."
Many of his fellow-citizens, too, when they heard of it,
came to him, and begged him to accept the offer of
At last he made up his mind that, if it were the
will of the gods, he would be king of Rome; and
after he had offered sacrifice he set out for'the city.
When the people and the senators knew he was
coming, they all went out to meet him. They wel-
comed him with blessings and shouts of joy. When
they were come to the forum, the senator whose turn
it was then to rule said to the people, "Do you choose
Numa to be your king?" The people all shouted
44 Stories of the Old Romans.
aloud with one voice, "We do." Then they offered
him the royal robes; but' he said, "Stay: when the
city was founded, the gods were consulted by augury;
let it be so now."
The priests and the augur led him to the hill,
afterwards called the Capitoline, and made him sit
upon a stone facing the south. The augur, with a
curved wand in his hand called a lituus, sat on his
left hand. He then made a sign of dividing the sky
with his wand; the parts to the south he called the
right, those towards the- north the left. When he had
done this, he put his hand on the head of Numa and
prayed: "0 father Jupiter, if it is thy will that this
Numa Pompilius, whose head I hold, should be king
of Rome, I beseech thee to give sure and evident signs
of it within those bounds which I have marked."
The people all stood around in perfect silence; not
one moved or spoke. The augur stood with his eyes
fixed upon the distant sky. At last he saw, or fancied
he saw, birds appear in the sky, and pass to the right.
Then he declared to the people that it was the will of
the gods that Numa should be king.
All at once the death-like silence was changed for
a loud shout of joy, and Numa came down from the
mount. They put on him the royal robe,-white,
striped with, purple,-and the crown of gold. They
also put the ivory sceptre in his hand; and the
twelve lictors marched before him with their axes
The Good King Numa. 45
bound in rods, and stood by his side as he seated
himself on his throne.
He first taught the Roman people to live in peace
with their neighbours, and to be just and true in all
their dealings. He appointed sacrifices and religious
festivals in which he himself took part; so that they
might have something else to think about than
fighting, and might learn to associate pleasantly with
each other. He set up the worship of a divinity
called Terminus, who it was said presided over
boundaries; and he ordered that every one should
mark the boundary of his own land with stones con-
secrated to Jupiter, at the festival of Terminus, so
that they might keep their own lands, and not
encroach on those of others. He instituted an annual
festival to Fides, that is, honourable and fair dealing
and truth, that he might teach the Roman people to
be true to one another in their words and actions,
and not to tell lies and cheat, as they had been ac-
customed to do. He also taught them to venerate
Tacita, or silence, and called Tacita a goddess; that
they might learn to put a guard upon their lips, and
to keep silence at proper times.
As there was no war now going on, a great many
men who had often been engaged in fighting while
Romulus was king had nothing to do. Numa gave
them the land to cultivate which in former times
,they had taken in fight; and that he might encourage
46 Stories of the Old Romans.
them to be industrious, he used to visit their farms
himself; and if any man showed himself clever and
persevering, he rewarded him by giving him some
honourable office. In these and many other, ways
he encouraged the people to be honest, truthful, and
industrious; and when they found they had enough
to do, and that it was pleasant to live in peace, they
did not care for going to war, or for quarrelling
among themselves, as they had been accustomed to
do. Thus there was no war in his reign; and the
temple of Janus, which was open when there was
war, and shut when there was peace, was closed the
He made many alterations in the religious worship
of the people, which, perhaps, he thought were right,
and would be of benefit to them, but which he would
not have made if he had known the will of the one
true God. One thing, however, shows us that he
really did know better than many of the heathen at
that time. He forbade the people to make any image
of the gods, either in the likeness of man or beast.
He encouraged them to build temples, and other
sacred places, to different divinities, but did not
-allow them to place any figure of the god in the
temple; for he said God was not to be seen by men's
eyes, and was only to be discerned by the mind. He
taught them that religious worship was to be attended
1 The same thing happened at the time of our Saviour's birth.
The# Good King Numa. 47
to in a solemn manner, and that they should come
prepared for it by meditation at home.
Some of his precepts, too, which have come down
to us are quite worth our remembering now. One
of them was, "Do not sit on a bushel measure."
That means, do not be idle, and sit down when you
ought to be at work. Another was, "Do not stir the
fire with a sword;" which means, if anybody is
angry, do not try and make him worse; or, perhaps,
-put things to their right uses,-don't use a sword
where a poker is sufficient. And a third was, "Do
not turn back on a journey;" which probably means
that we should persevere in whatever we undertake,
and which it is right for us to do. Three very good
rules for us, and which will help to make our life
happier and more useful if we put them in practice.
He died in a good old age, after reigning more
than forty years in peace and prosperity. All the
people loved him, and not ,the Roman people only,
but the nations round Rome who used to be enemies,
but whom he had made friends. A great many of
them came to his funeral, and mourned for him
as if he had been their own king. The Romans
lamented him as if he had been their father rather
than their king, and followed him to the grave with
tears and loud cries of sorrow.
Now, which was best for the Roman people, which
was most worthy of praise,-that Numa should have
48 Stories of the Old Romans.
taught them to do justly, and-love mercy, and seek
to be at peace; or that he should have taught them
to fight, and have spent the greater part of his reign
on the battle-field ? Ah it seems a fine thing to
fight, and win great victories; but one gentle word
spoken, one good deed done, one heart taught to love,
is far finer and nobler. The Bible tells us that a
time shall c6me when men shall learn -war no more.
It also tells us that love never faileth, and that a cup
of cold water given for Christ's sake shall not lose its
reward. I think that when we all stand before the
judgment-seat of Christ we shall wish to be like
Numa rather than like Alexander or Napoleon.
Yes and there is a day coming-let us hope it may
be soon-when to be like the Prince of Peace will be
a greater honour than to be a great soldier, and when
love will be thought more of than the fame of a
thousand battle-fields !
TWVhe Great Eight between the itwatui
and the fWuriatii.
-- .------- ,-- ---
(4) THE RETURN OF HORATIUS.
JWWh-e 0%reat. Bight b-etweun the aiK raii
and the Giuriatii.
TER the death of Numa, Tullus Hostilius
was chosen king. He was a soldier who
delighted in war. Instead of waiting till
Rome was attacked by enemies, and seeking to defend
it, he resolved to subdue some of the neighboring
kingdoms. For this purpose he stirred up strife
between his own people and the Albans. They, like
the Romans, were a warlike race, always ready to
quarrel. As the boundaries of the two nations were
close together, there was a good deal of plundering
going on amongst the herdsmen who lived on the
borders. The Albans carried off the cattle of the
Romans, and the Romans did the same to' the Albans.
There were complaints on both sides, and very little
provQcation was needed to cause a war between them-
Soon after Tullus became king the Albans sent
ambassadors to Rome to complain that their cattle
had been stolen. The Romans, on their side, sent an
52 Stories of the Old Romams.
embassy to Alba to make the same complaint. But
Tullus, who was determined on war, instructed his
ambassadors to go straight to the Alban king, Cluilius,
and demand immediate payment for the stolen cattle.
If he refused, they were at once to declare war against
him. They did as they were ordered. Cluilius would
not submit to their stern abrupt demand. The am-
bassadors, therefore, at once threatened him with the
vengeance of the Romans, in the name of Tullus
Hostilius their king, and they sent word home saying
what they had done.
When the Alban ambassadors came to Rome
Tullus received them very kindly, and made feasts
for them, and treated them with great honour, so
that they had not the opportunity of delivering
their message. This was just what -Tullus wanted,
as you will see. For when he heard from his own
messengers that they had threatened Cluilius with
war he was glad; and saying nothing about it to
the Alban ambassadors, he told them he was ready
to attend to their business. Then they told him
how the Romans had robbed the Albans, and asked
him to make restitution. Tullus told them it was
too late, that the Alban king had sent away his
ambassadors, and that war had been already declared
by him against the Albans. The Alban messengers
went home, as we may imagine, very indignant at
the way in which Tullus had treated them.
Fight between the Horatii and the Curiatii. 53
The Albans collected their army in -haste and
anger, and marched at once into the Roman territory,
till they came within five miles of the city of Rome.
There they pitched their tents, and dug a deep trench
to defend themselves from their enemies. Cluilius,
the Alban king, died a short time after this. When
Tullus heard of it he marched in the night past the
camp of the Albans into their country. Mettius, who
was appointed commander instead of the king, then
led his army back after Tullus. When he had got
near to him he sent a herald to propose a parley,
that they might endeavour to come to some friendly
understanding, instead of fighting one another. Both
armies were drawn up near to each other in battle
array. Tullus and Mettius, and some of their chief
officers, met in the space between them, and Mettius
I have heard the king Cluilius say that this
war was begun because we refused to restore what we
had taken from the Romans; and you, Tullus, I dare
say, say the same thing. But, if the truth were
told, I think the real reason is because each nation
desires to have dominion over the other. That is
for him to think about who began the war. But
now, Tullus, consider. The Etruscans, our neighbours,
are very strong, and have great fleets and armies;
suppose when we have been fighting together, and
many of our men are slain, and we are tired and
54 Stories of the Old Romans.
exhausted, they should come and. destroy us both!
Would it not be better to decide without fighting
which of us is to rule the other ?"
Tullus would rather have fought; but he could
not help seeing that what Mettius proposed was
best, and at last they agreed upon this plan.
There were in each of the armies three brothers.
The three in the Roman army belonged to a noble
family named Horatius, and were therefore called
Horatii; the Alban three belonged to a noble family
named Curiatius, and hence were called Curiatii.
These young men were asked if they would be willing
to fight three against three, to decide which nation
should rule. They said they were quite willing; and
Horatius, the father of the Horatii, was greatly pleased
that the choice of the Roman king had fallen upon
his brave sons.
So the Romans and the Albans made a solemn
treaty that the nation whose champions should con-
quer in the fight should rule the other; and they
called their gods to witness it, so that if either of
them were false to the treaty they might be punished.
Now the brothers prepare for the fight. "Re-
member," say their friends to them, "your country
watches you, and your fellow soldiers, and your
parents." For a few moments they stand quite still,
the Curiatii on the Alban side, and the Horatii on the
Roman; and then, amid the silence of both armies,
Fight between the Horatii and the Curiatii. 55
the signal is given, and they rush to meet each other
in deadly conflict.
Their swords glitter in the sunshine, and clash
together for a, minute or two. The Romans and
Albans can see the red gashes which their sharp
strokes have made. Another moment, and two of
the Romans fall dead. Then the Albans raise a great
shout, for they think the victory is theirs; and the
Romans look on silently with sad faces, fearing lest
their third champion should be slain. The Curiatii
surround him, but they are all three wounded, and
he is not; and so they cannot move so quickly nor
strike so hard as he can. Now he thinks, If I can
only fight them one by one, instead of all three
together, I shall be sure to win. He resolves to try,
and pretends to run away. As he flies they run
after him; but they cannot run fast because of their
wounds. In a little time he turns round, and sees
one of them not far from him, the others at a
distance. He stops, and rushing furiously at him,
kills him. The Romans shout now, for they see what
he means to do, and the Albans are silent with fear.
Now he goes on to meet the second, who is
wounded worse than the first, and kills him. Only
one is left, and he is so badly wounded that he can
hardly stand. "Two have I offered," shouted Hora-
tius, so that both armies might hear him, "to the
shades of my brothers; this third I will offer to the
56 Stories of the Old Romans.
cause of Rome, that we may rule over the Albans."
Then he thrusts his sword into his neck, and the
youth falls down dead.
Great is the joy and loud are the shouts with
which he is welcomed by the Romans. The Albans,
sadly, and with many tears, bury their brave cham-
pions where they fell. After this both armies return
to their homes.
It was a sad thing to see five strong, brave young
men, three of one family, two of another, slain by
each other's hands in a few minutes; sad, and strange,
too, that men should delight in killing each other'
at all. All we can say about this fight is, that it
was better these five should be killed than many
hundreds, perhaps thousands, as would have been
the case if a battle had been fought between the
But a yet sadder thing took place afterwards, so
sad and horrible that you will wonder to hear it; but
it will show you how cruel and proud war makes
men, and what evil things it brings with it.
When the Roman army reached home, Horatius
marched at the head of it, bearing the spoils of the
three brothers whom he had slain, and all the soldiers
came after him shouting and rejoicing. The people
of the city also came out to meet him with shouts of
welcome, and among them was Horatia, his sister.
But when she saw him and the spoils which he bore,
Fight between the Horatii and the Curiatii. 57
she cried bitterly, and tore her hair with loud wail-
ing, calling the, name of one of the Curiatii. Poor
girl! she loved him, and was going to be married to
him before this cruel fight took place; and one of
the mantles which Horatius carried, all stained with
blood, was his, which she had made for him with her
own hands; and now she knew he was dead, and she
would never see him or hear his voice again.
You might think that Horatius would have pitied
his poor sister, and tried to comfort her, or at least
that he would have felt sorry for her and been silent,
but it was not so. He was so angry with her that he
drew his sword, the sword with which he had killed
her lover, and ran it-through her body. "Go," he
said, "with thy unseasonable love, forgetful of thy
dead brothers and of the living one; forgetful of thy
country. So perish every Roman woman who shall
mourn an enemy I" Horatia fell dead at his feet.
The people were greatly shocked, and thought it
right 'to take him before the king to be punished.
But the king was unwilling to condemn him, because
he had been so brave, and had conquered the Curiatii;
so he appointed officers called duumvirs, to pass
sentence on him. The sentence was that he should
be scourged and then hung. The lictor approached
him and began to bind his hands. Still Tullus
wished to save him, and told him to appeal to the
people. He did so. Many of the people wept, for
Stories of the Old Romans.
although they knew that he deserved to die, they
could not help feeling sorry for one so brave, and
who had just won the fight against the Albans.
Then his father came up to him, and embraced him,
for he was now his only child; and pointing to the
spoils of the Curiatii, he turned to the people, and
said, "Romans, can you bear to see bound beneath a
gallows, scourged and tortured, him whom you just
now beheld marching in triumph? Yes, go, lictor!
bind his hands, those hands which just now won the
victory for the Roman people! Hang him on the
gallows! Scourge him either here in sight of the
spoils of the Curiatii, or yonder where they lie slain!
For wherever you punish him his glory will outweigh
his disgrace." Then he wept.
The people could not withstand the tears of the
old man, and decided that Horatius should not be
put to death. But they felt that he deserved to die
for the cruel murder of his sister; and that, if his life
was spared, something must be done to show to him
and to all men that they considered him guilty. So
they ordered his father to make satisfaction for him
by offering sacrifices as an atonement for his sin, for
even these heathen Romans believed that without the
shedding of blood there was no remission of sin;1
then his own head was covered as if he were about to
be put to death, and he was made to pass under a
1 Heb. ix. 22.
Fight bet ween the Horatii and the Ouriatii. 59
beam laid across the street to show that he deserved
to die. A monument was erected to the memory of
Horatia, in the place where she was stabbed and fell.
The peace with the Albans, did not last long.
Some of the people refused to be subject to Rome,
and complained that the dispute had not been rightly
settled. So the unjust quarrel broke out again, and
there was much fighting, and many were slain. Alba
was at last destroyed, and the Alban people were
brought by Tullus to Rome, where they afterwards
dwelt. He also fought with other nations, for he
loved war better than peace. But in time sorrow
came to him. It was said that a shower of stones
fell near Rome, and that a voice was heard complain-
ing that the Alban people had forsaken their gods.
Then a pestilence came; and, at last, Tullus himself
was seized with disease. The people thought of the
happy and peaceful days of the good Numa, for they
were tired of being always at war, and they sought
peace from the gods. Tullus also, weary with old
age and sickness, himself longed for peace, and
sought with many sacrifices to win the favour of the
gods; but it is said the gods were angry with him,
and killed him with fire from heaven.
There was another king of olden time of whom you
have heard, who was also a great warrior, and who
once sinned a very wicked sin, which God punished
with pestilence. This king repented of his sin, and
60 Stories of the Old Romans.
God forgave him; and he has told us how we must
obtain forgiveness. This is what he says: "Thou
desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it; Thou
delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of
God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite
heart, 0 God, Thou wilt not despise."
^.- -----^. --
=1-,^ ilA'TC-------.^Ses^^- ._=---5^=-~
OLD ROMAN PLOUGH.
w, ~imT Wi~htd JTLarqltlnns,
BRUTUS AND LUCRETIA.
JWhe W i3cted Ji-aittins
HE first Tarquin, who was called Tarquinius
Priscus, was an Etrurian' prince or noble-
man. He was very rich, and married an
Etruscan lady, who, like himself, was desirous of
attaining great fame and honour. As they, could not
do this in their own country, they resolved to try
their fortune in Rome, then a new city. When they
were near the city an eagle swooped down from the
sky, carried off Tarquin's cap, and flying round over
him, put it on his head again. "I give you joy,
husband," said his wife; "this means that the gods
will raise you to great honour." Full of hope, he
settled in Rome, and gained the favour of the king,
who appointed him guardian to his two sons. The
name of this king was Ancus Marcius.
When the king died, Tarquin resolved that he
would get the people to choose him for king. So
when the time came for the people to assemble
together to elect their king, he sent the late king's
64 Stories of the Old Romans.
two sons away hunting. Then he made a speech to
the people; and as he had always been a favourite
with them for his courteous behaviour and acts of
kindness, they did as he wished, and asked him to
reign over them.
Tarquin had a favourite slave, named Servius
Tullius. One night as this boy lay asleep, it is said,
a blaze of light shone round his head; and when
Tarquin's wife saw it, she concluded that he would
grow up to be famous. So they took the young slave,
and brought him up as their own son, and it came to
be thought by everybody that when Tarquin died
he would succeed .him. The sons of Ancus Marcius,
who were angry at being deprived of their father's
throne by Tarquin, were still more angry when they
thought this boy, a slave, would be made king, and
they resolved: that they would kill Tarquin, and
seize the crown for themselves. So they got two
countrymen to come before the king, pretending to
have a quarrel which they wished him to settle' for
them; and while the king was listening to one of
them, the other smote him with an axe, so that he
But they did not succeed in getting the crown for
themselves, notwithstanding this cruel murder; for
Tanaquil, Tarquin's, wife, pretended to the people
that he was not dead, only wounded, and she
persuaded Servius Tullius to take the king's place.
The Wicked Tarquins.
He therefore came out with the lictors' attending
him, and after a short time took possession of the
During his reign the Roman people were very
happy and prosperous. He was kind to the poor,
not oppressing them, as in old times so many kings
did. He helped those who were unfortunate, and
divided among them the land which had been taken
from the Veientians and Etrurians in war. In many
other ways, too, he showed that he was a just and
wise ruler, who wished to govern the people rightly,
and deal justly towards all, both rich and poor.
He had two daughters, and these were married to
the two sons (or grandsons, as some say) of Tarquin
the First. One of these young men, who was named'
Aruns Tarquinius, was gentle and kind. The other
was named Lucius Tarquinius, and he was proud and
haughty; so that afterwards he was called Tarquinius
Superbus, or Tarquin the Proud. He was also very
passionate and cruel, and ambitious of power. This
made him discontented and restless; and he began to
think how he might depose the good Servius,' and
become king himself.
One of the king's daughters was very much like
Lucius in disposition, but she was married to his
gentle brother Aruns; and when she found that he
did not desire to rule, and was not ambitious of being
great, she began to despise him, and admired his
66. Stories of the Old Romans.
brother Lucius. As she and Lucius often met, they
soon found out that they thought, alike; and they
began to talk together about the king, and about
who. should have his crown. She also said that if
her husband was a different sort of man he should
soon be king instead of her father.
The end of these wicked thoughts and words was
that Lucius had his wife murdered, for he had come
to lqve his brother's wife-best, and wished to marry
her; and the wicked Tullia had her husband mur-
dered, that she might marry his brother. But she
was not happy. How could she be with such a
fearful sin in her memory ? And this sin led on to
another. She had set her heart upon her husband
teing king; and wicked as he was himself, she seems
to have made him worse. She urged him to try and
take the crown for himself, and encouraged him to go
about among the nobles, and represent to them how
Servius was always favouring the poor rather than
them; how he had given them lands and money, and
that he hated the rich. When he had excited their
hatred against the king, he went one day to the
* forum with a party of men with spears and swords,
and seated himself on the throne. When he had
done this, he ordered the crier to call the senators
together, that they might attend at the senate-
house in obedience to King Tarquinius.- Many of
them, some from fear and some because they
The Wicked Tarquiis. 67
already knew what Tarquin was going to do, came
Servius the king, when he heard of this, came
wondering and alarmed to the senate-house, and
said with a loud voice as he entered, "What means
this, Tarquin? How hast thou dared, while I am
still alive, to sit on my throne?" Tarquin answered
fiercely, "I am the son of a king, and occupy my
father's throne." A great tumult arose, and the
people came rushing in. Then Tarquin, knowing
that if the king's friends prevailed he would most
likely be put to death, took up the king in his arms,
and rushing to the entrance of the senate-house,
threw him down the steps to the bottom The king's
friends fled, fearing lest they should share his fate.
Servius himself, much hurt, and indeed nearly killed
by the fall, was returning home in his chariot when
he was' overtaken and slain by some of Tarquin's
But wicked as his conduct was, it was not so
shocking as that of the wicked Tullia. When she
heard that her father Servius was killed, she mounted
her chariot and drove ,to the forum; then calling her
husband to her she saluted him as king. But there
was a great tumult among the people, who cried
shame upon her for her wickedness, and she was
advised to return home. So she got into her chariot
again, and, as it happened, her way was through the
68 Stories of the Old Romans.
very street where her father Servius lay slain. When,
the charioteer saw this he was going to turn back.
But Tullia angrily bade him drive on, and her chariot
wheels went over her poor murdered father's dead
body'! Let us pass on from this horrible story.
Well might the, street in which this shameful thing
happened be called, as it ever afterwards was,
" Wicked Street."
Now Tarquin began to reign, and his reign was as
cruel and wicked as he himself was. He took away
from the people all that the good Servius had given
them, and put to death all the senators whom he did
not like, lest they should oppose him in his evil
ways. In fact, he tyrannised over all, and any one
who opposed his will was sure to suffer.
One story will show his cruelty and injustice; and
it shows us, also, how he made his own sons as bad
as himself. Near to Rome there was a city named
Gabii, of which he wished to take possession. But
after a long time, finding he could not do so, he tried
this artful plan. He sent his son Sextus to the city,
and told him to pretend that he had been driven
from Rome by his father's cruelty, and to .beg them
to give him shelter. He was also to say that he
would be willing to help them fight against his
The people of Gabii, knowing what Tarquin was,
thought that what Sextus told them was true, and
The Wicked Tarquins. 69
received him very kindly. They told him it was not
to be wondered at that his father should treat him as
he had treated everybody else; and feeling pity for
him, and believing all he said, they admitted him to
their' counsels, and at last chose him for their general.
Then, when he found he had got this power, he sent
a messenger secretly to his father to know what he
was to do.
Tarquin was in his garden when the messenger
came; and when he had delivered his message made
no reply, but with a cane that he had in his hand he
struck off the heads of the tallest poppies that grew
by the side of the path. After that he sent away the
messenger, who returned and told Sextus that either
from pride or passion his father had not spoken a
word to him. Sextus asked the messenger what his
father was doing. The messenger told hinm how he
only looked very angry, and cut off the poppy heads
with his stick. Then Sextus knew what was meant.
It was, that as he had struck off the tallest poppy
heads with his stick, so Sextus was to cut off the
heads of the principal people in Gabii. So he did.
Some were killed publicly, some privately; and then,
the principal men being dead or driven away, the
city of Gabii was given up by the deceit and cruelty
of Sextus to his father Tarquin.
Tarquin went on ruling in Rome in the same cruel
and unjust way; oppressing the poor, whom he forced
70 Stories of the Old Romans.
to work like slaves for very small wages, and, when
he could, robbing the rich. The poor he employed
in building a splendid temple on the Capitoline hill;
and it is said that when they were digging its
foundations, a man's head was found in the earth,
which was supposed to mean that Rome should be
the head of the world. The Romans were greatly
given to interpreting signs and omens, and pretend-
ing to foretell what would happen by such things as
One day Tarquin was greatly alarmed by what he
thought a sign of coming evil. A serpent crept out
from under one of the altars where sacrifice had been.
offered, and seized upon the flesh. This the king
supposed to mean that he was in great danger of
some -evil happening. He therefore sent two of his
sons, Titus and Aruns, to Delphi, that they might
consult the oracle there, and find out what was meant
by a serpent crawling from an altar.
These oracles were temples, the priests or priest-
esses of which were supposed to be able to foretell
future events. The priestess, when told what had
happened, said in reply, that the king would fall
when a dog spoke with a human voice. This was
supposed afterwards to refer to Brutus, the cousin of
the two princes, who accompanied them, and who
became in time the principal means of banishing the
cruel Tarquins from Rome.
The Wicked Tarquins. 71
Brutus is a -Latin ,word, meaning stupid, and our
word brute comes from it, and is applied to animals
because they have not intelligent souls like men.
This young man, whose name was Lucius Junius,
was called Brutus because he seemed stupid and
dull, more like an animal than a man. But he only
pretended to be so for this reason. He had had an
elder brother who was very rich. Tarquin coveted
his wealth, and for the sake of getting it put him to
death. Lucius was afraid lest the tyrant should kill
him also, so he pretended to be an idiot, behaving
very strangely, living upon wild fruit, and wandering
about as if he had no sense. Tarquin, therefore, did
not think it was worth while to destroy him: he even
kept him in his house to amuse his sons; and the
people, thinking he was really out of his mind, called
When the young princes had received this answer
about the serpent, they asked the priestess who would
rule at Rome after their father. The priestess replied,
" He who shall first kiss his mother." They, thinking
nothing of Brutus, agreed to say nothing to their
brother Sextus about this, and to manage between
themselves which of them should do what the oracle
said. Brutus, however, thought the priestess meant
the earth, which was called the mother of all; so as
they went away he pretended to stumble, and falling
fiat on the ground, kissed it. No doubt Titus and
72 Stories of the Old Romans.
Aruns laughed as they saw the foolish Brutus
stretched at full length on the ground, looking more
foolish than ever. They would not have laughed if
they had known what was going to happen.
Other dreams and omens troubled Tarquin; and
with such a bad conscience as he must have had after
all the wrongs he had done, and all the murders he
had committed, we cannot wonder that they did,
One day he dreamt that two rams came to him, and
that he sacrificed one of them, but that the other
pushed him down. The interpreters of dreams said
this meant that he must beware of a man who
seemed as stupid as a sheep. But he did not
understand what they meant. Very likely they did
not know themselves. Some eagles had 'made their
nest in a tall tree in his garden, and one day a flock
of vultures came and drove them and their young
ones away. This also was supposed to be a sign of
some evil to the king and his family, so superstitious
were the Romans at that time. But, although these
things .troubled him, he did not alter his wicked
But the thing that brought Tarquin and his whole
family to ruin at last was this. They had all of them
been accustomed to do just what they liked, and to
treat other people as they pleased. They had no care
or thought for anybody but themselves. Whatever
they wished to do they did; and whatever they
The Wicked Tarquins. 73
wanted, even though it belonged to somebody else,
they took; And if any one resisted-them, he was sure
to be treated cruelly, perhaps murdered. The people
had for a long time been secretly angry about this,
and Brutus and others had been waiting for an
opportunity to put an end to it; but hitherto it had
'seemed as if nothing could be done. But what could
not be done by others the wickedness of Sextus
Tarquin was the means of accomplishing.
The wife of his cousin Collatinus, whose name was
Lucretia, was a noble and beautiful woman, and as
good as she was beautiful; and because she would
not do as he wished, and be as wicked as he was, he
came to her house one night when her husband was
away threatening to kill her, and treated her so
shamefully that she wished to die rather than live.
Full of grief and shame, she sent for her father and
her cousin Brutus, and for her husband, who was at
Ardea, a few miles from Rome, and told them what
Sextus had done. They tried in vain to comfort her,
she could not cease weeping. Then, having made
them promise that they would avenge her wrong, she
drew forth a dagger which she had hidden under her
dress, and thrusting it into her bosom fell dead at
Her father and cousin cried aloud in their terror,
and then bent over her with bitter grief and tears.
But Brutus, in great rage, drew forth the dagger all
74 Stories of the Old Romans.
dripping with blood, and swore that he would pursue
Tarquin and his wicked wife, and all their race, with
fire and sword and every means in his power; and
that not one of them should be suffered to reign in
Rome. The others, in grief and anger, took the
They carried the dead body of poor Lucretia from
her house to the forum, and the people gathered
together round them, wondering what it all meant.
Brutus told them the shameful story. As they heard
the cruel wrong which Sextus had done, and saw the
husband and the father of poor Lucretia weeping over
her dead body, they began to weep too. But when
Brutus showed them the dagger, and spoke to them
of the wrongs they had suffered from the Tarquins,
and told them the oath he had taken, they grew .:
angry, and said the Tarquins should never more reign
in Rome. Tullia, the wicked wife of Tarquin, when
she heard of these things, fled from the city, and the
people cursed her as she went.
Tarquin was with his army at Ardea; and when
the news reached him, he set out at once for Rome,
thinking he should soon be able to put down this
rebellion, and punish Brutus and the people for their
insolence. But Brutus, when he heard that he was
coming, ordered the gates to be shut, and then set out
for Ardea by a different road, so that he arrived at
the camp about the same time that the king arrived
The Wicked Tarquins. 75
at Rome. There he told the soldiers what had been
done, and that the people had resolved there should
be no more kings in Rome; and the soldiers drove
the king's sons from the camp, so that they fled away
in terror. When Tarquin got to Rome he found the
gates shut, and the people told him he was banished
for ever, and should never come back to be their
king. Then he also fled, for his conscience smote
him for all the wrong he had done, and he was afraid.
The wicked Sextus went to Gabii, and there he found
the punishment which he so richly deserved, for after
a short, time he was put to death by the friends of
those whom he had himself so,cruelly deceived and
slain, when he made himself ruler of the city.
Long before Tarquin reigned in Rome these words
were written by another king, whom God had taught
to know and fear Him: I have seen the wicked in
great power, and spreading himself like a.green bay
tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea,
I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the
perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of
that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be
destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be
cut off." 1
"God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with
the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet
his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
1 Psa. xxxvii. 35-38.
76 Stories of the Old Romans.
He hath also prepared for him the instruments of
death; he ordaineth his arrows against the perse-
cutors. His mischief shall return upon his own
head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon
his own pate."1
1 Psa. vii. 11-16.
TOMB OF THE TARQUINS.
I Me Oti at-out "Mrirtus,
THE CONSPIRACY DISCOVERED.
S oRi e about Mruftus.
OON after king Tarquin was banished, he
sent ambassadors to the people of Rome
Sand to the senate to persuade them to let
him return, and be again king of Rome. But the
consuls would not listen to them, nor allow them to
address the people. Then other ambassadors came
to say that Tarquin would give up all thoughts of
being king, and -not fight against them, if they
would only send him the money and treasures which
belonged to him, and which he had left in Rome.
But all the while they were trying to deceive the
people, for they knew that Tarquiin meant to come
back again if he could.
Some of the young men ol bome wh6 had been
companions of #the: Tarquins, and were almost as
wicked as they were, very much wished the king to
\ return. They were unwilling, to be governed by
" the same laws and in the same way as the common
;- people, but wished to do as they liked. They knew
80 Stories of the OldRomans.
that if Tarquin came back, they should be able to do
as they and the young Tarquins had done before.
And they also knew that Brutus and the other consul
would not allow this, but would punish them for
wrong-doing in the same way that anybody else
would be punished.
These young men and the ambassadors talked
together secretly, and persuaded others to join them.
Some of them were of the families of the Vitellii
and the Aquillii, who were nephews of Collatinus, the
other consul. They were also related to Brutus, for
his wife was one of the family of the Vitellii; and
they persuaded the two sons of Brutus, Titus and
Tiberius, to join them. Thus they not only did what
they knew was contrary to the laws of their country
and the wishes of the people, but what they also knew
would be a cause of great grief and anger to their
father, and might even lead to his death. For" if
this plot had succeeded, and Tarquin had come back,
Brutus would certainly have been slain.
They all met together in the house of the Aquillii,
in a dark and secret place, so that nobody might see
them. And they ieatt that nobody should hk&r
them. But a slave, named Vindiciu, happened to be
in the room; and as they did nbt see him because
it was so dark, -they ,began to talk of what they were
going to do. When he heard what they said, and
the horrible oath they took to kill the consuls, and
More about Brutus.
bring back the wicked Tarquin to. be king, he dared
not move to leave the. room, for he knew if he did
they would kill him, to prevent his telling anybody
else. So he lay quite still on the ground, and heard
all that passed. When they went away, Vindicius
crept from his hiding-place,, greatly terrified. He
knew it would not be right to let these wicked men
do as they intended, without trying to stop them;
yet he did not like to accuse the sons of Brutus, and
the nephews of Collatinus of such a dreadful crime.
There was living at Rome, at this time, a wise and
good man named Valerius, who was afterwards consul,
and was called Publicola because he did so much for
the people; and to him Vindicius went, and told him
all that he had heard. Valerius was shocked; and
perhaps fearing lest Vindicius might tell other people,
oad so these wicked men might escape, he had him
shut'up in a room, and set somebody to watch him,
while he went with his friends to try and capture them.
His brother Marcus (with some of his friends) went
to the king's house, to take any of them he might
find there; while he himself with some others went
to the house of the Aquilli. They had all left, but
he :rik,:e' open the'door; and having searched the
house found some letters which had been written to
Tarquin, telling him what they were about to do;
But some of them heard of what was going on,
and came in great terror to the house to get these
82 Stories of the Old Romans.
very letters. There they found Valerius, and tried
hard to get the letters away from him. But he and
his friends fought bravely, and at last led them
off to the forum as prisoners. The two sons of
Brutus were among them. Marcus Valerius also
took some of the king's servants, and found some
more letters at the king's house.
They were brought before the consuls; and Valerius,
having accused them of their wicked crime, and read
the letters, ordered Vindicius to come forward. They
could not deny their guilt. Yet the father of two of
them, and the uncle of some of the others, were the
judges who had to condemn them. The people stood
silent with terror, and some of the senators wept.
Some of them, feeling sad for Brutus, because his
sons were guilty, asked that they might be banished
instead of being put to death. Brutus sat silent;
he could not speak for sorrow. But in a little wnile
he said, with a stern voice, though his lips trembled
and his face looked very sad, "Titus, Tiberius,-what
have you to say? Can you answer this charge?"
They made no reply, but hung down their heads and
wept. The people all stood silent-now and then
sob might be heard. Again he asked them; and
then a third time; but they could not answer him.
Then he rose up, and said with a sad but stern voice,
"Lictors, the rest is for you to do!" That meant
that they were to die. The two young men cried in
More about Brutus.
terror to their father, beseeching him to banish them,
anything, only save them from death. But Brutus
made no reply. Amid the sobs and tears of all, the
lictors stripped off their clothes, and scourged them
with rods. Then, while all turned away in horror at
the sight, they were laid on the ground, and their
heads were struck off with the lictors' axes. -Brutus
wept, but he would not save them from the death
they had deserved by breaking the laws of their
country. Then he went away, and left the other
prisoners to be tried by the consul Collatinus.
Collatinus was not so stern as Brutus; and after
Brutus was gone he tried to save his nephews by
appointing them another day for their trial; and he
also ordered the slave Vindicius to be given up to
his masters. This'was a very cruel thing, and unjust
too. For if he had done so the poor slave would
certainly have been murdered. Besides, Valerius had
promised to protect him; and he knew he could not
do t1sif he was givqn up to them. The people were
very* anagr with Collatinus, and so was Valerius.
The lictors, in obedience to the orders of Collatinus,
tried to take the slave away. Valerius and his friends
prevented their doing so. The people cried out for
Brutus. Brutus was sent for; and when he came
back sad and pale with his great sorrow, they were
all silent, and he spoke these words: "It has been
enough for me to give judgment on my own sons.
84 Stories of the Old Romans.
Let the people decide as to the rest." The people
with one voice condemned the others to die. Vindi-
cius was set free, and much money was given to him.
Before the war with Porsena, about which you will
rea4 in the next chapter,, Tarquin persuaded some
of the Etrurian cities to. make war against the
Romans.. He said he was an Etrurian, and it was
only right that they should help their own country-
man. The people of Veil especially, who had been
conquered by the Romans, listened to him, and
determined to go to war. Soon their armies met.
Valerius and Brutus commanded the Roman army;
Valerius, the foot-soldiers, Brutus the horse., Aruns,
the son of Tarquin, commanded the horse-soldiers
of the Etrurians; the king followed after with the
legions. When Aruns saw Brutus he exclaimed in a
rage, There, there is the villain who has banished us
from our native country See how he rides in state !
Help me, ye gods, avengers of kings!" Then he
struck his horse with his spurs; and holding frmly
in his hand his long spear, he rode forth in a fury
to kill Brutus. Brutus saw him coming, and, firmly
grasping his spear,.rode to meet him. Both came'on
so furiously that they forgot to protect themselves with
their shields, and each one ran his spear right through
the other's body. So they fell together to the ground
-dead; thus ended the sad and noble life of Brutus.
Tlm itraftius 'br rae l- )Defun-e
(7) HORATIUS DEFENDS THIE BRIDGE.
14cavw -iiatius Ibravely 'jefended
FTER the great battle in which his son was
killed, the wicked Tarquin fled to the
court of Porsena, king of Clusium, in,
Etruria. He hated the Roman people for banishing
him, and wished to be revenged on them for doing so.,
He wanted, if possible, to return and rule in Rome.
So he did all he could to persuade king Porsena to go:
to war with the Romans.on his behalf. He. told: him
it would never do for people to banish'their kings;
and not be punished for it, for then there would soon
be an end to kings altogether; and that kings must
fight for their crowns as bravely as the people fought
for their liberty. Perhaps Porsena was frightened lest
it should come to pass that he should lose his crown';
perhaps he wished to rule over the Romans himself;
but, whatever were his reasons, he did resolve to go.
to war with Rome.
First of all, however, he sent a message to the
88 Stories of the Old Romans.
Romans commanding them to receive Tarquin again
as their king. But this they would not do, not only
because of the solemn oath they had taken never to
have a king in Rome again, but also because they
knew how cruel, and wicked a tyrant he was, and
had not forgotten poor Lucretia. Then Porsena
declared war against them, collected a very large
army, and marched against the city. The people all
round were frightened when they saw it advancing,
and knew that it was coming to avenge Tarquin's.
banishment, and fled towards Rome. Crowds stopped
the highways for a mile round the city,-old people
on crutches, women and little children, sick people on
litters, country people from the farms and vineyards,
with their flocks and herds,--all were -seeking safety
in Rome from the army of the Etruscan king; and
soon, instead of the happy homes and peaceful fields
they had left, were smoking ruins and barren wastes
where his soldiers and horsemen had been.
Near the city, but on the other side of the river
Tiber, was a fortress called Janiculum, built on a hill
of that name, and behind that fortress was a bridge
over the Tiber, leading right into the city. King
Porsena took and destroyed this fortress; and when
he had done this, and killed the soldiers who defended
it, he had nothing to do but to march his soldiers
across this bridge into the city, so that the people
gave themselves up for lost. There was only one way
How Horatius bravely Defended the Bridge. 89
of preventing this: they must destroy the bridge
before Porsena's army could cross it; and this the
consuls and people resolved tb do, so that there might
be the wide Tiber between them and their foes.
But would there be time ? The great army was
marching on, and the people could see afar off the
clouds of dust which they raised, and catch now and
then in the bright sunlight the glittering of their
spears and helmets. Soon they would be at the
bridge; and, if they crossed the bridge, they could
march at once into the city. On they came, and the
Roman soldiers, terrified, threw down their arms and
fled. A few hours, yes, only a few minutes more now,
and those who had fled to the city for protection, as
well as those who dwelt there, would be cruelly slain,
or, what was even worse, be compelled-to receive the
wicked Tarquin as,their king.!
Then one brave man, the captain of the gate, stood
up and said, "Destroy the bridge as soon as possible;
burn it, hew it down, anything, only destroy it. I
will stand -against the foe at the entrance as long as
I live, so that they shall not come into the city."
Then two others said, "And we will stand with thee."
The name of the first was Horatius Codes, and of the
others Spurius Lartits, and Herminius. Horatius
was a descendant of the Horatius who fought so
bravely with the Albans, and won the victory for
Rome. So these three went forth, and stood in the
90 Stories of the Old Romans.
narrow gateway of the bridge, to fight against the
thousands of Porsena's army, that they might not get
On came the great army, for Porsena and his
officers thought they could soon take the bridge; and
when they saw none there to defend it but Horatius
and his two brave companions they raised a great
shout of laughter. But theysoon found that there
was nothing to laugh at; for as one after another
approached the gate, the swords of Horatius and his
companions smote them so that they lay dead, until
their bodies were heaped up in front of these three
brave men, and helped to defend them from the foe.
Then Horatius shouted aloud to the Etruscans,
challenging them to fight, and calling them the slaves
of tyrants who came to oppress others. Again they
rushed forward, and threw their spears, but he caught
them on his shield. They tried hard to force him
over the bridge, but he held firm, though he had
received a wound. All at once he heard a great shout
from the people calling to them to come back, and a,
cracking noise. Then he knew that the bridge was
nearly broken down, and that the city was safe; and
he bade his two companions return, but he resolved
to stay till the last. The bridge creaked and groaned
beneath their feet as they went; then, with a great
crash, it fell into the river. The Etruscans stood still
with amazement; and Horatius, all wounded as he
How Horatius bravely Defended the Bridge. 91
was, and in his heavy armour, leaped into the river
after it, crying, "Father Tiber, receive me, thy
soldier, and these arms !"
It was a brave deed, and bravely done, and he must
have been a brave and noble man to do it. He did
not think of himself, but of his country, and of those
whom he loved; and for their lives 'he was willing to
lay down his own. And so because he did not think
of himself, but of others, he did not shrink from the
terrible fight, or get frightened and flee when the
army of Porsena pressed so fiercely on him and his
companions. And, in the great fight of life, if we
would bear ourselves bravely as good soldiers of Jesus
Christ, we must learn to think of others, and feel for
others, rather than for ourselves, and be willing to
serve each other in love. We then that are strong,"
says the apostle, ought to bear the infirmities of the
weak, and not to please ourselves." And there are
many ways of doing this besides fighting for them.
Sometimes it is a greater and better thing to be
patient and forbearing and forgiving, than it is to
fight even as bravely as Horatius did.
And ought we not to think also of Him who once
gave up His life for us on the. cross? This was a
nobler, greater sacrifice than Horatius was willing or
even able to make. In bitter anguish of soul He died
for us, to deliver us from death. What praise, what
love do we owe to Him I
92 Stories of the Old Romans.
We can imagine how the people, perhaps his own
wife and children too, watched Horatius as he fought
at the bridge gate, every moment fearing he would be
killed; how eagerly they looked after him when he
leaped into the river, all swollen as it was with a
flood, and covered with the broken timbers of the
bridge; and with what.joy they. saw him buffeting
bravely with the torrent, now for a moment swept
down by it, then rising again and making for the
shore, till at last he stood safe, amid the weeping
shouting crowd. They gave him great honour, and
he was worthy of it. The senate ordered that he
should have as much land given him as two oxen
could plough round in one day, and that all the
people should give him one day's provisions. They
also erected a statue to him, so that his name and his
brave deed might be remembered for ever.
"It stands in the Comitium1
Plain for all folks to see,
Horatius in his harness
Halting upon one knee;
And underneath is written,
In letters all of gold,
How valiantly he kept the bridge
In the brave days of old."
1 An open place at the entrance of the senate-house, where the
people assembled, and where trials were held and punishments inflicted.
sw?'uus the Xaeft-handed,,
(8 UCU TELETHADD
Mitis thes T eft-handed.
LTHOUGH the brave deed of Horatius and
his two companions prevented the Etruscan
army from entering Rome, it did not put
an end to the war. Porsena and his soldiers still held
the Janiculum, and kept the city in a state of con-
stant alarm and terror. He also pitched his tents in
the fields on the banks of the Tiber, and watched
them so closely that none could carry corn or food of
any kind across the river to the poor. half-starved
people of Rome; and he sent some of his soldiers in
boats to plunder those who lived on the opposite
side of the river, when they could do so without
being taken prisoners by the Romans.
This troubled the Roman people very much; and
in a little while not only all the people living outside
the walls of the city, but also all the cattle, had to be
taken inside, the gates for safety, and nobody was
allowed to come in or go out. So they were in a sad
plight, for in the city they were crowded together,
96 Stories of the Old Romans.
and had not enough food, and the Etruscan soldiers
were watching to slay them, or carry them off captive,
if they ventured outside the walls.
Some of the brave young men in Rome were very
indignant at this state of things, and determined to
do something to put an. end to it. They felt it was
a disgrace to the Roman people, who had always been
free, even under their kings, that they should be now
shut up within the walls of their own city by the king
of another country. At last they made up their minds
what they would do, and a young nobleman, named
Caius Mucius, was chosen to carry out their plan.
But first he went to the senate, and said, "Fathers,
I am going to cross the river, and enter the camp of
the enemy if I can; not to plunder, nor to avenge his
devastations. A greater deed is-in my mind-if the
gods assist me." Then the senate gave him leave to
go, for if not he might have been taken by the Roman
guards as a deserter; and sent back to Rome; and they
told him they approved of what he intended to do.
He dressed himself in an'Etruscan dress, that he
might seem like one of Porsena's own people; took a
short sharp sword, which he hid under his garments;
and, crossing the river, made his way to the camp,
speaking the Etruscan language lest he should be
discovered to be a Roman, and be slain by Porsena's
soldiers. He got among the crowd, that he might not
be noticed, and by-and-by came to the tent which
Mucius the Left-handed. 97
he knew tb be the king's, where the soldiers were
receiving their pay, and where the king and his
nobles were all sitting or standing. But he did not
know which was the king; and he would not ask,
those standing by, because of course all the Etruscans
knew the king, and if he had asked the question they
would have guessed that he was a Roman, and in all
probability he would have been put to death at once.
However, he was determined not to go back with-
out attempting to do the deed for which he had been
chosen. So walking straight up to the man whom he
supposed to be the king, he suddenly drew his sword,
and killed him with one blow. Then'he turned
sharply round, and 'while all were in amazement at
what he had done, he rushed through the crowd that
he might get to the banks of the river, and return
to Rome. But they cried out from the king's tent,
"Seize-him, seize him !" and the guard soon caught
him, and took him prisoner. Then they brought him
before the king.
It was the king's secretary that he had killed. But
the king felt sure that the blow had been meant for
himself and Mucius was asked who he was, and why
he-had done this deed. Looking sternly and boldly
at the-angry faces around him, and at the king, he.
said, "I am,a Roman citizen, and my ndme is Caius
Mucius. I meant to slay an enemy, and I am ready
to suffer death. A Roman can suffer bravely as well
98 StoTies of the Old Romans.
as act bravely. But I am not alone. There are many
who will attempt to secure: the honour which I have
failed to win. Take heed, 0 king! Prepare yourself
for the peril. The sword of the enemy, will be at the
entrance of your pavilion every hour. We, the Roman
youth, declare this war against you, not in battle
array, .but with ourselves and you alone."
The king was angry, as well indeed he might be, for
after all it is a cruel and dastardly thing to kill. a man
by stealth, as Mucius tried to do, although he meant
it well for his country. But if he had succeeded it
would have been by being guilty of murder, and
indeed he was guilty of murder in. killing (though
by mistake) the king's secretary, who had never done
him nor the Romans any harm. But the king was
not only angry but frightened, and so perhaps be-
haved more cruelly than otherwise he would have
done; for, after all, Porsena was a brave man and a
noble man, as he showed afterwards by his conduct
towards the Romans themselves. He commanded a
fire to be kindled, and threatened Mucius'that if he
did not explain more fully what he meant, he should
be tortured with fire.
Then Mucius, smiling, said, "Behold mel I had
great glory in view, and care not for my body;" so
saying he thrust. his right hand into the fire, and held
it there till it was burnt and shrivelled. Yet, all the
while he uttered no cry, and showed no sign of pain,