Page images
PDF
EPUB

on the hill, which is called Capitolium; and the people of Romulus with their king dwelt on the hill Palatinus. But the kings with their counsellors met in the valley between the two hills to consult about their common matters. - Dr. Arnold.

Questions on the lesson :- What did the brothers resolve to do? What did they wish to know from the gods? How was the matter settled? What led to the death of Remus? How were the inhabitants of the city increased? How were wives provided? How was the other hill (the Capitoline) separated from the Palatine? How was possession of it gained? What is the story of the temple of Janus? How did the women make peace? What was the result of the conflict?

augury, an art which pretended that future events could be foretold by the flight or cries of birds.

Sabines; a mountainous race living in the central parts of Italy. Their territory was bounded on the west by the Tiber. Rome was built at the meeting-place of the country of the Latins, of the Sabines, and of the Etruscans.

Janus, a Latin god, identified with the sun. The first month of the year has its name, January, from this god. What was afterwards called the temple of Janus was originally only a passage which was opened in times of war, and shut in times of peace. It was probably a gate which was used only when Roman armies were marching out to war, or returning from it.

Jove or Jupiter, regarded by the Romans as the father of gods and men.

EARLY LEGENDS OF ROME.

VI. —THE STORY OF TULLUS HOSTILIUS.

1. When Numa was dead, the senators again for a while shared the kingly power amongst themselves. But they soon chose for their king Tullus Hostilius, whose father's father had come from a city of the Latins to Rome, and had fought with Romulus against the Sabines. Tullus loved the poor and he divided the lands which came to him as king amongst those who had no land.

2. Tullus was a warlike king and he soon was called to prove his valour; for the countrymen of the Alban border and of the Roman border plundered one another. Now Alba was governed by Caius Cluilius, who was the dictator; and Cluilius sent to Rome to complain of the wrongs done to his people, and Tullus sent to Alba for the same purpose.

So there was a war between the two nations, and Cluilius led his people against Rome, and lay encamped within five miles of the city, and there he died. Mettius Fufetius was then chosen dictator in his room; and as the Albans still lay in their camp, Tullus passed them by and marched into the land of Alba. But when Mettius came after him, then, instead of giving battle, the two leaders agreed that a few in either army should fight in behalf of the rest, and that the event of this combat should decide the quarrel.

3. So three twin brothers were chosen out of the Roman army, called the Horatii, and three twin brothers out of the Alban army, called the Curiatii. The combat took place in the sight of both armies; and after a time all the Curiatii were wounded, and two of the Horatii were slain. Then the last Horatius pretended to fly, and the Curiatii each, as they were able, followed after him. But when Horatius saw that they were a great way off from one another, he turned suddenly and slew the first of them, and the second in like manner, and then he easily overcame and slew the third. So the victory remained to the Romans.

4. Then the Romans went home to Rome in triumph, and Horatius went at the head of the army bearing his triple spoils. But as they were drawing near to the gate his sister came out to meet him. Now she had been betrothed in marriage to one of the Curiatii, and his cloak, which she had wrought with her own hands, was borne on the shoulders of her brother; and she knew it, and cried out, and wept for him whom she had loved. At the sight of her tears Horatius was so wroth, that he drew his sword and stabbed his sister to the heart; and he said, “So perish the Roman maiden who shall weep for her country's enemy.”

5. But men said that it was a dreadful deed, and they dragged him before the two judges who judged when blood had been shed. So they gave judgment on Horatius, and were going to give him over to be put to death. But he appealed, and the appeal was tried before all the Romans, and they would not condemn him because he had conquered for them their enemies, and because his father spoke for him, and said that he judged the maiden to have been lawfully slain. Yet as blood had been shed, which required to be atoned for, the Romans gave a certain sum of money to offer sacrifices to atone for the pollution of blood. These sacrifices were duly performed ever afterwards by the members of the house of the Horatii.

Questions on the lesson :—The origin of Tullus? His character? With whom was he at war? In what way was the contest to be decided? Give an account of the battle between the brothers. What happened near the city? How did Horatius escape? How was the pollution of blood atoned for?

Dictator in this lesson means the chief magistrate. Ordinarily it means a magistrate elected for six months in times of emergency and possessing unlimited power.

EARLY LEGENDS OF ROME.

VII.-- ROMULUS MADE A GOD.

1. Romulus was a just king and gentle to his people; if any were guilty of crimes he did not put them to death, but made them pay a fine of sheep or of oxen. In his wars he was very successful, and enriched his people with the spoils of their enemies. At last, after he had reigned nearly forty years, it chanced that one day he called his people together in the field of Mars, near the Goat's Pool; when, all on a sudden, there arose a dreadful storm, and all was as dark as night; and the rain and thunder and lightning were so terrible, that all the people fled from the field, and ran to their several homes.

2. At last the storm was over, and they came back to the field of Mars, but Romulus was nowhere to be found; for Mars, his father, had carried him up to heaven in his chariot. The people knew not at first what was become of him; but when it was night, as one Proculus Julius was coming from Alba to the city, Romulus appeared to him in more than mortal beauty, and grown to more than mortal stature, and said to him, “Go, and tell my people that they weep not for me any more; but bid them to be brave and warlike, and so shall they make my city the greatest in the earth.” Then the people knew that Romulus was become a god; so they built a temple to him, and offered sacrifice to him, and worshipped him evermore as a god.

VIII.—NUMA.

3. When Romulus was taken from the earth, there was no one found to reign in his place. The senators would choose no king, but they divided themselves into tens, and every ten was to have the power of king for five days, one after the other. So a year passed away, and the people murmured and said that there must be a king chosen.

4. Now the Romans and the Sabines each wished that the king should be one of them, and at last it was agreed that the king should be a Sabine, but that the Romans should choose him. So they chose Numa Pompilius; for all men said that he was a just man, and wise, and holy.

5. Some said that he had learned his wisdom from Pythagoras, the famous philosopher of the Greeks; but others would not believe that he owed it to any foreign teacher. Before he would consent to be king, he consulted the gods by augury, to know whether it was their pleasure that he should reign. And as he feared the gods at first, so did he even to the last. He appointed many to minister in sacred things; such as the Pontiffs or priests who were to see that all things relating to the gods were duly observed by all; and the Augurs who taught men the pleasure of the gods concerning things to come; and the virgins of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, who tended the ever-burning fire; and other priests who honoured the god of arms with solemn songs and dances through the city on certain days, and who kept the sacred shield which fell down from heaven.

6. In all that he did, he knew that he should please the gods; for he did everything by the direction of a Nymph, who honoured him so much that she took him to be her husband, and taught him in her sacred grove by the spring that welled out from the rock, all that he was to do towards the gods and towards men.

By her counsel he snared two of the gods in the grove on the hill Aventinus, and made them tell him how he might learn from Jupiter the knowledge of his will, and might

7

« PreviousContinue »