Young Folks' History of Rome eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about Young Folks' History of Rome.

Romulus himself won his own wife, Hersilia, among the Sabines on this occasion; but the nation of course took up arms, under their king Tatius, to recover their daughters.  Romulus drew out his troops into Campus Martius, or field of Mars, just beneath the Capitol, or great fort on the Saturnian Hill, and marched against the Sabines; but while he was absent, Tarpeia, the daughter of the governor of the little fort he had left on the Saturnian Hill, promised to let the Sabines in on condition they would give her what they wore on their left arms, meaning their bracelets; but they hated her treason even while they took advantage of it, and no sooner were they within the gate than they pelted her with their heavy shields, which they wore on their left arms, and killed her.  The cliff on the top of which she died is still called the Tarpeian rock, and criminals were executed by being thrown from the top of it.  Romulus tried to regain the Capitol, but the Sabines rolled down stones on the Romans, and he was stunned by one that struck him on the head; and though he quickly recovered and rallied his men, the battle was going against him, when all the Sabine women, who had been nearly two years Roman wives, came rushing out, with their little children in their arms and their hair flying, begging their fathers and husbands not to kill one another.  This led to the making of a peace, and it was agreed that the Sabines and Romans should make but one nation, and that Romulus and Tatius should reign together at Rome.  Romulus lived on the Palatine Hill, Tatius on the Tarpeian, and the valley between was called the Forum, and was the market-place, and also the spot where all public assemblies were held.  All the chief arrangements for war and government were believed by the Romans to have been laws of Romulus.  However, after five years, Tatius was murdered at a place called Lavinium, in the middle of a sacrifice, and Romulus reigned alone till in the middle of a great assembly of his soldiers outside the city, a storm of thunder and lightning came on, and every one hurried home, but the king was nowhere to be found; for, as some say, his father Mars had come down in the tempest and carried him away to reign with the gods, while others declared that he was murdered by persons, each of whom carried home a fragment of his body that it might never be found.  It matters less which way we tell it, since the story of Romulus was quite as much a fable as that of AEneas; only it must be remembered as the Romans themselves believed it.  They worshipped Romulus under the name of Quirinus, and called their chief families Quirites, both words coming from ger (a spear); and the she-wolf and twins were the favorite badge of the empire.  The Capitoline Hill, the Palatine, and the Forum all still bear the same names.



Numa and Tullus.

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Young Folks' History of Rome from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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