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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman Antiquities

Dionysius of Halicarnassus

published in Vol. I
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1937

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(Vol. I) Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Roman Antiquities

 p235  (Book I, end)

72 1 But as there is great dispute concerning both the time of the building of the city and the founders of it, I have thought it incumbent on me also not to give merely a cursory account of these  p237 things, as if they were universally agreed on. For Cephalon of Gergis,179 a very ancient writer, says that the city was built in the second generation after the Trojan war by those who had escaped from Troy with Aeneas, and he names as the founder of it Romus,180 who was the leader of the colony and one of Aeneas' sons; he adds that Aeneas had four sons, Ascanius, Euryleon, Romulus and Remus. And Demagoras,181 Agathyllus and many others agree with him as regards both the time and the leader of the colony. 2 But the author of the history of the priestesses at Argos182 and of what happened in the days of each of them says that Aeneas came into Italy from the land of the Molossians with Odysseus183 and became the founder of the city, which he named after Romê, one of the Trojan women. He says that this woman, growing weary with wandering, stirred up the other Trojan women and together with them set fire to the ships. And Damastes of Sigeum184 and some others agree with him. 3 But Aristotle, the philosopher, relates185  p239 that some of the Achaeans, while they were doubling Cape Malea on their return from Troy, were overtaken by a violent storm, and being for some time driven out of their course by the winds, wandered over many parts of the sea, till at last they came to this place in the land of the Opicans which is called Latinium,186 lying on the Tyrrhenian sea. 4 And being pleased with the sight of land, they hauled up their ships, stayed there the winter season, and were preparing to sail at the beginning of spring; but when their ships were set on fire in the night and they were unable to sail away, they were compelled against their will to fix their abode in the place where they had landed. This fate, he says, was brought upon them by the captive women they were carrying with them from Troy, who burned the ships, fearing that the Achaeans in returning home would carry them into slavery. 5 Callias,187 who wrote of the deeds of Agathocles, says that Romê, one of the Trojan women who came into Italy with the other Trojans, married Latinus, the king of the Aborigines, by whom she had three son, Romus, Romulus and Telegonus, . . . and having built a city, gave it the name of their mother. Xenagoras, the historian,188 writes that Odysseus and Circê had  p241 three sons, Romus, Anteias and Ardeias, who built three cities and called them after their own names.189 6 Dionysius of Chalcis190 names Romus as the founder of the city, but says that according to some this man was the son of Ascanius, and according to others the son of Emathion. There are others who declare that Rome was built by Romus, the son of Italus and Leucaria, the daughter of Latinus.

73 1 I could cite many other Greek historians who assign different founders to the city, but, not to appear prolix, I shall come to the Roman historians. The Romans, to be sure, have not so much as one single historian or chronicler who is ancient; however, each of their historians has taken something out of ancient accounts that are preserved on sacred tablets.191 2 Some of these say that Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were the sons of Aeneas, others say that they were the sons of a daughter of Aeneas, without going on to determine who was their father; that they were delivered as hostages by Aeneas to Latinus, the king of the Aborigines, when the treaty was made between the inhabitants and the new-comers, and that Latinus, after giving them a kindly welcome, not only did them might good offices, but, upon dying without male issue, left them his successors to some part  p243 of his kingdom. 3 Others say that after the death of Aeneas Ascanius, having succeeded to the entire sovereignty of the Latins, divided both the country and the forces of the Latins into three parts, two of which he gave to his brothers, Romulus and Remus. He himself, they say, built Alba and some other towns; Remus built cities which he named Capuas, after Capys, his great-grandfather, Anchisa, after his grandfather Anchises, Aeneia (which was afterwards called Janiculum), after his father, and Rome, after himself.192 This last city was for some time deserted, but upon the arrival of another colony, which the Albans sent out under the leadership of Romulus and Remus, it received again its ancient name. So that, according to this account, there were two settlements of Rome, one a little after the Trojan war, and the other fifteen generations after the first.193 4 And if anyone desires to look into the remoter past, even a third Rome will be found, more ancient than these, one that was founded before Aeneas and the Trojans came into Italy. This is related by no ordinary or modern historian, but by Antiochus of Syracuse, whom I have mentioned before.194 He says that when Morges reigned in Italy (which at that time comprehended all the seacoast  p245 from Tarentum to Posidonia),195 a man came to him who had been banished from Rome. His words are these: "When Italus was growing old, Morges reigned. In his reign there came a man who had been banished from Rome; his name was Seicelus." 5 According to the Syracusan historian, therefore, an ancient Rome is found even earlier than the Trojan war. However, as he has left it doubtful whether it was situated in the same region where the present city stands or whether some other place happened to be called by this name, I, too, can form no conjecture. But as regards the ancient settlements of Rome, I think that what has already been said is sufficient.

74 1 As to the last settlement or founding of the city, or whatever we ought to call it, Timaeus of Sicily,196 following what principle I do not know, places it at the same time as the founding of Carthage, that is, in the thirty-eighth year before the first Olympiad;197 Lucius Cincius, a member of the senate, places it about the fourth year of the twelfth Olympiad,198 and Quintus Fabius in the first year of the eighth Olympiad.199 2 Porcius Cato does not give the time according to Greek reckoning, but being as careful as any writer in gathering the date of ancient history, he places its founding four hundred and thirty-two years after the Trojan war; and this  p247 time, being compared with the Chronicles of Eratosthenes,200 corresponds to the first year of the seventh Olympiad.201 That the canons of Eratosthenes are sound I have shown in another treatise,202 where I have also shown how the Roman chronology is to be synchronized with that of the Greeks. 3 For I did not think it sufficient, like Polybius of Megalopolis,203 to say merely that I believe Rome was built in the second year of the seventh Olympiad,204 nor to let my belief rest without further examination upon the single tablet preserved by the high priests, the only one of its kind, but I determined to set forth the reasons that had appealed to me, so that all might examine them who so desired. 4 In that treatise, therefore, the detailed exposition is given; but in the course of the present work also the most essential of the conclusions there reached will be mentioned. The matter stands thus: It is generally agreed that the invasion of the Gauls,205 during which the city of Rome was taken, happened during the archonship of Pyrgion at Athens, in the first year of the ninety-eighth Olympiad.206 Now if the time before the taking of the city is reckoned back to Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, the first consuls at Rome after the overthrow of the kings, it comprehends one hundred  p249 and twenty years. 5 This is proved in many other ways, but particularly by the records of the censors, which receives in succession from the father and takes great care to transmit to posterity, like family rites; and there are many illustrious men of censorian families who preserve these records. In them I find that in the second year before the taking of the city there was a census of the Roman people, to which, as to the rest of them, there is affixed the date, as follows: "In the consulship of Lucius Valerius Potitus and Titus Manlius Capitolinus, in the one hundred and nineteenth year after the expulsion of the kings." 6 So that the Gallic invasion, which we find to have occurred in the second year after the census, happened when the hundred and twenty years were completed. If, now, this interval of time is found to consist of thirty Olympiads, it must be allowed that the first consuls to be chosen entered upon their magistracy in the first year of the sixty-eighth Olympiad, the same year that Isagoras was archon at Athens.207

75 1 And, again, if from the expulsion of the kings the time is reckoned back to Romulus, the first ruler of the city, it amounts to two hundred and forty-four years. This is known from the order in which the kings succeeded one another and the number of years each of them ruled. For Romulus, the founder  p251 of Rome, reigned thirty-seven years, it is said, and after his death the city was a year without a king. 2 Then Numa Pompilius, who was chosen by the people, reigned forty-three years; after Numa, Tullus Hostilius thirty-two; and his successor, Ancus Marcius, twenty-four; after Marcius, Lucius Tarquinius, called Priscus, thirty-eight; Servius Tullius, who succeeded him, forty-four. And the slayer of Servius, Lucius Tarquinius, the tyrannical prince who, from his contempt of justice, was called Superbus, extended his reign to the twenty-fifth year. 3 As the reigns, therefore, of the kings amount to two hundred and forty-four years or sixty-one Olympiads, it follows necessarily that Romulus, the first ruler of the city, began his reign in the first year of the seventh Olympiad, when Charops at Athens was in the first year of his ten-year term as archon.208 For the count of the years requires this; and that each king reigned the number of years is shown in that treatise of mine to which I have referred.

4 This, therefore, is the account given by those who lived before me and adopted by me concerning the time of the settlement of the city which now rules supreme. As to its founders, who they were and by what turns of fortune they were induced to lead out the colony, and any other details told concerning its settlement, all this has been related by many, and the greatest part of it in a different manner by  p253 some; and I, also, shall relate the most probable of these stories. They are as follows:

76 1 When209 Amulius succeeded to the kingdom of the Albans, after forcibly excluding his elder brother Numitor from the dignity that was his by inheritance, he not only showed great contempt for justice in everything else that he did, but he finally plotted to deprive Numitor's family of issue, both from fear of suffer punishment for his usurpation and also because of his desire never to be dispossessed of the sovereignty. 2 Having long resolved upon this course, he first observed the neighbourhood where Aegestus, Numitor's son, who was just coming to man's estate, was wont to follow the chase, and having placed an ambush in the most hidden part of it, he caused him to be slain when he had come out to hunt; and after the deed was committed he contrived to have it reported that the youth had been killed by robbers. Nevertheless, the rumour thus concocted could not prevail over the truth which he was trying to keep concealed, but many, though it was unsafe to do so, ventured to tell what had been done. 3 Numitor was aware of the crime, but his judgment being superior to his grief, he affected ignorance, resolving to defer his resentment to a less dangerous time. And Amulius, supposing that the truth about the youth had been kept secret, set a second plan on foot, as follows: he appointed Numitor's daughter, Ilia, — or, as some state, Rhea, surnamed Silvia, — who was then ripe for marriage, to be a priestess of Vesta, lest, if she first entered a husband's house, she might bring  p255 forth avengers for her family. These holy maidens who were intrusted with the custody of the perpetual fire and with the carrying out of any other rites that it was customary for virgins to perform in behalf of the commonwealth were required to remain undefiled by marriage for a period of not less than five210 years. 4 Amulius was carrying out his plan under specious pretences, as if he were conferring honour and dignity on his brother's family; for he was not the author of this law, which was a general one, nor, again, was his brother the first person of consideration whom he had obliged to yield obedience to it, but it was both customary and honourable among the Albans for maidens of the highest birth to be appointed to the service of Vesta. But Numitor, perceiving that these measures of his brother proceeded from no good intention, dissembled his resentment, lest he should incur the ill-will of the people, and stifled his complaints upon this occasion also.

77 1 The211 fourth year after this, Ilia, upon going to a grove consecrated to Mars to fetch pure water for use in the sacrifices, was ravished by somebody or other in the sacred precinct. Some say that the author of the deed was one of the maiden's suitors, who was carried away by his passion for the girl;212 others say that it was Amulius himself, and that, since his purpose was to destroy her quite as much as to satisfy his passion, he had arrayed himself in such armour as would render him most terrible  p257 to behold and that he also kept his features disguised as effectively as possible. 2 But most writers relate a fabulous story to the effect that it was a spectre of the divinity to whom the place was consecrated; and they add that the advantageous was attended by many supernatural signs, including a sudden disappearance of the sun and a darkness that spread over the sky, and that the appearance of the spectre was far more marvellous than that of a man both in stature and in beauty. And they say that the ravisher, to comfort the maiden (by which it became clear that it was a god), commanded her not to grieve at all at what had happened, since she had been united in marriage to the divinity of the place and as a result of her violation should bear two sons who would far excel all men in valour and warlike achievements. And having said this, he was wrapped in a cloud and, being lifted from the earth, was borne upwards through the air. 3 This is not a proper place to consider what opinion we ought to entertain of such tales, whether we should scorn them as instances of human frailty attributed to the gods, — since God is incapable of any action that is unworthy of his incorruptible and blessed nature, — or whether we should admit even these stories, upon the supposition that all the substance of the universe is mixed, and that between the race of gods and that of men some third order of being exists which is that of the daemons, who, uniting sometimes with human beings and sometimes with the gods, beget, it is said, the fabled race of heroes. This, I say, is not a proper place to consider these things, and, moreover, what the philosophers have said  p259 concerning them is sufficient. 4 But, be that as it may, the maid after her violation feigned illness (for this her mother advised out of regard both for her own safety and for the sacred services of the gods) and no longer attended the sacrifices, but her duties were performed by the other virgins who were joined with her in the same ministry.

78 1 But Amulius, moved either by his own knowledge of what had happened or by a natural suspicion of the truth, began to inquire into her long absence from the sacrifices, in order to discover the real reason. To this end he kept sending in to her some physicians in whom he had the greatest confidence; and then, since the women alleged that her ailment was one that must be kept secret from others, he left his wife to watch her. 2 She, having by a woman's marking of the signs discovered what was a secret to the others, informed him of it, and he, lest the girl should be delivered in secret, for she was now near her time, caused her to be guarded by armed men. And summoning his brother to the council, he not only announced the deflowering of the girl, of which the rest knew naught, but even accused her parents of being her accomplices; and he ordered Numitor not to hide the guilty man, but to expose him. 3 Numitor said he was amazed at what he heard, and protesting his innocence of everything that was alleged, desired time to test the truth of it. Having with difficulty obtained this delay, and being informed by his wife of the affair as his daughter had related it in the  p261 beginning, he acquainted the council with the rape committed by the god and also related what the god had said concerning the twins, and asked that his story should be believed only if the fruit of her travail should prove to be such as the god had foretold; for the time of her delivery was near at hand, so that it would not be long, if he were playing the rogue, before the fact would come to light. Moreover, he offered to put at their disposal for examination the women who were watching his daughter, and he was ready to submit to any and every test. 4 As he spoke thus the majority of the councilors were persuaded, but Amulius declared that his demands were altogether insincere, and was bent on destroying the girl by every means. While this was taking place, those who had been appointed to keep guard over Ilia at the time of her delivery came to announce that she had given birth to male twins. And at once Numitor began to urge at length the same arguments, showing the deed to be the work of the god and demanding that they take no unlawful action against his daughter, who was innocent of her condition. On the other hand, Amulius thought that even in connexion with her delivery there had been some human trickery and that the women had provided another child, either unknown to the guards or with their connivance, and he said much more to the same purport. 5 When the councilors found that the king's decision was inspired by implacable anger, they, too, voted, as he demanded, that the law should be carried out which provided that a Vestal who suffered herself to be defiled should be scourged with rods and put to death and her offspring thrown  p263 into the current of the river. To‑day, however, the sacred law ordains that such offenders shall be buried alive.

79 1 Up213 to this point the greater part of the historians give the same account or differ but slightly, some in the direction of what is legendary, others of what is more probable; but they disagree in what follows. 2 Some say that the girl was put to death immediately; others that she remained in a secret prison under a guard, which caused the people to believe that she had been put to death secretly. The latter authors say that Amulius was moved to do this when his daughter begged him to grant her the life of her cousin; for, having been brought up together and being of the same age, they loved each other like sisters. Amulius, accordingly, to please her, — for she was his only daughter, — saved Ilia from death, but kept her confined in a secret prison; and she was at length set at liberty after the death of Amulius. 3 Thus do the accounts of the ancient authors vary concerning Ilia, and yet both opinions carry with them an appearance of truth; for this reason I, also, have mentioned them both, but each of my readers will decide for himself which to believe.

4 But concerning the babes born of Ilia, Quintus Fabius, called Pictor, whom Lucius Cincius, Porcius Cato, Calpurnius Piso and most of the other historians have followed, writes thus: By the order  p265 of Amulius some of his servants took the babes in an ark and carried them to the river, distant about a hundred and twenty stades from the city, with the intention of throwing them into it. 5 But when they drew near and perceived that the Tiber, swollen by continual rains, had left its natural bed and overflowed the plains, they came down from the top of the Palatine hill214 to that part of the water that lay nearest (for they could no longer advance any farther) and set down the ark upon the flood where it washed the foot of the hill. The ark floated for some time, and then, as the waters retired by degrees from their extreme limits, it struck against a stone and, overturning, threw out the babes, who lay whimpering and wallowing in the mud. 6 Upon this, a she-wolf that had just whelped appeared and, her udder being distended with milk, gave them her paps to suck and with her tongue licked off the mud with which they were besmeared. In the meantime the herdsmen happened to be driving their flocks forth to pasture (for the place was now become passable) and one of them, seeing the wolf thus fondling the babes, was for some time struck dumb with astonishment and disbelief of what he saw. Then going away and getting together as many as he could of his fellows who kept their herds near at hand (for they would not believe what he said), he led them to see the sight themselves. 7 When these also drew near and saw the wolf caring for the babes as if they had been her young and the  p267 babes clinging to her as to their mother, they thought they were beholding a supernatural sight and advanced in a body, shouting to terrify the creature. The wolf, however, far from being provoked at the approach of the men, but as if she had been tame, withdrew gently from the babes and went away, paying little heed to the rabble of shepherds. 8 Now there was not far off a holy place, arched over by a dense wood, and a hollow rock from which springs issued; the wood was said to be consecrated to Pan, and there was an altar there to that god.215 To this place, then, the wolf came and hid herself. The grove, to be sure, no longer remains, but the cave from which the spring flows is still pointed out, built up216 against the side of the Palatine hill on the road which leads to the Circus, and near it is a sacred precinct in which there is a statue commemorating the incident; it represents a she-wolf suckling two infants, the figures being in bronze and of ancient workmanship.217 This spot is said to have been a holy place of the Arcadians who formerly settled there with Evander.

9 As soon as the beast was gone the herdsmen took up the babes, and believing that the god desired their preservation, were eager to bring them up. There was among them the keeper of the royal herds of  p269 swine, whose name was Faustulus, an upright man, who had been in town upon some necessary business at the time when the deflowering of Ilia and her delivery were made public. And afterwards, when the babes were being carried to the river, he had by some providential chance taken the same road to the Palatine hill and gone along with those who were carrying them. This man, without giving the least intimation to the others that he knew anything of the affair, asked that the babes might be delivered to him, and having received them by general consent, he carried them home to his wife. 10 And finding that she had just given birth to a child and was grieving because it was still-born, he comforted her and gave her these children to substitute in its place, informing her of every circumstance of their fortune from the beginning. And as they grew older he gave to one the name of Romulus and to the other that of Remus. When they came to be men, they showed themselves both in dignity of aspect and elevation of mind not like swineherds and neatherds, but such as we might expect those to be who are born of royal race and are looked upon as the offspring of the gods; and as such they are still celebrated by the Romans in the hymns of their country. 11 But their life was that of herdsmen, and they lived by their own labour, generally upon the mountains in huts which they built, roofs and all,218  p271 out of sticks and reeds. One of these, called the hut of Romulus,219 remained even to my day on the flank of the Palatine hill which faces towards the Circus, and it is preserved holy by those who have charge of these matters; they add nothing to it to render it more stately, but if any part of it is injured, either by storms or by the lapse of time, they repair the damage and restore the hut as nearly as possible to its former condition.

12 When Romulus and Remus were about eighteen years of age, they had some dispute about the pasture with Numitor's herdsmen, whose herds were quartered on the Aventine hill, which is over against the Palatine. They frequently accused one another either of grazing the meadow-land that did not belong to them or of monopolizing that which belonged to both in common, or of whatever the matter chanced to be. From this wrangling they had recourse sometimes to blows and then to arms. 13 Finally Numitor's men, having received many wounds at the hands of the youths and lost some of their number and being at last driven by force from the places in dispute, devised a stratagem against them. They place an ambuscade in the hidden part of the ravine and having concerted the time of the attack with those who lay in wait for the youths, the rest in a body  p273 attacked the others' folds by night. No wit happened that Romulus, together with the chief men of the village, had gone at the time to a place called Caenina to offer sacrifices for the community according to the custom of the country; 14 but Remus, being informed of the foe's attack, hastily armed himself and with a few of the villagers who had already got together went out to oppose them. And they, instead of awaiting him, retired, in order to draw him to the place where they intended to face above and attack him to advantage. Remus, being unaware of their stratagem, pursued them for a long distance, till he passed the place where the rest lay in ambush; thereupon these men rose up and at the same time the others who had been fleeing faced about. And having surrounded Remus and his men, they overwhelmed them with a shower of stones and took them prisoners; for they had received orders from their masters to bring the youths to them alive. Thus Remus was captured and led away.

80 1 But220 Aelius Tubero,221 a shrewd man and careful in collecting the historical data, writes that Numitor's people, knowing beforehand that the youths were going to celebrate in honour of Pan the Lupercalia,222 the Arcadian festival as instituted by Evander, set an ambush for that moment in the celebration when the youths living near the Palatine were, after offering sacrifice, to proceed from the  p275 Lupercal and run round the village naked, their loins girt with the skins of the victims just sacrificed. This ceremony signified a sort of traditional purification of the villagers, and is still performed even to this day. 2 On this occasion, then, the herdsmen lay in wait in the narrow part of the road for the youths who were taking part in the ceremony, and when the first band with Remus came abreast of them, that with Romulus and the rest being behind (for they were divided into three bands and ran at a distance from one another), without waiting for the others they set up a shout and all rushed upon the first group, and, surrounding them, some threw darts at them, others stones, and others whatever they could lay their hands on. And the youths, startled by the unexpected attack and at a loss how to act, fighting unarmed as they were against armed men, were easily overpowered. 3 Remus, therefore, having fallen into the hands of the enemy in this manner or in the way Fabius relates, was being led away, bound, to Alba. When Romulus heard of his brother's fate, he thought he ought to follow immediately with the stoutest of the herdsmen in the hope of overtaking Remus while he was still on the road, but he was dissuaded by Faustulus. For seeing that his haste was too frenzied, this man, who was looked upon as the father of the youths and who had hitherto kept everything a secret from them, lest they should venture upon some hazardous enterprise before they were in their prime, now at last, compelled by necessity,  p277 took Romulus aside and told him everything. 4 When the youth heard every circumstance of their fortune from the beginning, he was touched both with compassion for his mother and with solicitude for Numitor. And after taking much counsel with Faustulus, he decided to give up his plan for an immediate attack, but to get ready a larger force, in order to free his whole family from the lawlessness of Amulius, and he resolved to risk the direst peril for the sake of the greatest rewards, but to act in concert with his grandfather in whatever the other should see fit to do.

81 1 This223 plan having been decided upon as the best, Romulus called together all the inhabitants of the village and after asking them to hasten into Alba immediately, but not all by the same gates nor in a body, lest the suspicions of the citizens should be aroused, and then to stay in the market-place and be ready to do whatever should be ordered, he himself set out first for the city. 2 In the meantime those who had carried off Remus brought him before the king and complained of all the outrageous treatment they had received from the youths, producing their wounded, and threatening, if they found no redress, to desert their herds. And Amulius, desiring to please both the countrymen, who had come in great numbers, and Numitor (for he happened to be present and share the exasperation of his retainers), and longing to see peace throughout the country, and at the same time suspecting the boldness of the youth, so fearless was in his answers, gave judgment against him; but he left his  p279 punishment to Numitor, saying that the one who had done an injury could be punished by none so justly as by the one who had suffered it. 3 While Numitor's herdsmen were leading Remus away with his hands bound behind him and mocking him, Numitor followed and not only admired his grace of body, so much was there that was kingly in his bearing, but also observed his nobility of spirit, which he preserved even in distress, not turning to lamentations and entreaties, as all do under such afflictions, but with a becoming silence going away to his fate. 4 As soon as they were arrived at his house he ordered all the rest to withdraw, and Remus being left alone, he asked him who he was and of what parents; for he did not believe such a man could be meanly born. Remus answered that he knew this much only from the account he had received from the man who brought him up, that he with his twin brother had been exposed in a wood as soon as they were born and had then been taken up by the herdsmen and reared by them. Upon which Numitor, after a short pause, either because he suspected something of the truth or because Heaven was bringing the matter to light, said to him: 5 "I need not inform you, Remus, that you are in my power to be punished in whatever way I may see fit, and that those who brought you here, having suffered many grievous wrongs at your hands, would give much to have you put to death. All this you know. But if I should free you from death and every other punishment, would you show your gratitude and serve me when I desire your assistance in an affair that will conduce to the advantage of us  p281 both?" 6 The youth, having in answer said everything which the hope of life prompts those who are in despair of it to say and promise to those on whom their fate depends, Numitor ordered him to be unbound. And commanding everybody to leave the place, he acquainted him with his own misfortunes — how Amulius, though his brother, had deprived him of his kingdom and bereft him of his children, having secretly slain his son while he was hunting and keeping his daughter bound in prison, and in all other respects continued to treat him as a master would treat his slave.

82 1 Having spoken thus and accompanied ship words with many lamentations, he entreated Remus to avenge the wrongs of his house. And when the youth gladly embraced the proposal and begged him to set him at the task immediately, Numitor commended his eagerness and said: "I myself will determine the proper time for the enterprise; but do you meanwhile send a message privately to your brother, informing him that you are safe and asking him to come here in all haste." 2 Thereupon a man who seemed likely to serve their purpose was found and sent; and he, meeting Romulus not far from the city, delivered his message. Romulus was greatly rejoiced at this and went in haste to Numitor; and having embraced them both, he first spoke words of greeting and then related how he and his brother had been exposed and brought up and  p283 all the other circumstances he had learned from Faustulus. The others, who wished his story might be true and needed few proofs in order to believe it, heard what he said with pleasure. And as soon as they knew one another they proceeded to consult together and consider the proper method and occasion for making their attack. 3 While they were thus employed, Faustulus was brought before Amulius. For, fearing lest the information given by Romulus might not be credited by Numitor, in an affair of so great moment, without manifest proofs, he soon afterwards followed him to town, taking the ark with him as evidence of the exposing of the babes. 4 But as he was entering the gates in great confusion, taking all possible pains to conceal what he carried, one of the guards observed him (for there was fear of an incursion of the enemy and the gates were being guarded by those who were most fully trusted by the king) and laid hold of him; and insisting upon knowing what the concealed object was, he forcibly threw back his garment. As soon as he saw the ark and found the man embarrassed, he demanded to know the cause of his confusion and what he meant by not carrying openly an article that required no secrecy. 5 In the meantime more of the guards flocked to them and one of them recognized the ark, having himself carried the children in it to the river; and he so informed those who were present. Upon this they seized Faustulus, and carrying him to the king himself, acquainted him with all that had  p285 passed. 6 Amulius, having terrified the man by the threat of torture if he did not willingly tell the truth, first asked him if the children were alive; and learning that they were, he desired to know in what manner they had been preserved. And when the other had given him a full account of everything as it had happened, the king said: "Well then, since you have spoken the truth about these matters, say where they may now be found; for it is not right that they who are my relations should any longer live ingloriously among herdsmen, particularly since it is due to the providence of the gods that they have been preserved."

83 1 But Faustulus, suspecting from the king's unaccountable mildness that his intentions were not in harmony with his professions, answer him in this manner: "The youths are upon the mountains tending their herds, which is their way of life, and I was sent by them to their mother to give her an account of their fortunes; but, hearing that she was in your custody, I was intending to ask your daughter to have me brought to her. And I was bringing the ark with me that I might support my words with a manifest proof. Now, therefore, since you have decided to have the youths brought here, not only am I glad, but I ask you to send such persons with me as you wish. I will point out to them the youths and they shall acquaint them with your commands." 2 This he said in the desire to discover some means of delaying the death of the youths and at the same time in the hope of making his own escape from the hands of those who were conducting him, as soon as he should arrive upon the mountains. And Amulius speedily sent the most  p287 trustworthy of his guards with secret orders to seize and bring before him the persons whom the swineherd should point out to them. Having done this, he at once determined to summon his brother and keep under mild guard224 till he had ordered the present business to his satisfaction, and he sent for him as if for some other purpose; 3 but the messenger who was sent, yielding both to his good-will toward the man in danger and to compassion for his fate, informed Numitor of the design of Amulius. And Numitor, having revealed to the youths the danger that threatened them and exhorted them to show themselves brave men, came to the palace with a considerable band of his retainers and friends and loyal servants. These were joined by the countrymen who had entered the city earlier and now came from the complain with swords concealed under their clothes, a sturdy company. And having by a concerted attack forced the entrance, which was defended by only a few heavy-armed troops, they easily slew Amulius and afterwards made themselves masters of the citadel. Such is the account given by Fabius.

84 1 But others, who hold that nothing bordering on the fabulous has any place in historical writing, declare that the exposing of the babes by the servants in a manner not in accordance with their instructions is improbable, and they ridicule the tameness of the she-wolf that suckled the children as a story full of melodramatic absurdity. 2 In place of  p289 this they give the following account of the matter: Numitor, upon learning that Ilia was with child, procured other new-born infants and when she had given birth to her babes, he substituted the former in place of the latter. Then he gave the supposititious children to those who were guarding her at the time of her delivery to be carried away, having either secured the loyalty of the guards by money or contrived this exchange by the help of women; and when Amulius had received them, he made away with them by some means or other. As for the babes that were born of Ilia, their grandfather, who was above all things solicitous for their preservation, handed them over to Faustulus. 3 This Faustulus, they say, was of Arcadian extraction, being descended from those Arcadians who came over with Evander; he lived near the Palatine hill and had the care of Amulius' possessions, and he was prevailed on by his brother, named Faustinus, who had the oversight of Numitor's herds that fed near the Aventine hill, to do Numitor the favour of bringing up the children. 4 They say, moreover, that the one who nursed and suckled them was not a she-wolf, but, as may well be supposed, a woman, the wife of Faustulus, named Laurentia, who, having formerly prostituted her beauty, had received from the people living round the Palatine hill the nickname of Lupa.225 This is an ancient Greek226 term applied  p291 to women who prostitute themselves for gain; but they are now called by a more respectable name, hetaerae or "companions." But some who were ignorant of this invented the myth of the she-wolf, this animal being called in the Latin tongue lupa. 5 The story continues that after the children were weaned they were sent by those who were rearing them to Gabii, a town not far from the Palatine hill, to be instructed in Greek learning; and there they were brought up by some personal friends of Faustulus, being taught letters, music, and the use of Greek arms until they grew to manhood. 6 After their return to their supposed parents the quarrel arose between them and Numitor's herdsmen concerning their common pastures; thereupon they beat Numitor's men so that these drove away their cattle, doing this by Numitor's direction, to the intent that it might serve as a basis for his complaints and at the same time as an excuse for the crowd of herdsmen to come to town. 7 When this had been brought about, Numitor raised a clamour against Amulius, declaring that he was treated outrageously, being plundered by the herdsmen of Amulius, and demanding that Amulius, if he was not responsible for any of this, should delivering to him the herdsman and his sons for trial; and Amulius, wishing to clear himself of the charge, ordered not only those who were complained of, but all the rest who were accused of having been present at the conflict, to come and stand trial before Numitor. 8 Then,  p293 when great numbers came to town together with the accused, ostensibly to attend the trial, the grandfather of the youths acquainted them with all the circumstances of their fortune, and telling them that now, if ever, was the time to avenge themselves, he straightway made his attack upon Amulius with the crowd of herdsmen. These, then, are the accounts that are given of the birth and rearing of the founders of Rome.

85 1 I227 am now going to relate the events that happened at the very time of its founding; for this part of my account still remains. When Numitor, upon the death of Amulius, had resumed his rule and had spent a little time in restoring the city from its late disorder to its former orderly state, he presently thought of providing an independent rule for the youths by founding another city. 2 At the same time, the inhabitants being much increased in number, he thought it good policy to get rid of some part of them, particularly of those who had once been his enemies, lest he might have cause to suspect any of his subjects. And having communicated this plan to the youths and gained their approval, he gave them, as a district to rule, the region where they had been brought up in their infancy, and, for subjects, not only that part of the people which he suspected of a design to begin rebellion anew, but also any who were willing to migrate voluntarily. 3 Among these, as is likely to happen when a city sends out a colony, there were great numbers of the common people, but there were also a sufficient number of the prominent men of  p295 the best class, and of the Trojan element all those who were esteemed the noblest in birth, some of whose posterity remained even to my day, consisting of about fifty families. The youths were supplied with money, arms and corn,º with slaves and beasts of burden and everything else that was of use in the building of a city. 4 After they had led their people out of Alba and intermingled with them the local population that still remained in Pallantium and Saturnia, they divided the whole multitude into two parts. This they did in the hope of arousing a spirit of emulation, so that through their rivalry with each other their tasks might be the sooner finished; however, it produced the greatest of evils, discord. 5 For each group, exalting its own leader, extolled him as the proper person to command them all; and the youths themselves, being now no longer one in mind or feeling it necessary to entertain brotherly sentiments toward each, since each expected to command the other, scorned equality and craved superiority. For some time their ambitions were concealed, but later they burst forth on the occasion which I shall now describe. 6 They did not both favour the same site for the building of the city; for Romulus proposed to settle the Palatine hill, among other reasons, because of the good fortune of the place where they had been preserved and brought up, whereas Remus favoured the place that is now named after him Remoria.228 And indeed this place is very suitable for a city, being a hill not far  p297 from the Tiber and about thirty stades from Rome. From this rivalry their unsociable love of rule immediately began to disclose itself; for on the one who now yielded the victor would inevitably impose his will on all occasions alike.

86 1 Meanwhile, some time having elapsed and their discord in no degree abating, the two agreed to refer the matter to their grandfather and for that purpose went to Alba. He advised them to leave it to the decision of the gods which of them should give his name to the colony and be its leader. And having appointed for them a day, he ordered them to place themselves early in the morning at a distance from one another, in such stations as each of them should think proper, and after first offering to the gods the customary sacrifices, to watch for auspicious birds; and he ordered that he to whom the more favourable birds first appeared should rule the colony. 2 The youths, approving of this, went away and according to their agreement appeared on the day appointed for the test. Romulus chose for his station the Palatine hill, where he proposed settling the colony, and Remus the Aventine hill adjoining it, or, according to others, Remoria; and a guard attended them both, to prevent their reporting things otherwise than as they appeared. 3 When they had taken their respective stations, Romulus, after a short pause, from eagerness and jealousy of his brother, — though possibly Heaven was thus directing  p299 him, — even before he saw any omen at all, sent messengers to his brother desiring him to come immediately, as if he had been the first to see some auspicious birds. But while the persons he sent were proceeding with no great haste, feeling ashamed of the fraud, six vultures appeared to Remus, flying from the right; and he, seeing the birds, rejoiced greatly. And not long afterwards the men sent by Romulus took him thence and brought him to the Palatine hill. 4 When they were together, Remus asked Romulus what birds he had been the first to see, and Romulus knew not what to answer. But thereupon twelve auspicious vultures were seen flying; and upon seeing these he took courage, and pointing them out to Remus, said: "Why do you demand to know what happened a long time ago? For surely you see these birds yourself." But Remus was indignant and complained bitterly because he had been deceived by him; and he refused to yield to him his right to the colony.

87 1 Thereupon greater strife arose between them than before, as each, while secretly striving for the advantage, was ostensibly willing to accept equality, for the following reason. Their grandfather, as I have stated, had ordered that he to whom the more favourable birds first appeared should rule the colony; but, as the same kind of birds had been seen by both, one had the advantage of seeing them first and the other that of seeing the greater number.  p301 The rest of the people also espoused their quarrel, and arming themselves without orders from their leaders, began war; and a sharp battle ensued in which many were slain on both sides. 2 In the course of this battle, as some say, Faustulus, who had brought up the youths, wishing to put an end to the strife of the brothers and being unable to do so, threw himself unarmed into the midst of the combatants, seeking the speediest death, which fell out accordingly. Some say also that the stone lion which stood in the principal part of the Forum near the rostra was placed over the body of Faustulus, who was buried by those who found him in the place where he fell. 3 Remus having been slain in this action, Romulus, who had gained a most melancholy victory through the death of his brother and the mutual slaughter of citizens, buried Remus at Remoria, since when alive he had clung to it as the site for the new city. As for himself, in his grief and repentance for what had happened, he became dejected and lost all desire for life. But when Laurentia, who had received the babes when newly born and brought them up and loved them no less than a mother, entreated and comforted him, he listened to her and rose up, and gathering together the Latins who had not been slain in the battle (they were now little more than three thousand out of a very great multitude at first, when he led out the colony), he built a city on the Palatine hill.

4 The account I have given seems to me the most probable of the stories about the death of Remus.  p303 However, if any has been handed down that differs from this, let that also be related. Some, indeed, say that Remus yielded the leadership to Romulus, though not without resentment and anger at the fraud, but that after the wall was built, wishing to demonstrate the weakness of the fortification, he cried, "Well, as for this wall, one of your enemies could as easily cross it as I do," and immediately leaped over it. Thereupon Celer, one of the men standing on the wall, who was overseer of the work, said, "Well, as for this enemy, one of us could easily punish him," and striking him on the head with a mattock, he killed him then and there. Such is said to have been the outcome of the quarrel between the brothers.

88 1 When no obstacle now remained to the building of the city, Romulus appointed a day on which he planned to begin the work, after first propitiating the gods. And having prepared everything that would be required for the sacrifices and for the entertainment of the people, when the appointed time came, he himself first offered sacrifice to the gods and ordered all the rest to do the same according to their abilities. He then in the first place took the omens, which were favourable. After that, having commanded fires to be lighted before the tents, he caused the people to come out and leap over the flames in order to expiate their guilt. 2 When he thought everything had been done which he conceived to be acceptable to the gods, he called all the people to the appointed place and described a quadrangular figure about the hill, tracing with a plough drawn by a bull and a cow yoked  p305 together a continuous furrow designed to receive the foundation of the wall; and from that time this custom has continued among the Romans of ploughing a furrow round the site where they plan to build a city. After he had done this and sacrificed the bull and the cow and also performed the initial rites over many other victims, he set the people to work. 3 This day the Romans celebrate every year even down to my time as one of their greatest festivals and call it the Parilia.229 On this day, which comes in the beginning of spring, the husbandmen and herdsmen offer up a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the increase of their cattle. But whether they had celebrated this day in even earlier times as a day of rejoicing and for that reason looked upon it as the most suitable for the founding of the city, or whether, because it marked the beginning of the building of the city, they consecrated it and thought they should honour on it the gods who are propitious to shepherds, I cannot say for certain.

89 1 Such, then, are the facts concerning the origin of the Romans which I have been able to discover a reading very diligently many works written by both Greek and Roman authors. Hence, from now on let the reader forever renounce the views of those who make Rome a retreat of barbarians, fugitive and vagabonds, and let him confidently affirm it to be a Greek city, — which will be easy when  p307 he shows that it is at once the most hospitable and friendly of all cities, and when he bears in mind that the Aborigines were Oenotrians, and these in turn Arcadians, 2 and remembers those who joined with them in their settlement, the Pelasgians who were Argives by descent and came into Italy from Thessaly; and recalls, moreover, the arrival of Evander and the Arcadians, who settled round the Palatine hill, after the Aborigines had granted the place to them; and also the Peloponnesians, who, coming along with Hercules, settled upon the Saturnian hill; and, last of all, those who left the Troad and were intermixed with the earlier settlers. For one will find no nation that is more ancient or more Greek than these. 3 But the admixtures of the barbarians with the Romans, by which the city forgot many of its ancient institutions, happened at a later time. And it may well seem a cause of wonder to many who reflect on the natural course of events that Rome did not become entirely barbarized after receiving the Opicans, the Marsians, the Samnites, the Tyrrhenians, the Bruttians and many thousands of Umbrians, Ligurians, Iberians and Gauls, besides innumerable other nations, some of whom came from Italy itself and some from other regions and differed from one another both in their language and habits; for their very ways of life, diverse as they were and thrown into turmoil by such dissonance, might have been expected to cause many innovations in the ancient order of the city. 4 For many others by living among barbarians have in a short time forgotten all their  p309 Greek heritage, so that they neither speak the Greek language nor observe the customs of the Greeks nor acknowledge the same gods nor have the same equitable laws (by which most of all the spirit of the Greeks differs from that of the barbarians) nor agree with them in anything else whatever that relates to the ordinary intercourse of life. Those Achaeans who are settled near the Euxine sea are a sufficient proof of my contention; for, though originally Eleans, of a nation the most Greek of any, they are now the most savage of all barbarians.230

90 1 The language spoken by the Romans is neither utterly barbarous nor absolutely Greek, but a mixture, as it were, of both, the greater part of which is Aeolic;231 and the only disadvantage they have experienced from their intermingling with these various nations is that they do not pronounce all their sounds properly. But all other indications of a Greek origin they preserve beyond any other colonists. For it is not merely recently, since they have enjoyed the full tide of good fortune to instruct them in the amenities of life, that they have begun to live humanely; nor is it merely since they first  p311 aimed at the conquest of countries lying beyond the sea, after overthrowing the Carthaginian and Macedonian empires, but rather from the time when they first joined in founding the city, that they have lived like Greeks; and they do not attempt anything more illustrious in the pursuit of virtue now than formerly. 2 I have innumerable things to say upon this subject and can adduce many arguments and present the testimony of credible authors; but I reserve all this for the account I purpose to write of their government.232 I shall now resume the thread of my narrative, after prefacing to the following Book a recapitulation of what is contained in this.

The Editor's Notes:

179 See p157, n3.

180 Ῥῶμος was the name invented by the Greeks for the founder of Rome before they had heard of any Romulus or Remus; later they used it as the equivalent of Remus. It seems best to translate it as Romus (or Romos), except where we are clearly dealing with the Roman legend of the twin brothers. See recent discussions of the growth of the legend by Carter in Roscher's Lexikon der griech. u. röm. Mythologies.v. Romulus, cols. 167‑83; Rosenberg in Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Enc.s.v. Romulus, cols. 1074‑92; De Sanctis, Storia dei Romani, pp206‑17.

181 Demagoras of Samos apparently wrote a work on Trojan or Samothracian antiquities. Agathyllus has already been cited in chap. 49.2.

182 The author of this work was Hellanicus (see p71, n1). The present quotation is frag. 53 (end) in Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. i.52.

183 A variant reading is "after Odysseus." See critical note.

184 Damastes (ca. 400) wrote the genealogies of the Greek leaders before Troy; also a description of the earth and its peoples, to accompany his map of the world.

185 Probably in his Instituta Barbarica. Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. ii.178, 242.

186 Probably originally an adjective (like the later Λατίνη), "the Latin land." Some have wished to read Latium or Lavinium.

187 Callias wrote the history of Agathocles in 22 books. His account was so biased in favour of that tyrant that he was accused of having been heavily bribed by him.

188 Xenagoras (date uncertain) wrote a historical work called Χρόνοι and a book about islands. Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. IV.527.6.

189 Rome, Antium and Ardea.

190 Dionysius of Chalcis (fourth century?) wrote several books of Κτίσεις or "Foundings of Cities." Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. IV.395.11.

191 This probably refers to the annales maximi, the brief record of magistrates, prodigies and important public events of each year kept by the pontifex maximus. Cf.  IV.30.3.

192 Anchisa and Aeneia are otherwise unknown. See critical note.

193 See chap. 45.3.

194 Chap. 12.3; 22.5; 35.1. The present quotation is found in Müller, Frag. Hist. Graec. I.182.7.

195 Later Paestum.

196 See p19, n2.

197 813 B.C.

198 728 B.C.

199 747 B.C.

200 Eratosthenes was perhaps the most versatile scholar of antiquity. Eminent not only as an astronomer, mathematician and geographer, he also won distinction as an historian, philosopher and grammarian. His Chronographiae was an annalistic history, both political and literary, in which especial attention was devoted to the (p247)accurate determination of the chronology. The work began with the fall of Troy, which he placed in 1183 B.C.

201 751 B.C.

202 This work, now lost, is cited by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. I.102) as Χρόνοι.

203 Probably in a lost portion of his Book VI.

204 750 B.C.

205 Literally "Celts." See p123, n1.

206 387 B.C.

207 507 B.C.

208 751 B.C.

209 Cf. Livy I.3.11.

210 Thirty years was the period required at Rome from the time of Numa; cf. II.67.2. Some early editors wished to emend the present passage to agree with the later practice.

211 Cf. Livy I.4.1‑3.

212 The last clause (literally, "loving the girl") may well be a gloss to explain the preceding words "one of the maiden's suitors." See critical note.

213 Cf. Livy I.4.3‑9.

214 From this point the word Παλλάντιον will be rendered "Palatine hill" instead of "Pallantium," only the context shows clearly that the village itself is meant.

215 Compare the description of the Lupercal already given in chap. 32.

216 The cave became a shrine and received some sort of architectural adornment, which must have included at least a dignified entrance. The Lupercal is named in the Monumentum Ancyranum (4.2) in a list of public buildings repaired by Augustus.

217 The statue here mentioned is doubtless the one erected by Cn. and Q. Ogulnius near the Ficus Ruminalis in (p267)295 B.C. (Livy X.23). Another similar group stood on the summit of the Capitol, and was struck by lightning in 65 B.C. The wolf of this second group is almost certainly the famous one still preserved in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, since the animal's hind legs show the effects of lightning; the wolf is dated about 600 B.C., but the infants are a modern restoration.

218 This meaning (on the analogy of such words as αὔτανδρος, αὐτόκλαδος, αὐτόρριζος, seems to be the one required here. The only meaning given in the lexicons, "self-covered" or "roofed by nature," would imply huts depending for their roofs on natural shelters, such as overhanging rocks or overarching trees, — in other words, huts technically (p269)roofless. But the thatched roof of the "hut of Romulus" was to the Romans one of its most striking features; see next note. καλάμων, here rendered "reeds," in accordance with its usual meaning, is also used sometimes for "straw," which may be what Dionysius intended.

219 The present passage gives us our most detailed account of the casa Romuli. Plutarch (Rom. 20) adds the detail that it stood near the scalae Caci, a landmark on the south-west (p271)corner of the Palatine hill. There was also another casa Romuli on the Capitoline, probably a replica of the first. Vitruvius (II.1.5), after mentioning the primitive custom of constructing roofs out of reeds, brushwood or straw, cites the hut of Romulus on the Capitoline as a good example of the ancient practice. Cf. Virgil (Aen. VIII.654), Romuleoque recens horrebat regia culmo; and Ovid's similar description of the original temple of Vesta (Fasti vi.261 f.).

Thayer's Note: For fuller details and sources, see the article Casa Romuli in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

220 Cf. Livy I.5.1‑3.

221 See p25, n2.

222 For a detailed discussion of the Lupercalia the reader is referred to Sir James Frazer's note on Ovid's Fasti ii.267 (Vol. II pp327 ff.; condensed in his Loeb Classical Library edition, pp389 ff.).

223 For chaps. 81‑83 cf. Livy I.5, 4‑6, 2.

224 Literally "under guard without chains," probably a translation of the Latin libera custodia. In later times (p287)persons of rank were often thus kept under surveillance in their own houses or in the house of a magistrate.

225 Cf. Livy I.4.7. lupa is found in various Latin authors in the sense of "prostitute," and lupanar meant "brothel."

226 It would seem as if "Greek" must be an error here for "Latin." Not even the Greek equivalent of lupa (λύκαινα) is found used in this sense. Hesychius' gloss, λύπτα (for λύππα?): ἑταίρα, πόρνη, may well have been taken from some Roman history.

227 For chaps. 85‑85 cf. Livy I.6, 3‑7, 3.

228 This hill cannot be identified. The name was also (p295)given (according to Paulus in his epitome of Festus, p276) to a site on the summit of the Aventine where Remus was said to have taken the auspices (chap. 86).

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources, see the article Remoria in Platner and Ashby's Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome.

229 The Parilia, or more properly Palilia, was an ancient festival celebrated by the shepherds and herdsmen on the 21st of April in honour of the divinity Pales. See the detailed description of its observance in Ovid, Fasti iv.721 ff., with Sir James Frazer's note on that passage (vol. III pp336‑42; condensed in his L. C. L. edition, pp411‑13).

Thayer's Note: For further details and sources, see the article Palilia in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

230 These Asiatic Achaeans were a barbarian people of the Caucasus, whose name was made to coincide with that of the Greek Achaeans; hence the belief arose that they were (p309)an offshoot of the latter. Strabo connected them either with the Boeotian Orchomenus (IX.2.42) or with Phthiotis (XI.2.12); other writers do not go into the same detail. The name "Eleans" in the text must be regarded as very uncertain; see the critical note.

231 Dionysius is probably thinking particularly of the letter digamma (cf. p65, n1) which Quintilian (I.4.8; I.7.26) calls the Aeolic letter, and the preservation in Aeolic, as well as Doric, of the original ā, as in φάμα (Lat. fāma), ā, as in μάτηρ (Lat. māter), as contrasted with the Ionic φήμη, μήτηρ. Quintilian, too, regards the Aeolic dialect as being closest to Latin (I.6.31).

232 See especially vii.70 ff., where Dionysius reminds the reader of the promise made here. As contrasted with Book I, which deals with the origin of the Romans, all the rest of the work could be thought of as an account of their government.

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