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Noted for Your Lunchtime Procrastination for April 21, 2015

Liveblogging History: 753 BC: Livy on the Founding of Rome

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Titus Livius: The Founding of Rome:

To begin with, it is generally admitted that, after the taking of Troy, while all the other Trojans were treated with severity, in the case of two, Aeneas and Antenor, the Greeks forbore to exercise the full rights of war, both on account of an ancient tie of hospitality, and because they had persistently recommended peace and the restoration of Helen....

It is also agreed that Aeneas... came first to Macedonia, that he was then driven ashore at Sicily in his quest for a settlement, and sailing thence directed his course to the territory of Laurentum. This spot also bears the name of Troy. When the Trojans, having disembarked there, were driving off booty from the country, as was only natural, seeing that they had nothing left but their arms and ships after their almost boundless wandering, Latinus the king and the Aborigines, who then occupied these districts, assembled in arms from the city and country to repel the violence of the new-comers.

In regard to what followed there is a twofold tradition. Some say that Latinus, having been defeated in battle, first made peace and then concluded an alliance with Aeneas; others, that when the armies had taken up their position in order of battle, before the trumpets sounded, Latinus advanced to the front, and invited the leader of the strangers to a conference. He then inquired what manner of men they were, whence they had come, for what reasons they had left their home, and in quest of what they had landed on Laurentine territory. After he heard that the host were Trojans, their chief Aeneas, the son of Anchises and Venus, and that, exiled from home, their country having been destroyed by fire, they were seeking a settlement and a site for building a city, struck with admiration both at the noble character of the nation and the hero, and at their spirit, ready alike for peace or war, he ratified the pledge of future friendship by clasping hands....

The Vestal Rea was ravished by force, and having brought forth twins, declared Mars to be the father of her illegitimate offspring, either because she really imagined it to be the case, or because it was less discreditable to have committed such an offence with a god. But neither gods nor men protected either her or her offspring from the king's cruelty. The priestess was bound and cast into prison; the king ordered the children to be thrown into the flowing river. By some chance which Providence seemed to direct, the Tiber, having over flown its banks, thereby forming stagnant pools, could not be approached at the regular course of its channel.... Accordingly, as if they had executed the king's orders, they exposed the boys in the nearest land-pool.... When the shallow water, subsiding, had left the floating trough, in which the children had been exposed, on dry ground, a thirsty she-wolf from the mountains around directed her course toward the cries of the infants, and held down her teats to them with such gentleness, that the keeper of the king's herd found her licking the boys with her tongue. They say that his name was Faustulus; and that they were carried by him to his homestead and given to his wife Larentia to be brought up....

The government of Alba being thus intrusted to Numitor, Romulus and Remus were seized with the desire of building a city on the spot where they had been exposed and brought up.... As they were twins, and consequently the respect for seniority could not settle the point, they agreed to leave it to the gods, under whose protection the place was, to choose by augury which of them should give a name to the new city, and govern it when built. Romulus chose the Palatine and Remus the Aventine, as points of observation for taking the auguries.

It is said that an omen came to Remus first, six vultures; and when, after the omen had been declared, twice that number presented themselves to Romulus, each was hailed king by his own party, the former claiming sovereign power on the ground of priority of time, the latter on account of the number of birds. Thereupon, having met and exchanged angry words, from the strife of angry feelings they turned to bloodshed: there Remus fell from a blow received in the crowd. A more common account is that Remus, in derision of his brother, leaped over the newly-erected walls, and was thereupon slain by Romulus in a fit of passion, who, mocking him, added words to this effect:' So perish every one hereafter, who shall leap over my walls.' Thus Romulus obtained possession of supreme power for himself alone. The city, when built, was called after the name of its founder.

He first proceeded to fortify the Palatine Hill, on which he himself had been brought up. He offered sacrifices to Hercules, according to the Grecian rite, as they had been instituted by Evander; to the other gods, according to the Alban rite. There is a tradition that Hercules, having slain Geryon, drove off his oxen, which were of surpassing beauty, to that spot: and that he lay down in a grassy spot on the banks of the river Tiber, where he had swam across, driving the cattle before him, to refresh them with rest and luxuriant pasture, being also himself fatigued with journeying.

There, when sleep had overpowered him, heavy as he was with food and wine, a shepherd who dwelt in the neighbourhood, by name Cacus, priding himself on his strength, and charmed with the beauty of the cattle, desired to carry them off as booty; but because, if he had driven the herd in front of him to the cave, their tracks must have conducted their owner thither in his search, he dragged the most beautiful of them by their tails backward into a cave. Hercules, aroused from sleep at dawn, having looked over his herd and observed that some of their number were missing, went straight to the nearest cave, to see whether perchance their tracks led thither. When he saw that they were all turned away from it and led in no other direction, troubled and not knowing what to make up his mind to do, he commenced to drive off his herd from so dangerous a spot. Thereupon some of the cows that were driven away, lowed, as they usually do, when they missed those that were left; and the lowings of those that were shut in being heard in answer from the cave, caused Hercules to turn round. And when Cacus attempted to prevent him by force as he was advancing toward the cave, he was struck with a club and slain, while vainly calling upon the shepherds to assist him...

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