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William Shakespeare: 20 Facts, 37 Plays, Poems, Quotes & Bio
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He was also known to partake in the theatre while at the school as was the custom at the time. As a commoner, Shakespeare's education was thought to finish at the grammar school level as there is no record of him attending university, which was a luxury reserved for upper-class families. In , an year-old Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who, on the occasion of her wedding, was 26 years old and already with child. Hathaway gave birth to the couple's first child six months later, a daughter named Susanna, with twins, named Hamnet and Judith, following two years later in Hamnet died at the age of 11 from unknown reasons.
After the birth of his twins in , Shakespeare disappeared from public record until , when his works began appearing on the London stage. These seven years are known as "Shakespeare's Lost Years," and have been the source of various stories that remain unverified, including a salacious story involving Shakespeare escaping Stratford prosecution for deer poaching. This story, among others, are solely entertainment and are not considered as part of the canon that makes up the playwright's personal life.
William Shakespeare first made his appearance on the London stage, where his plays would be written and performed, around , although the exact date is unknown. He was, however, well known enough to be attacked by critics in newspapers, and thus was considered to be already an established playwright.
After the year , Shakespeare's plays were solely performed by a company owned by a group of actors known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which became London's leading company. After Queen Elizabeth's death in , the company was given a royal patent that renamed it the King's Men, named so after King James I. Shakespeare, along with a group of players that acted in his play, created his own theatre on the River Thames in and named it the Globe Theatre. After that, a record of property purchases and investments made by Shakespeare showed the playwright had become a very wealthy man, so much so that he bought properties in London and Stratford for himself and his family, as he spent most of his time in London.
It was in that the first known quartos of Shakespeare's plays were published, solidifying his reputation by when his name became the selling point in new productions. This led to his success as both an actor on stage and a playwright, and his name was published on the title page of his plays.
Shakespeare continued to work with his company of men at the Globe Theatre until around , the year that he retired from working on the stage.
He, however, continued to support the Globe Theatre, including buying apartments for playwrights and actors to live in, all of which were near to the theatre. Shakespeare retired from public life in , right after the bubonic plague began to subside its attack on London. This act was unusual for the time, but he was by no means less active. In fact, the playwright continued to make frequent trips to London to collaborate with other playwrights, such as John Fletcher, and to spend time with his son-in-law John Hall, who married his elder daughter Susanna in The playwright was an active dramatist and writer up until when the last of his great works was finished.
From then on, Shakespeare spent most of his time in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he had purchased the second-largest home in town for his family. As to the relations which have been handed down of events prior to the founding of the city, or to the circumstances that gave occasion to its being founded, and which bear the semblance rather of poetic fictions, Edition: current; Page: [ 3 ] than of authentic records of history—these, I have no intention either to maintain or refute. Antiquity is always indulged with the privilege of rendering the origin of cities more venerable, by intermixing divine with human agency; and if any nation may claim the privilege of being allowed to consider its original as sacred, and to attribute it to the operations of the Gods, surely the Roman people, who rank so high in military fame, may well expect, that, while they choose to represent Mars as their own parent, and that of their founder, the other nations of the world may acquiesce in this, with the same deference with which they acknowledge their sovereignty.
But what degree of attention or credit may be given to these and such-like matters I shall not consider as very material. To the following considerations, I wish every one seriously and earnestly to attend; by what kind of men, and by what sort of conduct, in peace and war, the empire has been both acquired and extended: then, as discipline gradually declined, let him follow in his thoughts the structure of ancient morals, at first, as it were, leaning aside, then sinking farther and farther, then beginning to fall precipitate, until he arrives at the present times, when our vices have attained to such a height of enormity, that we can no longer endure either the burden of them, or the sharpness of the necessary remedies.
This is the great advantage to be derived from the study of history; indeed the only one which can make it answer any profitable and salutary purpose: for, being abundantly furnished with clear and distinct examples of every kind of conduct, we may select for ourselves, and for the state to which we belong, such as are worthy of imitation; and, carefully noting such, as being dishonourable in their principles, are equally so in their effects, learn to avoid them.
Now, either partiality to the subject of my intended work misleads me, or there never was any state either greater, or of purer morals, or richer in good examples, than this of Rome; nor was there ever any city Edition: current; Page: [ 4 ] into which avarice and luxury made their entrance so late, or where poverty and frugality were so highly and so long held in honour; men contracting their desires in proportion to the narrowness of their circumstances. Of late years, indeed, opulence has introduced a greediness for gain, and the boundless variety of dissolute pleasures has created, in many, a passion for ruining themselves, and all around them.
But let us, in the first stage at least of this undertaking, avoid gloomy reflections, which, when perhaps unavoidable, will not, even then, be agreeable. If it were customary with us, as it is with poets, we would more willingly begin with good omens, and vows, and prayers to the gods and goddesses, that they would propitiously grant success to our endeavours, in the prosecution of so arduous a task. This lenity they owed, partly, to an old connection of hospitality, and partly, to their having been, all along, inclined to peace, and to the restoration of Helen.
These chiefs experienced afterwards great varieties of fortune. The place where they first landed is called Troy, and from thence the Trojan canton also has its name; the nation in general were called Henetians. Here the Trojans disembarked; and as, after wandering about for a great length of time, they had nothing left, beside their ships and arms, they began to make prey of whatever they found in the country.
On this king Latinus, and the Aborigines, who were then in possession of those lands, assembled hastily from the city and country, in order to repel the violence of the strangers. Of what followed, there are two different accounts. A league was then struck between the leaders, and mutual salutations passed between the armies. This event Edition: current; Page: [ 6 ] fully confirmed the hopes of the Trojans, that here, at last, they were to find an end of their wanderings; that here they would enjoy a fixed and permanent settlement.
In a short time after, his new consort bore him a son, who was named by his parents Ascanius. The Aborigines, in conjunction with the Trojans, soon found themselves engaged in a war. A battle that ensued gave neither army reason to rejoice. The Rutulians were defeated, and the victorious Aborigines and Trojans lost their leader Latinus. He had been, from the beginning, not at all pleased at the foundation of the new city; and now began to think that the Trojan power was increasing to a degree inconsistent with the safety of the neighbouring states; and therefore, without reluctance, concluded an alliance, and joined his forces with those of the Rutulians.
This disposition of the two nations, who coalesced daily with greater cordiality, inspired him with so much confidence, that, notwithstanding Etruria was possessed of such great power, that it had filled with the fame of its prowess not only the land, but the sea also, through the whole length of Italy, from the Alps to the Sicilian Streight; and although Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] he might have remained within his fortifications, secure from any attack of the enemy, yet he led out his troops to the field.
He, by whatever appellation the laws of gods and men require him to be called, is deposited on the bank of the river Numicus. The people gave him the title of Jupiter Indiges. His son Ascanius was as yet too young to assume the government; nevertheless his title to the sovereignty remained unimpeached, until he arrived at maturity. I am not without some doubts for who can affirm with certainty in a matter of such antiquity? A peace was agreed upon, in which it was stipulated that the river Albula, now called the Tiber, should be the boundary between the Etrurians and Latines.
This prince planted several colonies, who have obtained the name of Ancient Latines. The surname of Sylvius was henceforward given to all those who reigned at Alba. Of Latinus was born Alba; of Alba, Atys; of Atys, Capys; of Capys, Capetus; of Capetus, Tiberinus; who, being drowned in endeavouring to cross the river Albula, gave to that river the name so celebrated among his posterity. Agrippa, son of Tiberinus, reigned next; after Agrippa, Romulus.
Sylvius received the kingdom from his father, and being struck by lightning, demised it to Aventinus, who, being buried on that hill which is now a part of the city of Rome, gave it his name. To him succeeded Procas, who had two sons, Numitor and Amulius. To Numitor, as being the first-born, he bequeathed the ancient kingdom of the Sylvian family; but force prevailed over both the will of their father, and the respect due to priority of birth. Amulius dethroned his brother, took possession of the kingdom, and adding crime to crime, put to death the male offspring of Numitor, making his daughter Rhea Sylvia a vestal, under the specious pretence of doing her honour, but, in fact, to deprive her of all hope of issue, the vestals being obliged to vow perpetual virginity.
But the fates, I suppose, demanded the founding of this great city, and the first establishment of an empire, which is now, in power, next to the immortal gods. The vestal being deflowered by force, brought forth twins, and declared that the father of her doubtful offspring was Mars; either because she really thought so, or in hopes of extenuating the guilt of her transgression by imputing it to the act of a deity.
It happened providentially that the Tiber, overflowing its banks, formed itself into stagnant pools in such a manner, as that the regular channel was every where inaccessible, and those who carried the infants supposed that they would be drowned in any water, however still. Those places were at that time wild deserts.
A story prevails that the retiring flood having left on dry ground the trough, hitherto floating, in which they had been exposed, a thirsty she-wolf from the neighbouring mountains, directed her course to the cries of the children, and, stooping, presented her dugs to the infants, showing so much gentleness, that the keeper of the King herds found her licking the boys with her tongue; and that this shepherd, whose name was Faustulus, carried them home to his wife Laurentia to be nursed. Some there are who think that this Laurentia, from her having been a prostitute, was, by the shepherds, called Lupa; and to this circumstance they ascribe the origin of this fabulous tale.
Thus born, and thus educated, as soon as years supplied them with strength, they led not an inactive life at the stables, or among the cattle, but traversed the neighbouring forests in hunting. Hence acquiring vigour, both of body and mind, Edition: current; Page: [ 10 ] they soon began not only to withstand the wild beasts, but to attack robbers loaded with booty.
The spoil thus acquired they divided with the shepherds; and, in company with these, the number of their young associates continually increasing, they carried on both their business, and their sports. While they were intent on the performance of these sports, the time of their celebration being generally known, the robbers, enraged at the loss of their booty, attacked them by surprise, having placed themselves in ambush.
Romulus making a vigorous defence, extricated himself; but they took Remus prisoner, delivered him up to King Amulius, and had the assurance to accuse them both of criminal misbehaviour. The principal charge made against them was, that they had made violent inroads on the lands of Numitor, and, with a band of youths which they had collected, plundered the country in a hostile manner. In consequence of this, Remus was given up to Numitor to be punished.
From the very beginning, Faustulus had entertained hopes, that the children whom he educated, would prove to be descended of the royal blood; for he knew that the infants of Rhea had been exposed by order of the King, and that the time when he had taken them up, corresponded exactly with that event; but he had resolved to avoid any hasty disclosure, unless some favourable conjuncture Edition: current; Page: [ 11 ] or necessity should require it.
The necessity happened first; wherefore, constrained by his apprehensions, he imparted the affair to Romulus. It happened also that Numitor, while he had Remus in his custody, heard that the brothers were twins; and when he combined with this circumstance their age, and their turn of mind, which gave no indication of a servile condition, he was struck with the idea of their being his grandchildren; and all his inquiries leading to the same conclusion, he was upon the point of acknowledging Remus. In consequence, a plot against the King was concerted between all the parties.
Romulus, not going at the head of a band of youths, for he was unequal to an open attempt, but ordering the shepherds to come at a certain hour, by different roads, to the palace, forced his way to the King, and was supported by Remus, with another party, procured from the house of Numitor. Thus they put the King to death. In the beginning of the tumult, Numitor, calling out that the city was assaulted by an enemy, and the palace attacked, had drawn away the Alban youth to the citadel, on pretence of securing it by an armed garrison; and, in a little time seeing the young men, after perpetrating the murder, coming towards him, with expressions of joy, he instantly called the people to an assembly, laid before them the iniquitous behaviour of his brother towards himself; the birth of his grandchildren, how they were begotten, how educated, how discovered; then informed them of the death of the usurper, and that he had himself encouraged the design.
The youths at the same time advancing with their followers, through the midst of the assembly, saluted their grandfather as King; on which the multitude, testifying their assent by universal acclamations, ratified to him the royal title and authority. When Numitor was thus reinstated in the sovereignty at Alba, Romulus and Remus were seized with a desire of building a city in the place where they had been Edition: current; Page: [ 12 ] exposed and educated. There were great numbers of Albans and Latines, who could be spared for the purpose, and these were joined by a multitude of shepherds; so that, all together, they formed such a numerous body, as gave grounds to hope that Alba and Lavinium would be but small, in comparison with the city which they were about to found.
These views were interrupted by an evil, hereditary in their family, ambition for rule. Romulus chose the Palatine, Remus the Aventine mount, as their consecrated stands to wait the auguries. We are told that the first omen appeared to Remus, consisting of six vultures; and, that, after this had been proclaimed, twice that number showed themselves to Romulus; on which each was saluted King by his own followers; the former claiming the kingdom on the ground of the priority of time; the latter, on that of the number of the birds.
On their meeting, an altercation ensued, then blows; and their passions being inflamed by the dispute, the affair proceeded at last to extremity, and murder was the consequence. Remus fell by a blow received in the tumult. By these means Romulus came into the sole possession of the government, and the city, when built, was called after the name of its founder. The first buildings which he raised, were on the Palatine hill, where he himself Edition: current; Page: [ 13 ] had been brought up. To the other deities he performed worship, according to the mode of the Albans, but to Hercules, according to that of the Greeks, as instituted by Evander.
It is recorded that Hercules, after having slain Geryon, drove away his cattle, which were surprisingly beautiful; and that, being fatigued with travelling, he lay down, near the river Tiber, in a grassy place, to which he had swum over, driving the herd before him, in order to refresh the cattle with rest and the rich pasture. Hercules awaking at the dawn of day, took a view of his herd, and missing some of the number, went directly to the next cave, to examine whether the footsteps led thither; but when he observed that they all pointed outward, and yet did not direct to any other quarter, perplexed, and not knowing how to act, he began to drive forward his herd from that unlucky place.
Some of the cows, as they were driven off, missing those that were left behind, began, as was natural, to low after them, and the sound being returned from the cave, by those that were shut up in it, brought Hercules back. Cacus, endeavouring by force to prevent his approach to the cave, and invoking in vain the assistance of the shepherds, received a blow of his club, which put an end to his life.
At that time, Evander, a native of Peloponnesus, who had removed hither, governed that part of the country, rather through an influence acquired by his Edition: current; Page: [ 14 ] merit, than any power of sovereignty vested in him. He was highly revered on account of his having introduced the wonderful knowledge of letters, a matter quite new to these men, who were ignorant of all the arts; and still more so, on account of the supposed divinity of his mother Carmenta, whose prophetic powers had been an object of admiration to those nations, before the arrival of the Sibyl in Italy.
It happened that the Potitii attended in time, and the entrails were served up to them; the Pinarii, arriving Edition: current; Page: [ 15 ] after the entrails were eaten, came in for the rest of the feast; hence it continued a rule, as long as the Pinarian family existed, that they should not eat of the entrails. The Potitii, instructed by Evander, were directors of that solemnity for many ages, until the solemn office of the family was delegated to public servants, on which the whole race of the Potitii became extinct.
These were the only foreign rites that Romulus then adopted, showing thereby, from the beginning, a respect for immortality obtained by merit, a dignity to which his own destiny was conducting him. Some think that he was led to fix on this number by that of the birds in the augury which had portended the kingdom to him: I am rather inclined to be of their opinion, who suppose that all the officers attendant on magistrates, and among the rest, the lictors, as well as the number of them, were borrowed from their neighbours, the Etrurians, from whom the curule chair, and the gown edged with purple, were taken; and that the Etrurians, used that number, because their King being elected by the suffrages of twelve states, each state gave him one lictor.
Meanwhile the city increased in buildings, which Edition: current; Page: [ 16 ] were carried on to an extent proportioned rather to the number of inhabitants they hoped for in future, than to what they had at the time. He opened a sanctuary, in the place where the inclosure now is, on the road down from the Capitol, called The Pass of the Two Groves. Hither fled, from the neighbouring states, crowds of all sorts, without distinction; whether freemen or slaves, led by a fondness for novelty; and this it was that gave solidity to the growing greatness of the city.
They were certainly styled Fathers from their honourable office, and their descendants Patricians.
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The Roman state had now attained such a degree of power, that it was a match in arms for any of the neighbouring nations; but, from the small number of its women, its greatness was not likely to last longer than one age of man, as they had neither hopes of offspring among themselves, nor had yet contracted any intermarriages with their neighbours. Wherefore, as men, they ought to show no reluctance to mix their blood and race with men.
He then ordered the intended celebration to be proclaimed among the neighbouring nations, while his people exerted themselves in making the most magnificent preparations that their knowledge and abilities allowed, in order to engage attention and raise expectation. They were hospitably invited to the different houses; and when they viewed the situation, and the fortifications, and the city crowded with houses, they were astonished at the rapid increase of the Roman power. Some they bore away, as they happened to meet with them, without waiting to make a choice; but others of extraordinary beauty, being designed for the principal senators, were conveyed to their houses by plebeians employed for that purpose.
It is said, that one highly distinguished above the rest for her beauty, was carried off by the party of one Talassius, and that in answer to many who eagerly inquired to whom they were hurrying her, they, every now and then, to prevent any interruption in their course, cried out, that they were carrying her to Talassius; this circumstance gave rise to the use of that word at weddings.
The terror occasioned by this outrage put an end to the sports, and the parents of the young women retired full of grief, inveighing against such a violation of the laws of hospitality, and appealing to the god, to whose solemn festival and games they had come, relying on the respect due to religion, and on the faith of nations.
He begged of them to soften their resentment, and to bestow their affections on Edition: current; Page: [ 19 ] those men on whom chance had bestowed their persons. It often happened, he said, that to harsh treatment mutual regard had succeeded, and they would find their husbands behave the better on this very account; that every one would exert himself, not merely in performing his duty as a husband, but to make up to them for the loss of their parents and of their country. The women, who had been forcibly carried off, soon became reconciled to their situation; but their parents, still more than at first, endeavoured to rouse their several states to revenge, employing both complaints and tears, and wearing the dress of mourners.
Nor did they confine their demands of vengeance within the limits of their own states, but made joint applications from all quarters to Titus Tatius, king of the Sabines, the embassies being addressed to him as the person of the highest renown in all those parts. To them, the proceedings of Tatius and the Sabine nation appeared too dilatory; wherefore these three states, uniting in a confederacy, prepared for immediate war.
This state, therefore, alone, made an irruption into the Roman territories; but while they carried on their ravages in a disorderly manner, Romulus met them, and, without much difficulty, taught them that rage without strength avails but little. He routed and dispersed their army; pursued it in its flight; slew their king in the battle, and seized his spoils; after which he made himself master of their city at the first assault.
Accordingly, it pleased the gods so to order, that neither the prediction of the founder of the temple, intimating that future generals should carry spoils thither, should prove erroneous, nor that the honour of making such offerings should be rendered common, by being imparted to many. In after times, during so many years, and so many wars, there have been only two instances of the grand spoils being obtained; so rare was the attainment of that high honour. They were routed therefore at the first onset, and their town was taken.
While Romulus exulted in this second victory, his consort, Hersilia, teased by the intreaties of the captured women, earnestly petitioned him that he would show favour to their parents, and admit them into the number of his citizens, a measure which could not fail of forming an union satisfactory to all parties.
This request was easily obtained. He then marched against the Crustuminians, who were carrying on hostilities: with these he had still less trouble than with the Antemnatians, because they had been dispirited by the defeats of their allies. Colonies were sent to both countries, but greater numbers were found willing to give in their names for Crustuminum, on account of the fertility of the soil. There were frequent migrations also from those places to Rome, chiefly of the parents and relations of the ravished women.
The last war, on this occasion, was begun by the Sabines; and it was by far the most formidable, for none of their operations were directed by rage or passion, nor did they disclose their intentions until they began to act. They employed stratagem, too, in aid of prudence. The Roman citadel was commanded by Spurius Tarpeius. His maiden daughter, who had accidentally gone without the fortifications to bring water for the sacred rites, was bribed by Tatius with gold to admit some of his troops into the citadel.
As soon as they gained admittance they put her to death, by throwing their armour in a heap upon her, either because they wished that the citadel should rather appear to have been taken by storm, or for the sake of establishing a precedent that faith was not to be Edition: current; Page: [ 22 ] kept with a traitor. The story is told in another manner; that, as the Sabines generally carried on their left arms bracelets of great weight, and wore rings set with precious stones, which made a great show, she bargained for what they wore on their left arms; accordingly, instead of the presents of gold which she expected, they threw their shields upon her.
Others say, that, in pursuance of their agreement to deliver up what was on their left arms, she expressly demanded their shields; and this seeming to be done with a treacherous intent, she was put to death by means of the very reward which she required. The Sabines however kept possession of the citadel; but though, on the following day, the Roman army, in order of battle, filled the whole plain between the Palatine and Capitoline hills, yet they did not come down to the level ground; until the Romans, stimulated by rage and eagerness to recover the citadel, advanced to an assault.
The foremost champions of the two parties, who led on the troops, were Mettius Curtius on the side of the Sabines, and Hostus Hostilius on that of the Romans. The latter, in the front of the army, by his spirit and intrepidity, enabled the Romans to support the fight, in spite of the disadvantage of the ground; but, on his falling, the Roman soldiers quickly gave way, and were driven back to the old gate of the Palatium.
The Sabines are already in possession of our citadel, which they obtained by fraud; from thence they now make their way hither, in arms, and have passed the middle of the valley; but do thou, O father of gods and men! They now feel that it is one thing to ravish virgins, and another, far different, to fight with men. Mettius happened at that time to fight on horseback, and on that account was the more easily repulsed: he soon gave way, and was pursued by the Romans: the rest of the Roman troops also, animated by the bravery of their king, put the Sabines to the route.
Mettius was plunged into a lake, his horse taking fright at the noise of the pursuers: and this circumstance turned the attention of the Sabines to the danger in which they saw a person of so much consequence to them. However, his friends beckoning and calling to him, he acquired fresh courage from the affection of the multitude, and accomplished his escape. Both parties now renewed the engagement in the plain between the two hills, but the advantage was on the side of the Romans.
If ye wish, said they, to destroy the affinity and connection formed between you by our marriage, turn your rage against us; we are the cause of the war; we are the cause of wounds and death to our husbands and fathers. It is better for us to perish, than to live either widowed by the loss of one party or fatherless by that of the other. The commanders then came forward, in order to concert measures for a pacification; and they not only concluded a peace, but combined the two nations into one, Y.
By this accession the number of citzens was doubled; and, as some compliment to the Sabines, the united people were called Quirites, from the town of Cures. To perpetuate the remembrance of that battle, the place where his horse, emerging from the deep of the lake, first brought Curtius to a shallow, was called the Curtian lake.
But as the number of the women was undoubtedly greater than that of the Curias, whether those who were to give their names to them were selected on account of their age, or their own dignity, or that of their husbands, or by lot we are not informed. At the same time also, three centuries of knights were enrolled; the Ramnenses, so called from Romulus; the Titienses, from Titus Tatius; and the Luceres, the reason of whose name and origin is unknown. Thenceforward the two kings reigned together, not only with equal power but with concord.
Several years after, some relations of king Tatius offered violence to the ambassadors of the Laurentians; for which violation of the law of nations, the latter demanded satisfaction: But Tatius paid more regard to the interest and importunities of his relations, and thereby drew upon himself the punishment due to them. For he was slain afterwards at Lavinium, in a tumult raised on his going thither to an anniversary sacrifice. It is said, that Romulus showed less resentment of this proceeding than became him, either because there had been no sincere cordiality between them, while associated in the government, or because he thought that the other deserved the death which he met.
He avoided therefore entering into a war on the occasion; but to make some atonement for the ill treatment of the ambassadors, and the murder of the king, the league between the cities of Rome and Lavinium was renewed. Thus, beyond their expectations, the Romans enjoyed peace on that side; but a war broke out from another quarter, much nearer home, and almost at their gates. Then, turning to the left hand, because the Tiber confined them on the right, and continuing their depredations, they threw the country people into the utmost consternation, and the sudden alarm spreading from the country into the city, made known what had happened.
Leaving there a small guard, and marching out with all the rest of his troops, he ordered a party to lie in ambush, among the bushes that grew there in abundance; then advancing with the other more numerous body of infantry, and all the cavalry, by riding up almost to the gates and offering battle, in an irregular and insulting manner, he drew the enemy out of the town, as he wished. The cavalry, acting in this manner, answered also another purpose, as it afforded a more specious pretext for the retreat, which he was to counterfeit; and when the foot too began to retire, while the horse seemed irresolute, whether to fight or fly, the enemy rushing suddenly out of the gates in crowds, eager to pursue and press on the Roman army in its retreat, were drawn to the place of the ambuscade.
The Romans, now rising suddenly, attacked their line in flank; and the ensigns of those who had been left to guard the camp, advancing at the same time, added to their fears. Dismayed at so many dangers, the Fidenatians fled, before Romulus and the horseman with him, could well turn to pursue them. Thus they, who had lately pursued an enemy, who only pretended to fly, now fled themselves in earnest, with much greater haste, back to the city: but they could not get clear of the enemy; the Romans pressing close on their rear, rushed into the city along with them, before the gates could be shut.
The contagion of the Fidenatian war infected the Veientians. On the other side, the Roman commander, not finding the enemy in the country, and being prepared for, and determined on, a decisive action, crossed over the Tiber. The Veientians, hearing that he was forming a camp, and that he intended to advance to their city, marched out to meet him; for they chose rather to engage in the open field, than to remain shut up, and fight from the walls and houses.
There, unassisted by any stratagem, the Roman King, through the mere force of his veteran troops, obtained the victory, and pursued the routed enemy to their walls. These devastations having distressed the Veientians no less than the loss of the battle, they sent deputies to Rome to sue for peace. A part of their lands was taken from them, and a truce granted for an hundred years. These were the principal transactions in peace and war, during the reign of Romulus; and none of them was unsuitable to the belief of his divine origin, or to the rank of a divinity, which after his death he was supposed to have obtained.
This may be said of the spirit which he showed in recovering the kingdom for his grandfather, as well as of his wise conduct in founding the city, and establishing its power, by the arts both of war and peace; for, by the strength which it Edition: current; Page: [ 28 ] acquired under his management, it became so respectable, that, during forty years after, it enjoyed profound peace and security. He stood, however, much higher in the favour of the people than he did in that of the senate; and was yet more beloved by his army.
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Such were his achievements in his mortal state. One day, while holding an assembly in the plain, on the borders of the lake of Capra, for the purpose of reviewing his army, a sudden storm arose, accompanied with violent thunder and lightning; the king was enveloped in a thick cloud, which hid him from the eyes of the assembly, and was never more seen upon earth. The Roman youth were at length eased of their apprehensions, by the return of calm and serene weather, after such a turbulent day; but when they saw the royal seat empty, though they readily believed the senators, who had stood nearest to him, that he had been carried up on high by the storm, yet they were struck with such dread at being thus left in a manner fatherless, that, for some time, they remained in mournful silence.
Such a report was Edition: current; Page: [ 29 ] spread abroad, but it was little credited, both on account of the high admiration entertained of the man, and because the general consternation caused the other account to be more universally received. Let them therefore cultivate the arts of war; and be assured, and hand this assurance down to posterity, that no human power is able to withstand the Roman arms.
After these words, he went up, and vanished from my sight. Meanwhile the minds of the senators were agitated by ambition and contention for the vacant throne. Factions had not yet taken their rise from the interests of individuals; for, among a new people, no one yet possessed any eminent superiority over the rest. The contest lay between the different bodies of which the state was composed: those of Sabine descent were anxious that a king should be chosen from among them, apprehensive lest they might lose their claim by disuse, there having been no king of their race since the death of Tatius; although, by the terms of the union, Edition: current; Page: [ 30 ] they were entitled to equal privileges.