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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book II Chapter 15: Final Attempt to restore the Tarquins (Cont.)[506 BC]
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The new consuls were Spurius Lartius and Titus Herminius. This year Porsena made the last attempt to effect the restoration of the Tarquins. The ambassadors whom he had despatched to Rome with this object were informed that the senate were going to send an embassy to the king, and the most honourable of the senators were forthwith despatched. They stated that the reason why a select number of senators had been sent to him in preference to a reply being given to his ambassadors at Rome was not that they had been unable to give the brief answer that, kings would never be allowed in Rome, but simply that all mention of the matter might be for ever dropped, that after the interchange of so many kindly acts there might be no cause of irritation, for he, Porsena, was asking for what would be against the liberty of Rome. The Romans, if they did not wish to hasten their own ruin, would have to refuse the request of one to whom they wished to refuse nothing. Rome was not a monarchy, but a free City, and they had made up their minds to open their gates even to an enemy sooner than to a king. It was the universal wish that whatever put an end to liberty in the City should put an end to the City itself. They begged him, if he wished Rome to be safe, to allow it to be free. Touched with a feeling of sympathy and respect, the king replied, "Since this is your fixed and unalterable determination, I will not harass you by fruitless proposals, nor will I deceive the Tarquins by holding out hopes of an assistance which I am powerless to render. Whether they insist on war or are prepared to live quietly, in either case they must seek another place of exile than this, to prevent any interruption of the peace between you and me." He followed up his words by still stronger practical proofs of friendship, for he returned the remainder of the hostages and restored the Veientine territory which had been taken away under the treaty. As all hope of restoration was cut off, Tarquin went to his son-in-law Mamilius Octavius at Tusculum. So the peace between Rome and Porsena remained unbroken. |
Event: War of Porsena against Rome.