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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 3: Ascanius and the Foundation of Alba.
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His son Ascanius was not old enough to assume the government but his throne remained secure throughout his minority. During that interval -- such was Lavinia's force of character -- though a woman was regent, the Latin State, and the kingdom of his father and grandfather, were preserved unimpaired for her son. I will not discuss the question - for who could speak decisively about a matter of such extreme antiquity ?-whether the man whom the Julian house claim, under the name of Iulus, as the founder of their name, was this Ascanius or an older one than he, born of Creusa, whilst Ilium was still intact, and after its fall a sharer in his father's fortunes. This Ascanius, where-ever born, or of whatever mother - it is generally agreed in any case that he was the son of Aeneas - left to his mother (or his step-mother) the city of Lavinium, which was for those days a prosperous and wealthy city, with a superabundant population, and built a new city at the foot of the Alban hills which from its position, stretching along the side of the hill, was called " Alba Longa." An interval of thirty years elapsed between the foundation of Lavinium and the colonisation of Alba Longa. Such had been the growth of the Latin power, mainly through the defeat of the Etruscans, that neither at the death of Aeneas, nor during the regency of Lavinia, nor during the immature years of the reign of Ascanius, did either Mezentius and the Etruscans or any other of their neighbours venture to attack them. When terms of peace were being arranged, the river Albula, now called the Tiber, had been fixed as the boundary between the Etruscans and the Latins. Ascanius was succeeded by his son Silvius, who by some chance had been born in the forest. He became the father of Aeneas Silvius, who in his turn had a son, Latinus Silvius. He planted a number of colonies: the colonists were called Prisci Latini. The cognomen of Silvius was common to all the remaining kings of Alba, each of whom succeeded his father. Their names are Alba, Atys, Capys, Capetus, Tiberinus, who was drowned in crossing the Albula, and his name transferred to the river, which became henceforth the famous Tiber. Then came his son Agrippa, after him his son Romulus Silvius. He was struck by lightning and left the crown to his son Aventinus, whose shrine was on the hill which bears his name and is now a part of the city of Rome. He was succeeded by Proca, who had two sons, Numitor and Amulius. To Numitor, the elder, he bequeathed the ancient throne of the Silvian House. Violence, however, proved stronger than either the father's will or the respect due to the brother's seniority; for Amulius expelled his brother and seized the crown. Adding crime to crime, he murdered his brother's sons and made the daughter [Note 1] a Vestal Virgin; thus, under the pretence of honouring her, depriving her of all hopes of issue. |
Note 1: daughter = Rhea Silvia