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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 41: The Accession of Servius.
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Whilst the bystanders were supporting the dying Tarquin in their arms, the lictors caught the fugitives. The shouting drew a crowd together, wondering, what had happened. In the midst of the confusion, Tanaquil ordered the palace to be cleared and the doors closed; she then carefully prepared medicaments for dressing the wound, should there be hopes of life; at the same time she decided on other precautions, should the case prove hopeless, and hastily summoned Servius. She showed him her husband at the point of death, and taking his hand, implored him not to leave his father-in-law's death unavenged, nor to allow his mother-in-law to become the sport of her enemies. "The throne is yours, Servius," she said, "if you are a man; it does not belong to those who have, through the hands of others, wrought this worst of crimes. Up! follow the guidance of the gods who presaged the exaltation of that head round which divine fire once played! Let that heaven-sent flame now inspire you. Rouse yourself in earnest! We, too, though foreigners, have reigned. Bethink yourself not whence you sprang, but who you are. If in this sudden emergency you are slow to resolve, then follow my counsels." As the clamour and impatience of the populace could hardly be restrained, Tanaquil went to a window in the upper part of the palace looking out on the Via Nova - the king used to live by the temple of Jupiter Stator - and addressed the people.|
She bade them hope for the best; the king had been stunned by a sudden blow, but the weapon had not penetrated to any depth, he had already recovered consciousness, the blood had been washed off and the wound examined, all the symptoms were favourable, she was sure they would soon see him again, meantime it was his order that the people should recognise the authority of Servius Tullius, who would administer justice and discharge the other functions of royalty. Servius appeared in his trabea attended by the lictors, and after taking his seat in the royal chair decided some cases and adjourned others under pretence of consulting the king. So for several days after Tarquin's death Servius continued to strengthen his position by giving out that he was exercising a delegated authority. At length the sounds of mourning arose in the palace and divulged the fact of the king's death. Protected by a strong body-guard Servius was the first who ascended the throne without being elected by the people, though without opposition from the senate. When the sons of Ancus heard that the instruments of their crime had been arrested, that the king was still alive, and that Servius was so powerful, they went into exile at Suessa Pometia.
|Tarquinium moribundum cum qui circa erant excepissent, illos fugientes lictores comprehendunt. Clamor inde concursusque populi, mirantium quid rei esset. Tanaquil inter tumultum claudi regiam iubet, arbitros eiecit. Simul quae curando volneri opus sunt, tamquam spes subesset, sedulo comparat, simul si destituat spes, alia praesidia molitur. Seruio propere accito cum paene exsanguem virum ostendisset, dextram tenens orat ne inultam mortem soceri, ne socrum inimicis ludibrio esse sinat. "Tuum est" inquit, "Serui, si vir es, regnum, non eorum qui alienis manibus pessimum facinus fecere. Erige te deosque duces sequere qui clarum hoc fore caput divino quondam circumfuso igni portenderunt. Nunc te illa caelestis excitet flamma; nunc expergiscere vere. Et nos peregrini regnauimus; qui sis, non unde natus sis reputa. Si tua re subita consilia torpent, at tu mea consilia sequere." Cum clamor impetusque multitudinis vix sustineri posset, ex superiore parte aedium per fenestras in Nouam viam versas—habitabat enim rex ad Iovis Statoris—populum Tanaquil adloquitur. Iubet bono animo, esse; sopitum fuisse regem subito ictu; ferrum haud alte in corpus descendisse; iam ad se redisse; inspectum volnus absterso cruore; omnia salubria esse; confidere propediem ipsum eos visuros; interim Ser. Tullio iubere populum dicto audientem esse; eum iura redditurum obiturumque alia regis munia esse. Seruius cum trabea et lictoribus prodit ac sede regia sedens alia decernit, de aliis consulturum se regem esse simulat. Itaque per aliquot dies cum iam exspirasset Tarquinius celata morte per speciem alienae fungendae vicis suas opes firmavit; tum demum palam factum est comploratione in regia orta. Seruius praesidio firmo munitus, primus iniussu populi, voluntate patrum regnavit. Anci liberi iam tum comprensis sceleris ministris ut uiuere regem et tantas esse opes Serui nuntiatum est, Suessam Pometiam exsulatum ierant.|