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Quote of the day: Julius Civilis, a man of commanding infl
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 54: Conquest of Gabii (Cont.)
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He was admitted to the meetings of the national council. Whilst expressing his agreement with the elders of Gabii on other subjects, on which they were better informed, he was continually urging them to war, and claimed to speak with special authority, because he was acquainted with the strength of each nation, and knew that the king's tyranny which even his own children had found insupportable, was certainly detested by his subjects. So after gradually working up the leaders of the Gabinians to revolt, he went in person with some of the most eager of the young men on foraging and plundering expeditions. By playing the hypocrite both in speech and action, he gained their mistaken confidence more and more; at last he was chosen as commander in the war. Whilst the mass of the population were unaware of what was intended, skirmishes took place between Rome and Gabii in which the advantage generally rested with the latter, until the Gabinians from the highest to the lowest firmly believed that Sextus Tarquin had been sent by heaven to be their leader. As for the soldiers, he became so endeared to them by sharing all their toils and dangers, and by a lavish distribution of the plunder, that the elder Tarquin was not more powerful in Rome than his son was in Gabii.

When he thought himself strong enough to succeed in anything that he might attempt, he sent one of his friends to his father at Rome to ask what he wished him to do now that the gods had given him sole and absolute power in Gabii. To this messenger no verbal reply was given, because, I believe, he mistrusted him. The king went into the palace-garden, deep in thought, his son's messenger following him. As he walked along in silence it is said that he struck off the tallest poppy-heads with his stick. Tired of asking and waiting for an answer, and feeling his mission to be a failure, the messenger returned to Gabii, and reported what he had said and seen, adding that the king, whether through temper or personal aversion or the arrogance which was natural to him, had not uttered a single word. When it had become clear to Sextus what his father meant him to understand by his mysterious silent action, he proceeded to get rid of the foremost men of the State by traducing some of them to the people, whilst others fell victims to their own unpopularity. Many were publicly executed, some against whom no plausible charges could be brought were secretly assassinated. Some were allowed to seek safety in flight, or were driven into exile; the property of these as well as of those who had been put to death was distributed in grants and bribes. The gratification felt by each who received a share blunted the sense of the public mischief that was being wrought, until, deprived of all counsel and help, the State of Gabii was surrendered to the Roman king without a single battle.

Event: War of Rome and Gabii

Inde in consilia publica adhiberi. Vbi cum de aliis rebus adsentire se veteribus Gabinis diceret quibus eae notiores essent, ipse identidem belli auctor esse et in eo sibi praecipuam prudentiam adsumere quod utriusque populi vires nosset, sciretque inuisam profecto superbiam regiam civibus esse quam ferre ne liberi quidem potuissent. Ita cum sensim ad rebellandum primores Gabinorum incitaret, ipse cum promptissimis iuvenum praedatum atque in expeditiones iret et dictis factisque omnibus ad fallendum instructis uana adcresceret fides, dux ad ultimum belli legitur. Ibi cum inscia multitudine quid ageretur, proelia parua inter Romam Gabiosque fierent quibus plerumque Gabina res superior esset, tum certatim summi infimique Gabinorum Sex. Tarquinium dono deum sibi missum ducem credere. Apud milites vero obeundo pericula ac labores pariter, praedam munifice largiendo tanta caritate esse ut non pater Tarquinius potentior Romae quam filius Gabiis esset. Itaque postquam satis virium conlectum ad omnes conatus videbat, tum ex suis unum sciscitatum Romam ad patrem mittit quidnam se facere vellet, quando quidem ut omnia unus publice Gabiis posset ei di dedissent. Huic nuntio, quia, credo, dubiae fidei videbatur, nihil voce responsum est; rex velut deliberabundus in hortum aedium transit sequente nuntio filii; ibi inambulans tacitus summa papauerum capita dicitur baculo decussisse. Interrogando exspectandoque responsum nuntius fessus, ut re imperfecta, redit Gabios; quae dixerit ipse quaeque viderit refert; seu ira seu odio seu superbia insita ingenio nullam eum vocem emisisse. Sexto ubi quid vellet parens quidue praeciperet tacitis ambagibus patuit, primores civitatis criminando alios apud populum, alios sua ipsos inuidia opportunos interemit. Multi palam, quidam in quibus minus speciosa criminatio erat futura clam interfecti. Patuit quibusdam volentibus fuga, aut in exsilium acti sunt, absentiumque bona iuxta atque inter emptorum divisui fuere. Largitiones inde praedaeque; et dulcedine priuati commodi sensus malorum publicorum adimi, donec orba consilio auxilioque Gabina res regi Romano sine ulla dimicatione in manum traditur.