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Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book I Chapter 11: War with the Sabines.
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Whilst the Romans were thus occupied, the army of the Antemnates seized the opportunity of their territory being unoccupied and made a raid into it. Romulus hastily led his legion against this fresh foe and surprised them as they were scattered over the fields. At the very first battle-shout and charge the enemy were routed and their city captured. Whilst Romulus was exulting over this double victory, his wife, Hersilia, moved by the entreaties of the abducted maidens, implored him to pardon their parents and receive them into citizenship, for so the State would increase in unity and strength. He readily granted her request. He then advanced against the Crustuminians, who had commenced war, but their eagerness had been damped by the successive defeats of their neighbours, and they offered but slight resistance. Colonies were planted in both places; owing to the fertility of the soil of the Crustumine district the majority gave their names for that colony. On the other hand there were numerous migrations to Rome, mostly of the parents and relatives of the abducted maidens. |
First war of Rome with the Sabines. Tarpeia
The last of these wars was commenced by the Sabines and proved the most serious of all, for nothing was done in passion or impatience; they masked their designs till war had actually commenced. Strategy was aided by craft and deceit, as the following incident shows.
Spurius Tarpeius was in command of the Roman citadel. Whilst his daughter [Note 1] had gone outside the fortifications to fetch water for some religious ceremonies, Tatius bribed her to admit his troops within the citadel. Once admitted, they crushed her to death beneath their shields, either that the citadel might appear to have been taken by assault, or that her example might be left as a warning that no faith should be kept with traitors. A further story runs that the Sabines were in the habit of wearing heavy gold armlets on their left arms and richly jeweled rings, and that the girl made them promise to give her "what they had on their left arms," accordingly they piled their shields upon her instead of golden gifts. Some say that in bargaining for what they had in their left hands, she expressly asked for their shields, and being suspected of wishing to betray them, fell a victim to her own bargain.
Note 1: daughter = Tarpeia
|Dum ea ibi Romani gerunt, Antemnatium exercitus per occasionem ac solitudinem hostiliter in fines Romanos incursionem facit. Raptim et ad hos Romana legio ducta palatos in agris oppressit. Fusi igitur primo impetu et clamore hostes, oppidum captum; duplicique victoria ouantem Romulum Hersilia coniunx precibus raptarum fatigata orat ut parentibus earum det veniam et in civitatem accipiat: ita rem coalescere concordia posse. Facile impetratum. Inde contra Crustuminos profectus bellum inferentes. Ibi minus etiam quod alienis cladibus ceciderant animi certaminis fuit. Vtroque coloniae missae: plures inventi qui propter ubertatem terrae in Crustuminum nomina darent. Et Romam inde frequenter migratum est, a parentibus maxime ac propinquis raptarum. Nouissimum ab Sabinis bellum ortum multoque id maximum fuit; nihil enim per iram aut cupiditatem actum est, nec ostenderunt bellum prius quam intulerunt. Consilio etiam additus dolus. Sp. Tarpeius Romanae praeerat arci. Huius filiam virginem auro corrumpit Tatius ut armatos in arcem accipiat; aquam forte ea tum sacris extra moenia petitum ierat. Accepti obrutam armis necavere, seu ut vi capta potius arx videretur seu prodendi exempli causa ne quid usquam fidum proditori esset. Additur fabula, quod volgo Sabini aureas armillas magni ponderis brachio laevo gemmatosque magna specie anulos habuerint, pepigisse eam quod in sinistris manibus haberent; eo scuta illi pro aureis donis congesta. Sunt qui eam ex pacto tradendi quod in sinistris manibus esset derecto arma petisse dicant et fraude visam agere sua ipsam peremptam mercede.|