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TIIE STORY OF THE BANISHING OF KING TARQUINIUS
AND HIS HOUSE, AND OF THEIR ATTEMPTS TO GET
“ Vis et Tarquinios reges, animamque superbam
Virgil, Æn. vi.
WHILE king Tarquinius was at the height of his CHAP. greatness, it chanced upon a time, that from the
How king altar ' in the court of his palace there crawled out a Tarquinius,
affrighted by snake, which devoured the offerings laid on the a prodigy in
his palace, altar. So the king thought it not enough to con- sent two of sult the soothsayers of the Etruscans whom he had Lucius Bruwith him, but he sent two of his own sons to Del- sult the phi, to ask counsel of the oracle of the Greeks; for Delphi. the oracle of Delphi ? was famous in all lands. So his sons Titus and Aruns went to Delphi, and they
his sons with
tus to con
i Ovid, Fasti, II. 711.
probable. We read of the Agyl. Ecce, nefas visu, mediis altaribus læans of Agylla or Cære doing anguis
the same thing at an earlier peExit, et extinctis ignibus exta riod. Herodotus, I. 167. These rapit.
were Tyrrhenians, or Pelasgians ; ? Livy, I. 56, maxime inclitum and there was a sufficient mixture in terris oraculum. The story of the same race in the Roman of the last of the Roman kings people, to give them a natural sending to consult the oracle at connexion with the religion of Delphi, is in itself nothing im- Greece.
CHAP. took with them their cousin Lucius Junius, whom men
called Brutus, that is, the Dullard; for he seemed to be wholly without wit, and he would eat wild figs with honeys. This Lucius was not really dull, but very subtle; and it was for fear of his uncle's cruelty, that he made himself as one without sense ; for he was very rich, and he feared lest king Tarquinius should kill him for the sake of his inheritance. So when he went to Delphi he carried with him a staff of horn, and the staff was hollow, and it was filled within with gold, and he gave the staff to the oracle * as a likeness of himself; for though he seemed dull, and of no account to look upon, yet he had a golden wit within. When the three young men had performed the king's bidding, they asked the oracle for themselves, and they said, “O Lord Apollo, tell us, which of us shall be king in Rome?” Then there came a voice from the sanctuary and said, “ Whichever of you shall first kiss his mother.” So the sons of Tarquinius agreed to draw lots between themselves, which of them should first kiss their mother, when they should have returned to Rome; and they said they would keep the oracle secret from their brother Sextus, lest he should be
3 A. Postumius Albinus, co- where the sense of the preposition temporary with Cato the censor, can hardly be distinguished from quoted by Macrobius, Saturnalia, that of “cum." Grossi and grosII. 16. Grossulos ex melle ede- suli are imperfect and unripe figs; bat. “Ex melle," dipping them either those of the wild fig which into the honey, and eating them never come to perfection, or the when just taken out of it, i. e. with young fruit of the cultivated fig, the honey clinging all about them. gathered before its time. Compare Plautus, Merc. I. 2. 28. 4 Per ambages effigiem ingenii “ Resinam ex melle devorato," sui. Livy, I. 56.
king rather than they. But Lucius understood the CHAP. mind of the oracle better; so as they all went down from the temple, he stumbled as if by chance, and fell with his face to the earth, and kissed the earth; for he said, “The earth is the true mother of us
Now when they came back to Rome, king Tar- How at
the siege of quinius was at war with the people of Ardea 5 : and Ardea the
**Roman as the city was strong, his army lay a long while princes dis
puted about before it, till it should be forced to yield through the worth of
their wives, famine. So the Romans had leisure for feasting and how
O Lucretia was and for diverting themselves : and once Titus and judged the
worthiest. Aruns were supping with their brother Sextus, and their cousin Tarquinius of Collatia was supping with them. And they disputed about their wives, whose wife of them all was the worthiest lady. Then said Tarquinius of Collatia, “ Let us go, and see with our own eyes what our wives are doing, so shall we know which is the worthiest.” Upon this they all mounted their horses, and rode first to Rome; and there they found the wives of Titus, and of Aruns, and of Sextus, feasting and making merry. They then rode on to Collatia, and it was late in the night, but they found Lucretia, the wife of Tarquinius of Collatia, neither feasting, nor yet sleeping, but she was sitting with all her handmaids around her, and all were working at the loom. So when they saw this, they all said, “ Lucretia is the
5 Livy, I. 57. This is one of the dependent allies of Rome. See the incongruities of the story. Ardea, famous treaty with Carthage, as in the first year of the Common- given by Polybius, III. 22. wealth, is mentioned as one of the 6 Livy, I. 57.
Of the wicked deed
CHAP. worthiest lady.” And she entertained her husband
and his kinsmen, and after that they rode back to
the camp before Ardea. of the But a spirit of wicked passion' seized upon Sextus, of Sextus and a few days afterwards he went alone to Collatia, Tarquinius against and Lucretia received him hospitably, for he was
her husband's kinsman. At midnight he arose and went to her chamber, and he said that if she yielded not to him, he would slay her and one of her slaves with her, and would say to her husband that he had slain her in her adultery. So when Sextus had accomplished his wicked purpose, he went back
again to the camp. Hlow Lucre- Then Lucretia & sent in haste to Rome, to pray tia, having told the that her father Spurius Lucretius would come to
her: and she sent to Ardea to summon her husband. and her Her father brought along with him Publius Vale
rius, and her husband brought with him Lucius Junius, whom men call Brutus. When they arrived, they asked earnestly, “Is all well ?” Then she told them of the wicked deed of Sextus, and she said, “ If ye be men, avenge it.” And they all swore to her, that they would avenge it. Then she said again, “I am not guilty; yet must I too share in the punishment of this deed, lest any should think that they may be false to their husbands and live.” And she drew a knife from her bosom, and
stabbed herself to the heart. How her At that sight' her husband and her father cried
wickedness to her husband
father, slew nerself.
7 Livy, I. 58.
8 Livy, I. 58.
9 Livy, I. 59.
aloud; but Lucius drew the knife from the wound, CHAP. and held it up, and said, “By this blood I swear, that I will visit this deed upon king Tarquinius, and Lucius and all his accursed race; neither shall any man cited the hereafter be king in Rome, lest he do the like drive out
king Tarwickedness.” And he gave the knife to her hus- quinius and
his house. band, and to her father, and to Publius Valerius. They marvelled to hear such words from him whom men called dull; but they swore also, and they took up the body of Lucretia, and carried it down into the forum; and they said, “Behold the deeds of the wicked family of Tarquinius." All the people of Collatia were moved, and the men took up arms, and they set a guard at the gates, that none might go out to carry the tidings to Tarquinius, and they followed Lucius to Rome. There, too, all the people came together, and the crier summoned them to assemble before the tribune of the Celeres, for Lucius held that office'. And Lucius spoke to them of all the tyranny of Tarquinius and his sons, and of the wicked deed of Sextus. And the people in their curiæ took back from Tarquinius the sovereign power, which they had given him, and they banished
10 The tribune of the Celeres was connexion between the word and to the king, what the master of the Greek Bapus. It is very possithe horse was afterwards to the ble that its early signification, as a dictator. It is hardly necessary to cognomen, may have differed very point out the extravagance of the little from that of Severus. When story, in representing Brutus, the signification of “dulness” though a reputed idiot, yet in- came to be more confirmed, the vested with such an important story of Brutus' pretended idiotcy office. Festus says that Brutus, would be invented to explain the in old Latin, was synonymous fact of so wise a man being called with Gravis ; this would show a by such a name.