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In the ancient Latin land there was a city which, because it stretched out along a ridge, was called Alba Longa. In the old days Silvius reigned there: he was called by that name because he was born in a forest. After him there reigned Æneas Silvius and Latinus Silvius: three kings kept the name that came to their forefathers from the forest. Then there came a king who was named Proca; he bequeathed the ancient realm of the Silvan family to his son, Numitor.

But Numitor had a brother, a violent and a crafty man named Amulius. No sooner was Proca dead than this man drove out of the king's house the one to whom the realm had been bequeathed. He seized Numitor's young sons and he put them to death. A daughter only was left in Numitor's house. Amulius, that violent and crafty man, was afraid of what might happen through this girl; he feared that she might marry some powerful prince and have children who would claim the Alban realm. And yet he might not put her to death as he had put her brothers to death--the people would turn against him if they knew him for the slayer of a maiden. Not with violence, therefore, did he deal with her, but with craft: he had the maiden (Rhea Silvia she was named) placed amongst those who might never marry, amongst those who tended the sacred fire of Vesta and were named Vestal Virgins, and this he did under the pretence of honouring his brother's daughter.

In the forest Rhea Silvia met a man with whom there went a wolf and a woodpecker. He forced her to espouse him. And he was Mars, the War God of the Latin people.

The Vestals who made themselves unfit to tend the sacred fire were condemned to death by the people. Amulius now had an excuse for destroying what remained of the house of Numitor. He had Rhea

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[paragraph continues] Silvia seized and manacled and cast into prison. She gave birth to twirl boys. The king ordered that they be taken out and drowned in the river.

That river was the one that had been called in the old days the Albula: a king of Alba whose name was Tiberinus was drowned in it, and its name then was changed to Tiber. Now at the season of the year when Rhea Silvia's twin boys were born the river spreads its stream beyond its banks, making shallow and stagnant pools. The slaves who had been ordered to drown the children brought them only as far as one of these pools. There they left the basket in which the twins were and went away, thinking that a very little water would drown the babes.

The basket went amongst the sedges and was held there. Then the water receded, leaving the basket upon the mud. A she-wolf came down to that place: she stood over the children and she let them suck from her teats. And a woodpecker came upon the basket and dropped food into their mouths. So the children were nourished by the wolf and the woodpecker that went with Mars, their father.

And in time a shepherd named Faustulus, in chasing a wolf that went very slowly away from him, came to a sedgy place and found a basket there with twin babes in it. He brought them to his hut and gave them to his wife to rear. And so the two grandsons of Numitor were brought up in the hut of this shepherd.

They were brought up as shepherd boys. But, born from the embrace of Mars and having a she-wolf for their foster-mother, they were not lads who were content to be always with their sheep. They ranged the mountains and the forest. They hunted wild beasts. Other boys followed them, taking them for leaders. And after they had grown in hardiness and resoluteness they made attacks upon gangs of robbers and took their spoil from them. Often they did this. And the spoil that was taken the leaders shared with their following.

By this time the twins had names: one was named Romulus and the other Remus. Now at that time the hill that is now called the Palatine was the scene of a festival called the Lupercalia. Youths stripped and ran about naked by way of doing honour to a God. Romulus and Remus and their companions came to the hill and joined in the festival. Remus stripped and ran naked with other youths who were there. And then the companions were set upon by a

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band of robbers whose spoil they had taken. Remus was not able to defend himself and he was taken by the robbers. Romulus followed them, and saw his brother put into the king's prison.

He went back to the shepherd's hut. When Romulus told his foster-father that Remus was in the prison of King Amulius, Faustulus, the shepherd of Numitor, became all stirred up. He had come to think that the youths whom he had brought up in his but were the children of the royal house. He knew that Rhea Silvia's twin boys had been cast into the river, and he knew that he had found these twins at a time not long after King Amulius's sentence had been carried out. But always the shepherd had been afraid to disclose his thought to any one.

But when Romulus told him that Remus had been taken and was about to be brought before the king on a charge of making raids upon the land, Faustulus told the youth that he and his brother were, in all likelihood, the grandsons of Numitor--of Numitor to whom Proca had left the Alban realm. Now Romulus had seen Numitor: he had come back to Alba Longa, and, because he was old and feeble and had no children nor friends, his life was left to him, and he was even permitted to live at the king's house.

Romulus sent messages to his grandfather: Numitor was amazed at what was told in them. Then he went to where Remus was imprisoned: he looked upon the features of the youth, he noted his bold bearing, and he thought that he saw in him a likeness to the Silvan kings. Then to Romulus's messengers he declared himself ready to help to deliver Remus.

Romulus came before the king's house; his shepherd friends were with him, and they were armed. Numitor drew off the king's defenders by declaring that the citadel was being attacked by invading enemies. The guards went from the house to the citadel. Then Remus broke out of the prison. The king had few left to defend him, and he was slain by the hand of Romulus.

Numitor brought together the council of the people. He told them of Amulius's crimes, and he reminded them that the Alban realm had been bequeathed to him, Numitor, by King Proca. The people hailed Numitor as king; the youths Romulus and Remus were acknowledged to be of the royal house, and they agreed to serve their grandfather.

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After a time they were seized with a desire to found a city in the place where they had been exposed and where they had been brought up. Now in Alba Longa there were already too many folk, especially were there too many young men. The proposal to found a new city under the leadership of the youths Romulus and Remus was pleasing to all the youths of the place.

So the brothers and their followers went to the hills on which they had guarded their sheep and in the glades of which they had hunted game and harried robbers. Romulus took the Palatine Hill for his quarters, and Remus took the Aventine Hill. Unto Remus the first augury was shown. He saw a flight of vultures--six of them. Now the vulture was sacred because it was a bird that did not prey on other birds, but ate only of what was dead. When Remus saw these vultures, those who were with him cried out that he was the one who was to found the city and gave a name to it. But no sooner was the omen reported than another flight of vultures was shown to Romulus--twelve vultures. Thereupon each of the twins was saluted by his own followers as the one who would found the city, give a name to it, and rule over it after it had been built.

A quarrel grew up between the brothers and between the followers of Romulus and the followers of Remus. Romulus, declaring that to him the omen was given because he had been shown twice the number of birds that had been shown Remus, set out to build a wall that would protect the city. Remus mocked at him; in mockery he leaped over the wall. Then Romulus struck his brother down, slaying him. "So perish all who leap over my walls," Romulus said.

So it was Romulus who founded it and named the city--Rome--and became king over it. The city at first had only a scanty population, for few people joined themselves to the followers of Romulus and Remus. Then, that he might draw people to the city, Romulus founded a sanctuary between two groves on the way up the hill that is now called the Capitoline Hill; it was a sanctuary for men who had done dangerous things, or who had debts that they could not meet, and for all men who, for one reason or another, were being pursued. Those who came into that sanctuary could have safety. And many dangerous and desperate men came there, and were received

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into Romulus's community, adding strength and daring to the populace of the city upon the hills.

In that city there were few women; many young men who had come with Romulus and Remus and all the fugitive men who had come to the sanctuary were without wives. Rome, on account of the lack of children, might not last long as a city. Romulus sent embassies to all the neighbouring states and cities asking them to make marriage alliances with his people. But this new city was not liked by the neighbouring cities and states: they thought it was a camp rather than a city--a camp of outcast and dangerous men. The envoys were dismissed with scorn. "Unless you open a sanctuary for run-away women there will be no wives for you," the envoys were told. And those who said this to them hoped that no families would grow up in Rome and that the city would become forsaken.

The young men of Rome took what was said as an insult--an insult that they bitterly resented. Romulus was angered, and he made up his mind that he would get wives for the men of this city by force or by guile. At harvest-time the Romans kept the festival of Consus whose altar was underground: he was the God who helped the people to garner and store their crops. By a proclamation that Romulus made, the people of the neighbouring state were invited to a great spectacle that the Romans promised to show.

The Sabines were the people who lived nearest to the Romans. They were curious to know what kind of celebration the Romans would have. Many of them came to the city bringing their wives and children, their growing boys and girls. They were hospitably received by the Romans and were given lodging in their houses. They saw the city; they looked at its wall and its defences, and they marvelled at the growth that they saw.

And then they were shown the spectacle. It was of young men upon horses. The Sabines looked on, delighted with the appearance of the young men and their fine management of their horses. But suddenly the horsemen dashed amongst them. The Sabines were scattered; fathers and brothers who could defend daughters and sisters were crowded and held at one end of the field. Then the young Romans seized the Sabine maidens and carried them off as their brides.

The Sabine fathers and mothers went back to their homes in sorrow

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and indignation. They cursed the Romans for the crime of violating hospitality.

Romulus sent envoys to the Sabine king. He declared to the king that the maidens would be wedded solemnly to their captors and that they would become sharers in all that Rome possessed. And he declared, too, that each Roman would not only endeavour to be a good husband to his Sabine bride, but that he would strive with all his power to console her for the loss of home and parents.

As Romulus said, so it came about. But first there was war. The Sabine fathers in mourning garments went amongst the people, striving to stir them up to punish the Romans for the violence done to the maidens. And soon Romulus had to defend Rome from the rage of the Sabines.

Next: The Children of Mars, Part II