Project proposal : Roman Myths

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Project proposal : Roman Myths

Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Sun Feb 02, 2003 11:58 pm

Salvete,

An important part of the Roman heritage is that of its myths and legends. I've therefore created this thread; to gather all possible myths and legends related to Rome that you wish to submit, pretty much everything is allowed, url's to websites containing such material, own-written descriptions of myths, illustrations that come with them, thoughts on the meaning of myths...

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Mon Feb 03, 2003 9:14 pm

salve Lupe
this is one project i will be happy to participate.
BTw did anyone heard anything from Atticus? Its been a long time since has has been heard of.
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Thu Feb 06, 2003 4:36 pm

Salve Lupe

This is an interesting proposal. The other week we were discussing in Col Rel whether we might be able to do something for children and the parents of small children. Writing stories for them would be one thing a few of us might consider. From my own childhood, the stories I remembered best were those of Roman soldiers. So let me begin by offering a story for children.

Valerius and the Raven

Once, long ago, a great army of Gauls came against the City of Rome. They wanted to burn down the Romans' houses, steal their gold, and take away the Roman women and children as they had done once before. The Romans formed their own army and rushed out of the city gates to stop the Gauls.
Between the two army there stepped forward a giant of a Gaul. He wore a cloak of many colours. He carried a great shield painted with gold and a long iron sword. The giant Gaul began to strike his shield with the loud bang of his sword, so that everyone would be silent.
"Listen to me, you Romans," the giant shouted. "Let the bravest Roman come forward to fight with me. If I should win, or should he, then we will know whether the Gauls or the Romans are the better men."
The Romans were silent. They knew that they could not refuse the Gaul's challenge, yet none wanted to face the giant alone. Finally a young tribune, Marcus Valerius, stepped forward. He asked the Roman consul Camillus if he could fight the giant.
"Young Valerius," said Camillus, "may the Gods be with you. Go now. Show these Gauls that the Romans are a brave people and will not be conquered."
Marcus Valerius gathered up his sword and shield and stepped forward to do battle with the giant Gaul. The giant looked down on young Valerius. Seeing how small Valerius was, the giant began to laugh. Then he stuck out his tongue, made horrible faces to frighten Valerius, and jumped up and down to shake the ground. But Valerius showed no fear. He stood in silence, waiting for the giant to attack.
Suddenly a marvelous thing happened. A large, black raven flew down and landed on Valerius' helmet.
"Do not be afraid, Valerius," said the raven, "for today, whether by a god or a goddess I am sent, know that they will favor you and guard you against this boastful giant."
Filled with courage, young Valerius rushed forward towards the Gaul. The raven, too, flew forward, attacking the giant with his beak and claws so that the Gaul could not see Valerius. The giant swung his mighty sword around, trying to crash it down on young Valerius' head. But the Gods were with Valerius and caused the giant to miss. Valerius ducked below the Gaul's sword, pushed aside his shield, and then slew the giant.
The other Gauls, seeing what had happened, grew angry and rushed forward. The entire army of the Gauls came to attack Valerius all at once. But then Valerius' friends came forward to help him. Camillus ordered the other soldiers to charge, too.
"Soldiers of Rome," shouted Camillus, "do as Valerius has done. With bravery and courage, face the Gauls as Valerius has faced their giant."
Soon the Roman army drove the Gauls away. They marched back to Rome victorious, hailing Valerius as their hero. Next, even though he was so young, they elected Marcus Valerius to be the new consul after Camillus. From that day on he became known as Valerius Corvus, Valerius the Raven.

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Sat Feb 08, 2003 8:41 pm

Salvete,

Very nice story Piscine, I can picture the frightened faces of little Romans at the description of the giant Gaul ;-)

I'll be telling the story of Apuleius, from his Metamophoses, this is a work of eleven books, so I'll only give the major events of it and try to find a website with a more detailed version.

Book I

Lucius, a young man, is travelling across Thessalia, known for its many witches and magicians. Before arriving at Milo, his host who lives in the city Hypata, he is joined on his way there by Aristomenes, who tells him a horrible story about a certain Socrates. This man was the victim of a powerful witch and Aristomenes urges Lucius to be careful, especially around women, since you never know if they are just women, or witches.

Book II

While walking through Hypata, Lucius meets Byrrhena, an old friend of his family. After chatting for some time Lucius tells her that he is staying at the house of Milo. Byrrhena immediately warns him that the wife of Milo, Pamphile, is into black magic, but rather than scaring Lucius, she makes him more curious.

Back at the house of Milo, our Lucius has another reason to stay a little longer, namely the young slave Photis, who makes his nights ... a little more comfortable. After a few days in which nothing happened, Lucius is invited by Byrrhena for the Deus Risus festival. After drinking more than was good for young Lucius, he is on his way to the house of Milo, when he is suddenly ambushed by three robbers. Bringing his sword proved to be a good idea and Lucius managed to kill all three bandits.

Book III

The next day, Lucius is arrested and brought before the town judges who allow him to speak on his own behalf. As he ends his plea, the whole town starts laughing at him and the truth is revealed: it appears that Lucius hasn't killed anyone, he has merely stabbed three leather wine bags to death and the entire trial was nothing more than a present for the Deus Risus. Overcome with shame and not sure how this could have happened Lucius runs to the house of Milo and doesn't leave the house for some time.

After a few days Photis tells him how it was possible and she shows Lucius how Pamphile can turn herself into a bird. Now, he has to believe that Pamphile indeed is a witch and that she played the trick with the wine bags on him. Photis offers to help Lucius get back at her and gives him a potion that should turn him into a bird as well, so that he can show Pamphile that he's a magician himself. Unfortunately, it all goes wrong, Photis gives him the wrong potion and poor Lucius turns into a donkey. As if that wasn't enough, that very night the house of Milo is attacked by a group of outlaws who use Lucius to carry the loot back to their hide-out...

To be continued
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Feb 09, 2003 2:53 pm

Salvete
One of the Roman stories i love to read are the story of the 7 kings of Rome, especially the story of the three Horatii who determined the battle between Rome and Alba Longa. Also the story of the Roman conquest of Carthage is a beautiful one. I have a book called "the beautiful stories of the Roman Empire. Its a great book with wonderful stories like the one Piscine told us here. If i find a English translation online i will post it here with the url of the site it was coming from.
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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Sun Feb 09, 2003 7:49 pm

Book IV

While being dragged towards the hide-out, Lucius searches for roses along the path to end the spell that made him a donkey, but he finds nothing but cabbages. He manages to escape but a farmer sees him and tries to catch the poor donkey. Lucius attacks the farmer en nearly kills him, but then it's his turn again to be on the run as the angry townsfolk chase him away with dogs. He runs into the arms of the bandits who now make him carry a double load and in a near-death condition he reaches their hide-out.

There, Lucius again hears several stories being told by the robbers and he also hears the famous story of Amor and Psyche, that an old woman, in charge of the cooking, tells to a kidnapped young girl (Charite), in an attempt to cheer her up.

Book V

This entire book consists of the story of Amor and Psyche, which is a very nice little story in itself really, here's the link :

http://www.bulfinch.org/fables/bull11.html

Book VI

Lucius again manages to escape and Charite tags along this time, but they don't get far. The old cooking woman is hanged as the robbers think that she has helped them escape. Their plans for Lucius and Charite are far worse: they intend to sew Charite in the belly of Lucius the donkey and then let them rot in the sun...
Book VII

Haemus, the newest member of the bandits proves to be Tlepolemus, the fiancé of Charite. With the help of some sleeping potion, he overcomes all bandits and frees both Charite and the donkey.

After their wedding (of Tlepolemus and Charite that is ;-)) it goes downhill again for poor Lucius. He is set to work in a mill and is often tortured by a young slave. In an outburst of rage, Lucius kills the slave, after which the boy's mother attempts to murder the "crazy donkey". Lucius can scare her off, but as she runs to town he hears that he will be butchered the next morning.

To be continued

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Sun Feb 09, 2003 7:58 pm

Salvete,

A website that may be useful in the search for myths, legends,... is:

http://www.bulfinch.org/fables/welcome.html

It's not just about Greek-Roman myths, but it has many references to other myths as well.

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Fri Feb 21, 2003 1:02 pm

Book VIII

The next day, however, the slaves that were going to execute Lucius hear that both Tlepolemus and Charite have died. Their master, Tlepolemus, was murdered by a jealous friend, Thrasyllus, who wanted to marry Charite. But she mixed something in Thrasyllus' drink, which made him fall asleep. Taking the opportunity Charite blinds Thrasyllus en throws herself on the blade of her former husband. Thrasyllus himself locks himself up in the grave of Charite and dies of hunger.

At this news, the slaves flee towards the mountains and drag Lucius with them. After being attacked by large hounds, some more bandits and even a dragon, they make it to the next tow, where another horrible story is told. This time about a slave who slept with the wife of his master. The poor slave was tied to a tree, just above an ant hill, covered in honey and left there until he died. As for Lucius, he is sold to a bunch of priests, belonging to the Syrian goddess and is forced to carry the statue of the Dea Syria.

Book IX

Nothing but sorrow and grief in this book for Lucius, he is bought and sold numerous times, is forced to work in a mill, hears some more horrible stories and can finally escape with a soldier, who frees him from his last master who was abusing him.

Book X

After some travelling the soldier sells Lucius to a magistrate, Thiasus of Corinth, thinking that this man will treat the sad donkey better than his former owners did. At first, Lucius is doing well, he eats well and Thiasus even offers him wine and learns him some tricks. His "magic" donkey is then presented to the rest of the upper class and performs his newly learned tricks so that they reward him with even more wine.

But something had to happen of course and something did; a rich lady in the crowd falls in love with the donkey and when Thiasus sees his donkey in bed with this woman, he decides to show this latest trick to the entire city and sends Lucius to the theatre. Here is supposed to do his "trick" again with a woman who was sentenced to death the day before after which both will be devoured by wild animals...quite the spectacle.

Luckily Lucius manages to escape in the earlier parts of the show and runs towards the port of Corinth where he lies down in the sand and falls asleep.

Book XI

During a full moon, Lucius prays to Isis and after having cleaned himself seven times in the waves, she appears to him in a dream and gives Lucius her instructions for the next day. As he was told to do, Lucius walks around in the parade of Isis until a priest sees him and places a crown of roses on the donkey's head, who finally turns back into Lucius ! As a token of gratitude he becomes a priest of Isis himself and was last seen spreading her religion in Rome.

--------------------------------------

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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Fri Feb 21, 2003 1:04 pm

Salvete,

So, we have the story of Piscinus, I've told the one from Apuleius' Metamorphoses and Sokarus was maybe covering the one about the 3 Horatii, but there are still plenty more legends out there. Does anybody else have a story to tell ?

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Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Fri Feb 21, 2003 5:28 pm

Salve Locate,

I will be telling the story of Pyramus and Thisbe.

Pyramus and Thisbe

Pyramus, a handsome boy, and Thisbe, a beautiful girl lived next to each other in a city known as Babylon. When they were young, they played with each other and when they were old enough, they wanted to get married. Their parents however, hated each other and to keep them from marrying, they locked them up in the house whenever Pyramus or Thisbe were on the streets.

The two lovers had found a way to keep in touch with each other; every night, they went to the courtyard and hugged the wall that kept them apart. The could talk to each other and every time that they would meet, they told each other how much they loved the other. Until one time, after months of talking and whispering to each other, Pyramus had an idea. They would sneak out of the house the next evening and they would meet each other near the brook at he edge of the city.

Thisbe was able to sneak out of the house and covered her face with a veil. She hurried to the brook and waited at the trunk of a mulberry tree. It was a full moon that night and when she saw a shadow, she thought it was here beloved Pyramus. However when she looked closer, she saw it was a lion. Its face covered in blood from his prey. He came here every night to drink, but now, he found something strange near the brook. It was Thisbes veil wich she dropped when she fled into a nearby cave. The lion tore the veil to pieces and bloodied it. But the lion didn't like its taste so he drank and went away.

When Pyramus arrived, he immediately saw the veil of wich he knew belonged to Thisbe. The veil was torn and bloodied and when he saw tracks of the lion, he feared the worst. He blamed himself for leading her to this dangerous place and arriving too late. Blinded by his own sorrow and guilt, he unsheated his dagger and thrust it into his chest.

Thisbe, who had been waiting in the cave, looked around the corner to see if the lion had already gone away when she saw Pyramus' lifeless body lying at against the trunk of the mulberry tree. She cried over his body for a long time and then she realised how they could finally be together. She pulled the dagger out of her lovers chest and killed herself with it. Now they were joined together for eternity in death.

And to remind everybody of the undying love between Pyramus and Thisbe, the gods decided that the white fruits of the mulberry tree should be coloured black, the colour of mourning.

:cry: Sad, isn't it? The next time I will post something, it will be a lot happier. Or at least I'll try, but there aren't many Roman and Greek myths that have a happy ending.

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sat Feb 22, 2003 5:22 pm

Salvete
After a long search I found a site which hold the story of the Horatii: http://www.dl.ket.org/latinlit/historia/people/index.htm#heroes
It was on this site that i found the story.
The Horatii

As Rome began to expand, her neighbors did not always willingly submit to her control. Alba Longa, the city founded by Aeneas' son Iulus (Ascanius), was one such city. Frictions also arose because of cattle raiding between the cities. According to the legend, Tullius Hostilius, king of Rome, decided against full-scale war of city against city. Instead he proposed single combats between a triplet of three brothers from Rome, the Horatii, and another set of male triplets, the Curiatii, who were citizens of Alba. Alba Longa agreed.

The opponents were well-matched and battle was fierce: all three Curiatii received wounds but two of the Horatii were killed. The third resorted to a strategem: he fled, which lured the Curiatii into pursuing him. But as they ran the wounded and weakened Curiatii separated from each other and space increased between them. This enabled the last of the Horatii to turn and confront each individually. He succeeded in killing them one by one, and thus won the day for Rome. The city of Alba Longa was destroyed and Roman influence throughout Latium increased. The story of the Horatii became a favorite for its celebration of stamina, courage against the odds, and willingness to die for one's country.

The sister of the Horatii, however, openly wept over the death of one of the Curiatii who had been her lover. In anger her surviving brother killed her. For this murder he was condemned to death but was spared when he appealed to the people. To do penance he was veiled and led under a yoke, which was a typical punishment indicating submission to the will of another. Unlike a yoke typically used with oxen or to carry heavy buckets from one's shoulders, the punishment yoke was created from three spears to form a doorway through which the penitent must crawl.

A tomb located on the Appian Way is said to be that of the three Curiatii and the two fallen Horatii. The Horatii preparing for combat were depicted in a neoclassical painting by Jacques-Louis David, housed in the Louvre, in Paris, France.
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Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Sun Feb 23, 2003 7:28 pm

Salvete Romani,

When I was looking for more myths and legends, I came across a known Greek writer :Aesopos. According to my sources, he wrote over 500 fables. I was wondering if anybody knew where I could find a translation of his work or a site containing more information about Aesopos. And then I have one final question: am I allowed to post fables here, or would it be more appropriate to make a different thread and post some of his fables over there?

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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Feb 23, 2003 8:31 pm

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I believe the site http://www.sacredtexts.com has these translations. I have read some of them and most of the ones i read are okay.
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Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Sun Feb 23, 2003 8:32 pm

salve Tiberii
Sorry that should be http://www.sacred-texts.com
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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:25 am

Salve Tiberi

Aesopus...another one of those "legendary writers", it's still not certain when and where he really lived and what he did or didn't write. But a Roman writer, Phaedrus, was known for writing fables, mostly based on the work of Aesopus. Either way, throughout history these fables have become known in the entire Western world, so go ahead and post them over here as well if you want to.

A link for Aesopus that may be usefull is

http://www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/aesop/

(you have to scroll down a little to find the "sections" part, the first four sections are fables that are believed to be from Aesopus)

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Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Mon Feb 24, 2003 11:07 pm

Salvete,

I will post three fables that are believed to be written by Aesopos. I chose these three fables because I think they are quite funny. Well, here they are:

The Miller, his Son and their Ass

A Miller and his son were driving their Ass to a neighboring fair to sell him. They had not gone far when they met with a troop of women collected round a well, talking and laughing. "Look there," cried one of them, "did you ever see such fellows, to be trudging along the road on foot when they might ride?' The old man hearing this, quickly made his son mount the Ass, and continued to walk along merrily by his side.

Presently they came up to a group of old men in earnest debate. "There," said one of them, "it proves what I was a-saying. What respect is shown to old age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding while his old father has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and let the old man rest his weary limbs." Upon this the old man made his son dismount, and got up himself.

In this manner they had not proceeded far when they met a company of women and children: "Why, you lazy old fellow," cried several tongues at once, "how can you ride upon the beast, while that poor little lad there can hardly keep pace by the side of you?' The good-natured Miller immediately took up his son behind him.

They had now almost reached the town. "Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, "is that Ass your own?' "Yes," replied the old man. "O, one would not have thought so," said the other, "by the way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better able to carry the poor beast than he you." "Anything to please you," said the old man; "we can but try." So, alighting with his son, they tied the legs of the Ass together and with the help of a pole endeavored to carry him on their shoulders over a bridge near the entrance to the town.

This entertaining sight brought the people in crowds to laugh at it, till the Ass, not liking the noise nor the strange handling that he was subject to, broke the cords that bound him and, tumbling off the pole, fell into the river. Upon this, the old man, vexed and ashamed, made the best of his way home again, convinced that by endeavoring to please everybody he had pleased nobody, and lost his Ass in the bargain.

The Salt Merchant and his Ass

A Peddler drove his Ass to the seashore to buy salt. His road home lay across a stream into which his Ass, making a false step, fell by accident and rose up again with his load considerably lighter, as the water melted the sack. The Peddler retraced his steps and refilled his panniers with a larger quantity of salt than before. When he came again to the stream, the Ass fell down on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained what he desired. The Peddler saw through his trick and drove him for the third time to the coast, where he bought a cargo of sponges instead of salt. The Ass, again playing the fool, fell down on purpose when he reached the stream, but the sponges became swollen with water, greatly increasing his load. And thus his trick recoiled on him, for he now carried on his back a double burden.

The Buffoon and the Countryman

A RICH NOBLEMAN once opened the theaters without charge to the people, and gave a public notice that he would handsomely reward any person who invented a new amusement for the occasion. Various public performers contended for the prize. Among them came a Buffoon well known among the populace for his jokes, and said that he had a kind of entertainment which had never been brought out on any stage before. This report being spread about made a great stir, and the theater was crowded in every part.

The Buffoon appeared alone upon the platform, without any apparatus or confederates, and the very sense of expectation caused an intense silence. He suddenly bent his head towards his bosom and imitated the squeaking of a little pig so admirably with his voice that the audience declared he had a porker under his cloak, and demanded that it should be shaken out. When that was done and nothing was found, they cheered the actor, and loaded him with the loudest applause. A Countryman in the crowd, observing all that has passed, said, "So help me, Hercules, he shall not beat me at that trick!" and at once proclaimed that he would do the same thing on the next day, though in a much more natural way. On the morrow a still larger crowd assembled in the theater, but now partiality for their favorite actor very generally prevailed, and the audience came rather to ridicule the Countryman than to see the spectacle.

Both of the performers appeared on the stage. The Buffoon grunted and squeaked away first, and obtained, as on the preceding day, the applause and cheers of the spectators. Next the Countryman commenced, and pretending that he concealed a little pig beneath his clothes (which in truth he did, but not suspected by the audience ) contrived to take hold of and to pull his ear causing the pig to squeak. The Crowd, however, cried out with one consent that the Buffoon had given a far more exact imitation, and clamored for the Countryman to be kicked out of the theater. On this the rustic produced the little pig from his cloak and showed by the most positive proof the greatness of their mistake. "Look here," he said, "this shows what sort of judges you are."

I would like to thank Sokarus and Marcus for the very useful links they gave to me.

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Re: Hercules v Cacus

Postby Horatius Piscinus on Wed Mar 05, 2003 11:10 pm

Salve Tiberi

Coruncanius wrote:I always thought this was an interesting aside or footnote to the labors of Hercules. It provides a bit of a link between the early Greek and Early Roman myths.


Ita. Hercules was perhaps the most popular myth throughout Italy, and very unlike his Greek counter part. And Cacus too is an interesting character, possibly being the hero figure Hercules replaced. In Etruscan myth Hercules married Minerva and bore him a son, Maris, who lived an exceptionally long time. Hercules was attributed with founding a number of sanctuaries throughout Italy, including the one near Nola (see the piece on Cippus Abella at Col Rel). Cacus is elsewhere said to be a fire-breathing giant, associated with mountains and sulphur springs. The highest peak in the Apennines, M. Corno, is said to be the consort of Ceres, or else Her son, and probably connected to the Italic hero before Hercules. And perhaps too there is Etruscan Celscan, also said to have been a giant and whose name means "son of Cels," an earth mother figure. The 'non-Greek' elements of Roman Hercules is usually attributed to the Phoenician Melqart but I think it is more likely Cacus himself that the Italic Hercules took part of his myth, and therefore represents the common mythos of Italy prior to Greek introductions.

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Romulus and Remus

Postby Quintus Aurelius Orcus on Thu May 29, 2003 1:19 pm

Salvete

I don't know if this project is still running but i thought i would post the story of Romulus and Remus. It is a beautiful story.

Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus were the twin sons of Rhea Silvia and Mars, and the two founders of Rome. Rhea Silvia had been the only child of King Numitor of Alba Longa. When Numitor's brother Amulius deposed him, he also forced Rhea Silvia to become a vestal virgin, thereby ensuring that there would be no other claimant to the throne. But the war god Mars raped her in his sacred grove, and Rhea Silvia gave birth to Romulus and Remus.
Amulius ordered his servants to kill the new born twins, but instead they cast them on the Tiber. Their cradle was carried swiftly away and eventually came to rest on a mud bank. To look after his children, Mars sent his sacred animal the wolf. Later Romulus and Remus were discovered in the wolf's lair by a shepherd named Faustulus, who took the foundlings home. So they were raised as sheperds, although the ability of the brothers to lead others, and to fight, eventually became widly known. One day Numitor met Remus and guessed who he was and so the lost grandchildren were reunited with him, but they were not content to live quietly in Alba Longa. Instead, they went off and founded a coty of their own - Rome. A quarrel, however, ensued and Romulus killed Remus, possibly with a blow from a spade. Though he showed remorse at the funeral, Romulus ruled Rome with a strong hand and the city flourished. It was a haven for runaway slaves and other fugitives, but suffered from a shortage of women, which Romulus overcame by arranging for the capture of Sabine women at a nearby festival. After a reign of forty years he disappeared to become, some of his subjects believed, the war god Quirinus.
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