Zonaras 7, 6
Neither of the two, Tullus or Mettius, sanctioned the removal of his people to the other city, but both championed their own pretensions. For Tullus felt emboldened in view of the fame of Romulus and of the power they now possessed, and so did Fufetius in view of the antiquity of Alba and because it was the mother city not only of the Romans themselves but of many others; and both felt no little pride. For these reasons they gave up that contention but disputed about the leadership. They saw that it was impossible, on the basis of equal sovereignty, for the two peoples to form an alliance that would be safe and free from strife, owing to the inherent disposition of men to quarrel with their equals and to desire to rule others. On this subject also they made many representations to each other, to see if by any means either would voluntarily concede the sovereignty to the other. However, they accomplished nothing, but agreed to fight for the leadership.
When Numa died leaving no successor, Tullus Hostilius was chosen by the people and the senate. He sneered at most of Numa's practices and followed in the footsteps of Romulus; and he was not only himself eager for battle but also provoked the same spirit in his people. Thus when the territory of the Albans had been raided by the Romans, both sides rushed to battle; but before fighting they effected a reconciliation and both races decided to dwell together in one city. When, however, each clung to its own city and insisted that the other should move to it, they gave up this intention. Next they disputed about the leadership; and when neither would yield to the other, they arranged to have a contest for the sovereignty. They did not, however, care to fight with entire armies nor yet to let the issue be decided by single combat. Now there were on both sides brothers born three at a birth, the offspring of twin mothers, of like age and matched in prowess; the Roman brothers we called Publihoratii and the Albans Curiatii. These they put forward as their champions for battle, paying no heed to the relationship between them. So the six took up their arms, arrayed themselves opposite each other in the space between the armies, called upon the same family gods and continually glanced upward at the sun. Then they joined battle, now in groups, and now by pairs. Finally, when two of the Romans had fallen and all of the Albans had been wounded, the surviving Horatius, because he could not contend with the three at once, even though he was unwounded, gave way in order that in pursuing him they might be scattered. And when they had become separated in the pursuit, he attacked each one by himself and slew them all.
For this he was honoured; but because he furthermore killed his sister, when she lamented on seeing Horatius carrying the spoils of her cousins, he was tried for murder. However, he appealed to the people and was acquitted.
The Albans now became subjects of the Romans, but later they disregarded the compact. When summoned, as subjects, to serve as allies, they attempted at the crisis of the battle to desert that enemy and to join in the attack upon the Romans; but they were detected and punished. Many, including their leader, Mettius, were put to death, while the rest suffered deportation; and their city, Alba, was razed to the ground, although for some five hundred years it had been honoured by the Romans as their mother city.
Tullus was regarded as a most valiant man against the enemy, but he absolutely despised and neglected the worship of the gods, until, during the occurrence of a pestilence, he himself fell sick. Then, indeed, he paid the strictest regard to all the gods, and in particular established the Salii Collini.
Marcius came to realize that it is not enough for men who desire peace to refrain from injuring others, and that inoffensiveness without aggressiveness is not a means of safety, but the more one strives after peace the more vulnerable does one become to the mass of mankind; and he accordingly changed his policy. He saw that the desire for quiet is not effective as a safeguard unless accompanied by equipment for war; he perceived also that the satisfactions of a policy of inoffensiveness very quickly and easily ruin those who carry it too far. For this reason he concluded that war afforded at once a more honourable and secure guaranty of peace, both materially and morally; and so whatever he was unable to obtain from the Latins with their consent, and without injuring them, he took away against their will by force of arms.
While Tullus was accounted a most valiant man against the enemy, he neglected the worship of the gods. But when a pestilence visited the Romans and he himself fell sick, he turned aside to superstition. He is said to have met his end by being consumed by lightning, or else as the result of a plot formed by Ancus Marcius, who was, as we have stated, a son of Numa's daughter. He was king of the Romans thirty-two years.
Marcius succeeded Hostilius, receiving the kingdom as a voluntary gift from the Romans. He was not perfect in his arm, for he was maimed at the joint [ankylê], whence he got the nickname Ancus. Though naturally mild, he was compelled to change his policy, and so turned his attention to campaigns.
For the rest of the Latins, on account of the destruction of Alba and in fear that they themselves might suffer some similar disaster, were angry at the Romans. As long as Tullus survived, they had restrained themselves, fearing him as a mighty warrior; but thinking that Marcius was easy to attack because of his peaceful disposition, they assailed his territory and pillaged it. He, realizing that war is the means of peace, assailed his assailants, and avenged himself; he captured some of their cities, one of which he razed to the ground, and disposed of many of the prisoners as captives, while he settled many others in Rome. As the Romans multiplied and land was added to their domain, the neighbouring peoples became displeased and set themselves at odds with them. Hence the Romans overcame the Fidenates by siege, discomfited the Sabines by falling upon them while they were scattered and seizing their camp, and so terrified the rest that they caused them to remain at peace even against their will. After this Marcius' span of life came to its close, when he had ruled for twenty-four years; he was a man who paid strict attention to religion after the manner of his grandfather Numa.
Tarquinius, by using his great wealth, intelligence, and versatility everywhere, as occasion offered, impressed Marcius so favourably that he was enrolled by the latter among the patricians and senators, was often appointed general and was entrusted with the supervision of the king's children and of the kingdom. He was no less agreeable to the rest, and consequently they welcomed his leadership. The reason was that while he took all measures from which he might derive strength he did not lose his head, but though among the foremost, humbled himself. Any laborious tasks he would undertake in the place of others, and that openly; but pleasures he willingly resigned to others, while he himself obtained either nothing or but little, and then unnoticed. The responsibility for what went well he ascribed to any one sooner than himself, and he placed the resulting advantages within the reach of the public for whoever desired them; but disagreeable issues he never laid to the charge of any one else, nor attempted to divide the blame. Besides, he favoured all the friends of Marcius individually both in word and in deed. Money he spent unstintingly, and he was ready to offer his services to any who needed aught of him. He neither said nor did anything mean to anybody, and did not willingly become anybody's enemy. Furthermore, whatever favours he received from others he always exaggerated, but unpleasant treatment he either did not notice at all or minimized it and regarded it as of very slight importance; and he not only refused to retaliate in such cases, but actually conferred kindnesses until he won even the offender over completely. From this course, accordingly, he gained a certain reputation for cleverness, because he had come to dominate Marcius and his whole circle; but by his subsequent behaviour he caused the majority of men to be distrusted, either as being deceitful by nature or as changing their disposition according to their power and fortunes.
The sovereignty was now appropriated by Lucius Tarquinius, who was the son of Demaratus, a Corinthian. Driven into exile, the latter had taken up his abode in Tarquinii, an Etruscan city; and a son, named Lucumo, had been born to him there of a native Etruscan woman. This son, though he inherited much wealth from his father, yet, because as an immigrant he was not thought worthy of the highest offices by the people of Tarquinii, moved to Rome, changing his name along with his city; for he was now called Lucius Tarquinius, after the city in which he had sojourned. It is said that as he was journeying to his new home an eagle swooped down and snatched off the cap he had on his head, and after soaring aloft and screaming for some time, fitted it again to his head; hence he conceived no slight hope and eagerly took up his residence in Rome. And thus not long afterward he was numbered among the foremost men. For, as the result of using his wealth quite unstintingly and of winning over the influential men through his intelligence and versatility, he was enrolled among the patricians and senators by Marcius, was appointed general, and was entrusted with the supervision of the king's children and of the kingdom. He showed himself an excellent man, sharing his money with those in need and offering himself readily to any one who required his assistance; he neither did nor said anything mean to any one. And if he received a favour at the hands of anybody, he magnified it, whereas if any offence was offered him, he either disregarded the injury or minimized it and made light of it, and far from retaliating upon the man who had done the injury, he would even confer kindnesses upon him. Thus he came to dominate both Marcius himself and his circle, and acquired the reputation of being a sensible and upright man.
For when the senate and the people were intending to elect the sons of Marcius, Tarquinius made advances to the most influential element among the senators, after having first sent the fatherless boys to some distant point, as if on a hunting expedition; and then by his words and by his efforts he secured the voting of the kingdom to himself, on the understanding, of course, that he would restore it to the boys when they reached manhood. But after assuming control of affairs he so managed the Romans that they would never wish to choose the boys in his stead. He accustomed the lads to indolence and ruined them soul and body by a sort of kindness. But still feeling anxious in spite of these arrangements, he strengthened himself in the senate. Those of the populace who were friendly towards him he enrolled, to the number of about two hundred, among the patricians and senators, and thus he brought both the senate and the people under his control. He also altered his raiment and insignia to a more magnificent style. These consisted of toga and tunic, purple all over and shot with gold, a crown of precious stones set in gold, and an ivory sceptre and chair; they were later used not only by his successors but also by those who held sway as emperors. He also on the occasion of a triumph paraded with a four-horse chariot and kept twelve lictors for life.
He would certainly have made many other innovations as well, had not Attus Navius withstood him when he desired to rearrange the tribes; this man was an augur whose equal has never been seen. Tarquinius, angry at his opposition, devised a plan to abuse him and to bring his art into contempt. So, putting into his bosom a whetstone and a razor, and having in mind the thought of the whetstone being cut by the razor, a thing that is impossible, he came before the assembly. After he had said all that he wished, and when Attus very stoutly opposed him, he exclaimed, still without yielding in the least: "If you are not opposing me out of quarrelsomeness, but are speaking the truth, answer me in the presence of all these witnesses, whether what I have in mind to do should be performed." Attus, after taking an augury on almost the very spot, replied immediately: "Verily, O King, what you intend should be accomplished." "Well, then," said the other, "take this whetstone and cut it through with this razor; this is what I have had in mind should come to pass." Attus at once took the stone and cut it through. Tarquinius, marvelling, heaped various honours upon him, accorded him the distinction of a bronze statue, and did not again make any change in the established order of the States, but employed Attus as a counsellor in all matters.
He fought against the Latins who had revolted, and afterwards against the Sabines, who, aided by the Etruscans as allies, had invaded the Roman territory; and he conquered them all. When he discovered that one of the priestesses of Vesta, who are required by custom to remain virgins for life, had been seduced by a man, he arranged a kind of oblong underground chamber, and after placing in it a bed, a lamp, and a table well filled with food, he brought thither the unchaste woman, escorted by a procession, and after placing her alive in the room, walled it up. From that time this plan of punishing the priestesses who do not keep their chastity has continued to prevail. The men who dishonour them have their necks inserted in a forked pole in the Forum, and then are scourged naked until they perish.
However, an attack was made upon Tarquinius by the sons of Marcius because he would not yield the sovereignty to them, but instead placed a certain Tullius, born to him by a slave woman, at the head of them all. This more than anything else displeased the patricians. The young men interested some of these in their cause, and then they formed a plot against the king. They arrayed two men like rustics, equipped with axes and sickles, and made them ready to attack him. So these two, since they did not find Tarquinius in the Forum, came to the gates of the palace, pretending to have a dispute with each other, and asked for admission to his presence. Upon gaining their request they began to make opposing arguments, and while Tarquinius was giving his attention to one of them as he pleaded his cause, the other slew him.
Such was the end that befell Tarquinius after he had ruled for thirty-eight years. Nevertheless, the sons of Marcius did not possess themselves of the royal power, but Tullius gained it, through the co-operation of Tanaquil, the wife of Tarquinius. Tullius was the son of a certain woman named Ocrisia, who had been the wife of Spurius Tullius, a Latin, and had been captured in the war and set apart for Tarquinius; she had either become pregnant at home or conceived after her capture (both stories are current). When Tullius had at length reached boyhood he went to sleep on a chair once in the daytime and a quantity of fire seemed to leap forth from his head. Tarquinius, on seeing it, took a lively interest in the boy and when he arrived at maturity had him enrolled among the patricians and senators.
The murderers of Tarquinius were arrested, and his wife and Tullius learned the plan of the plot; but instead of making the king's death known at once, they took him up and pretended to care for him, as if he were still alive, and meanwhile exchanged mutual pledges that Tullius should take the sovereignty but surrender it to Tanaquil's sons when they became men. And when the multitude ran together and raised an outcry, Tanaquil, leaning out of an upper story, said: "Be not afraid. My husband both lives and should be seen by you shortly. But in order that he may regain health at leisure and that no hindrance to business may arise from his being incapacitated, he entrusts the management of the public weal for the present to Tullius." These were her words, and the people not unwillingly accepted Tullius; for he appeared to be an upright man.
When he had thus been granted the administration of public affairs, he managed them for the most part according to orders supposed to come from Tarquinius.
And when he saw the people yielding him obedience in all points,
he brought the assassins of Tarquinius before the senate, though only because of their plot, as he styled it; for he still pretended that the king was alive. They were sentenced and put to death, and the sons of Marcius through fear took refuge among the Volsci. Then Tullius not only revealed the death of Tarquinius but openly took possession of the kingdom. At first he put forward the sons of Tarquinius as an excuse, claiming that he was the guardian of their royal office, but afterward he proceeded to pay court to the people, believing that he could secure control of the multitude very much more easily than of the patricians. He gave them money, assigned land to each individual, and made preparations to free the slaves and adopt them into tribes. As the leaders were irritated at this, he gave instructions that those liberated should perform some services, in requital, for the men who had liberated them. But when the patricians became incensed against him, and circulated, among other charges, one to the effect that he was holding the sovereignty without anybody's sanction, he gathered the people together and addressed them. And by the use of many alluring statements he so disposed them toward himself that they at once voted the kingdom to him outright. He in return bestowed many gifts upon them and enrolled some of them in the senate. These were originally at a disadvantage in most matters as compared with the patricians, but as time went on they shared equally with the patricians in everything except the office of interrex and certain priesthoods, and were distinguished from them in no respect except by their shoes. For the shoes worn by the patricians in the city were ornamented with laced straps and the design of the letter, to signify that they were descended from the original hundred men that had been senators. This, they say, was the letter R, either as indicating the number of the hundred men referred to or else as the initial of the name of the Romans.
In this way Tullius gained control of the populace; but fearing that some rebellion might take place, he entrusted the greater part and the most important of the public business to the care of the more influential citizens. Thus they became harmonious among themselves and transacted the public business in the best manner. He also conducted a few wars against the Veientes and against all the Etruscans, in the course of which nothing was done worthy of record. Wishing to affiliate the Latins still more closely with the Romans, he persuaded them to construct a temple in Rome out of common funds. This they dedicated to Diana. But differences arose in regard to its superintendence. Meantime a Sabine brought to Rome an exceedingly fine cow, intending to sacrifice her to Diana in accordance with the oracle. The oracle declared that he who sacrificed her should exalt his country. One of the Romans, learning of this, went to the man and told him it was necessary that he first be purified in the river, and by his words he persuaded him. After persuading him, he took the cow under the pretence of keeping her safe; and having taken her, he sacrificed her. When the Sabine made known the oracle, the Latins both yielded the presidency of the shrine to the Romans and in other ways honoured them as superior to themselves.
This was the course these matters took. Now Tullius joined his daughters in marriage with the Tarquins, and though he announced that he was going to restore the kingdom to them, he kept putting it off, on one pretext after another. And they were in no amiable frame of mind, but were indignant. The king paid no heed to them and urged the Romans to democracy and freedom. At this the Tarquins were all the more vexed. But the younger brother, angry as he was, still endured it, while the older one decided he could bear Tullius no longer.
And when he found that his wife did not approve his attitude, any more than did his brother, he put his wife to death himself and compassed his brother's death by means of poison administered by the latter's wife.
Then joining himself to his brother's wife, he plotted with her against Tullius. After persuading many of the senators and patricians who had grievances against Tullius to coöperate with him, he unexpectedly repaired with them to the senate, his wife Tullia also following him. And he spoke at considerable length, remind those present of his father's worth and uttering many jests at the expense of Tullius. When the latter, on hearing of it, hastily made his appearance and even spoke a few words, Tarquin seized him, and carrying him forth, cast him down the steps in front of the senate-house. So the king, bewildered by the audacity of Tarquin and surprised that no one came to his assistance, did not say or do anything more. Tarquin at once obtained the kingdom from the senate, and sent some men who slew Tullius while he was on his way home. The latter's daughter, after embracing her husband in the senate-house and saluting him as king, departed for the palace, driving her chariot over the dead body of her father as he lay there.
Thus ruled Tullius and thus he died, after a reign of forty-four years. Tarquin, who succeeded to the kingdom, surrounded himself with body-guards after the manner of Romulus, and used them both night and day, at home and about the Forum. For, as a result of what he had done to his father-in-law, and his wife to her father, they in turn were afraid of other people.
Tarquinius, when he had made sufficient preparations to rule over them even against their will, first proceeded to arrest the most influential of the senators and next some of the other citizens, putting many to death publicly, when he could bring some plausible charge against them, and many others secretly, while some he banished. Not merely because some of them loved Tullius more than they did him, nor because they had family, wealth, or spirit, and displayed conspicuous bravery and extraordinary wisdom did he destroy them, by way of defending himself against some and anticipating the attack of others, out of jealousy and a suspicion likewise that their dissimilarity of character must force them to hate him, but he even slew all his bosom friends who had exerted themselves to help him get the royal power, no less than the rest; for he thought that impelled by the audacity and fondness for revolution through which they had helped him to obtain dominion they might likewise give it to some one else. So he made away with the most powerful element among the senators and the knights and did not appoint to those orders any one whatever in place of the men who were being destroyed; for he believed that he was hated by the entire populace and he was anxious to render the classes mentioned utterly powerless through lack of numbers. In fact, he even undertook to abolish the senate altogether, since he believed that every gathering of men, particularly of chosen persons who possessed some semblance of authority from antiquity, was most hostile to a tyrant. But since he was afraid that the multitude or even his body-guards themselves, in their capacity as citizens, might revolt by reason of vexation at the change in government, he refrained from doing this openly, but effectively gained his object in a convenient manner. He not only introduced no new member into the senate to make up the loss, but even to those who were left he communicated nothing of importance. He used to call the senators together, to be sure, yet it was not to gain their assistance in the conduct of any important business; nay, this very act was designed to furnish a proof of their small numbers and thereby to bring humiliation and contempt upon them. Most of the business he carried on by himself or with the aid of his sons, partly in order that no one else should have any power, and partly for the reason that he shrank from publishing matters involving his own wrong-doing. He was difficult of access and hard to accost, and showed such great haughtiness and brutality toward all alike that he received as a result the nickname of Proud. Among other decidedly tyrannical deeds of himself and his sons, he once bound some citizens naked to stakes in the very Forum and before the eyes of the citizens, and scourged them to death with rods. This punishment, invented by him at that time, has often been inflicted.
And when he had made his preparations to rule over them, he proceeded to arrest and put to death the most influential of the senators and other citizens, executing publicly those against whom he was able to bring a charge, and others secretly; some also he banished. He destroyed not merely the followers of Tullius, but in addition those who had coöperated with himself in securing the royal power, and thus he made away with the most powerful element among the senators and the knights. He believed the he was hated by the entire populace; hence he did not appoint any persons whatever in place of the men who were being destroyed, but undertaking to abolish the senate altogether, he not only introduced no new member into it to make up the loss, but even communicated nothing of importance to those who were members. He used to call the senators together, to be sure; yet it was not to gain their assistance in the administration of any important business, but in order that their fewness might be made evident to all and that they might consequently became objects of contempt. Most of the business he carried on by himself or with the aid of his sons. He was hard to approach and hard to accost, and showed great haughtiness and brutality toward all alike, and he as well as his sons adopted a decidedly tyrannical bearing toward everybody. Hence he looked with suspicion even upon the members of his body-guard and secured a new guard from the Latin nation, intermingling the Latins with Romans in the ranks. He intended that the Latins as the result of obtaining equal privileges with the Romans should owe him gratitude, and that the Romans should cause him less dread, since they would no longer be by themselves but would bear arms only in association with the Latins.
He also joined battle with the people of Gabii and fared ill in the conflict, but overcame them by a ruse; for he suggested to his son Sextus that he desert to their side. And that there might be some plausible pretext for his desertion, Sextus reproached his father publicly as a tyrant and a breaker of treaties, and the latter flogged his son and put himself on the defensive.
Then, according to arrangement, the son made his pretended desertion to the people of Gabii, taking along with him money and companions. The enemy believed the trick both on account of the cruelty of Tarquin and because at this time also the son spoke many words of truth in abusing his father and by his conduct seemed to have become thoroughly estranged from him. So they were very glad to receive him, and in his company made many incursions into Roman territory and did it no slight damage. For this reason, and because he privately gave some of them money and also spent it lavishly for public purposes, he was chosen general by them and was entrusted with the management of their government. Thereupon, sending a man secretly, he acquainted his father with what had occurred, and asked him for a plan regarding the future. The king made no answer to the emissary, in order that he might not, in case he were recognized, either willingly or unwillingly reveal something; but leading him into a garden where there were poppies, he struck off with his staff the heads that were most conspicuous and strewed the ground with them; hereupon he dismissed the message-bearer. The latter, without comprehending the affair, repeated the king's actions to Sextus, and he understood the meaning of the suggestion. And Sextus destroyed the more prominent men of Gabii, some secretly by poison, others by the hands of certain alleged robbers, and still others he put to death after judicial trial by concocting against them false accusations of traitorous dealings with his father.
Thus did Sextus deal with the men of Gabii; he destroyed the more influential citizens and distributed their wealth among the populace. Later when some had already perished and the rest had been cozened and thoroughly believed in him, assisted by the Roman captives and the deserters whom he had gathered including numbers for the purpose, he seized the city and handed it over to his father. The king bestowed it upon his son, and himself made war upon other nations.
Zonaras Tzetzes in Lycophr. Alex. 1279
The oracles of the Sibyl Tarquin obtained for the Romans quite against his will. A woman whom they called Sibyl, gifted with divine inspiration, came to Rome bringing three or nine books, and offered these to Tarquin for purchase, stating the price of the books. As he paid no attention to her, she burned one or three of the books. When again Tarquin scorned her, she destroyed part of the rest in a similar way. And she was about to burn up the others also when the augurs compelled him to purchase the few that were intact anyhow. He bought these for the price for which he might have secured them all, and delivered them to two senators to keep. Since they did not entirely understand the contents, they sent to Greece and hired two men to come from there to read and interpret these books. The people of the neighbourhood, desiring to learn just what it was that was revealed by the books, bribed Marcus Acilius, one of the custodians, and had some parts copied out. When this affair became known, Marcus was thrust between two hides sewn together and drowned, in order that neither earth nor water nor sun might be defiled by his death; and beginning with him, this punishment has ever since prevailed in the case of parricides.
The Sibyl about whom Lycophron is now speaking was the Cumaean, who died in the time of Tarquin the Proud, leaving behind three or nine of her prophetic books. Of these the Romans bought either one or three, since her servant had destroyed the rest by fire because they would not give her as much gold as he asked. This they later did, and bought either one that was left, or else three, and gave them to Marcus Acilius to keep. But because he lent them to be copied, they put him to death by enclosing him alive in the skin of an ox; and for the book or books they dug a hole in the midst of the Forum and buried them along with a chest.
The temple on the Tarpeian mount he constructed in accordance with the vow of his father. And as the earth was being excavated for the laying of the foundations, there appeared the head of a man but lately dead, still with blood in it. Accordingly the Romans sent to a soothsayer of Etruria to ask what was signified by the phenomenon. Now he, with the design of making the portent apply to Etruria, made a sketch upon the ground and in it laid out the plan of Rome and the Tarpeian mount. He intended to ask the envoys: "Is this Rome? Is this the mount? Was the head found here?" They would suspect nothing and would assent, and so the efficacy of the portent would be transferred to the place where it had been shown in the diagram. This was his design, but the envoys learned of it from his son, and when the question was put to them, they answered: "The settlement of Rome is not here, but in Latium, and the mount is in the country of the Romans, and the head was found on that mount." Thus the design of the soothsayer was thwarted and they learned the whole truth and reported it to their fellow-citizens, to the effect that they should be very powerful and rule a vast multitude. This, then, was another event that inspired them with hope, and they accordingly renamed the mount Capitolium; for capita in the Roman tongue means the "head."
Needing money for the building of the temple, Tarquin waged war upon the inhabitants of Ardea; but from this he not only gained no money, but was actually driven out of the kingdom. Signs also came in his way that indicated his expulsion. Out of his garden vultures drove the young of eagles, and in the men's hall, where he was having a banquet with his friends, a huge serpent appeared and drove him and his companions from the table. In consequence of these portents he sent his sons Titus and Arruns to Delphi. But as Apollo declared that he should be driven from his domain only when a dog should use human speech, he was inspired with confident hope, thinking that the oracle could never be fulfilled.
Lucius Junius, a son of Tarquin's sister, in terror after the king had killed his father and brother and had also seized their property, feigned stupidity, in the hope that he might possibly survive. For he well understood that every person possessed of his wits, especially when he is of a distinguished family, becomes an object of suspicion to tyrants. And when once he had set out on this course, he acted his part with the greatest precision, and for that reason was also called Brutus; for this was the name that the Latins gave to idiots. When sent along with Titus and Arruns as a butt, he carried a kind of staff as a votive offering, he said, to the god, though it had no great value so far as one could see.
They made sport of Brutus, not only for his gift, but also because, when the oracle replied to the ambassadors, upon their inquiring which should succeed to their father's kingdom, that the first to kiss his mother should obtain the power over the Romans, he kissed the earth, pretending to have fallen down accidentally; for he regarded her as the mother of all mankind.
Brutus overthrew the Tarquins for the following reason. During the siege of Ardea the sons of Tarquin were one day dining with Brutus and Collatinus, since these two were of their own age and relatives; and they fell into a discussion and finally into a dispute about the virtue of their wives, each one giving the preference to his own spouse. And, as all the women happened to be absent from the camp, they decided straightway that night, before they could be announced, to take horse and ride away to all of them simultaneously. This they did, and found all engaged in revelry except Lucretia, the wife of Collatinus, whom they discovered at work on her wool. When this fact about her became noised abroad, Sextus conceived a desire to outrage her. Perchance he even felt some love for her, since she was of surpassing beauty; still, it was rather her reputation than her body that he desired to ruin. He watched for an occasion when Collatinus was among the Rutuli, hurried to Collatia, and coming to her by night as to a kinswoman, obtained both food and lodging. At first he tried to persuade her to grant her favours to him but meeting with no success, he attempted force. When he found he could make no progress by this means either, he devised a novel plan by which, strangely enough, he compelled her to submit voluntarily to be outraged. To his declaration that he would slay her she paid no attention, and to his statement that he would make away also with one of the servants she listened in contempt. But when he further threatened to lay the body of the servant beside her and spread the report that he had found them sleeping together and killed them, she could no longer endure it, but, fearing it might really be believed that this had so happened, chose to yield to him and die after giving an account of the affair rather than lose her good name in perishing at once. For this reason she did not refuse to commit adultery, but afterward she made ready a dagger beneath the pillow and sent for her husband and her father. As soon as they had come she wept bitterly and sighed, then said: "Father, I can confess it to you with less shame than to my husband, it was no honourable deed I did last night, but Sextus forced me, threatening to kill me and a slave together and to pretend he had found me sleeping with the man. It was this threat that compelled me to sin, to prevent you from really believing that such a thing had taken place. Now I, because I am a woman, will treat my case as becomes me; but do you, if you are men and care for our wives and for our children, avenge me, free yourselves, and show the tyrants what manner of men you are and what manner of woman of yours they have outraged." When she had spoken to this effect, she did not wait for any reply, but immediately drew the dagger from its hiding-place and slew herself.
Now Lucius Junius was a son of Tarquin's sister; his father and brother Tarquin had killed. So he, fearing now for his own person, feigned stupidity, employing this means of safety as a screen for his life. Hence he was nicknamed Brutus, for the Latins were accustomed to give this name to idiots. While acting the fool he was taken along by the sons of Tarquin as a butt, when they journeyed to Delphi. And he said that he was carrying a votive offering to the god; this was a kind of staff, apparently possessing no point of excellence, so that he became a laughing-stock for it all the more. It furnished a sort of image of the affliction that he feigned. For he had hollowed it out and had secretly poured in gold, indicating thereby that there was likewise concealed behind the disesteem which he suffered for his stupidity a sound and estimable intelligence. Now when the sons of Tarquin inquired who should succeed to their father's kingdom, the god replied that the first who kissed his mother should obtain the power. Then Brutus, comprehending, fell down as if by chance and kissed the earth, rightly deeming her to be the mother of all.
This Brutus overthrew the Tarquins, taking as his justification the fate of Lucretia, though these princes were, quite apart from that, hated by all for their despotic and violent ways. Lucretia was the daughter of Lucretius Spurius, a member of the senate, and she was wife of the distinguished Tarquinius Collatinus, and was renowned for her beauty and chastity. Sextus, the son of Tarquin, set his heart upon outraging her, not so much because he was inspired with passion by her beauty as because he chose to plot against her chaste reputation. So, having waited for Collatinus to be away from home, he came by night to her, as to the wife of a relative, and lodged at her house. And first he tried by persuasion to secure illicit pleasure from her and then he resorted to violence. When he could not succeed, he threatened to slay her. But inasmuch as she scorned even death, he threatened furthermore to lay a slave beside her and to kill them both and spread the report that he had found them sleeping together and had killed them. This rendered Lucretia distraught, and, fearing that it might be believed to have so happened, she surrendered. And after the act of adultery she placed a dagger beneath the pillow, and sent for her husband and her father. When they came, accompanied by Brutus and Publius Valerius, she wept bitterly and sighed, then related the whole story. Thereupon she added: "Now I will treat my case as becomes me; but do you, if you are men, avenge me, free yourselves, and show the tyrants what manner of men you are and what manner of woman of yours they have outraged." When she had spoken thus, she immediately drew the dagger from its hiding-place and killed herself.
When the men had heard and beheld these things, they were greatly grieved. But Brutus, availing himself of the advice and zeal of Publius in the emergency, showed the woman to many of the people as she lay there, and he addressed the others, causing them to manifest their hatred openly against the tyrants; and they made a compact not to receive Tarquin again. After accomplishing thus much and entrusting the city to the others, Brutus himself rode off to the camp, where he persuaded the soldiers to adopt the same course as the people he had chosen. And when Tarquin learned of what had occurred and hastened toward the city, he was repulsed and fled to Tarquinii, accompanied by his children and the rest of his followers, with the single exception of Tullia; she, as the story goes, destroyed herself.