Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Plutarch's Lives

Part 1 out of 35

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 4.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Plutarch's Lives

The following are the names of the chapters. These names, in all
capitals, are found only once in the text, at the start of the chapter.


Tom Trent


As geographers, Sosius, crowd into the edges of their maps parts of the
world which they do not know about, adding notes in the margin to the
effect, that beyond this lies nothing but sandy deserts full of wild
beasts, unapproachable bogs, Scythian ice, or a frozen sea, so, in this
work of mine, in which I have compared the lives of the greatest men
with one another, after passing through those periods which probable
reasoning can reach to and real history find a footing in, I might very
well say of those that are farther off, Beyond this there is nothing but
prodigies and fictions, the only inhabitants are the poets and inventors
of fables; there is no credit, or certainty any farther. Yet, after
publishing an account of Lycurgus the lawgiver and Numa the king, I
thought I might, not without reason, ascend as high as to Romulus, being
brought by my history so near to his time.
Considering therefore with myself

Whom shall I set so great a man to face?
Or whom oppose? who's equal to the place?

(as Aeschylus expresses it), I found none so fit as him that peopled the
beautiful and far-famed city of Athens, to be set in opposition with the
father of the invincible and renowned city of Rome. Let us hope that
Fable may, in what shall follow, so submit to the purifying processes of
Reason as to take the character of exact history. In any case, however,
where it shall be found contumaciously slighting credibility, and
refusing to be reduced to anything like probable fact, we shall beg
that we may meet with candid readers, and such as will receive with
indulgence the stories of antiquity.

Theseus seemed to me to resemble Romulus in many particulars. Both of
them, born out of wedlock and of uncertain parentage, had the repute of
being sprung from the gods.

Both warriors; that by all the world's allowed.

Both of them united with strength of body an equal vigor mind; and of
the two most famous cities of the world the one built Rome, and the
other made Athens be inhabited. Both stand charged with the rape of
women; neither of them could avoid domestic misfortunes nor jealousy at
home; but towards the close of their lives are both of them said to have
incurred great odium with their countrymen, if, that is, we may take the
stories least like poetry as our guide to the truth.

The lineage of Theseus, by his father's side, ascends as high as to
Erechtheus and the first inhabitants of Attica. By his mother's side he
was descended of Pelops. For Pelops was the most powerful of all the
kings of Peloponnesus, not so much by the greatness of his riches as the
multitude of his children, having married many daughters to chief men,
and put many sons in places of command in the towns round about him.
One of whom named Pittheus, grandfather to Theseus, was governor of the
small city of the Troezenians, and had the repute of a man of the
greatest knowledge and wisdom of his time; which then, it seems,
consisted chiefly in grave maxims, such as the poet Hesiod got his great
fame by, in his book of Works and Days. And, indeed, among these is one
that they ascribe to Pittheus,--

Unto a friend suffice
A stipulated price;

which, also, Aristotle mentions. And Euripides, by calling Hippolytus "
scholar of the holy Pittheus," shows the opinion that the world had of

Aegeus, being desirous of children, and consulting the oracle of Delphi,
received the celebrated answer which forbade him the company of any
woman before his return to Athens. But the oracle being so obscure as
not to satisfy him that he was clearly forbid this, he went to Troezen,
and communicated to Pittheus the voice of the god,
which was in this manner,--

Loose not the wine-skin foot, thou chief of men,
Until to Athens thou art come again.

Pittheus, therefore, taking advantage from the obscurity of the oracle,
prevailed upon him, it is uncertain whether by persuasion or deceit, to
lie with his daughter Aethra. Aegeus afterwards, knowing her whom he
had lain with to be Pittheus's daughter, and suspecting her to be with
child by him, left a sword and a pair of shoes, hiding them under a
great stone that had a hollow in it exactly fitting them; and went away
making her only privy to it, and commanding her, if she brought forth a
son who, when he came to man's estate, should be able to lift up the
stone and take away what he had left there, she should send him away to
him with those things with all secrecy, and with injunctions to him as
much as possible to conceal his journey from every one; for he greatly
feared the Pallantidae, who were continually mutinying against him, and
despised him for his want of children, they themselves being fifty
brothers, all sons of Pallas.

When Aethra was delivered of a son, some say that he was immediately
named Theseus, from the tokens which his father had put @ under the
stone; others that he received his name afterwards at Athens, when
Aegeus acknowledged him for his son. He was brought up under his
grandfather Pittheus, and had a tutor and attendant set over him named
Connidas, to whom the Athenians, even to this time, the day before the
feast that is dedicated to Theseus, sacrifice a ram, giving this honor
to his memory upon much juster grounds than to Silanio and Parrhasius,
for making pictures and statues of Theseus. There being then a custom
for the Grecian youth, upon their first coming to man's estate, to go to
Delphi and offer first-fruits of their hair to the god, Theseus also
went thither, and a place there to this day is yet named Thesea, as it
is said, from him. He clipped only the fore part of his head, as Homer
says the Abantes did.% And this sort of tonsure was from him named
Theseis. The Abantes first used it, not in imitation of the Arabians,
as some imagine, nor of the Mysians, but because they were a warlike
people, and used to close fighting, and above all other nations
accustomed to engage hand to hand; as Archilochus testifies
in these verses: --

Slings shall not whirl, nor many arrows fly,
When on the plain the battle joins; but swords,
Man against man, the deadly conflict try,
As is the practice of Euboea's lords
Skilled with the spear.--

Therefore that they might not give their enemies a hold by their hair,
they cut it in this manner. They write also that this was the reason
why Alexander gave command to his captains that all the beards of the
Macedonians should be shaved, as being the readiest hold for an enemy.

Aethra for some time concealed the true parentage of Theseus, and a
report was given out by Pittheus that he was begotten by Neptune; for
the Troezenians pay Neptune the highest veneration. He is their tutelar
god, to him they offer all their first-fruits, and in his honor stamp
their money with a trident.

Theseus displaying not only great strength of body, but equal bravery,
and a quickness alike and force of understanding, his mother Aethra,
conducting him to the stone, and informing him who was his true father,
commanded him to take from thence the tokens that Aegeus had left, and
to sail to Athens. He without any difficulty set himself to the stone
and lifted it up; but refused to take his journey by sea, though it was
much the safer way, and though his mother and grandfather begged him to
do so. For it was at that time very dangerous to go by land on the road
to Athens, no part of it being free from robbers and murderers. That
age produced a sort of men, in force of hand, and swiftness of foot, and
strength of body, excelling the ordinary rate, and wholly incapable of
fatigue; making use, however, of these gifts of nature to no good or
profitable purpose for mankind, but rejoicing and priding themselves in
insolence, and taking the benefit of their superior strength in the
exercise of inhumanity and cruelty, and in seizing, forcing, and
committing all manner of outrages upon every thing that fell into their
hands; all respect for others, all justice, they thought, all equity and
humanity, though naturally lauded by common people, either out of want
of courage to commit injuries or fear to receive them, yet no way
concerned those who were strong enough to win for themselves. Some of
these, Hercules destroyed and cut off in his passage through these
countries, but some, escaping his notice while he was passing by, fled
and hid themselves, or else were spared by him in contempt of their
abject submission; and after that Hercules fell into misfortune, and,
having slain Iphitus, retired to Lydia, and for a long time was there
slave to Omphale, a punishment which he had imposed upon himself for the
murder, then, indeed, Lydia enjoyed high peace and security, but in
Greece and the countries about it the like villanies again revived and
broke out, there being none to repress or chastise them. It was
therefore a very hazardous journey to travel by land from Athens to
Peloponnesus; and Pittheus, giving him an exact account of each of these
robbers and villains, their strength, and the cruelty they used to all
strangers, tried to persuade Theseus to go by sea. But he, it seems,
had long since been secretly fired by the glory of Hercules, held him in
the highest estimation, and was never more satisfied than in listening
to any that gave an account of him; especially those that had seen him,
or had been present at any action or saying of his. So that he was
altogether in the same state of feeling as, in after ages, Themistocles
was, when he said that he could not sleep for the trophy of Miltiades;
entertaining such admiration for the virtue of Hercules, that in the
night his dreams were all of that hero's actions. and in the day a
continual emulation stirred him up to perform the like. Besides, they
were related, being born of cousins-german. For Aethra was daughter of
Pittheus, and Alcmena of Lysidice; and Lysidice and Pittheus were brother
and sister, children of Hippodamia and Pelops. He thought it therefore a
dishonorable thing, and not to be endured, that Hercules should go out
everywhere, and purge both land and sea from wicked men, and he himself
should fly from the like adventures that actually came in his way;
disgracing his reputed father by a mean flight by sea, and not showing
his true one as good evidence of the greatness of his birth by noble and
worthy actions, as by the tokens that he brought with him,
the shoes and the sword.

With this mind and these thoughts, he set forward with a design to do
injury to nobody, but to repel and revenge himself of all those that
should offer any. And first of all, in a set combat, he slew
Periphetes, in the neighborhood of Epidaurus, who used a club for his
arms, and from thence had the name of Corynetes, or the club-bearer; who
seized upon him, and forbade him to go forward in his journey. Being
pleased with the club, he took it, and made it his weapon, continuing to
use it as Hercules did the lion's skin, on whose shoulders that served
to prove how huge a beast he had killed; and to the same end Theseus
carried about him this club; overcome indeed by him,
but now, in his hands, invincible.

Passing on further towards the Isthmus of Peloponnesus, he slew Sinnis,
often surnamed the Bender of Pines, after the same manner in which he
himself had destroyed many others before. And this he did without
having either practiced or ever learnt the art of bending these trees,
to show that natural strength is above all art. This Sinnis had a
daughter of remarkable beauty and stature, called Perigune, who, when
her father was killed, fled, and was sought after everywhere by Theseus;
and coming into a place overgrown with brushwood shrubs, and asparagus-
thorn, there, in a childlike, innocent manner, prayed and begged them,
as if they understood her, to give her shelter, with vows that if she
escaped she would never cut them down nor burn them. But Theseus
calling upon her, and giving her his promise that he would use her with
respect, and offer her no injury, she came forth, and in due time bore
him a son, named Melanippus; but afterwards was married to Deioneus, the
son of Eurytus, the Oechalian, Theseus himself giving her to him.
Ioxus, the son of this Melanippus who was born to Theseus, accompanied
Ornytus in the colony that he carried with him into Caria, whence it is
a family usage amongst the people called Ioxids, both male and female,
never to burn either shrubs or asparagus-thorn,
but to respect and honor them.

The Crommyonian sow, which they called Phaea, was a savage and
formidable wild beast, by no means an enemy to be despised. Theseus
killed her, going out of his way on purpose to meet and engage her, so
that he might not seem to perform all his great exploits out of mere
necessity ; being also of opinion that it was the part of a brave man to
chastise villainous and wicked men when attacked by them, but to seek
out and overcome the more noble wild beasts. Others relate that Phaea
was a woman, a robber full of cruelty and lust, that lived in Crommyon,
and had the name of Sow given her from the foulness of her life and
manners, and afterwards was killed by Theseus. He slew also Sciron,
upon the borders of Megara, casting him down from the rocks, being, as
most report, a notorious robber of all passengers, and, as others add,
accustomed, out of insolence and wantonness, to stretch forth his feet
to strangers, commanding them to wash them, and then while they did it,
with a kick to send them down the rock into the sea. The writers of
Megara, however, in contradiction to the received report, and, as
Simonides expresses it, "fighting with all antiquity," contend that
Sciron was neither a robber nor doer of violence, but a punisher of all
such, and the relative and friend of good and just men; for Aeacus, they
say, was ever esteemed a man of the greatest sanctity of all the Greeks;
and Cychreus, the Salaminian, was honored at Athens with divine worship;
and the virtues of Peleus and Telamon were not unknown to any one. Now
Sciron was son-in-law to Cychreus, father-in-law to Aeacus, and
grandfather to Peleus and Telamon, who were both of them sons of Endeis,
the daughter of Sciron and Chariclo; it was not probable, therefore,
that the best of men should make these alliances with one who was worst,
giving and receiving mutually what was of greatest value and most dear
to them. Theseus, by their account, did not slay Sciron in his first
journey to Athens, but afterwards, when he took Eleusis, a city of the
Megarians, having circumvented Diocles, the governor. Such are the
contradictions in this story. In Eleusis he killed Cercyon, the
Arcadian, in a wrestling match. And going on a little farther, in
Erineus, he slew Damastes, otherwise called Procrustes, forcing his body
to the size of his own bed, as he himself was used to do with all
strangers; this he did in imitation of Hercules, who always returned
upon his assailants the same sort of violence that they offered to him;
sacrificed Busiris, killed Antaeus in wrestling, and Cycnus in single
combat, and Termerus by breaking his skull in pieces (whence, they say,
comes the proverb of "a Termerian mischief"), for it seems Termerus
killed passengers that he met, by running with his head against them.
And so also Theseus proceeded in the punishment of evil men, who
underwent the same violence from him which they had inflicted upon
others, justly suffering after the manner of their own injustice.

As he went forward on his journey, and was come as far as the river
Cephisus, some of the race of the Phytalidae met him and saluted him,
and, upon his desire to use the purifications, then in custom, they
performed them with all the usual ceremonies, and, having offered
propitiatory sacrifices to the gods, invited him and entertained him at
their house, a kindness which, in all his journey hitherto,
he had not met.

On the eighth day of Cronius, now called Hecatombaeon, he arrived at
Athens, where he found the public affairs full of all confusion, and
divided into parties and factions, Aegeus also, and his whole private
family, laboring under the same distemper; for Medea, having fled from
Corinth, and promised Aegeus to make him, by her art, capable of having
children, was living with him. She first was aware of Theseus, whom as
yet Aegeus did not know, and he being in years, full of jealousies and
suspicions, and fearing every thing by reason of the faction that was
then in the city, she easily persuaded him to kill him by poison at a
banquet, to which he was to be invited as a stranger. He, coming to the
entertainment, thought it not fit to discover himself at once, but,
willing to give his father the occasion of first finding him out, the
meat being on the table, he drew his sword as if he designed to cut with
it; Aegeus, at once recognizing the token, threw down the cup of poison,
and, questioning his son, embraced him, and, having gathered together
all his citizens, owned him publicly before them, who, on their part,
received him gladly for the fame of his greatness and bravery; and it is
said, that when the cup fell, the poison was spilt there where now is
the enclosed space in the Delphinium; for in that place stood Aegeus's
house, and the figure of Mercury on the east side of the temple is
called the Mercury of Aegeus's gate.

The sons of Pallas, who before were quiet, upon expectation of
recovering the kingdom after Aegeus's death, who was without issue, as
soon as Theseus appeared and was acknowledged the successor, highly
resenting that Aegeus first, an adopted son only of Pandion, and not at
all related to the family of Erechtheus, should be holding the kingdom,
and that after him, Theseus, a visitor and stranger, should be destined
to succeed to it, broke out into open war. And, dividing themselves
into two companies, one part of them marched openly from Sphettus, with
their father, against the city, the other, hiding themselves in the
village of Gargettus, lay in ambush, with a design to set upon the enemy
on both sides. They had with them a crier of the township of Agnus,
named Leos, who discovered to Theseus all the designs of the Pallantidae
He immediately fell upon those that lay in ambuscade, and cut them all
off; upon tidings of which Pallas and his company fled
and were dispersed.

From hence they say is derived the custom among the people of the
township of Pallene to have no marriages or any alliance with the people
of Agnus, nor to suffer the criers to pronounce in their proclamations
the words used in all other parts of the country, Acouete Leoi (Hear ye
people), hating the very sound of Leo, because of the treason of Leos.

Theseus, longing to be in action, and desirous also to make himself
popular, left Athens to fight with the bull of Marathon, which did no
small mischief to the inhabitants of Tetrapolis. And having overcome
it, he brought it alive in triumph through the city, and afterwards
sacrificed it to the Delphinian Apollo. The story of Hecale, also, of
her receiving and entertaining Theseus in this expedition, seems to be
not altogether void of truth; for the townships round about, meeting
upon a certain day, used to offer a sacrifice, which they called
Hecalesia, to Jupiter Hecaleius, and to pay honor to Hecale, whom, by a
diminutive name, they called Hecalene, because she, while entertaining
Theseus, who was quite a youth, addressed him, as old people do, with
similar endearing diminutives; and having made a vow to Jupiter for him
as he was going to the fight, that, if he returned in safety, she would
offer sacrifices in thanks of it, and dying before he came back, she had
these honors given her by way of return for her hospitality, by the
command of Theseus, as Philochorus tells us.

Not long after arrived the third time from Crete the collectors of the
tribute which the Athenians paid them upon the following occasion.
Androgeus having been treacherously murdered in the confines of Attica,
not only Minos, his father, put the Athenians to extreme distress by a
perpetual war, but the gods also laid waste their country both famine
and pestilence lay heavy upon them, and even their rivers were dried up.
Being told by the oracle that, if they appeased and reconciled Minos,
the anger of the gods would cease and they should enjoy rest from the
miseries they labored under, they sent heralds, and with much
supplication were at last reconciled, entering into an agreement to send
to Crete every nine years a tribute of seven young men and as many
virgins, as most writers agree in stating; and the most poetical story
adds, that the Minotaur destroyed them, or that, wandering in the
labyrinth, and finding no possible means of getting out, they miserably
ended their lives there; and that this Minotaur was
(as Euripides hath it)

A mingled form, where two strange shapes combined,
And different natures, bull and man, were joined.

But Philochorus says that the Cretans will by no means allow the truth
of this, but say that the labyrinth was only an ordinary prison, having
no other bad quality but that it secured the prisoners from escaping,
and that Minos, having instituted games in honor of Androgeus, gave, as
a reward to the victors, these youths, who in the mean time were kept in
the labyrinth; and that the first that overcame in those games was one
of the greatest power and command among them, named Taurus, a man of no
merciful or gentle disposition, who treated the Athenians that were made
his prize in a proud and cruel manner. Also Aristotle himself, in the
account that he gives of the form of government of the Bottiaeans, is
manifestly of opinion that the youths were not slain by Minos, but spent
the remainder of their days in slavery in Crete; that the Cretans, in
former times, to acquit themselves of an ancient vow which they had
made, were used to send an offering of the first-fruits of their men to
Delphi, and that some descendants of these Athenian slaves were mingled
with them and sent amongst them, and, unable to get their living there,
removed from thence, first into Italy, and settled about Japygia; from
thence again, that they removed to Thrace, and were named Bottiaeans
and that this is the reason why, in a certain sacrifice, the Bottiaean
girls sing a hymn beginning Let us go to Athens. This may show us how
dangerous a thing it is to incur the hostility of a city that is
mistress of eloquence and song. For Minos was always ill spoken of, and
represented ever as a very wicked man, in the Athenian theaters; neither
did Hesiod avail him by calling him "the most royal Minos," nor Homer,
who styles him "Jupiter's familiar friend;" the tragedians got the
better, and from the vantage ground of the stage showered down obloquy
upon him, as a man of cruelty and violence; whereas, in fact, he appears
to have been a king and a lawgiver, and Rhadamanthus a judge under him,
administering the statutes that he ordained.

Now when the time of the third tribute was come, and the fathers who had
any young men for their sons were to proceed by lot to the choice of
those that were to be sent, there arose fresh discontents and
accusations against Aegeus among the people, who were full of grief and
indignation that he, who was the cause of all their miseries, was the
only person exempt from the punishment; adopting and settling his
kingdom upon a bastard and foreign son, he took no thought, they said,
of their destitution and loss, not of bastards, but lawful children.
These things sensibly affected Theseus, who, thinking it but just not to
disregard, but rather partake of, the sufferings of his fellow citizens,
offered himself for one without any lot. All else were struck with
admiration for the nobleness and with love for the goodness of the act;
and Aegeus, after prayers and entreaties, finding him inflexible and not
to be persuaded, proceeded to the choosing of the rest by lot.
Hellanicus, however, tells us that the Athenians did not send the young
men and virgins by lot, but that Minos himself used to come and make his
own choice, and pitched upon Theseus before all others; according to the
conditions agreed upon between them, namely, that the Athenians should
furnish them with a ship, and that the young men that were to sail with
him should carry no weapon of war; but that if the Minotaur was
destroyed, the tribute should cease.

On the two former occasions of the payment of the tribute, entertaining
no hopes of safety or return, they sent out the ship with a black sail,
as to unavoidable destruction; but now, Theseus encouraging his father
and speaking greatly of himself, as confident that he should kill the
Minotaur, he gave the pilot another sail, which was white, commanding
him, as he returned, if Theseus were safe, to make use of that; but if
not, to sail with the black one, and to hang out that sign of his
misfortune. Simonides says that the sail which Aegeus delivered to the
pilot was not white, but

Scarlet, in the juicy bloom
Of the living oak-tree steeped,

and that this was to be the sign of their escape. Phereclus, son of
Amarsyas, according to Simonides, was pilot of the ship. But
Philochorus says Theseus had sent him by Scirus, from Salamis,
Nausithous to be his steersman, and Phaeax his look-out-man in the prow,
the Athenians having as yet not applied themselves to navigation; and
that Scirus did this because one of the young men, Menesthes, was his
daughter's son; and this the chapels of Nausithous and Phaeax, built by
Theseus near the temple of Scirus, confirm. He adds, also, that the
feast named Cybernesia was in honor of them. The lot
being cast, and Theseus having received out of the Prytaneum those upon
whom it fell, he went to the Delphinium, and made an offering for them
to Apollo of his suppliant's badge, which was a bough of a consecrated
olive tree, with white wool tied about it.

Having thus performed his devotion, he went to sea, the sixth day of
Munychion, on which day even to this time the Athenians send their
virgins to the same temple to make supplication to the gods. It is
farther reported that he was commanded by the oracle at Delphi to make
Venus his guide, and to invoke her as the companion and conductress of
his voyage, and that, as he was sacrificing a she goat to her by the
seaside, it was suddenly changed into a he, and for this cause that
goddess had the name of Epitrapia.

When he arrived at Crete, as most of the ancient historians as well as
poets tell us, having a clue of thread given him by Ariadne, who had
fallen in love with him, and being instructed by her how to use it so as
to conduct him through the windings of the labyrinth, he escaped out of
it and slew the Minotaur, and sailed back, taking along with him Ariadne
and the young Athenian captives. Pherecydes adds that he bored holes in
the bottoms of the Cretan ships to hinder their pursuit. Demon writes
that Taurus, the chief captain of Minos, was slain by Theseus at the
mouth of the port, in a naval combat, as he was sailing out for Athens.
But Philochorus gives us the story thus: That at the setting forth of
the yearly games by king Minos, Taurus was expected to carry away the
prize, as he had done before; and was much grudged the honor. His
character and manners made his power hateful, and he was accused
moreover of too near familiarity with Pasiphae, for which reason, when
Theseus desired the combat, Minos readily complied. And as it was a
custom in Crete that the women also should be admitted to the sight of
these games, Ariadne, being present, was struck with admiration of the
manly beauty of Theseus, and the vigor and address which he showed in
the combat, overcoming all that encountered with him. Minos, too, being
extremely pleased with him, especially because he had overthrown and
disgraced Taurus, voluntarily gave up the young captives to Theseus, and
remitted the tribute to the Athenians. Clidemus gives an account
peculiar to himself, very ambitiously, and beginning a great way back:
That it was a decree consented to by all Greece, that no vessel from any
place, containing above five persons, should be permitted to sail, Jason
only excepted, who was made captain of the great ship Argo, to sail
about and scour the sea of pirates. But Daedalus having escaped from
Crete, and flying by sea to Athens, Minos, contrary to this decree,
pursued him with his ships of war, was forced by a storm upon Sicily,
and there ended his life. After his decease, Deucalion, his son,
desiring a quarrel with the Athenians, sent to them, demanding that they
should deliver up Daedalus to him, threatening, upon their refusal, to
put to death all the young Athenians whom his father had received as
hostages from the city. To this angry message Theseus returned a very
gentle answer, excusing himself that he could not deliver up Daedalus,
who was nearly related to him, being his cousin-german, his mother being
Merope, the daughter of Erechtheus. In the meanwhile he secretly
prepared a navy, part of it at home near the village of the Thymoetadae,
a place of no resort, and far from any common roads, the other part by
his grandfather Pittheus's means at Troezen, that so his design might be
carried on with the greatest secrecy. As soon as ever his fleet was in
readiness, he set sail, having with him Daedalus and other exiles from
Crete for his guides; and none of the Cretans having any knowledge of
his coming, but imagining, when they saw his fleet, that they were
friends and vessels of their own, he soon made himself master of the
port, and, immediately making a descent, reached Gnossus before any
notice of his coming, and, in a battle before the gates of the
labyrinth, put Deucalion and all his guards to the sword. The
government by this means falling to Ariadne, he made a league with her,
and received the captives of her, and ratified a perpetual friendship
between the Athenians and the Cretans, whom he engaged under an oath
never again to commence any war with Athens.

There are yet many other traditions about these things, and as many
concerning Ariadne, all inconsistent with each other. Some relate that
she hung herself, being deserted by Theseus. Others that she was
carried away by his sailors to the isle of Naxos, and married to
Oenarus, priest of Bacchus; and that Theseus left her
because he fell in love with another,

For Aegle's love was burning in his breast;

a verse which Hereas, the Megarian, says, was formerly in the poet
Hesiod's works, but put out by Pisistratus, in like manner as he added
in Homer's Raising of the Dead, to gratify the Athenians, the line

Theseus, Pirithous, mighty sons of gods.

Others say Ariadne had sons also by Theseus, Oenopion and Staphylus; and
among these is the poet Ion of Chios, who writes of his own native city

Which once Oenopion, son of Theseus, built.

But the more famous of the legendary stories everybody (as I may say)
has in his mouth. In Paeon, however, the Amathusian, there is a story
given, differing from the rest. For he writes that Theseus, being
driven by a storm upon the isle of Cyprus, and having aboard with him
Ariadne, big with child, and extremely discomposed with the rolling of
the sea, set her on shore, and left her there alone, to return himself
and help the ship, when, on a sudden, a violent wind carried him again
out to sea. That the women of the island received Ariadne very kindly,
and did all they could to console and alleviate her distress at being
left behind. That they counterfeited kind letters, and delivered them
to her, as sent from Theseus, and, when she fell in labor, were diligent
in performing to her every needful service; but that she died before she
could be delivered, and was honorably interred. That soon after Theseus
returned, and was greatly afflicted for her loss, and at his departure
left a sum of money among the people of the island, ordering them to do
sacrifice to Ariadne; and caused two little images to be made and
dedicated to her, one of silver and the other of brass. Moreover, that
on the second day of Gorpiaeus, which is sacred to
Ariadne, they have this ceremony among their sacrifices, to have a youth
lie down and with his voice and gesture represent the pains of a woman
in travail; and that the Amathusians call the grove in which they show
her tomb, the grove of Venus Ariadne.

Differing yet from this account, some of the Naxians write that there
were two Minoses and two Ariadnes, one of whom, they say, was married to
Bacchus, in the isle of Naxos, and bore the children Staphylus and his
brother; but that the other, of a later age, was carried off by Theseus,
and, being afterwards deserted by him, retired to Naxos with her nurse
Corcyna, whose grave they yet show. That this Ariadne also died there,
and was worshiped by the island, but in a different manner from the
former; for her day is celebrated with general joy and revelling, but
all the sacrifices performed to the latter are attended
with mourning and gloom.

Now Theseus, in his return from Crete, put in at Delos, and, having
sacrificed to the god of the island, dedicated to the temple the image
of Venus which Ariadne had given him, and danced with the young
Athenians a dance that, in memory of him, they say is still preserved
among the inhabitants of Delos, consisting in certain measured turnings
and returnings, imitative of the windings and twistings of the
labyrinth. And this dance, as Dicaearchus writes, is called among the
Delians, the Crane. This he danced round the Ceratonian Altar, so
called from its consisting of horns taken from the left side of the
head. They say also that he instituted games in Delos where he was the
first that began the custom of giving a palm to the victors.

When they were come near the coast of Attica, so great was the joy for
the happy success of their voyage, that neither Theseus himself nor the
pilot remembered to hang out the sail which should have been the token
of their safety to Aegeus, who, in despair at the sight, threw himself
headlong from a rock, and perished in the sea. But Theseus, being
arrived at the port of Phalerum, paid there the sacrifices which he had
vowed to the gods at his setting out to sea, and sent a herald to the
city to carry the news of his safe return. At his entrance, the herald
found the people for the most part full of grief for the loss of their
king, others, as may well be believed, as full of joy for the tidings
that he brought, and eager to welcome him and crown him with garlands for
his good news, which he indeed accepted of, but hung them upon his
herald's staff; and thus returning to the seaside before Theseus had
finished his libation to the gods, he stayed apart for fear of disturbing
the holy rites, but, as soon as the libation was ended, went up and
related the king's death, upon the hearing of which, with great
lamentations and a confused tumult of grief, they ran with all haste to
the city. And from hence, they say, it comes that at this day, in the
feast of Oschophoria, the herald is not crowned, but his staff, and all
who are present at the libation cry out eleleu iou iou, the first of
which confused sounds is commonly used by men in haste, or at a triumph,
the other is proper to people in consternation or disorder of mind.

Theseus, after the funeral of his father, paid his vows to Apollo the
seventh day of Pyanepsion; for on that day the youth that returned with
him safe from Crete made their entry into the city. They say, also,
that the custom of boiling pulse at this feast is derived from hence;
because the young men that escaped put all that was left of their
provision together, and, boiling it in one common pot, feasted
themselves with it, and ate it all up together. Hence, also, they carry
in procession an olive branch bound about with wool (such as they then
made use of in their supplications), which they call Eiresione, crowned
with all sorts of fruits, to signify that scarcity and barrenness was
ceased, singing in their procession this song:

Eiresione bring figs, and Eiresione bring loaves;
Bring us honey in pints, and oil to rub on our bodies,
And a strong flagon of wine, for all to go mellow to bed on.

Although some hold opinion that this ceremony is retained in memory of
the Heraclidae, who were thus entertained and brought up by the
Athenians. But most are of the opinion which we have given above.

The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned had thirty
oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of
Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed,
putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this
ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical
question as to things that grow; one side holding that the ship
remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.

The feast called Oschophoria, or the feast of boughs, which to this day
the Athenians celebrate, was then first instituted by Theseus. For he
took not with him the full number of virgins which by lot were to be
carried away, but selected two youths of his acquaintance, of fair and
womanish faces, but of a manly and forward spirit, and having, by
frequent baths, and avoiding the heat and scorching of the sun, with a
constant use of all the ointments and washes and dresses that serve to
the adorning of the head or smoothing the skin or improving the
complexion, in a manner changed them from what they were before, and
having taught them farther to counterfeit the very voice and carriage
and gait of virgins, so that there could not be the least difference
perceived; he, undiscovered by any, put them into the number of the
Athenian maids designed for Crete. At his return, he and these two
youths led up a solemn procession, in the same habit that is now worn by
those who carry the vine-branches. These branches they carry in honor
of Bacchus and Ariadne, for the sake of their story before related; or
rather because they happened to return in autumn, the time of gathering
the grapes. The women whom they call Deipnopherae, or supper-carriers,
are taken into these ceremonies, and assist at the sacrifice, in
remembrance and imitation of the mothers of the young men and virgins
upon whom the lot fell, for thus they ran about bringing bread and meat
to their children; and because the women then told their sons and
daughters many tales and stories, to comfort and encourage them under
the danger they were going upon, it has still continued a custom that at
this feast old fables and tales should be told. For these
particularities we are indebted to the history of Demon. There was then
a place chosen out, and a temple erected in it to Theseus, and those
families out of whom the tribute of the youth was gathered were
appointed to pay a tax to the temple for sacrifices to him. And the
house of the Phytalidae had the overseeing of these sacrifices, Theseus
doing them that honor in recompense of their former hospitality.

Now, after the death of his father Aegeus, forming in his mind a great
and wonderful design, he gathered together all the inhabitants of Attica
into one town, and made them one people of one city, whereas before they
lived dispersed, and were not easy to assemble upon any affair for the
common interest. Nay, differences and even wars often occurred between
them, which he by his persuasions appeased, going from township to
township, and from tribe to tribe. And those of a more private and mean
condition readily embracing such good advice, to those of greater power
he promised a commonwealth without monarchy, a democracy, or people's
government in which he should only be continued as their commander in
war and the protector of their laws, all things else being equally
distributed among them; and by this means brought a part of them over to
his proposal. The rest, fearing his power, which was already grown very
formidable, and knowing his courage and resolution, chose rather to be
persuaded than forced into a compliance. He then dissolved all the
distinct state-houses, council halls, and magistracies, and built one
common state-house and council hall on the site of the
present upper town, and gave the name of Athens to the whole state,
ordaining a common feast and sacrifice, which he called Panathenaea, or
the sacrifice of all the united Athenians. He instituted also another
sacrifice, called Metoecia, or Feast of Migration, which is yet
celebrated on the sixteenth day of Hecatombaeon. Then, as he had
promised, he laid down his regal power and proceeded to order a
commonwealth, entering upon this great work not without advice from the
gods. For having sent to consult the oracle of Delphi concerning the
fortune of his new government and city, he received this answer:

Son of the Pitthean maid,
To your town the terms and fates,
My father gives of many states.
Be not anxious nor afraid;
The bladder will not fail so swim
On the waves that compass him.

Which oracle, they say, one of the sibyls long after did in a manner
repeat to the Athenians, in this verse,

The bladder may be dipt, but not be drowned.

Farther yet designing to enlarge his city, he invited all strangers to
come and enjoy equal privileges with the natives, and it is said that
the common form, Come hither all ye people, was the words that Theseus
proclaimed when he thus set up a commonwealth, in a manner, for all
nations. Yet he did not suffer his state, by the promiscuous multitude
that flowed in, to be turned into confusion and be left without any
order or degree, but was the first that divided the Commonwealth into
three distinct ranks, the noblemen, the husbandmen, and artificers.%
To the nobility he committed the care of
religion, the choice of magistrates, the teaching and dispensing of the
laws, and interpretation and direction in all sacred matters; the whole
city being, as it were, reduced to an exact equality, the nobles
excelling the rest in honor, the husbandmen in profit, and the
artificers in number. And that Theseus was the first, who, as Aristotle
says, out of an inclination to popular government, parted with the regal
power, Homer also seems to testify, in his catalogue of the ships, where
he gives the name of People to the Athenians only.

He also coined money, and stamped it with the image of an ox, either in
memory of the Marathonian bull, or of Taurus, whom he vanquished, or
else to put his people in mind to follow husbandry; and from this coin
came the expression so frequent among the Greeks, of a thing being worth
ten or a hundred oxen. After this he joined Megara to Attica, and
erected that famous pillar on the Isthmus, which bears an inscription of
two lines, showing the bounds of the two countries that meet there. On
the east side the inscription is,--

Peloponnesus there, Ionia here,

and on the west side,--

Peloponnesus here, Ionia there.

He also instituted the games, in emulation of Hercules, being ambitious
that as the Greeks, by that hero's appointment, celebrated the Olympian
games to the honor of Jupiter, so, by his institution, they should
celebrate the Isthmian to the honor of Neptune. For those that were
there before observed, dedicated to Melicerta, were performed privately
in the night, and had the form rather of a religious rite than of an
open spectacle or public feast. There are some who say that the
Isthmian games were first instituted in memory of Sciron, Theseus thus
making expiation for his death, upon account of the nearness of kindred
between them, Sciron being the son of Canethus and Heniocha, the
daughter of Pittheus; though others write that Sinnis, not Sciron, was
their son, and that to his honor, and not to the other's, these games
were ordained by Theseus. At the same time he made an agreement with
the Corinthians, that they should allow those that came from Athens to
the celebration of the Isthmian games as much space of honor before the
rest to behold the spectacle in, as the sail of the ship that brought
them thither, stretched to its full extent, could cover; so Hellanicus
and Andro of Halicarnassus have established.

Concerning his voyage into the Euxine Sea, Philochorus and some others
write that he made it with Hercules, offering him his service in the war
against the Amazons, and had Antiope given him for the reward of his
valor; but the greater number, of whom are Pherecydes, Hellanicus, and
Herodorus, write that he made this voyage many years after Hercules,
with a navy under his own command, and took the Amazon prisoner, the
more probable story, for we do not read that any other, of all those
that accompanied him in this action, took any Amazon prisoner. Bion
adds, that, to take her, he had to use deceit and fly away; for the
Amazons, he says, being naturally lovers of men, were so far from
avoiding Theseus when he touched upon their coasts, that they sent him
presents to his ship; but he, having invited Antiope, who brought them,
to come aboard, immediately set sail and carried her away. An author
named Menecrates, that wrote the History of Nicaea in Bithynia, adds,
that Theseus, having Antiope aboard his vessel, cruised for some time
about those coasts, and that there were in the same ship three young men
of Athens, that accompanied him in this voyage, all brothers, whose
names were Euneos, Thoas, and Soloon. The last of these fell
desperately in love with Antiope; and, escaping the notice of the rest,
revealed the secret only to one of his most intimate acquaintance, and
employed him to disclose his passion to Antiope, she rejected his
pretenses with a very positive denial, yet treated the matter with much
gentleness and discretion, and made no complaint to Theseus of any thing
that had happened; but Soloon, the thing being desperate, leaped into a
river near the seaside and drowned himself. As soon as Theseus was
acquainted with his death, and his unhappy love that was the cause of
it, he was extremely distressed, and, in the height of his grief, an
oracle which he had formerly received at Delphi came into his mind, for
he had been commanded by the priestess of Apollo Pythius, that, wherever
in a strange land he was most sorrowful and under the greatest
affliction, he should build a city there, and leave some of his
followers to be governors of the place. For this cause he there founded
a city, which he called, from the name of Apollo, Pythopolis, and, in
honor of the unfortunate youth, he named the river that runs by it
Soloon, and left the two surviving brothers entrusted with the care of
the government and laws, joining with them Hermus, one of the nobility
of Athens, from whom a place in the city is called the House of Hermus;
though by an error in the accent it has been taken for the House of
Hermes, or Mercury, and the honor that was designed to the hero
transferred to the god.

This was the origin and cause of the Amazonian invasion of Attica, which
would seem to have been no slight or womanish enterprise. For it is
impossible that they should have placed their camp in the very city, and
joined battle close by the Pnyx and the hill called Museum, unless,
having first conquered the country round about, they had thus with
impunity advanced to the city. That they made so long a journey by
land, and passed the Cimmerian Bosphorus when frozen, as Hellanicus
writes, is difficult to be believed. That they encamped all but in the
city is certain, and may be sufficiently confirmed by the names that the
places thereabout yet retain, and the graves and monuments of those that
fell in the battle. Both armies being in sight, there was a long pause
and doubt on each side which should give the first onset; at last
Theseus, having sacrificed to Fear, in obedience to the command of an
oracle he had received, gave them battle; and this happened in the month
of Boedromion, in which to this very day the Athenians celebrate the
Feast Boedromia. Clidemus, desirous to be very circumstantial,writes
that the left wing of the Amazons moved towards the place which is yet
called Amazonium and the right towards the Pnyx, near Chrysa, that
with this wing the Athenians, issuing from behind the Museum, engaged,
and that the graves of those that were slain are to be seen in the
street that leads to the gate called the Piraic, by the chapel of the
hero Chalcodon; and that here the Athenians were routed, and gave way
before the women, as far as to the temple of the Furies, but, fresh
supplies coming in from the Palladium, Ardettus, and the Lyceum, they
charged their right wing, and beat them back into their tents, in which
action a great number of the Amazons were slain. At length, after four
months, a peace was concluded between them by the mediation of Hippolyta
(for so this historian calls the Amazon whom Theseus married, and not
Antiope), though others write that she was slain with a dart by
Molpadia, while fighting by Theseus's side, and that the pillar which
stands by the temple of Olympian Earth was erected to her honor. Nor is
it to be wondered at, that in events of such antiquity, history should
be in disorder. For indeed we are also told that those of the Amazons
that were wounded were privately sent away by Antiope to Chalcis, where
many by her care recovered, but some that died were buried there in the
place that is to this time called Amazonium. That this war, however,
was ended by a treaty is evident, both from the name of the place
adjoining to the temple of Theseus, called, from the solemn oath there
taken, Horcomosium; @ and also from the ancient sacrifice which used to
be celebrated to the Amazons the day before the Feast of Theseus. The
Megarians also show a spot in their city where some Amazons were buried,
on the way from the market to a place called Rhus, where the building in
the shape of a lozenge stands. It is said, likewise, that others of
them were slain near Chaeronea, and buried near the little rivulet,
formerly called Thermodon, but now Haemon, of which an account is given
in the life of Demosthenes. It appears further that the passage of the
Amazons through Thessaly was not without opposition, for there are yet
shown many tombs of them near Scotussa and Cynoscephalae.

This is as much as is worth telling concerning the Amazons. For the
account which the author of the poem called the Theseid gives of this
rising of the Amazons, how Antiope, to revenge herself upon Theseus for
refusing her and marrying Phaedra, came down upon the city with her
train of Amazons, whom Hercules slew, is manifestly nothing else but
fable and invention. It is true, indeed, that Theseus married Phaedra,
but that was after the death of Antiope, by whom he had a son called
Hippolytus, or, as Pindar writes, Demophon. The calamities which befell
Phaedra and this son, since none of the historians have contradicted the
tragic poets that have written of them, we must suppose happened as
represented uniformly by them.

There are also other traditions of the marriages of Theseus, neither
honorable in their occasions nor fortunate in their events, which yet
were never represented in the Greek plays. For he is said to have
carried off Anaxo, a Troezenian, and, having slain Sinnis and Cercyon,
to have ravished their daughters; to have married Periboea, the mother
of Ajax, and then Phereboea, and then Iope, the daughter of Iphicles.
And further, he is accused of deserting Ariadne (as is before related),
being in love with Aegle the daughter of Panopeus, neither justly nor
honorably; and lastly, of the rape of Helen, which filled all Attica
with war and blood, and was in the end the occasion of his banishment
and death, as will presently be related.

Herodorus is of opinion, that though there were many famous expeditions
undertaken by the bravest men of his time, yet Theseus never joined in
any of them, once only excepted, with the Lapithae, in their war against
the Centaurs; but others say that he accompanied Jason to Colchis and
Meleager to the slaying of the Calydonian boar, and that hence it came
to be a proverb, Not without Theseus; that he himself, however, without
aid of any one, performed many glorious exploits, and that from him
began the saying, He is a second Hercules. He also joined Adrastus in
recovering the bodies of those that were slain before Thebes, but not as
Euripides in his tragedy says, by force of arms, but by persuasion and
mutual agreement and composition, for so the greater part of the
historians write; Philochorus adds further that this was the first
treaty that ever was made for the recovering the bodies of the dead, but
in the history of Hercules it is shown that it was he who first gave
leave to his enemies to carry off their slain. The burying-places of
the most part are yet to be seen in the village called Eleutherae; those
of the commanders, at Eleusis, where Theseus allotted them a place, to
oblige Adrastus. The story of Euripides in his Suppliants is disproved
by Aeschylus in his Eleusinians, where Theseus himself relates the facts
as here told.

The celebrated friendship between Theseus and Pirithous is said to have
been thus begun: the fame of the strength and valor of Theseus being
spread through Greece, Pirithous was desirous to make a trial and proof.
of it himself, and to this end seized a herd of oxen which belonged to
Theseus, and was driving them away from Marathon, and, when news was
brought that Theseus pursued him in arms, he did not fly, but turned
back and went to meet him. But as soon as they had viewed one another,
each so admired the gracefulness and beauty, and was seized with such a
respect for the courage, of the other, that they forgot all thoughts of
fighting; and Pirithous, first stretching out his hand to Theseus, bade
him be judge in this case himself, and promised to submit willingly to
any penalty he should impose. But Theseus not only forgave him all, but
entreated him to be his friend and brother in arms; and they ratified
their friendship by oaths. After this Pirithous married Deidamia, and
invited Theseus to the wedding, entreating him to come and see his
country, and make acquaintance with the Lapithae; he had at the same
time invited the Centaurs to the feast, who growing hot with wine and
beginning to be insolent and wild, and offering violence to the women,
the Lapithae took immediate revenge upon them, slaying many of them upon
the place, and afterwards, having overcome them in battle, drove the
whole race of them out of their country, Theseus all along taking their
part and fighting on their side. But Herodorus gives a different
relation of these things: that Theseus came not to the assistance of the
Lapithae till the war was already begun; and that it was in this journey
that he had the first sight of Hercules, having made it his business to
find him out at Trachis, where he had chosen to rest himself after all
his wanderings and his labors; and that this interview was honorably
performed on each part, with extreme respect, good-will, and admiration
of each other. Yet it is more credible, as others write, that there
were, before, frequent interviews between them, and that it was by the
means of Theseus that Hercules was initiated at Eleusis, and purified
before initiation, upon account of several rash actions
of his former life.

Theseus was now fifty years old, as Hellanicus states, when he carried
off Helen, who was yet too young to be married. Some writers, to take
away this accusation of one of the greatest crimes laid to his charge,
say, that he did not steal away Helen himself, but that Idas and Lynceus
were the ravishers, who brought her to him, and committed her to his
charge, and that, therefore, he refused to restore her at the demand of
Castor and Pollux; or, indeed, they say her own father, Tyndarus, had
sent her to be kept by him, for fear of Enarophorus, the son of
Hippocoon, who would have carried her away by force when she was yet a
child. But the most probable account, and that which has most witnesses
on its side, is this: Theseus and Pirithous went both together to
Sparta, and, having seized the young lady as she was dancing in the
temple of Diana Orthia, fled away with her. There were presently men in
arms sent to pursue, but they followed no further than to Tegea; and
Theseus and Pirithous, being now out of danger, having passed through
Peloponnesus, made an agreement between themselves, that he to whom the
lot should fall should have Helen to his wife, but should be obliged to
assist in procuring another for his friend. The lot fell upon Theseus,
who conveyed her to Aphidnae, not being yet marriageable, and delivered
her to one of his allies, called Aphidnus, and, having sent his mother
Aethra after to take care of her, desired him to keep them so secretly,
that none might know where they were; which done, to return the same
service to his friend Pirithous, he accompanied him in his journey to
Epirus, in order to steal away the king of the Molossians' daughter.
The king, his own name being Aidoneus, or Pluto, called his wife
Proserpina, and his daughter Cora, and a great dog which he kept
Cerberus, with whom he ordered all that came as suitors to his daughter
to fight, and promised her to him that should overcome the beast. But
having been informed that the design of Pirithous and his companion was
not to court his daughter, but to force her away, he caused them both to
be seized, and threw Pirithous to be torn in pieces by his dog, and put
Theseus into prison, and kept him.

About this time, Menestheus, the son of Peteus, grandson of Orneus, and
great-grandson to Erechtheus, the first man that is recorded to have
affected popularity and ingratiated himself with the multitude, stirred
up and exasperated the most eminent men of the city, who had long borne
a secret grudge to Theseus, conceiving that he had robbed them of their
several little kingdoms and lordships, and, having pent them all up in
one city, was using them as his subjects and slaves. He put also the
meaner people into commotion, telling them, that, deluded with a mere
dream of liberty, though indeed they were deprived both of that and of
their proper homes and religious usages, instead of many good and
gracious kings of their own, they had given themselves up to be lorded
over by a new-comer and a stranger. Whilst he was thus busied in
infecting the minds of the citizens, the war that Castor and Pollux
brought against Athens came very opportunely to further the sedition he
had been promoting, and some say that he by his persuasions was wholly
the cause of their invading the city. At their first approach, they
committed no acts of hostility, but peaceably demanded their sister
Helen; but the Athenians returning answer that they neither had her
there nor knew where she was disposed of, they prepared to assault the
city, when Academus, having, by whatever means, found it out, disclosed
to them that she was secretly kept at Aphidnae. For which reason he was
both highly honored during his life by Castor and Pollux, and the
Lacedaemonians, when often in aftertimes they made incursions into
Attica, and destroyed all the country round about, spared the Academy
for the sake of Academus. But Dicaearchus writes that there were two
Arcadians in the army of Castor and Pollux, the one called Echedemus and
the other Marathus; from the first that which is now called Academia was
then named Echedemia, and the village Marathon had its name from the
other, who, to fulfill some oracle, voluntarily offered himself to be
made a sacrifice before battle. As soon as they were arrived at
Aphidnae, they overcame their enemies in a set battle, and then
assaulted and took the town. And here, they say, Alycus, the son of
Sciron, was slain, of the party of the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux),
from whom a place in Megara, where he was buried, is called Alycus to
this day. And Hereas writes that it was Theseus himself that killed
him, in witness of which he cites these verses concerning Alycus

And Alycus, upon Aphidna's plain
By Theseus in the cause of Helen slain.

Though it is not at all probable that Theseus himself was there when
both the city and his mother were taken.

Aphidnae being won by Castor and Pollux, and the city of Athens being in
consternation, Menestheus persuaded the people to open their gates, and
receive them with all manner of friendship, for they were, he told them,
at enmity with none but Theseus, who had first injured them, and were
benefactors and saviors to all mankind beside. And their behavior gave
credit to those promises; for, having made themselves absolute masters
of the place, they demanded no more than to be initiated, since they
were as nearly related to the city as Hercules was, who had received the
same honor. This their desire they easily obtained, and were adopted by
Aphidnus, as Hercules had been by Pylius. They were honored also like
gods, and were called by a new name, Anaces, either from the cessation
(Anokhe) of the war, or from the care they took that none should suffer
any injury, though there was so great an army within the walls; for the
phrase anakos ekhein is used of those who look to or care for any thing;
kings for this reason, perhaps, are called anactes. Others say, that
from the appearance of their star in the heavens, they were thus called,
for in the Attic dialect this name comes very near the words
that signify above.

Some say that Aethra, Theseus's mother, was here taken prisoner, and
carried to Lacedaemon, and from thence went away with Helen to Troy,
alleging this verse of Homer, to prove that she waited upon Helen,

Aethra of Pittheus born, and large-eyed Clymene.

Others reject this verse as none of Homer's, as they do likewise the
whole fable of Munychus, who, the story says, was the son of Demophon
and Laodice, born secretly, and brought up by Aethra at Troy. But
Ister, in the thirteenth book of his Attic History, gives us an account
of Aethra, different yet from all the rest: that Achilles and Patroclus
overcame Paris in Thessaly, near the river Sperchius, but that Hector
took and plundered the city of the Troezenians, and made Aethra prisoner
there. But this seems a groundless tale.

Now Hercules, passing by the Molossians, was entertained in his way by
Aidoneus the king, who, in conversation, accidentally spoke of the
journey of Theseus and Pirithous into his country, of what they had
designed to do, and what they were forced to suffer. Hercules was much
grieved for the inglorious death of the one and the miserable condition
of the other. As for Pirithous, he thought it useless to complain; but
begged to have Theseus released for his sake, and obtained that favor
from the king. Theseus, being thus set at liberty, returned to Athens,
where his friends were not yet wholly suppressed, and dedicated to
Hercules all the sacred places which the city had set apart for himself,
changing their names from Thesea to Heraclea, four only excepted, as
Philochorus writes. And wishing immediately to resume the first place
in the commonwealth, and manage the state as before, he soon found
himself involved in factions and troubles; those who long had hated him
had now added to their hatred contempt; and the minds of the people were
so generally corrupted, that, instead of obeying commands with silence,
they expected to be flattered into their duty. He had some thoughts to
have reduced them by force, but was overpowered by demagogues and
factions. And at last, despairing of any good success of his affairs in
Athens, he sent away his children privately to Euboea, commending them
to the care of Elephenor, the son of Chalcodon; and he himself, having
solemnly cursed the people of Athens in the village of Gargettus, in
which there yet remains the place called Araterion, or the place of
cursing, sailed to Scyros, where he had lands left him by his father,
and friendship, as he thought, with those of the island. Lycomedes was
then king of Scyros. Theseus, therefore, addressed himself to him, and
desired to have his lands put into his possession, as designing to
settle and to dwell there, though others say that he came to beg his
assistance against the Athenians. But Lycomedes, either jealous of the
glory of so great a man, or to gratify Menestheus, having led him up to
the highest cliff of the island, on pretense of showing him from thence
the lands that he desired, threw him headlong down from the rock, and
killed him. Others say he fell down of himself by a slip of his foot,
as he was walking there, according to his custom, after supper. At that
time there was no notice taken, nor were any concerned for his death,
but Menestheus quietly possessed the kingdom of Athens. His sons were
brought up in a private condition, and accompanied Elephenor to the
Trojan war, but, after the decease of Menestheus in that expedition,
returned to Athens, and recovered the government. But in succeeding
ages, beside several other circumstances that moved the Athenians to
honor Theseus as a demigod, in the battle which was fought at Marathon
against the Medes, many of the soldiers believed they saw an apparition
of Theseus in arms, rushing on at the head of them against the
barbarians. And after the Median war, Phaedo being archon of Athens,
the Athenians, consulting the oracle at Delphi, were commanded to gather
together the bones of Theseus, and, laying them in some honorable place,
keep them as sacred in the city. But it was very difficult to recover
these relics, or so much as to find out the place where they lay, on
account of the inhospitable and savage temper of the barbarous people
that inhabited the island. Nevertheless, afterwards, when Cimon took
the island (as is related in his life), and had a great ambition to find
out the place where Theseus was buried, he, by chance, spied an eagle
upon a rising ground pecking with her beak and tearing up the earth with
her talons, when on the sudden it came into his mind, as it were by some
divine inspiration, to dig there, and search for the bones of Theseus.
There were found in that place a coffin of a man of more than ordinary
size, and a brazen spear-head, and a sword lying by it, all which he
took aboard his galley and brought with him to Athens. Upon which the
Athenians, greatly delighted, went out to meet and receive the relics
with splendid processions and with sacrifices, as if it were Theseus
himself returning alive to the city. He lies interred in the middle of
the city, near the present gymnasium. His tomb is a sanctuary and
refuge for slaves, and all those of mean condition that fly from the
persecution of men in power, in memory that Theseus while he lived was
an assister and protector of the distressed, and never refused the
petitions of the afflicted that fled to him. The chief and most solemn
sacrifice which they celebrate to him is kept on the eighth day of
Pyanepsion, on which he returned with the Athenian young men from Crete.
Besides which, they sacrifice to him on the eighth day of every month,
either because he returned from Troezen the eighth day of Hecatombaeon,
as Diodorus the geographer writes, or else thinking that number to be
proper to him, because he was reputed to be born of Neptune, because
they sacrifice to Neptune on the eighth day of every month. The number
eight being the first cube of an even number, and the double of the
first square, seemed to be an emblem of the steadfast and immovable
power of this god, who from thence has the names of Asphalius and
Gaeiochus, that is, the establisher and stayer of the earth.


From whom, and for what reason, the city of Rome, a name so great in
glory, and famous in the mouths of all men, was so first called, authors
do not agree. Some are of opinion that the Pelasgians, wandering over
the greater part of the habitable world, and subduing numerous nations,
fixed themselves here, and, from their own great strength in war,
called the city Rome. Others, that at the taking of Troy, some few that
escaped and met with shipping, put to sea, and, driven by winds, were
carried upon the coasts of Tuscany, and came to anchor off the mouth of
the river Tiber, where their women, out of heart and weary with the sea,
on its being proposed by one of the highest birth and best understanding
amongst them, whose name was Roma, burnt the ships. With which act the
men at first were angry, but afterwards, of necessity, seating
themselves near Palatium, where things in a short while succeeded far
better than they could hope, in that they found the country very good,
and the people courteous, they not only did the lady Roma other honors,
but added also this, of calling after her name the city which she had
been the occasion of their founding. From this, they say, has come down
that custom at Rome for women to salute their kinsmen and husbands with
kisses; because these women, after they had burnt the ships, made use of
such endearments when entreating and pacifying their husbands.

Some again say that Roma, from whom this city was so called, was
daughter of Italus and Leucaria; or, by another account, of Telephus,
Hercules's son, and that she was married to Aeneas, or, according to
others again, to Ascanius, Aeneas's son. Some tell us that Romanus, the
son of Ulysses and Circe, built it; some, Romus the son of Emathion,
Diomede having sent him from Troy; and others, Romus, king of the
Latins, after driving out the Tyrrhenians, who had come from Thessaly
into Lydia, and from thence into Italy. Those very authors, too, who,
in accordance with the safest account, make Romulus give the name to the
city, yet differ concerning his birth and family. For some say, he was
son to Aeneas and Dexithea, daughter of Phorbas, and was, with his
brother Remus, in their infancy, carried into Italy, and being on the
river when the waters came down in a flood, all the vessels were cast
away except only that where the young children were, which being gently
landed on a level bank of the river, they were both unexpectedly saved,
and from them the place was called Rome. Some say, Roma, daughter of
the Trojan lady above mentioned, was married to Latinus, Telemachus's
son, and became mother to Romulus; others, that Aemilia, daughter of
Aeneas and Lavinia, had him by the god Mars; and others give you mere
fables of his origin. For to Tarchetius, they say, king of Alba, who
was a most wicked and cruel man, there appeared in his own house a
strange vision, a male figure that rose out of a hearth, and stayed
there for many days. There was an oracle of Tethys in Tuscany which
Tarchetius consulted, and received an answer that a virgin should give
herself to the apparition, and that a son should be born of her, highly
renowned, eminent for valor, good fortune, and strength of body.
Tarchetius told the prophecy to one of his own daughters, and commanded
her to do this thing; which she avoiding as an indignity, sent her
handmaid. Tarchetius, hearing this, in great anger imprisoned them
both, purposing to put them to death; but being deterred from murder by
the goddess Vesta in a dream, enjoined them for their punishment the
working a web of cloth, in their chains as they were, which when they
finished, they should be suffered to marry; but whatever they worked by
day, Tarchetius commanded others to unravel in the night. In the
meantime, the waiting-woman was delivered of two boys, whom Tarchetius
gave into the hands of one Teratius, with command to destroy them; he,
however, carried and laid them by the river side, where a wolf came and
continued to suckle them, while birds of various sorts brought little
morsels of food, which they put into their mouths; till a cow-herd,
spying them, was first strangely surprised, but, venturing to draw
nearer, took the children up in his arms. Thus they were saved, and,
when they grew up, set upon Tarchetius and overcame him. This one
Promathion says, who compiled a history of Italy.

But the story which is most believed and has the greatest number of
vouchers was first published, in its chief particulars, amongst the
Greeks by Diocles of Peparethus, whom Fabius Pictor also follows in most
points. Here again there are variations, but in general outline it runs
thus: the kings of Alba reigned in lineal descent from Aeneas and the
succession devolved at length upon two brothers, Numitor and Amulius.
Amulius proposed to divide things into two equal shares, and set as
equivalent to the kingdom the treasure and gold that were brought from
Troy. Numitor chose the kingdom; but Amulius, having the money, and
being able to do more with that than Numitor, took his kingdom from him
with great ease, and, fearing lest his daughter might have children,
made her a Vestal, bound in that condition forever to live a single and
maiden life. This lady some call Ilia, others Rhea, and others Silvia;
however, not long after, she was, contrary to the established laws of
the Vestals, discovered to be with child, and should have suffered the
most cruel punishment, had not Antho, the king's daughter, mediated with
her father for her; nevertheless, she was confined, and debarred all
company, that she might not be delivered without the king's knowledge.
In time she brought forth two boys, of more than human size and beauty,
whom Amulius, becoming yet more alarmed, commanded a servant to take and
cast away; this man some call Faustulus, others say Faustulus was the
man who brought them up. He put the children, however, in a small
trough, and went towards the river with a design to cast them in; but,
seeing the waters much swollen and coming violently down, was afraid to
go nearer, and, dropping the children near the bank, went away. The
river overflowing, the flood at last bore up the trough, and, gently
wafting it, landed them on a smooth piece of ground, which they now call
Cermanes, formerly Germanus, perhaps from Germani,
which signifies brothers.

Near this place grew a wild fig-tree, which they called Ruminalis,
either from Romulus (as it is vulgarly thought), or from ruminating,
because cattle did usually in the heat of the day seek cover under it,
and there chew the cud; or, better, from the suckling of these children
there, for the ancients called the dug or teat of any creature ruma, and
there is a tutelar goddess of the rearing of children whom they still
call Rumilia, in sacrificing to whom they use no wine, but make
libations of milk. While the infants lay here, history tells us, a she-
wolf nursed them, and a woodpecker constantly fed and watched them;
these creatures are esteemed holy to the god Mars, the woodpecker the
Latins still especially worship and honor. Which things, as much as
any, gave credit to what the mother of the children said, that their
father was the god Mars: though some say that it was a mistake put upon
her by Amulius, who himself had come to her dressed up in armor.

Others think that the first rise of this fable came from the children's
nurse, through the ambiguity of her name; for the Latins not only called
wolves lupae, but also women of loose life; and such an one was the wife
of Faustulus, who nurtured these children, Acca Larentia by name. To
her the Romans offer sacrifices, and in the month of April the priest of
Mars makes libations there; it is called the Larentian Feast. They
honor also another Larentia, for the following reason: the keeper of
Hercules's temple having, it seems, little else to do, proposed to his
deity a game at dice, laying down that, if he himself won, he would have
something valuable of the god; but if he were beaten, he would spread
him a noble table, and procure him a fair lady's company. Upon these
terms, throwing first for the god and then for himself, he found himself
beaten. Wishing to pay his stakes honorably, and holding himself bound
by what he had said, he both provided the deity a good supper, and,
giving money to Larentia, then in her beauty, though not publicly known,
gave her a feast in the temple, where he had also laid a bed, and after
supper locked her in, as if the god were really to come to her. And
indeed, it is said, the deity did truly visit her, and commanded her in
the morning to walk to the market-place, and, whatever man see met
first, to salute him, and make him her friend. She met one named
Tarrutius, who was a man advanced in years, fairly rich without
children, and had always lived a single life. He received Larentia, and
loved her well, and at his death left her sole heir of all his large and
fair possessions, most of which she, in her last will and testament,
bequeathed to the people. It was reported of her, being now celebrated
and esteemed the mistress of a god, that she suddenly disappeared near
the place where the first Larentia lay buried; the spot is at this day
called Velabrum, because, the river frequently overflowing, they went
over in ferry-boats somewhere hereabouts to the forum, the Latin word
for ferrying being velatura. Others derive the name from velum, a sail;
because the exhibitors of public shows used to hang the road that leads
from the forum to the Circus Maximus with sails, beginning at this spot.
Upon these accounts the second Larentia is honored at Rome.

Meantime Faustulus, Amulius's swineherd, brought up the children without
any man's knowledge; or, as those say who wish to keep closer to
probabilities, with the knowledge and secret assistance of Numitor; for
it is said, they went to school at Gabii, and were well instructed in
letters, and other accomplishments befitting their birth. And they were
called Romulus and Remus, (from ruma, the dug,) as we had before,
because they were found sucking the wolf. In their very infancy, the size
and beauty of their bodies intimated their natural superiority; and when
they grew up, they both proved brave and manly, attempting all
enterprises that seemed hazardous, and showing in them a courage
altogether undaunted. But Romulus seemed rather to act by counsel, and
to show the sagacity of a statesman, and in all his dealings with their
neighbors, whether relating to feeding of flocks or to hunting, gave the
idea of being born rather to rule than to obey. To their comrades and
inferiors they were therefore dear; but the king's servants, his
bailiffs and overseers, as being in nothing better men than themselves,
they despised and slighted, nor were the least concerned at their
commands and menaces. They used honest pastimes and liberal studies,
not esteeming sloth and idleness honest and liberal, but rather such
exercises as hunting and running, repelling robbers, taking of thieves,
and delivering the wronged and oppressed from injury. For doing such
things they became famous.

A quarrel occurring between Numitor's and Amulius's cowherds, the
latter, not enduring the driving away of their cattle by the others,
fell upon them and put them to flight, and rescued the greatest part of
the prey. At which Numitor being highly incensed, they little regarded
it, but collected and took into their company a number of needy men and
runaway slaves,--acts which looked like the first stages of rebellion.
It so happened, that when Romulus was attending a sacrifice, being fond
of sacred rites and divination, Numitor's herdsmen, meeting with Remus
on a journey with few companions, fell upon him, and, after some
fighting, took him prisoner, carried him before Numitor, and there
accused him. Numitor would not punish him himself, fearing his
brother's anger, but went to Amulius, and desired justice, as he was
Amulius's brother and was affronted by Amulius's servants. The men of
Alba likewise resenting the thing, and thinking he had been dishonorably
used, Amulius was induced to deliver Remus up into Numitor's hands, to
use him as he thought fit. He therefore took and carried him home, and,
being struck with admiration of the youth's person, in stature and
strength of body exceeding all men, and perceiving in his very
countenance the courage and force of his mind, which stood unsubdued and
unmoved by his present circumstances, and hearing further that all the
enterprises and actions of his life were answerable to what he saw of
him, but chiefly, as it seemed, a divine influence aiding and directing
the first steps that were to lead to great results, out of the mere
thought of his mind, and casually, as it were, he put his hand upon the
fact, and, in gentle terms and with a kind aspect, to inspire him with
confidence and hope, asked him who he was, and whence he was derived.
He, taking heart, spoke thus: " I will hide nothing from you, for you
seem to be of a more princely temper than Amulius, in that you give a
hearing and examine before you punish, while he condemns before the
cause is heard. Formerly, then, we (for we are twins) thought ourselves
the sons of Faustulus and Larentia, the king's servants; but since we
have been accused and aspersed with calumnies, and brought in peril of
our lives here before you, we hear great things of ourselves, the truth
of which my present danger is likely to bring to the test. Our birth is
said to have been secret, our fostering and nurture in our infancy still
more strange; by birds and beasts, to whom we were cast out, we were
fed, by the milk of a wolf, and the morsels of a woodpecker, as we lay
in a little trough by the side of the river. The trough is still in
being, and is preserved, with brass plates round it, and an inscription
in letters almost effaced; which may prove hereafter unavailing tokens
to our parents when we are dead and gone." Numitor, upon these words,
and computing the dates by the young man's looks, slighted not the hope
that flattered him, but considered how to come at his daughter privately
(for she was still kept under restraint), to talk with her concerning
these matters.

Faustulus, hearing Remus was taken and delivered up, called on Romulus
to assist in his rescue, informing him then plainly of the particulars
of his birth, not but he had before given hints of it, and told as much
as an attentive man might make no small conclusions from; he himself,
full of concern and fear of not coming in time, took the trough, and ran
instantly to Numitor; but giving a suspicion to some of the king's
sentry at his gate, and being gazed upon by them and perplexed with
their questions, he let it be seen that he was hiding the trough under
his cloak. By chance there was one among them who was at the exposing
of the children, and was one employed in the office; he, seeing the
trough and knowing it by its make and inscription, guessed at the
business, and, without further delay, telling the king of it, brought in
the man to be examined. Faustulus, hard beset, did not show himself
altogether proof against terror; nor yet was he wholly forced out of
all; confessed indeed the children were alive, but lived, he said, as
shepherds, a great way from Alba; he himself was going to carry the
trough to Ilia, who had often greatly desired to see and handle it, for
a confirmation of her hopes of her children. As men generally do who
are troubled in mind and act either in fear or passion, it so fell out
Amulius now did; for he sent in haste as a messenger, a man, otherwise
honest, and friendly to Numitor, with commands to learn from Numitor
whether any tidings were come to him of the children's being alive. He,
coming and seeing how little Remus wanted of being received into the
arms and embraces of Numitor, both gave him surer confidence in his
hope, and advised them, with all expedition, to proceed to action;
himself too joining and assisting them, and indeed, had they wished it,
the time would not have let them demur. For Romulus was now come very
near, and many of the citizens, out of fear and hatred of Amulius, were
running out to join him; besides, he brought great forces with him,
divided into companies, each of an hundred men, every captain carrying a
small bundle of grass and shrubs tied to a pole. The Latins call such
bundles manipuli and from hence it is that in their armies still they
call their captains manipulares. Remus rousing the citizens within to
revolt, and Romulus making attacks from without, the tyrant, not knowing
either what to do, or what expedient to think of for his security, in
this perplexity and confusion was taken and put to death. This
narrative, for the most part given by Fabius and Diocles of Peparethus,
who seem to be the earliest historians of the foundation of Rome, is
suspected by some, because of its dramatic and fictitious appearance;
but it would not wholly be disbelieved, if men would remember what a
poet fortune sometimes shows herself, and consider that the Roman power
would hardly have reached so high a pitch without a divinely ordered
origin, attended with great and extraordinary circumstances.

Amulius now being dead and matters quietly disposed, the two brothers
would neither dwell in Alba without governing there, nor take the
government into their own hands during the life of their grandfather.
Having therefore delivered the dominion up into his hands, and paid
their mother befitting honor, they resolved to live by themselves, and
build a city in the same place where they were in their infancy brought
up. This seems the most honorable reason for their departure; though
perhaps it was necessary, having such a body of slaves and fugitives
collected about them, either to come to nothing by dispersing them, or
if not so, then to live with them elsewhere. For that the inhabitants
of Alba did not think fugitives worthy of being received and
incorporated as citizens among them plainly appears from the matter of
the women, an attempt made not wantonly but of necessity, because they
could not get wives by good-will. For they certainly paid unusual
respect and honor to those whom they thus forcibly seized.

Not long after the first foundation of the city, they opened a sanctuary
of refuge for all fugitives, which they called the temple of the god
Asylaeus, where they received and protected all, delivering none back,
neither the servant to his master, the debtor to his creditor, nor the
murderer into the hands of the magistrate, saying it was a privileged
place, and they could so maintain it by an order of the holy oracle;
insomuch that the city grew presently very populous, for, they say, it
consisted at first of no more than a thousand houses.
But of that hereafter.

Their minds being fully bent upon building, there arose presently a
difference about the place where. Romulus chose what was called Roma
Quadrata, or the Square Rome, and would have the city there. Remus laid
out a piece of ground on the Aventine Mount, well fortified by nature,
which was from him called Remonium, but now Rignarium. Concluding at
last to decide the contest by a divination from a flight of birds, and
placing themselves apart at some distance, Remus, they say, saw six
vultures, and Romulus double the number; others say Remus did truly see
his number, and that Romulus feigned his, but, when Remus came to him,
that then he did, indeed, see twelve. Hence it is that the Romans, in
their divinations from birds, chiefly regard the vulture, though
Herodorus Ponticus relates that Hercules was always very joyful when a
vulture appeared to him upon any action. For it is a creature the least
hurtful of any, pernicious neither to corn, fruit-tree, nor cattle; it
preys only upon carrion, and never kills or hurts any living thing; and
as for birds, it touches not them, though they are dead, as being of its
own species, whereas eagles, owls, and hawks mangle and kill their own
fellow-creatures; yet, as Aeschylus says,--

What bird is clean that preys on fellow bird ?

Besides all other birds are, so to say, never out of our eyes; they let
themselves be seen of us continually; but a vulture is a very rare
sight, and you can seldom meet with a man that has seen their young;
their rarity and infrequency has raised a strange opinion in some, that
they come to us from some other world; as soothsayers ascribe a divine
origination to all things not produced either of nature
or of themselves.

When Remus knew the cheat, he was much displeased; and as Romulus was
casting up a ditch, where he designed the foundation of the citywall, he
turned some pieces of the work to ridicule, and obstructed others: at
last, as he was in contempt leaping over it, some say Romulus himself
struck him, others Celer, one of his companions; he fell, however, and
in the scuffle Faustulus also was slain, and Plistinus, who, being
Faustulus's brother, story tells us, helped to bring up Romulus. Celer
upon this fled instantly into Tuscany, and from him the Romans call all
men that are swift of foot Celeres; and because Quintus Metellus, at his
father's funeral, in a few days' time gave the people a show of
gladiators, admiring his expedition in getting it ready, they gave him
the name of Celer.

Romulus, having buried his brother Remus, together with his two foster-
fathers, on the mount Remonia, set to building his city; and sent for
men out of Tuscany, who directed him by sacred usages and written rules
in all the ceremonies to be observed, as in a religious rite. First,
they dug a round trench about that which is now the Comitium, or Court
of Assembly, and into it solemnly threw the first-fruits of all things
either good by custom or necessary by nature; lastly, every man taking a
small piece of earth of the country from whence he came, they all threw
them in promiscuously together. This trench they call, as they do the
heavens, Mundus; making which their center, they described the city in a
circle round it. Then the founder fitted to a plow a brazen plowshare,
and, yoking together a bull and a cow, drove himself a deep line or
furrow round the bounds; while the business of those that followed after
was to see that whatever earth was thrown up should be turned all
inwards towards the city, and not to let any clod lie outside. With
this line they described the wall, and called it, by a contraction,
Pomoerium, that is, post murum, after or beside the wall; and where they
designed to make a gate, there they took out the share, carried the plow
over, and left a space; for which reason they consider the whole wall as
holy, except where the gates are; for had they adjudged them also
sacred, they could not, without offense to religion, have given free
ingress and egress for the necessaries of human life, some of which are
in themselves unclean.

As for the day they began to build the city, it is universally agreed to
have been the twenty-first of April, and that day the Romans annually
keep holy, calling it their country's birthday. At first, they say,
they sacrificed no living creature on this day, thinking it fit to
preserve the feast of their country's birthday pure and without stain
of blood. Yet before ever the city was built, there was a feast of
herdsmen and shepherds kept on this day, which went by the name of
Palilia. The Roman and Greek months have now little or no agreement;
they say, however, the day on which Romulus began to build was quite
certainly the thirtieth of the month, at which time there was an eclipse
of the sun which they conceive to be that seen by Antimachus, the Teian
poet, in the third year of the sixth Olympiad. In the times of Varro
the philosopher, a man deeply read in Roman history, lived one
Tarrutius, his familiar acquaintance, a good philosopher and
mathematician, and one, too, that out of curiosity had studied the way
of drawing schemes and tables, and was thought to be a proficient in the
art; to him Varro propounded to cast Romulus's nativity, even to the
first day and hour, making his deductions from the several events of the
man's life which he should be informed of, exactly as in working back a
geometrical problem; for it belonged, he said, to the same science both
to foretell a man's life by knowing the time of his birth, and also to
find out his birth by the knowledge of his life. This task Tarrutius
undertook, and first looking into the actions and casualties of the man,
together with the time of his life and manner of his death, and then
comparing all these remarks together, he very confidently and positively
pronounced that Romulus was conceived in his mother's womb the first
year of the second Olympiad, the twenty-third day of the month the
Egyptians call Choeac, and the third hour after sunset, at which time
there was a total eclipse of the sun; that he was born the twenty-first
day of the month Thoth, about sun-rising; and that the first stone of
Rome was laid by him the ninth day of the month Pharmuthi, between the
second and third hour. For the fortunes of cities as well as of men,
they think, have their certain periods of time prefixed, which may be
collected and foreknown from the position of the stars at their first
foundation. But these and the like relations may perhaps not so much
take and delight the reader with their novelty and curiosity, as offend
him by their extravagance.

The city now being built, Romulus enlisted all that were of age to bear
arms into military companies, each company consisting of three thousand
footmen and three hundred horse. These companies were called legions,
because they were the choicest and most select of the people for
fighting men. The rest of the multitude he called the people; one
hundred of the most eminent he chose for counselors; these he styled
patricians, and their assembly the senate, which signifies a council of
elders. The patricians, some say, were so called because they were the
fathers of lawful children; others, because they could give a good
account who their own fathers were, which not every one of the rabble
that poured into the city at first could do; others, from patronage,
their word for protection of inferiors, the origin of which they
attribute to Patron, one of those that came over with Evander, who was a
great protector and defender of the weak and needy. But perhaps the
most probable judgment might be, that Romulus, esteeming it the duty of
the chiefest and wealthiest men, with a fatherly care and concern to
look after the meaner, and also encouraging the commonalty not to dread
or be aggrieved at the honors of their superiors, but to love and
respect them, and to think and call them their fathers, might from hence
give them the name of patricians. For at this very time all foreigners
give senators the style of lords; but the Romans, making use of a more
honorable and less invidious name, call them Patres Conscripti; at first
indeed simply Patres, but afterwards, more being added, Patres
Conscripti. By this more imposing title he distinguished the senate
from the populace; and in other ways also separated the nobles and the
commons,--calling them patrons, and these their clients,--by which means
he created wonderful love and amity between them, productive of great
justice in their dealings. For they were always their clients'
counselors in law cases, their advocates in courts of justice, in fine
their advisers and supporters in all affairs whatever. These again
faithfully served their patrons, not only paying them all respect and
deference, but also, in case of poverty, helping them to portion their
daughters and pay off their debts; and for a patron to witness against
his client, or a client against his patron, was what no law nor
magistrate could enforce. In after times all other duties subsisting
still between them, it was thought mean and dishonorable for the better
sort to take money from their inferiors. And so much of these matters.

In the fourth month, after the city was built, as Fabius writes, the
adventure of stealing the women was attempted; and some say Romulus
himself, being naturally a martial man, and predisposed too, perhaps, by
certain oracles, to believe the fates had ordained the future growth and
greatness of Rome should depend upon the benefit of war, upon these
accounts first offered violence to the Sabines, since he took away only
thirty virgins, more to give an occasion of war than out of any want of
women. But this is not very probable; it would seem rather that,
observing his city to be filled by a confluence of foreigners, few of
whom had wives, and that the multitude in general, consisting of a
mixture of mean and obscure men, fell under contempt, and seemed to be
of no long continuance together, and hoping farther, after the women
were appeased, to make this injury in some measure an occasion of
confederacy and mutual commerce with the Sabines, he took in hand this
exploit after this manner. First, he gave it out as if he had found an
altar of a certain god hid under ground; the god they called Consus,
either the god of counsel (for they still call a consultation consilium
and their chief magistrates consules, namely, counselors), or else the
equestrian Neptune, for the altar is kept covered in the circus maximus
at all other times, and only at horse-races is exposed to public view;
others merely say that this god had his altar hid under ground because
counsel ought to be secret and concealed. Upon discovery of this altar,
Romulus, by proclamation, appointed a day for a splendid sacrifice, and
for public games and shows, to entertain all sorts of people; many
flocked thither, and he himself sat in front, amidst his nobles, clad
in purple. Now the signal for their falling on was to be whenever he
rose and gathered up his robe and threw it over his body; his men stood
all ready armed, with their eyes intent upon him, and when the sign was
given, drawing their swords and falling on with a great shout, they
ravished away the daughters of the Sabines, they themselves flying
without any let or hindrance. They say there were but thirty taken, and
from them the Curiae or Fraternities were named; but Valerius Antias
says five hundred and twenty-seven, Juba, six hundred and eighty-three
virgins; which was indeed the greatest excuse Romulus could allege,
namely, that they had taken no married woman, save one only, Hersilia by
name, and her too unknowingly; which showed they did not commit this
rape wantonly, but with a design purely of forming alliance with their
neighbors by the greatest and surest bonds. This Hersilia some say
Hostilius married, a most eminent man among the Romans; others, Romulus
himself, and that she bore two children to him, a daughter, by reason of
primogeniture called Prima, and one only son, whom, from the great
concourse of citizens to him at that time, he called Aollius, but after
ages Abillius. But Zenodotus the Troezenian, in giving this account, is
contradicted by many.

Among those who committed this rape upon the virgins, there were, they
say, as it so then happened, some of the meaner sort of men, who were
carrying off a damsel, excelling all in beauty and comeliness of
stature, whom when some of superior rank that met them attempted to take
away, they cried out they were carrying her to Talasius, a young man,
indeed, but brave and worthy; hearing that, they commended and applauded
them loudly, and also some, turning back, accompanied them with good-
will and pleasure, shouting out the name of Talasius. Hence the Romans
to this very time, at their weddings, sing Talasius for their nuptial
word, as the Greeks do Hymenaeus, because, they say, Talasius was very
happy in his marriage. But Sextius Sylla the Carthaginian, a man
wanting neither learning nor ingenuity, told me Romulus gave this word
as a sign when to begin the onset; everybody, therefore, who made prize
of a maiden, cried out, Talasius; and for that reason the custom
continues so now at marriages. But most are of opinion (of whom Juba
particularly is one) that this word was used to new-married women by way
of incitement to good housewifery and talasia (spinning), as we say in
Greek, Greek words at that time not being as yet overpowered by Italian.
But if this be the case, and if the Romans did at that time use the word
talasia as we do, a man might fancy a more probable reason of the
custom. For when the Sabines, after the war against the Romans, were
reconciled, conditions were made concerning their women, that they
should be obliged to do no other servile offices to their husbands but
what concerned spinning; it was customary, therefore, ever after, at
weddings, for those that gave the bride or escorted her or otherwise
were present, sportingly to say Talasius, intimating that she was
henceforth to serve in spinning and no more. It continues also a custom
at this very day for the bride not of herself to pass her husband's
threshold, but to be lifted over, in memory that the Sabine virgins were
carried in by violence, and did not go in of their own will. Some say,
too, the custom of parting the bride's hair with the head of a spear was
in token their marriages began at first by war and acts of hostility, of
which I have spoken more fully in my book of Questions.

This rape was committed on the eighteenth day of the month Sextilis, now
called August, on which the solemnities of the Consualia are kept.

The Sabines were a numerous and martial people, but lived in small,
unfortified villages, as it befitted, they thought, a colony of the
Lacedaemonians to be bold and fearless; nevertheless, seeing themselves
bound by such hostages to their good behavior, and being solicitous for
their daughters, they sent ambassadors to Romulus with fair and
equitable requests, that he would return their young women and recall
that act of violence, and afterwards, by persuasion and lawful means,
seek friendly correspondence between both nations. Romulus would not
part with the young women, yet proposed to the Sabines to enter into an
alliance with them; upon which point some consulted and demurred long,
but Acron, king of the Ceninenses, a man of high spirit and a good
warrior, who had all along a jealousy of Romulus's bold attempts, and
considering particularly from this exploit upon the women that he was
growing formidable to all people, and indeed insufferable, were he not
chastised, first rose up in arms, and with a powerful army advanced
against him. Romulus likewise prepared to receive him; but when they
came within sight and viewed each other, they made a challenge to fight
a single duel, the armies standing by under arms, without participation.
And Romulus, making a vow to Jupiter, if he should conquer, to carry,
himself, and dedicate his adversary's armor to his honor, overcame him
in combat, and, a battle ensuing, routed his army also, and then took
his city; but did those he found in it no injury, only commanded them to
demolish the place and attend him to Rome, there to be admitted to all
the privileges of citizens. And indeed there was nothing did more
advance the greatness of Rome, than that she did always unite and
incorporate those whom she conquered into herself. Romulus, that he
might perform his vow in the most acceptable manner to Jupiter, and
withal make the pomp of it delightful to the eye of the city, cut down a
tall oak which he saw growing in the camp, which he trimmed to the shape
of a trophy, and fastened on it Acron's whole suit of armor disposed in
proper form; then he himself, girding his clothes about him, and
crowning his head with a laurel-garland, his hair gracefully flowing,
carried the trophy resting erect upon his right shoulder, and so marched
on, singing songs of triumph, and his whole army following after, the
citizens all receiving him with acclamations of joy and wonder. The
procession of this day was the origin and model of all after triumphs.
This trophy was styled an offering to Jupiter Feretrius, from ferire,
which in Latin is to smite; for Romulus prayed he might smite and
overthrow his enemy; and the spoils were called opima, or royal spoils,
says Varro, from their richness, which the word opes signifies; though
one would more probably conjecture from opus, an act; for it is only to
the general of an army who with his own hand kills his enemies' general
that this honor is granted of offering the opima spolia. And three only
of the Roman captains have had it conferred on them: first, Romulus,
upon killing Acron the Ceninensian; next, Cornelius Cossus, for slaying
Tolumnius the Tuscan; and lastly, Claudius Marcellus, upon his
conquering Viridomarus, king of the Gauls. The two latter, Cossus and
Marcellus, made their entries in triumphant chariots, bearing their
trophies themselves; but that Romulus made use of a chariot, Dionysius
is wrong in asserting. History says, Tarquinius, Damaratus's son, was
the first that brought triumphs to this great pomp and grandeur; others,
that Publicola was the first that rode in triumph. The statues of
Romulus in triumph are, as may be seen in Rome, all on foot.

After the overthrow of the Ceninensians, the other Sabines still
protracting the time in preparations, the people of Fidenae,
Crustumerium, and Antemna, joined their forces against the Romans; they
in like manner were defeated in battle, and surrendered up to Romulus
their cities to be seized, their lands and territories to be divided,
and themselves to be transplanted to Rome. All the lands which Romulus
acquired, he distributed among the citizens, except only what the
parents of the stolen virgins had; these he suffered to possess their
own. The rest of the Sabines, enraged hereat, choosing Tatius their
captain, marched straight against Rome. The city was almost
inaccessible, having for its fortress that which is now the Capitol,
where a strong guard was placed, and Tarpeius their captain; not Tarpeia
the virgin, as some say who would make Romulus a fool. But Tarpeia,
daughter to the captain, coveting the golden bracelets she saw them
wear, betrayed the fort into the Sabines' hands, and asked, in reward of
her treachery, the things they wore on their left arms. Tatius
conditioning thus with her, in the night she opened one of the gates,
and received the Sabines in. And truly Antigonus, it would seem, was
not solitary in saying, he loved betrayers, but hated those who had
betrayed; nor Caesar, who told Rhymitalces the Thracian, that he loved
the treason, but hated the traitor; but it is the general feeling of all
who have occasion for wicked men's service, as people have for the
poison of venomous beasts; they are glad of them while they are of use,
and abhor their baseness when it is over. And so then did Tatius behave
towards Tarpeia, for he commanded the Sabines, in regard to their
contract, not to refuse her the least part of what they wore on their
left arms; and he himself first took his bracelet of his arm, and threw
that, together with his buckler, at her; and all the rest following,
she, being borne down and quite buried with the multitude of gold and
their shields, died under the weight and pressure of them; Tarpeius also
himself, being prosecuted by Romulus, was found guilty of treason, as
Juba says Sulpicius Galba relates. Those who write otherwise concerning
Tarpeia, as that she was the daughter of Tatius, the Sabine captain,
and, being forcibly detained by Romulus, acted and suffered thus by her
father's contrivance, speak very absurdly, of whom Antigonus is one.
And Simylus, the poet, who thinks Tarpeia betrayed the Capitol, not to
the Sabines, but the Gauls, having fallen in love with their king, talks
mere folly, saying thus:--

Tarpeia 'twas, who, dwelling close thereby,
Laid open Rome unto the enemy.
She, for the love of the besieging Gaul,
Betrayed the city's strength, the Capitol.

And a little after, speaking of her death:--

The numerous nations of the Celtic foe
Bore her not living to the banks of Po;
Their heavy shields upon the maid they threw,
And with their splendid gifts entombed at once and slew.

Tarpeia afterwards was buried there, and the hill from her was called
Tarpeius, until the reign of king Tarquin, who dedicated the place to
Jupiter, at which time her bones were removed, and so it lost her name,
except only that part of the Capitol which they still call the Tarpeian
Rock, from which they used to cast down malefactors.

The Sabines being possessed of the hill, Romulus, in great fury, bade
them battle, and Tatius was confident to accept it, perceiving, if they
were overpowered, that they had behind them a secure retreat. The level
in the middle, where they were to join battle, being surrounded with
many little hills, seemed to enforce both parties to a sharp and
desperate conflict, by reason of the difficulties of the place, which
had but a few outlets, inconvenient either for refuge or pursuit. It
happened, too, the river having overflowed not many days before, there
was left behind in the plain, where now the forum stands, a deep blind
mud and slime, which, though it did not appear much to the eye, and was
not easily avoided, at bottom was deceitful and dangerous; upon which
the Sabines being unwarily about to enter, met with a piece of good
fortune; for Curtius, a gallant man, eager of honor, and of aspiring
thoughts, being mounted on horseback, was galloping on before the rest,
and mired his horse here, and, endeavoring for awhile by whip and spur
and voice to disentangle him, but finding it impossible, quitted him and
saved himself; the place from him to this very time is called the
Curtian Lake. The Sabines, having avoided this danger, began the fight
very smartly, the fortune of the day being very dubious, though many
were slain; amongst whom was Hostilius, who, they say, was husband to
Hersilia, and grandfather to that Hostilius who reigned after Numa.
There were many other brief conflicts, we may suppose, but the most
memorable was the last, in which Romulus having received a wound on his
head by a stone, and being almost felled to the ground by it, and
disabled, the Romans gave way, and, being driven out of the level
ground, fled towards the Palatium. Romulus, by this time recovering
from his wound a little, turned about to renew the battle, and, facing
the fliers, with a loud voice encouraged them to stand and fight. But
being overborne with numbers, and nobody daring to face about,
stretching out his hands to heaven, he prayed to Jupiter to stop the
army, and not to neglect but maintain the Roman cause, now in extreme
danger. The prayer was no sooner made, than shame and respect for their
king checked many; the fears of the fugitives changed suddenly into
confidence. The place they first stood at was where now is the temple
of Jupiter Stator (which may be translated the Stayer); there they
rallied again into ranks, and repulsed the Sabines to the place called
now Regia, and to the temple of Vesta; where both parties, preparing to
begin a second battle, were prevented by a spectacle, strange to behold,
and defying description. For the daughters of the Sabines, who had been
carried off, came running, in great confusion, some on this side, some
on that, with miserable cries and lamentations, like creatures
possessed, in the midst of the army, and among the dead bodies, to come
at their husbands and their fathers, some with their young babes in
their arms, others their hair loose about their ears, but all calling,
now upon the Sabines, now upon the Romans, in the most tender and
endearing words. Hereupon both melted into compassion, and fell back,
to make room for them between the armies. The sight of the women
carried sorrow and commiseration upon both sides into the hearts of all,
but still more their words, which began with expostulation and
upbraiding, and ended with entreaty and supplication.

"Wherein," say they, "have we injured or offended you, as to deserve
such sufferings, past and present? We were ravished away unjustly and
violently by those whose now we are; that being done, we were so long
neglected by our fathers, our brothers, and countrymen, that time,
having now by the strictest bonds united us to those we once mortally
hated, has made it impossible for us not to tremble at the danger and
weep at the death of the very men who once used violence to us. You did
not come to vindicate our honor, while we were virgins, against our
assailants; but do come now to force away wives from their husbands and
mothers from their children, a succor more grievous to its wretched
objects than the former betrayal and neglect of them. Which shall we
call the worst, their love-making or your compassion? If you were
making war upon any other occasion, for our sakes you ought to withhold
your hands from those to whom we have made you fathers-in-law and
grandsires. If it be for our own cause, then take us, and with us your
sons-in-law and grandchildren. Restore to us our parents and kindred,
but do not rob us of our children and husbands. Make us not, we entreat
you, twice captives." Hersilia having spoken many such words as these,
and the others earnestly praying, a truce was made, and the chief
officers came to a parley; the women, in the mean time, brought and
presented their husbands and children to their fathers and brothers;
gave those that wanted, meat and drink, and carried the wounded home to
be cured, and showed also how much they governed within doors, and how
indulgent their husbands were to them, in demeaning themselves towards
them with all kindness and respect imaginable. Upon this, conditions
were agreed upon, that what women pleased might stay where they were,
exempt, as aforesaid, from all drudgery and labor but spinning; that the
Romans and Sabines should inhabit the city together; that the city
should be called Rome, from Romulus; but the Romans, Quirites, from the
country of Tatius; and that they both should govern and command in
common. The place of the ratification is still called Comitium,
from coire, to meet.

The city being thus doubled in number, one hundred of the Sabines were
elected senators, and the legions were increased to six thousand foot
and six hundred horse; then they divided the people into three tribes;
the first, from Romulus, named Ramnenses; the second, from Tatius,
Tatienses; the third, Luceres, from the lucus, or grove, where the
Asylum stood, whither many fled for sanctuary, and were received into
the city. And that they were just three, the very name of tribe and
tribune seems to show; each tribe contained ten curiae, or brotherhoods,
which, some say, took their names from the Sabine women; but that seems
to be false, because many had their names from various places. Though
it is true, they then constituted many things in honor to the women; as
to give them the way wherever they met them; to speak no ill word in
their presence; not to appear naked before them, or else be liable to
prosecution before the judges of homicide; that their children should
wear an ornament about their necks called the bulla (because it was like
a bubble), and the praetexta, a gown edged with purple.

The princes did not immediately join in council together, but at first
each met with his own hundred; afterwards all assembled together.
Tatius dwelt where now the temple of Moneta stands, and Romulus, close
by the steps, as they call them, of the Fair Shore, near the descent
from the Mount Palatine to the Circus Maximus. There, they say, grew
the holy cornel tree, of which they report, that Romulus once, to try
his strength, threw a dart from the Aventine Mount, the staff of which
was made of cornel, which struck so deep into the ground, that no one of
many that tried could pluck it up; and the soil, being fertile, gave
nourishment to the wood, which sent forth branches, and produced a
cornel-stock of considerable bigness. This did posterity preserve and
worship as one of the most sacred things; and, therefore, walled it
about; and if to any one it appeared not green nor flourishing, but
inclining to pine and wither, he immediately made outcry to all he met,
and they, like people hearing of a house on fire, with one accord would
cry for water, and run from all parts with buckets full to the place.
But when Caius Caesar, they say, was repairing the steps about it, some
of the laborers digging too close, the roots were destroyed,
and the tree withered.

The Sabines adopted the Roman months, of which whatever is remarkable is
mentioned in the Life of Numa. Romulus, on the other hand, adopted
their long shields, and changed his own armor and that of all the
Romans, who before wore round targets of the Argive pattern. Feasts and
sacrifices they partook of in common, not abolishing any which either
nation observed before, and instituting several new ones; of which one
was the Matronalia, instituted in honor of the women. for their
extinction of the war; likewise the Carmentalia. This Carmenta some
think a deity presiding over human birth; for which reason she is much
honored by mothers. Others say she was the wife of Evander, the
Arcadian, being a prophetess, and wont to deliver her oracles in verse,
and from carmen, a verse, was called Carmenta; her proper name being
Nicostrata. Others more probably derive Carmenta from carens mente, or
insane, in allusion to her prophetic frenzies. Of the Feast of Palilia
we have spoken before. The Lupercalia, by the time of its celebration,
may seem to be a feast of purification, for it is solemnized on the dies
nefasti, or non-court days, of the month February, which name signifies
purification, and the very day of the feast was anciently called
Februata; but its name is equivalent to the Greek Lycaea; and it seems
thus to be of great antiquity, and brought in by the Arcadians who came
with Evander. Yet this is but dubious, for it may come as well from the
wolf that nursed Romulus; and we see the Luperci, the priests, begin
their course from the place where they say Romulus was exposed. But the
ceremonies performed in it render the origin of the thing more difficult
to be guessed at; for there are goats killed, then, two young noblemen's
sons being brought, some are to stain their foreheads with the bloody
knife, others presently to wipe it off with wool dipped in milk; then
the young boys must laugh after their foreheads are wiped; that done,
having cut the goats' skins into thongs, they run about naked, only with
something about their middle, lashing all they meet; and the young wives
do not avoid their strokes, fancying they will help conception and
child-birth. Another thing peculiar to this feast is for the Luperci to
sacrifice a dog. But as, a certain poet who wrote fabulous explanations
of Roman customs in elegiac verses, says, that Romulus and Remus, after
the conquest of Amulius, ran joyfully to the place where the wolf gave
them suck; and that in imitation of that, this feast was held,
and two young noblemen ran--

Striking at all, as when from Alba town,
With sword in hand, the twins came hurrying down;

and that the bloody knife applied to their foreheads was a sign of the
danger and bloodshed of that day; the cleansing of them in milk, a
remembrance of their food and nourishment. Caius Acilius writes, that,
before the city was built, the cattle of Romulus and Remus one day going
astray, they, praying to the god Faunus, ran out to seek them naked,
wishing not to be troubled with sweat, and that this is why the Luperci
run naked. If the sacrifice be by way of purification, a dog might very
well be sacrificed; for the Greeks, in their lustrations, carry out
young dogs, and frequently use this ceremony of periscylacismus as they
call it. Or if again it is a sacrifice of gratitude to the wolf that
nourished and preserved Romulus, there is good reason in killing a dog,
as being an enemy to wolves. Unless indeed, after all, the creature is
punished for hindering the Luperci in their running.

They say, too, Romulus was the first that consecrated holy fire, and
instituted holy virgins to keep it, called vestals; others ascribe it to
Numa Pompilius; agreeing, however, that Romulus was otherwise eminently
religious, and skilled in divination, and for that reason carried the
lituus, a crooked rod with which soothsayers describe the quarters of
the heavens, when they sit to observe the flights of birds. This of
his, being kept in the Palatium, was lost when the city was taken by the
Gauls; and afterwards, that barbarous people being driven out, was found
in the ruins, under a great heap of ashes, untouched by the fire, all
things about it being consumed and burnt. He instituted also certain
laws, one of which is somewhat severe, which suffers not a wife to leave
her husband, but grants a husband power to turn off his wife, either
upon poisoning her children; or counterfeiting his keys, or for
adultery; but if the husband upon any other occasion put her away, he
ordered one moiety of his estate to be given to the wife, the other to
fall to the goddess Ceres; and whoever cast off his wife, to make an
atonement by sacrifice to the gods of the dead. This, too, is
observable as a singular thing in Romulus, that he appointed no
punishment for real parricide, but called all murder so, thinking the
one an accursed thing, but the other a thing impossible; and, for a long
time, his judgment seemed to have been right; for in almost six hundred
years together, nobody committed the like in Rome; and Lucius Hostius,
after the wars of Hanibal, is recorded to have been the first parricide.
Let thus much suffice concerning these matters.

In the fifth year of the reign of Tatius, some of his friends and
kinsmen, meeting ambassadors coming from Laurentum to Rome, attempted on
the road to take away their money by force, and, upon their resistance,
killed them. So great a villainy having been committed, Romulus thought
the malefactors ought at once to be punished, but Tatius shuffled off
and deferred the execution of it; and this one thing was the beginning

Book of the day: