Livy, History of Rome 1

LCL 114: 58-59

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a.u.c. 38proximi steterant, sublimem raptum procella, tamen velut orbitatis metu icta maestum aliquamdiu silentium 3obtinuit. Deinde a paucis initio facto deum deo natum, regem parentemque urbis Romanae salvere universi Romulum iubent; pacem precibus exposcunt, uti volens propitius suam semper sospitet 4progeniem. Fuisse credo tum quoque aliquos qui discerptum regem patrum manibus taciti arguerent; manavit enim haec quoque sed perobscura fama; illam alteram admiratio viri et pavor praesens nobilitavit. 5Et consilio etiam unius hominis addita rei dicitur fides. Namque Proculus Iulius, sollicita civitate desiderio regis et infensa patribus, gravis, ut traditur, quamvis magnae rei auctor, in contionem 6prodit. “Romulus” inquit, “Quirites, parens urbis huius, prima hodierna luce caelo repente delapsus se mihi obvium dedit. Cum perfusus horrore venerabundus1 adstitissem, petens precibus ut contra intueri 7fas esset, ‘Abi, nuntia,’ inquit ‘Romanis caelestes ita velle ut mea Roma caput orbis terrarum sit; proinde rem militarem colant, sciantque et ita posteris tradant nullas opes humanas armis Romanis resistere posse.’ Haec,” inquit, “locutus 8sublimis abiit.” Mirum quantum illi viro nuntianti haec fides fuerit, quamque desiderium Romuli


Book I

that he had been caught up on high in the blast, they b.c. 716 nevertheless remained for some time sorrowful and silent, as if filled with the fear of orphanhood. Then, when a few men had taken the initiative, they all with one accord hailed Romulus as a god and a god’s son, the King and Father of the Roman City, and with prayers besought his favour that he would graciously be pleased forever to protect his children. There were some, I believe, even then who secretly asserted that the king had been rent in pieces by the hands of the senators, for this rumour, too, got abroad, but in very obscure terms; the other version obtained currency, owing to men’s admiration for the hero and the intensity of their panic. And the shrewd device of one man is also said to have gained new credit for the story. This was Proculus Julius, who, when the people were distracted with the loss of their king and in no friendly mood towards the senate, being, as tradition tells, weighty in council, were the matter never so important, addressed the assembly as follows: “Quirites, the Father of this City, Romulus, descended suddenly from the sky at dawn this morning and appeared to me. Covered with confusion, I stood reverently before him, praying that it might be vouchsafed me to look upon his face without sin.1 ‘Go,’ said he, ‘and declare to the Romans the will of Heaven that my Rome shall be the capital of the world; so let them cherish the art of war, and let them know and teach their children that no human strength can resist Roman arms.’ So saying,” he concluded, “Romulus departed on high.” It is wonderful what credence the people placed in that man’s tale, and how the grief for the loss of Romulus, which the plebeians

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.livy-history_rome_1.1919