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DEATH OF ROMULUS
WE are told that Romulus reigned over the Romans for
thirty-seven years. Although he was at first a very good
ruler, he soon grew proud and cruel. As he was king, he
wanted to have his own way in everything; and as he soon
ceased to care whether what he wished would be good
for the Romans, they began to dislike him.
A man who thinks only of himself can have no real
friends, and Romulus soon stood alone. But although the
people hated him, they feared him too much to defy him
openly and show him their displeasure.
One day, when Romulus and all the people had gone to the
plain beyond the citadel, a sudden storm arose. The
darkness became so great that the people fled in terror,
leaving the senators and king to look out for themselves.
When the storm was over, the Romans all came back again.
To their surprise, however, Romulus did not appear. He
was sent for, but no one could find him. The people were
amazed, and were all talking about his sudden
disappearance, and wondering what could have become of him,
when one of the senators stood up and called for silence.
As soon as he could make himself heard, this man told
the assembled Romans that he had seen Romulus being
carried up to heaven. The king, he said, had called out that
he was going to live with the gods, and wished his
people to worship him under the name of Quirinus.
The Romans in those days were so ignorant and superstitious
that they believed all this man told them. They therefore
built a temple on the hill whence the senator said
that Romulus had risen to heaven. This hill was called
Mount Quirinal, and here for many years the Romans worshiped
Romulus, the founder of their city, and their
first king, whom they now called Quirinus.
In later times the Romans did not believe that Romulus
was carried up to heaven; and many of them thought that
the senators were so tired of the king's tyranny that
they murdered him during the storm, cut his body to pieces,
and carried it off, hidden under their long mantles.