|The Story of the Romans|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Rome, presenting short stories of the great heroes, mythical and historical, from Aeneas and the founding of Rome to the fall of the western empire. Around the famous characters of Rome are graphically grouped the great events with which their names will forever stand connected. Vivid descriptions bring to life the events narrated, making history attractive to the young, and awakening their enthusiasm for further reading and study. Ages 10-14 |
THE TWIN GODS
TARQUIN had now made two unsuccessful attempts to recover the
throne. But he was not yet entirely discouraged; and,
raising a third army, he again marched toward Rome.
When the senate and consuls heard of this new
danger, they resolved to place all the authority in the
hands of some one man who was clever enough to help
them in this time of need. They therefore elected a new
magistrate, called a Dictator. He was to take command
of the army
 in place of the consuls, and was to be
absolute ruler of Rome; but he was to hold his office
only as long as the city was in danger.
The first dictator immediately took command of the
army, and went to meet Tarquin. The two forces came
face to face near Lake Regillus, not very far from the
city. Here a terrible battle was fought, and here the
Romans won a glorious victory. Their writers have said
that the twin gods, Castor and Pollux, came down upon
earth to help them, and were seen in the midst of the
fray, mounted upon snow-white horses.
When the fight was over, and the victory gained, these
gods vanished from the battlefield; but shortly after,
they came dashing into Rome, and announced that the
battle was won. Then they dismounted in the Forum, in
the midst of the people, watered their horses at the
fountain there, and suddenly vanished, after telling
the Romans to build a temple in their honor.
Full of gratitude for the help of the twin gods,
without whom the battle would have been lost, the
Romans built a temple dedicated to their service. This
building was on one side of the Forum, on the very spot
where the radiant youths had stood; and there its ruins
can still be seen.
Roman Forum and Temple of Castor and Pollux.
The Romans were in the habit of calling upon these
brothers to assist them in times of need; and in
ancient tombs there have been found coins bearing the
effigy of the two horsemen, each with a star over his
head. The stars were placed there because the Romans
believed that the twin gods had been changed into two
very bright and beautiful stars.
It is said that Tarquin managed to escape alive from
 battle of Lake Regillus, and that he went to live
at Cumæ, where he died at a very advanced age. But he
never again ventured to make war against the Romans,
who had routed him so sorely.
The old consul Valerius continued to serve his native
city, and spent his money so lavishly in its behalf
that he died very poor. Indeed, it is said that his
funeral expenses had to be paid by the state, as he did
not leave money enough even to provide for his burial.
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