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THE DIVINE TWINS
 TARQUIN THE PROUD was an old man now, but he was not yet ready
to believe that he would never again reign in Rome.
Once more he prepared for battle, invoking the aid of
the Latins, for he believed that the Romans would quail
before this fierce and warlike people.
The Romans did not quail, but they knew that they would
need brave men to lead their army. So they appointed a
Dictator, who was to have supreme command of the army
and power as though he was king in Rome, for six
Aulus Postumius was the name of the Roman who was
chosen for this great trust.
Tarquin, his cruel son Sextus, and a band of Roman
exiles marched to the battlefield, near Lake Regillus
in the region of Tusculum. With them was their ally
the King of the Latins, leading a great army.
The Romans, with Aulus at their head, advanced against
the foe, and a great battle was fought.
Valerius, the Consul was on the field, and when he saw
Sextus anger filled his heart, and he dashed forward to
slay him. But the prince retreated, and Valerius
followed until he was drawn into the lines of the
enemy, and perished by the thrust of a spear.
Fiercely as the Romans fought, the day began to go
against them. Then Aulus vowed that he would build a
temple to the twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, if they
would but come to his aid and give to the Romans
 Scarcely had the Dictator ended his prayer, when lo!
two youths of more than human height and majesty
appeared, clad in shining armour, and riding upon white
Going to the head of the army, they led it afresh
against the Latins.
The enemy, terrified by the splendour of the strangers,
and startled at the suddenness of the new attack, were
seized with panic, and fled.
On rushed the Romans in pursuit of the foe, on until
they reached the camp of the Latins, which the strange
horsemen were the first to enter.
The Latin army was now in utter confusion, while a
great victory had been won by the Romans.
Aulus wished to reward the strangers to whom the
victory was really due, but they were nowhere to be
seen. Neither in the field nor in the camp was there
any trace of the riders or their steeds.
But in Rome, where old men and women awaited, with
anxious hearts, news of the battle, there appeared in
the Forum, as the sun went down, two horsemen. They
were mounted on pure white steeds, and they themselves
were "exceeding beautiful and tall above the stature of
men." But they bore upon them the stains of battle.
When they reached the spring that rises close to the
temple of Vesta, they dismounted, and washed the foam
from their horses, the stains from their clothes.
Men and women crowded around the strangers, eager to
hear their tidings. Then the brothers told them of the
glorious victory that had been won, after which they
mounted their white steeds, and riding away, were seen
When the Dictator returned to Rome, he told how he had
prayed to the Divine Twins Castor and Pollux, and how
he believed that they had indeed come to his aid.
Moreover, he was sure that it was they who had ridden
to Rome with more than mortal speed to tell of the
victory that had been won.
 Then Aulus, with a glad heart, began to build the
temple he had vowed to the Divine Twins, and the Romans
kept a festival each year in honour of Castor and
At this festival, sacrifices were offered in the
temple, while a solemn procession of knights, clad in
purple and crowned with olive, rode from the temple of
Mars without the city wall to the temple dedicated by
the Dictator to the Divine Twins. This temple is now
being excavated in the Forum of Rome.
The Latins, after their defeat, refused any longer to
fight for Tarquin, while they hastened to make peace
with his enemies.
Alone and childless, for Sextus had fallen in battle,
Tarquin went away to Cumæ, and there he, the last
of the Kings of Rome, died.
Soon after this, Rome regained her dominions on the
right bank of the Tiber. She had already ceased to
regard the treaty which had forbidden her the use of