THE KING WHO FOUGHT AND PRAYED
 LIKE his grandfather Numa Pompilius, Ancus Marcius loved
His first act after he became king was to restore the
service of the gods, which during the last reign had
ofttimes been neglected. The sacred laws of Pompilius,
too, he ordered to be written on tablets of wood and to
be shown to the people.
Now among the enemies of Rome was a tribe named the
Latins. The Latins, knowing that King Ancus spent his
time in prayer and in offering sacrifices to the gods,
began to plunder and destroy the country round about
Rome, thinking to go unpunished. But they soon found
that the king could fight as well as pray.
No sooner, indeed, had Ancus heard that the Latins were
laying waste his dominions, than he commanded the
priests to attend to the temple services. Then,
placing himself at the head of his army, he marched
against the enemy.
The battle was fierce and long, but at length the
Latins were beaten and their towns destroyed. His
prisoners the king took back with him to Rome, bidding
them make their home on the Aventine hill.
Ancus next determined to secure the command of the
Tiber and to join the Janiculum hill to Rome by
throwing a wooden bridge across the river, which was
named the "Bridge of the Wooden Piles," for it was
built entirely of wood. The beams were placed loosely,
one alongside another, so that,
 should an enemy approach, it could be quickly taken to
Ancus loved peace, but he could not yet lay down his
arms, for he saw that Rome ought to secure the land
that lay between the city and the sea. So he led his
army against the tribes to whom this land belonged,
and, taking it from them, he built a town at the mouth
of the Tiber, which he called Ostia. And here a busy
harbour was soon to be seen, from which Roman ships set
sail for the open sea.
For twenty-four years this good king reigned, and then,
calm and content as his royal grandfather, he died.
His name was ever held in honour by his people, for in
time of peace he had been just, in time of war
The children of the king were still young when their
father died, so they were left to the care of his
friend, Lucius Tarquinius.