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The Story of Rome by  Mary Macgregor


 

 

THE PRIDE OF TULLUS HOSTILIUS

[31] BY the victory of Horatius, the Albans became subject to Rome, and were forced to help them in their wars.

Mettius, the Dictator, never ceased to hope that he would yet be able to throw off the yoke of Rome.

So when Tullus summoned him to bring an army to help the Romans in their battle against the Etruscans, Mettius brought an army as he was bidden, but when the battle was at its height, he secretly told his men to give no aid to the Romans.

In spite of the treachery of Mettius, Tullus was victorious.

The Dictator, hoping that the king knew naught of his deceit, boldly praised him for the victory he had won.

But Tullus knew that Mettius had done nothing to help him win the battle, and so angry was he with his treachery that he ordered him to be torn to pieces by horses. Then the king ordered the Albans to be disarmed, and after burning their city, he carried off the people to Rome.

The Roman nobles, or patricians as they were called, welcomed the Alban nobles to their city, while the countrymen of Alba soon became friends with the common people, or plebeians.

As in the reign of Romulus the Sabines and the Romans became one, so now the Albans and Romans were united. In this way the number of the citizens in Rome was nearly doubled.

Encouraged by his victories, Tullus spent the rest of his reign in wars with the Etruscans. His success, instead [32] of making him humble, made him proud, and he grew careless of the service of the gods. Moreover, he neglected the wise and just laws made by the good King Pompilius.

Then, in sign of their displeasure, the gods sent a plague among the people, and the king himself was smitten with sickness. In his misery Tullus remembered the gods and prayed. But Jupiter was angry, and sent a shaft of lightning from the sky, which killed Tullus and destroyed his house.

Tullus Hostilius reigned for thirty-two years, and after his death, in 640 B.C., Ancus Marcius, a grandson of Pompilius, became King of Rome.


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