|The Story of Rome|
|by Mary Macgregor|
|A vivid account of the story of Rome from the earliest times to the death of Augustus, retold for children, chronicling the birth of a city and its growth through storm and struggle to become a great world empire. Gives short accounts of battles and campaigns, and of the men who expanded the borders of the Roman empire to include all lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Ages 10-14 |
THE TARPEIAN ROCK
 THE tribes who had been at the feast of Consus were so
angry with the king that many of them went to fight
against him, without waiting to gather together a large
army. Thus Romulus soon defeated and scattered his
Moreover, having slain one of the kings with his own
hand, he stripped him of his armour, and tying it to a
pole, carried it back to Rome, where he offered it to
Jupiter. This was the earliest Triumph celebrated at
Rome. In days to come the Triumphs of the Roman
generals became famous. They were held when the
soldiers returned victorious from a great battle. The
general at the head of his army rode into the city in a
chariot drawn by beautiful horses. Other chariots
followed, filled with the treasures and spoils of war,
while the most noble prisoners, often loaded with
chains, were dragged along behind the chariots. The
day on which a Triumph was celebrated was always held
as a holiday by the citizens of Rome.
Now, among the tribes which Romulus had robbed, none
had suffered so heavily as the Sabines. But they, more
wary than the king's other foes, did not attempt to
avenge their wrongs until they had had time to collect
a large and powerful army. Nearly two years had passed
before this army was led by Tatius, the King of the
Sabines, against the Romans.
The fortress on the Capitoline hill Romulus had
entrusted to the care of a chief named Tarpeius. Now
Tarpeius had a daughter named Tarpeia, and she loved
ornaments and jewels of gold and silver.
 As the Sabines, led by Tatius, drew near to attack the
fortress, Tarpeia looked out of a spy-hole and saw that
the enemy was adorned with beautiful golden bracelets.
The longer she looked, the greater became her desire to
possess these dazzling ornaments. What would she not
do to wear such splendid jewels? She would—yes,
she would even betray the fortress into the hands of
the Sabines, if only she might hear the tinkle of the
golden bracelets on her arms.
So, leaving the spy-hole, Tarpeia slipped secretly out
of the fortress and spoke to the Sabines, offering to
show them how to take the citadel if they would give
her in reward "what they wore on their left arms."
The Sabines agreed to do as Tarpeia wished, but in
their hearts they despised the maiden for her
But she, heedless of all save the ornaments that would
soon be hers, hastened back to the fortress.
Then, when it grew dark, she stealthily opened the
gate, outside of which stood the waiting foe.
As the Sabines marched into the fortress, Tarpeia cried
to them to remember their promise and give her her
Then Tatius bade his men not to refuse "the least part
of what they wore on their left arms," and himself
taking off his bracelet, threw it to her, together with
his shield, which he also bore on his left arm.
His men did as their king had done, so that Tarpeia
soon fell to the ground and was killed by the weight of
the shields that covered her.
The traitress was buried on the hill which she had
betrayed. From that day traitors were punished by
being thrown over the steepest rock on the Capitoline
hill, which was named after the maiden who betrayed her
city, "The Tarpeian Rock."
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