AFTER the death of Ascanius nearly three hundred years passed
away, and then a king named Proca died, leaving behind
him two sons. The name of the elder was Numitor, the
name of the younger Amulius.
The crown belonged by right to Numitor, the elder son,
but Amulius, who was ambitious, was not willing that
his brother should reign. So he said to Numitor, "One
of us shall wear the crown, and to the other shall
belong the gold and treasures left by our father
The story does not tell if Numitor was indignant with
his brother, and said that the crown belonged to him;
it only tells that Numitor chose to reign, as was
indeed his right.
Amulius then seized the gold and treasure, and bribed
his followers to drive Numitor from the throne and to
make him king.
This, in their greed, they were soon persuaded to do.
Ere long Numitor was banished from the city, and
Amulius, to his great content, began to reign.
But the king was soon surprised to find that the crown
rested uneasily upon his head.
It might be that the children of Numitor would some day
wrench the crown from him, even as he had wrenched it
from their father.
That this might never be, Amulius, thinking to get rid
of fear, ordered Numitor's son to be slain, while his
daughter Silvia was kept, by the command of the king,
in a temple
 sacred to the goddess Vesta. Here the maiden tended
the altar fire, which was never allowed to die.
But the god Mars, angry, it might well be, with the
cruelty of Amulius, took pity upon the maiden and sent
twin sons to cheer her in her loneliness. Such strong
beautiful babes had never before been seen.
As for the king, when he heard of the birth of these
little boys he was both angry and afraid, lest they
should grow into strong men and wrest his kingdom from
In his fear Amulius ordered Silvia to be shut up in a
prison for the rest of her life, and her beautiful boys
he commanded to be thrown into the river Tiber.
Heavy rains had fallen of late, and as the king knew,
the river had overflowed its banks, but of this he
recked not at all, although, indeed, the flood was to
be his undoing.
Two servants, obeying the cruel order of Amulius,
placed the baby boys in a basket, and going to the
Tiber, flung their burden into the river.
Like a boat the basket floated hither and thither on
the water, until at length, carried onward by the
flood, it was washed ashore at the foot of a hill
called Mount Palatine.
Here, under the shade of a wild fig-tree, the basket
was overturned, and the babes lay safe and sound upon
the dry ground, while the river stole softly backward
into its accustomed channel.
A she-wolf, coming to the edge of the river to drink, heard their cries.
Before long the babes awoke hungry and began to cry. A
she-wolf coming to the edge of the river to drink heard
their cries, and carried them away to her cave, where
she fed them with her milk, just as she would have fed
her lost cubs. She washed them, too, as she was used
to wash her own children, by licking them with her