It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the Romans - Helene Guerber




The Twin Gods

Tarquin had now made two unsuccessful attempts to recover the throne. But he was not yet entirely discouraged; and, raising a third army, he again marched toward Rome.

When the senate and consuls heard of this new danger, they resolved to place all the authority in the hands of some one man who was clever enough to help them in this time of need. They therefore elected a new magistrate, called a Dictator. He was to take command of the army in place of the consuls, and was to be absolute ruler of Rome; but he was to hold his office only as long as the city was in danger.

The first dictator immediately took command of the army, and went to meet Tarquin. The two forces came face to face near Lake Regillus, not very far from the city. Here a terrible battle was fought, and here the Romans won a glorious victory. Their writers have said that the twin gods, Castor and Pollux, came down upon earth to help them, and were seen in the midst of the fray, mounted upon snow-white horses.

When the fight was over, and the victory gained, these gods vanished from the battlefield; but shortly after, they came dashing into Rome, and announced that the battle was won. Then they dismounted in the Forum, in the midst of the people, watered their horses at the fountain there, and suddenly vanished, after telling the Romans to build a temple in their honor.

Full of gratitude for the help of the twin gods, without whom the battle would have been lost, the Romans built a temple dedicated to their service. This building was on one side of the Forum, on the very spot where the radiant youths had stood; and there its ruins can still be seen.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum and Temple of Castor and Pollux.


The Romans were in the habit of calling upon these brothers to assist them in times of need; and in ancient tombs there have been found coins bearing the effigy of the two horsemen, each with a star over his head. The stars were placed there because the Romans believed that the twin gods had been changed into two very bright and beautiful stars.

It is said that Tarquin managed to escape alive from the battle of Lake Regillus, and that he went to live at Cumæ, where he died at a very advanced age. But he never again ventured to make war against the Romans, who had routed him so sorely.

The old consul Valerius continued to serve his native city, and spent his money so lavishly in its behalf that he died very poor. Indeed, it is said that his funeral expenses had to be paid by the state, as he did not leave money enough even to provide for his burial.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

The First Settlers
Escape from the Burning City
The Clever Trick
The Boards Are Eaten
The Wolf and the Twins
Romulus Builds Rome
The Maidens Carried Off
Union of Sabines and Romans
Death of Romulus
Strange Signs of the Romans
The Quarrel with Alba
The Horatii and Curiatii
Tarquin and the Eagle
The Roman Youths
The King Outwitted
The Murder of Tarquin
The Ungrateful Children
The Mysterious Books
Tarquin's Poppies
The Oracle of Delphi
The Death of Lucretia
The Stern Father
A Roman Triumph
A Roman Triumph (Cont.)
Defense of the Bridge
The Burnt Hand
The Twin Gods
The Wrongs of the Poor
Fable of the Stomach
The Story of Coriolanus
The Farmer Hero
The New Laws
Death of Virginia
Plans of a Traitor
A School-Teacher Punished
Invasion of the Gauls
The Sacred Geese
Two Heroes of Rome
Disaster at Caudine Forks
Pyrrhus and His Elephants
The Elephants Routed
Ancient Ships
Regulus and the Snake
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
The Romans Defeated
The Inventor Archimedes
The Roman Conquests
Destruction of Carthage
Roman Amusements
The Jewels of Cornelia
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Caius Gracchus
Jugurtha, King of Numidia
The Barbarians
The Social War
The Flight of Marius
The Proscription Lists
Sertorius and His Doe
Revolt of the Slaves
Pompey's Conquests
Conspiracy of Catiline
Caesar's Conquests
Crossing of the Rubicon
Battle of Pharsalia
The Death of Caesar
The Second Triumvirate
The Vision of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
The Poisonous Snake
The Augustan Age
Death of Augustus
Varus Avenged
Death of Germanicus
Tiberius Smothered
The Wild Caligula
Wicked Wives of Claudius
Nero's First Crimes
Christians Persecuted
Nero's Cruelty
Two Short Reigns
The Siege of Jerusalem
The Buried Cities
The Terrible Banquet
The Emperor's Tablets
The Good Trajan
Trajan's Column
The Great Wall
Hadrian's Death
Antoninus Pius
The Model Pagan
Another Cruel Emperor
An Unnatural Son
The Senate of Women
The Gigantic Emperor
Invasion of the Goths
Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra
A Prophecy Fulfulled
First Christian Emperor
Roman Empire Divided
An Emperor's Penance
Sieges of Rome
End of the Western Empire